Thank you people very much for having me here. Isn't it nice of these folks to put this together like this?
[Vaughn is handed the microphone]
Do I need this? Do I need this? Okay, I'm easy.
[Vaughn shrugs, and carries on talking]
For those of you who don't know who I am, probably most of you, I guess what I'll do is just kind of tell you a bit about myself. Since I flew several thousand miles to do it, I'm gonna do it. And I brought a few things. Now I'm going to turn over to some questions, and when they dry up, it's getting harder and harder ...
[Vaughn brandishes a harmonica]
My sister-in-law gave me that several years ago. This isn't the first one I've been to, I did one in Blackpool. The gentleman who put that together said, when you get there there will be a little chat with some people. I thought, it'll be me and maybe three or four other actors on the stage. I walk into the room backstage. The volunteers hand me the microphone and say go! There was about a thousand people in the audience and it was just me, and there was this close-up of my face thirty feet high. I had never been to any of these before, and I was scared to death, and every pore of fear is, you know, on-screen. It was the worst experience I had ever had. I promised myself the next time I was going out there I was taking my harmonica. because the questions dried up like that because nobody had ever seen who I was. And then my sister-in-law in July gave me a ukelele and I don't play but I brought it anyway. I wrote a song called Enterprise Blues.
Let's see. I guess I'll start at the beginning. I was born in a small town, I guess not that small by your standards, about 30,000 or so. It's pretty small for the US. It was in an area where there wasn't any culture, and it was referred to as Felony Flats because everybody kinda takes the time they had on their hands to get in trouble. So, my mother offered me ten bucks to get into a play, which at that time was a lot of money. This was 1966 - did I say 1966? I've been acting since 1966! She said she would give me ten bucks if I got in this play, and there were lots of women in it. This girl on the stage gave me my first real, really good kiss during rehersals, so I realised then and there that that was for me. So I guess you could say I got into the theatre was because of money and women. As time goes on the reasons changed. As a College student it kinda became art for arts sake. Then when I got back from the army my reason became to prove myself, to start making a living. And then it became money and women again. Then I got married and it became children. Like anything, it becomes a job, and I needed to pay for reality. This, for me, is a break. Reality is the hard part. I mean, doing what you have to do to keep your kids healthy and strong, all that seems to me the only real important thing, and that's how I spend most of my time. And it seems to be working. My oldest won the humanitarian award in his High School. It broke my heart - out of 600 kids or so, all the teachers voted him the most humanitarian student. I was so proud!
So, I got into that play. I seemed to do well. I got drafted, that's what happened next. So, in the US, when you're in school they don't take you, or so I thought. So immediately I got into a Performing Arts school that I thought would get me out of the Army. Because I was a hippy, I was having a great time doing shows with women. But it didn't work. They drafted me 4 times. I thought, There must be something about me that makes them want me. So I went ahead and I did it, then I came back and went to more school, and then finally started working and I've been working ever since.
But what I wanted to say was, before this acting disorder took me over I was kind of a rowdy little fool, like most teenagers are, I guess. which is the reason my mother wanted me to get involved in something else. I was also an obsessive-compulsive - does everybody know what that is? I washed my hands until they were chapped, I had all these little rituals. Sometimes it would take me 20 minutes to get out the door, sitting there, had to do it forever. This teacher showed me how to involve myself in something far more important, to take the same kind of energy that you would put into those ceremonies in this disfunction into that activity. And I thank God for her getting me out of that difficulty, and I encourage anyone with similar difficulties to find something they like and to use that same intensiveness in that. I'll still spit on my hands every now and again, so if you see that please forgive me.
