Supermegafest November 22-23, 2008

 

           

Never having flown Jet Blue before, we werenít sure we would be able to get the two regulation roller bags of Davidís pictures up into the overhead.  It all depends on what size jet you get. We ended up with an Embraer Ė which had two seats on either side of the aisle, so it was me and John and no middle seat. That I liked. The bags and the table sign fit into the overhead, too.

           

The flight was a nonstop. Only problem was there was no plane at the gate when we went to board. Itís coming, they said.  Finally, it pulled up, an hour late. Head wind coming down, they explained. That must have been some head wind. They made up most of the time going up again Ė with the tail wind, I guess. The only time it was really bumpy was when we flew over Providence.  Hmmmm.  Oh, when we disembarked they told us this was the (now repainted) Sarah Palin campaign plane. Iím not sure I believed that one, either.    

           

At least the con was there to meet us at baggage claim. Dawn Wells was very nice once we got her picked up as well. I had no idea my husband was such a HUGE Mary Ann fan. John had a total blast hanging out with her all weekend. John was regaling everyone in the van and at one point Gloria asked if I had fallen asleep. I smiled and said I was the ďquietĒ one in our relationship.

           

We checked in and decided to go eat dinner. Came back to the hotel room to find my message light flashing. I played the message and it was David.    So I called his cell and was surprised to get him. John wanted to talk to David, so I gave him the phone. Then I told David our room number, he gave me his and I teasingly told him we would be up until 11:30 PM, but if he came in later than that, donít bother to come see us. He laughed.

           

So I stayed in the room and watched TV in case David did stop by while John went down and spent two hours re-arranging our table in the dealersí room to his liking.  David never did show up, he said his relatives did not bring him back until after midnight, but I appreciated him calling to check on us; particularly since he had already told us not to expect to see him Friday night.  

           

We were up early Saturday for the complimentary breakfast buffet. We then went down to set up Davidís table. We had a good row on the north wall; starting with Mason Reese, then Big Bird, Bozo and Dawn Wells. John loved being next door to Dawn. Dawn had never met David before. She liked David very much. They talked Ďshopí most of the weekend about how they did the various shows they had attended.   

           

About 15 minutes before the show opened I went back to the room, called David and asked him to come over and sign some items I had been prepaid for. He knocked twice. I took him over to the desk. He handed me the clear envelope of photos he had brought for us to sell and I put them in the bag to go downstairs. Then I hugged him hello properly. I put his badge around his neck. I had put it on my own lanyard as it was a pin back.  He tends to put the badges in his pantsí pocket and then ends up sticking himself with the pin. Not on my watch. David signed the items I had laid out for him and then we went downstairs with the photos.

           

We threaded our way through dealers setting up in the hallway. I was giving David the once over and I noticed his sweater was on inside out with the seams showing. I stopped him in the hall and asked if he wanted to go into the menís room and turn his sweater right side out. At his age, an inside out sweater could be taken for senility.

           

David laughed and said, no, itís supposed to look that way. He would show me the tag in the back if I didnít believe him. I said no, if it was supposed to be raglan, I wouldnít mention it again. And I didnít. He said it was a gift from a female friend Ė and he liked it because it was soft. I pointed out where the bathrooms were at the right of the entrance.

           

David sat down, got situated, took the markers he wanted out of the bag and very shortly after that, the doors opened for early bird and we started selling pictures. He went after the water I had brought down for him. He said he was dry for some reason. I told him it was probably the furnace going full blast. It was like 22 degrees the whole time we were there. I scored him more water later in the day and he drank that, too. David was talking to a lot of people, the place was mobbed.

           

I had brought David hand sanitizer in a spray pump. He let me spray him once, but my aim was off and I got his sweater sleeve instead, so he told me he would spray his own after that debacle. His aim was far better than mine. He did how it smelled, however. It had aloe in it.

           

We sold steadily until almost noon, when David took his first break - to stretch and check in with his wife. He always calls Bridget at noon (9 AM her time) to let her know how the con is going.  

           

We had several fans waiting for him when he came back and we sold more until about 2 PM. The first early bird guy had brought David two souvenir Boston tee shirts. One was bright blue and other one was white with gold letters. I told David those were his colors. David handed me the bag to store under the table and at the end of the day he took them back to his room.

