Great Philadelphia Comic Con 2017

When I heard that Great Philadelphia Comic Con and Nostalgia Fest Philly would be running simultaneously just a half hour apart from one another during the weekend of April 8 down in the Philly area, it was without a doubt a trip I would be making.

First stop was Great Philadelphia Comic Con in Oaks, PA. I did this show in 2016, and while combo prices are higher than most area shows, it’s an extremely stress-free environment and they bring in a wide, variety of celebrities.

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Bruce Boxleitner ~ The Tron and Babylon 5 star canceled his appearance at this show last year, so it was nice and overdue to finally meet him. We discussed a Hallmark movie he made several years ago – Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door – with Shelley Long, Patrick Duffy, and the late Patty Duke. The four television vets were a terrific ensemble.

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Paul Freeman ~ As a kid growing up in the 90s, there was no movie villain scarier than Ivan Ooze, the 6,000+ year old tyrant in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.

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Margaret Kerry ~ Being a bit of Disneyana collector as well, I couldn’t turn down the chance to meet Margaret, the model for Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. She also appeared in the iconic Christmas episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I also collected Alan Tudyk (Firefly; Dodgeball; and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Alan wasn’t posing for table photos, which kept his line moving at a quick and steady pace. I got him on a Dodgeball photo as Steve the Pirate.

If I wasn’t in such a hurry to get to Nostalgia Fest and then back home to work, I probably would have hung around this show a bit longer and maybe gotten some additional autographs and/or photo ops. Hopefully it is in the cards for 2018!!!

NJ Horror Con

On Saturday, April 1, I was very excited to take the short trip to Edison for the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival. I believe this was a first-time show, and for a first-time show to bring in as many names as they did, it was a nice surprise and put it on my watch list from the day it was announced. While it was far from the other NJ horror themed shows, NJ Horror Con provided a much more intimate atmosphere, and far friendlier pricing structures. Admission was $25, and table combos did not seem to exceed $30.

I had already met a number of these stars – Michael Berryman, Rick Hearst, Matthew Lillard, Tony Moran, and Sharon Smyth-Lentz. It was the contingency of Back to the Future cast members that caught my eye. I had all four of the BTTF stars sign my copy of Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History, and I also got 8x10s from each of them for the collection.

Donald Fullilove (Mayor Goldie Wilson, BTTF; Goldie Wilson III, BTTF II) ~ Don, decked out in Mayor Goldie paraphernalia signed an 8×10 of his campaign advertisement for me.

Ricky Dean Logan (Rafe ‘Data’ Unger, BTTF II) ~ Ricky has a new short film out – Back to the 2015 Future, featuring many of the BTTF stars and sets. I’ve embedded it below for your viewing pleasure.

Harry Waters, Jr. (Marvin Berry, BTTF and BTTF II) ~ Harry came in costume, which was a great surprise and made for a terrific photo op. One of my all-time favorites!!!

Jeffrey Weissman (George McFly, BTTF II and BTTF III) ~ Jeffrey had some great, rare behind-the-scenes candids on his table. It was really nice chatting with him about each one.

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Kristanna Loken ~ I managed to score a free photo op while I was chatting up this lovely lady, star of Terminator 3, and the show’s official photographer snapped this shot. My fellow 90s sitcom aficionados will remember her as Jennifer Bassett, later Minkus, on “Boy Meets World” and “Girl Meets World“.

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And last, but certainly not least, my good friend, Rick Hearst. Appearing at this horror con due to his Brain Damage credit, the General Hospital star and I enjoyed catching up throughout the afternoon.

Overall, this was a nice, fresh show bringing several new names to NJ’s convention scene. NJ Horror Con has another show slated for September, and I hope to attend once again.

William Daniels

When the Strand Book Store announced the March 2nd event featuring Emmy-winning actor William Daniels, the East Coast autograph collectors went gaga. Daniels, star of Boy Meets World, 1776, St. Elsewhere, and Knight Rider, would be signing copies of his new book, There I Go Again, as well as posing for photos and signing extra items. Daniels is an extremely tough meet on the east coast, so this was a huge deal for many of his fans. 200 of them to be exact.

While in line, I spotted Danny McNulty a little further up. He played Harley Keiner, the school bully on Boy Meets World and school janitor on Girl Meets World. He had tweeted earlier in the week he would be attending, so I went ahead a printed up an 8×10 for signing just in case I was able to spot him in the crowd. He graciously signed and posed for a photo, as well as taking a selfie of us on his own phone.

