The Hollywood Show
October 17-19 2014
John and I were up at oh dark thirty aka 3:00 AM (again) to catch our non-stop flight out of Fort Lauderdale to LAX. I don’t mind going out on 6:00 AM flights – I do them quite often, as it gets you there and I can usually sleep on the plane. I don’t think John slept at all – he tends to be a night owl and not go to bed until 5:00 in the morning as it is, so we were both up and ready when the town car driver came (early) at 4:15 AM.
You never know what traffic will be like driving south, so early is not a bad thing. He hopped on the turnpike and we went on down – in the dark with light traffic - ending up in Fort Lauderdale around 5:00 AM. I had our boarding passes printed so they sent us on to security. We were TSA pre-check, but they still wanted a skycap to take John on through in his wheelchair. So we waited until they called one and he delivered John to the gate.
At the gate, they tagged John’s wheelchair and we were the first to board. John likes to sit in the back of the plane, so he can get up when he needs to. I gave the two flight attendants wrapped chocolate and explained we might be “a bit needy.” She was so nice to us.
It was my first flight on Virgin America and I loved the legroom. The seat back entertainment was nice, too, but I didn’t buy anything. I put on the classical music and tried to sleep. I did, a little. John was restless, but he did drink the beverage and eat the cheese plate that they gave us. It was a long flight – over 5 hours, but John found the flight tracker and was messing with that from Mesa, Arizona on in. We touched down at LAX airport around 10:00 AM California time.
The person who picked up John and his wheelchair at the gate knew where to lead us to pick up the Westin Hotel shuttle. The bus arrived after about 10 minutes and he stowed John’s wheel chair under the luggage rack. Apparently a lot of flight crews stay at the Westin LAX.
We were able to check in early. We were given a handicapped room (no bathtub and with rails) on the 6th floor. It was a king bed, but plenty big enough for both of us. We requested a fridge for John’s insulin and it came right up. We then went down to the restaurant for an early dinner. John ordered a (very small) burger and I had the turkey club with guacamole. John ate my bacon, but wouldn’t touch the avocado. It was over $40 for the two of us. Welcome to California.
Shortly after getting back to the room, Gail Rusk called me. She and Steve had arrived from NJ and wanted me to come down and chat while they ate their dinner in the over-priced hotel restaurant. I went down. John wanted a nap. They ordered the same two meals John and I had. Too funny. We got acquainted. Gail showed me her sketches and we agreed to meet down at the dealer preview at 6:00 PM.
John was a little perturbed about the lack of food at the hotel he would eat, so after I made three trips down to the gift/shop convenience store and filled the fridge with their overpriced snacks, he at least had something in the room he would eat.
The preview was fun. We met Keri – who had flown down from Washington State. Her wheelchair was heavier than John’s, so we took turns pushing her around the room. There were not many dealers open, but Steve Rusk was finding what he wanted. I looked a bit, but I already had all the pictures they were selling.
We ended up at George Pappy’s table. I had referred George to David, not knowing much more than David used to ‘date’ Susan Oliver, back in the day. Turns out David knew more about her and had known her longer, than any other actor featured in The Green Girl documentary. George found David very helpful and happy to be filmed. It was a good project for David and he looks and sounds great in the finished DVD. Keri and Gail each bought a DVD from George and I him how much I had enjoyed watching mine.
About that time, Derrik Lewis walked in with his photographer friend, Michael. So we talked to him for the while. He told us, he only got to be an officer because that was the costume that fit him. He would have been in Voyage more than one season, but he signed for a series called Hank in 1965 – that (obviously) did not make it and so he lost any chance to come back. Derrik said auditioning for Irwin Allen was nerve-wracking. They shoved him out on the sound stage when Irwin was directing and not in a good mood. He turned, looked Derrik up and down and said, ‘You’ll do! Get to wardrobe!’ They found something to fit him and Derrik was in the pilot.
Derrik would be cast in an additional seven episodes and he enjoyed every minute of it.
He showed up and Irwin yelled at him again. “Where have you been? We have been looking for you! Get your uniform on and get back here, pronto!” The two episodes Derrik said that he was in the most were The Fear Makers and The Saboteur. John made Derrik a sign that listed all his episodes, so he could actually talk to the fans and not keep telling them which episodes he was in. That worked out really well.
They kicked us out about 9:00 and John was hungry again. We looked at room service and decided we would go back to the Café and eat there instead – I had the $8.00 mac and cheese and John ordered the $32.00 steak. They put spinach in his mashed potatoes! Guess who ate those!
