In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic made in-person SciFi conventions impossible, including Germany’s big FedCon convention, which is organized by FedCon GmbH.
To generate some revenue beyond the sparse public support they took another look at what they have and – with the help of some crowdfunding – they created a DVD box “FedCon I – X Video Anthology“, providing 8 discs with some 24 hours of material, all converted from VHS tapes and the like.
The content includes opening ceremonies, cosplay contests, interviews with guests and fans, fan films, event impressions, and clips from several panels.
Below I collected a few trivia bits that caught my attention, as in details I might have tweeted out if myself and Twitter would have been there back then.
Discaimer: I might be paraphrasing a lot, don’t take any quote literally. Anything not between ” quotes is phrased by me 100%.
FedCon 1, 1992-05-01 to 03
Walter Koenig panel
On next movie (ST:VII Generations, to feature TNG + Shatner): “2, 4, 6 were good, maybe we could skip 7.”
“Bill is …” (hesitates, pauses, everybody laughs)
Ac. Walter William Shatner was only obeying (not pushing for himself all the time) when Nimoy directed.
Walter thinks the writing restricted how much the actors are able to develop characters.
On ST:IV Voyage Home:
Those were real Marines on that airplane carrier!
Walter ran too fast for the camera, but he was running away from real soldiers!
At some point they held a gun against Walter’s had, that scared him. (I’m not sure if those guns were real too, or loaded even; probably not)
On favourite character:
Star Trek sketch
Walter acted as Chekov in a fan-film made right at the convention!
Now that’s cool!
FedCon 2, 1994-04-01 to 03
George Takei does his welcome message in German! He was reading from a sheet of paper, but still nice.
Remark 1: Several actors read a German sentence or two from a note or even without a note.
Remark 2: More actors than I knew speak German well: Mira Furlan, Claudia Christian (both known from “Babylon 5”), Alex Kingston (known from “Doctor Who” and “ER”), and more.
George Takei panel
After some stories about Chekov beeing pushed down by Shatner and others during the movies, George thanked fans for getting Sulu back on the captain’s chair by ST:VI Undiscovered Country.
FedCon 3, 1995-06-30 to 07-02
FedCon 4, 1996-05-10 to 12
FedCon 5, 1997-05-09 to 11
FedCon 6, 1998-04-17 to 19
Max Grodenchik, paraphrasing Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” quote from the 1960s, with fingers pulling mouth wide to be able to speak in Rom’s voice, in German: “Ich bin ein Ferengi” (I am a Ferengi)
Remark: Max lives in Austria for some time now, I’m not sure that was the case back then, but I think his German was fluent already.
Tim Russ panel
Tim “sang” “Feelings” like a Vulcan, not totally unlike Shatner’s “talking counts as singing” style.
Max Grodenchik panel
Max says “House of Quark” was re-cut heavily, and that one scene cut was a video call between Quark (on Klingon homeworld Qo’noS) and Rom (running Quark’s bar on DS9). He replays that phone call scene doing both Ferengis with different voices.
Remark: I’m not sure if Max made that up or not 😉
FedCon 7, 1999-04-30 to 05-02
Gates McFadden panel
On the way to an event her dress broke.
Johnatan Frakes and Brent Spiner tried to fix it in the cab they shared, until the cab driver’s suspicious look made them stop ,-)
Finally Frakes sew (!) Gates into the dress in a bathroom at the event.
When coming home later that night, Gates couldn’t get out of the dress 😉
Leonard Nimoy & John de Lancie panel
Both did a scene with Q beeing interviewed by Nimoy/Spock, basically doing an excerpt from their audio drama, probably from the first part of “Spock vs. Q” which started their Alien Voices project.
Michael Mittermeier panel
Michael Mittermeier is a German stand-up comedian who was ever-present back then.
One of his well-known routines makes fun of Star Trek, usually in German.
He performed it live at FedCon, trying to do most of it in English by translating on the fly – with several actors including Leonard Nimoy in the audience. Hilarious!
Examples: “Live Long and prosper” in Bavarian dialect (“Bayrisch”): “Jo, passt scho” (roughly: “yeah, ok”).
Remembering Guinan handling Scotty a syntahol drink in “Relics”, paraphrasing Scotty: “This is no Jim Beam!”
Comparing Bones’ nickname in English (“Bones”) vs. German (“Pille” = pill, as in a piece of medicine):
“Pill is nicer. Imagine introducing yourself to a patient: ‘I’m bones’.”
Remark: More on German dubbing will be covered in another article soon.
FedCon 8, 2000-05-19 to 21
FedCon 9, 2001-04-06 to 08
FedCon 10, 2002-05-10 to 12
Garret Wang ending his OC minute: “I’ll see you at my panel, after …”, thinks, turns toward Nicole deBoer, “what’s your name again?”. LOL. Embarrassing or payback?
Avery Brooks forgot his CD case on the plane. So he asked:
“If anyone here works for Lufthansa, tell them to get it back to me, or enjoy all the wonderful music.”
Avery Brooks panel
Fan with baseball: “Can you catch?”
Fan throws baseball, uncatchable.
Avery picks up ball from the floor at the back of stage, where it rolled to.
Fan, without warning, throws pen on stage!
Avery: “You didn’t say anything about a pen.” He was assuming the ball was for him.
Avery still signed the ball and “threw” it back, after ordering the fan to come forward to right in front of stage.
Nicole deBoer panel
When arriving at Paramount lot for the first time, Nikki saw Jery Ryan in that skin-thight silver catsuit stepping out of a van: “That’s what they want? I’ll never get the job!”.
Accordingly, she was pretty nervous when she was to meet the producers about the final decision. While waiting to be called in she was offered water from some assistant and happily accepted.
Right while entering the producer room she took a gulp – and the water got “in the wrong pipe”.
She not only coughed, she even spat (!) the water all over producers!
She had to ask for a minute in a restroom and thought she’d just blewn the job for bad.
Remark: The producers’ names were hard to understand, pretty sure she meant Ira Behr, Michael Piller, Rick Berman.
Later a fan asks her to ask SirPat to come to FedCon. How rude.
Nikki, who liked to watch TNG growing up: “I’m so mad! I’m doing this (conventions) for years now, I still haven’t met him!”
Garret Wang panel
While filming a Pon Farr episode (Blood Fever, I think), despite being late already, they played a prank, of sorts:
Tim Russ as Tuvok continued a moaning scene beyond the scripted part, moans, throws Neelix (Ethan Phillips) on a table face down, basically dry-humps him (Garret showed Tim’s movement, LOL).
10 seconds later Neelix raises his head, with horny smile … (Garret tries to make that face, LOL).
Everybody on set laughed 10 minutes, and they finished the rest for the day, reenergized.
It probably was caught on camera, the camera man had been instructed to keep filming no matter what.
Walter Koenig panel
On why ST:TOS was successful, when SciFi shows were barely a thing on TV: One important factor was “Suspension of disbelieve”.
To make it somewhat believable, actors have to believe, even knowing it’s just painted styrofoam on a sound stage.