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Wil Wheaton goes on a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ journey at Buena Vista Library

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Actor Wil Wheaton reads during his “Choose Your Own Adventure” book reading at Buena Vista Library.
(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Wil Wheaton has been featured on numerous TV shows and has spoken to thousands of people at live events.

However, the 44-year-old actor was nervous before speaking in front of about 60 people, mainly children, at the Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank Monday evening.

“I go around the country and I speak to colleges, conferences and thousands of people at a time, and I’m like, ‘Great. Fine. Whatever,’ Wheaton said. “Coming to speak to about 60 kids, I am scared to death. So please be kind.”

Wheaton, who is best known for being in the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and making cameo appearances on “The Big Bang Theory,” was at the library hosting a livestream of himself reading two of the classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” books to a live audience.

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Since November, the Burbank native has been livestreaming his readings on his Twitch channel, twitch.tv/itswilwheaton, where he lets his viewers decide what the main character should do as he reads the book.

“I just wanted to do something that would give people a break from all the horrible in the world at the moment and give something for me to look forward to as performer every week,” he said.

As he records his weekly streams, Wheaton said that he noticed that many of the people watching his livestream were watching it with their children. So a month ago, he approached Tina Sahadi, Buena Vista’s senior librarian in charge of the children’s library, and asked if he could have one of his livestreams in his hometown.

“He’s never done this live before, so we decided to take a chance and were able to get everything ready,” Sahadi said. “I think it turned out to be a complete success.”

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Wheaton stood at the front of the library’s main room with his laptop and started to address both his live audience and those on watching on Twitch.

There were about three rows of chairs in front of Wheaton filled with children ranging from grades 2 to 8 years old, all of them eager to help Wheaton make decisions.

The books from the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series Wheaton decided to read were “The Third Planet from Altair” and “The Cave of Time,” which were both written by Edward Packard.

As Wheaton read the books, he asked the children what the main character should do. He picked one child to give their answer, which was usually followed by clapping and cheering.

During his reading of “The Third Planet from Altair,” the children found themselves in a pickle — should the main character choose to enter a hibernation chamber in the alien spaceship he’s on in an effort to survive the trip to a distant planet or continue to try to make contact with his old ship.

The children first decided to keep trying to contact the old ship, but that decision resulted in the main character becoming deeply depressed and losing all will to survive.

“Wow. I mean, that is an incredibly dark ending for kids,” Wheaton said. “I’m an adult and that was hardcore.”

Wheaton and the children decided to go back a few pages and enter the hibernation chamber, which resulted in the main character landing on a planet similar to Earth.

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Elliot Ross Annozine, 8, said his favorite part was when they decided to redo the ending of “The Third Planet from Altair” so the main character found a Coca-Cola can when he exited the alien spaceship.

Elliot said that he is currently reading “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” but after Wheaton’s reading, he said he wished it was a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

“That’d be awesome,” Elliot said.

anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

Twitter: @acocarpio


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