wraithfodder (wraithfodder) wrote,

NJ 2008 Stargate Convention 1/5: Dan Shea, Gary Jones, Chuck Campbell

Obligatory blurb November 6, 2008, three intrepid fans drive to Cherry Hill, NJ for what was billed as the last Stargate convention on the East Coast (by Creation Convention). What you’ll find underneath is the detailed account (well, as best I can remember) of this convention, and its guests – David Nykl, Kavan Smith, Jason Momoa, Gary Jones, Chuck Campbell & Dan Shea. Will the fans survive … The Hotel of Horrors!? (whoa, wish Chuck Campbell was here to narrate that verbiage).

Please note these convention entries are GRAPHIC INTENSIVE due to many photos (about 100 spread out), text, and embedded videos. Enjoy!


Disclaimer: My notes may be a bit mixed up, between talks and the Caberet. Oops. But at least I have the right person saying the right thing ;) Also, feel free to link to these entries, but do not repost elsewhere, or hotlink (direct link) to any photo. Thanks!

The Convention of Guest Stars with No Lines…. Someone had said that to me, and yeah, that’s right. All these actors have limited dialogue in the show. Well, Zelenka has more than the rest, but realistically, it’s “chevron this” and “huh.”!

Friday: Dan Shea, Gary Jones, Cabaret (Dan Shea, Gary Jones, Chuck Campbell)
Saturday: Chuck Campbell, Kavan Smith, Dessert Party (Dan Shea, Kavan Smith, Chuck Campbell)
Sunday: Charity Breakfast (David Nykl, Jason Momoa), David Nykl, Jason Momoa

THURSDAY – “Bang on!”
Got into the Clarion Hotel on Thursday afternoon, so we (me, Salty, WWLH – Gateworld) could be rested. Checked in. The girl at the front desk asked WWLH if he liked SG1 and Salty and me, like stereo, said SGA! We did the Elephant Pub and Grill, and we all got onion soup (excellent) and dead squid with red onions, which was good. The napkins had the phrase “bang on” written on it (British-ism for “it’s great”) and that term was then subsequently used throughout the weekend. Due to scheduling at the con, it was decided we’d go the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. But first, we picked up SherryW at the Philadelphia Airport. We got slightly lost, despite having Tom-Tom (a GPS system), but did pass the Oasis, a ‘gentlemen’s club,’ *cough cough* and Salty and I suggested “hey, go in and get directions.” Alas, WWLH did not ;)

Anyway, SherryW’s flight was delayed, but not by too much. While there, I began the photographic journal of Sheppard and McKay’s not so excellent adventure. [Gory details in a later post.] Then, since we spent so much time driving around (no, not lost, Tom-Tom would never steer us wrong, nooooooo… * cough *), we went straight to the Cheescake Factory, where we met up with Helena, Janet, and Tricia (Gateworlders). The wait was pretty long as the place was packed but we got in, and well, ate ourselves silly. A waitress walked by with a beautiful orange/pink/red drink – iced mango - and WWLH desperately wanted one and several of us caved and got it too. I was the only one who brought my cheesecake piece (chocolate kaluha) to the hotel (which had fridges and microwaves) as the food portions were huge. Then we went back to the hotel and it was late, so we went to bed, we think. We can’t remember.

I sorta recall waking at the crack of dawn and my new roomie, SherryW, did not go “ohmygawd, I want to sleep!” like my other roomie always does at other cons (she’s from California and hates the time change). ;) We got along great! Anyway, WWLH and SherryW went on what they endearingly called the “Dunkin Donut trek from hell” (because of the new cash register system – which seemingly no one was trained on). However, they did get the correct order, it just took forever. We did brunch at Wegman’s, which is a massively huge discount food warehouse. Oh, and Barnes & Noble, where I got a nice 2009 calendar and a discounted bat mug from Halloween.

Display at registration:

The con started with registration around 1:30pm, we got our gold memberships, and I picked up photo ops for David Nykl and Jason Momoa (for some reason, I’d pre-bought the one for Kavan Smith incurring that extra $7.25 shipping charge for something not shipped). I’d hemmed and hawed for a while over whether to buy Gold to Preferred, only to discover they were selling Gold at the door, which I’ve never seen happen. Next, the dealer’s room opened up, where I purchased six 8x10s for autographs (one of each actor), then grabbed seasons 2/3 of the SGA cards (for $7.50 @ only to discover when I got home, I had the first set!), one series 1 Sheppard action figure, so now I can abuse the heck out of my already banged-up Shep action figure. I passed on the SGA 2009 calendar (which they didn’t bring out till a little later) as they were using season 4 photos and there was too much Keller for my taste (plus they used the out-of-perspective Photoshopped images which have always bugged the heck out of me). I didn’t take a photo of the room, probably should have, but the room was HUGE, yet the tables lined three walls, and the rest was empty… however, it was easier to peruse the photos that way. But… it was virtually all Creation tables. So, maybe six dealers in total? Just like the last two cons.

