Archive | March 2016

Patty Duke (1946-2016)

This one hit me hard in the gut. Perhaps it was because she was after all the great Patty Duke. Maybe it was because she was only 69. But I think it was mainly because I selfishly yearned to see her again.

Winning the Academy Award for The Miracle Worker at just age 16, Duke would later receive her own series, appropriately titled The Patty Duke Show. Other significant roles included The Valley of the Dolls and a slew of TV movies earning her three Emmys, and two Golden Globes.

I met Patty twice over the years, both at the Chiller Theatre Expo. First in 2010 and again in 2013. Every tweet, comment, or statement her friends and colleagues are giving is the truth. She was everything you would imagine her to be. A dedicated wife, a proud mother and grandmother, and after witnessing a moment between her and John Astin, I would say a cordial ex-wife.

Duke, Patty (1)

Let’s be clear on one thing, Patty was not this tall. I was crouching down quite a bit, something she often had to be done by the kids and grandkids in her family photos.

Typically, I only see a star once and that’s it, but Patty made such a positive impression in 2010, I lined up for her again when she returned in 2013. It was like seeing an old friend. She loved to hug her friends, and damn, did she give great hugs.

Duke, Patty (2)

Let’s be clear on one thing, Patty was not this tall. I was crouching down quite a bit, something she often had to be done by the kids and grandkids in her family photos.

And I guess, sadly, that’s all she wrote. Ironically, I found a copy of one of her old LPs and had it on standby for when I’d see her again. Oh well, grateful for the moments we had, and for the decades of enjoyment she provided her fans.Rest in Peace, Patty.

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Monster-Mania Con 33

With a new job and appreciating the weekends now more than ever, I wasn’t sure I would take the two hour ride down to Cherry Hill for Monster-Mania Con 33. Inevitably, I did chose to go down on Saturday morning. The lineup for this show fluctuated a lot, and there were many cancellations and late add-ons. I went down for four names, and ended up getting five. The prices at this show are usually much lower than northern NJ shows, so it makes the drive and time spent well worth it.

The headliner was Scream and Scooby Doo star Matthew Lillard, but I got him at Monster-Mania Con 32, so I gladly skipped him and his mile-long line. Sarah Wayne Callies of The Walking Dead had a huge line, and so did Nightmare on Elm Street scream queen Heather Langenkamp. I have yet to watch an episode of The Walking Dead, so that entire entourage of actors means nothing to me, as did the gang from The Lost Boys. With the show centered around these mini-reunions, it was an easy in and out for me from the get-go.

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Robert Carradine ~ I started off with Mr. Robert Carradine, a highly likable actor who played the role of Lewis Skolnick in the Revenge of the Nerds film series. To my generation, he was Hilary Duff’s father, Sam McGuire, on Lizzie McGuire. Involved in a very serious car accident one year ago, I believe this was Carradine’s first appearance marking a very successful recovery.

 

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Abraham Benrubi ~ For 15 years, Benrubi played the role of Jerry Markovic, County General’s unique desk clerk on ER, one of my favorite shows. Abraham was such a great guy, and really, I could have met just him and said the trip down to Cherry Hill was well worth it. He took so much time with me, and we got to chat about ER, which I really enjoyed because so few of his costars are out on the circuit.

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Alexandra Breckenridge ~ How could I drive all the way to Cherry Hill and not have my picture taken with a beautiful lady? Alexandra was my choice of the ladies this particular day, despite having never seen an episode of The Walking Dead or American Horror Story. And let’s just take a moment to admire that awesome t-shirt her husband brought her back from China.

 

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Tony Todd ~ No stranger to the autograph circuit, somehow this was the first time I’ve met Tony. It was worth the wait. He was very down to earth and took time with everyone. And he is a great storyteller. For someone who was fired from the soap opera Loving for asking too many questions, I think he turned out to be a pretty damn good actor.

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Danny Trejo ~ The longest wait of the day was for the ultimate movie bad ass Danny Trejo. Danny actually moved very quick through the large corral of fans, but everyone’s entitled to a lunch break. We were all quite taken aback at how tiny he really his, but still quite intimidating.

And fairly quickly, another Monster-Mania Con had come to a close for me and I soon found myself with plenty of money leftover and enjoying lunch down the road at the Cracker Barrel. It’s still too soon to know if I will be at the August show, but fingers crossed!!!

Laura Prepon

A little late to the game on this one, but on Thursday, March 3, I made a regular visit to my favorite store, the NJ staple Bookends, for another great author signing. This evening’s special guest was Laura Prepon, leading lady fromĀ Orange Is the New Black and That ’70s Show.

Photos were guaranteed and the number of books sold capped to 300, so I reserved a copy of The Stash Plan in advance, something I seldom do. I arrived around 5-ish, the event began at 7. Laura arrived early, at 6, signed all of the books upstairs and then came downstairs promptly at 7 to begin posing for photos. Her co-author, Elizabeth Troy signed and distributed the books, and then we went over to Laura, who posed for lovely photo ops, a really nice touch. They had announced Laura would not sign any extra memorabilia, but I noticed that she did anyway.

Prepon, Laura

I told Laura that I would be captioning this photo as “Eric Meets Donna,” a nod to her That ’70s Show pairing with Topher Grace’s Eric Foreman character.

The event was one of the best Bookends has ever had, and the attendees, I believe there were 200, all seemed to be very happy. I was in line with some OITNB fans who had traveled two hours, and I’m sure they were not the only ones. Instagram was flooded with all of the awesome photo ops Laura did.

As always, a huge thank you to Walter and the staff at Bookends. This was a terrific production.