Takei Celebrate a
of generations -- not to mention quadrants -- occurred last
night as Jeri
Ryan and George
Takei appeared on stage together at the historic Orpheum
Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager) was the host for
Wednesday night's screening of the 1960 science-fiction film
"The Time Machine," presented by the Los Angeles Conservancy.
But she kept the crowd of 1,600 waiting for a couple of
minutes as Master of Ceremonies Maxwell DeMille announced that
Ryan had not shown up yet -- in fact, she left a note stating
that if she were not there by 8:00, the proceedings should
start without her. But then the curtain opened and Ryan
"arrived" in the time machine -- an exact replica of the prop
from the classic movie. Stepping up to the mike, she
apologized for being late, saying, "I had urgent business in
the 24th century." (The bit was a take-off of the
protagonist's introduction in the evening's film.)
Ryan proceeded to introduce Takei (Hikaru
Sulu on Star Trek), who served as host last year
for a similar screening of "Forbidden Planet." Takei made a
pitch on behalf of the L.A. Conservancy and their efforts to
preserve the vintage structures of the Historic Theater
District and other landmarks of greater Los Angeles. "We want
these treasures to live long and prosper," Takei proclaimed,
who then left the stage wielding the Vulcan salute.
Ryan read a tribute to George Pal, director of "The Time
Machine," lauding him for his vision and innovation, and for
paving the way for all the science-fiction classics that would
follow, including Star Trek. Pal, who died in 1980,
produced or directed some of the most memorable sci-fi films
of the 1950's and 60's, including "The War of the Worlds,"
"When Worlds Collide" and "Destination Moon."
The Voyager star then introduced and interviewed the
evening's special guests: Alan Young, who played Filby in "The
Time Machine" (also famous as Wilbur in the TV sitcom Mr.
Ed); Arnold Leibovit, executive producer of the upcoming
DreamWorks/Warner Bros. remake based on the H.G. Wells novel;
and Forrest J. Ackerman, world renowned sci-fi historian and
The guests discussed the making of "The Time Machine" and
the evolution of science fiction film and TV. Leibovit noted
Roddenberry was a close friend of George Pal -- they had
offices across from each other at Paramount, and they shared
spaghetti lunches. It was from Pal that Roddenberry learned
how to create many of the futuristic sounds he used in Star
Trek. In fact, the transporter sound effect was directly
inspired by the noise the Martian war machines made in "The
War of the Worlds."
Ackerman recalled the time decades ago when he personally
encountered the author of "The Time Machine," which was
published in 1895. Ackerman said he had expected H.G. Wells to
be an imposing figure with a low, booming voice, but instead,
he saw a short, rotund man with a squeaky voice who talked
Leibovit promised that the special effects in the upcoming
remake "will be quite spectacular." He said the script
currently is still being written, and no actors have been cast
yet. "For Weena, we're looking for a blonde..." Leibovit
noted, implying that Ryan could reprise the role of the pretty
Eloi played by Yvette Mimieux in 1960.
In further celebration of classic science fiction, the
intermission that followed treated the audience to a
performance by Ed Sussman playing sci-fi themes on the
"theramin" -- a musical device that uses radio frequency
oscillation to produce its ethereal tones.
Then, to commemorate its 40th anniversary, a restored print
of "The Time Machine" was screened, amidst the Orpheum's
French-themed architecture featuring marble pilasters, large
chandeliers, silk wall panels, and other trappings of an
earlier era. Tom
Paris would be proud of the restoration effort made on
this early 20th-century artifact. More information about the
L.A. Conservancy and future events like this one can be found