So, somebody was asking me if there were any funny little things that ever happen on the set of Star Trek . I know you was some of them here [on the blooper reel]. when I screw up, I don't think it's funny, so I'm not laughing all that much. We all have a giggle about it. Actually, the funniest things happened to me elsewhere. I once broke a 20 million dollar helicopter. That's pretty funny, isn't it. They took it out of my salary. Nah, not really. It was on a movie called Clear & Present Danger. Anybody ever seen that? It was kind of a career-making role. Did you ever read the book? Everybody in it is a hero. It's a book about heroes. I got this character, Colonel Johns, who was one of the main heroes. I though, Great, I'm going to be in a movie with Harrison Ford, I'm going to be in all these great scenes. And when I got the script, I had these 5 great scenes with Harrison Ford. I was the helicopter pilot who drops them off into the jungle, and at the end I have to pick them up. I'm supposed to disobey an order from the President, and go out get them anyway, because the President is a bad guy. The military said, we can't have you using our equipment [and the movie was using millions of dollars of their equipment], and have one of our officers disobey an order from the President. So they cut all the scenes which had to do with me not doing what the President said, which left me 3 lines.
Something like Boys, go get 'em! and something else. What this is leading up to, all my scenes were in a hangar in this great helicopter. We were doing a scene, which brings up another story I gotta tell you about the gunner of the helicopter. Everybody went to lunch, they whout "Lunch" and everybody goes away, and I'm strapped into the cockpit of this thing, I don't know how to get out. The doors are all locked. I'm trying to get out, pressing buttons, trying to find the thing that works it, knocking on the thing, and nobody came. So I looked around and I saw a red knob. Hey, I'm going to lunch ...
WHOOSH - the door explodes off the helicopter and smashes onto the floor of the hangar. They had to fly several thousand miles to go get another one.
You can see I didn't get much sleep.
So, anyway, now as it turns out that I've done more different characters on the various Star Trek shows than anybody else. I've done ten of the characters. I think I'm the only on-camera actor to have done four of the series. And I just did another Klingon. That nose you saw [a Klingon makeup prop to be auctioned for charity] was mine, so anything you pick out of there was mine. Please return it! I've done now 4 episodes of Admiral Forrest and they're making a lot of noises like he's going to be around a long time. They seem to be very happy with me, and I'm very happy with that. You know, I mean they've got 7-year contracts so you know they're gonna be here for a long time.
And I guess that's where we are. That's who I am, and I've got nothing else to say so who's got something to ask me? You're gonna be in trouble if you don't, because I brought things I don't really play.
[Vaughn prepares to start playing, and someone in the audience sticks up a hand to ask a question]. Look, he knows!
What does the make-up feel like when it's on your face?
The Klingons have really developed since the first one I did. I was the first Klingon on TNG - in Heart of Glory where he stole the FTL thing. That was me, 13 years ago - as it stands now the last one on Enterprise - but not for long.
What is the longest you've ever spent in the makeup chair?
Do you have to do an audition?
I did audition for the role of Admiral Forrest, but I auditioned for the role of the Vulcan ambassador, and they gave me Admiral Forrest. Which is much much better, because I think he's around for all 7 years. I'm very happy about that.
I audition for most of them. They send a scene to my house, I look at it the night before, I go in and read for ten people. But I'm hoping my audition days with them are over. They seem to be, because now they're calling me.
Any more questions?
What will you be doing in the future?
And looking for work. That's what I do when I'm not working, I look for it. That's pretty much it.
Have you made friends with any of the Main Cast yet?
Scott Bakula and I. I took my kids to a camp-out about 200 miles from LA, out in the mountains. My father just left me this winnebago, it's 1988 but it has 10,000 miles on the clock. We put that to a lot of use. My kids wanted to go to this re-union camp-out, so we're in the San Bernardino mountains, maybe 200 miles from L.A., and I'm sitting in the back of the winnebago. I took the teenage boys up to a re-union for their Grammer school a month ago or so. I'm parked on the road, so I glanced at the door, and there is Scott's face. He was parked in his car waiting for someone to get out of the way. Scott Bakula is 2009 miles from LA at a camp-out, completely unrelated to anything. I just did a double-take. It turns out that his kids were now at that grammer school.
So I talked to him a lot at the campfire, it was Hallowe'en, and we got to know each other pretty well. In fact, I had actually done a Quantum Leap with him some 12 years earlier, and when I first saw him in the dressing room I walked in the door -
Vaughn - Hello Scott, we've met -
That was twelve years before! He is just the nicest, most intelligent man You go on the set, and Scott is just Anybody got the sports page? Hey, Uncle John! Who is Uncle John? There is no Uncle John. But he's just such a happy guy, and that makes the whole set hapy. I've been on sets where the lead actor is not happy. It's very important for the leader to set a tone of professional joy, and SCott does that.
