George Takei (Sulu) in Berlin, first transcript 

Galileo 7 III, Oct 30 '99

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Photos, audio & transcript: Erich Habich 19999

The success of Star Trek

This Star Trek phenomenon has been an absolutely undreamed of gift that the fans have given us.  When we were doing Star Trek as a TV series back in 1966 it was very low-rated.  We had no idea that it was going to turn into this kind of long-lived phenomenon. 

You know, the Vulcans have this saying: "Live long and prosper".  Well, we didn't think we were gonna live long at all.  And certainly if you don't live long you don't prosper.  Every season we had to struggle to be renewed for the next season.  And despite the fact that at the beginning of each season each episode announced that we were on a five year mission, after three seasons we discovered that it wasn't the Klingons that was gonna do us in. 

Well, actually it was Klingons.   Klingons disguised as NBC executives cancelled us.  And so we were on for only three years.  We were proud of what we did back then.  We knew that we did quality work, a good show.  Three seasons worth of creative Science Fiction.  But we were cancelled after three years.  It happens in show business all the time.  Plays close, movies wrap and TV series get cancelled.  And so we thought we would get on with the rest of our careers. 

George Takei talks to Valerie Evans from the British fan clubNever did we dream that it would turn into this incredible phenomenon of three seasons on television, but a series of major feature motion pictures.  That we would give birth to three new series.  The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well as a whole sleuth of marketing merchandising products.  We even have a CD-ROM out, called "Star Fleet Academy", which I'm sure you all want to know about.   It's been an absolutely undreamed of phenomenon.  Star Trek is a future oriented show.  Looking to the future with optimism and confidence. 

Another aspect of that have been these Star Trek conventions.  

There are people from all over the globe gathering here to celebrate the thirty plus years of Star Trek.  Many of you I've met at other conventions. 

This has become a great huge extended family.  And we gather at these family reunions at these conventions to renew old acquaintances.  England is well represented here with my British fan-club; Valerie Evans is here with her son.  And people I know are from all over.  So this is a great family reunion we are having. 

Message Board

The Trip to Manchester

I was asked to share a story that many of you, I'm sure, have already heard.  It's about one of the aspects of Star Trek that is not so happy.  As part of the Star Trek phenomenon we are asked to travel to Trek events all over the globe.  This particular episode took place about fifteen years ago.   Bill Shatner and I were asked to fly to Manchester, England, for the launching of a people mover system.  Those of you from Britain know Alton Towers.  It was a people mover system to move people at Alton Towers.  And they wanted the launching of it to be a really celebratory thing by having the Captain of the Enterprise and the Helmsman of the Enterprise to be there.  And so we were to fly to Manchester for that opening.

Bill was back east somewhere, so he was flying from there straight onto Manchester.  I was in Los Angeles, and I was to fly from Los Angeles to London, London to Manchester, overnight in Manchester and the following morning to participate in the opening ceremony of the people mover system.   So, as appointed I drove down to the Los Angeles International Airport, went to the International Terminal with my luggage.  It was a five o'clock flight and I got there about 3 o'clock, two hours in advance.  I went to the British Airways counter and introduced myself as George Takei.  There should be a pre-paid ticket for me from LA to London, London to Manchester.  The man at the counter had a toothbrush moustache and was rather arrogantly uppity I thought.

He said "Oh yes, there is a pre-paid ticket for you here but I'd like to see your passport, please."  Well, it dawned on me suddenly, I had forgotten to bring my passport.  It was really awkward, but then I had to be on that flight to make the appointed schedule.  I said: "Isn't there some way that you could get me on that flight?  I mean I'm George Takei.  Do you watch Star Trek?"  He didn't. 

He said "You must produce a passport.  I can't put you on that plane without a passport."  I said "Well, I've got to be on that plane and I've forgot my passport.  Isn't there some facility here at the airport that would give me temporary passport?"

"No I can't do that."

"Isn't there some way that you can get me on that plane?"