           

David teased me about being a collector. He asked me how many bedrooms I had in my house. I said three. He nodded and then asked how many did I sleep in. I told him one. He nodded again and said, I thought so. John then modeled his crew jacket from a Rod Taylor unsold pilot for David. Itís a better made jacket than I could buy John from a store. John paid $20.00 on eBay for it.

           

John was teasing David about booking the con. He said he did it for me, so I could spend my anniversary weekend with David. The truth is the con date happened to fall on our wedding anniversary. David and I shared a grin over John and his devotion to both of us.

           

We got several questions about when Voyage Season 4 was coming out. We said it was up to Fox. Of course, as soon as we got home, Fox announced the first Season 4 DVD would be out March 31, 2009. Thanks a lot, Fox!

           

Another fellow asked about Davidís insignias and said they were wrong. I told him the shipís wheel was an Army Transportation insignia and that Davidís oak leaf was correct; his rank was Commander. They called him Captain because he was in charge of the ship. I told the guy a Lieutenant could be the Captain of a ship. He said no, David needed to be wearing Eagles. David and I both blamed that error on Irwin Allen.  

           

The guy came back later and told me he had looked and David was wearing an oak leaf. On Sunday he came back and presented David with dolphins, which David graciously accepted. The guy wanted David to have the right insignia.

           

We had two ladies drive all the way from Mexico City to see David. They were great. They hardly spoke any English, but they made themselves understood to David Ė who is used to Spanish. Another woman came up from Louisiana. She explained she had relatives there, but had come up for Thanksgiving early, just to see him.  

           

There was one really nice elderly lady Ė who was brought by her son. She was so pleased to see David. The son bought her a picture and he took a picture of her with David. Now that is a good son. Another good son brought his elderly Dad. And one man drove his 12 year old son over from Connecticut. His two siblings werenít as big as fans as their brother, but they came anyway. The guy was nice enough to let David play with his 3G I-phone for a few minutes.   

           

There were only two things that slightly confused David.  He couldnít understand why the wrestler across from him kept sticking out his tongue.  John explained that was the guyís act and that he used to chew turnbuckles. A Tusken Raider walked past the table in full gear and David asked me what he was supposed to be. I explained what he was (from Star Wars) and how he hit people with the staff he was carrying before robbing them of everything they had. That seemed to satisfy him. Raiders are pretty ugly in full costume. David doesnít watch science fiction on the regular basis, and we had two Star wars garrisons in attendance, many Star Trek costumes and a fair smattering of Batman, Robin and his villains. There was a remote control full size R2-D2 that rolled up and down the floor in front of us most of Saturday.

           

Two guys asked David to go over and pose with the Fly statue, but most were content to stay by the table with him.  David was very popular, most everyone wanted to have their picture taken with him. One guy went on and on how the climatic scene at the end of the movie traumatized him as a child.  I pulled out a color picture of David in the spiderís web, screaming, and said, do you mean this one? Thatís the one!  

           

Another fellow brought David his Polar Lights Seaview to sign.  David finds that a bit of challenge, but he persevered and got his signature affixed to the rolled side.  It was the only model kit he signed.

           

We had all kinds of people buy pictures, young, old, male and female. I enjoyed the Armenians. They would usually tell David they knew he was Armenian, because he looked like one of their relatives. Occasionally, they mentioned how they were related to him, if they were. One of his Boghosian cousins said he hadnít seen David since he was 6, at a wedding that they both attended 44 years ago. Another woman dragged her half Armenian (and totally embarrassed) son up to the table.

           

David and I had a good time talking together Saturday afternoon. We talked about his trip to England. He said Alexandraís exhibit was fabulous, and the pictures were huge. David said he could almost walk into them. He also had a great dinner there with Roger Moore and all the other friends that had gotten together for Davidís 80th Birthday in Italy. David has some really good friends. Bridget wants to go back to Italy next spring Ė David wants to go some place he hasnít been. They will decide on somewhere sooner or later.

