We arrived on
Thursday around noon – on a less bumpy flight than expected, as
there was a storm coming in behind us. We hooked up with our shuttle
van and got out to the hotel. I was more worried about David – who
was coming in that evening.
Our room was still occupied. There was a high school DECA regional
taking place in the hotel and they checked out at 2:00 PM. So we ate
lunch. There wasn’t any con action. I saw Roy Thinnes (The Invaders)
wandering around the lobby. We remained hip deep in high school
students until the next morning, giggling and running up and down
the halls until their 11:00 PM curfew.
I had given David my cell number. He was due in at 6:30pm. At 6:40
my phone rang. Not good. It was David. He could not find anyone from
the con at the airport. I asked him where he was. Terminal E. I had
come in there. I walked him over to the transport desk, told him to
pick up a white phone and dial the shuttle company. David called me
back five minutes later. They had given him #65 and were coming to
pick him up.
We ordered take out Chinese for dinner. I was waiting for their call
on my cell when the room phone rang. It was David. He was checked in
and was down in the bar ordering dinner and he wanted to see me. So
I slipped my cell into my pants pocket and went down. I gave him a
big hug hello. He wanted to buy me a drink, so I hopped up onto a
bar stool next to him and had a ginger ale. I’m on medication that
prohibits alcohol. He asked after John. We were catching up when my
I crossed the lobby, signed for my Chinese dinner order and went
back to finish my drink. David eyed the large bag of take out and
said he should have waited and ate with us. I reminded David he
didn’t like Chinese. At that point his Reuben sandwich and fries
arrived. I finished my ‘drink’ and was about to leave – David said
‘don’t let that take-out get cold’ – when she served me another
David said ‘take it with you’ and ‘to scram, he was tired, and was
probably going right to bed.’ So I did. John drank the second ginger
ale, when he found out it was from David. Getting into the elevator,
with my food bag, I found myself standing next to Dina Meyer. I said
hello, told her I was with David and that I would see her in the
autograph room. It was her first con. I told her (as a first timer)
she would make money. They usually do. Dina was very nice to me. So
we had Chinese for dinner and that was Thursday.
Friday we got up in time to have the breakfast buffet. Then we
packed everything to go downstairs for the table set-up. The Hotel
had free Wi-Fi so I checked my email. A British guy wanted a Fly
book signed for him by David. Send me a PayPal. He did and David
signed his book Friday night. Amanda wrote to say her plane was
delayed by bad ground weather.
Everything was supposed to start at noon and that’s when my cell
started ringing. Linda Delaney called. I told her to skip Friday
(not worth the trip) and come on Saturday when David had a panel at
2 PM. At noon we went to get our badges. They weren’t ready for us,
so once we located our table, we came back upstairs, after being
told we didn’t need badges for set-up.
I called David to find out when I could get pictures from him and
tell him which ballroom his table was in. He told me he been
tracking down his photo box. The hotel had finally found it and was
delivering it to him. He wanted a few minutes to go through it and
then he would bring it up to us.
So I decided to change the room; John wanted one with a handicapped
bathroom; it’s easier on him. They offered me the room on David’s
floor. I took it. I went back up and told John we were moving. He
took half the clothes on hangers out of the closet and I took the
other half and we went off to the new room. I tried to call David to
tell him where we were moving, but he didn’t pick up.
There was a bellman in the hallway when we arrived. I asked him to
help us move. Apparently he had delivered David’s photo box. So we
threw everything in bags and suitcases and onto his cart and were
done in about five minutes. The Elevator door opens on the new floor
and there is David with the box of photos. We told him to follow us
to the new room.
David didn’t understand why we changed rooms, until John showed him
the bathroom. He wanted to find Dave Hagan and ask why he wasn’t
picked up. Plus he hated the room service breakfast they had sent up
and was going to buy his own “stuff’ at the hotel convenience store.
I offered him juice from my refrigerator and some of my food. He
only wanted a pack of oatmeal raisin cookies. Then David was off
to “take care” of business.
We settled in, packed David’s box to go downstairs and I went down
to drop off the keys to the old room. I found a message on my phone
from David. He had found Dave Hagan (from my description),
straightened out the pick-up and claimed the (empty) table next to
ours for us. So I took some Fly book promo cards down for the
freebie table and talked to Jeff, the monster comic dealer and our
new neighbor. He was thrilled to be our end table.
John wanted to see the set-up, so this time when we went down our
badges were ready. John had some questions for David, so I gave John
David’s badge to give to him since he was going over there. After
John came back, we went downstairs (again) to finally set up.
