"To meet the 'real' cardboard guy"

Galileo7 Convention
Bielefeld, Germany - November, 2002
By Anja Caesperlein

Nurse Chapel's personal log, Stardate 200211.03:

My active "duties" as a Trekker were in times where conventions in Germany were held in youth-hostels with about 80 participants... addicted to the only one show at this time: Classic Trek. When the other shows followed the phenomenon I loved most of all Voyager.

I'm not as "crazy" any more as I was in my teens, but Star Trek is and will be always a part of my life. Especially since I started to work with a "real" Doc in a little General Practitioner's office. By chance my boss is a Trekkie too, he's actually got a nickname (by the way, he already had it before we met!), everyone is calling him "Pille" (the German dubbing for "Bones" McCoy). When Voyager started on German TV seven years ago we soon had a new favorite: The Emergency Medical Holographic Program. We admired the EMH so much that we put him as a cardboard stand-up in our own lab. Until now he's standing there frightening old ladies when they turn around with their pants down awaiting injections....

Anja Caesperlein and Robert Picardo

When I read about that Robert Picardo will come to a convention in Germany again, I could hardly believe it. This time I'd like to fulfill a longtime dream! To see him in person, live on stage, here in Germany, wow! Even if my boss declared himself "not as crazy as to go to conventions," I've booked a ticket and a hotel room in Bielefeld and went there from Munich, in the south of Germany. Once I attended a very big convention in Germany several years ago with more than 1500 Trekkies, so I saw not much hope this time to get a photo with my favorite or even to think about to tell HIM, the good Doctor himself, about his cardboard colleague in our lab....

Well, I could hardly believe it either, that all my dreams were fulfilled being only a few hours at the convention. During the first autograph session on Friday I got my chance. I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Picardo. He seemed amused about his double in our lab and gave me regards for my funny boss. I was really happy and very excited to get my photo with the "real guy" and a lot of thanks to Bob and Dietmar, the digital photography and the Internet "my Doc at home" got this picture first thing in the morning. But the best is yet to come not until Saturday!

Even before Robert Picardo had his first appearance on Saturday afternoon I had my great moment -- "Lunch at the "Holodeck." It was such a funny, almost unreal scene: With a dear friend, which I met only a day before at the autograph line for Bob, we headed for the hotel restaurant for lunch. In the lobby two children, about 6 years old, suddenly stood in front of us and were fascinated about our outfits (I wore an old women's dress like Nurse Chapel from TOS and Dietmar was in a blue "TNG"-suit). The little boys asked unbelieving with their mouth hanging open: "Are you both really from the starship Enterprise?"

Amusingly we confirmed and looked for a place in the beautiful palm garden of the restaurant. Oh boy, the children must think now, we're really from outer space?!

Soon the boys found our table and amazed they asked again: "Please, would you beam us up to your spaceship later?" We decided to make another joke: "No, sorry, we can't! You must look for someone in an orange suit. We can't beam, we're only medical officers." Awestruck, the children went off. But they came back very soon, apparently they towed their father to us and the little boys shouted, excited: "Pappa, Pappa, look, these are the doctors from the Enterprise!" Everyone in the restaurant laughed. And now the big end of this story came: Suddenly Dietmar told me, not to faint, he just discovered that the "real" Doc, okay, not from the Enterprise, but from the Voyager, Robert Picardo sat only three tables away having his lunch, too. We couldn't see the wood for the trees... eh, for the palm trees in the restaurant. This scene was so amusing, so unreal! Like in a movie or in a holographic novel! The boys made a fuss about us and they didn't even noticed the real celebrity. But the celebrity noticed us! When Bob had finished his meal he came straight to our table and greeted us with a heart-melting smile and had a few words. Now it was me who was amazed and actually near fainting -- the EMH, my TV-hero, has noticed us! Apparently he recognized us from the autograph line yesterday and later that day he even recalled my name... and I've got some other wonderful chances. Well, I never thought, not to say, I've never dreamed about it, to experience so many private moments at such a big convention. To Bob, I'd like to thank you with all my heart, danke, danke, that you made this possible and for all your patience to take endless pictures for everyone!

Well, the complete run of convention events and the best parts of Mr. Picardo's panel you can read in the [other Galileo7 convention reports]. So let me tell you some additional stuff and my personal experiences: Although Mr. Jonathan Frakes was announced as the highlight of the convention this year, no doubt who it really was. Absolutely right! Robert Picardo! No wonder, he was always present at all events, even stepped in for Max Grodenchik at the "Ferengi Show" and you could have him for every single fun. So we heard about a competition, its first prize was a "lullaby from the Doc himself." Once we met the lucky girl, she was excited all day long, her room prepared even at lunchtime and her nighty was already well pressed. It's such a pity for we didn't meet her again to know how this bedtime-story ended... I would have needed several sedative shots to go to sleep.

Robert Picardo

I think I don't have to tell you again how much fun it is to see Bob on stage, but to hear him speaking our German language is quite more fun. Hats off to such a man! Can you imagine the cheers of the enthusiastic audience hearing his famous entrance line: "Bitte nennen Sie die Art des medizinischen Notfalls" ("Please state the nature...") and how he asked in our native language "if we miss the Doctor" and showed off "that Holograms are better lovers...." Several times he apologized for his bad German: "I'm not programmed to speak German!" But Bob, please don't worry, your German is quite fine, especially your pronunciation!

The best demonstration of his proficiency in our language was that he ad-libbed a sketch. The script was given to him only a few minutes before his appearance and it was such a great moment to see him perform the scenario, what happens if the EMH had to treat a patient but the computer-system is malfunctioning: "Please press ENTER to wait, if the patient ends. Press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE to end all patients and to boot the system again. All unsecured patients get lost...." (translated from the original script). At some quite moments you could really see the EMH on stage and it was almost touching when Bob asked the audience for some help to understand a few words, but really only a few ones.

Reaching an end, I'd only like to mention how I enjoyed seeing him perform his songs, how he kneeled on stage singing heart-rending "Please give me a name, everyone is calling me 'Hey you,'" or how he performed his "Pussycat"-song purring around his Voyager ladies.... Oh, what a guy! He's a wonderful actor and entertainer and a great singer and a natural and lovely guy!

Well, it was the best weekend for a decade, the best convention I've ever attended and I must confess that the fever diagnosed as the Star Trek-virus has infected me again.... and I already have a ticket for the next Galileo7 convention next year, when Doc's boss, Captain Janeway, likes to come to Germany!

Nurse Chapel's personal log, supplemental:
Hihi, even if Pille (my Doc) would never admit, but he really is sick of it, he is envying me for that wonderful weekend he missed! And it's quite more fun now giving my patients injections when the good Holodoc is watching over me....


Report and photographs © 2002 by Anja Caesperlein and Dietmar Brakel. Report and photographs reproduced on the Official Robert Picardo Web Site with permission of the author/photographers.

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