Diane’s Extended Denver Con Report

It was pouring rain when we left at 4:00 AM on Friday to go to the Palm Beach airport.  We were glad to leave it behind.  David, while never in any real danger from the multiple fires in Southern California, was also happy to leave the smoke behind.  We met in Denver at about 12:30 PM local time, once they finally got the plane backed out of David’s gate and let his plane from Los Angeles roll in.

            David was the sixth person off.   He stopped and looked around as he came out of the jet way, because he was told he would be met.  I called his name and then he spotted me, giving me a big hello smile.  I came around the black stretch line markers and gave him a welcome hug.  He was recovering from a virus and didn’t want to kiss me, but I said, I don’t care, I’ve had a flu shot and hugged him again.  David relaxed and hugged me back.  

            John came up and hugged him, too.  We asked David about his flight.   He told us about his horrendous experience in the security line at LAX.  It took him an hour and a half to clear.  David was surprised at the amount of carry on baggage we had with us, but we assured him we managed to stuff it all into the overhead bins.  There was no rush to go pick up his bag from baggage claim, so we gathered everything and rolled out of his terminal to the train, took the train to the main terminal, found our Milehicon driver and collected his bag, then piled into the black minivan for the trip to the Hyatt.

            Lyn met us at the hotel.  She had the bottle of Ketel One vodka.  David accepted his welcome gift and gave her a kiss of gratitude.  Then he hefted the bottle – which was in a box covered with a brown paper bag – and pretended like he was going to chug it down right there in the lobby.  We all grinned at his silliness. 

Lyn took the bottle back (temporarily) so David could check in.  I was standing behind David, keeping an eye on his registration process, and waiting to be given his room number, so I’d know where to come get him.  The desk clerk didn’t realize we were together, so she kept giving me this back off look.  Until David chided me for not having my credit card out and ready - like him - when I stepped up to register.   I dished it right back to him, telling him it was because I wasn’t him.   She then realized we were (obviously) together.  At least she put us on the same floor, which really helped.     

            We rolled everything over to the elevator, went up to nine and got settled in.  David said wait ten minutes and then he’d be down to give us the show stuff, so I unpacked everything I thought he’d want to see or take back to his room while I waited.

            David came down promptly and we put his bag up on my bed and unzipped it.

It was almost full.  There were new audio CDS – James Bond Lifestyle, Casino Caper and McKnight’s Memory, seven Fly collection DVDS, two of which had been signed by Brett Halsey, and two (spare) Voyage DVDs.   All the DVDS David brought sold, btw.  

            He had several new photos for us to sell, a lovely color Live and Let Die (our first), a new Five Fingers, a New Voyage, plus a good stack of several Voyage stills that  always sell well.  Also three color Fly shots.  It was almost more than the bed could hold.

            David gave John two autographed photos from the Burbank show; one from Shirley Eaton – John loves Goldfinger – and one from Lana Wood.  Lana met John at the Aberdeen show and asked to be remembered to him.  Nice lady.

            David then took some time to go over the latest Fly book Chapter I had sent him.

He is a very good editor and is helping sort out the contradictory information I’ve been finding on this film.  There were three conflicting budget figures and he picked out the right one for me.  David also tells me what’s accurate in the manuscript and what’s made up.  I could not do this book without him.  He wanted yet another chapter to take home.  I find his enthusiasm quite gratifying.  It keeps me going to get the book done.

            David said he was beat.  The airport security line had worn him out.  So he went back to his room for a nap.  We had plenty to do to get ready for the show and it took us most of the rest of Friday to get it done.  First we wanted to get our badges, so John could check out the con when it opened at 3:00 PM.  We liked our table set up very much.  Plenty of room and we used every inch of it. 

Once I had David signed in and had collected his badge, we unloaded all the “heavy” supplies from Lyn’s Explorer.  John had never seen the Gray Lady before and took the Seaview decal and vanity plate in stride, but couldn’t quite get over the rear bumper propeller.  I thought she looked great.

