The Star Trek 2014 Las Vegas Convention on day two featured a regular cornucopia of stars and delivered one of the events best kept secrets. The amount of familiar faces that were roaming the halls and seated at the vendor tables in the Captain Dave Exhibition was spellbinding and impressive. Like the yesterday there was a large array of stars who were all part of the Gene Roddenberry world, regardless of the size of their role.
There was one guest, however, who was not listed on the venue’s agenda. This legendary performer has been coming to these Star Trek conventions for the last 14 or 15 years. He is not on the event’s books because of all the credits this actor has under his belt, not one is for a Star Trek feature, big screen or small. However, this iconic, or legendary, man is a popular presence at these affairs.
Who is this mystery guest? The one, the only Richard Kiel, that’s who. This seven foot, two inch tall giant of a man, with a lovely personality that is just as large, has over 78 credits under his belt as an actor. This actor’s career started in 1960 and among other shows that Kiel has worked in, he played in several episodes of The Wild Wild West on television in the 1960s. He leapt in popularity in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as Jaws, and quite a number of his roles can be classed as science fiction, hence his appearance at the conventions.
Mr Kiel talked about the films he’s made and at his table, there are stills from each one. Day two of the 2014 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention revealed a few surprises and brought to light the best kept secret of the event, the inclusion of this iconic performer. Richard will be there over the next few days, so stop by and see him, his books and his stills.
Another surprise of the day included meeting, for another couple of firsts, Don Stark, who was in Star Trek: First Contact as “Nicky the Nose” and of course a regular in That ’70s Show and a whole slew of other projects. Mr. Stark, Twitter handle @donstark70 if you’d like to follow his account, was at his first Star Trek Convention as well and another one of those really nice folks. Taking the time to chat and pose for a quick Instagram snap.
Another surprise was meeting Richard Hatch, who was Captain Apollo in the 1970’s series Battlestar Galactica, as well as a lot of other projects both big screen and small. Including another stint in the Battlestar verse in the newer version of the show that ran from 2004 to 2009. Richard, who is a friend of the Winner twins, whom we wrote about in our Las Vegas Comic Con coverage, took time to refute a story told to this reporter years ago. The tale had to do with Walgreens, a camera sales position and the first season of Battlestar Galactica. Turned out, quite logically, to have no basis in truth at all.
What does have a basis in truth is his upcoming film, Star Trek: Axanar which according to those in the know, is one of the highest quality independent films out there right now. It is also being screened at AMC tomorrow night. The movie is set 21 years prior to Where No Man Has Gone Before, which fans will remember is the first Captain Kirk episode to the original TV series. Axanar is about Garth of Izar and apart from Richard starring in the film, it will also feature Tony Todd. Mr. Todd, we hope, will be speaking to the Guardian Liberty Voice tomorrow.
Another surprise was almost literally stumbling into Dominic Keating who is best remembered by fans for his work in Star Trek: Enterprise as Malcolm Reed alongside Scott Bakula as Captain Archer. Keating is one of those very busy actors who does a bit of everything, or perhaps it should be said, a lot of everything. His last project was voicing the character of Kormac, the Templar in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls video game. This British actor, Dominic comes from Leicester, Leicestershire, pronounced “Lester, Lestershire,” in England. A very affable chap, he interacted immediately with all who recognised him, regardless of how they reacted to seeing him.
The last surprise of day two of the 2014 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas was the sudden appearance of the legendary James Darren. From the iconic classic war film The Guns of Navarone, to science fiction television series The Time Tunnel (1966/67) and right up to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Vic Fontaine, this man is Hollywood royalty. It is somewhat befitting that Mr. Darren should be here in Las Vegas since he used to perform with, and was a close friend to, Frank Sinatra and the famous Rat Pack. This generous performer not only took time to have his picture taken, he had this reporter come around to where the best lights were to get a better result, professional? You bet. Rumor has it that he will be making a surprise appearance later in the event. Day three of the convention at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino begins at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.
By Michael Smith