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Convention's not lost on space fans

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It's the mystery of the unknown that draws people to science fiction, according to Jonathan Harris, who portrayed Dr. Smith in the 1960s television series "Lost in Space."

"It's fascinating for people, and I count myself as one of them, to watch a show and think about life on a spaceship and on another planet," Harris said.

In a telephone interview from his home in Hollywood, the actor said his show set the stage for much of the modern-day science fiction programming that will be discussed at this weekend's WishCon III science fiction/fantasy convention.

The convention opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Sheraton Monarch Hotel in downtown Springfield.

Convention coordinator Roseann Caputo said she expects more than 1,000 sci-fi fans to attend this year's convention. In addition to Harris, the featured speakers will be Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in the original "Star Trek" television series; Armin Shimerman, who stars as Quark in the Trek spinoff "Deep Space Nine"; and John Levene, who was Sgt. Benton on the British cult series "Dr. Who."

Harris said he remembers with fondness his days on the "Lost in Space" television show.

"It was real to me," he laughed.

"It's amazing to think that the show is still on the air in some places and to have heard myself dubbed in so many languages including Italian, Swedish and Portuguese."

In creating the lovable villain Dr. Smith, Harris said he patterned the spaceship's stowaway "after every kid I knew."

"That's why kids loved him so much. I got away with things they couldn't get away with at home," Harris said.

In addition to the actors in attendance, this weekend's convention will give sci-fi fans a chance to hear and meet Marc Okrand, creator of the Klingon language used in "Star Trek," as well as model-makers, and comic book authors and artists.

For memorabilia collectors, two dealer rooms will offer a variety of collectibles for sale including videos, books, fanzines, art, posters, publicity stills, costumes, scripts and more. Dealer rooms will be open tomorrow from 2 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Caputo said.

According to Caputo, the dealer rooms are the only events at WishCon III that are open to the public free of charge.

Two charity auctions and a prize drawing will also be held during the weekend to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Among some of the items up for auction will be classic "Star Trek" television scripts autographed by Leonard Nimoy and an autographed cast photo from the new "SeaQuest" television series.

And a costume contest has been added to this year's convention, Caputo said, because "some convention-goers like to come dressed as Klingons, Federation officers and other sci-fi characters."

Those opting to dress the role will be judged during their travels throughout the day by judges who will be roaming the convention floors.

There will also be a video room for continuous screenings of sci-fi movies and television shows, as well as panel discussions on a variety of topics including "Admiral Kirk vs. Admiral Picard," "The Future of Star Wars," and "Quantum Leap: Has it leaped its last leap?" spread over the three-day convention.

Other planned events include a dinner with the stars on Saturday night and a Ten Forward party including music by a DJ.

Caputo said registration hours are tomorrow from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

One-day admission, available Saturday and Sunday only, is $20. Convention-goers can also purchase a three-day pass at the door for $40.

For further information and a schedule of speakers and events, call (203) 459-0413.


EVENT: WishCon III, science fiction convention

WHEN: Registration tomorrow 2-8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; convention runs tomorrow 3 p.m.-1 a.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

WHERE: Springfield Sheraton

COST: $40 for a three-day pass; $20 for a one-day pass available Saturday and Sunday only

FOR MORE INFO: Call (203) 459-0413

@Actor Jonathan Harris, who played Dr. Smith in the 1960s television series 'Lost in Space,' will be among the speakers at the WishCon III science-fiction convention.

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  • APA 6th ed.: O'Connor, Keith J. (1993-11-18). Convention's not lost on space fans. The Union-News p. WK1.
  • MLA 7th ed.: O'Connor, Keith J.. "Convention's not lost on space fans." The Union-News [add city] 1993-11-18, WK1. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: O'Connor, Keith J.. "Convention's not lost on space fans." The Union-News, edition, sec., 1993-11-18
  • Turabian: O'Connor, Keith J.. "Convention's not lost on space fans." The Union-News, 1993-11-18, section, WK1 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Convention's not lost on space fans | url= | work=The Union-News | pages=WK1 | date=1993-11-18 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Convention's not lost on space fans | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 February 2024}}</ref>