            Once we made the poor bellman haul the ten boxes up to my room, we left John to assemble David’s large table sign and Lyn and I checked out the con and hung out.  We agreed to meet for dinner in the hotel Restaurant.  I went up to the room to try to figure how I was going to transport everything David had given us down to our table.

            We packed everything we could into the two roller bags, after I put together the “supply” duffel.  Then I began filling the two extra canvas bags I had brought.  We rearranged some items more efficiently after dinner until we were set to go.

The hotel café was overly pretentious, but I have to admit the salmon I ordered was good.  We all decided that for the price of what we got, we wouldn’t be back.  It was too nouvelle cuisine.  They had lime cilantro pancakes on Saturday morning and no one from the con was the least bit impressed, nor did they order them.

            We went back up to the room to organize more stuff.  I was not happy with my con badge clipped to my jacket.  It was too easy to lose it that way.  I also knew David wouldn’t want anything clipped to his pullover sweater.  I dug out two lanyards I had brought from home.  I took the sky blue one for my orange Wonderfest T-shirt and gave David the less garish white one the next day for his green sweater.  He really didn’t want to wear the badge and guest ribbon, but having the lanyard around his neck was far less irritating than the clip would have been, so he wore his guest ribbon with good grace.  Cons want attendees to wear their badges, even the celebs. 

 We came down to sell around 9 AM after a good buffet breakfast in the hotel Café.  No lime pancakes, but very good oatmeal with plenty of toppings.  Then back to the room to haul everything down.  There seemed to be a few folks milling around waiting for David and he came down promptly when he said he would.  We sold a few pictures until the panels started and then no one was around, so David went back up to his room and John put up the ‘David Hedison will be back’ sign.

David wasn’t 100%, but we set him up with water and anything else he wanted.  I had everything in arm’s reach.   We figured out which pens he wanted to use and made sure they all worked.  It was mostly his back that was bothering him, so we did all we could to keep him comfortable.  David was in work mode and kept smiling and was nice to everybody, so no one except us realized how much it hurt.    

For some reason - Lyn said it was the altitude - every time David would try to open a new bottle of water, it would spray him with water drops.  I’d mop him off, mop up the table and we’d be fine until he opened another one.  I wasn’t used to this and David is very self-sufficient, so he wouldn’t give them to me to open.

Finally I told him give the water to someone else to open when he wanted a new one and let them have the shower.  David liked that idea, but is way too nice to actually do that to someone else, so I continued mopping him off as we went through the day.  The print on his Excedrin bottle was too small for any of us to read with our bifocals, but Lyn knew he could take it every four hours (for his back).  He told us to remind him at 11 to take some and we did.

I only went to get him once.  Some fans from out of town had missed his last time at the table and were waiting patiently for him to return.  David invited me in and showed me his rather interesting room – it was basically a T with the bed at one end and the bathroom at the other and looked very functional.  David said he liked the bed, too. 

He then told me it was not necessary to come and get him, give him the time he was wanted and he’d come back down.  We found out by perusing the schedule that 45 past the hour was good, so David agreed to come back at 2:45 and we sold quite well until his 3:30 panel.  Everyone we told to come back at 2:45 did come back, which helped.

I had mentioned to David before he went up to his room after lunch that I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer as to whether or not the hotel van would take us to the restaurant from dinner because they wouldn’t let me make a reservation.  David said let him try.  He came back at 2:45, rather pleased, saying he’d had a word with them and we were all set.  Some of the staff knew who he was and some of them didn’t, but he apparently found one who did and who took care of it.

One fan brought her three year old granddaughter over to the table and David tried to charm her, but she clung to Grandma and wouldn’t be budged.  However, I think she did like David telling her she was beautiful.  She did have a very nice orange and black witch costume on.  David enjoys the little ones a lot, even when they don’t respond.