"No. I can't do that.  It's illegal.", illegal was the word he kept emphasizing.  And so I realized that he wasn't going to put me on that plane.  Richard Arnold exclusive photograph was working at Paramount at the time.  He was responsible for making the arrangements.  So I went to a public telephone and I phoned Richard and I said "Richard, the man won't put me on the plane because, it's embarrassing, but I forgot my passport."

Richard said "Well that was dumb."  You know I didn't need that, I was feeling humiliated enough for being forgetful.  I told him "You might as well phone the people in England and tell them that I'm not gonna be able to be there."  And he stopped to think and he said "Hold on George, I think there is a fallback position.  Why don't you go back home and get your passport and in the meantime I'll make some phone-calls and see if I can make other arrangements." 

I said "Well, it's pretty close.  I don't think we are gonna be able to do it.", but he said "You know I'm gonna be working late today.  Give me a ring at the office and go home and let me know.  By that time I'll have a fallback position for you." 

So I said "Well, if you are willing to do that, okay, I'll be game." 
So I drove back home, went to the drawer were I usually keep my documents, pulled it open and looked for it.  I couldn't find my passport!  It was not there in the drawer.  I pulled the drawer out, dumped it on the bed and went through everything.   It's not there!  So I started pulling these other drawers out, dumping them out and looking for the passport.  I was really starting to panic!  And then the phone rings and it's Richard. 

He said "George, we are in good luck!  In fact you are really gonna love our fall-back position!", and I asked "What is it?".

He said "Well, you are not gonna fly from here to London.  You are gonna fly on a nine o'clock flight, there's plenty of time, by Concorde!" 

I had never flown by Concorde!   "A Concorde flight!  That's fantastic!"  He said "The nine o'clock flight is going to take you from Los Angeles to New York.  And from New York you are going to fly by Concorde to London.  And then you'll catch up with the old schedule: you fly from Heathrow to Manchester, overnight at Manchester and then you'll participate in the ceremony."

I said "Concorde!  New York to London!  That's fantastic!  Let me phone you right back."   And Richard says  "Why do you have to call me back?",  I said "I've got my reasons.  I'll call you right back!", and I hung up on him.

And I started tearing the house apart.  You know, Concorde!  I've got to find that passport!  I was looking all over the house!  Every drawer was pulled out.  I pulled out my wallet, emptied it out.  I couldn't find my passport!  Calm down George, I told myself.   You came back from Tokyo last month.  You had your passport.  Now what did you do with your passport then?  I went through customs in Japan, put it in my airline ticket folder.  And then I used it when I came back to Los Angeles and I put my passport back in my airline ticket folder.  And then when I was unpacking at home I was going through everything and I pulled out the airline ticket folder and thought "These are used tickets.", and I dropped them in the waste basket.  My passport was long gone with the trash.  And it meant a Concorde flight!  But it's gone.  I don't have a passport! 

So I got on the phone and I dialed Richards telephone.  And Richard answers and I said "Richard.  I've got bad news.", I told what had happened.  He said "That was really dumb!"  I said "Richard!  You know I feel terribly about it already.   You know I'm going to miss out on a Concorde flight.  You don't have to humiliate me even more.  But I guess you better call England.  It was just not meant to be."

And Richard says "No.   Wait a minute.  There may still be another fall-back position."   And I said "You know, it's already this late.  There couldn't be a fall-back position."

He said "Let me make some phone calls.  Overnight.  And tomorrow morning go downtown, go to the passport office and have them fix you up a temporary passport.  And call me from the passport office,  I'll be in my office early to try and arrange something for you.  Call me as soon as you get your temporary passport and we'll see what we can do."

I said "Well, if you want to do it, alright.  It's gonna be tomorrow.  And the opening ceremony is gonna be the day after that.", he said "Let's try."