In between various actor panels were trivia contests, music videos and auctions. To be truthful, none of those interested me all that much, and I just didn’t want to spend an entire day glued to a seat. I’d seen virtually all the videos before. Although the elevators worked, I chose to do the stairs up and down all the time. Just quicker and could use the exercise (especially after the Cheesecake Factory!). I only ran into say, 3 or 4 people all weekend. SherryW would go with me most times while WWLH and Salty chose the elevator and nearly every time we were down there before them ;) But a quick note about auctions… SherryW and Salty temporarily lost their minds and impersonated Vanna White, aka auction girl, and held up banners for people to spend exhorbitant amounts of money on (or not). ;) And since Salty said to feel to do so, I shall mock her (her instructions) for at one bidding against WWLH, who was in turn actually bidding for her! Bwahahah! Er, mocking over * cough *.

Lunch was in the room. Yes, leftover grilled chicken from the Cheesecake Factory. Even the asparagus held up well.

When they make the live-action movie based on the Energizer Bunny, Dan has the lead role cinched. He’s totally droll and pretty much motionless on the show, but Shea just babbled on incessantly (in a nice way) and rarely if ever stood still, which made taking photos almost impossible with my camera.

He came on the stage in shorts, pointing out his banged up legs and some infected cut, but then began answering questions as he paced back and forth.

Tidbits I can recall from scribbled shorthand notes and memory:

Dan got started doing stunts on “MacGyver” in a hockey scene where MacGyver is slammed into plexiglass. He got slammed so hard he was up-ended ass over teakettle (I believe that was the phrase) over the wall.

Humorously referred to RDA as “our collective boy, RDA boy,” who is “now a pathetic old man who can barely walk.” (yes, it was a joke, you had to be there at the time) ;)

Spoke about Brad, who was a stunt Jaffa, who probably got killed more than any other Jaffa.

Said they had a ‘burn’ gag once on the TV show “Psych” that went slightly awry. The new fire gel is easier than the old version (which had to be kept chilled overnight, and you donned a ton of Nomex) but in this instance, the stuntman had a slight crease on his neck and got a little burned and they also stick the gel up the nose too, and well, missed a spot and had some slight scorching.

Told how on the set, letting a cellphone ring could get you fired. However, his cell went off during of RDA’s scene, but since they were friends, he wasn’t fire, but.. .eight months later, Dan has a close-up scene, and darned if everytime they started filmed, a cellphone went off – it was RDA’s – and he’d invited everybody down to see it happen.

I asked if there would ever be a Siler action figure. “I have a bunch in my room. I’m selling them for like ten bucks. We’ll get a bunch of you liquored up and we’ll bring you up later,” he joked, and then a fan in the front row rushed forward and stuffed a dollar bill in his sock! The audience roared at that. Alas, no Siler action figure and he did return the money J

His most memorable stunt was on the movie which, coincidentally, starred Richard Dean Anderson. “Eyes of a Stranger” (this was done after “MacGyver”). The character’s foot/leg was supposed to get sucked into some rollers. However, the gag went awry and his foot got sucked in and damaged, so now, he says, he’s got a stunt story to tell. He was at the airport on crutches after the filming. Apparently the guy in charge of the machine pressed not the STOP button but another one.

Dan Shea

4:20PM – DAN SHEA photo op
Alas, didn’t do it. My budget was tight.

When asked about his most memorable audition, he did bring up the SciFi channel classic, “Snakehead Terror.” He had to go in and audition the death scene (where the character has dug a huge grave-sized pit to bury some toxic waste containers), and he to act out suddenly noticing he was being watched, to being attacked, to trying to beat off the imaginary snakeheads with an imaginary shovel… “Excruciatingly embarrassing,” admitted Gary. But, when he first heard about the film, he really wanted to be in it and he’d do it again. Meanwhile, the auditions fell down to him and another guy, “Squatch,” nicknamed due to his size (whereas Gary is 5’7”). The character is to play the brother of William B. Davis (aka ‘cigarette smoking man’ from “X-Files”). However, the 250+ pound Squatch, despite his size, screamed “like a girl.” The director, Paul Ziller, had Gary do the same scene again, and the only reaction from him was “Thanks for coming again.” Weeks went by without a call, but then he heard – he’d gotten the part! So he goes in for the costume fitting and in the room is the wall of photos of the cast – and gasp – there’s a photo of Squatch! It seems he’d gotten the role initially but a scheduling conflict kept him from accepting. “Oh yeah, you weren’t supposed to see that,” the costuming lady said.