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Mr. Daniels seemed to be genuinely excited to be doing a meet & greet. His social media posts, whether actually written by him or dictated by him, indicated so. However, either he, his management, the book store, or a combination of the three greatly underestimated his popularity. Originally, the store limited the signing to 100 books sold. However, once that sold out, they released another 100 tickets. This concerned me, but I thought maybe a number of these 200 people wouldn’t show, or that several people would come touting multiple copies. All 200 showed and it proved to be too much for the 89-year old Daniels.

I’m not even sure the line had begun to move when the rules changed dramatically. First, the staff came out to announce he had seized doing posed photos, just candids while he was signing. Then prior to entering, they quietly added he would not be signing extras either.

When I got up to Daniels, the rules didn’t seem to be strictly enforced. His handler, actor Loren Lester, was soothing his qualms with each and every signature he begrudgingly signed. If you were lucky, he glanced up for the camera. He didn’t for my photos, but I’m happy with the one I got. Very similar to my Robert Wagner photo op from November.

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Once finished with Daniels, I noticed Bonnie Bartlett, who was off to the side, just wrapping up a conversation with McNulty. Bartlett has had her own storied career appearing alongside Daniels in both St. Elsewhere as Ellen Craig, and Boy Meets World as Dean Lila Bolander-Feeny. As McNulty stepped away, I swiftly stepped in with an 8×10 head shot and Sharpie in hand. I don’t think she said anything as she too begrudgingly signed, and she didn’t say anything when posing either, she just quickly flashed a smile for the camera. She is 87, and the evening was clearly taking a lot out of her as well. For attendees who couldn’t get Daniels, they were aiming to get the next best thing – his Emmy-winning wife.

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Daniels later said on social media, “Was truly overwhelmed with the amount of people who came to see me last night. Thank you for reading my stories. Thank you for coming.” The general consensus online seems to be blaming the Strand for what ended up being a poorly run signing. Daniels and Bartlett were clearly run down, unprepared, and misinformed about the number of tickets sold. Poor move on the Strand’s part to be taking advantage of an 89 and 87 year old. If they were my grandparents, I would have been appalled with their mistreatment. It was great meeting Daniels, Bartlett, and McNulty, but I cannot say I will be returning to or trusting the Strand in the future.

Eric Braeden

The soap opera fan in me was very happy when NJ staple Bookends announced the February 7th appearance of Eric Braeden – the iconic actor who portrays Victor Newman on The Young & the Restless. While I’m far from a regular Y&R viewer, everyone who watches a soap knows Victor Newman. And Braeden has made numerous blockbuster film appearances. He was Dr. Otto Hasslein in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) and John Jacob Astor IV in Titanic (1997).

I obtained a signed 8×10 from Braeden through the mail a few years ago, so this night I was only looking for a photo op, which he graciously did for each member of the crowd. He was seated for most of the night, but just before I got to him, he stood up, which I believe made for a better photo.

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Eric meets Eric!!!

As always, a huge thank you to Walter and the staff of Bookends for bringing in their first of what I am sure will be dozens of icons for 2017.

Ladies of General Hospital

A mere two months behind, but here’s the first report of 2017. On January 22nd, I attended my first event of the year – the Annual Ladies of General Hospital event down at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pt. Pleasant, NJ. Laura Wright has been putting this event together every year since 2013, and I’ve attended I believe 3 of them. This event was a nice change of pace as Laura brought in two new faces to Uncle Vinnie’s – Hayley Erin and Chloe Lanier, as well as a rare appearance from GH royalty, Miss Jacklyn Zeman.

The venue was not as crowded as it has been in past years, but it still took the girls a while to visit fans from table to table. They started the event with a mix and mingle, then went into a Q&A, and ended with group photo ops.

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Hayley Erin (Kiki) ~ I can’t say enough positive things about this lovely young lady. I’ve met her a handful of times, and she is an absolute angel. I think us being the same age has really forged that bond.

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Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie) ~ I just adore Jackie. I met her for the first time almost 10 years ago, and the effect has never worn off. I could sit and listen to her talk about her 40 years of being on GH all day.

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Laura Wright (Carly) ~ I’ve met Laura so many times that at this point, our encounters are so common, we don’t fawn all over each other. On the rare occasion I have a photo, she’ll sign it, but typically we just pose.

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Chloe Lanier (Nelle) ~ Only my second time meeting Chloe, she’s a doll. She remembers not just my first name, but my last name too!!! That’s quite impressive!!!

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And now for the coveted group photo. It’s no secret that I love being in the middle of the Ladies of GH. I’m happy to say that as of this writing, albiet being two months behind, I’ve already had it signed by 3 out of the 4.

As always, a huge thank you to Dino, Linda, Laura, Hayley, Chloe, and Jackie. There was no better way to kick off 2017 than with the lovely ladies of GH!!!