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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.

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Rhode Island Comic Con 2016

Having attended RICC’s first three shows, missing just the fourth one, I thought I was due for a reappearance in 2016. This show is crazy, attendees run around like chickens with their heads cut off, but I f***ing love it. They always book that odd ensemble of guests that makes it great for autograph collectors. It’s a little pricier, but if you stay away from the stars in the main room, you can leave the show with a nice haul and a ton of table photo ops.

Having purchased my ticket just a few days earlier, I was able to bypass the line wrapped around the convention center and go right inside to the box office. Instead of then having to go back outside with ticket in hand and waiting in line, DDC staffers allowed us to go right inside the show. It was a nice little blip in the system.

After learning all of the big names were in the Dunkin Donuts Center, and everyone else was in the convention center, I headed into there. Mostly everyone was at their tables, and if they weren’t, they were trickling in at a steady pace.

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Mena Suvari ~ Mena was part of a nice little American Pie reunion lineup along with Shannon Elizabeth, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Tara Reid. Having already seen Shannon and Tara, I just needed her and Thomas. Mena was a sweetheart, and I believe this was one of her first convention appearances.

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Gil Gerard ~ The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century star is no stranger to the convention circuit, and I’ve seen him around before, but I recently discovered an old TV movie of his – International Airport – that I wanted to discuss with him. Gil had forgotten about it at first, but was glad I brought it up. He fondly recalled it.

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Thomas Ian Nicholas ~ Keeping up with the consistency of meeting his American Pie costars, I naturally got a signed 8×10 of him as Kevin. However, he was also in Halloween: Resurrection, so I brought along a screen grab of him as Bill Woodlake to sign as well.

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Brent Spiner ~ Hard to believe it’s taken me so many years to finally meet this convention regular. As many of my wants for this show had canceled, I splurged a bit and got Brent on 8x10s from both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Independence Day. He also fondly recalled his time filming Out to Sea.

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Nolan North ~ I’ll be the first to admit I doubted Nolan’s popularity greatly. To me, he’s Dr. Chris Ramsey from Port Charles and General Hospital, but to convention goers, he’s a huge video game voicover artist. He wasn’t even at his table yet when I got in his line, but when I realized how long it already was, I jumped right on it. I’d say the wait was for nearly an hour long. Never saw that coming. In the end, Nolan was great and loved that I had a Port Charles photo for him to sign.

In addition to the above, I also scored some signatures, but no photo ops from William Zabka and Michael Bell. For Zabka, I printed up a still from 1985’s European Vacation. He was floored that I had this photo. A convention regular, he has never signed one before. For Bell, I brought along a DVD from a movie in which he had a small role, 1977’s Rollercoaster. While he didn’t have a big part in the movie, his signature looks beautiful on my DVD cover.

Overall, it was a great show and it was nice to return to my former residence of Providence, Rhode Island. I wish there had been a few more guests that I needed to see, but fingers crossed, next year’s lineup will be even better and I’ll once again make the trek up there.

Exxxotica Expo 2016

The fall is always a busy time for me event wise, so I apologize for it taking me some time to update the blog. The week following the big Chiller Theatre Expo, I drove down to the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison for Exxxotica 2016. I’ve never attended this event before, but my friend attends annually and he often says how low the combo prices are.

When I arrived, most of the stars I needed were doing a panel discussion, so I killed some time by taking in the sights, and damn, there were a lot. A lot of people who have since seen my photos from this show asked me about, and I all told them the same thing. You need to attend just once in your life. You will never see anything else like it. Men and women. Young and old. All shapes and sizes. White collar. Blue collar. And the 40something gamers that live in Mom’s basement. It really is a sight to see.

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Mia Malkova ~ Mia wasn’t an initial want of mine, but what can I say? I’ve always had a weakness for blondes.

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Tanya Tate ~ The British thing never really did it for me, but Tanya’s Instagram photos are worth a lot more than a “like”.