We had everything unpacked and had transitioned everything we needed to take downstairs into bags and boxes ready to go. I had emailed David to let him know we had arrived and twice more to let him know about parking and where his table was. We had an excellent location. I had them remove the giant trash can next to us, to make room for John’s wheelchair.
John can still walk. However, he is very brittle. If he sits in the wheelchair, no one can plow into him and knock him down. We did okay. If he had fallen or been knocked down, the trip would have ended right there with something broken. Luckily that did not happen. John would get up and “walk” his chair (like a walker) when the sledding got too tough on the hotel carpet, if I wasn’t around to push him.
Keri had it a little tougher, but she managed to find willing folks who would push her chair where she needed to go. She was also eating dinner late in the café. John went over and introduced himself and told her to come see him in the morning and he would see she had a good time. They were the wheelchair twins.
Our shower curtain was too short and leaked all over the floor but we still managed to get ready and go down – minus breakfast. There was nothing on the room service we even remotely would order for the prices they wanted. So we get down and they wouldn’t let us into the dealer’s room. I needed a wristband and she would not give me one until they opened. I had wanted to be set up by the time David arrived, but it was not to be.
I talked to the volunteer at advanced tickets. I think her name was Olivia – my apologies if that is wrong. She was a huge fan of David’s, so I invited her to the table. She said she was going to come by later (anyway) to see if he needed anything and promised he could have anything he wanted.
They finally let us in about 15 minutes before the early bird preview and I no sooner get to the table when my cell phone goes off. I know that’s David, but he’s gone before I can get to it. So I take it with me and head for the lobby. It goes off again – this time I get David. They won’t let him valet; they want him to go self-park. So I hop in with him as he pulls up in his Prius in front of the hotel. We go around the hotel to where the celebrity parking is and they give him a card out of the machine and we get the last open spot on the end. David likes that and tells me I brought him luck.
Then he wants to know how I am. We have not seen each other for almost two years. I tell him I’m fine, as I help him get his rolling suitcase of pictures out of the back seat. The suitcase is heavy and rolls differently than mine plus the garage floor is uneven. David sees me struggling with it and offers to take it back, but I finally figure out how it rolls and get it going.
I lead him across the lobby and straight to the celebrity check in table. Esther gives him his badge and explains parking to him, so he doesn’t have to pay. I have my gold VIP wristband, which is different from Gail’s green one – we had wristbands – the celebs got a lanyard with a square celeb badge. David never put it on, but I kept it handy.
I brought him into the room and he says Hello, John! John stops building the table sign and gives David a big hug. It’s been three and a half years since John came to a con. So two broken ankles later, John was back working David’s table. He’s brittle, but game. And there were celebs at this show he wanted to meet.
I wasn’t sure John was up to the trip, particularly after his trip to the ER for a medication complication the week before we left, but he did okay in California. We both came home without getting sick from traveling through airports and attending a large gathering of fans. That was amazing. Those flu shots really work.
David put his suitcase up on the table and I started loading his sleeved pictures into the picture box. John had chosen 30 and I had brought all I had at the house, so we filled sleeves until the box was full. John had redone a couple, but the photo lab messed up one, so we ended up with only two new pictures for this show, but they both sold well.
Derrik was the first to arrive with his pictures and Seaview Model. I wanted him next to me since he was new, but Terry had already decided the table order, based on the banner Allan had brought in. Derrik ended up down at the end table – next to Walter Koenig. So I wasn’t much help, but he managed. He was the same age as Walter and Allan and they knew and had worked with so many of the same people, they had fun talking and selling down at that end.
Everyone arrived in good spirits and set out their pictures and the selling began. John was out in front of the sign and helping the fan chose their photos to be signed. He would give the number and the money and I would lay the picture down in front of David. David would greet the fan and then sign the photos or whatever however they wanted it. I remember one guy asked David to write NIMR on one. We don’t get that request very often. David turned and copied it off my 20-year old Zine tee shirt. I was glad I wore it.
I had some con pre-orders – three people had requested that I get the four actors at the show to sign a group shot Bob Dowdell had signed and sent to me (before the show). So I counted out the money and sent the pictures down the row with Steve Rusk. Thank you, Steve. Bob sent me 44 signed pictures and I sold over half of them. We wanted Robert to be represented at the show, even though his many health issues kept him from flying to LA to attend. I sent him some pictures he was in that David had signed at previous shows and he mailed them back to me. I brought them to the show and they sold quite well. I still have a few left listed on my autographed picture page on this web site.
