Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Uncle George

About two and a half decades ago, Mrs. Blog and I were shopping at Torrance, CA's "Del Amo Fashion Center," at the time, the largest mall in the world.

As we passed by Walden Books...

(Do you remember Walden Books? Congratulations! You're old!)

...we saw him sitting at the front of the store at a folding table with a stack of his autobiography next to him, pen in hand, waiting to sign his books for those who wanted to buy.

And no one, I mean, not a single soul, was in line.

It was so sad to see.

He was a supporting member of the cast of a popular, late 1960's television show.

But, no one seemed to care.

                                              He was George Takei, "Star Trek's" Mr. Sulu.

As a recovering Trekkie, I wanted to go meet him and be the gushing fanboy that I could have been.

But, I didn't.

The truth is, I was embarrassed for him, as he sat there, all alone in what looked like quiet desperation. And, more truth, I really had no interest in buying his book.

So, I walked past him, pretending not to stare a Trekkie's longing stare.

Fast forward to the year 2000.

Thanks, in a big way, to a chance booking on shock jock Howard Stern's radio show, George's celebrity status was about to make the jump to "Warp Drive.

His reaction to some, now forgotten bit of innuendo, from Howard, elicited what would become George's trademark catch phrase...

And it was all up from there.

Today, George isn't just staring in a hit musical and a Nickelodeon show...

He has written several more books. 

All, I am guessing, more successful than that first book.

He has a signature cologne, called, not surprisingly...

George is a loud and proud advocate for LGBT rights.

And, he wins Facebook on a daily basis.

In less than twenty years, George has gone from, "Where are they now?" obscurity to, according to some polls, the most influential person on social media.

And This Blog could not be prouder for him.

*Fun Fact*

In 2001, George did a guest appearance on a TV show that The Blog was working on.

In the episode, a computer, programed with "artificial intelligence" was created by a Trekkie, who gave the computer Mr. Sulu's voice.

For most of the episode, George was only needed to provide voice over.

His only on camera appearance was in the last five minutes of the show.

Every scene that was shot before his brief appearance was shot without him.

Your humble Blog is not a professional impressionist.

But, he does, he has been assured, a dead-on, George Takei impression.

I warm up with, "Oh, My!" and follow up with, "Photon torpedoes are armed, Captain."  Then, I take it from there.

The Blog's job on the show was painting faces.

But, I was asked to provide the "scratch track" for the scenes that required George's voice overs.

Uncle George provided  most of the needed "ADR." (Additional Dialogue Recording)

But, after the episode wrapped, a couple more voice overs were needed. But, George was out of the country on some other project.

So, this make-up artist was paid union scale to get in the "ADR"  booth and do his George thing.

So, I didn't just get to work with the future king of the internet.

I got paid to pretend to be him.

"Oh My!"

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