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Long Beach exhibit impresses Shatner

January 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The final frontier has come to Long Beach. The largest-ever interactive 'Star Trek' exhibit opened Friday at the Queen Mary Dome.Try to forget the sheer size of this convention -- the 50,000 square feet of props and memorabilia. Try to see it through the eyes of an actor, a man in his early 70s who returns to a meticulous recreation of the set that launched his career more than 40 years ago.

"It's a tremendous feeling of nostalgia, and memory of people when they were young," said William Shatner.

No matter what Shatner ever does, he'll always be known best as Captain James T. Kirk, the man in command of the starship Enterprise.

"These little colored pieces of glass, they don't do anything," Shatner says as he fiddles with the controls on the recreation of his captain's chair. "Press it, nothing happens. It's perfect! That's exactly what it didn't do when I first had it."

With time to reflect, Shatner still doesn't have an answer for why a short-lived science fiction series launched five television shows and 10 motion pictures.

"If I had the answer to that, I'd go to Paramount right now and say, 'All right, I'm going to make another Star Trek series.' Nobody knows," said Shatner.

Now there's 'Star Trek The Tour', billed as the largest 'Star Trek' interactive experience ever. It's making its North American debut in Long Beach at the Queen Mary Dome. Organizers spent almost 10 years making this a reality.

"Most of the time we've been working on it, we've been looking at models and pictures and plans and drawings," said John Scher, the tour organizer. "So to see it realized is pretty extraordinary."

As for Shatner, he'll be there to greet fans and talk 'Trek', and maybe shed a little light on why the 'Star Trek' mystique lives on.

"I've had all kinds of strange and interesting characters that go to conventions for their own reasons, not to be caught up in the mystique of 'Star Trek'."

Star Trek The Tour will be at the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach, California, from Friday, Jan. 18, 2008, to Sunday Feb. 17, 2008. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets and the Queen Mary Dome Box Office.

  • Star Trek The Tour
    Adult Tickets are $35 weekend / $30 weekday
    Children's Tickets are $17.50 weekend / $16 weekday
    Special pricing available for Seniors, Students, and Active Military with ID at Box Office only.
  • A message from William Shatner

    Welcome to Star Trek The Tour. I'm sure you have already discovered, as I have, that this event is truly a unique amalgamation of all the things that made "Star Trek" a phenomenon. My own small contribution to this legendary story has continued to be a source of great pride to me during my career, and although I have been fortunate enough to have many other projects to satisfy the artist in me, I have nevertheless always felt a deep and visceral connection to the show.

    But there are reasons why this never-ending story has endured. I have always believed that this special connection to "Star Trek" we all enjoy comes from the positive picture the stories consistently envision. No matter what strange new worlds and new philosophies the crews of the Enterprise face, the solutions they find are always the very best combination of human truth, personal honesty and faith.

    I was honored to work with the creator of "Star Trek," Gene Roddenberry, and I am pleased that his legacy continues to grow and evolve. Star Trek The Tour brings us one step closer to the very roots of how this all came to pass. It's a rare chance for us, the fans, to get to know so much more about the process and the many talented men and women that made this all possible. "Star Trek" is now over 40 years old, and to me that's still a kid. Just wait'll you see what happens next.

    Enjoy!

    William Shatner


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