And so I went to bed.   Trying to sleep.  Tossing and turning.  I punched my pillow and said "I've got to get some sleep.", but I had visions of Concorde flights going back and forth.  I couldn't sleep that night.  I got up early in the morning about five o'clock and, you know I'm a runner, so I put on my running shoes, got my run-in, took my shower, had breakfast, got my luggage and went downtown to the passport office.   It was still closed.  So I bought a LA Times newspaper, got in line.  I was there first in line and waited for the passport office to open.  As soon as it opened I marched to that counter and I was explaining to the clerk what my situation was.   I said I needed a temporary passport.  Well, in these government buildings they have these glassed-in offices.  And there was a very bureaucratic looking gentleman.  Balding, a fringe of hair, glasses, who was in one of those glass offices.  Looked up, saw me, and his eyes lit up!  And he came rushing out of the glass office and he stood behind the clerk.

There was a swinging door next to the counter and I went through that and he said "Follow me please to my office.", and I thought "Well, this is going to be fantastic.  He is going to arrange something for me."  So I followed him into his office.  I sat down.  He opened up his drawer and he pulled out from that drawer that picture of the entire cast of Star Trek on the bridge of the Enterprise.  And he already had Leonard Nimoy's autograph.  "Could you sign this for me?"  And I said "I'll be happy to.  But I'm in something of a rush.  I need a temporary passport because I've got to get to England." 

He said "Not to worry, not to worry.",  and I signed that very quickly.  And then he brought on about half a dozen more photos for me to sign.  And I said "I really have to rush", he said "Don't worry, don't worry.  Give me all the documents you have." 

I gave him all my documents, and while I was autographing he went off and did whatever he had to do and I autographed all to him.  His name was Milton.  "To Milton.  Galactic greetings.  George Takei." 

And then he came back and he said "Go on into the corridor to the far end.  And there's a little photo booth and get your photo taken there and in the meantime I try to get your passport set for you."  I thought "Oh!  I thought it was gonna be a temporary passport!"

Anyway, I went down, did as I was told, got my picture taken, brought it back and he took it and stamped a few things.   And he had not a temporary passport but a full fledged regular passport with my picture on it. 

Star Trek fans can work miracles!

Star Trek fans can work miracles!And so I pointed to the telephone on the desk and I said "May I make a telephone call here?", and he said "Well, is it a local call?",  I said "Yes, it is a local call.   I'm calling Paramount Studios."

He said "Paramount Studios?   Oh, of course!  Please!"  So I called Richard, and I said "Richard?", and he said "Oh no."  "No no!  It's good luck this time!  I have not a temporary passport but a full fledged regular passport!   So we are all set.  Now, do you have a fall-back position for me?",   and he said  "Yes, I have, George.  But this time this is the ultimate fall-back position... but there is no other.  So you've got to make these flights."

And I said "Well, what is it?", and he said "It's a twelve thirty flight."  I said "Twelve thirty? No Problem.", because it was only like about nine o'clock.  "No problem."  "It's a twelve thirty flight, it's Delta Airlines."  I said "DELTA?"  I had more problems with Delta airlines and Richard knows that.  I said "DELTA?", he said "Shut up.  It's a twelve thirty Delta flight from LA going not to London, not even to New York but going to Cincinnati.   "CINCINNATI?", he said "Shut up.  From LA to Cincinnati.   And then from Cincinnati to Gatwick in England.  And then from Gatwick, it's very late now so you are not going to have an overnight in Manchester.  They are going to pick you up in a helicopter and take you from Gatwick airport straight to where the launching ceremony is going to be held.  So you've got to make everyone of those connections.  It's crucially important."

I said "Well, the twelve thirty flight is no problem.  But Cincinnati and then Gatwick?", he says "Shut up.  Just make it."  And so I said "Okay."  I'd gotten my passport.  I thanked Milton at the passport office.  And I drove off to the airport.  I parked my car, got my luggage and went to the International terminal.  I started looking for Delta Airlines.  Looked high, looked low.   Looked all over the International terminal at LA airport.  Couldn't find Delta.  I know that Delta has a lot to be ashamed of but they don't have to hide themselves.  I couldn't find Delta!  So I went to the information counter and I said to the woman "I'm flying here to England by Delta Airlines.  Now, where are they?  I looked all over here in the International terminal.  And she said "Delta Airlines?  Where are you flying to", and I said "Well, I'm flying from here to London.  You know, it's an International flight."