His best experience with an audition was on Stargate SG-1. It seems Mario Azzopardi was the director, and they’d worked together not long before that on an “Outer Limits” and Mario loved him. Said Gary would be perfect for the role. However, all actors bring something to the role, not just reading the lines, so because he knew zip about the character so he worked from the guy in the Hawaiian shirt in the movie… He decided to go for the humorous approach, so by the time he said “Chevron seven locked” (his lines were nothing but “Chevron one encoded,” etc.) his voice was like Jerry Lewis. Brad Wright and Michael Greenberg were there and they were dying of hysterics. However, Gary said he could not be “further from the mark” in how they wanted the character portrayed. He got a call back – “Just you” – his agent said, which is a very good sign. But this time, Mario Azzopardi was in the back while Jonathan Glassner was upfront. “It was like auditioning on Easter Island” as Glassner registered no emotion on his face. When Gary started the humorous stuff again, and added in a sigh, Glassner said “Don’t sigh,” so he just read the lines, and got the role.

And, Gary said some fan at one of the recent Armageddon (New Zealand/Australia) told him he’d said “Chevron seven locked” 693 times over the course of the series.

He also finally got a military jumpsuit (apparently the series was a few years behind reality in the costuming department) and it was like a season before he realized, you could unzip from the top AND the bottom, so he didn’t have to unzip the entire thing and pull it down to go to the bathroom.

He’s got three kids – 16, 13 and 8 – “so not impressed” about dad working on Stargate. In fact, his kids never saw him in the role until a vacation in Mexico and they saw his voice dubbed over in Spanish.

I asked him about an odd movie on his IMDB resume – “I Lent My Hairpiece to William Shatner.” (At which point, he whispered into the mike, “Security, security, stalker in row A.”) It’s apparently a short film based off a play Gary did for a few years. In it, William Shatner (played by Gary) is saved by some ardent fan from something horrible, and Shatner says he’ll do anything for this fan. The fan wants to borrow his hairpiece, so Shatner reluctantly does so but then when the fan starts attracting the women, etc. he doesn’t want to give it back, so Shatner must get it back. It sounds funny and I’ll have to comb the web and see if it’s anyway.

He says most bios for actors are boring, so he’d use remarks his kids would make – “this is gold!” – as well as quips from his agent.

Gary Jones

4:20PM – GARY JONES photo op
Ditto, same as with Dan.

I’ve discovered a really handy thing with actors. Write your name in block letters on a pad or something you can slide in front of them, unless you’ve got an easy name (although it took 30 seconds for the Brian/Ryan thing to figured out with Dan) ;) It helps them as I can’t count how many fans I’ve seen stand there and spell out their names and have to do it again ;)

Anyway, well, they were both chatty in line, which was great. They personalized, even better! Gary liked the questions I asked J I told Gary that hey, Snakehead Terror was a good film (well, by SciFi channel standards) and the guy behind in line said it thought it sounded interesting and I said I’m sure it was on DVD (and it is, check out Amazon, etc.) Alas, can’t recall too much of what I said with Dan, except that he was talking sports with the guy in front of me. But he was nice. And they let you take photos of the actors (no flash!) but you had to stand outside the door. Alas, that was the only time during the con as they seemed to ban it afterwards L

Although I vowed to eat the cheesecake during “The Prodigal,” I ate it in the room before the showing, which was good, as I had to look down to munch on it and would have missed the show.

Autograph line

7:00PM or thereabouts
The music video mix was bumped for a showing, without commercial interruption, of the Stargate Atlantis episode “The Prodigal,” which wasn’t airing for another three hours on Sci Fi! It was great to see it in an audience of fans. And with no ads, although every time those few black seconds came up, I was muttering to myself “insert Cialis ad….” ;) Salty had an epiphany while watching it. You will have to nag her for the gory details. * cough cough *

This was basically like stand-up comedy, or something, where they just talked, entertained about what they wanted to. Not a Q&A but I think a question or comment sneaked in from the audience.

A few quote/things, again from memory/notes:

Dan Shea
He said he’d recently worked on “Robin Hood,” and I think that was with Peter DeLuise but if anybody else can recall more clearly…. Is the stunt coordinator on USA Network’s “Psych” series. Dan also joked it’s one job where he can set people on fire on purpose, unlike the time they nearly set Amanda Tapping on fire (she had a run-in with a burning stuntman).