The attendees actually brought us more to sign then they bought from us but as long as David stayed busy, we weren’t fussy about what was getting signed. They brought him Bond posters and Fly bobble heads and Seaview models, he signed DVD covers and 50th anniversary Seaview Books. We both signed Fly at Fifty books. The one Bond poster had like 27 signatures on it – the guy had brought it to previous shows, one of them being The Women of Bond and had about everyone. Now he (finally) has Felix Leiter.
We had at least four early birds who had to be patient and go around the room at least once before we were ready to open the table. David said hello to Bonnie David and her friend from Buffalo. Bonnie had met David once before at a charity fundraiser in 1968 (in Buffalo). She was really pleased to meet him again. So was her friend, who I apologize to for not remembering her name.
Keri rolled up in her wheelchair and I introduced her to David. He signed her Seaview book and got her picture taken with David. Keri actually made out like a bandit – she also did the photo op on Sunday and got the best picture (I thought) of the four guys. And she talked to Derrik and Allan and Terry and they all signed her book. A good time was had by all.
Our tables were against the wall between the first and second entrance so Keri would roll in and park down by Derrik and John would be sitting down by David – so we also had wheelchair bookends most of the weekend.
Gail and Steve managed two laps around before we could let them say hi to David. Gail showed David her sketch book and he really liked the charcoals she had drawn. He signed one for her. Gail is really good. Gail also volunteered to take table photos for me for the web site. l was either making change or pulling a picture. Or getting up out of my chair, so the fan could come around and sit next to David - to have their picture taken.
Gail asked David why he didn’t do more comedy. I told David how much everyone loved his Saint episode on YouTube – between the ice cream down the ladies dress and him slip sliding all over the hotel room floor, it is very slapstick. David said his personal favorite was the bemused psychiatrist who ends up on his own couch is the short lived comedy series, Flying High, which he did in the 1970’s.
Helen Howerton arrived next. We hugged and said hello and she wanted to take me to lunch, but I told her we’d be much too busy to get away. And we were. I moved aside and let her talk to the David. Then she moved down the table to talk to Terry and Allan and Derrik. She ended up with Keri, and they made a couple of laps of the room, with Helen pushing so Keri could get around on the carpet. When they had their fill of Celebrity gazing, they had lunch. Helen had to leave early, she had to get back, but she had a great time while she was with us.
Olivia the con volunteer made her promised visit. I introduced her to David and told him to tell her if he wanted anything. David said he was fine, but would let her know. She looked him right in the eye and said, “We’re getting married at 7 PM.” David didn’t bat an eye and said, “I’ll be there.” She smiled hugely and went on to the next table. There was a wedding in the hotel that night, a really nice one for an African-American couple, but none of us went.
The next person to come by was Ted Carroll. I had invited Ted to fly down from San Francisco and drop in to the con, so he could see how John and I run a table. Ted is Bob Dowdell’s cousin and he would be the one to bring Robert to a con, if Robert ever was well enough to attend one closer to where he lives.
We had hoped to have Ted put Robert on speakerphone for the Q & A, but the Q &A was never scheduled due to a miscommunication between the reunion organizer (Terry Becker) and the convention promoter, who had 79 other celebrities he was trying to accommodate as well as us. These things happen. The panel room didn’t get rented, so there was no Q & A. Next time, we all agreed and went back to signing pictures at all the tables.
Ted had been calling Robert most of the day, keeping him updated on when (or if) there was going to be a Q &A. When it didn’t happen, Ted took his cell phone down the row and let all the actors talk to Robert, instead.
Allan Hunt said, "I have not talked to Robert in 50 years!" Derrik seemed to enjoy talking to Robert the most. They had done eight episodes together that first year and Derrik always admired Robert’s dry sense of humor. He told me it was still there in the phone call, and he was so glad Ted gave him that chance to talk to Robert again.
Robert enjoyed being part of the reunion (as much as he could) and really liked talking to his old cast mates on the phone. And Ted had a good time, talking to the actors, too. He had never met any of them. He only knew me and only because he had asked me to ask David to do something for Robert, a couple of years ago. I think it was either a hospital call or a Birthday call, I can’t remember which one was the first request. Basically, if Robert needs something, all of us try our best to get it done for him.
Gail offered to buy me lunch once she saw how busy it was. Best $20 I ever spent. I had brought snacks for David – his usual natural almonds, some chewy granola bars and a huge (4 inch) oatmeal cookie I found for sale in the Fort Lauderdale Airport. I put the wrapped food up on the table and let David eat what he wanted when he wanted to. He did eat some almonds and one of the chewy granola bars.
He grinned at me when I piled everything for him on the table and asked me how I knew what to bring. I grinned back and reminded him how many shows we had done together since 2003. Of course, I know now what to bring – that he likes. He asked me how I knew he liked oatmeal cookies – I told him it must have been his oatmeal cookie recipe published in that cookbook in 1975! He winked at me.