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Julia Ann ~ My favorite industry MILF, Julia Ann was actually quite reserved and her 8x10s not nearly as provocative as the other attendees’.

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Abella Danger ~ I heard someone say, “There isn’t a thing that girl wouldn’t do,” and I have to agree with that. There wasn’t a pose Abella wouldn’t do, she took her time with everyone, and thoroughly enjoyed the time with her fans.

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Keisha Grey ~ I didn’t realize Keisha was attending, but luckily she was at the table next to Abella, so when I caught a glimpse of her, I went right over.

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Lexi Belle ~ I don’t know what it is about Lexi, but she’s always been a favorite of mine, regardless of her hair color. She was a sweetheart and I’m surprised she didn’t have a longer line. We both hope to get her friend Ash Hollywood at the next one.

I went to see four stars – Julia Ann, Lexi Belle, Abella Danger, and Tanya Tate – and ended up with two extras – Keisha Grey and Mia Malkova – so it was definitely worth sitting in traffic and making my trip a lot longer than it should have been. I keep telling people Exxxotica is something you must experience once in your lifetime, but I’m already thinking of making it a two-time experience.

Chiller Theatre Halloween Spooktacular 2016

On Friday night, I attended my 14th Chiller Theatre Expo (I’ve missed just one since I began attending in 2009). It’s hard to believe there are now 14 in the books and that I’m a seasoned veteran, especially since I know there are folks out there who have been to 3x, even 4x more than I have. These intrepid fans are the real inspiration for attending. To think about just how many great stars the Chiller fans have had access to since 1990.

The evening started off on a bit of a sad note as longtime Chiller mascot, John Zacherle aka Zacherley the Cool Ghoul, had passed away peacefully the night before at the age of 98. While Zacherley was in everyone’s hearts throughout the weekend, there was still that never-ending buzz of excitement throughout the halls of Sheraton Parsippany. A rare appearance from Tim Curry, the return of Meat Loaf, Tony Orlando and Dawn together again, a Jaws 2 reunion, everyone’s favorite Jeannie – Barbara Eden, and a slew of TV and movie stars to span the decades.

I walked in the door a minute or two past 5, and began in the Skylands Suite. RK Sports Promotions had brought in three of my wants – Sasha Mitchell, Sonny Shroyer, and Dawn Wells, and I successfully banged out the three of them in around 15 minutes time. By the time I had finished with them, Ted Lange had arrived, and I crossed yet another name off my list. Despite pretty much being a “B-Lister” room, I think there were more household names in here than there were in the Living Room, and far more business transactions. All of the celebrities seemed to consistently have a customer in front of them.

Sasha Mitchell ~ Another add to my Dallas collection, Sasha not only appeared as James Beaumont on the legendary primetime drama, but my generation will remember him as Cody Lambert on Step By Step.

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Dawn Wells ~ There are very few stars who could come to Chiller year after year and I would line up for them and drop money on their table each time. Gilligan’s Island star Dawn is one of them, even though I was always Team Ginger. This time around, I got an 8×10 and had her sign my copy of her first book, Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook.

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Sonny Shroyer ~ May God bless this Dukes of Hazzard star. 81 years young and had the most energy out of all the stars I met that night. Sonny came in costume as Deputy Enos Strate, right down to his original screen-worn hat. Back when I met his costar and fellow deputy Rick Hurst, we did an arrest photo, and Sonny was happy to oblige when I asked him for the same. He exclaimed, “I caught myself one of those Duke boys!!!”

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Ted Lange ~ Prior to the announcement that Love Boat star Ted would be attending the show, I had a conversation with someone about wanting to meet him and get an “Isaac” photo op, right down to the hand gesture. Well the dream came true when I finally got to meet your ship’s bartender.