I've gotten to know some of them pretty well. And the others on the other shows, I've been on stage with them in Los Angeles. Kate Mulgrew and I did 2 plays together. Casey Biggs who was on Deep Space 9 , we've done at least 4 plays together. John Vickery, Rene Aubojournois, we've all done theatre together, and when you're doing theatre you're with each other for 6 months and you can't help but get to know each other. Before I got there I knew a lot of the other cast, but yes, I'm getting to know the cast of Enterprise as well.
The Official Star Trek literature says there are 6 Starship Enterprises.
How does the Enterprise from the new series fit into this?
It's not one of the registered Starship Enterprises.
Sign this kid up with JPL, willya - Jet Propulsion Labs, that is. I don't know what the heck you're talking about, to tell you the truth. This magazine I brought with me may have some technical logs. It's made of balsa wood, that's what I know. As long as the set doesn't fall over. I really can't tell you. I wish I knew, I'm really going to have to learn some of this stuff. Which brings something else up. This last Klingon I did was the first time I really had to memorise a lot of Klingon dialogue. Let me tell you something, you want a little brain twister, they gave it to me the day before and it was a page!
[Vaughn does his impression of Klingonaase, a series of hilarious grunts]
Every syllable has to be correct because so many people understand it. Klingon is one of the fastest growing languages in the world. There is a Klingon Hamlet. So there are people out there who know what you're saying. I have no idea what I was saying! I had to make up the goofiest pictures in my head to remember. How does that sound so I can relate it to something I can remember? That was the hardest memorisation I have ever done. But I did it, and I think that's why they're calling me back for it.
That didn't answer anything! Anybody else? I saw a hand over there.
Did you and the cast feel a lot of pressure for it to go very well?
Do you hope that your character will get the chance to go back
into space rather than just be stuck in Starfleet Command on Earth?
[Audience indicates that that episode hasn't been screened yet]
Maybe I shouldn't have told that. I hope Korath goes back in time to stop Forrest from sending Scott into space. That will have more overtime than I can imagine.
Anybody else? Okay, you're looking for trouble.
Who were your influences in Acting?
I've always loved Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Kirk Douglas was a favourite, Burt Lancaster was a favourite. Betty Davis, she had a pretty animated face that I liked. The old Greats. Hunchback of Notre Dame , Charles Laughton, yes, he was the one. In fact, I got thrown out of the Boy Scouts because I skipped several meetings. In my town they used to have a thing where they would show a movie 7 days a week, and they were showing Hunchback of Notre Dame . The Boy Scouts said, if you don't come this next time, you're out! I'm - Fine, it's Charles Laughton.
Dean Stockwell has a brother, Guy Stockwell, who is one of the best teachers in Los Angeles. I read one of his books and it doubled my income. After twenty-something years I read this book that Guy Stockwell wrote, and instead of getting 4 out of 10 auditions I got 4 out of six auditions. So that worked for me as well
Any more questions? Yes?
Can you play the "Enterprise" tune on your ukelele?
I love that heroic stuff on Voyager . Every time I saw my name come up when they played that music I thought, this is a little bit different.
Did that answer your question? Who's got another one?
Who's your finest Captain's totty?
Jeri, the few times I've worked with her, she's very pretty and just nice to be around on the set when she wears that glove. She always had the greatest information about what to do as a Borg. No one really gives you any information when you get there. They'll say something like, the first Klingon I did, we want to be the bikers of the universe. You know, the Hells Angel? By the way, their home town was my home town - that's why they call it Felony Flats. She had the greatest information when we did the episode Survival Instinct, where the 3 of us are connected mentally. There's this one scene where we have to sit around a campfire. That's the way it's written in the script, but Jeri told us that Borgs don't sit. She would give us a lot of great information, and volunteer it, which made our performances a lot easier.