           

I asked after his play, Cherry Orchard Ė David said they were unable to mount it. He was quite disappointed. He thought Frances Fisher would have been fantastic as the leading lady and he was looking forward to doing the part of her brother, Gayeff. Sir John Gielgud had done such a masterful interpretation of that part and David wanted to give it a try. He said they were still busy at the Actors Studio, and he is now working on I Never Sang for My Father by Robert Anderson. David plays Tom, the father.

           

David also mentioned he was called in to read for a Cold Case episode at Warner Brothers but the filming of that particular one conflicted with his coming to the con, so he had to say no. I was disappointed he missed out on the part, but at least they called him. I hope they call him again so David gets a job. I also asked him asked about the impending SAG strike.

           

I told David that knowing he had always lived by the Golden Rule had made me a better person in my life. That any time I was tempted to do something not Golden Rulish, I knew he wouldnít approve, so I didnít do it. David said he was pleased that he had passed that on to someone else and that he was glad to be a good influence on me. David is always so nice to everyone, even when they donít deserve it.   

           

I also told David that I owed most my interest in theater to him. That if he hadnít done all those plays, I doubt I would know half as much about the theater as I do now or the meaning of all those funky French acting phrases David likes to throw around, that I canít pronounce. David is always teasing me about my horrid French pronunciations. Iíve learned to have him to say it first, so I donít mangle it. He helped me with the surname of someone who works for Roger Moore and very gently corrected me after I butchered his motherís maiden name. Twice!   

           

We talked about his cousins. David said he hadnít seen most of them since his motherís funeral, although some of them had come to the Cape Playhouse to see him in Tale of the The Allergistís Wife. He said his Mom died two days after her birthday, July 3 and that he knew she wasnít going to last long in the nursing home. She had been fine in assisted living, but had then wanted to move to California to be with him. He was all set to move her after the play was over in August, but she didnít live that long.  

           

Rose had loved it when he was working and living in New York City for the soap opera Another World from 1991 to 1995. If he didnít have to work Friday Ė he would take the train up to Rhode Island and visit her. She kept a room for him. He was convinced those visits helped keep her out from going into assisted living until much later after his run on the show was over. And he and all his cousins Ė he saw about 20 over the two days Ė sat around and talked about all the people they used to know and their memories of them. He had a great time catching up with what they were doing now.

           

A guy (supposedly) from The Boston Globe asked David to pose in front of the Fly statue. He couldnít get his camera to work right away and before you could say photo op, a whole group of fans had lined behind him up with their cameras. David gamely stayed put amid all those flash bulbs going off.

           

It got quieter after 3:30 PM, but we still sold. I told John now would be a good time to take some pictures for our Hedison web site. John points the camera at David and David refuses to cooperate. First he leans into me and almost knocked me out of the chair. I linked my arm into his to steady myself.

           

John tells David to behave himself because it is his fault we sold out of the color Roger Moore picture, because we told him to reprint them. David (who likes to tease John) said no, we told him not to reprint them. John says yes, we did say that, but only after he told us he didnít have any more.

           

John raises the camera to take a few more shots. David then leans over to rest his arm on me for the pose. David is heavier than he looks. Iím laughing, but I canít fall out of the chair now because David has most of his weight on me. As you can see from the pictures we have posted.

           

As the afternoon and the lines waned, I asked Jonathan Frakes to autograph Imzadi, a Trek book for me. Riker was my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation actor and it was fun to talk to him for the fourth time in 21 years. I told him I had been to other cons of his, three in all, and I remembered his talks and really had a good time at them.

           

Jonathan noticed I was wearing my ďFlyĒ tee shirt. I told him it was a limited edition collectible that Fox had made up in 1994. I wore it at shows to advertise David and his table. I was wearing a con guest badge on my lanyard along with an author tag.  

           

Getting back to Imzadi, I told Frakes how pleased I was they had finally gotten married in the last movie, Nemesis. I asked after his directing and he said he was doing the third Librarian movie. I told him I was a Librarian and that I loved the series and that I would plug the film in the library groups for him. That made him very happy.

           

Jonathanís assistant couldnít get my camera to work, so I stood there through three failed attempts with Frakesí arm around me, not minding one bit. Be sure to watch The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice on TNT December 7.  