It took about two hours, but we had everything up and ready by the
time David came down at 4:00 PM. I had his markers out, with his
Purell, throat drops and scratch paper. David tested his markers to
make sure they all worked. |
There were supposed to be early bird buyers, but we really didn’t
get anyone in the room until 5:00 PM – then it filled it up. We
filled the time signing pre-sales. I gave David his presale money in
tens so he could make change. We began selling at 5:00 PM and were
steady until 8:00 PM. I went up to check for a message about
Amanda’s delayed flight and when I came back she was there. John
said she and David shared a bear hug greeting. She had previously
hit it off with David at the New York Con and was now back to have
David sign sixteen photos for her. She paid him and he did a
masterful job of giving her something different on all her photos.
Amanda had a great time reading them and they were laughing and
joking about what he wrote until David left at 9:00 PM.
David took one break at 8:00 PM and then came back. Lori came in
shortly after Amanda and David signed her pre-sales and whatever she
picked out of my one of a kind binder of photos that I sell in the
David Hedison Facebook store. And that was Friday.
I asked David if he wanted me to call him in the morning and he said
yes. He said he was tired, so he kissed me and Amanda good night and
left us to pack up.
We decided to do early bird on Saturday because David was going to
lose an hour of selling time when he did his panel at 2:00 PM. So I
called David. He said thank you, so I knew he was awake. We had the
buffet and got ready. We went down to set up and the room was dark
and deserted. So I propped the door open and started to set up. The
con got someone to turn the lights on shortly after that. David
showed up on time sans sweater (they had warned him the room would
heat up) and no one was there.
But as soon as he sat down and we got his sign up, someone wanted a
photo. So we sold him a photo and he got to talk to David. Amanda
and Lori came down and talked to David. More people showed up to buy
photos. So David may have been the only “early bird’ celeb, but he
was also the only one who made money in that hour. It got busy after
that. David had about five people in line in front of his table most
of the day.
Lee Meriwether’s plane was late on Friday and she opened later than
David, but she was very popular all weekend across from us – so our
little corner (by the room exit) stayed busy the entire con.
Most bought a photo (Fly or Voyage or the occasional Bond) and paid
to pose with David, but there were also many items that were brought
in to sign. Fly posters – British ones, Spanish ones, in every color
of the rainbow. There was the large green ‘C’ poster that Charles
Herbert had signed at MM16 – like five of those. Herbert had signed
it Help me, Help me… David kept saying that was HIS line and I think
on the fifth poster, he actually wrote that on the poster!
I was the only one who accepted the offer of “really bad hotel
pizza” from the con – that monster comic brought back for me to eat.
I’ve had worse… David took another one of my oatmeal cookie packs
and I made him tea after his panel, but he was so busy signing he
hardly had a chance to drink any of it.
Dori came first. David signed her presales and she picked out some
other photos for him to sign, but what she really wanted was for
David to sign a Fly picture for her granddaughter Megan’s 4th grade
school project. Megan had built a
drive in theater and it was
showing ‘The Fly.’ So David sent home a picture singed by “The Fly.”
Linda Delaney came next. She spent about 20 minutes chatting on and
off with David – in between customers. Then everyone went across the
hall for the Classic SF TV panel.
The panel went great. It was Lee, David, Roy Thinnes and Robert
Colbert. David and Lee were asked more questions, but Roy talked
about his con experiences (all positive) since doing the commentary
for The Invaders DVDS and how he was cast in the X-Files. It was
David Duchovny’s idea. Robert told his Maverick story – he replaced
James Garner briefly at the end of the season. Lee was asked about
her Catwoman costume – horribly uncomfortable and she told two
stories about Buddy Ebsen – her co-star on Barnaby Jones. A truly
nice man with old school charm and manners. David chimed in with two
stories of his own from his guest stint on her show. Lee talked
about being the first televised Miss America and how it changed her
David got asked his usual questions about working with Irwin Allen
and their love/hate relationship. He was asked about the Fly–working
with Vincent Price. He told everyone they were going to let him keep
his custom Fly mask, but he didn’t want it and said no (groans). Lee
said someone offered to give her Star Trek Costume and she said no,
you keep it. (more groans). The four of them really rocked the
house. Everyone was laughing at their stories and David kept
encouraging this hilarity. He finally brought the house down with
his “The Fly is Open” story. And yes, the Hollywood Motion Picture
did print that headline and yes; they pulled it the next day. David
had everyone laughing.