When my sandwich came, David insisted I take a break and go up to the room and eat in peace. So I went up to the room only to find my meds were at the table, so I came back down, found my meds – (finally) in John’s bag – it was that kind of morning! I ate at the (now) deserted table.
Terry saw my turkey club sandwich and got a café menu from somewhere and ordered lunch for him and his wife. And I had no sooner taken my last bite when it started up again. Brett Halsey was across the 2nd entrance from us and they would bring his Fly collage posters over for David to sign. Brett told David his new book was selling quite well. My chair next to David was quite popular – there always seemed to be someone else in it.
David sat and let folks come to him. Anne Lockhart was our first Celebrity to say hello, she walks up to the table and says, ‘Didn’t I shoot you once?’ David laughed and asked after her mother, June. Anne said her Mom was fine, still as feisty as ever. David and Richard used to always visit with June on the Lost in Space set the years they worked on the lot together.
Our next Celeb was Ron Masak, resplendent in his Murder, She Wrote Sheriff’s jacket. 7 seasons, he said. He told Terry he knew David back when “he had a different first name, his real first name (1957)". Then Ron wanted to know if David remembered filming up in Mendocino and how he and Ken Howard (the current SAG-AFTRA president) used to serenade Jean Simmons with Al Jolson songs… David smiled and said, yes, he remembered. Sounded like a fun set to me.
John brought Chuck McCann over to say hello after visiting with Chuck at his table. McCann was one of the people John came to meet and they hit it off. John knew a lot of Chuck’s early NY work from when McCann was on WPIX. John was talking about stuff McCann’s wife had never heard of – until Chuck pulled out his book of clippings and showed her.
John also talked to Robert Pine and asked him how it felt to be the dad of the “new Capt. Kirk.” Pine beamed. Very proud. Patrick Kilpatrick was there as a Trek guest and we said hello, again. He was our neighbor at Dragoncon in 2003.
A couple of women visited David; I think one of them was Barbara Leigh. Barbara Luna (who I also know) was not a listed guest, but I bumped into her at least twice in our table area. She might have been there to see Walter Koenig. Luna, as she calls herself, is always fun to talk to. I walked by Robert Pine several times but he was always busy or gone or I was busy and couldn’t stop. I wanted to tell him he was my favorite on Chips, but never got to. Oh, well. I did talk to Erik Estrada – he passed me in the hall and acknowledged me before ducking into the green room for breakfast. Nice guy. Very popular. Still looks good.
I talked to Edd Byrnes and Ed Asner. Ed gave me ‘a nice cuddle’ as my friends in the UK, say. Ed let Jeanine Kasun – who is recovering from a brain aneurism – sit next to him all day and take his money. She had a blast. Jeanine was supposed to help Rose Marie, who took ill and couldn’t come at the last minute. It was a lovely gesture on his part. No wonder Ed was tapped to play Santa Claus.
I asked Ed about his radio play he is doing at UCLA in April. He plays Norman Mailer’s father in it. John talked to Ed about his recent guest rolls on Royal Pains (the grandfather) and Hawaii Five 0. Ed didn’t like his role on Pains, which was okay. I didn’t like him get killed by a semi-truck in H50!
Dan Haggerty was someone I recognized across the room, but he was about it except for Michael Callan (Cat Ballou, Mysterious Island). I think I saw Jay North – he’s much bigger these days. The back of the room was the Dennis the Menace reunion and the Miami Vice reunion. I didn’t recognize Edward James Olmos at first – he looked more like Grizzly Adams than Dan Haggerty did! Oh, well. I did recognize Michael Talbott.
David asked me to find Gregory Harrison. I went out to get a map of the celeb tables, rather than wander around the ballroom aimlessly. There wasn’t a map, so I came back and asked Steve Rusk. Steve went out scouting and found Gregory for us. Lovely man.
After David and I had gone out for the first photo op and came back, I led David right to Gregory – who was standing in the middle of the aisle getting his picture taken. They said Hi, and Gregory remembered correctly that David was on Trapper John, M.D. and not on Logan’s Run. Then we came back to the table and sold some more.
David was feeling good and signing lots of items. The first Photo shoot was fun. The guys all stood around as they were called up singly and in groups – whatever someone had paid for until they were done. There was a woman named Marilyn who paid to have pictures with all of them. Both days. She and some guy named Bob hung out with Keri down by Derrik most of the weekend.
