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October 2014: Chiller Theater!

27 Oct

October 27, 2014

I LOVE the Chiller Theater convention. Twice each year in Parsippany New Jersey, hundreds of actors, artists, wrestlers, former child stars, musicians, and yes, even people involved in horror movies, come together and, when you factor in the huge dealer area, you get a convention that is always fun. I’ve been going for five conventions in a row, and despite Parsippany being a little inconvenient (would it be that hard to hold it in NYC?) it is worth the trip.

Before I go on, let’s check in on Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. In past years, though I am sure, absolutely positive, (I say that from a CYA legal perspective) that he was stone cold sober, he gave every appearance of being drunk. Was he? I have no evidence but, if he or his lawyer is reading this, I’m sure he hasn’t had a drink since dyed his hair black and tagged with the Honky Tonk Man as Rhythm and Blues. Though he looks perpetually drunk.

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

So how does he look this year? Pretty much the same.

Hulk Hogan Fan Appreciation Day at Toyota Park - July 10, 2009

The only difference is that I got up close to him, walked right by him, and his face, while looking exactly the same, looks ridiculously heavy, as if his flesh and skin weigh far more than normal flesh and skin and is about to slough off his face. Years of hard living will do that.

Brutus Beefcake was there and he just looked sticky.

But there were high points aplenty this year.

100_0602 blogI met Joel “MST3K” Hodgeson and took a picture with him and Tom Servo, one of the show’s wisecracking robots. Joel Hodgeson may be the nicest guy I ever met at this convention. When I spoke, he listened and made eye contact. He didn’t try to rush anyone despite the long line. He said nice, positive things, smiled all the time, and was so sweet and earnest that I am sure he was out in the parking lot handing out tracts after the show.

True story: As I was entering the room where he was signing, we bumped into each other as he came out of the bathroom. This is now my second celebrity bathroom story.

Saarah and I also had a professional photo taken with Henry THE FONZ! Winkler. For a fee, you can have a professional photo taken with a celeb, with pro lighting and a pro taking the picture. I know from personal experience that Henry Winkler is a very nice man, very generous with his time, and he has a reputation for being good to his fans, so this experience struck me as odd and out of character.

There were about 20 people in line to take a picture with Winkler. The line moved ridiculously fast. When we got near the front, the assistant told us that, as soon as the guy ahead of us was finished, we should jump in and get ready for the picture. I was told that’s how he liked to work. I barely had time to put down the bag I was holding and get next to him. He stuck his hand out, I shook it, and I got five words into “this is a pleasure to-“ when Henry said “HIYAGLADGREATAKATAKA” and the director said “hold it!” and the picture was taken and we were shooed out. Seriously, maybe he had dental work, but though he was smiling a big, sincere smile,  his teeth never parted and he spoke so fast I really have no idea what he said. And it is too bad, since I have a “seven degrees of separation” sort of legit connection to but never got a chance to tell him.

After that, there was the usual assortment of Godzilla actors, Debbie Gibson, and the cast of Good Times and although I couldn’t get close to him, Jimmy Walker seemed to be having a ball. (And yes, he was wearing that silly J.J. Evans hat.)

We were here on Sunday, only the second time I didn’t make it on a Saturday. My only disappointment was that they ran out of Chiller glasses the day before. Every year, the convention sells a commemorative glass with a horror personality on it. In the past they had the likes of Lon Chaney Sr. from London After Midnight and Bela Lugosi from White Zombie. This year’s glass had Edgar Allan Poe, which I feel isn’t that big a deal. It isn’t hard to find Poe stuff. But if anyone would like to like to sell me one so I can keep my collection intact, drop me a note in the comments below. But being here on Sunday had one advantage- much less crowded.

The guest list changes for every convention so, with the exception of some wrestlers, Zacherly (the Cool Ghoul) and some indy guys from some Sherriff Joe film (WHY? Not impressive.), the lineup for the April 2015 show will be nearly 100% different. It is a different convention every year. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

You can read columns about past shows 1, here, 2, here, 3, here and 4, here.

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Arise, Pumpkins, Arise!: Rise of the Jack-o-Lanterns 2014

19 Oct

October 19, 2014

For the third year in a row, I went to the dark and spooky Old Westbury Gardens for the annual Rise of the Jack-o-Lanterns! This is where you walk through a dark country park with spooky music playing, all the while gawking at amazing pumpkins. It is always a lot of fun and this year, they made sure that the carvings were all new. In fact, all three years I’ve been there, they’ve changed it up every year. You can see pics from previous years here (Jack-o-Lantern Avengers) and here (Big Bang Theory pumpkins). Be on the lookout for some Modern Family pumpkins in this assortment.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Thanks to Allan Keyes for allowing me to use some of his pictures.

 

Another Night With John Newly

18 Oct

October 18, 2014

Strange Theremin music plays in the background.

Lying Awake with John Newly airs six nights a week from midnight to six am. Callers are welcome on the studio line, 1-800-463-WKAT, the international line by calling overseas operator 27, or the special “I’m calling from a UFO hotline,” 1-800-UFO -IGOT. And now, here’s John Newly.

Music fades out, show begins.

Good morning everyone, it’s after midnight and we’re Lying Awake. I’ve got a great show for you tonight. Out first guest will be Professor Victor Danzig to discuss his latest breakthrough in the field of animal thought transference and with him is Abbott Curry, who spent a week living the life of a chicken. Wow, that’s amazing stuff. Later on we’ll do some ghost hunting with Peter Blake and we’ll also talk to a man who claims that sunspots can sure acne. But first, I’ll be taking your calls right after these messages.

Commercial for WKAT 463 am radio’s listener anti-bullying Old Western Cook-Out and Jamboree, sponsored by Mike’s Meat.

Commercial for John Newly’s new book, The Psychic Way to a Clean Colon.

Promo for the WKAT afternoon drive program, Jo-Jo and the Spot.

We’re back and my producer Fast Eddie tells me that we’ll have to reschedule ghost hunter Peter Blake for another night. Apparently he’s having phone troubles. But that just means we’ll have more time for your calls. It’s a quarter past the hour and our first caller is Pete from Tampa Florida. Welcome to Lying Awake, Pete.

-Hello?

Hi Pete, go ahead, you’re on the air.

-I have a question for the chicken man.

He’ll be on later in the hour, be sure to call in again. Next up, let’s try the international line. Hello, who do we have?

-Hi, my name is Louis. I’m calling from France but I’m originally from The United States. Hello?

I’m here, what’s on your mind?

-Well, back when I was a kid, we had these things we called straws, only they weren’t straws, they were like these things we rolled up. I lived on a farm. Well, we had these straws which you made by rolling up like a shoot of wheat.

Uh huh.

-But it didn’t have to be wheat, it could be barley or corn leaves, or whatever, and we’d chew on them, like out of the corner of our mouths, you know, like a straw, all rolled up?

I think we can all picture it Louis.

-So I’m wondering, like you know how you hear all about GMO’s nowadays? I’m wondering if maybe all those straws I put in my mouth maybe had the GMO stuff in them and gave me mouth cancer? 

What did your doctor say?

- Well has says I don’t have any cancer in my mouth, but you know, I’m worried. I’m 84 an what if one day I get the mouth cancer?

Only your doctor can prescribe a course of treatment, but I always believe in the power of positive thought. Just imagine that you don’t have mouth cancer and I bet you won’t get it. We’ll be back with Professor Victor Danzig and Abbott Curry, who lived as a chicken for an entire week, right after this.

how-to-buy-live-chicken_WidePlayer

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