Dark Delicacies Book Signing June 23, 2012

I walked over and gave him a really big hug hello. He looked great in his bone sneakers, white pants - lime green tee and blue and green striped camp shirt. He looked me up and down and told me I looked pretty. I was wearing a cocktail pantsuit - about three shades dressier than my usual con attire. I thanked David for his compliment and told him that sometimes I had to "dress" for certain events at my University and this was one of those outfits. I was signing books, I figured I should dress a little.

Since David was early, Del asked him a few questions for his column on fear.net.  I was content to let David be the interviewee, but David called me over and told Del I needed to be there because I knew everything he would want to know. Not quite.

 I was able to (almost) remember the title of David's most recent documentary interview - for Operator 13 productions on Horror (films) in the Atomic Age. David mentioned he had recently presented The Marriage Play by Edward Albee at the Actor's Studio West. He was also very pleased with all the fan mail he's been getting from Europe since the Voyage DVD's were released there.

 We had a good crowd at the bookstore. First to arrive was Barbara and Ron Oriti. Barbara is a long time fan. She proved that by driving 250 miles - through a dust storm in the Owens Valley - to come see David again. Ron is a very good photographer and he took several group shots of us behind the table.  His photos regularly appear in books and magazines.

There was a young man from the UCLA science fiction club who wanted to make a Andre the Fly costume. He was very interested in the behind the scenes photo collage (new picture) that John had put together for the signing. He asked me what was sticking out of Andre’s lab coat pocket, I told him it was a large white slide rule. I guess you had to have had one in school to recognize it now. Andre's was larger than the one my brother had for his AP math and science classes in the early 1970’s. I think they brought in advanced calculators shortly after that, when I was in college in the very early eighties.  It's like knowing what  a rotary phone is and how to dial one. The young man bought the photo with the slide rule in the pocket of the lab coat and promised to add it to his costume immediately. I told him to send me a picture come Halloween and I’d put him up on the web site.

Two guys from the Museum of Death on Hollywood Boulevard, who were at the Hollywood show – came back to have David sign several items for the museum. Amanda saw the building – we drove past it – while she was on her side tour. Our limo driver was super nice, even though I wondered if there had been another way to get us to Burbank than up the (backed-up) Interstate 5. I hear LA traffic is miserable all the time, including Saturday. It was a long drive. 

One thing the death museum guys had David sign was a lab coat. I had been wondering when someone would think of that. I had brought a lab coat to Dragoncon (for David) in 2003, so he would have a “costume” to do “the promenade” in the evening.  David had no desire to walk around in costume or even sit and “hold court” like Dave Prowse did, so it never got used. So John and I did it, in seaQuest uniforms and got to talk with Prowse.  I don't know if they still "promenade" at Dragoncon, but it was fun. 

I didn’t get to hear all the museum guys asked David, but I did hear the part where they were explaining that Andre’s lab coat was quite unique. It wasn’t white, it was tailored differently than most, it was heavier and had been well-used – they liked how the wardrobe department had deliberately distressed the article so it looked like Andre had been using it for quite a while. They also raved about the colorized versions of the Fly pictures John had done on the computer, since there are very few color Fly photos and none of the Fly monster. John first colorized the monster picture for my Fly book cover in 2008 and it's been very popular - we sell a lot of that picture at cons - ever since.

Listening to them, Del Howison (our bookstore host) decided he wanted a lab coat signed, too. I didn’t see where he got it from, but voila’ he had one and he had David sign it.  Lab coats were very popular that day.      

Speaking of pictures, the fact that David and I were wearing the same shades of green and blue was not planned.  We tend to think alike, but we did not coordinate our outfits, although it was interesting to see that we did. Go figure.

We stayed busy the whole session. I had brought some pictures – for a Canadian fan who couldn’t come and David graciously signed those and some for Amanda – in between the books and the bobbleheads and whatever else the fans brought for David to sign.

I had sent David an interview from Cultbox TV in the UK to fill out and bring back to me at the signing, so we took a few moments before we packed him up at end of the session, for David to go over with me what he had hand written down and how he wanted me to type it up for submission to the Cultbox web site.

He was happy to do it and happy to meet everybody who came to see him. Amanda enjoyed helping the fans find the pictures they wanted autographed. We sold several of a new Voyage shot that is very popular. David prints it up and it sells out, so he prints some more.  

When it was time to go, we gathered up everything that was to go home with David and put it in his suitcase. He carried that out to the car and I carried the sign and the fly posters out.

I came back in the store and there was a customer, looking for David. So I went out on the stoop and asked David to come back in and sign for the guy, which he graciously did. Amanda and I gave David a big kiss and hug goodbye and he left. Right before he left, David asked me to smile wide so he could see how my braces were reconstructing my smile.  I'm still wired up, so he told me he hoped to see them gone by the con in Charlotte. I'm all for that.  They are working, but it's a been a long and painful shift to get the teeth where they need to be.

He had told us he was taking his Bridget to dinner and a movie: From Rome, with Love. I thought it was very sweet that after 43 years he still looked forward (and was happy) that he had a date with his wife.

Amanda and I had to hustle to get everything packed up and prepaid postage labels made before we had to leave an hour after the signing ended, because we also had dinner reservations and a concert to go to, back in Anaheim.

It still took us over an hour to get back down to our hotel on the very unscenic and still backed up Interstate 5. We had a different driver, but it was the same route. Not nearly as pretty as Mulholland drive coming up, but I guess I should stop complaining… we got to Burbank on time and we got home in time to make our dinner reservation.

The Rock Bottom Remainders farewell concert was great. We had Stephen King and Matt Groening on bass, Mitch Albom on keyboards, Amy Tan on tambourine and a couple of really wailing sax players and the obligatory harmonica player. This pick-up author band only played special gigs, but they had lost their founder to breast cancer recently. She was the 4th member to go, so they decided to disband.

Which was a shame. They were good. The band gave their departed member a rousing rock n roll send off and raised a lot of scholarship money for us. I have to admit, Stephen King plays a mean guitar. Amanda went down to the stage and took pictures, I’m sure she has one of Stephen up on her Face book page. I'm glad I had the opportunity to go to their farewell concert. They were rocking that Hilton ballroom. Librarians love rock and roll and to dance, btw. 

It was a fun trip for me. The last two times I was in Anaheim there was only time for one evening and one afternoon in Disneyland. This time I got a park hopper and hopped in and out several times with my friends. With the conference schedule I had, it worked out really well for me. The conference offered 'twilight" tickets for the attendees and they sold out the 2nd day of the 6 day conference.    

My first park visit was 40 years ago, in the summer of 1972. Some of the rides I remembered were still there, but there had been changes. I think the biggest one was Cars Land – the new area in the California Adventure theme park . I almost got run down by Mater. I guess the guy driving him didn't see me, but that’s another story… for the fifth time I make the trip to Anaheim.


Diane Kachmar