Me and Joe Moe
Cameron and Joe Moe
Despite what the Deadpit guys said on their podcast Wonderfest was a terrific show. I went up on Saturday morning with my youngest son, Luke, and my director Cameron McCasland. We had a great road trip up - Weather was nice, traffic light - overall it was a pleasant drive. Lots of good conversation on the way up.
We got there around mid-day, took a quick look around, got our badges, and spent the rest of the day split between the model room and dealer's room. The Rondo Awards were held early Sat. evening but I was busy getting the set put up for my show, so I missed most of it. I did pop in for the last couple of winners, however. Afterward we headed to this great nearby Mexican restaurant - the group was myself, Cameron, Luke, J. Sorrels, Jen Fox and her parents, Mom and Dad Zombie from the Classic Horror Film Boards. We had a great time, much more terrific conversation (boy does Dad Zombie have some amazing stories!) and some terrific Mexican food.
Max Chaney, Rondo winner for Best Blog - that's David Colton, Rondo Award founder, beside him.
After that I stopped for coffee at Starbucks - because I'm a coffee fiend - and then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the show. Our live show was scheduled as the last event of the evening. Contrary to other reports, there was programming going on late into the evening. They screened a movie in the room ahead of us, and our show started right after that - sometime after 11pm. I am not really sure of the exact time as I was busy with last minute preparations.
Going over script with Donnie Waddell (off screen), J Sorrels (that's his arm), and my son Luke
The room was a completely packed house - almost every seat was full, if not every one. The movie we hosted was the Roger Corman classic "It Conquered the World." This is one of Corman's films that has never been released on DVD, surprisingly enough. This year was the first time since I've been doing these shows (the first was in 2004) that special guest Bob Burns was unable to attend the show. Due to health problems he just couldn't make it. HOWEVER - not one to be deterred, I surprised the audience by calling Bob on my cell and holding a mic up to it so they could hear him on speaker phone. We even sanf Happy Birthday to Bob, thanks to Terry Pace's suggestion (thanks Terry).
Nurse Moan-eek, Donnie Waddell and myself on set
We had some other fun surprises during the evening, including Wonderfest veteran organizer Donnie Waddell playing the voice of Beulah, the creature from the movie, who kept interrupting me during the breaks in the film. Nurse Moan-eek was on hand to help host the film, and we tossed out bags of freebies to the audience at the end of the show. BTW - my apologies to the guy who I cracked on the head with whatever that was I tossed out - sorry dude! Don't sue me - my Boo Cross Boo Shield coverage isn't paid up!
After that we headed up to the Old Dark Clubhouse to hang out for a while. I drank some beer, talked to lots of folks, and sweated my butt off cause that room was packed! Good times chatting with lots of folks I don't get to see but once a year. the room was decorated wall to wall with vintage monster pictures and ads - Gary Prange outdid himself this year decorating. The GIGANTIC Giant Colossal Man poster on the window was extra cool!
Cameron, Me and Donna Lucas at the ODCH
Me and Luke chatting with artist Jeff Preston - that is Joe Busam's head in the foreground
ODCH in full swing - too many folks to name - but that's Linda Wylie and Carrie Galloway in the foreground, and I'm chatting with Joe Busam
Me, Luke and Cameron chatting about something very important, I'm sure
Sunday was all about Luke. I spent the day cruising the dealer's room with him trying to decide how to spend some money. It is always fun to watch a kid decide what he HAS to have. I remember doing the same thing with my older kids when they were his age. It's tough to make a decision sometimes.
So once he had his treasures it was back to the clubhouse to say our goodbyes, then we headed back to Hendersonville.
This was a really cool display at the Universal Monster Army toy display
A great show, all in all, and let me just say this to anyone who has doubts about this show. It is a model show. There are models there. Lots of them. Don't expect otherwise. But even if you're not into models, (like me), there are plenty of other great things going on all weekend. Like the Return of the Living Dead panel with Linnea Quigley, James Karen, frank Dietz and Bill Stout - or the Rondo Awards, or the late night movie hosted by whoever that goober was! And you will find some of the nicest folks you could ever hope to meet there, too. And that's the best part of this show. Seeing old friends who, as I said before, I won't see again for another year.
Posing with Wonderfest's cutest kids, Forest and Alexandra Pace
Here's to next year's Wonderfest and many more! And by the way, Dave Conover is awesome. That is all.