Our campaign made itself known at the 2007 Comic Con this weekend in San Diego, California. From hundreds of waving flags to an exceptional bag piper, we made a definite impression on the Stargate world!
The Stargate panels were scheduled for 12:15 pm in the huge, 5000-seat Hall 20 on Friday. We had several hours in the hall before things would get underway, so we had time to hand out our 100 “See You Jimmy” hats and 700 Scottish flags adorned with Carson stickers. (With a million thanks to Leelakin for the artwork — you have no idea how it has fueled the campaign!) We worried we’d have to do some hard selling to get people to wear the hats, but in truth they were snapped up in 5 minutes.
By 10 am, the first few rows were scattered with the plaid bonnets and fake red hair. The flags grew more and more popular as time went on. I handed out my last batch of 100 in a matter of moments, feeling like I was at a baseball game giving out free beer for the way I was mobbed.
Along the way, SCB press coordinator Jenner and I had conversations with some journalists, and Jenner had a nice visit with Pierre Bernard of the Conan O’Brien Show “Recliner of Rage” fame. Journalist Mary McNamara filed this report, which included her snapshot of the very last flag I handed out.
Many in the audience had no idea Carson will be back for 2 episodes in Season 4, so we told them. That was a good thing, since it was never really explained during the panels!
Just before the SG-1 panel started, Jenner escorted in our secret weapon, the perfectly outfitted Larry Samuels, bagpiper extraordinare. Fans seated around us asked for his picture and were very excited to see him. Our intention was to have Larry play “Scotland the Brave” at some point during the Atlantis panel, but without disrupting anything. And that’s how it turned out!
Finally, more than 3 hours after we’d staked out our seats in the 5th row, the SG-1 panel got started. It included Rob Cooper, the show-runner who reportedly had something to do with Carson’s demise. Incredibly and without any prompting from us, one of the very first audience questions was to the producers: “What do you have against doctors?” The audience started screaming and waving their Scottish flags. Then Robert Cooper responded that, “The problem with doctors is when they get mortally wounded, there’s no one to save them.” Then he blamed it on Martin Gero. Then, amazingly, he added, “It’s not doctors we have a problem with, it’s Scottish people.” The audience started booing like crazy, waving their flags even more. So he played perfectly into our hands!
In the Atlantis panel, Joe Mallozzi made sure to distance himself from Cooper’s comments, saying, “I just want to go on the record as saying, ‘I love Scottish people,'” which caused the crowd to erupt with cheers and flag-waving again. Then he added, “All you Scottish fans, please direct all hate mail to Robert Cooper. My in-box is full.” Moderator Gary Jones offered Cooper “2 minutes for a rebuttal,” but Cooper only said he had nothing. In any case, we’re thankful to Joe for clearing that up!
As the panel ended, we gave Larry the signal, and he stood in his place and played “Scotland the Brave.” Even over the crowd noise, the sound carried very well, and Joe later reported in his blog that he was surprised to hear it.
The SCB folks, including TJ from California and her wonderful son Miles, and with help from SCB suppoerter Linda and her roomie, filed out into the hallway. We held up the banner and put Larry in place to play a couple of tunes. Before we even started, a representative from Fox Home Entertainment came up to chat about their new site, Stargatehub.com, and ask out opinions about it. We’ll be in touch more later!
There in the open area, Larry started playing, accompanied very well by TJ, who danced the traditional dance in her authentic kilt and SaveCarson shirt. It was a real crowd gatherer and pleaser, no doubt! Larry is an exceptional player and the sound really… carried.
One person attracted by the crowd was none other than Nora O’Brien, Atlantis panelist and VP of Programming for The Sci Fi Channel, who stopped to chat for at least five minutes. She was very gracious about the campaign, mentioning she enjoys getting our letters and really appreciates our passion for Carson, our demeanor and in general how proud they are of having a show and character that resonates with us. As to whether her appreciation will translate to bringing Carson back… we didn’t want to press that point in such a celebratory atmosphere. Just rest assured she does read your letters with respect and appreciation.
Our impromptu concert was cut short by Comic Con staff who didn’t appreciate a good bag piping tune for some sad reason.. but that’s okay, we accomplished what we wanted to!
Next, Jenner and I wandered up to the Stargate autograph area, where the cast of Atlantis and Martin Wood were signing posters for lucky raffle winners. There we were very pleased to meet Joe Mallozzi, who was gracious and welcoming to us. We presented him with his own Save Carson tee-shirt and some organic chocolate from England. He saw to it our gift bags for the rest of the cast and crew would be given to them by the MGM publicist, who was very kind. So today, who knows, David Hewlett might be sporting his Save Carson tee-shirt on the flight back to Vancouver!
So that about wrapped up our SCB events at the 2007 Comic Con. It was a fun, gratifying time to see both fans and (some!) Powers that Be express appreciation for our efforts, and for fan love of the free hats and flags especially!
We’ve had inquiries from news outlets, so watch this space for all the stories that arise from our efforts.
In the meantime keep the letters coming. We’ll know how successful we’ve been once Season 5 is announced as a “go” and casting information starts to emerge.
For more pictures, our gallery for the event is here. More photos will be added as we get time in the next couple of days!