I stood around and watched and Ted stood around and watched and even Derrik’s friend Michael stood around and watched. That’s all we could do. We were not allowed to take any picture of the Photo op and any videotape, for that matter. But we did take lots of pictures in the hall. Or at least, Gail did.
Terry and David talked a lot. Terry wanted the Voyage actors to get together, like the Trek actors did and get Fox to give them residuals, as the SAG AFTRA agreement only awards DVD royalties for shows after 1976. I was in and out and I don’t know what ultimately how that conversation ended. I let them talk, I was busy making change and selling pictures and looking after David. I dug out the throat drops after David went raspy from the talking he had to do.
David did quite well. He had his hearing aid on and he would lean forward. We told everyone to talk up and he managed to sign everything the way everyone wanted it signed, even all my preorders. I had this big cardboard request that I had to carry down the length of the table. It had been mailed to me at the hotel, but I did get it signed and shipped back to the guy. One of them was the Bentjovic caricature of David and Richard.
Two French girls came up to the table, talking to David in broken English. They told him they would not show Voyage in France when they were younger and that they had to watch it in other countries. David asked them if they had seen The Fly. ‘Ah, La Mouche…’ they replied. ‘Oui! We like that one.’
David offered to come out from behind the table and take a picture with them. I took the picture. They were chatting away in broken English. I asked David to tell them about his recent holiday in France this past September. He told them he had toured this province in the south of France – I can’t remember where now and one of the women was so pleased – turned out she had a relative that lived near there. So David starts talking to them in broken French. David’s wife is trilingual. She was educated in Paris. So these two women loved David.
Albert came to visit us again. He was a good buyer at the Burbank show and he had even more stuff for David to sign this time around. I think he ended with 20 items signed. Now that is a fan. Several folks mentioned how much they liked David’s Facebook pages and David (very graciously) told them, Diane does that for me.
I mentioned to David that I had finally seen the Hart to Hart TV movie that he had passed on to go do the play, “Rough Crossing,” in Nebraska that I had attended. He wanted to know what it was about. John and I told him that they got George Hamilton to play his part and George was really a rat in it. And that his friend, Steph Powers, had a dual role. David said RJ Wagner had called him to do it, but he had already agreed to do the play. He was the headliner, he couldn’t pull out. My only quibble with the TV movie was that Dwight Shultz did not look like George Hamilton’s brother. At all.
David went over during the mid-afternoon and had a great chat with Brett Halsey. He also went over to Ed Asner’s table to say hello to Ed and his helper, Jeanine Kasun. She was so glad to see David. She is a huge fan of his and held on to his hand the whole time he talked to her. Anne Lockhart and Greg Harrison were also there.
About mid-afternoon, Allan opens a bottle of champagne and I’m thinking to myself, where did he get booze? Then I remembered the con promoter telling me that there was SWAG in the green room. I had skipped the continental breakfast, because David doesn’t do Juice and muffins. I figured since the swag was good at the last Hollywood show in Burbank I should go check it. I knew David would take a bottle of red wine. So I asked him for his badge, which he gladly gave me and went to check it out. There were several things I saw that David would probably like, if only to give to his wife, Bridget.
They told me I could not fill a bag for David - he had to come down himself. So I went back and told David they wouldn’t give me anything. He had to come. David got right up and said let’s go. He walked in, they handed him a bag, he gave it to me and we filled it. He told me to take anything that I wanted. I pointed out some things I thought Bridget might like. I nabbed the only bottle of Merlot left and David also wanted the coffee. It was bright orange bag, quite large, but we filled it. Together.
When we got back, Terry couldn’t help but notice the bag full of stuff David had. He asked what it was. I told him there was swag in the green room. Did he want some? He said he couldn’t walk that far. I offered to take his wife, so she put on the badge. And down we went. Apparently she was old enough to pass a celeb as they let her fill up three bags!
That I carried back. We were the last ones so we got to “clean up.” I repacked everything for her so it fit into two bags and came back and plopped them in front of Terry. “What did you do?" he asked his (now) happy wife. I told him “We went shopping.” “How am I supposed to get all this in the car?” Terry wondered. Allan Hunt carried it out to their car.
Terry was our patriarch. We let him talk all weekend to anyone and everyone. He and John hit it off; mostly because John is old enough to know whoever Terry was telling him a story about. Terry was telling me how to book David, so I let him.
I gave him some of David’s snacks when he said he was hungry. I helped his wife out. It was winding down at this point and David was ready to go home. I told him to stay put a little while longer there was usually one last flurry of activity at the end of the day and there was. Although, at one point during that David did turn to me and asked, “Can I go home now?”
