Here is a short (unofficial) illustrated report of what went on at
Needless to say, each of these thumbnail pictures is a link to a larger
version of the same. These pictures have been digitally remastered,
so at last you can see what was behind the fog!
To the Accelerate 96 committee for the loan of David Warman's Accelerate
96 logo and dates background (the committee asks that these graphics not
be reproduced without prior arrangement).
The images are in JPEG format and view OK on my 8-bit and 16-bit screens
with xv 3.10a. They include a gamma correction for displays of about 2.2
gamma (which seems to cover the majority of PC displays).
Get on with it!
Most of the main events were held in the Main Hall just off from the
hotel lobby, which appeared to seat about 500 (which we more than 85%
Behind the stage was this backdrop showing the scenery from the very first
scene on QL. The opening ceremony took place at 8pm on the Friday, but
before that there were some episodes of QL, a presentation by the
Starship Enterprises Theatre Co (which I didn't go to because I was being
a steward at the time) and a showing of the film `Lord of Illusions'.
That evening was the `Good Evening Peoria' theme party featuring a disco
with records from the 50s and 60s.
As you can see, Sam
and Al came to the convention and stood at the front for almost the whole
weekend (shame someone forgot to put the screen up¹). Oh, and you can just
see Mike Tucker in the distance giving his talk about the special effects
on Red Dwarf and Doctor Who. Apparently his next job was building a 4-foot
model of the Red Dwarf (the last model was blown up).
Then came John D'Aquino's one-and-a-half-hour session, preceded by a short
montage of scenes from his work in QL (as Frank LaMotta) and Seaquest DSV
among other things. His cousin's son Alex from Wales [is that right?] was
at the convention, and John brought him out on stage for a few moments.
The Rev. Michael Fuller, Bo Maxwell and Steve Wilson gave a joint
talk/discussion entitled `Religion versus Myth versus Science in Quantum
Leap' in which they each joked about how few episodes of QL they had
However, the Rev had spoiled it by watching the `halloween episode'
which had just been shown in the main hall.
I didn't watch the showing of `The Invaders', so I had a look around instead.
One hall in the hotel had been set up as a dealer room, where you could buy
books, videos and signed photographs of all manner of science fiction
stars. . .
. . . and some more books and photographs, and a few bits of merchandise
from Star Trek and other science fiction programmes. The QL merchandise
was very popular and had mostly sold out by the time I arrived. The Bank
of Scotland also sent someone round to recruit customers for its `Star Trek'
Later that afternoon was the charity auction at which over 70 pieces
of memorabilia from QL and other programmes and films featuring the QL
stars - most of them autographed - were sold at bargain prices. One
of the QL scripts went for £190 if I remember correctly (which
upset me a bit because I did want a script. Never mind, I got a couple at
IndyLeap later that year - one of those was Deborah Pratt's original working
script from `Troian'). The stars of the
charity auction were undoubtedly little Sam and Al, whom you can see sitting on
the front desk (in front of Max, one of the assistants). Some trivia from
the committee: the highest price for an item was £240 for a Langoliers
press pack signed by Dean Stockwell; the total amount fetched at the auction
was over £2600.
If you were at the convention then you might have seen some sad individual
wandering around with a handlink pretending to be an Observer. If it was
really quiet you might even have heard it squeak. This is a
bad photograph because no one
was behind the camera. If I had been behind the camera I wouldn't have
chopped his head off and I would have told him to turn round a bit to
reveal his red striped shirt and bright blue tie. He needs a bit of
a haircut, doesn't he?
If we completly ignore³ the autograph
session, the Wannabee's workshop and the QL role playing adventure which
took part somewhere else in the hotel, the `Disco Inferno' party that night
(not preceded by the Fancy Dress competition because only one person turned
up!), and the talk by Steve Wilson the next morning comparing QL to various
legends, then the next thing we get to is
the talk by Mike Tucker and Sophie Aldred, who apparently agreed to come
to the convention just in time to be written in the programme book - but
then, Mike and Sophie did have a book to plug. . .
Sophie Aldred also related some anecdotes about her experiences on Dr. Who
(and with appearing at conventions afterwards with Tom Baker).
(And Sam pops his head into the picture again - Al is going to get
rather jealous, I think. . .)
Then John D'Aquino gave another talk and was very entertaining again.
Someone had previously mentioned to him that they had heard him sing,
and he had rashly promised to give us a song if someone could find a
guitar. . .
So someone produced a guitar and he gave an excellent rendition of "Father
And Son" by Cat Stevens which everyone enjoyed immensely.
It turned out that today was his birthday, so the convention committee
had arranged for the hotel staff to produce a cake - this was just after a
bloke called Andrew Iann sachayed down the aisle dressed as Marilyn Monroe
and sang happy birthday Mr D'Aquino. And our illustrious chairperson Lee
hovered in the background waiting to present. . .
the card, signed by (almost) everyone at the convention (how do you think of
a suitable greeting to write when there are already 400 of them on there?!),
which bears an original piece of caricature artwork showing John dressed as
Ben Krieg from SeaQuest standing next to a mirror in which is the image of
Scott wearing his Fermi suit, with the words `Oh Boy!' written at the
After the video team quiz, there was a Mirror Image debate. Unfortunately
the earlier events had overrun so much that the showing of Mirror Image had
to be cancelled (and we were still running late). However, the panellists
Penny Hill, Hilary Broadribb, Davina Pereira and Lee Owers-Sansome
(funny how there were no men - Sam didn't say a lot) discussed whether or not
the episode was a complete disaster. If I remember correctly, Hilary and
Penny (on the left) did not like the episode, and the other two did like it.
However, there did not seem to be any particularly vehement arguments since
all the panellists had some opinions on each side of the fence. And
Hilary appeared to have lost her notes. [Apologies if I have mixed up
Hilary and Penny, but I think Penny is the one on the left].
After the Mirror Image discussion, Bo Maxwell's sideways look at time travel
took place having been postponed from the previous day (this meant that an
`X Files special briefing' was displaced into another room). The drawing
you can't quite see on the flip chart is a diagram of timelines as postulated
in the film `Back to the Future'.
After a teatime break the closing ceremony took place, at which various prizes were
presented and the committee thanked everyone. Of course the guests received
presents (which you can see in gold boxes) and John D'Aquino thanked everyone
for being so nice.
That night there was a `Welcome to the millennium' party (with a rather thin
excuse for playing music from the early 90s instead of from the next millennium!)
at which there were some fabulous costumes, not least from Andrew.
A raffle was drawn and the cocktail party was judged.
And then I was on the bus back to dreary old Oxford. . .
¹ The real reason for the screen being down is that Mike
had shown some pictures earlier and it was too noisy to put the screen up
while he was talking.
² This was, of course, a bit of joking around and
not to be taken seriously.
³ I'm ignoring them because I have no photos, not
because they weren't any good. In fact, I didn't have time to go to
most of them, but at Steve Wilson's talk I was at the door and so not
close enough to take pictures.