She asked "What is your destination?", "From here to Cincinnati.  Cincinnati to London.", "Sir, Cincinnati is not International!"

I knew that.  And then she said "Cincinnati is in the United States.   It's domestic."  It was so embarrassing.  She said "Delta is over there... at terminal five.  It's not here in the International terminal."   I said "Thank you.", picked up my luggage and went out to the front of the International terminal and waited for the shuttle bus.  But, you know, the shuttle buses never come when they are supposed to.  And I could see terminal five right over there.  And I figured,  I'm a runner.  I could make it to over there.  I picked up my luggage and with my luggage I jogged over to terminal five.   And the automatic doors opened, I walked in and sure enough a whole bank of Delta counters was there.  And of course long lines at every one of them.  But I figured, well, I have plenty of time.  I got in line and eventually I got to the counter and I said to the woman "There should be a pre-paid ticket for me, flying from here to Cincinnati, Cincinnati to London Gatwick", she looked in the computer and she said "I'm sorry Sir, it's not pre-paid." "Not pre-paid?"   And then I thought out loud: "Well, it was probably that British Airways ticket from the day before.  Could you call British Airways and have them transfer that pre-paid ticket to this ticket here?"

She says "Alright.", and she calls British Airways.  But they won't release the ticket.  She says "They can't just release a pre-paid ticket on somebody calling them."  I said "Oh, of course.  That's understandable.  I'll tell you what: I'm a runner. So I'll run over to the International terminal and pick up the pre-paid ticket and bring it back here.  And I have my passport now.  He'll give me that pre-paid ticket.  So, I'll run over.  But it's gonna be silly to run over with my luggage and then come right back.  Could you please keep your luggage on your side of the counter for me, where it's safer?"

She says "I'm sorry Sir, we can't be responsible for your luggage.", I said "No.  I won't hold you responsible.  But you understand what I mean?  I don't want to run over there with my luggage and run back.  It's safe over there than to leave it out here.   Anyone can walk away with it.  So, could you please keep it over there?"

She says "Sorry Sir.   We can't be responsible.",  I say "I'm NOT gonna hold you responsible.  But it's safer over there."
But she just wouldn't do it.  This woman was not in a position of authority.   I asked her if I could speak to her supervisor.  And she agreed, called him on the telephone and told me then that the supervisor would be right out.

A few seconds later this big enormous person came lumbering out.  I knew that this person was a woman because she was wearing a skirt.  Se came out and I explained to her my situation.   "I'm a runner, so I'm going to run over to British Airways, pick up my pre-paid ticket and bring it back here.  But I would like to leave my luggage here.   So could you please keep it behind the counter?  I will not hold you responsible.", she says "I'm sorry Sir.  We can't do that." 

I said "No.  I'm not gonna hold you responsible!",  "I'm sorry Sir.  It's illegal.  We can't do that.  We can't be resp...",  I said "I will NOT hold you responsible!  So can you please...!",  "I'm sorry Sir.  We can't do that."  And by this time my blood was starting to boil:  "Alright!   I'm gonna leave my luggage right out here exposed to any thief out here.  And I will hold you responsible because you forced me to leave it out here."  And with that I started running off.  And you know that woman gave chase?   "Sir!  Sir!  You can't leave it here!  Sir!  Come back!"  But by that time I was long gone.  Out, and on my way to the International terminal. 

And I went running up to the British Airways counter and the same man was still there with that toothbrush moustache.   I said "Remember me, George Takei, from yesterday?  Well here I have my passport.  I need to claim the pre-paid ticket so I can take it over to Delta."

He says "What?"
"I came to take the pre-paid ticket to take it over there."

And he looks at my passport and says "Oh, yes.  I remember you.  No, we can't do that."  I say "Why can't you?  It's a pre-paid ticket to me.  And I'm taking it over to Delta."