George Pappy came over and chatted with David a bit and thanked him again for being so helpful with the documentary. George said without David – one of his first interviewees he wouldn’t have known about The Actors Studio connection – they had her listed under her real name or gone there to do research. David was also one of the few people who knew and was friends with Susan Oliver’s astrologer Mother. George handed me his iPhone 6 and had me take about 10 pictures – keep clicking it, he said – so I hope he got some good ones of him and David. There is another LA screening of the documentary in December as part of a film festival. I will post that information closer to the date for anyone who wants to go.
Derrik wanted David to sign a photo for his “wall of fame” – which has a signed picture of everyone Derrik has even worked with. I let Derrik pick out which one of our stills he wanted and he told me David signed it very nicely for him. They chatted for a while as well. Derrik had only worked with David during his first season appearances and did not know Terry and Allan before the reunion show. He was really looking forward to seeing David again, as Derrik mentioned that he had not seen him since a chance encounter at a theatre in 1977.
It got a little silly toward the end of the day – maybe we were all getting punchy. The boys had taken a break and David came back and said – ‘Guess who I found in the men’s room – John!’ John then called David a geezer and David goosed John the next he was out from around the table. Gail kept trying to get David’s picture and he gave her a middle finger salute. She was laughing so hard, she couldn’t take a picture for five minutes after that. I told her she had arrived! Keri tried to take Gail’s picture and she ran away. Keri took mine when I didn’t want her to, so I’m glaring at her. I don’t think anyone managed to get a picture of Helen before she left. Ted left shortly after the Q & A didn’t happen, but he still had a good time and was glad he came to meet everyone. Gail did get a shot of Ted talking to David and one of John talking to him as well. Good job, Gail!
As the ballroom was emptying out and David had decided on what time he would return on Sunday, I’m like, “Sure, go ahead and go.” He asked if he could leave his markers there. He had put little green neon strips of tape on his markers so he would know which ones were his and had brought a nice padded bank deposit pouch to put them in. He put them all away in his pouch and took what swag he wanted out of the orange bag and he was ready to go.
He first said he give me my percentage on Sunday, but changed his mind once we left the room. He grasped my hand and led me over to the sofa by the water station to give me my share. He always wants some place quiet, so he insisted I sit on the sofa next to him. He wanted me to guess what my share would be. I am pleased to say I guessed right. I was very happy that he had made that much money at the show. I know David was pleased, too.
I walked him out. David tends to get a bit turned around in hotels and I don’t. He stopped in the lobby and insisted that I did not have to walk him all the way out to the garage, he knew where his car was and would be fine.
At that point we were stopped by a final autograph seeker, who had apparently missed us leaving the ballroom. John said later he sent her after us. Good thing we had stopped at the celeb desk to get David’s parking validated – she gave him a ticket that would open the exit gate without charging him, so I made sure that was in his front pocket. Parking is something I need to make sure gets taken care of, so I do my best.
So I held David’s bag and parking exit pass and the $20 while this woman got out the program book that she wanted David to sign from Live and Let Die. David leafed through it, looking for pictures, but there weren’t any of him. As usual. He signed it; the woman thanked me and left. He tried to give me the $20. I tucked it into his front shirt pocket with the parking ticket and told him he had earned it and to take it home. And he did.
David gave me a lovely hug and kiss good-bye and once I made sure he was walking in the right direction to exit the hotel, I left as well. We had a table to pack up. While we were packing up, I found David’s suitcase of pictures under the table, so we rolled that upstairs with everything else. The Rusks wanted to have dinner with us, so we all carried something. That got everything back to the room and dumped.
The room had not been made up; even though we had told the hotel we wanted them to do so. They are trying to save water, so they ask you to “opt out.” So I called for clean towels and they came and we decided to live with it. The maid then had a huge pile of wet towels on the floor by the time we left, thanks to the leaking shower. Oh, well.
Then we went downstairs to the café grill and had an overpriced dinner. I thought they burned John’s steak and Gail’s chicken, but they both assured me that was not the case. I was not happy they were charging John $4.25 for a glass of lemonade. I had the chicken meatballs with angel hair, which tasted way better than it sounds.
John gave me grief about that, apparently you don’t make meatballs out of chicken, but I gave Gail one and she liked them, too. John ate most of my angel hair and gave me some of his mashed potatoes. Steve Rusk had the teeny tiny hamburger (again) of which there wasn’t enough to share, even if he wanted to.
Steve and John were the same age and liked all the same old shows and were both fans of Kenneth Tobey, so they had a blast together. Gail and I talked fanfic and David and photo refs for her sketches. It was a great dinner.
