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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT

You Might Call Them a Clever Bunch

November 21, 1994|BILL HIGGINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Thursday's benefit premiere of Paramount's "Star Trek Generations" on the studio lot. A party followed in an elegantly embellished tent. This is the seventh film in the series, the first with two captains, and possibly the last for one of them--however, he could come back from the beyond at warp speed if there's an eighth.

The Buzz: Industry-types don't know androids from angina, but they do bow in unison before a billion-dollar franchise. The consensus: This will play long and prosper.

Who Was There: The film's star, Patrick Stewart; co-stars Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, James Doohan and Michael Dorn; director David Carson; producer Rick Berman, plus studio execs Sherry Lansing, Jonathan Dolgen and Kerry McCluggage. It was not a star-filled crowd. Because this was a benefit for Brandeis University, most of the 800 guests were West Coast alumni. Presumably, what the crowd lacked in glitz, it made up for in IQ.

Of Androids and Androgyny: Stewart on the making of the film: "You've heard about the pantyhose, I guess. The whole world seems to have. Bill (Shatner) suggested we wear pantyhose underneath our spacesuits so that when we were riding the horses, it wouldn't chafe. And he was right. So when you see the movie, keep that in mind."

Pastimes: It was entirely possible to have mind-anesthetizing conversations with Trekkers regarding deep-space minutiae. An example: "They can jettison the core and save the ship. It's in the technical manual. It is. That's a total story line flaw." A few of these and you're ready to initiate the auto-destruct sequence.

Money Matters: Tickets were $150. More than $120,000 was raised for Brandeis University's Volen National Center for Complex Systems, which does brain and mind study.

Quoted: Before the screening, Stewart, who was associated with the Royal Shakespeare Company for 25 years before commanding the Enterprise, was pressed by a reporter to quote something appropriately Shakespearean for the occasion. He thought a moment, then mentioned that scholars have called time the single most important word in the Bard's canon and noted that dealing with time's passing is one of the film's themes. Then he delivered, "Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, in which he keeps alms for oblivion." He finished by saying, "Tell me what it means."

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