He says "It was pre-paid to British Airways.  It's not to Delta.  We can't release it."  I say "No.  The people that paid for it don't care what I fly.  Just as long as I get there.  And the only way I can get there now is by Delta."

"Oh no.  We can't do that.  It's illegal.  It's illegal.  It's paid to British Airways.   It's illegal, illegal.", that's all he said "Illegal."

I pleaded, I cajoled.  I did everything but grovel in front of him, he wouldn't let the pre-paid ticket go. And so I went to the pay telephone again.  I phoned Paramount and I said "Richard, I don't want to go to England anymore.  I'm tired.  I'm sweating, I haven't had any sleep.  Please phone England and tell them I'm not coming."  Richard says "Why?  What's the matter?"

And I said "The man won't give me my pre-paid ticket.  And just as I was pleading and cajoling, I did bring my carry-on bag with me because I have my valuables and money in there, which I put down, some kid came and grabbed my carry-on and started running off.  "Richard!   Hang on!"

Come back! Come back!I left the phone dangling and started chasing after that kid.  "Come back! Come back!" 
And the kid was running away with my carry-on baggage.  He thought he'd out-run me.  No!  I am a runner.  I almost caught up to him, I grabbed him by the jacket and he dropped the bag and struggled with me.  All I wanted was my bag.   So I grabbed my luggage and came running back to Richard.  I said "Richard?  Are you still there?",  "What happened?"

"Oh!  You won't believe what's been happening!  Somebody tried to steal my carry-on.  And I caught him.  Richard.  You have to tell them in England I'm not coming.   Because they won't release the pre-paid ticket.  So, you know, this was the last fall-back position.  We might as well give up.  I don't want to go to England.  I want to get some sleep.  And a shower."  

Richard said "You know what?  I just thought of another fall-back position..."  That Richard!   He keeps coming up with fall-back positions!  He said "Go back to Delta and put that Delta ticket on your American Express card.  And I call England and have them reimburse you when you arrive there and that way you'll get there."

I said "Well, that does make sense.  Alright.  I'll do it."  I picked up my carry-on bag and started running to the International terminal.  I came by that British Airways counter and that man was still there. 

I went like this and ran out of the International terminal and over to terminal five.  I came to Delta airlines and there were 500 people in line there.  And 500 people all pointed to my luggage.   I had made such a spectacle of myself.  Everybody heard to whom my luggage belonged.  It was still there, exposed to anybody, but they were all guarding it for me.  So I ran to the luggage, picked it up, and they all let me go to the counter directly.

And I said to that woman "Because people at British Airways are absolutely impossible.  They won't let the pre-paid ticket go.  So, I'm going to put it on my American Express card."   And I dug into my pocket, pulled out my wallet, looked into my wallet and guess what?  It's not there!  The night before in my panic looking for my passport I'd emptied my wallet out.  And I didn't put everything back in.  One of those things being my American Express card.  After I had announced loudly, with all these people listening that I was going to put it onto my American Express card.  They say 'Never leave home without it'.  It was so embarrassing.  I asked that woman "May I borrow your telephone, please?" 

I phoned Richard.  I said "Richard, please, please call England and tell them I'm not coming!"   "George, what's the matter?", I say "You won't believe it!", he says "I'll believe anything."

"Richard, I forgot my American Express card!  It just wasn't meant to be.  The God's are against us.   Please tell England...", and Richard goes "Woah, woah stop!  I just thought of another fall-back position!"  That Richard!  He said "I've got my American Express card.  So we'll put your ticket on my American Express card and then I'll be reimbursed by the people in England.  Hand me over to the woman there."  And so I agreed with Richard.  I had no energy to argue.  I just handed the receiver over to the woman and she got Richards American Express card number.  She tapped that into her computer.  And the she said "Step aside and I'll tend to the other people while I get the authorization from American Express.   I said "Well, you know, Richard pays his bills.  His card is good."   She says "I'm sorry.  His card has not come through yet.  So let me take care of the other customers."  I looked at my watch.  It's a twelve thirty flight.  It's twelve fifteen!  I waited for about three minutes.   And then I asked her "Could you please check?",  "Sorry, the authorization hasn't come through..." 