They had to leave early Sunday morning but I was pleased that Gail had made the most of her Saturday. And she was very persistent and took some great pictures, even though David kept messing with what she was trying to do. He’s a rascal.
We had a late morning, so I took the two $5.00 vouchers we had received – one when they didn’t clean the room and the other one that was slipped under my door while I was at dinner. I went down to “Starbucks” like kiosk they had off the lobby and bought Breakfast. For $17 we got two huge apple filled croissants – they were great - an apple juice and a fruit cup. John ate the croissant, but didn’t want any of the leftover fruit that I was allergic to. So we left it for the maid.
We had told David to come at noon as there is never much going on the first hour. The hall looked deserted when we rolled down around 11:00 AM – several of the tables had been removed and celebs had been moved up and around to fill in where the Saturday only celebs had been. There were supposed to be a couple of Sunday only people, but Michael Callan was the only one who actually showed up. Michael Dorn was supposed to join the Chips reunion, but I never saw him. And he’s not in the Sunday photo op.
I checked out and put our bags in storage until the show was over. My bill was fine. I wasn’t happy about the outrageous restaurant bill, but the same thing had happened in Anaheim in 2010, so it’s a California thing.
David showed up promptly at 12 noon and was soon signing again. They all did the photo op again for the Sunday people. I went with David and he not only gave me his bag to hold, but his glasses as well. So I stood patiently, holding his stuff, until he was done being photographed. Not the first time I have done this for him.
David said he was wearing the wrong color plaid shirt and he was going to blend right into the background, I told him he was fine and he was. The backdrop was blue and he was (mostly) green and the Sunday pictures look great.
Later I went back with my camera card and they put the photos on there for David to have. The photo people were very nice and took some really good shots of the four Voyage actors. They gave David an 8 by 10 signed by the photographer.
David found the large oatmeal cookie on the table and devoured it. He did offer me some, so I broke off a small piece to have with him. Next thing I know he’s offering me the last piece of it. So I finished it off. I offered him another throat drop, but he said he didn’t need it. He had come in with one and he did sound better than he had on Saturday.
We basically told David he could leave at 3:00 as we knew from experience everyone was usually packing up by then. David wanted to go to a screening of Birdman that afternoon, but I don’t think we got him out in time to make it. He said it took him 45 minutes (in LA traffic) to get to the hotel from his house. I didn’t think we were that far away, must be the traffic. Helen said he had to cross the 405 Expressway. Which ain’t easy.
The con came to us almost last and had David sign all the requests they had gotten for his signature and for the staff. David signed almost 40 items. Some of the pictures were quite nice; there was a four signed sub shot that was beautiful. The only photo I didn’t like was the shot of David with The Lobsterman. The actor who played that part was always telling untrue (gossip-type) stories about Richard Basehart. But I didn’t say anything. I kept track of what colors the photos were signed in and handed David the Blue pen when they signed in blue and the silver sharpie when they were signed in silver and so on.
I had taken some Sunday pictures with my iPhone – when I had the chance, since I didn’t have Gail there to take them for me. And I had John take a few of me with David for this report. David as always looks great in them. At one point, I was standing next to him and trying to find him in the viewfinder. He told me without looking up, that I was too close. I said no, you are in the viewfinder. I had him lined up and then I turned the camera off - the two buttons are next to each other and I always press the wrong one. It’s annoying. So I lined him up again and got the picture, which came out slightly out of focus, because I was too close. David knows.
George Pappy noticed that as well. He told us David knew exactly where he wanted the camera and kept moving him left until he was exactly where David wanted his eye line to be. George felt David would have made a fine director, if he had been inclined to go that route with his career. I told George, David doesn’t like to tell people what to do; he’d rather work hard within an ensemble. Always been that way.
David signed some of his new pictures for me to sell on the web site and also signed the remaining Seaview books. I have three left if anyone wants one signed by David Hedison. It has gone out of print and there is no release date for the revised edition at this time. Terry wanted to know why he didn’t get a picture DVD with his copy of the Seaview book. I told him the picture disc was an eBay deal only.
I helped David repack his suitcase – he told me what pictures he wanted back and I handed them to him. He gets a lot of requests. I reminded him he had a sweater in the suitcase and he said, yes, he had packed it in case the room was cold, but it wasn’t, so he never used it.
He let me walk him out on Sunday. I rolled his heavy bag full of pictures. David still walks well enough, he has a hitchy stride, but it gets him where he is going. We got him his validated parking ticket to get out – they sent us to the front desk. She wasn’t happy about it, but she gave David the ticket he needed to get out without being charged. Once again we stowed it in his front shirt pocket.
