September 8, 2023

Live from the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

HUNT VALLEY, MD — One of the advantages to being retired (and there are many) is that, for perhaps the first time in my life, my time is my own. And so, rather than making a hectic, cramped flight to Baltimore followed by a long drive to the hotel, we made the longer (nine hours) but much more relaxing drive to Hunt Valley, home of the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention.  And, thanks to being able to bring far more in the car than one is able to cram into a couple of suitcases and carry-ons, I'm able to report to you for the first time live, more or less, on location, rather than waiting until a few days later.

As I'm writing this, it's the morning of day two of the convention, which started Thursday and wraps up tomorrow; it's been several years since we last attended MANC, but everything feels pretty much the same; the hotel is still inadequate and the air conditioning is only partly functional in the vendor rooms, which isn't all that welcome when the temperatures outside are hovering in the high 90s. (Thankfully, the convention will be moving to a new venue next year, with this hotel seeing the bulldozers). And even though our friends from past years aren't here this time (Carol, Jodie, Kevin: I'm counting on you to be here next year), it's like old-home week being back.

As proof of our attendance, I submit the following, never-before seen on this website:

Hal Linden (L) and Max Gail (R)

Tim Matheson

Diane Baker

We all know these people are actors, and used to dealing with the public. They're still just people, though, like you and me, and I don't think they ever get tired of people complimenting them on how much pleasure they've given you over the years. They were very nice and generous with their time, and each one had a few specific things to say based on whatever comments you'd made to them; for instance, Diane Baker appeared in the final episode of The Fugitive as the woman whom Dr. Richard Kimble presumably settles down with; I joked that we felt he was now in safe hands, and she went on to talk about what a good actor David Janssen was, what a nice man he was to work with, and how intelligent he was—check out some of his interviews on YouTube, she said, and see how articulate he is talking about various subjects. Hal Linden talked about how fortunate he'd been to work with Danny Arnold, who created Barney Miller, and how, as an independent producer, Arnold hadn't had to satisfy all the network suits during the development process. When Max Gail found out we'd driven nine hours to get here, he wished us a safe trip home. And Tim Matheson talked about how much fun it had been working on Animal House, and how smart it had been for the producers to set it as a period piece to make the humor all the more subversive. 

Bond girls Kristina Wayborn (L) and Mary Stavin (R)
Octopussy, prior to a showing of the movie

It's wonderful being in a place where you can go back in time for awhile without having to worry about what's going on outside, where you're hanging out with people who are interested in the same things you are and appreciate what you think; one of the vendors I spoke with said he'd had a customer who'd mentioned my presentation from a few years ago when I'd talked about TV Guide; he'd gotten into collecting them because of my talk. I wasn't presenting this year; we're here strictly as spectators, which is really the way to go because you get to see the celebrities, listen to the seminars and presentations, and hobnob with the vendors (and shell out some money while doing so, I might add). I'm hoping to be back doing something here in the next couple of years in conjunction with the book I'm finishing up, now, but in any event we'll be back, enjoying the benefits of retirement.

The convention continues through Saturday, so stop by if you're in the neighborhood. In the meantime, you'll excuse me, but there's a panel on What's My Line? to catch. . .

UPDATE: A look at some of the loot:

We went to MANC and got a lot more than a (not) lousy T-shirt!

Yes, we will see more TV Guides on the site next year!

The item on the right is a Rocky Soaky to go along with my Bullwinkle at home

And it's autographed, too!



  1. Oh, I would love to attend that What's My Line? panel.

    1. It was fun - they actually played a few rounds of the game, with a couple of people from the audience and their occupations, and then a couple of cosplay figures as the mystery guests. They're going to do it again next year, and I hope they have the bow ties and evening gowns, and everyone being called Mr. and Miss!

  2. Diane Baker improved the beauty and quality of every project she appeared in, from Mr. Novak to The Fugitive to Mission: Impossible - and of course the classic "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" from Night Gallery. - how great that you were able to meet her. Hope to hear about the rest of your experience there as well.

    1. And you know what? She's just as lovely today! Such a nice person!

  3. Looks like a lot of fun and what an honor to meet many of the actors who entertained us over the years. I picked up a few old TV Guides at an antique shop in Logan Ohio a few years ago. A snapshot of an era long gone.


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!