Well, yesterday was Day One of Anaheim’s “Comic Con Junior” known as WonderCon, and it was a lot of fun…without the crowds or chaos that is Comic Con San Diego (not that I don’t love it, mind you…).
First, I plan to include all the pics and graphics on the full recap (to be published Tuesday or Weds at the very latest), so this is just a word picture summary:
I put on my Fred Flintstone costume and was leaving our hotel (the Marriott Residence Inn; highly recommended!) when I ran into a cast member of my favorite online fan series, “Star Trek Continues”; Cat Roberts, who plays “Lt. Palmer” on the show. She’d just pulled up with her husband & kids in a Jurassic World style jeep (very geek chic, by the way…) as she said from the car window, “You’re a friend of Gaz’s, right?” And I replied, “And you’re Cat Roberts” (we’d met before, briefly, at other conventions). In fact, I’d just gotten an email from Gaz (a longtime online friend of mine) that very morning, asking me to say ‘hi’ if I ran into her! Coincidence much? She got out of the car, we talked briefly, and I took a ‘proof’ picture for Gaz to show that I had, indeed, ran into her at WonderCon. It was one of rare, funny little convention coincidences…
So, I then head on out to the convention (in my uncomfortable-as-hell sandals; part of the Fred cosplay, I’m afraid…) and made my way to the “Star Trek: The Next 50 Years” panel up in Room 207. The panel was a blast; the always animated Scott Mantz (“Access Hollywood” film critic and Trekkie-extraordinaire) and author/screenwriter/producer Mark Altman (“Free Enterprise” “Star Trek: The 50 Year Mission” “Geek” magazine) got into their usual entertaining repartee about which Treks were the best/worst, etc. along with authors Ed Gross (Altman’s longtime collaborator) and Daren Dochterman (visual FX producer, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” director’s cut) who also provided a lot of observations about the franchise. There was also some cautious and guarded optimism regarding the new series “Star Trek Discovery” coming to CBS All Access streaming later this year. An announcement was made about the casting of “The Office” actor Rain Wilson as original series’ villain Harry Mudd; this drew mixed reaction as well. During the panel, Mark Altman actually recognized me (in my Fred suit) in the crowd and asked me, and a “Greatest American Hero” cosplayer, to stand up. A little moment of unexpected recognition (I guess one might expect that sort of thing walking around in a bright orange cave dress with a turquoise tie…). Fun panel, had a great time.
After that, I strolled around the large dealer hall. I then met Janet Leigh’s double on “Psycho”, model/actress Marli Renfro, and bought her autographed book about her time making the film, as well as her long and colorful life as a Playboy bunny (one of the first). She also talked about her involvement in making a student film with a very young Francis Ford Coppola (!!). Sweet lady, she was. We talked for a good 10-15 minutes. She actually initiated our conversation when she called me over to see my Fred Flinststone costume (that costume is one hell of an icebreaker, let me tell you…). She was a lovely lady, and it was nice talking to her (happy birthday once again, Marli!).
I then rounded a corner and caught up with my wife, who was off doing her thing; she wanted to show me a “Walking Dead” parody artwork called “The Walking Fred”, featuring a zombified version of The Flintstones; it was too perfect. We later went to the “Obscure Comix” booth where she’d gotten it from, and they loved my costume so much they gave me a pro bono Yabba Dabba Do button! Not to sound like a skipping LP, but you really do tend to meet the nicer side of humanity at sci-fi conventions, that is the honest truth. It’s like finding your tribe, as I always say.
Walked around the convention in the Fred suit for a bit longer, posed for a few pictures here and there (took a few as well), then went back to the hotel to change back into ‘civilian clothes’, eat, recharge my batteries for a bit, and head back.
Around 5:30 I walked back relatively incognito this time (even with my glasses on, I still had one guy recognize me as Fred Flintstone; too funny…), and took a closer look at the Dealer Hall. I revisited a mockup of the Star Trek USS Enterprise bridge (which I’d vesited earlier in my Fred suit…and without my glasses, I was blind as a bat). Glad I did too, because Nichelle Nichols (“Lt. Uhura” herself!) was signing autographs! I’d seen and met her a few times at previous conventions, but I had to get a pic of this: Uhura herself, right in front of the bridge, with mannequins of Spock and McCoy in the background (!). I will post that pic on this blog really soon…
I later ran into Margaret Kerry, the actres who ‘performed’ the graceful movements for Tinkerbell in the original 1953 cartoon of “Peter Pan”! We talked for a bit, and I told her that my wife teaches animation and art at her high school. I took her picture and then….
….I ran smack into some old friends of ours whom I’d literally not seen in over a decade (!). We hugged, caught up, chatted, and we then took in a panel together. The panel was moderated by Mark Altman, and was commemorating the original TV series, “Battlestar Galactica” (the 1978 version, not the much lauded 2003-09 remake). On the stage were BSG actor Herb Jefferson Jr. (“Lt. Boomer”) whom I’d met many times before at various conventions and who is a genuinely kind man. He owned the stage; telling humorous and even touching anecdotes about working on the show, and dealing with recent losses to the BSG cast/crew; specifically Richard Hatch and producer Glen Larson. Also on deck were series’ director Alan Levi, and writer Terrance McDonnell, who gave Jefferson his favorite line of the series; “The Viper is flown…from the seated position, sir.” The line was from the episode, “Lost Planet of the Gods”, where a gravely ill Lt. Boomer offers to fly a heroic mission. Jefferson delivered the line with a Clint Eastwood-style relish that brought the house down. Despite technical snafus that delayed the panel’s beginning for a good 15 minutes, it was all well worth it. The event ended around 8:30 or so, and I said my goodbyes to my friend and his family as we exchanged contact info. I then hurried back to the hotel, hungry and pooped…
So ended the first day of WonderCon Anaheim 2017, March 31st.
Day 2 begins…. Now. More to come, as well as many pictures, in the days ahead.
***** TO BE CONTINUED *****