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Spoiler-free Rally Report
for January 8, 1999
The Sentinel Fan Rally
at the Pasadena Ritz-Carlton
Report | Pictures
We (Robyn and Becky) were lucky enough to attend the wonderful TS Rally yesterday and thought we'd post a report about the day's events for all the fans who were with us in spirit if not body! This is solely off our memories (we didn't take notes like some people did), so hopefully we don't get too many details wrong. There will probably be other reports, but I know how it was when we couldn't go to the conventions and we waited anxiously for news from the con-goers! We decided to post all the spoilers for Murder 101 (the screened episode), and a couple other episodes seen at the Pet Fly Studios editing room, in another post clearly marked "spoilers." The only spoilers in this post are for the 1st season blooper tape and are at the end, clearly marked.
Pet Fly Studios Tour, Burbank
We were in the 11:30 am group for the tour to Pet Fly Studios in Burbank. The building was unmarked with lots of glass windows, but the telltale sign was a big group of ladies hanging around the front door! We were ushered in and taken through the editing and casting portions of the building with the ~25 others in our group. The only significant thing about the offices I remember was seeing a to-die-for huge movie-sized poster of Richard wearing a white tank top, posed in a doorway with his right arm held above his head and leaning against the door jamb looking very buff. The caption at the top said something like "Most Sensitive Man" and had "The Sentinel" in a bottom corner. Just about all the ladies screamed when they saw it, and everyone was taking pictures (including us) of it so I'm sure it will end up on the web. Someone asked DB and PDM about it later at the Rally and they said it was some promo poster done awhile ago and there were probably only about a dozen copies in existence. The rest of us were thinking how much money they could make if they only sold those posters! <g> Anyway, seeing the editing room was also very interesting. Spoilers at the end of this report for scenes from "The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg." One of the hallways we went through had printed off copies of TS fan webpages taped to the wall, including Radio Free Cascade, SOS, and the Sentinel Drinking Game, and articles about TS from various magazines.
The Rally, Ritz Carlton, Pasadena
We arrived at the Ritz Carlton (having had to park a ways away because all the side streets were full of cars) shortly before 2:45 and made our way to the Viennese Ballroom. There were posters on easels outside the ballroom as well as signs next to the doors labeled "The Sentinel Fan Rally." The ballroom wasn't open, so everyone waited in the hall for awhile. I saw a couple people walk by dressed in Dilbert outfits with those flippy ties. They kept shushing everyone, but it was a lot of fun to meet other fans that we'd corresponded with over email but had never met in person. They handed out stickie name tags to everyone. Shortly after 3:00 they opened the ballroom and let us go in. The ballroom was filled with round tables seating about 10 people each for everyone to sit at. Drinks and fruit were provided as refreshments.
The screening of Murder 101 started at 3:15 on 4 television monitors lined up at the front of the ballroom (I had expected a single bigger screen, but there were just the monitors). Spoilers for this episode are at the end of this report. Suffice it to say, it was a *great* episode with lots of classic Sentinel one-liners and neato scenes.
After the episode finished showing, Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo, Bruce A. Young, and Richard Burgi came out onto the stage amid loud clapping and cheering. RB and BAY both looked very dashing -- Bruce was wearing a white band-collared shirt with a dark vest and red knit beret. Richard was wearing a dark blue suit, a lighter blue shirt, and a red tie. WOW! Next to their four chairs on stage, there was a large promo poster (3rd season shot) on an easel of the three guys.
They started the Q&A session with the four guys right away. DB commented that they hadn't realized Murder 101 was so funny (they must have heard us laughing while they were waiting in the hall for the episode to finish). Rike from Germany stood up first and gave a very nice mini-speech telling the guys how much we all love TS and thanking them for all their hard work and making a show we all love so much.
Richard took the microphone and thanked all the fans for coming and bringing the show back, and added "and I've never looked more handsome." LOL! I don't think any of us were going to argue with him... <g>
One fan asked RB if the nickname "Chief" was a "Burgi-ism" since RB's character on OWW (Mack) had used the nickname. RB laughed and said "thanks for noticing!" He also said that yes, "Chief" could be considered a Burgi-ism and that a lot of the nicknames Jim has called Blair have been ad-lib names he thought of during filming the scenes.
After that, Richard and Bruce went off to a side table to sign autographs, while DB and PDM continued to answer questions from the audience. We were dismissed by tables to get autographs and they even provided black and white 8x10 cast photos of the 3 guys for those of us who hadn't brought pictures to sign.
I can't remember all the fan questions that were asked during the Q&A, but here are the ones I do remember.
Someone asked DB about his comment on the Senti-mental Christmas cd about the "soon to be lieutenant Sandburg." He laughed and said, "did you guys actually hear that?" He added that he was just cornered one day on the set and everything was very impromptu. Anyway, DB answered in a non-joking tone, "you guys don't even have to worry about that" and repeated it a couple times.
Someone asked about why there wasn't any Sentinel merchandise around, and PDM and DB both said they thought it would be a great idea, but that they didn't have any control over it (apparently Paramount or UPN would have to do something). One fan commented that if they did create a line of TS merchandise, the money from it would financially support the show for more episodes! <g>
I asked if there were going to be any Jim and Blair hugs in the future, and PDM and DB hemmed and hawed. Basically the only thing they would admit to was that there would definitely be "manly shows of affection" between them.
DB added that for the fourth season episodes, they had added a lot of little things in the episodes especially for the fans -- continuity stuff that we would notice (the Murder 101 episode had a lot of really good example of this!). DB said in the last 6 months they've really realized what a tight-knit community the TS fans are, especially thanks to the internet, and they have tried to do a lot of things for the fans this season like bringing back certain characters. He revealed two such returning characters (see spoilers for who these are).
