It is always sad when the dust settles. It is always anticlimactic in the void that remains after an event where an electric atmosphere was generated by similar souls reacting to each other, joining together to show their appreciation for their shared enjoyment of that unique and spellbinding genre called “science fiction”.

John's favorite moment, answering questions!

The recipe for this gorgeous circumstance: start with a group of enthusiasts of all ages across a broad spectrum of American society; add a splash of British blood for flavor and a couple of media guests into the mix. Blend them all together in the same room, allowing them to talk on equal terms, the guests displaying no airs and graces, giving fellow human beings an opportunity to look into the eyes of an actor, producer, director, set designer, editor, etc. who was involved in a show they love, and ask those questions occupying their minds for years, and you have an unbeatable concoction for creating joy, understanding, and hopefully a memory or two to go home with.

Watching the Sgt. Benton Montage.

It never fails to fill my heart with the kind of emotional generosity given, taken, received, and returned by inquisitive minds. It is more than that, though. It is not a trivial moment in your life when you get the chance to touch, talk, and interact with an actor you may love, admire, or simply look up to for his or her decency, honesty, and integrity, which I believe are necessary to carry the badge of celebrity.

John and Jennifer pose with the Drew Family.

We celebrities must all remember, if possible, to use each and every ticking second of that privilege properly. We must impart what we know with as much honest intent as possible, to help build or elevate the individuals in our audience beyond where they might believe they could aspire to of only their own volition.

So to each of you ladies, gentlemen, and children who allowed your hearts to be touched by my thrill at seeing yourselves at TimeGate, I say Thank You: for making our trip so worthwhile; for your warm welcome; for the committee and their trust in those they chose to be the guests at their first multi-day convention. Well done. You created one of the most difficult-to-achieve elements in a convention setting, that of harmony. It is a vital element to have. Big is not always better. So Jeni and myself thank you, and give a naturally energetic thank you to our personal minder, Mr. Winston Chapman.

John and Jennifer

We are often asked why we do not go to our room when our duties are done, as most other guests do at conventions, or go out on the town while the convention is still going on. Our answer is because it is during those events, in all the times between the various contractual duties of a guest, that most of the good stuff occurs. Take your costume contest. What a lovely hour that was, and for me to be invited onstage with the winners for the photo-op was such a joy, and the subsequent conversations that came out of our bothering to attend were priceless.

Your committee’s idea of having the wonderful and popular Bill Massey as the Fan Guest of Honor was an excellent idea, as Bill had not attended a Sci-Fi convention since 1998.

John poses with good friend Bill Massey.

Can you imagine his joy when he was treated to his weekend, all due to TimeGate’s committee leading with their hearts and not their wallets. This was an all-around success in human terms. So much good comes from such actions. I wish them nothing but continuing, growing success. To Bill Massey, thank you for being my friend and Master in the stead of my two very missed friends, the real Masters, Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley.

John with Bill Massey as The Master.

Do have a look at the photos of Bill, Anthony and myself from way back in 1986. They were uniquely shot by an unusual 3-D camera, and might not translate as clearly when copied on a standard machine.

Looking "Masterly"! Bill Massey, John and Anthony Ainley.

I should like to express personally what I have always felt when I meet people at conventions. It warms me deeply when sometimes at these shows, someone will say something so wonderful that I almost cry with the fact that it takes such courage to speak with the heart. In that area my cup runneth over. It thrills me to see fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, sometimes an entire family, romantic partners and friends, all bonded by their enjoyment of a television show that does more than entertain, it broadens our horizons, takes us out of ourselves, gives purpose to our dreams, and in some cases accurately portends (or inspires) the future.

John with Mike Stanley and both have forgotten their keys!

Long live Sci-Fi., and long live the lifeblood of all enthusiasts that are the driving force of such events that touched our hearts in Atlanta, Georgia at TimeGate.

Mr. Levene, looking smart as always.

Sgt. John Benton salutes each and every one of you.

In closing, I beg all of you parents to never raise your hands to your children...

It leaves your groin area unprotected.

Love and peace, and if you have a god, may (s)he go with you!

John Levene

We would like to acknowledge Mr. James M. Garner for capturing these magical moments at Time Gate.


© Copyright 2011 John Levene Sgt. At Arms
Doctor Who is copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 1963, 2011.
No infringement of this copyright is either implied or intended.