It’s hard to believe it has been over two weeks since I made my semi-annual, two-hour trek down to Cherry Hill, NJ for Monster-Mania Con, Philadelphia’s premier horror film & memorabilia convention. Definitely NJ’s most affordable show, the drive is worthwhile for prices alone. I usually hope to score at least five names, and with the addition early on of the Halloween 6 cast, there were five names alone guaranteeing my presence at the event. Any other additions would be a nice added bonus.
Headlining the show this time around was the iconic Robert Englund, star of course of the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. While I’ve never scored a photo op with Robert, I do have the autograph, so I opted to skip his long and slow moving line. Other guests included Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers (his “final” convention appearance), Ric Flair, Lee Majors, and Tara Reid, just to name a few, many of which I have already met and obtained autographs and photos.
When I arrived promptly at 10 AM, the main signing room was pretty bare, but the guests began trickling in not long after. My main wants, the cast of Halloween 6, had not yet arrived aside from George P. Wilbur, whom I met at a previous Monster-Mania Con.
At this point, the rest of the Halloween 6 cast had arrived, and I became one of their first customers. Having these cast members sitting together made it quite convenient for me, and it also enabled a lively chat and engagement between us all.
After I finished up with all my wants for the day, I walked by Adrienne Barbeau’s table and noticed she had an 8×10 that I’ve never seen her bring to any shows before – one from her deleted scenes in Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I just had to have it.
So in about an hour and a half’s time, I scored 8 names, 7 of which I had intended on, and found a nice surprise with that new Adrienne photo. The upcoming Monster-Mania show in October looks like a no-go for me, but I hope to make it back down to Cherry Hill in March for another great time!!!
On Sunday morning, I was able to sleep in for a little bit. It was much needed, but at the same time, I was excited for the Emme Rylan & Kirsten Storms event. My regular readers and followers will know how much I love these two and how close Kirsten and I have become over the years.
The girls’ event got off to a late start, roughly 45 minutes or so, but it was worth it. Emme & Kirsten are just so personable, no matter how many fans are at their events (this one had 100!!!), it seems like a private conversation. This event was also host to the best question I’ve heard all weekend – “Were the Cassadine Island scenes really filmed in Greece?” Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…
I took a little break for lunch and then went to my final event for the weekend – Kelly Monaco’s. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen Kelly, so I guess I had forgotten how different her fans in the respect that to them it’s all about Jasam versus Liason, and to me, GH is an ensemble show.
As I said, it has been a number of years, but Kelly remembered me, remembered my name, and even the proper spelling of it. She got a good laugh when I told her about the Cassadine Island question from Emme & Kirsten’s event and responded with, “Yeah, and I really survived a plane crash.” Kelly and I spent a lot of time together chatting, so much time in fact that I was holding her up, but she didn’t seem to care. Every time I went to walk away, she grabbed me and pulled me in for another comment. Not that she had ever really lost me, but Kelly has won me back over and I won’t be missing any more of her events.
There were a slew of other events on Sunday – Lexi Ainsworth, The Corinthos Brothers (Dominic Zamprogna, Chad Duell, & Bryan Craig), Michelle Stafford & Laura Wright, Bradford Anderson, and the Karaoke Event with Ryan Carnes, Sonya Eddy, Marc Anthony Samuel, and Parry Shen. But for me, after Kelly’s event, another successful GHFCW had come to a close.
Fewer events results in a smaller blog posting, but I hope what I have shared enlightens all GH fans to what an amazing cast the series has. I don’t know what the other soap casts are like (partly because they seldom make themselves available for the fans), but I can bet that they will never take as much time or interest in their fans as the GH cast does. All I can say is bring on GHFCW 2017!!!
And now is that time to wrap up by giving a heartfelt thanks to Debbie Morris, President of the GH Fan Club. Debbie has made so many sacrifices over the years for the sake of FCW, the fans, the cast, and the series overall. Being an Events Coordinator myself, I know it is no easy feat to put on an event to this caliber and have everyone walk away 100% satisfied. We strive for it, but we rarely get it. Debbie, however, is the exception. To bring the entire GH community together for 4 days is something she does tirelessly year after year. Thank you, Debbie. Also deserving of thanks and recognition are Debbie’s longtime right hands, she has a number of them, Michelle DeMoss, Claire Mullan, Lynna & Ron Strickland, and everyone else on her staff; illustrious photographers Jim Warren and Steven Bergman; the oh-so-lovely photo sales team of Maxine, Kimberly, Gail, and Kimistry; Debby & John O’Connor of YourNumberOneFan and CJ and Angela; Sheri Evans of SoapStarEvents; the staff at the Embassy Suites; my fellow fans; Frank Valentini; and of course, the amazing cast of General Hospital.
I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to prepare for the flagship FCW event, the Main Cast Event. Again, the attendance was significantly smaller than last year, I believe dropping down to 260.