I waited some more.  It's twelve twenty.  I said "Please.  Can you check again?", "No, it hasn't come through."
"Please, please.  I've got to catch that flight."  Twelve twenty-six.  She goes through her computer.  She goes "Oh!  Could your last name be spelled  T - A - K - A - I  ?"  I said "Is it George Takai?" 

She says "Well, here it is.   It was there all the time.  Pre-paid, but misspelled."  I wasn't about to give her any argument.  I said "Please, write it that ticket.  And I'm a runner.  So I can make it to the gate.  Please phone ahead and tell them I'm coming."  She tapped out the ticket.  Got it into my hands, picked up the luggage.  And it's crowded in that airport!  But I took a deep breath and I shouted 

Well, you heard the Moses story, haven't you?  The parting of the Red Sea?  That crowded air terminal five suddenly parted.  People parted.  Senior citizens in wheel chairs moved aside.  I started running through "Twelve thirty flight!  Twelve thirty flight!  Coming through, coming through!"  Everybody parted.   "Twelve thirty flight, twelve thirty flight!"  Wouldn't you know it's the very farthest gate at the very farthest end?  I was running down "Twelve thirty flight, twelve thirty flight!", and finally when I got there I looked and I see the plane out there but the doors are closed.  But I got this far and I'm not gonna let that plane take off!

I went to the door, dropped my luggage and started banging on it. 

And this panicked Delta Airlines flight attendant comes running up "Sir, Sir!  What seems to be the matter?"  "I've got to be on this flight!  Open this door!" 

She says "Sir, we just announced that this flight is delayed by twenty minutes!"

Twenty minutes late!  Then they started boarding.  And I got on.  That first glass of Scotch on the rocks was so good!  So good!  We took off from LA, made up the time, arrived in Cincinnati, got on the continuing flight, went from there to London Gatwick, arrived there on time.  The helicopter was waiting.  There was a British agent there who met me at the plane.  He escorted me to a car that drove me across the tarmac.   However, the one consistent thing, the old reliable in London: there was this heavy London fog.  And helicopters don't take off in the fog.  The London agent there phoned Manchester and said "Mr. Takei is here but we can't take off because of the fog."  They told him they were going to hold the ceremonies for half an hour.   We were going to take off as soon as was possible and they would wait for me.   Well, we waited and waited and then finally, about forty-five minutes later the fog cleared and the helicopter took off.  It flew low over that lovely English countryside.  Rolling green hills.  What that helicopter was transporting was not an actor from Los Angeles.  It was a drunken piece of carcass. 

We arrived at Manchester.   And I looked down in the helicopter and the train was already running.  We got there just a tad bit too late.  The helicopter landed and the promotional people came running to the helicopter and said "Mr. Shatner is doing a press conference in the conference hall, so we'd like to have Mr. Takei join in there."

And so they pulled me out of that helicopter and they marched me over to the conference center.  And they plunked me down.  There was a long table with a whole battery of microphones. 

And when I sat down Bill asked me "Where the hell have you been?" 
I said "Bill, you don't want to know."

Message Board

What it was like to act with John Wayne

What it was like to act with John Wayne in the movie "The Green Berets"?

It was an absolutely unforgettable experience.  I did the "Green Berets" during the long break between the first season and second season of Star Trek.  John Wayne had watched Star Trek.  I was playing the character named 'Captain Nib', but he kept calling me 'Captain Sulu'.  So even back then John Wayne knew I was Captain material (jokingly).  Working with him was a fantastic experience. 

Here was this legend that I had grown up with as a kid.  I used to watch John Wayne movies.  There he was on that huge screen, with that squint in the eyes as he looked at Jimmy Stewart.  When I first met him for the interview that same face, this same John, was looking at ME!

Not at Ward Thorne or Jimmy Stewart.  He was looking at me with that same squint.  And we talked about the film.  It was a heady occasion when I first met him.  John Wayne is really that character you see on film.  So often actors that you know from the screen or TV are very much unlike the characters that they play, when you meet them in person.  John Wayne is exactly like those characters that he portrays. 

