One of the most notorious villains in Star Trek
history drew the crowds out to Universal City last night as Ricardo Montalban signed autographs to commemorate the DVD release of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Hundreds of fans lined up--arriving up to four hours early--to see the famous actor in person, and to get his Hancock on their copy of the "Star Trek II" DVD, or in some cases the DVD for the Original Series episode "Space Seed," in which Montalban originated his role as Khan Noonien Singh. Montalban also placed his signature upon a wide variety of Star Trek paraphernalia, such as books and collector's plates with his image. He even had a request to autograph a female fan's jeans, which he happily granted.
One group of fans from Southern California and Nevada showed up in "Star Trek II"-era Federation uniforms. Upon spotting them, Montalban outstretched his arms and declared, "My people!"
In addition to signing autographs, Montalban also granted interviews to a variety of national and international media organizations who were present with video cameras, including ABC-TV, Reuters, Channel 5 U.K., and several Spanish-language networks.
This sort of appearance is rare for Montalban, according to Martin Blythe, VP of Publicity for Paramount Home Entertainment. "But he recently got a DVD player, and was excited at how great movies look in the format," Blythe said.
"He hasn't seen the 'Star Trek II' DVD yet, because it just came out today, but we gave him a copy and he plans to look at it."
However, the fans and other visitors to the Sam Goody store got a look at the DVD version last night, as the movie played continuously on all 40-plus monitors in the Universal CityWalk outlet.
Besides his villainous turn in Star Trek, Montalban is beloved for his portrayal of Mr. Roark in TV's Fantasy Island. He is also known to science-fiction fans as Armando in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" and "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes." The 79-year-old actor was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild.
Photos by Sandy Stone