I had a great time sitting with David at the table.  I always learn something new about him in the course of him answering questions from the fans.  He told me about his 80th birthday celebration in Italy.  They had a catered dinner of pasta and fish and chocolate custard cake and he made a speech.  He said that Roger Moore had come to Positano from Monaco for the celebration.  I thought how nice it was that these two very old friends were able to celebrate their 80th birthdays together, first David’s in Italy and then Roger’s in Los Angeles, when they live half a world away from each other.

We also talked about what we are going to do once The Fly book is published and about some other things David would like to do in 2008.  I always like to hear about what David is doing at the Academy and the Actor’s Studio West.  I feel one of the reasons David looks and acts younger than his years is that he stays active, by going to premieres and screenings and doing plays and teaching acting.

David had someone take a picture of us together and then wanted to look at the camera to make sure it was a good one, because, he said, I don’t think I take a good picture.  He looked at this one and pronounced it good.  I said I’d take his word for it.  I told the photographer that I had a very good teacher (David) who had taught me how to properly pose for pictures and they were turning out much better of late.  I then told the guy another reason I don’t like having my picture taken is because I look fat.  David immediately told me I was not and he didn’t want to hear me say that again!  I loved him for saying that, but I know the truth.  However, I did not use the fat word in front of him again all weekend out of gratitude.      

            David had a Q & A at 3:30 PM.  Everyone had questions answered and had a good time getting them answered, so the hour passed very quickly.  David was up for the rest of the afternoon and the glow of this performance put him a good mood for dinner and took his mind off his back, at least for a little while.

            We brought folks back to the table after the panel and signed until that crowd was satisfied.  David graciously posed for some pictures before he left us to pack up.  Right before he left, I leaned against his shoulder for a moment and thanked him for the day and for letting me hang out with him, as I knew he was not feeling all that well.  I wanted him to know that I appreciated his to smile and be really nice to everyone who came to the table.

            David called about ten minutes before it was time to go down for The Fly introduction and wanted to know if he could come down to our room and leave some things we needed for Sunday with us then. We said sure.  I had a DVD cover for David to sign from a sale we made after he left.  The guy said I could bring it to The Fly screening, so that’s what we did.  I spotted him outside the door and handed it over to him.

            David went right down front and gave a nice intro about the film and then asked if there was anyone who hadn’t seen it.  One guy sheepishly raised his hand.   He was almost fifty.  David teased him about hiding under a rock.  The guy admitted he had seen clips from it in documentaries but never sat all the way through it.

            We discussed the version that was cued up and that it had a really good commentary track by David and whether or not they should show the film with the commentary on or off.  It was decided to leave if off – since the one guy hadn’t seen the film.  David then told everyone to enjoy it, he was off to dinner and we left.

            We didn’t have long to wait for the promised hotel van.  David went to the desk and it literally pulled in.  David made sure he had the number to call them to pick us up and we were off.   The lady who was getting off the van turned around when she heard where we were going to eat and wanted to go with us.  That was funny.

            It was three blocks on the map, but it was one of those one-way you can’t get there from here by car rides as we went down and around several streets before we were dropped off.  We got a nice back table with no one around – they were playing game three of the World Series that night – so we had a very relaxing evening out.  The food was excellent. 

            A different driver took us back to the hotel and he got a little excited when he found out who he was driving.  And what do you do for a living, sir?  He’s an actor, John pipes up and named some credits.  David was pleased the guy knew who he was.

            David walked with us up to our room and we thanked him for the great dinner.  I had noticed in the restaurant booth that his back was still bothering him, so I asked him to wait a moment.  I ducked into the room and grabbed up my tube of capsicum heat cream.  He took it, gave me a big hug and kiss goodnight and reminded me to call and wake him in the morning.  That was Saturday.

            Sunday we called David at 6:00 AM per his instructions to get him up and ready for our 8:30 pick up.  After breakfast I told John we needed to go down 15 minutes before the pick-up because David tended to show up early, so we took everything down at 8:20 and there was David in the lobby waiting.  

            Randy our driver showed up almost immediately after that and we stuffed everything (literally) into his Rav 4 and went up the Interstate to Northglenn.  David seemed all right, he said he was able to sleep with the help of the cream I had given him, until we got there and he couldn’t get out of the car. 

