I got to meet a new friend, Jodie Peeler. You remember here; I interviewed her last month regarding her Dave Garroway biography project. We talked for two hours about Garroway and JFK and classic television, and then found out we also shared a passion for auto racing. Who knew? I can't wait to read that Garroway book, Jodie!
"Hitchcock Project" write-ups at bare-bones e-zine. Although we'd corresponded via email and the website, we'd never met before, and it was such a pleasant time talking television and other things over a pizza at California Pizza Kitchen.*
*And by the way, the manager could not have been nicer; he stopped at our table, as he did several, to make sure everything was all right. When he found out we were out-of-towners at a convention, he returned with certificates that could be used by other MANC attendees. And then he sent over a free dessert. Friends, if you've not been to California Pizza Kitchen before, treat yourselves.
I interviewed Carol Ford for her biography of Bob Crane, and that begat a warm friendship; Judie and I had dinner with her on Thursday, and it wasn't until they started turning off the lights in the restaurant that we figured it was time to get back to the hotel. And her parents are equally nice people; I don't know how things like this happen, but we've now been adopted into the family, which takes care of our vacation plans for next year.
Then there were the various vendors we talked with (who left with a good amount of our money), the presentations we heard (particularly those on the space program, OTR and the Great American Songbook, Rod Serling, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), the panel discussions with celebrities. Short version: Dawn Wells (Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island) is still very popular, as are Eric Estrada and Larry Wilcox, who had a CHiPs reunion on Friday; Aileen Quinn, who played Annie in the movie, is cute and charming; Shirley Jones is elegant and gracious; Cindy Williams is very funny; Tammy Locke (The Monroes) is very loud; Larry Storch is a real (F-) trooper; and Gary Conway sounds older but just like he did in Burke's Law. And that's not even mentioning the movie room, which ran for 24 hours the entire convention, with old TV shows and movies (mostly featuring the celebrities from the convention) and horror flicks all night.
Here are some additional photos from the 2017 scrapbook. Remember, a lot of these celebrities aren't going to be with us that much longer. If you're a fan of classic television, movies, and old time radio, treat yourself to coming out here one of these days. Martin does such a good job putting this together - it's fun, and more important it's a good place to be, if you know what I mean - it just radiates throughout the event. It feels - well, to me, it feels like home. And if you get the chance, try to make it next year, when I hope to be one of the speakers.