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1994-12-04 Chicago Tribune.jpg


Sci-fi characters come to life as British TV convention invades Rosemont

Hulking, trench-coated men with flowing, multicolored scarves passed elves, dwarfs, princesses and all manner of extraterrestrial beings in the corridors of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont last weekend.

The occasion was Visions '94, the fifth annual British television science fiction convention. The event concentrated mostly on such British shows as "Dr. Who," "Red Dwarf," "Blake's 7" and "Robin of Sherwood," with a minor emphasis on such North American concoctions as "Star Trek" and "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues."

Many of the conventioneers, explained promoter Patti McLaughlin, like to dress up as the shows' characters. "It's the same attraction as to 'Star Trek,'" McLaughlin said. Indeed, some Klingons, Vulcans and Starship Enterprise crew members could be seen mingling with the crowd.

Patti's husband, Bob, a retired electrical contractor from Hoffman Estates, masterminded the four-day convention, which he estimated would draw 1,100 fans.

The convention included a masquerade party, panel discussions and a celebrity variety show. The proceeds from an auction of science-fiction collectibles, estimated at $5,000, will be divided between Lambs Farm in Libertyville and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

There was an abundance of memorabilia for sale, and celebrities were on hand to sign autographs, pose for pictures and auction off collectibles. John LeVene, who appeared as Sgt. John Benton on "Dr. Who" from 1969 to 1975, addressed the show's appeal. "It's good over evil, beautifully written, creatively produced," he said as he took a brief break from posing for photographs with fans. "The intracacies of the plot are a real draw for the fans."

With her wrinkled, ridged forehead and frizzy black hair, Cathy Palmer-Lister of St. Julie, Quebec, looked very Klingon-like as she sat in on the live auction. In homage to "Dr. Who," she also wore a long scarf, but in gold and black, which are Klingon colors.

She said she can't explain her attraction to "Dr. Who," a British show about an absent-minded doctor from outer space that ran for 26 years. "I love the show and I really can't tell you why because it's silly," Palmer-Lister said. "It has a special charm."

"'Dr. Who' just has really good stories and villains and things," said Keith Lipinski, a 20-year-old Berwyn resident who was also in the auction audience. "Science fiction has always drawn a hard-core audience."

Caption: British actor Phil Rose served as auctioneer at the science fiction convention.

Caption: Cathy Palmer-Lister came Klingon-style, with a Dr. Who scarf.

Caption: Debi Smolinske of Hoffman Estates prepares for the benefit auction that was part of the British television science fiction convention.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Piccininni, Ann (1994-12-04). Futurevision. Chicago Tribune p. Tempo, p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Piccininni, Ann. "Futurevision." Chicago Tribune [add city] 1994-12-04, Tempo, p. 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Piccininni, Ann. "Futurevision." Chicago Tribune, edition, sec., 1994-12-04
  • Turabian: Piccininni, Ann. "Futurevision." Chicago Tribune, 1994-12-04, section, Tempo, p. 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Futurevision | url= | work=Chicago Tribune | pages=Tempo, p. 7 | date=1994-12-04 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Futurevision | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 June 2024}}</ref>