Plug for a Pal

So let me tell you about Alan.

Alan is one of those guys who is so fascinating to talk to because while we share many of the same interests, his experiences and philosophies are so different than mine that we won’t always see eye-to-eye on the same subject.

Alan is one of those go-to guys very friend needs. As an active member of Cheap Treks and other incarnations of the fan groups that put on Showcases at Shore Leave and Farpoint, Alan can be counted on to act, provide costumes, create sound effects and even pitch in moving the sets. He plays our mad scientist when Peter David, Mike Friedman and I indulge in Mystery Trekkie Theatre (and he gets some of the best bits too).

He’s also an inventive and amusing costumer although he hasn’t done much of late. My favorite costume of his was simple but excellent in the execution. He stepped on stage dressed as Commander Riker. Not just any Riker, but recreating a moment from the first season TNG episode “Skin of Evil.” You know, the episode when Tasha Yar is killed by Armus, the giant, walking, talking oil slick. With a giant can of Hershey’s syrup in hand, Alan covered himself in thick, gooey chocolate syrup recreating that fine moment when Armus enveloped Riker. (Maybe you had to be there.)

Still, we go out of our way to help each other.

For the last year or so, I’ve been answering questions and been a one-man cheering section as Alan saw a labor of love come to fruition.

While there have been many Nitpicker’s Guides to Star Trek, for some reason, no one ever got around to Star Wars. Until now.

Alan, in partnership with his long-time friend Polly Luttrull, just self-published The Unauthorized Nitpicker’s Guide to the SW Saga. One of the things Alan does best, is not rest until something has been analyzed or worked on until he’s ready to keel over. This man has watched the six movies countless times (his estimate is roughly 800), in various incarnations. As a result, unlike other guides, meticulously records gaffes whether it occurred on the laser disk, the original video tape, the Special Edition video tape or the current remastered DVDs. Some goofs got cleaned up, others inserted and it’s all recorded in a well-designed, easy to follow grid.

His crack designer also came up with icons to let you know what you’re looking at so you know it’s a goof during production, a story flaw or some other element.

Much of this work developed over years of appearances at conventions, mainly on the east coast. Alan and Polly would don SW outfits, take the stage, and enchant people for hours with tidbits about upcoming projects, news of the cast, and whatever video clips could be found either talking about the series or the cast or even spoofing them. They even toss the audience surprises such as the time they rang up Mark Hamill and conducted an interview by phone while on stage.

The book is a fine read and worth your time if you’re a casual or compulsive fan. Check out their web site SW Bloopers for a sample from the book and a chance to order an autographed copy, complete with free shipping. Perfect for you and perfect for someone else’s Christmas tree.

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