As tradition would have it, the cast had quit a difficult time assembling themselves for the introductions. A new face, well old face really, took the role of emcee this year – the great Kin Shriner (Scott). 39 actors attended, with reportedly seven confirmed actors being no-shows. Donning his Bob Hope jacket, Kin humorously introduced his castmates to much fanfare. Stars in attendance were (in alphabetical order) Vinessa Antoine (Jordan), Maurice Benard (Sonny), Rebecca Budig (Hayden), Matt Cohen (Griffin), Bryan Craig (Morgan), John DeLuca (Aaron), William deVry (Julian), Risa Dorken (Amy), Michael Easton (Finn), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany), Hayley Erin (Kiki), Kathleen Gati (Obrecht), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), Roger Howarth (Franco), Wally Kurth (Ned), Chloe Lanier (Nelle), Jon Lindstrom (Kevin), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia), Eden McCoy (Josslyn), Kelly Monaco (Sam), Anthony Montgomery (Andre), Ryan Paevey (Nathan), Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Joe), Haley Pullos (Molly), Emme Rylan (Lulu), Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix), Brytni Sarpy (Valerie), Parry Shen (Brad), Michelle Stafford (Nina), Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and daughter Harper Rose Barash (Georgie), James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Donnell Turner (Curtis), Robert Palmer Watkins (Dillon), Hudson West (Jake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante), and lastly, the leader of the pack, Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
As opposed to doing a tradition Q&A, Kin asked one question – What did you do before joining GH? Each actor answered, many of the responses were quite comical, and then cue the chaos – the meet & greet. I only needed four of the attendees – Cohen, DeLuca, Montgomery, and Stuart. Montgomery bailed at the completion of the Q&A leaving me with just three names to get, an easy feat. Once I finished up with the new guys, it was off to see old favorites, all of whom were added bonuses at this point. It seemed like the cast had a variety of excuses for leaving early this year, so as the number of actors dwindled down, the remaining lines grew longer.
I had about an hour break to rest before my next event – Kin Shriner & Maura West. If there’s one event during GHFCW that will make you laugh so hard you nearly cry, it is this one. Following in his father’s footsteps, Kin is a comedian at heart, and Maura is the perfect comic foil. Celebrating his 39th anniversary with GH, there was no shortage of age jokes. The stories were great, the jokes were great, the fans were great, and the talent was great. Easily, my pick for the best event of the weekend, even though Kin went home with two of my Sharpie markers.
And while everyone else headed off to see Kathleen Gati and later to Michael Easton & Roger Howarth’s One Night Only event, I headed out to eat and wind down from another awesome day.
Friday is usually a day jam-packed with events, however, this year there were just six – Lisa LoCicero; Carolyn Hennesy; Tyler Christopher & Rebecca Budig; Vinessa Antoine & Donnell Turner; Nancy Lee Grahn; and the Country Western Party with Hayley Erin, Brytni Sarpy, & Robert Palmer Watkins. Not attending anything until Nancy’s event that night, I spent the day sightseeing.
Nancy held her Private Penthouse Party at the Hilton next door to the Embassy. The event was limited to 40 people, and she actually had to add an additional event for Saturday to meet the demand. The heat had taken its toll on me that day and I probably spent the first 45 minutes of her event curled up in a ball on the floor of the bedroom area. Thanks for the accommodations, Nancy!!! Once I had rejuvenated, I headed straight for the open bar Nancy was offering. Her costars at the Country Western Party who had to deal with me later that night would probably scold her for offering such an amenity.
After I left Nancy’s, I staggered back over to the Embassy for the Country Western Party. This event started late, so I only ended up missing the first 10 minutes or so. Originally slated to be hosted by Ryan Carnes, Hayley Erin, Brytni Sarpy, and Robert Palmer Watkins, Ryan backed out, and was replaced with my buddy, Marc Anthony Samuel. My dear friend Kirsten Storms came, not as a guest, but just to stand in the back and watch, so we were able to have some one-on-one time while everyone else enjoyed the event. I always love spending time with my self-proclaimed Twitter bestie and sister I never had.
I’m not sure that it hit me when I went upstairs to bed that I’d be up in a few hours and back downstairs for the granddaddy of them all, the Main Event…
Pretty much anyone who knows me knows that I have just returned from what my Twitter followers call the most annoying weeekend of my life, the annual General Hospital Fan Club Weekend, the time my Twitter timeline is filled with the pictures you are about to see below. This was our second year at the Embassy Suites in Glendale, with a few overflow events being held offsite at adjacent hotels and restaurants. There were 21 events this year, as well as two private events, which is pretty much the same as last year. I think I did a record low of seven events, but was able to see pretty much all of the actors over the course of the weekend.
The first event of the weekend was Thursday evening, aptly titled the Kick Off Cocktail Party. Technically, this event was not the real kick off, as William deVry & Ryan Paevey opted to host their event prior to it. When this event moved from Sportsmen’s to Embassy, actor attendance was slashed in half. Last year, just 11 stars came. This year was not much better with 12. The waiting game wasn’t that bad though and I was done by 9:20 (The event had begun promptly at 7:00). Attending stars were Risa Dorken (Amy), Chad Duell (Michael), Hayley Erin (Kiki), Chloe Lanier (Nelle), Eden McCoy (Josslyn), Lilly Melgar (Lily), Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix), Donnell Turner (Curtis), Robert Palmer Watkins (Dillon), Hudson West (Jake), Laura Wright (Carly), and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante). I’d be seeing Robert at his own event the following evening, so I skipped him, and walked away with five new actors, a nice dent in my needs for the weekend.
All in all, it was a successful evening and seeing the five new actors would be a nice sigh of relief come Saturday’s Main Event.
Part Three (