I did have another story I wanted to tell you about that helicopter.
The Director was standing there talking to one of the real military guys,
the guy who manned the machine-gun, a volunteer from the Marines.
Director was just between scenes.
You did "Power Rangers", right?
Who's your favourite Power Ranger?
How do you feel about an action figure of yourself coming out?
In the Star Trek magazine it says you always carry your father's
High School graduation ring with you.
Have you ever been nervous on stage?
Do you like doing Conventions?
I've just actually started, and I love them. I find the Star Trek audience, the groups that follow the show are just so nice. There is nothing vicious about a single person I have met at any of these conventions. I see a lot of people with piercings and spikes, but you talk to them for a second and they are the sweetest people in the world. I'm loving it. It's taken me everywhere I go. The day it's premiered in the US I was in Oklahoma, Tulsa. You should see Broken Bow in Oklahoma. They don't have a lot of excitement there.
Do you do a lot of voice-overs for cartoons?
I've got to tell you, I have never worked so much in my entire life since I got this job. I'm 51 years old. You know I made it. I've been making a living for 30 years, but all of a sudden, since I got this job, everyone's calling. I can't tell you how happy I am. I haven't had time to sit, and I love it! There is nothing I would rather do than be on set every minute of my life. I get there, and if I see an actor who's been there for a few hours and he's a little craggy, I want to tell him - wake up, you are so blessed, to be able to do something that you love like this and make a living out of it is so rare. I just want to smack him, you know?
That happened to me once on a show, on a Star Trek.
When I'm on a show I'm there on time,
I make sure the other actors know what's going on.
I'm a guy who likes to keep things moving.
This was about 3AM,
You know I can't tell you this story
this guy was a bit craggy, and I was a bit craggy.
My back was to the camera so I couldn't see what it was doing,
and he had just given an instruction that wasn't clear.
I don't see any reason for it. Everybody who's in that business oughta be in it because they love it. There's plenty of stuff to do, most people in the world do do it in order to make a living, and my hat is off to every one of those people. Very few of us are fortunate enough to make it doing something we love.
Could you tell us about a typical day, such as what you did on Thursday?
As a human - anything after 8 hours they have to pay time and a half, so they want to get everybody in and out as soon as possible - particularly the regulars, because they get paid more than anyone. They have a pretty regular day. They may have some longer hours, but it will be quite different.
What other films have you been in apart from
Clear & Present Danger
I should look up my resume. Famous films? I haven't done many famous films. I've done lots of TV movies. I just did one called Camp Hilton .
[someone hands Vaughn a copy of the booklet]
I didn't bring my glasses. Coma , that was my first movie. Tom Selleck and I debuted in that together.
Recently I did a great scene with Alec Baldwin, Frederick Forest and Tom Skerrit, in a thing called Acts of War. It's about Vietnam. That'll be on HBO in May. You tell me, because after 30 years you get a little.
Tell us about your role on "Seinfeld"
I would say the best roles I've had are on TV. Not many of them have been worth much to anyone except me, to tell you the truth. TV, it's just entertainment. I've got a nephew who was a doctor. I was doing a convention in Detroit, and he was doing his residency just a few miles away in a small town. I invited him to come along. He said Okay, but he had to do an operation before he came to this place where I was signing autographs. He had to slice a guy's head open, fold his face down and work on his sinuses, then stitch him back up before he could come and see the important work I was doing!
I'm just so happy to be paid for a living. I'm so impressed by anyone who knows anything, because I don't know nothing, you know what I mean?
Do you know much about what's going to happen in Enterprise the new series?
Have you kept in touch with the other Trek actors?
And Kate, Kate Mulgrew, I've talked with her every now and again. Not a lot, but I consider her a friend. John Vickery, John Vickery. James Moran was actually the guy in the tube in the Enterprise. He and I have known each other for twenty years, and we stay in contact. I play poker with John Billingsly, because his wife like to play and so does mine.
Have you got any other roles in any other new series?
What was your most difficult or challenging role in
I think probably the Romulan was the most challenging, in Eye of the Needle. When they see him go through the wormhole and he comes back 20 years later. That was kind of a nasty race, but a guy that loved his children. He found a way to communicate with humans by understanding their love for their children. This nasty guy still had real family values, which made me think of my children.