           

John got an autograph from Leslie Nielsen. Forbidden Planet is one of his favorite films. Jonathan Frakes knew who David was, but when I tried to explain to David that Frakes was the ďLee CraneĒ of Star Trek: The Next Generation, he still didnít know who he was. As Iíve said, David isnít into science fiction like John and I am.

           

I asked David if he was hungry. He indicated he was. He didnít like the first kind of granola bar I offered, but accepted the other kind I had and ate it. I asked him if he wanted a Diet Coke to go with it and he said yes, I could go look for one for him.

           

I went to the cold case by the front desk Ė they only had Pepsi and it wasnít Diet, so I went up to the Vending area on my club lounge floor Ė they did have Diet Pepsi in that machine. Now most Coke drinkers wonít touch Pepsi and vice versa, so I went back down stairs to the bar. Even the bar served Rum and Pepsi. 

           

David noticed I returned empty handed and I explained. It was not the first time the hotel had disappointed me. I then asked David if he would accept hot tea. He asked if I could go buy that, and I said no. I had brought Lipton tea bags from home for him. It was in the room and I would go make it.

           

David gave me specific instructions and I remembered from making it for him before Ė so I went back up the 6th floor, brewed his tea nice and black and brought him cream and sugar in a paper coffee cup and let him fix it the way he likes it. Like his vodka martinis, Davidís tea has to be made a certain way.

           

John told David he had tivoíed The Yum Yum Tree with Jack Lemmon so I could see the movie and see what Davidís role was in the play. The movie had some major changes from the play, but David and I still had a good time discussing his character and what a louse that landlord was.

           

Toward the end of the day, John brought two of the guests over to meet David. One was Doug Jones, who plays Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies and cartoons. Turned out Doug was a big fan of Captain Crane and had always wanted to meet David. So John brought him down from the stage and took some pictures of them together at our table. David had seen Panís Labyrinth, so they could talk about that. Click the link for Dougís web site under his picture; he really has a cool one.

           

Cathy St. George also turned out to be a big fan of Davidís. John was a big fan of the dress the former Playmate was wearing, so David signed a picture for Cathy and John got a hug and everyone went home happy. Cathy said she didnít have a very big apartment, but she was definitely going to put Davidís signed picture up on her fridge.

           

 One other thing that kept happening was that no one, and this came up several times, believed David was 81 years old. They look at him and watch him talk to people and then their forehead would furrow and theyíd sidle over to John or me and ask how old he was. 81 we would tell them.

           

They didnít want to believe it. It got so bad and I was doing it so often, I told David about it Saturday night. He just grinned. I was printing my boarding pass at the desk and chatting with the desk clerk on Sunday, who had obviously either spoken to David or waited on him in some capacity. Heís 81, you know. The guy would not believe it!

           

David closed his table at 5:30 PM and told us he was going to take a nap. We agreed to meet for dinner at 7:30. It was my job to get the cab there. He had sent me to the front desk to find out if the hotel shuttle was running, but it stopped at 5 PM. The cab company thought we were the 7:15 party going to the same place, but I got that straightened out. David met us in the lobby. I asked after his nap. He said the phone kept ringing, so he gave up on the nap and took a walk around the hotel.

           

It turned out we had to wait for the 7:15 cab to come back. David and I tag teamed on the phone Ė got our reservation extended and finally the cab came and took us to the restaurant. Which thankfully, David loved.

 

He shared his salmon appetizer with me. I wasnít going to eat it at first. I told him Iím not a raw fish person, but he assured me it was smoked, so I tried to load it onto the toast like he did and the blasted salmon kept falling off. He told me to use my fingers. David didnít know what it was drizzled with, so he dipped one long finger into it and then licked it and pronounced it was okay. I enjoy eating with him and will try anything he recommends.

 

We put my cell phone on the table so we would get the call from the cab company they were coming back to get us. The cabs stopped running at 10 PM. So we didnít want to miss our ride home. I told David he might regret having the phone go off Ė since it played Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea theme music. He wondered if he could get his phone to play that or The Fly. I told him to go to the web site of his cell phone provider and see what ring tones they had for download.

