Fans love a good crossover. Aliens vs. Predator. Avengers vs. Justice League. Superman vs. He-Man (that really happened). But every once in a while you run across a crossover that blows out the back of your brainpan. For instance, that time that Babylon 5’s Michael O’Hare donned a Starfleet uniform and pretended to command the Enterprise alongside pre-recorded versions of Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, and the rest.
So, what the hell was going on with Commander Sinclair jumping franchises and taking command of the Enterprise? The video was uploaded by convention organizer Marc Lee, who provides a bit of context in the caption:
This was done in 1991 at Florida’s UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. Babylon 5’s Michael O’Hare was the main guest at a VULKON convention outside of Orlando. He and his son enjoyed a day at the park and participated in this attraction setup to place you on a starship in a battle with klingons. It was very cool.
Joining he and his son is convention promoter Joe Motes and International Show Host Marc B. Lee………..with really big glasses. It was stylish at the time but……..wow. So much for fashion trends never standing the test of time.
From the looks of the video, it appears that O’Hare and his son Ben, along with the two convention folks, beamed into the “Star Trek Adventure,” a popular attraction at Universal Studios beginning in 1988. The Trek Adventure used bluescreen to insert guests into a pre-recorded adventure so they could “share the bridge” with the iconic Trek cast.
Here’s where things become a little unclear. Lee says the video was filmed in 1991, and that O’Hare was a guest at Vulkon. However, B5’s pilot episode, “The Gathering,” didn’t air until February 22, 1993. So…what was O’Hare appearing at Vulkon to promote if not B5, which was still two years away?
After a bit of research and a consult with good friend Jason Davis, senior editor of the most-excellent Babylon 5 script books, we’re pretty sure this is just a case of Lee mistyping or misremembering when the Trek Adventure video was made. A Stardate listed in the closing credits of the video reads “9303.22” — most likely translating into March 22, 1993. That date would place the filming of the video exactly one month after the airing of “The Gathering,” with the first episode of the series proper, “Midnight on the Firing Line,” still nearly a year away. That timing would make perfect sense for O’Hare to be on the convention circuit promoting the newborn Babylon 5.
Either that or Lee’s date is correct, actual time travel is involved, and I’m about to have to speed-dial Zathras. No, not Zathras. I said Zathras. Ah, never mind.
Regardless of the details, it’s a very cool little bit of science fiction history, and it’s good to see O’Hare, who passed away of a heart attack this past September, back in his prime and commanding a bridge (even a pre-recorded one).
Also, I fully expect at least one of you to use this video as a springboard for an elaborate, cross-universal fan fiction epic. We Live Long and Prosper for the One.