The Hirogen was the toughest because of the makeup. The bodies stick into your ribs. That created an obstacle that you had to forget about to do the scene. When they say "action", everything is on you. You have to have your mind focused on your character. If it deviates from that focus for anything - you forget, you have to stop and go again. So when you have these obstacles to overcome like a poke in the ribs ...
One of the things that happened,
the last thing I did was this Klingon.
They wanted me to look right into the camera and talk.
So I looked into this little red dot in the middle of the camera,
but then all of a sudden my whole face is in the reflection.
I lost focus, I'm talking to myself here!
It took me out just that long,
long enough for me to forget what I was supposed to say.
Yeees? Anybody else?
Who did you play on "Babylon 5"?
I've ended up dead or in jail in everything I've done.
I was trying to get, what was that character's name?
Jeff - Zach - to steal the Government plans or something.
I don't know. I was an utter Nazi.
How did working on "Babylon 5"
compare to working on "Star Trek"?
I love it every time someone asks me on the set.
I love it, I really do.
I don't know, it was good.
It was the same thing, wonderful.
That's all I can tell you.
They're nice people.
Rick Bates is another nice guy.
Do you guys watch "Babylon 5" here?
Actually, one of the best shows I've ever been on,
that's the wrong thing to say,
one of the most important, accidentally,
was a thing called Days of Our Lives.
I played a guy who was one of the best lawyers in town and who was
molesting my 16-year-old daughter.
At first I didn't knbow if I wanted to do that because I thought, Nah.
It started as a comedic role for 3 episodes,
I was supposed to be the love interest for the villainess.
And then they thought, let's keep this guy around a bit.
so I became the father of the woman's daughter's best friend,
and I was molesting her.
What made that important was that after each show they would run a
public service announcement saying
If you have this problem, call this number.
And suddenly it became what I was getting to before,
something really important. Most of the time it's not important,
but when you combine it with a community service like that,
it becomes really worthwhile.
They're telling me I've only got 5 minutes,
so I'm going to take a sip of water.
I brought this [Vaughn displays his harmonica],
so I'm play the song for you.
My sister-in-law gave me this first.
I used this to quit smoking,
I took it with me everywhere I went.
My boys would go - get that OUT of your mouth!
This got me out of trouble in Blackpool when the questions dried up.
I took out a book called
Learn to play the Ukelele
Yeees? Anybody else?
Who did you play on "Babylon 5"?
I've ended up dead or in jail in everything I've done. I was trying to get, what was that character's name? Jeff - Zach - to steal the Government plans or something. I don't know. I was an utter Nazi.
How did working on "Babylon 5" compare to working on "Star Trek"?
I love it every time someone asks me on the set. I love it, I really do. I don't know, it was good. It was the same thing, wonderful. That's all I can tell you. They're nice people. Rick Bates is another nice guy. Do you guys watch "Babylon 5" here?
Actually, one of the best shows I've ever been on, that's the wrong thing to say, one of the most important, accidentally, was a thing called Days of Our Lives.
I played a guy who was one of the best lawyers in town and who was molesting my 16-year-old daughter. At first I didn't knbow if I wanted to do that because I thought, Nah. It started as a comedic role for 3 episodes, I was supposed to be the love interest for the villainess. And then they thought, let's keep this guy around a bit. so I became the father of the woman's daughter's best friend, and I was molesting her. What made that important was that after each show they would run a public service announcement saying If you have this problem, call this number. And suddenly it became what I was getting to before, something really important. Most of the time it's not important, but when you combine it with a community service like that, it becomes really worthwhile.
They're telling me I've only got 5 minutes, so I'm going to take a sip of water. I brought this [Vaughn displays his harmonica], so I'm play the song for you. My sister-in-law gave me this first. I used this to quit smoking, I took it with me everywhere I went. My boys would go - get that OUT of your mouth! This got me out of trouble in Blackpool when the questions dried up. I took out a book called Learn to play the Ukelele
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