I then moved onto the Livingston Room where the cast of Jaws 2 had taken up shop for the weekend. Other than Tim Curry, I wasn’t really looking forward to this Chiller. The guest lineup was lackluster, and while I always needed a good batch of name, none of them really excited me…until they added the Jaws 2 cast. One of my favorite movies, being able to see six of the cast members in one shot really made the 30 minute drive worth it for me. I was a little surprised with their pricing structure, $40 combos, but I bit the bullet and got them all.

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G. Thomas Dunlop (Timmy Weldon) ~ Tom was much like his character, kind and soft-spoken. Tom and the majority of the cast is still fairly new at doing conventions, so they’re still getting used to interacting with us fans, especially those of us who start spewing dialogue at them. Yes, I am guilty as charged.

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Gary Springer (Andy Nicholas) ~ One of the last guests to be added to the Chiller lineup, Gary was my favorite of the Jaws 2 ensemble. Aside from Murray Hamilton’s Mayor Vaughn, Gary’s Andy was my favorite character in the movie. And he didn’t even need me to quote dialogue before scribbling “Goddammit, listen to me!” on my photo.

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Gigi Vorgan (Brooke Peters) ~ Gigi had some beautiful, rare photos from the movie on her table. It was hard to pick one, but with her help, I made a decision and am extremely happy with it.

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Billy Van Zandt (Bob) ~ I’ve met this man’s lovely wife, Adrienne Barbeau, on many occasions, and I have always begged her to bring Billy to a show with her. Well he finally made it, and had a great headshot from the movie that he signed for me.

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Donna Wilkes (Jackie Peters) ~ Donna is a frequent Chiller attendee and I got a combo from her a few years back. However, I couldn’t leave the reunion without getting an updated photo op, which I like much more than our previous one.

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Ben Marley (Patrick) ~ Last, but certainly not least, was Ben Marley. Unfortunately, he had no photos from the movie on his table. Perhaps because he barely even had audible dialogue, but it was nice to meet him and add him to the collection.

I made a brief pit stop in the Morris Room to obtain some signatures for my buddy Wayne. He needed a slew of Bobby Rydell signatures, as well as May Pang.

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Bobby Rydell ~ The former teen idol appeared alongside Wayne’s favorite actress, Ann-Margret in Bye Bye Birdie, so he naturally had many photos from the movie needing Bobby’s signature. He graciously signed them all and posed for a photo.

The only guest I needed in the Living Room was Academy Award winning actor Martin Landau. Despite being a repeat guest, Landau had a reasonably sized line. After all, he is a living legend. The majority of the guests in the Living Room had absolutely no lines, and it seemed like most vacated their tables fairly early on in the evening.

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Martin Landau ~ The award winning actor has appeared in North by Northwest, Mission: Impossible, Space: 1999, and Ed Wood, just to name a few. The rarity I remember him best in however, is The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, the 1981 pilot for a revival of the 1963 sitcom. We laughed about the time I bummed a cigarette from him when I was 17 years old. He quietly said, “You must be 22 now. That was five years ago.” He has proudly since quit smoking, as have I.

At this point, I circled back through the hotel to get anyone who hadn’t been at their tables during my first spin around the block. Tonya Pinkins in the Skylands Suite, Telma Hopkins in the Randolph Room, and back to the Living Room for my main man, Caroll Spinney, who makes frequent appearances on this blog.

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Tonya Pinkins ~ While I remember her for her long-running role as lawyer Livia Frye Cudahy on All My Children, Tonya is now known to TV viewers as Ethel Peabody on Gotham. A special thanks to Matt Beckoff for bringing Tonya in this weekend.

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Telma Hopkins ~ A third of the pop music group Tony Orlando and Dawn, Telma spent her birthday meeting and greeting fans alongside Tony Orlando and Joyce Vincent. Growing up, Family Matters was always on in our house. Aside from Steve Urkel, my favorite character was Aunt Rachel, played naturally by Telma Hopkins, who was also a series regular on Bosom Buddies and Gimme a Break! Telma was an absolute doll, and I could have spent all night chatting with her. And for the record, she’s a great hugger.

