Tag Archives: Penguin

Notes From The Chiller Theatre Horror Convention 2013

30 Apr

April 30, 2013

This past weekend I went to the Chiller Theatre 2013 Horror Convention. This was my second year in a row and you can read about the 2012 con right here.

It was a total blast. I met and took pictures with Zacherle (The Cool Ghoul), John “Good Times” and “West Wing” Amos, Burt “Paulie from Rocky” Young, Jerry “The King” Lawlor, WWE icon, and Akira Takarada, more on him later. There were- literally- hundreds more guests, including The Monkees, Tia Carrera, and Jake Lamotta. Calling this a horror convention is very, very inaccurate.

A castle. Can you think of a better place to hold a horror convention than a hotel that looks like a castle?

A castle. Can you think of a better place to hold a horror convention than a hotel that looks like a castle?

I want to say at the outset that this was a ton of fun. The dealer’s rooms were huge and had tons of great stuff that I spent too much money on. The guests were all amazingly friendly and while it was very, very crowded, it was not too crowded to move.

I wrote all about the great time I had last year, so instead of repeat myself, I’ll present some of the odder things about the convention this year.

  • Jeremy Miller and Tracy Gold from Growing Pains were there signing autographs. They were the younger brother and sister on the show. Jeremy Miller has gone on to do pretty much nothing. Due to the setup of his area of the convention, I had to pass his table seven or eight times during the day. I never, not once saw him with a fan at his table. He was sitting next to Keith Coogan, best and only known from Adventures in Babysitting and Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. That guy had tons of fans. (BTW- he’s the grandson of Uncle Fester himself, Jackie Coogan.)
  • Tracy Gold had a pretty decent number of people stopping by her. And I have to say, I can see why. At 43 she looked great. I looked her up on imdb and she has not distinguished herself either, but I wouldn’t mind taking a picture with her… if it didn’t cost $20.
  • Across from the hot Tracy Gold (yes, I mean that) was Priscilla Barnes. She was in 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects but nothing else since. And as good as Tracy Gold looked, that’s how bad Priscilla Barnes looked. You might remember her from Three’s Company, but you wouldn’t recognize her here.  It isn’t that she is now 57, it is that her face looks like ground beef, three days old.
  • The saddest sight at the convention was Burt Young. He’s 72 and he appears to have had stroke. While he was signing, he didn’t seem to really be all there, and one eye looked blown out compared to the other. Later that night, Rocky and Rocky II were on cable. There was no comparison. Burt was not taking pictures, and I would have felt bad to ask him.
Photo Apr 27, 2 16 43 PM

Burt Young

  • I also would have felt bad to ask Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for a picture because for the second year in a row I am sure he was drunk. And sadly, he was not an invited guest, like “The King,” he and some other broken down wrestlers rented the table to sell autographs.  Brutus Beefcake was there, looking like a total a-hole.
  • Next in the total a-hole category was Todd Bridges, Willis from Different Strokes. He had an attitude of self-absorption and importance about him that was just wrong coming from someone whose claim to fame is being part of Gary Coleman’s catch phrase. (“Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout Willis?”) His substance abuse issues are legendary, and he was accompanied by his bodyguard/sober coach everywhere he went, even on a smoke break. In case you are interested, he devoured a whole box of Tastykake Cocoanut Juniors while we were there.
  • This brings me to a humorous but off-color bathroom anecdote. Hey kids, time to switch to Barney for a couple of minutes. When I went into the men’s room, the first person I passed on his way out was Todd Brides bodyguard/sober coach. I immediately panicked, envisioning Todd Bridges lighting up with Lorenzo Lamas somewhere. I hope he made it back in time. Anyway, while I was in there, someone walked in and loudly announced “I can’t use a urinal, my cock is so big I need a stall.” After an awkward pause, he apologized.
Tood Bridges and his bodyguard. Todd is soming what appears to be a regular cigarette.

