Well.. the day began on the wrong foot, so to speak. I woke up at 6 am, it was raining really hard out and the wind gusts were bad enough to make you watch the trees near your house to see if they were going to be blown over or not! I hesitated about leaving the house at 7:30 am to go to the autograph show. I knew my friend Scott Schwartz "really didn't need my help" so if I decided not to go I wouldn't be missed.
I had to go downstairs when I woke for obvious reasons... the bathroom is downstairs! Then I had to feed the 9 cats, and cook my brother some breakfast and bring it to him. My mind knew that if i stayed home it would be like every other day running up and down stairs. David was home being it was Saturday, but he generally sleeps till noon. He already knew I had plans to go and told me to wake him when I was ready to leave. My choice was to brave the weather in a taxi or to prepare myself for what is every day of my life now. I decided to brave the weather... but not without being nervous about the nearly 1/2 hour drive to the hotel.
I went earlier than I had too, but I wanted to beat the every escalating gusts of wind. The rain was bad enough, the wind made it worse.
Once at the hotel I felt better, but the drive really was a bit nerve wracking. Believe it or not I was not the first to arrive for the show. Here it was around 8 am, the ticket line wouldn't open until 10 and I found some in line already! Thankfully I didn't have to go in a line because I was helping Scott and his friends, Ian and Yano from "A Christmas Story". All I had to do was wait until someone from the show came around and get a wrist band showing I was a "helper".
Scott showed up pretty early, and for good reason. I didn't know until I arrived that the show folks had a tent set up outside for some of the guests, because they had so many. The storm was reeking havoc on the tent and my heart had sunk believing I would have to continually run in and out of this storm to help the guys.
As it turned out the wind really did "undo" the tent by blowing the "doors" open at both ends and blowing everything inside around. Eventually, and before things got started, the convention people declared the tent a "goner" and had to find places for all those that had used the tent the night before. (not an easy task in itself, considering they had fire marshalls to contend with) After much ado Scott and myself and the two other guys set up tables on the second floor in an alcove.
Scott, of course, played Flick.. if you've seen A Christmas Story you know then that he's the little boy who gets his tongue stuck to the pole in the middle of winter. Ian played the little brother to Peter Billingsly who's mother wraps him up so tightly in winter clothes that when he falls in the snow, he can't get up again. Yano plays "Grover", one of the bullies in the story. (but a really nice guy in person lol)
Once the "guys" were all set up and going I really didn't have much to do for them so I did some wandering around. In one room I discovered the, still very beautiful, even at 80, Betsy Palmer. I'm sure you youngi won't know her well unless it's from Friday the 13th, where she portrayed Mrs. Pamela Voorhees. But Betsy has, as they say, been around, for a long time doing guest spots in movies and television, being a panelist on game shows and doing Broadway plays.
What a very sweet lady she still is!
Another person who's comedy I've enjoyed over the years was there.. Bill Daily.
Most will recognize Bill as Maj. Roger Healey in I Dream of Jeannie. But he was equally as funny as Bob Newharts friend Howard Borden, on the Bob Newhart Show.
Later I found an Artist who I had met a few times before and his lovely wife. His name is Roger Kastel, he's the man who painted the famous poster and book cover for "Jaws". The were doing well and had lots of folks around them so I didn't linger, but did go back later for a chat.
As it would turn out (but I didn't know at the time) it would be more the Artists I was around then the actors. I found some really nice work from an unknown Artist who did some painting from LOTR, including Ian McKellen as Gandalf. Had I been able to afford it, I would have lapped them up in an instant!
And then there was Ken Kelly. Oh boy, what do I say here?.. He's an artist I've admired for some time now. I've seen his work on Fantasy Book Covers and, naturally, at his web site. I never expected to actually meet the man! But as I turned the corner (right around from where Scott and the others were) I was faced with this huge poster:
Skeletons and armor and men.. oh my! I was about to meet an Artist that was up there with the likes of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallijo! (heart be still!... gulp)
Maybe if i just peek in the room and not go in I can see some of his paintings.. yeah, I'll do that! ... after all I can't afford to buy anything of his so why take up space in there when others who can afford him can go in?
OMG!!! It's really his stuff!!!
I think I'll peek some more!
Then I hear a voice (a nice voice too..woohoo!) Come on in! Have a look around.
Double gulp, dang.. caught in the act of peeking, how embarrassing! And now I have to go intothe room and I can't afford this guy!
I stepped in and looked around figuring I'd have to get out of their quick ..when I saw him. He had a big grin on his face and was sitting in a chair relaxing.
Do you know my work?
Well, ah.. yeah I sure do. I always thought your work was similar to Frazetta and Boris.
chuckle, funny thing is Frazetta is married to my cousin.
(no shit?!!!... i didn't say that, but i thought it loud and clear lol)
We began to talk more. Next thing I knew I was sitting in a chair and we talked more and more. I wanted to see how others reacted to his work and asked if I could sit for a bit.
Of course! I like company.
(did I mention that, to me he looked like a cross between Tom Selleck and Omar Shariff?.. oh, I see I forgot to mention that tid bit huh? heh Well, he did.. at least to me he did. At different times his expressions just made me think of those actors.)
(what a shame he's married LOL)
Anyway, I wound up coming back and sitting and talking with Ken a number of times during the day. What a super nice guy he is! Very people oriented, very good hearted and jovial, and of course, one hell of an artist!
He did have a paperback of his book there which was only 20.00 so I was able to at least get that ! Mostly he was selling Lithographs of his paintings at reasonable prices, and all came with an autograph by "the artist".
As I entered his room for the last time before having to leave for home, I received yet another "treat". When I walked in he called me over to him and introduced me to a young man he was talking to... it was Frank Frazetta's son! (who also paints!)
After some chatting I had to call the taxi to leave and we said our goodbyes, Ken said he'd be at the next show and to come by if I came to it.. hmmm, I may have to try to make that a priority! Then I went and got hugs for Scott and the "boys" and headed on home.
I had one last little surprise in store for me which I never would have expected. As I stood outside waiting for my taxi Betsy Palmer came out. I thought the strong gusts were going to blow her away she's so thin! She was fighting to get a scarf on her head and I went over and helped her and told her to hold her coat closed so she wouldn't catch a cold (she had a coat with no buttons!) She looked at me, both of us being windblown and smiled. "Your very sweet you know, and with your hair blowing all over you look like a fairy princess" I had to laugh because I could not envision a 62 year old fairy princess LOL... As Betsy got into her taxi a man walked up to me and said, "isn't that nice coming from Betsy Palmer!?"... I just looked at him and responded, that it would nice from anyone, but it was especially nice from Betsy.
It was a good day. I don't get many of them.. but this was one for sure.