Winnipeg, May 2001

Admiral Ozzel kissed me ! Well, not, really silly.....actually it was a wonderful meeting and "thank you" kiss from "Admiral Ozzel" Michael Sheard.

In May 2001, I spoke at Winnipeg's annual science fiction convention, "KeyCon" on how I make custom Star Wars figures and dioramas. I had heard that Mr. Sheard would be attending the Con once again (for the third year in a row), so I made an Admiral Ozzel figure to hopefully give to him, IF  by chance I got to meet him.

I am a member of the Forgotten Force, an international Internet group of Star Wars toy customizers who either make characters that have yet to be made (like Ozzel), or improve on figures already mass-produced. I had been preparing for my talk for quite a while, setting up a display board, deciding which of my customs to bring, sampling tools and supplies to demonstrate.

The big day came....nervously I arrived at the hotel, got to my meeting room and began to set up. I had no idea how many people I would be speaking to; if it was a formal session or an informal demonstration. Hubby and my daughter were helping me with everything... I was all set, just going over some last minute details when a familiar face poked through the doorway.

"Hello!" He bellowed. Broad smile, whitening hair, a dark blazer covered in Con pins, topped off with a Donald Duck bow tie.....but that powerful Scottish accent was unmistakable....Admiral Ozzel had arrived!

"There's the man!" I responded. "Mr. Sheard! Welcome!"

"Michael, please" he said as he came forward to see my display. Tipping his glasses to take a closer look at some of my work, we began to speak of how criminal it is that the Admiral had yet to grace our store shelves.

"Well, you know. I have the prototype, which was given to me by the Kenner/Hasbro people a while back. They made two prototypes at the same time; mine and Kenneth's (his good friend Kenneth Colley; Captain Piett) but because Hasbro was cutting back in the Star Wars line after Episode One, they decided to only produce one. My "dolly" lost out to Kenneth's, because HE was in TWO movies, and I was only in ONE." Winking, I knew there were no hard feelings; he was quite a gentleman. We both hoped his figure would get produced in the near future."I was approached by a couple of fans recently though, who had some Ozzel figures in hand, wanting me to autograph them, but I don't believe they were "official / licenced" dollies, rather some of those bootleg ones."

"And you know," he whispered to me "whenever I am with Kenneth, I refer to him as CAPTAIN Piett, not ADMIRAL, because, well, you know....that came later!" (what a card...)

"Well" I replied, "Since you don't have an official figure yet, I hope you'll like this custom Ozzel I made for you" and I handed him the carded custom I made. He was quite pleased, I think....he leaned over my display table, grabbed my hand to shake it, and pulled me forward to land a wonderful, sincere, thank you kiss on my lips! I have no idea what I said at that moment.....
He studied the gift closely, and kept turning the package around, to see the "bio" on the back, and inspecting the figure closely. I told him how I made both the toy and the custom card.

"Wonderful! This may sound pompous, but it's not meant to be. At home, I have a curio cabinet which holds my treasures and memorabilia from meeting fans like you. I shall place this figure in my cabinet as well. Thank you so very much!"

I blushed, and presented him with a plaque as well. 'Lifetime Honorary Membership' to our Manitoba Star Wars Guild, of which I am Vice-President. He was still grinning when I asked him for one favor...would he sign the Ozzel picture I brought with me? Besides my large Star Wars collection, I collect autographs and told him I would be thrilled to add his autograph to my wall. "Of course", he said, pulling out a pen and inscribing it.
Just then, two people came quickly into the room, one with a large video camera, the other with a huge microphone pointed at the Admiral. "We're from Global Television, may we film you?"

Beaming, Mr. Sheard nodded his approval and grabbed me! "But you must get this lovely lady in with me" he said. The bright lights of the camera were lit, and the actor put on his best face. Wrapping his arm around me, I had no idea what to say.

"So, Mr. Sheard, here we are at KeyCon, with one of your many fans" the reporter began. "What is that you are holding? Was that you in Star Wars?"

"That IS me!" Michael corrected. "This lovely lady has given me my very own Admiral Ozzel figure, one of the custom toys she has made and is speaking about here today."

He talked about how wonderful it was to attend these conventions to thank the many fans who still write to him to this day. He proudly held out my gift to him, and they took some closeup pictures (arrghh! I thought....not so close! Everyone will see all the mistakes I made!!!) But he was very kind to the reporters, and after a few minutes we were done. The camera woman even asked for his autograph! Hubby got out the camera and Heather and I posed with Mr. Sheard for a picture. Too soon he had to leave, but asked if we could meet later on, so after my presentation (which was anti-climatic by this time), we watched him auctioneer an art sale, keeping everyone in stitches. After that we said our goodbyes, and I thanked him and told him what a wonderful honor it was to have met him. He was leaving for home the next day, preparing for rehersal in a new television role. He hoped we would meet again, and thanked me again for the gifts.

What a wonderful, sweet man.

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