Oct. 17-18, 2014
By Gail Rusk
What can I say; the weekend was a wonderful blur. For me it was a meeting fifty years in the making. I have attended many shows and cons through the years but never before with such anticipation. I was going to LA to meet David Hedison, an actor I have watched on TV and in movies for many years. I was nervous and excited all at the same time.
My husband Steve and I arrived at LAX from Philly at 12:55PM on Friday, October 17th; we took the airport shuttle to the Westin hotel that was the site of the Hollywood Show we came to attend.
After procuring our room we decided on lunch at the hotel’s café. While waiting for our meal, I decided to call Diane (Diane Kachmar) to inform her that we had arrived. Diane and I had been in contact via email for several months prior to the show. We met by way of the internet when I wanted to purchase an autograph from David Hedison.
That contact blossomed into a friendship and I was anxious to meet her in person. Turns out we had many things in common including David and Voyage. I found her to be fun and easy to talk to, I was not disappointed. Steve and Diane’s husband John also hit it off, talking about classic TV Shows and movies that they both loved.
That night while getting a sneak preview of Saturday show we met up with Derrik Lewis, he played Lt. O’Brien in the first season of Voyage. The Hollywood Show not only had a plethora of guests, it also featured the Fiftieth Anniversary gathering of four of the cast members from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Derrik was a delight to speak with, so we all walked and talked as we checked out the dealer’s room. Next we met George Pappy the man behind the documentary video “The Green Girl,” the life story of Susan Oliver. He had great stories about his interviews and research into this remarkable women’s life. We ended the night in Diane and John’s hotel room continuing to get acquainted and Diane let me look through all the table pictures she had bought.
Saturday was great, access to the four actors from Voyage turned out to be extraordinary. I started with David, of course, I may have been nervous but I came prepared with the usual of photos and DVDs to be autographed. In my case I had one additional item, my sketch pad. In preparation for this show I had drawn charcoal sketches of each actor, a rendering of their character they portrayed in the TV show.
I was delighted by the reaction of each actor. David’s reaction was the best; he looked at each one and asked which one was my personal favorite. I pulled one sketch out of the group. I think David was impressed; the sketch was of him, not the character he played in Voyage. To my delight he signed it directly above my signature as the artist.
He wrote: “To Gail – Such great work – Thank You – David Hedison.” Well as you can imagine I was over the moon. He then proceeded to sign all my additional items. By then my dream had come true, but it by no means was over, using my camera Steve took a picture of me and David. Then I was treated to a hug and kisses and another thank you, at that point I could have died happy.
I continued down the line to Derrik Lewis, Allen Hunt and Terry Becker, they each enjoyed and autographed the art work; plus a photo I purchased from the item they had displayed on their respective tables. Each actor was a pleasure to speak with.
I have to add I met several fans at this show, people I had seen on Facebook’s Voyage sites, all of which only added to the excitement of the entire weekend. But Saturday was not over; Diane had enlisted me to take pictures of the Voyage actors and the remainder of the show. So as I say I circled the room taking pic of the different actors attending the event. Throughout the day I continued to come back to the Voyage group, getting candid pics of each actor plus a group shot of all the tables. Every time I caught David unaware with the camera I would get a smile and/or a wink. He was very tolerant of me and my annoying camera. I included a pic of the fiftieth anniversary banner that kept falling down, due to the lack of a decent adhesive. I must say there was no help from the hotel with that at all.
We ended the day at the hotel café having a delightful dinner with Diane and John which continued in their room. Due to scheduling problem with work, we were forced to go home before the show ended on Sunday. I came away with a wonderful high. As Steve put it so well to anyone that would listen; “Gail could have flown home on Sunday without the aid of a plane.”