DB and PDM said that UPN would be showing 5 first-run episodes in a row, then doing two months of reruns of episodes from the previous 3 seasons, and holding the last 3 for May. They have submitted a list of nine episodes from all 3 seasons that they felt would be good to rerun; several were chosen for returning characters. DB named the episodes they had submitted as including Flight, Warriors, Spare Parts, The Rig, Vendetta, Iceman, Dead Drop, and Red Dust. Yeah, he only named eight and none of them were from first season, but oh well... He said the actual episodes that would be rerun would be determined by UPN, so he didn't know exactly which ones would be shown. He also said it would be great if an on-line voting system could be set up so the fans could vote for the old episodes they most wanted to see.
There were several questions regarding what the fans could do to get a 5thseason, how the show was going to do on Monday night, and what kind of role UPN ratings vs. general Nielsen ratings would have in getting the show renewed. Basically DB and PDM said they didn't understand a lot of how the ratings came into play regarding the show's renewal, since TS was regularly UPN's 2nd highest rated show but still didn't get renewed. They also didn't know how TS would do in its new Monday night slot or how it would be affected by Dilbert; they just hoped for the best and that UPN would show TS promos during Dilbert. DB was just happy there would be no more Monday night football since he was sure there were men who also watched TS (albeit a "less vocal" audience) and liked football as well. Other than getting a Nielsen box <g>, PDM and DB both urged the fans to continue letter-writing and phoning to campaign for a 5th season.
One fan asked DB if there were any plans to make a 3rd season blooper tape. He said that one might be done after all the 4th season episodes had finished editing. He asked if all of us had seen the two blooper tapes, and we all said that we'd only seen one from 2nd season. DB said "you mean you haven't seen the blooper tape from the first 10 episodes? The one where the guys are being really mean to the monks?" We all yelled "NO!" He said that if he would've known, he would have brought it to the Rally. The neato thing was that after the Rally, someone asked DB if they could show the tape at the Romper Room gathering, and he agreed. So when we dropped by the Romper Room later that evening, we were able to see the 1st season blooper tape. Apparently the people from the Romper Room will find out next week whether it will be possible to get dubbed copies of the tape. As Duranee posted earlier to the lists, you can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in putting your name down IF WE ARE ALLOWED TO DUB COPIES. I think there already has been a post regarding the blooper tape to all the major TS lists. Spoilers for the blooper tape at the end of this post.
After the Q&A session ended, DB and PDM hung around for awhile talking to the fans while RB and BAY were still signing autographs. Dean Valentine was even there and spoke to several of the fans who very politely told him how much we were looking forward to 4th and also 5th season episodes. Apparently he was polite and said he hoped it would come back for a 5th season but said they would have to see how the ratings went. I was glad DV was there to see all the fan support.
We both were able to get Richard's and Bruce's autographs and get our pictures with them. They were both so nice, and Richard actually remembered seeing us on the set last month! Kewl. They are both *so* nice and looked very handsome <G>.
All in all, we had a wonderful time at the Rally and want to thank SOS and everyone who helped make it possible. It was so fun to finally meet other TS fans in person and talk about TS stuff without having to explain ourselves! It was so neat to see everyone so well-behaved during the entire event -- there were no inappropriate questions or fan behavior that I witnessed, and everyone still managed to show their full support and enthusiasm for the show. There were even a few reporters there from out of state who requested to talk to fans from their state (Texas and Arizona) about TS, which is *great*! In his final comments for the Q&A session, DB thanked all the fans profusely for their support and urged us to keep doing what we've been doing -- writing those letters and making those phone calls. Let's keep it up, everyone! It looks like 4th season is going to be *great*, and we definitely want more, right?!
Robyn and Becky
It was rather different than the 2nd season gag reel -- there were less bloopers and more cuts from actual episodes, including Love and Guns, Siege, and Attraction. There were the usual line flubs by all the actors and some of the guest stars including the actor who played Kincaid, and many of us thought there was more swearing than the 2nd season tape. I remember one clip of GM/Blair screaming hysterically in the cab of the truck (as if they were doing an Ellison-evil-U-turn scene). They had clips from the blue-screening scene of Jim and Blair jumping out of the airplane in Flight. RB is suspended from his "parachute" and teasing GM about pulling his cord. There were a lot of clips from Vow of Silence where Jim is on his cellphone making a date. They're doing the reaction shots for the monks who are supposed to be looking very serious and RB is going off in the background about the Kama Sutra and positions and saying how he was "sore." Then there was another Vow of Silence scene where Jim is telling Blair that he was going to ask Brother Timothy to bless his dice, except that he said "breast-feed my dice." GM continued with a straight face with his line, "It's worth a shot." One scene from Siege involved Jim breaking through a door by slamming himself against it, and in one take RB tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge -- he kinda bounced off the door. He commented wryly, "I hate it when that happens." Another scene from Siege (that's actually in the real episode) -- Jim and Simon going up the stairs from the garage to Major Crimes -- was dubbed over with hilarious voice-overs. If you watch the episode, Simon has a small revolver when they start up the stairs, then in one of the scenes when they're in the stairwell he suddenly has a big machine gun, and then in the next stairs scene he has the small revolver again. The voice-overs were supposed to be Simon in a high-pitched voice telling Jim stuff like "Gimme the bigger gun so I can impress the cameras!" and then "I want my little gun back now!"
And that's it....
Robyn and Becky