Tood Bridges and his bodyguard. Todd is soming what appears to be a regular cigarette.

  • In The Monkees room, everyone was swarming around Mickey Dolenz while Peter Tork (Peter “The” Tork- who gets that reference?) sat all alone at an empty table. Despite being a huge fan of the Monkees, the whole thing felt very off and I left without taking a picture with them.
  • I would have taken a picture with Tia Carrera if she had not priced herself out of the market by charging $30 for a picture, which was $5 to $10 more than anyone else asked for.
  • While there far less people walking around in costumes this year, Batman and The Penguin returned from last year, and a guy dressed like a member of Kiss was walking around. Totally ruining the effect was the fact that he was walking around with his wife, who was pushing their baby around in a stroller.
The KISS Family Man

The KISS Family Man

Bring on 2014!


And speaking of horror and castle-themed hotels, we passed a Knight’s Inn on the way to the convention, and it looked like a condemned, filthy piece of hotel-like excrement. Check out Allan Keyes’ Knight’s Inn blog here.

A Tale of My Father: Black Friday

5 Dec

December 5, 2012

This is likely going to be the first of an occassional series of blogs about my father. He’s already turned up on bmj2k.com in Forget It, Jake. It’s Chinatown and in New York Minute 13: King Kong, among others. He was in his own lifetime a figure of, well, I would be stretching it to call it legend, but that isn’t all that far off the mark. The oddest things happened to him, like when he was recognized by a midget who worked in Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park decades before while on vacation in Las Vegas. There was the time he refused to let an 8-seat airplane he was on take off when Dad discovered that the airport runway ended at the lip of a sheer cliff. One of my favorite memories was when he talked a Waldbaum’s employee into giving Dad the hat off his head just because Dad could. (That became my fishing hat.)

Today’s Tale takes place in the early to mid 1970’s. I was a young Kid Blog and for the holidays I wanted toys, and not just any toys, but the hottest boys toys of the era: Mego figures.


These figures were cool than and they are still cool now and they go for big bucks. Back then they were the hot toys of the season. I had a lot of them, and I still have my Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, but I was a HUGE Batman fan and I didn’t have them.

Black Friday in the 70’s was just as insane as it is today, if not more so. Sears was advertising these Mego figures and their accessories for an outrageous price, something so low that I can only imagine, since my Dad was the last person in the world who would get up on Black Friday while the sun was still down and line up waiting for Sears to open. But for his first-born son he did it.

As the story was told to me by my father, when he got there, about an hour before the store opened, it was already surrounded by shoppers. Nearly all of them were women too. They were nuts. As the minutes passed and the opening hour approached, the crowd squeezed tighter and tighter, with the people in the front pressed into the glass storefront. Dad actually saw the glass starting to bow inward and he was sure the glass was about to shatter.

Soon an employee, who had to have drawn the short straw, came forward to open the doors and he couldn’t. The crowd was pressed so firmly against the doors that the lock would not turn due to all the pressure on it. Of course none of the women backed up, they just got more excited over the idea of the store opening and pushed harder. There were no barricades, no security guards, just rabid bargain-demanding shoppers and only a thin plate of glass keeping them back. 

Finally the doors unlocked and they flew, at almost sonic speed, inwards and the mob surged in. The guy unlocking the door was knocked over and trampled. Dad, who managed to get pretty close to the front, saw the tidal wave of people knock over mannequins, leap over displays, and toss tables aside. They fought with each other and tore things out of each other’s hands. It was an insane experience that Dad vowed never to repeat. They pushed, they shoved, the punched, they grabbed, they kicked.

And though I never asked how, Dad got me the figures, all of them: Batman, Robin, the Joker, Riddler, and The Penguin. Whenever he talked about that day he would get a look in his eye, like was back in the store, as if Dad was experiencing, in his own very small way, PTSD.

But whatever happened, not only did he get me the figures, he got out of there with the Batcopter and Batcave too.



That’s my Dad.

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