Back at the table, he looked at over at me and asked me how he’d
done. I told him he did great and he grinned. David has done group
panels before. He knows how to get an audience going. Lee almost
fell out of her chair, she was laughing so hard. She didn’t mind
having three actors sitting with her, and talking to her, fighting
over who was going to push her chair in. Not one bit.
After the panel we were still selling briskly. About 5:00, David
called it quits. He was tired. He had been getting up and posing
with countless people all day. There was a possibility Serena might
drive down from New York to see him, so he wanted to get ready for
that. So we let him go and started packing up. We told him to come
down at 11:00 AM on Sunday – as there is never any business first thing
Sunday morning. We had our own dinner plans with Dori Martin so we
needed to get everything back up to the room so we’d make the
reservation. We told everyone who came by late and missed David to
come back on Sunday.
About fifteen minutes after David left, Lee came over. She had
forgotten to ask David if he wanted to get together with her and
Robert and Roy later that evening. I told her he was expecting a
call from his daughter, but I’d be happy to lend her my cell so she
could call David and invite him. So I found his number and called
him, then handed her the phone. David doesn’t pick up, but if you
leave him a message, he’ll get back to you. So Lee left him a
message and her call back number. We went off to dinner off-site
with the Martins at a really nice Italian place I found on the
Internet. I knew either Serena or Lee would take care of David. And
that was Saturday.
I found out (coming back from dinner) that we had to change the
clocks forward one hour. David had not asked me to wake him up, so I
could only hope he was better prepared and more aware of the time
change than I was. I don’t like switching to Daylight savings time.
It messes me all up.
So Sunday we got up, had the breakfast buffet again – three
different prices on three different days – depending on whose
convention it was… and got ready to go down. I called David at 9:30
AM to be sure he was up and on the right time. I had to remind him
he had an interview at 10:30 AM with an Internet radio station. I
didn’t get him, but I got a voice mail a few minutes later, letting
me know he did know about daylight savings time, and the Internet
would have to wait because he was still getting ready and would be
down as promised. This made me glad I called. And he did show up
promptly at 11:00. We had one of the Saturday stragglers show up at 11:00
and ask John where David was and John said, look over your shoulder
as David strolled into the room. That was a good one. The Internet
radio guy showed up at 1:00 PM and got his interview. I’ll post a
link when it’s up.
David immediately handed me his black knapsack to “fix” – the strap
had gotten pulled somehow and was now too long. Luckily, my fingers
are still nimble enough to get it back to the length he wanted.
Then we had to stow his suitcase under the table, as he was checked
out. Everything had gone well with that. Then the con came by and
reimbursed him for his food and airfare. I went and printed his
boarding pass. So we settled in and started selling again.
It was busier than we expected and we sold steadily until about 2:00
PM, when I asked Amanda if she wanted lunch. David asked if I was
hungry and then invited both me and Amanda to go to the hotel
restaurant and have lunch with him. He had a late flight (7:00 PM)
so I think he wanted to eat. Of course, we said yes. John graciously
watched the table so we could go and David brought him back a
hamburger. John always finds someone to talk to when he’s there
table watching. He had some fans lined up and waiting for us when we
returned from the panel.
I had the chicken, Amanda had hot wings and David wanted a rare
cheeseburger. Amanda ordered a glass of wine and David said no,
order this other wine, I had it last night with Lee and it was
really good. So she did and it was great. David goes to Napa
Valley when he has company from abroad – he took Bridget’s
step-sister on a tour last fall and he told us a little about where
they went and what they bought and what he likes.
I told Amanda that David had ruined me for store-bought spaghetti
and instead I had to buy this Italian market brand (De Cecco), which
I found out I can't pronounce properly, either. David then shared
his favorite way to make pasta (oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and
anchovies). It was a great lunch.
We came back; David gave me my ten percent. He spent the last half
hour saying good-bye to Lee and Robert and Roy. They exchanged
numbers and invitations to come see each other and posed for group
pictures. Then the con came and said David’s car was here. I handed
him his jacket and his bag and rolled his suitcase out to the curb
for him. David was the last one in what looked like a too small town
car for whoever they had in there. I barely fit his small roller in
the truck. The driver then had to stash several items before they
could take off. But finally the car pulled out and they were on
David had left me his pictures to mail out UPS, so I took care of
that. We had dinner with Amanda and all of us flew home on Monday. A
good time was had by all.