What can we say except all our gratitude to Gary Jones, Creation Entertainment, MGM and Stargate creators for Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman! Airman Harriman! Airman! Sergeant Davis and acclaimed Starhole star. Here was the man who made the chevrons light up! LIVE at the Los Angeles Stargate 2009 convention! Gary Jones, the man who activated then lived to tell about the fabled seventh chevron and beyond. Even with the ninth chevron activated in Stargate Universe, Gary Jones performance Saturday November 7, 2009 is testimony to why he remains a Stargate legend to this very day!
Well folks it is all true, Gary’s appearance at the Stargate convention Los Angeles in November 2009 was all that and more! Included is a news clip that highlights the fun we had as Gary Jones re-enacted his beloved role of Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman! For the uninitiated, the news video is a two and 1/2 minute education of what Stargate is all about. Fans of Stargate, either at the convention or not, surely understand CMS Walter Harriman!
Of all the characters in Stargate, Gary’s portrayal of the person who finally became Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman ranks high in the minds of fans and this author for his enduring role in the Stargate franchise. Dating back to the earliest episodes when he was referred to as just ‘Airman’ by General Hammond, it was then Gary shared that he began his quest for a name to his character (although that never officially took shape for many years to come).
As one of the longest lived non main characters of the Stargate series, his staid and steady performances spanned the entire Stargate series and the movies too. For me Stargate was not quite Stargate unless Walter was at the dialing computer! Although it took many years, who can forget the Stargate SG-1 episode ‘2010’ when we heard General O’Neill, Richard Dean Anderson, first utter the proper name of Walter? How many times did we hear Gary state “Chevron Seven Locked”? According to a variety of sources, Gary stated the fateful words at least 100 times over the course of the Stargate franchise history.
Where would we be without these fateful words ‘Chevron 7 Locked!’? Nowhere that’s where! That’s right fans, without Chief Master Sergeant (CMS) Walter Harriman we might never have gone anywhere. It was Walter who knew the seventh chevron must be “locked” to engage the Stargate and Gary had helped make it all happen.
CMS Walter Harriman, aka Gary Jones entered the Creation Entertainment stage at the LAX Marriott and immediately mused that the audience looked like we were sitting in a game of musical chairs or bingo seats! The audience warmed up to Gary right away as many in the audience recalled from the evening before when Gary Jones and Dean Haglund had appeared in the Creation Entertainment Starhole Improvisation Theatre at the convention.
Gary commented on how much fun it was for him. He stated that really liked the special sound effects that all sounded like a screaming cat! The audience who were present the evening before roared with laughter at the fond memories of the Starhole Improvisation Theatre originally started years before by Gary and Dean at a convention in Germany known as FedCon. He and Dean Haglund had carried on the show all through 2009 at each Creation Entertainment convention in Vancouver, Chicago and here in Los Angeles. We hope to see more of Gary, Dean and Starhole in the future.
Many stars (in fact most people) sometimes have uncomfortable first moments on a stage. Not Gary Jones. His personality literally bubbles forth in such a humorous manner he quickly endeavors to put the audience at ease. It was a delight to observe his easy style before the fans of Stargate. From his deportment and presentation, it was clear Gary was a veteran of convention appearances and knew the ‘workings’ of an audience for maximum enjoyment for all present during his panel appearance.
The next sequence that Gary related reminded me of a time I had purchased a battery powered drill while out of town in Austin Texas. I too had left a suspect item in my carry on baggage only to be confronted by overwrought security guards. Gary shared his own adventure about the time he was going home from a convention. “I was going through security at the airport and I had purchased something for a friends young boy. I had left the toy in my carry on suitcase. The security guard was sitting there, and I placed the carry on bag to go through the scanner. Suddenly the security guard jumped up! The guard scanned the bag several times back and forth (on the conveyor belt). All of a sudden the security guard called a supervisor over. I noticed that they had a hushed conversation.”
Gary Jones continues: “Next thing I knew the airport security staff supervisor comes over to me and says “Sir is this yours (referring to the bag)? Would you mind opening it for me?” So I opened up the bag , and the toy is on the top of the items of clothing!”
The supervisor asks “Excuse me sir what is that (pointing to what appears to be a weapon)?”
Gary Jones: ”I responded respectfully ‘That is a Star Trek toy. It’s a Phaser’.”
The security supervisor immediately looked over to the guard who called him and said “I am going to kick his butt”.
The audience immediately broke up in laughter
Gary on a roll continued: “Is everyone here was from Los Angeles?
A few in the crowd nodded, including one fellow who said it only took him five minutes to get to the Creation Entertainment Stargate convention. Gary immediately ad-libbed and responded
“Oh you live at the Hilton Hotel? Very nice!”
Gary Continued: “You’re in the penthouse suite, but you could not get a front row seat?”
Another fan said they were from Australia.
Gary Jones: “That does not count!”
The crowd burst into laughter and Gary had succeeded in breaking the ice with the convention attendees. Gary then engaged another Australian fan asking where they were both from. Gary asked both if they knew where the other person was from? The fans responded in a humorous fashion. Both said yes. One indicated the other was south and the other fan said she was north!
Gary continued to heckle the audience as he searched for another audience member to “target”! It did not take him long. It quickly became obvious Gary was a professional in all aspects of interacting with his fans! Gary picked out a poor unsuspecting fan:
“Sir are you pissed off? You have yours arms folded, or that is your normal look?”
The audience was warming up to Gary quickly as many chuckled in their seats.The poor fan answered something “Fire Alarms Installer”, but I did not catch the entire response,
Gary quickly quipped: “If you’re going to talk to me don’t use that accent. That’s why your wife is here isn’t it, she translates for you?”
The crowd roared with laughter.
Gary then teased the fan about his pronunciation of the Fire Alarm installer came out as Fiirre Alllarm IIIIInstaller”. “Oh you didn’t feel like putting your hand up when I asked where everyone was from?
The fan, in good humor, then told Gary he was from England.
Gary moved on from the good natured fan to tell us about the Saturday Creation Entertainment breakfast and that he met many people. Gary went on to mention that he had missed the Karaoke being busy with Starhole and that he did not even know that there was one!
Only a few minutes into his stage appearance, the Los Angeles convention fans began to migrate to the microphones to ask questions. Naturally the first question had to do with how Gary finally got his name ‘Walter Harriman’ on Stargate SG-1. Having read many interviews on this subject, I expected the story to be essentiality the same. What I did not expect was the animated nature in which Gary related the now legendary tale of how his character evolved over the many years of Stargate.
Gary Jones: “It was completely at the whim of the producers of the show. My character went through so many changes over the 10 years that I became a completely different ‘person’ from the original who started out as a technician, Norman Davis in the script.”
“But here is what Stargate fans need to know. I was never referred to as Sergeant Davis in the early shows. My character was always referred to as ‘technician’ or even ‘hey you’ especially when Don Davis used to say “Open the iris”.”
Gary digressed for a moment: “Don Davis was the best!”
The audience went silent and also observed a brief moment of silence for the now deceased Don S. Davis, the much loved George Hammond of Texas and always remembered as the “General” of Stargate!