We found his car. Larry Wilcox was driving out past us as we made our way down the garage. I put David’s bag in the back seat with the handle facing out, the way I found it when I took it out the car on Friday. He gave me a lovely hug and a kiss goodbye and told me; “Thank you for everything you do.” He asked after our flight and I told him we would be going to the Virgin Terminal at LAX around 7 PM and taking the red-eye home. He praised John’s work at the table, both of us had not been sure John was up to the task, but John surprised us all and did really well. John loves to go to cons. Always has.
He offered me a lift back up to the entrance of the garage, but I told him, no, I’d walk. I probably should have ridden up with him, but I figured it would be faster for him if I let him go. I waited on the curb opposite the gate, for David to drive up.
While I’m there, I notice Terry Becker and his wife at the other gate, waiting. I wonder what they are waiting for. David pulls up to the other gate. While he is getting out, I see the con chair run out, put a ticket in Terry’s gate and let them out. So I wave good bye to them both and watch David drive down out and turn right on Century Blvd. It was a good con.
I got the suitcases out of the storage, I was there and wheeled them back to the table to pack up – the place was practically deserted by then and it was only 3:30 PM. We had time, they told us to take the 7:00 PM shuttle to catch our 9:45 PM flight. Marilyn brought us a luggage cart and helped us pack up and then went out to the airport with us. I had four pre made mailing labels for the flat rate boxes, so we stuffed those as full as we could get them and put the rest in our suitcases, including the food from the swag bag David had left us. We gave some of what we had to Marilyn, she was hungry, so we packed and she had dinner.
Allan Hunt admired The Fly bobble head so we gave him one. Pat Ames was going to drive 6 hours back to Phoenix, so they left before we did. I had promised Olivia the table sign and she came to collect it. She loved having all those pictures of David. George Pappy came over and said goodbye and gallantly carried the sign out for Olivia. He was fun. I hope he sold a lot of his The Green Girl DVDs.
Marilyn helped me carry the packed boxes out to the shipping desk and got her luggage out of storage (same place) so she could go out to the airport with us. We loaded everything on her (borrowed) luggage rack and did a sweep under the table to make sure we had everything we had brought.
Since we were all packed up we decided to go on out to the airport and eat out there once we had cleared security. So we hopped on the hotel shuttle bus to the airport and went to Terminal 3 (Virgin America). Marilyn found out once she got off with us – she should have stayed on the bus, because she did not as yet have a boarding pass to go through Virgin security with us. She was on United and that terminal was on the other side of the airport. I told her to go back down to the first floor and hop the free hotel bus when it came around again and go to United and get her boarding pass. I showed her how I had pre-printed mine at the hotel. I had to go to 2nd floor to do that, but I did get them printed.
So we hugged her goodbye and I elected to go through Regular screening as John did not get TSA pre-check clearance going home. That would have been easier, as they made him get up out of the wheelchair and walk through the scanner without his shoes. John was not happy, but he made it through. They patted down my leg for some reason. They have heightened security at LAX because it’s LAX. David hates it. So I was prepared. At least David is old enough he doesn’t have to take off his shoes; John has ten more years before he qualifies.
Then my rolling bag went off. So it got pulled out and searched and rescanned and then (finally) they determined that my SWAG oatmeal bar soap was the culprit and let me go on through. We put our shoes back on, got everything back on top of the rolling suitcases and went in search of dinner.
The only restaurant in Terminal 3 was an English pub – but they had a hamburger John would eat. I had the special which was a five dish tapas-like chicken dish with grilled asparagus. They serve a lot of grilled asparagus in CA. Good thing I like it. John liked his burger and fries and cole slaw and said it the best meal he had since Friday. It was another outrageous dinner tab, but I paid it. We found our gate and John loaded first as a wheelchair.
You have to taxi like two miles to take off and land at LAX, but we got up and off and the captain basically told us to go to sleep and he’d talk to us again in 5 hours. If you wanted something to eat, you ordered it on your seat back. John mostly slept, which surprised me as usually he is a very restless flyer. I tried to, managed an hour or two. There was some weather so we bumped a bit all the way from Arizona to about New Orleans.
We got to Fort Lauderdale. My cell phone went off as we were waiting for the plane to clear out. The town car guy said 15 minutes. I told him we’d be at the pick-up. He loaded us up and we on the road for home by 6:00 AM.
When we got home I went to bed for like five hours, then had to unpack and get groceries in the house and get ready to go back to work the next day. It was worth it all to see David again. David did very well at the con, loved being with his cast mates from Voyage. He told me to go look for another con. So hopefully, if someone will book us, David and I will do another con. In 2015. Enjoy the pictures.