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Brent Spiner in Blackpool, May 1977  Sunday Part 1

(The audience cheered a lot, I have only mentioned it when it was very loud/long.)

Thank you, (referring to the applause) you're a marvellous audience, you know (he knows because we were there yesterday, of course). (During this, Brent is posing for cameras, some wonderful movements turning round and round, showing his mime training.) There we are, there we are. OK, anyone want to take a photo? OK. There we are. Alright. Yes? Oh, you just want to yell my name, I see, I see. Uh, why do people smile when people are taking photos of them? They always say, "smile", but why? Do you know that? Do you know that it feels like the world is full of pictures of people with like artificial smiles. Hallo, hallo. (Audience is calling out for different expressions and Brent obliges.) Hallo, hallo. (Someone (Olivia) asks for a really sad expression.) What's that? A sad expression. Hi, everybody. What's that? Still? A little Elvis for you - (Elvis impression) Since my baby left me, found a new place to dwell, UUMMM! down at the end of Lonely Street, at Heartbreak Hotel.

You know, I met Elvis once. About four years ago in Memphis, I was in Memphis, er about four years ago I was in Memphis, Memphis, Tennesee, where Graceland is, and er um I was actually doing a Star Trek convention in er in Memphis and they - um the people who run Graceland - I don't know who that is, I guess it’s Lisa Marie or somebody - they invited me to have a guided tour of Graceland. I've been a hughe Elvis Presley fan all my life, I couldn't pass that up, so I went to Graceland, it was such an honour, the King himself gave me a tour of Graceland, this was four years ago and I know all the rumours that he's gone, and it's simply not true Actually, I sort of understand why he’s been in hiding all this time, he looks a bit like, he er looks a bit like * do you know what * is? yeah, that's what Elvis looks like now, and he showed me around, he showed me all the records, it’s incredible ah, I did tell you yesterday I do keep lying from time to time, right? (looking at the image of himself on the large screen at the side of the stage) I'm just hyponotised by this image here - that is, this space shuttle is quite amazing (there was a full size replica at the side below the stage), I understand that it actually flies, er I'm sorry I missed the landing. (to the technicians) Can you do an instant replay for us? Do you have any equipment for an instant replay? Here you are, here's the shuttle now. (Voyager music)

(People have to go back to their seats who had been taking photos)

Will miracles never cease, fantastic, just like the (sounds like lightbulbs?) chorus, thank you for that instant replay, I appreciate it.. Well, there’s some things that work and some things that don’t. I did happen to read in one of the local papers, "one" of the local papers! what is the local Blackpool paper? Gazette, I read the Gazette last night, and there was a photo of the space shuttle and it got a ticket, seriously, um did they get a ticket? You had to pay for it did you? Not yet. It’s a nice item there by the way. What an interesting paper that is, though. I didn’t know it was the local paper, until there was a review of a grocery store. There really was, there was a review of a grocery store, and it said, well it was basically a review of the sandwiches that they sell in the grocery store and it said that the sandwiches really weren't that good but the upside was that at least they were in the same row as the aubergines and fruit. This is the type of newspaper I want to read every morning. Aside from that I have decided I’m moving to Blackpool, (cheers) giving up the rat race, enough of Los Angeles and New York, I want to live in Blackpool. You know what, and I realised it last night as I was taking a swim in the ocean (laughter, last night was cold and raining), these damm things were crawling all over me! Ah, it's refreshing to take a dip in the ocean at Blackpool! Thanks. Anyway, ah I see that there are a few people who have some things to ask me, so I’m gonna start with lovely Di. Hi.

Hi, Brent. Couple of questions, because we don’t get an opportunity to see members of the cast from all Star Trek episodes, it’s really nice to have you here,

Thank you.

and when are you coming back again? (cheers)

Thank you. Um, no! Well the reason I won't be coming back again is because I'm not leaving! (cheers) Ah, gosh, I want to get my whole family over here and settle down in a house with a little garden here in Blackpool. (Audience member calls out, You can come and stay at our house!) You said I can come to your house? Can my family come too? Yeah! Great! We’ll be there! Thank you. The fact is I appreciate it, it’s so great being here, and I absolutely will come back and then hopefully will be able to spend more time ** in Blackpool. It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you.