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Caroll Spinney ~ My regular readers will know that whenever I see Caroll, the icon who brings Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life on Sesame Street, the least I will do is get a new photo op. That’s all I got this time around, and his lovely wife Deb joined us. As a side note, my dad would like to know who the genius was who sat Caroll next to Traci Lords…

At some point, can’t remember exactly when, I lined up for the exclusive Tim Curry photo op. Tim was taking his time interacting with everyone, but the line still moved relatively fast and I believe I was done in about 30 minutes. I think the most frustration stemmed from the extremely long wait time for prints to be made ready for pickup. I think everyone waited at least 2 hours for their photos to come out. Tim had finished and gone back up to his room an hour before my photo finally came out of the printer. I’ve been to many shows where prints are available by the time you exit the photo area. Why this operation, helmed by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory star Paris Themmen, is so far behind on the times, I have no idea, but Paris handled the crowd like a real pro. I guess it’s just hard for anyone to be mad at Mike Teevee.

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The legendary Tim Curry ~ His career literally spans the decades. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue, Stephen King’s It, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and The Wild Thornberries, just to name a few. As many people know, Tim had a debilitating stroke a few years back, allowing for him to only do photo ops at this show, no autographs. As I said, he was quite talkative with the fans. I sat down next to him and said, “I could smell you getting off the elevator. You was here last night too, wasn’t ya?”He grabbed my hand and we began reciting dialogue from a certain scene in Home Alone 2 (see the link to the scene below). Tim was waiting for me to continue our “scene” when they snapped the photo, hence why he is looking at me, as opposed to the camera.

At the end of the night, I had some time to kill while I waited for the print of my photo op. Cue the impulse buying. I obtained Kyle Labine and Kristy McNichol before the night was through, as well as laying down some money for a few vintage autographs in the Vendors Room.

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Kyle Labine ~ As all of my regular readers know, I am a big fan of the Halloween franchise and try collecting 8x10s from everyone associated with the films. While his role in Halloween: Resurrection was extremely small (he didn’t even have a name), Kyle had a great 8×10 from the movie on his table that I just had to have. He even added a line of dialogue!

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Kristy McNichol ~ And last up for this year’s Chiller was the lovely Kristy McNichol, star of the sitcom Empty Nest. Kristy attends Chiller often, but at my mother’s urging, I finally bit the bullet and added her to the collection. She signed a nice Empty Nest cast photo for me.

Before I wrap up, I want to say how great it was seeing Mr. Chiller, Kevin Clement, back at the reign this year. We’re all extremely happy to see him “home” where he belongs. I look forward to attending the Chiller show every six months, and he’s the man to thank for it. And now I impatiently await the next one and the day the guest list starts appearing online…

Monster-Mania Con 34

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.

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Curtis Armstrong ~ A draw for his work in the Revenge of the Nerds film series, Moonlighting, Risky Business, and more recently Supernatural, Curtis and I chatted about a lesser known 90s film he appeared in, Big Bully with Rick Moranis, Tom Arnold, Julianne Phillips, and Don Knotts.

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Amanda Bearse ~ Horror shows book her for her role in Fright Night, but it’s her long-running role on Married…with Children that draws the fans to her. Amanda actually did one of the smartest things I’ve ever seen in my years attending shows. She had a tall, stationary fan to her table that she used to dry photos after signing. With the humidity levels so high that weekend, it was a very smart move.

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.

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Devin Gardner ~ Danny Strode in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Marianne Hagan ~ Kara Strode in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Susan Swift ~ Nurse Mary in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

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J.C. Brandy ~ Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Mariah O’Brien ~ Beth in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

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.

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Adrienne Barbeau ~ I’ve met Adrienne a bunch of times, and really, how could one ever pass up seeing her? She’s a natural fan favorite, and she has a lengthy list of credits and roles that she is recognizable for – Maude, The Fog, Escape from New York, The Cannonball Run, Batman: The Animated Series, Carnivale, and General Hospital.

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!!!