John took charge.  He used to work in hospitals and knows how to move people without hurting them.  He eased David out of the car and walked him into the hotel. 

            I was hauling bags and realized I was not being followed.  I back tracked and saw David walking in very slowly, leaning on John.  We were not sure what caused David’s back to suddenly act up, but I immediately sent Randy to the drugstore for a heat wrap.  I had wanted to get David one on Friday, but he said he’d get some Excedrin.  We got David off his feet and Randy came back with a wrap I had never used before, but when in Colorado… 

I asked David to show me where it hurt.  I tore it open and peeled the plastic off the wrap and put it right there.  It took a while to heat up, but once it did, David said it helped.  From the questions he was asking, David had never used one before, but I tucked the other wrap into his black leather bag to take home anyway.  He said he’d go to the chiropractor on Monday.  We got down to business.     It was slow at first, but everyone was nice and very happy to meet David.  We had several folks follow us up from Milehi to Northglenn.  Jodee and Carol came and bought another picture.  Bobbe and Amber came next.  Bobbe had a beautiful drawing of David she showed me and I tilted it to one side so David could see.   She brought her Nelson and Crane teddy bears, which were really cute.  Lyn brought her son to met David and that went well.  We even got some Klingons.  Whether or not they were from Lyn’s 5th floor feast I couldn’t tell, but they did buy something.

            Randy brought us lunch and David got more mobile as the day wore on.  We had set up so folks could stand behind his chair and have their picture taken.  He also made Randy go find a chair for me, as David hates to have me standing when he’s sitting.

I sat behind him for a while, but I know David’s not comfortable with that, plus I didn’t want him twisting his back to talk to me, so I only sat there as a last resort.  I used the chair beside David when John wasn’t there.

            I came back from talking with Lyn and found Randy sitting behind David in my chair.   Waste not.  When David made the crack about Lyn washing his underwear I knew he was feeling better and was glad he was now comfortable enough with Lyn to tease her the same way he had been doing me all weekend.

            David is very aware of who he is and likes to have fun.  Once on this trip when we were lagging behind him in a foyer, which happens quite often because he walks quite fast - David announced very loudly to the room at large, “Come, Children.” 

John was not amused, but I was.  At airports and restaurants people assume we are related, even though John and I are way too Irish looking to ever pass for Armenian.   People have asked me if I’m David’s wife...   I’ve learned to roll with it.   Every once in a while, if David is really teasing me, I will throw a “Yes, Dad” back.   He smiles and goes right on teasing me.

             I know I amused him when this nice guy gave me his 18 month old girl to hold, so he could take David’s picture with his cell phone and the little one would have none of me or the ineffectual way I was holding her.  I ended up taking the cell phone picture.      

            Randy and Dana were really good hosts to us up in Northglenn.  We packed David up at 2:30 and took him out to the Airport.  I walked him to Security so he wouldn’t hurt his back any further pulling his suitcase.  The security lines were thankfully quite short so I hugged him good bye and promised to send him a Fly book chapter real soon.  He gave me a kiss and got into line.  His departure gate was right next to the restaurant in the B terminal, so that worked out really well, as he had a bit of a wait until his flight left.  That was Sunday.

            Randy drove us back to the Hyatt for our last night and Lyn took us to the airport on Monday.  There was no game five of the World Series so everybody was going home. We got in about midnight and were glad to be home as there was a tropical storm brewing.  It missed us, thankfully. 

If nothing else we had good weather for our trip, it snowed in Denver the weekend before we came and it snowed in Denver the weekend after we were there, but we had crisp, cool, clear weather the whole time we were there.  Which David enjoyed, after a week of smoke from wild fires north and south of him.  He wore a jaunty orange scarf from Banana Republic that made him very easy to spot.  He said it kept the drafts off the back of his neck.  At least that worked.

            I have to go work on that Fly chapter I promised David now.  


Diane Kachmar