In SG1, the producers wanted a scene where Mitchell (Ben Browder) is tossed into a wall (in fact, it’s in the beginning credits). The stunt is called ‘ratcheting,’ when you attach wires to a person say, xx feet from a wall, and then using pullies or something, yank them toward that wall at a high speed. It’s normally done with just stunt folk, but the producers wanted to use the actor, about 20 feet from the solid hard wall. Dan was like, uh, no, too dangerous, how about three feet instead? But, “liar liar pants-on-fire” Martin Wood (Yeah, that’s what Dan called him!) wanted Browder further back. It ended up somewhere in between but Browder came out okay.

Oh, Dan talked about the zombies in the episode “200” (think that’s it?) and how he was wired up with squibs up and down, and how he couldn’t raise his legs with all the wires.

He constantly referred to Richard Dean Anderson as ‘big boy’ to which one fan of course asked “why do you call RDA ‘big boy’?” and he laughed and said “wouldn’t you like to know!”

He spoke of Chris Judge and the actor’s well-known tendency toward flatulence (“deadly” said Dan). And said how Chris would come in, walk slowly around crew stuff, and ‘release’ and then go outside and wait for the carnage. But wait, then some guy from a union soon showed up on the set and a ‘non-fart’ clause was enacted. However, this didn’t sit well with RDA, who came down and said that farting on set was all he had left ;)

Gary Jones
He worked on a film with the late legendary Katherine Hepburn, in which there was a horse involved, and he did a great imitation of her going “Where’s the horse?” after they moved it off-stage and she hadn’t noticed. Nick Nolte … Apparently Nick had been on “Good Morning, America” and made some off-the-wall remark about a ‘testicle tuck’ when asked about plastic surgery, and then wondered where that rumor started!

He worked on the TV series “Black Stallion,” which starred Mickey Rooney. Gary’s impersonation of Rooney is a scream, as he doesn’t just do the voice, but the way he walks and everything. Gary was playing a vet, and he wanted to get a photo with himself and Mickey and the AD (Assistant Director) told him sure, but you have to catch him as when he leaves the set, he is gone. So, they filmed a scene and it was then Gary discovered Mickey just ad-libbed his lines any old way he pleased, which left Gary looking like an idiot as he had no idea how to respond to that. But they got the scene filmed and Rooney was gone in a flash. Gary had to run after him and finally caught up with at Rooney’s huge trailer and knocked on the door. Mickey then got all upset about how the fans were hounding him, etc. etc. but then would quickly turn in a huge smile for the camera, and did an extra one “for safety.”

Chuck Campbell
Chuck’s favorite holiday is Halloween. He regaled us with a tale of how as a youngster, he dressed up as a Jawa (those tiny brown-robed aliens from the original “Star Wars”). He just used a brown overcoat, and his father, not so much into Halloween, supplied him with two reflective zeros (the kind you use on mailboxes to denote your address) as the eyes (over a mask). And Chuck’s friend came as Luke Skywalker, wearing his martial arts outfit. However, for the leg wrapping, he used double-sided tape. By the time the evening was done, everything was sticking to those legs – burrs, raisin boxes, you name it.

Chuck did voice impersonations. His most memorable was the announcer from “Superfriends”, an animated series I didn’t see (I was probably working away at my job so must find it online). He did the “what if another actor had played a Stargate Atlantis character.” Chris Walken as Ronon (and Chuck said “It’s a lot funnier in the car,” and Robert DeNiro as Sheppard, but Jack Nicholson as McKay was a hoot! Beckett? Paul McGillion could slip in and out of the Scottish accent with no problem although once in a while he’d started up a scene with his voice normal and they’d have to start over. Chuck did Zelenka – as played by Al Pacino.

Here are links to two vids:

He said that most actors who played the wraith could only tolerate about 8-9 hours in the prosthetics before they wanted to tear their faces off, but Christopher Heyerdahl (Todd) handled it so easily, plus, he had a really cool Wraith voice he could just turn on and off like that. He’d try to get Chris to say anything, even in the parking lot, just to hear the voice.

I can’t recall if it was at the Caberet, or at his panel, but he said as a kid he loved “Hee Haw,” and in fact, can do a really rather fluent donkey sound! ;)


Bunch of us did the pub afterwards, but, sigh, no guests wandered in so we could chat with ‘em. We later found out that ‘the talent’ were staying at another hotel (those lucky people) – and heard at the end of the con it had been the Crowne. That rather sucked as in the past two cons, the actors had hung in the bar. It’s a risk that the actor might have too much to drink, but since their panels aren’t until the afternoon, they can get their act together, but maybe they hung at the Crowne bar instead. Darn. Darn. Darn.

Tags: chuck campbell, dan shea, gary jones, photos, stargate atlantis
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