Sdtrk: ‘The luckiest guy on the Lower East side’ by Magnetic fields
You might recall earlier that I was torn between attending this year’s Motor City Comic Con and not attending this year’s Motor City Comic Con, as it was a case of my finances running aground versus my desire to see Julie Newmar and a fifth of the cast of ‘Three’s company’. Luckily, my tax return cheque made the whole thing possible! Thanks, the Federal Government! I only thank you on average once a year, so you’d best appreciate that.
I sped out to the venue roughly three hours before it was due to close, as I kinda wanted to make a tactical strike on the place. It was just myself; Zip Gun had other obligations (attending the opera), SafeT hates comics (they killed his family), goshou was busy assembling a weight bench (with his mind), and Mari had to put a deposit on her new apartment (with her mind).
After arriving a wee bit after 3pm, I bought my ticket and entered the hall, which was already teeming with people. Not thirty seconds had passed when I was spotted by Mark Dudley, a friend of Mike’s, who had a table in Artist’s Alley, and was standing in line for some dodgy free popcorn. We chatted for a bit, doing the catch-up thing, then I took off when he finally got up to the register. Two minutes after that, I ran into another bloke that I’d not seen in almost a decade! We exchanged current Email addresses and spoke of the recent Gundam series, as he’s as big as a Gundam fanatic as I am. Then I made my leave again! Fifteen minutes, and I hadn’t even visited my first vendor booth!
So as I was on a tactical strike, due to being on a budget, my mission purchase-wise was to pick up the remaining five volumes of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (a ‘taut psychological thriller’). My other objective, of course, was to get some autographs from famous individuals. As I neglected to get a programme, I kinda wandered aimlessly towards the back of the con, where I ran into an additional two friends of mine that I really hadn’t seen since highschool. How is that possible?? Sonja and Sue were juniors when I was a senior, cos the circle of miscreants that Monti and I ran with back then was mostly composed of people that were one grade below us. Don’t ask how, but the dynamic worked rather well. We chatted for a bit, doing the catch-up thing, etc. They were primarily there to hang out and shop, although Sue wanted to get a photo and autograph from Carrie Fisher, but that idea was summarily shot in the face when they learned that her autographs were priced at $200. Ah hah hah hah. Who exactly is this Carrie Fisher person, and what has she done to warrant this kind of extortion?
Several hugs later, we went our separate ways, after which I spotted Monti, who was working (read: knitting) at the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers booth on both Saturday and Sunday. As she wasn’t extremely busy, she decided to wander the con with me and take in the wildlife, but just as we were about to leave, Sonja and Sue appeared again! Cue more hugs! Sonja had laughingly told me that after our first meeting, someone had asked her ‘was… was that Davecat you were talking to?’ Ha! Monti half-jokingly suggested that I get a table of my own next year. Hmm…
Soon after, Monti and I made our way to the Media Guests area, where, seated at a corner table facing the cafeteria, was Julie Newmar. She had a Comic Con staffer with her, and was speaking with some bloke in his late forties. Julie Newmar.
Now, as the ‘My living Doll’ DVD box set doesn’t yet exist, weeks ago I attempted to find something related to the series on eBay for her to sign. Unfortunately, the only thing on offer was a baseball card-sized card, that the seller was letting go for about $20. Zip Gun hepped me to a place online that sold reasonably priced 8×10 publicity stills, so I bought one and waited for it to arrive. And waited. And waited. Needless to say, it didn’t show up, so before I left for the con that day, I brought a blank notebook for her to sign, as I figured it was better than nothing.