"The Green Berets" was John Waynes production.  It was his production company.  He directed it, the producer was his son, Michael Wayne.   And we had a script written by Claire Hopdicker.  But he drew out that script and was making up the dialogue as we were going along.  It really was a full John Wayne production. 

For me to be working with him, to see what he was really like, a man that's really in command and in charge of whatever project he does, it was an exciting experience.  It is one of the film experiences that I will always remember.  He was still recovering from a lung cancer operation the year before.  He did have one piece of his lung removed.  And there he was, directing and acting in a major film like that.  A very outdoor action film.

John Wayne was made of really strong stuff.  An amazing actor.

Message Board

Has George Takei ever played an Extraterrestrial?

As a matter of fact I have played Extraterrestrials.  Not in Star Trek, but I was cast in a Canadian Science Fiction series about three years ago.  Believe me, I have great respect and sympathy for people like Michael Door, who had to live out a whole career with his face completely covered by make-up. 

In the Canadian series I played an extraterrestrial character that was Reptilian.  With a tail, to boot.  And my face was all covered up.  The script was written by Peter David who has written many Star Trek novels.  I did eventually three episodes in this Reptilian make-up. 

When he first talked to me about doing this guest shot I asked him why he was going to cover my face up completely.  Why did he want me to play this character?  People would never recognize me. 

He said "Well, I like your voice.   You have the right voice for this character."  "Well, then have some other actor play him and I'll dub the voice in!", I replied.

But he says "No, no, I want your body as well." 

Then I had to sit in make-up for something like a little over two hours to have all the various pieces applied to my face.  It was a laborious process.  During the course of the day you can't do a lot of things.   You can't take in food easily and certainly letting it out is very difficult.

All those actors that have played aliens with all that make-up and wearing all that body gear on Star Trek I have renewed respect for.   As well as pity. 

Message Board

What about the Simpson's, George?

The creator of the Simpson's, Matt Groening, is a great Star Trek fan. 

And as such he has cast many of the Star Trek actors, their voices, on the Simpson's show.  I've done three or four guest shots on the Simpson's myself. 

When I arrived to do my first recording they were just taking a break.  The other actors whom I hadn't met before where all just standing around and sipping coffee.  I went to the coffee machine and got some coffee, too.  There was this short woman doing what I thought was an imitation of Bart Simpson. 

And I thought 'Isn't this amazing?  This girl does such an excellent imitation of Bart Simpson's voice.'  I didn't think much more about it and we chit-chatted and then they were ready for us to come in to take our places.  We all went into this recording studio and sat down.

And this girl sat down next to a mike also.   And she started doing Bart's lines.  And that's when I realized: Bart Simpson is a girl!

It's astonishing that this woman does Bart Simpson's voice.  All the people that do the voices are wonderful voice actors.   They are wonderful actors to begin with.  As it turned out they like my voice and called me back to play many different characters.  I was a restaurant Maitre'D.   In another episode I was a game show host. 

It's fun doing voice work.  I've been doing a lot of voice work recently.  As a matter of fact the day before I flew here I did an animated cartoon for Disney.  A cartoon called 'Penelope', playing Penelope's father. 

Those of you that saw 'Mulan' may have noticed that I was the voice of 'The First Ancestor'.  Because I was the 'First Ancestor' I can claim all Chinese to have been of my issue (laughter). 


Thank you for making Star Trek such a glorious experience.
streaming RealPlayer sound file Live long and prosper

This was the end of George Takei's first appearance on Saturday.

continue reading the second transcript


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Further reading:


The Star Trek story is one of boundless hope and crushing disappointment, wrenching rivalries and incredible achievements. It is also the story of how, after nearly thirty years, the cast of characters from a unique but poorly rated television show have come to be known to millions of Americans and people around the world as family.


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A couple of sound clips from George Takei...


au Sound clip: Live long and prosper

au Sound clip: Scotty, we need you_



The official George Takei website