Could we have an opportunity the next time you come to get your autographs, those of us who can’t afford to buy them? (Brent had signed a few hundred to be sold for charity, but a lot of us could not afford the £25 - about $45. There was a raffle for the ones he signed run by the organisers.)

Well, you know what, you can get my autograph ** you can get my autograph if you write to me, um, I mean, assuming you can afford a stamp!

I’ll save up!

Just joshing. Send it to Paramount Pictures or to my agent, Gersh Agency, in Los Angeles. That’s spelt G E R S H - I don’t know her address, but if you call Los Angeles information they'll be able to give it to you. Does that bother you, you raised your eyebrows? Those of you who are sitting there saying, sure, sure, we've written and you've not gotten anything back, you will. The average time generally for return of a picture from me is nine years, but you will receive it. and um I do my best, its just that but I have been incredibly busy, * and I will, and you will receive it, and I’m sure there’s some people here who can vouch for that. OK?. Yes? (someone wants him to say hallo to their kids) * Eh? Edith? No, what’s her name? Irma, Fergal, Hi Irma, Hi, Fergal. Hallo, there. Manny.

Hi, Brent, I'm Jane.

Hi Jane

I'd just like to say, we hear such a lot about the cast goofing off in The Next Generation,

Yes.

Aren’t there any outtakes at all?

You know what, there are outtakes from the first season, and I don't think they did any outtakes after that. There was a reason for it, and I'm not exactly clear what the reason was, I'm told different things by different people, uh, um, it was, the producers like to tell me it was Patrick's fault, er that's what they always say when they don't want to take responsibility for something, they always say, “it was Patrick's fault”, I think that's not true. I think what happened was, in the first season when they made the outtake reel, they showed it at a wrap party at the end of the season and it was very funny, and we all wanted a copy, and we were told, "No you can't have a copy", and then we found out they were selling copies, ah so we said, "Well, does the Screen Actors Guild cover that, because shouldn’t we be getting residuals on this or royalties on. the sale of these"? And at that point in time they decided, OK, we’re not making any more, if we have to give you something, um and so they stopped making them, and its too bad, because in terms of goofing off, there was a considerable amount of goofing off, I think we were about the most racous group of people who ever came together to make a television show, particularly a serious television show. People who’ve been on the set of Star Trek The Next Generation, while we were shooting, are aware of a whole different group of people than they perceive on the screen. It was quiet every day, but it was also the best part of the job. Patrick’s often said that he knows that he’ll never have another job where he’s certain that he’s going to work and laugh all day long, ‘cos that’s what we did. Its really difficult to do that kind of material without having a real good laugh first, because otherwise it’ll end up on the screen instead. But we had a habit of, uh um, it was sort of like we looked at the bridge of the Enterprise as being a big night club, and we sort of did one long improv. all day long. That was only in the rough of the scenes we shot. We drove our directors crazy, we really did, and uh I just can’t believe to this day we had a day-time schedule, and we needed that time schedule because we were clowning so much, but when you are inside a sound stage for 16-17 hours a day and you don't have a few laughs, you're going to go crazy after a while, so we often had a few laughs, and um we had a director once, I've actually worked with him since, he directed an episode of The Outer Limits that I did, his name is Joe Scanlon, very nice man, but he was unprepared for what we were about, and this was in the first season of the show, and y’know the kind of thing where they roll film in the camera and the cameraman says “Rolling”, and the sound man says “Speed”, and like last of all the director says “Action”. In the first season, as soon as the camera man said “Rolling” we would stop clowning around; by the second season it was “Speed” and we would stop clowning. By the end of the show it was only the word “Action” that would stop me. But in that first season Joe Scanlon was directing, the episode was um, I’m trying to think which one it was, it wasn't " ", which he did direct; I think it was the one where Denise met her unfortunate demise, Tasha Yar did die, but er he went to the producer, to Rick Berman, and he said "I can't work with these people, they’re crazy", he said "they’re all the time, they’re wild, I just can’t do it". So Rick came down to the set, he called us all into the ready room, very serious, you know, and he sat us all down, and he said, "You know, this is really bad, I’ve got a director, he’s a really good director, who’s saying he’s not coming back, he can’t because you are all just too wild". And you know, we didn’t feel that bad about it because we figured there are other directors in town, but Mr Stewart was very angry with us, and he was looking at us saying (PS impression) "This is disgraceful! I can't believe this, this has never happened in my career, this is disgraceful", y'know, that very same day, if it wasn’t the same episode it was the week nine episode, because that very same day we were on another set, with the hill where Denise appeared, and Patrick was the first one on the set, and we got there, and as we walked in, we see Patrick standing on the top of the hill whirling around going (sings in Patrick's voice) "The hills are alive..." Don’t let him kid you ever about this, though, he was as bad as we were, all of us. Yes, ma'am?

