November of 1992 saw two major presentations at conventions by jms about the upcoming Babylon 5 pilot movie.
In early November, he went to WishCon and got a very good reaction from the audience, however, getting to the presentation he encountered some Trekish interference:
Prior to the B5 presentation, someone mentioned to me that Majel [Barret] was furious that B5 was being given any exposure there, and that something would be done about it. I dismissed this upon hearing it, figuring it was the usual rumor-stuff that invariably encircles cons like this.
The progression was a panel by Wil, a panel by Majel, then the B5 presentation. Wil ran about 5-10 minutes over. Majel went 5 over. Then 10. Then 15. Then 20. The con organizers were indicating to her to wrap it up. She refused, saying that she wasn’t going to give up the microphone. 25 minutes. She noted my presence, commented upon it, but kept on going. 30 minutes plus, and finally she surrendered the stage.
What happened next comes to me from people who were there. One of the con organizers apparently went to Majel, who was signing autographs outside, and asked point-blank if she’d done that on purpose to try and foul up the B5 presentation. She smiled, very satisfied, and refused to comment. “What did you think we’d do?” he asked her. “Cut the presentation off? Or in half? Won’t happen. All you’ve done is to cut into the auction, and all that does is hurt the kids.” (Wishcon is part of a fundraiser for the Oak Hill School for the Blind and the Make a Wish Foundation, for terminally ill children.)
She still only smiled and didn’t answer…and the auction lost 15-20 minutes of fundraising time. It would have lost more, but I cut my own comments short at the end, even though I wanted to say more to the large group, and instead moved to a smaller room. (I would’ve originally had 15-20 minutes in the big room before moving over, if the schedule had been kept.) Better that I should have a little less time than cut further into the fundraising efforts.
Obviously, Majel came around later, but definitely an incident of Trek vs. B5 that was common at the time.
As for the presentation, when it did finally happen:
That incident pales, though, before the reaction to the B5 presentation. One of the con organizers told me subsequently that in the con’s history, including showing “Unification” prior to broadcast, no such preview has ever gotten a standing ovation. It left me utterly flummoxed, and pleased, and grateful. It was at that point that I began to think that maybe, just maybe we had something here.
For the full post from November 8th, 1992, visit jmsnews.com