Rhode Island Comic Con 2013
Earlier today, I woke up extremely early for a college student on a Saturday, put on my Cesar Romero t-shirt, hit up the ATM, and attended the second annual Rhode Island Comic Con held just down the road from where my dorm building is. The admissions process was a lot more organized and ran much smoother than it did last year. The biggest problem at this year’s show was the number of guests who unfortunately had to cancel due to yesterday’s tragic shooting at LAX Airport. Nichelle Nichols, Julie Newmar, & Dan Haggerty, all of whom I needed, were no-shows today, so I used that money on some other things.
First up for me was legendary voiceover artist Alan Oppenheimer known to most as the voice of Skeletor. However, I know Alan for his role of Mayor Alvin Tutweiler on the classic sitcom Mama’s Family, newly released on DVD. Alan, whose flight had only made it out of LAX just hours before the shooting, fondly recalled his time working with Betty White.
Just as I was inquiring about her ETA, the always stunning Leslie Easterbrook, best known as Callahan in the Police Academy franchise, arrived and went over to great her onetime Police Academy 5 costar, James Hampton. I was Leslie’s first customer of the day, so I patiently waited and chatted away with her while she unpacked the plethora of photographs she had brought along. From Laverne & Shirley to Police Academy to Ryan’s Hope to The Devil’s Rejects, Leslie had photos from nearly every aspect of her career. We chatted about mutual friends, other autograph shows, and her 97 year old Police Academy costar, George Gaynes, who she reports is doing well.
As I was at Leslie’s table, I snapped a photo of her neighbor, F Troop star Larry Storch. I see the 90 year old Storch quite often at these shows and many fans in attendance are quite frankly shocked he’s still alive.
I then went down the line to James Hampton, a well known character actor who has appeared in countless movies and television shows. Clearly not well, Hampton’s wife, actress Mary Deese, offered him a lot of support and care.
In attendance this weekend was the cast of Weekend at Bernie’s. While I had already met Terry Kiser & Andrew McCarthy, I still needed Jonathan Silverman to complete my cast signed 8×10. Silverman also appeared in These Old Broads, a film starring Hollywood legends Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, Shirley MacLaine, & Peter Graves.
Having been a child of the 90s, I grew up with the Power Rangers. And not the posers that are on now, but the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In attendance along with most of the cast this weekend were Paul Schrier & Jason Narvy, still very recognizable as their roles of Bulk & Skull, who provided most of the comedic relief in the series. They provided most of the comedic relief of today’s show as well, and if I didn’t know better, came in character.
I then went over to Rhode Island’s very own, Richard Hatch, winner of Survivor: Borneo.
Last up were the show’s headlining guests, the original Batman & Robin, Adam West & Burt Ward. My photo op with Adam & Burt was actually stolen off the photo ops table most like by a member of the gallery of dastardly villains. No problem though as they printed out another 8×10 for me with no questions asked. Unfortunately, the thefts at autograph shows are increasing rapidly. People will steal these photo ops and then most likely Photoshop themselves onto my body. At HorrorHound, I saw poster tubes disappear into thin air and at General Hospital Weekend, 50th Anniversary books were being stolen left and right, but this is the first time anything happened to me.
Overall, this year’s show was very good. Prices for autographs & photos were very economic friendly with everyone, except for the 5-6 headliners, charging only $20. I also had the chance to catch up with past convention friends John Amos, Dana Barron, James Tolkan, & Claudia Wells, as well as game show aficionado Fred Wostbrock, Adam’s West agent and a fellow Waldwick native.