Remember Andy Robinson, the busy, reliable character actor who played, among many, many other roles, the psycho killer in the original Dirty Harry, and Liberace in an '80s TV movie? Turns out he has an active fan club, on the strength of his connection to--guess what?--Star Trek.
Robinson plays the Cardassian Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the two-hour final episode of which is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 6, on KTVK Channel 3. The event is celebrated by the official Andy Robinson Fan Club, as well as by fan groups The United Federation of Phoenix and The Doctor's Exchange, with a Finale Bash starting at 6 p.m. at the Bash on Ash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe.
Admission to the event is free, and includes a charity auction to benefit Save the Children starting at 7 p.m. On the block are a wide variety of autographed items, including scripts, photos and action figures as well as numerous other collectibles. The take from this event will be earmarked for Kosovo refugees. Afterward, the fans will watch the series finale on the Bash on Ash's TV screens.
Along with the Robinsonheads, the celebrants will include members of The Doctor's Exchange, the official fan club for Alexander Siddig (formerly Siddig El Fadil), the Sudan-born actor who plays Dr. Bashir on Deep Space Nine. It's claimed that a recent joint event in Los Angeles organized by both clubs raised nearly $30,000 for charity.
It would be a marvelous joke at the expense of jaded sophisticates if Star Trek fans, so widely mocked, were to prove formidable charitable and civic benefactors. Who's to say that in the next century, the Dr. McCoy Memorial Hospital or the Geordi LaForge School for the Blind won't have become venerable institutions? Maybe academics of the future will talk enviously of a colleague who was awarded a Spock Fellowship.
And why not? As peculiar as the Trek can seem--and if you're among the handful of people who saw the documentary Trekkies, you know that they can seem very odd indeed--is the idea of forming a social club around a shared fondness for a TV show necessarily so weird? It's hard to see why it's any stranger, for instance, than forming one around shared Polish or English or Italian ancestry, or the public wearing of fezzes.
The third fan club represented at the event, The United Federation of Phoenix, claims to be the oldest Star Trek and science-fiction fan organization in the Southwest--it's been in continuous existence since 1975. Meeting every two weeks at various locations around the Valley, the club engages in such wholesome activities as picnics, bowling and games, along with endless discussion of science fiction in literature, movies and TV. Its monthly newsletter, highlighting sci-fi media happenings in the area, is called Subspace Chatter.
Somehow not surprisingly, communication with these organizations isn't difficult: For more information on the Bash on Ash event, call 623-465-5327; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or check The UFP's Web page at www.U-F-P.org. For more information about UFP, write United Federation of Phoenix, P.O. Box 37224, Phoenix, AZ 85069. The phone number is 602-242-9203; the e-mail address is Info@U-F-P.org. For information on both the Siddig and the Robinson fan clubs, write to Gayle Stever at P.O. Box 11261, Scottsdale, AZ 85271-1261; or e-mail to email@example.com
--M. V. Moorhead