I approached the table with a ‘Hello, Ms Newmar!’ She responded with a coquettish ‘Hello, my dear,’ which is pretty much what you’d expect her to say. As the bloke had her pen her signature to a Catwoman still, I’d noticed a sign indicating AUTOGRAPHS $20 / PHOTO SESSIONS $30, and I’d thankfully noticed a still from ‘My living Doll’ was on offer, as the photo I’d purchased online was Julie clad in a towel. A moot point anyway, as I didn’t have it with me. The fan thanked her and made his leave, and I moved in for the kill. I told Ms Newmar that I really enjoyed her work, particularly in ‘My living Doll’, which she seemed to appreciate. She reiterated what I’ve been hearing all over: they’re still trying to locate the masters for the rest of the series, so they can clean them up and release them to DVD. She still doesn’t look too bad for her age, I have to say! Plus, she seems fun to hang around. Be sure to let me know when you’re in SE Michigan again, Julie; we’ll hook up!
‘to Davecat, fondly, Julie Newmar’
After thanking her profusely, I met back up with Monti with a huge grin plastered across my face. Julie Newmar.
We walked some more through the Media Guests area, flanked by a passel of celebs on either side — the Soup Nazi from ‘Seinfeld’, Erin Gray from ‘Buck Rogers’, Felix Silla from ‘Buck Rogers’, a couple of Playmates from ‘Playboy’, the Honky Tonk Man from ‘wrestling’, etc. It was a bizarre confluence of celebrities, if you stop to think about it.
Back in the dealer’s area, we nipped into a booth that sold manga, where I grabbed those volumes of Monster that I needed, with the exception of the volume before the final one, as it was out-of-stock. DAMNIT *slams fist on table*
As it was approaching 5pm, we made one more pass through the Media Guests DMZ, so I could collect my signatures from (part of) the cast of ‘Three’s company’. Seated from left to right at three separate tables were Richard Kline, Joyce DeWitt, and Priscilla Barnes. Coincidentally enough, the Soup Nazi was to the right of Richard Kline, which was an opportunity missed.
As Janet always was my favourite roommate, we went to Joyce’s table first. She greeted us warmly, and y’know, she looks almost exactly how she looked during her heyday. And they might’ve saddled her with a low chair, as she seemed pretty tiny! It’s common knowledge that television adds three and a half feet to a person’s height. I told her that she was one of the primary reasons that I came to the convention, since her public appearances post-‘Three’s company’ are rare, and she mentioned that Priscilla drags her out to cons every so often, as she’d been doing the hermit thing lately. ‘Nothing wrong with that!’ I replied. Joyce chose to sign my book in pen, as opposed to using the Sharpie I offered, so the ink wouldn’t leak through to the other side. Janet always was the practical one.
Next, we sidled over to Richard Kline. As he was speaking with another fan, I’d noticed he was idly drumming a fistful of Sharpies against the tabletop. He seemed a bit tired and/or distracted, to be honest. I’d passed him my Sharpie, and as he was taking that and my book, he’d asked if Joyce had charged for an autograph. ‘Err… no,’ we responded, thinking he was joking. Richard scribbled his signature and handed my book back, saying, ‘There ya go — there’s your freebie’. The actual payment: one Sharpie. I wisely decided against pressing the issue.
Right before I got round to Priscilla Barnes’ table, Monti said she’d be back, as she wanted to get her own photo op in with John Schneider of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ fame. Now, she actually had a con staffer with her, collecting money for autographs, which is something that neither Joyce nor Richard had, so, cheap as it sounds, I kinda lucked out there. As it turned out, I ended up spending my last $20 getting Ms Barnes’ autograph, but as I’d said before, how many opportunities like that come in one’s life? She looked chilly — she had her cardigan wrapped round her shoulders, and actually refused a handshake, as she didn’t want to give me her cold. Well, she did play a nurse, after all… I told her that I’d always enjoyed watching ‘Three’s company’, despite my friends thinking I have awful taste, as I’d grown up with the show, and it was the equivalent of comfort food. ‘That’s an interesting way of looking at it,’ she remarked.
Door status: KNOCKED UPON
So after my own brush(es) with stardom, I reconvened with Monti, who had had her own brush with stardom, in the form of Bo Duke (read more about it here). We agreed that it was a pretty good day overall, and I left her with her GLAHW compadres. Brushes! Stardom!
Will I attend the next Motor City Comic Con? I dunno; who’ve you got showing up?