Hallo.

Hallo.

We have a question, and a small gift for you. Is it all right to come up to give it to you?

A small gift? Is it a big question question? Please come up.

We heard that you met your doppleganger yesterday, what was that like for you?

Frightening! He’s what they call a doppleganger - is that right? Or as the Germans say it “doopleganger” - any German fans in the audience?

Yes.

“Doopleganger”. (The German woman corrects his pronounciation.) What? Doppleganger? He was a real doppleganger. No, it was extraordinary. He looks almost exactly like me except that he’s nowhere near as attractive! (The woman comes up with the gift, a card and a soft toy.) Go ahead. This should be good! Hi. Shall I share this with everybody? Yes? OK. Oh, I love this card, you see this card? it's er, it’s Data and Geordi as er ** and it says, “You play with plasma you get burned! It's a wonderful line. It's absolutely terrific, and it says, "Dear Brent, just in case you’re missing Spot" Sure! "We got this for you. The next time you see Michael, feel free to 'go long', safe journey back and keep up with the show. Love Rosa and Kath, Kath and Rosa." Kath, 'go long'! Ruff! ruff! (to the dog in the front row) She's just lying there ignoring me. Just like my dogs, they ignore me. Golden retrievers are the best animals on earth. Thank you.

Hallo, Brent.

Hallo.

Seeing you’ve done a lot of theatre and musicals, what do you think of British pantomime and do you want to star in one?

Er, my favourite British pantomimes? I don't care for any of them, really. (A member of the audience calls out, Oh, yes you do! the stock pantomime response.) Then maybe you can tell me which one? (Audience yells out, Peter Pan - meaning the role of Captain Hook - , Puss in Boots etc.) That's my favourite and I'd love to star as Boots. I actually, I’m going to be giving my one man Christmas Carol next season. I play all the roles um, including Patrick. “Mollie’s dead,” that’s as good as I can do. Was that a satisfactory answer?

Do you want to play a dame? (In British panto, a man plays the comic dame.)

Do I want to play a what? A dame?

A man dressed as a woman!

I suppose! Sure, why not? Thanks. Hi!

Hi! How did Data get that cat?

What was that?

How did Data get that cat?

They wrote it into the show. D’you know, though, where did Data get that cat, and is it the only animal on the ship? I mean, no-one else has a cat except Data. Who? Goldfish! D'you know, I think Patrick played with that fish more than I played with the cat. Actually, the cat was terrific, it was a very nice cat, there were a couple of them, as you all know, I think it was the first season, the first time you saw Spot er Spot was male, and then suddenly Spot had babies and you know what, in science fiction you can do anything! But we had a number of different Spots along the way, aside from the gender changes, there were actual changes in cat, er the first Spot, although a darling cat, really sweet, a nice cat, couldn't act at all, and so we had to fire the first Spot, who I have to tell you that Spot is no longer with us, he’s passed away now and is in Spot heaven. And the first Spot was replaced by two other Spots, twin Spots, truly, one was actually called Monster, that was for the more active scenes, and then there was Brandy who did the more docile scenes, and that cat was a much better actor actually and, ah, they didn’t do anything that you asked them to do, the downside of working with cats was I always used to dread it when I saw Spot was in this episode I knew it would be an incredibly long day because they would write things in the script like - and this was really in the script, it said, "Data watches Spot sleep" Now that scene, with him on the show, "Data watches Spot sleep" - do you know how difficult it is to get a cat to do that? The director says "Action" and the cat is supposed to go to sleep! They don’t do it, so it takes all day for this cat to get a little tired and decide to have a nap, and then you shoot. The only time a cat ever did anything we asked it to it was an actual stage direction, it said in the script "Data watches Spot eat tuna from a bowl", and he did it in the first take. You may have noticed that Spot was not in First Contact. That was not by design, Spot initially was going to be in it, but like all actors, Spot held out for more money and we just had to let him go. It’s a shame, we came close, we still get together and come round for coffee; so much for Spot.