 

I asked about his Thanksgiving plans and he told me. I described a family dinner at my grandmotherís house for him Ė what aunt made what dish and about all my Paluga cousins.  My Slovak relatives were very much like his Armenian relatives. David was pleased I had some fond family memories of my Slovak grandparents. I told David I have always looked up to him and treasure his advice and experience.

 

David insisted on dessert before we left. It was a lovely dinner to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. David gave us a good toast. The food was fabulous and more reasonable than I expected. The cab company never did call. When David had settled the bill and was ready to go, we called them and they told us the cab was out front. I asked for a kiss good night and he gave me a one.     

 

Sunday morning David came down a bit early and had the pictures you now see up taken with the Fly statue. We started slow, but business picked up around 11. Dori Martin came by the table to say hi, after driving 5 hours from PA to see David again. I told her where and when the panel was. David asked me to fetch him another lemonade before he went across the hall for a 30 minute Q & A at noon.

 

I went with him with the panel, but he didnít need me to. He introduced me as the author of our book and told good stories about the usual subjects. See my posted report of the panel on the Megafest page. David asked for tea again right before he left at 3:30 to catch his plane home to LA.

 

A fellow came by the table on Sunday to show off his Barack Obama autograph.  Basically a B and an O and a squiggle.  I pointed out to David where the squiggle (almost) spelled Obama. The guy had gone through several gyrations to get it and only did because he knew someone up on the platform. It was interesting. I will probably never see another one in person. At least for the next four years.  

 

David said he and Bridget had briefly considered flying to Washington DC in January to attend the historic inaugural, but then the ďSuper BowlĒ prices kicked in the next day and everything (air fares, hotels) went through the roof. David was also not happy with a couple of close friends who had voted for McCain.

 

We were back at the table sitting there and a cell phone goes off. I know itís not mine, so I hand Davidís bag to him and say Phone. David hands the bag back and says the phone is in his pants pocket. He drags it out; calls whoever it is back and then asked me how I heard the phone. I told him I have a musical ear that tends to pick up tones. He then noticed he had another call. That one turned out to be Bridget, so I was doubly glad I had heard his phone go off.

 

Bridget faxed him his boarding pass and she was able to get David upgraded to his favorite aisle seat in first class, so he went home happy. He said she had been trying to do for him since Thursday.

 

David and Dori and I were chatting with David about cars and Dawn Wells turned to David and said you still drive? David said of course, having lived in LA as long as he had, he knew how to get around and was quite proud he had never hit another car while driving. He had, however, backed into a few things, like a pole once. He described it complete with sound effects. It was very funny.

 

Dawn was a stitch. No believed she was 70, either. She asked us where we were from. We admitted that we had flown up from Florida to help David out and that no, we didnít mind. We would fly to meet David any place he asked us to. She then turned to her assistant and told her she should go to New Jersey with HER on December 6th!  Apparently the woman didnít want to.

 

David was supposed to leave at 3:30, but we had this one guy who wouldnít take the hint, even when I started packing him up. I handed David his leather jacket and scarf and finally brushed past the guy, took Davidís roller from his hand and started for the door. David said a quick good bye to John and Dori. David followed in my wake as I pulled his roller through the room and a lot of the fans standing in other lines turned to watch him go. David got a very nice chorus of ďBye, David!  Nice meeting you!Ē as he exited the room. He waved and shook hands as he went.

 

Once outside the room, I picked up the pace a bit, as I did not want David to miss his pick-up. I stopped in the outside hall and looked back to check that he hadnít been waylaid by anyone. We walked up the last hallway together. David looked over at me in my tee shirt and said; you are not going outside with me. I assured him I would not.

 

I parked his bag by the door, helped him into his coat and hugged David good-bye. I thanked him for the best anniversary weekend I ever had. I watched through the door as they loaded his bag and got him settled. The van pulled away on time.

 

We spent Sunday night packing up and flew out Monday morning. The plane was an hour late. Again. We had a blast working with David, signing Fly books and helping him sell his photos. It was a fabulous weekend in Boston.      

 

 

Diane Kachmar

12/7/2008