Weakened Warrior (Part II)
The main reason (not that I really need a reason) for attending my very first Super Mega Show was to get a Julie Newmar autograph for my sister. A few weeks ago, my sister wrote a blog entry about Ms. Newmar's garden and quickly received a comment from someone claiming to be Julie Newmar. So I was to (a) ask Ms. Newmar if she did indeed leave the comment and (b) obtain an autograph that somehow referenced my sister's blog in some way. And while I was there I could see how Erik Estrada and a bunch of old wrestlers were looking. Sweet.
Then, upon double-checking that Julie Newmar hadn't cancelled, I noticed a truly exciting celebrity addition to the lineup. Making her "first East Coast convention appearance" was all-time Top 10er (nope...Top 5er) and star of "Charles in Charge" and the largely creepy but occasionally, ahem, titillating "Blown Away", Ms. Nicole Eggert. Now we were truly heading into exciting territory, thus marking the first time that "exciting territory" and "a hotel on Route 46 in Fairfield, New Jersey" ever came together in my or possibly any head.
After a largely uneventful bus ride with one of the autograph collectors I like, it was time to walk past the Batmobile and the Green Hornet car into the Crowne Plaza. (A quick aside: the autograph collector was part of what might be my favorite autograph moment, outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater. Hunter S. Thompson was on Letterman, and when he came out, the collector asked for a photo with him. Dr. Thompson agreed to pose for one, provided he could sign the guy's face. The collector wasn't thrilled with that idea, so he asked him why he would want to do that. Hunter mumbled, "Well, I gotta have my fun too," and then wrote an "X" on the guy's cheek prior to the photo being taken. Good times.) The Super Mega Show is sort of a double-A version of Chiller, which means not as many guests and maybe a slightly lower caliber of guests, too. But it also meant hardly any lines, so after doing a few laps to check out everybody (and checking in again with Haywood Nelson, because he looked bored), I headed over to Julie Newmar's table to get the autograph. I asked her about the blog comment and she initially seemed confused but then seemed to remember and confirmed that it was indeed she who left the comment. Then she asked me about my sister's blog and what she wrote about, so I explained and she signed the autograph "For your beautiful house, Julie Newmar." And then we posed.
It was only in the lobby, after I went to put the 8X10 in the protective sleeve, that I realized I'd never actually paid her for the autograph. The money was still in my hand. Lesser people would have just let it go (and, in fact, two collectors called me crazy for not doing so), but I headed back to Ms. Newmar's table to settle up. Like the song goes, you don't pull the mask off of the old Lone Ranger and you don't forget to give Catwoman her $30 for her autograph. At least I think that's how the song goes. Been a while since I played any Croce.
Ms. Newmar was also handing out a postcard urging people to e-mail her with tales of their "first turn-on." At first, I thought that was odd, but I quickly became enamored with the idea of reading about the first turn-ons of people attending an autograph show in Fairfield, New Jersey. Sign me up for a copy of that.
And speaking of childhood turn-ons, next up was sweet, sweet Nicole Eggert, who was, I soon discovered, charging way too much money (let's just say it was more than Julie Newmar was asking). And so I faced a dilemma: take a moral stand and refuse to give Nicole Eggert any of my business or put myself in a situation where Nicole Eggert might touch me.
I'm weak. And, really, with the things I have thought about involving Nicole Eggert, the least I can do is overpay her for an autograph and photo. As usual, I went with the "if you touch me first, then I'm touching you" rule of autograph show photos, which is why my right hand is creepily acting as a barrier preventing her from running away in horror. I should, however, point out that she signed my autograph with a heart, which clearly means she loves me. I'll be following up on that with a letter I'm planning to write either in crayon or by pasting letters cut out from newspapers and magazines. Please let me know in the comments which method you think is best.
I spent the rest of the show just wandering, debating buying a DVD of "The War To Settle the Score" (the MTV-aired match between Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper and the lead-up to it...I passed), avoiding eye contact with celebrities, trying to figure out how some people were actually celebrities (does being the model for "Sassy Assy Jeans" really make you famous?), and trying to sneak in photos where I could. I was busted by Ralph Carter (Michael from "Good Times") but avoided getting roped into buying an autograph.
I had better success sneaking a photo of Larry Storch, whose decision to wear the "F Troop" hat was oddly both highly commendable and unbearably depressing.
And then I got a shot of former wrestling manager/wife/wrestler Terri Runnels cozying up to Erik Estrada.
I tried sneaking a photo of Tommy "Wildfire" Rich, who I thought was one of the coolest-looking wrestlers when I was a kid and only knew Southern wrestlers from pictures in magazines. Suffice it to say, I don't think he looks as cool anymore. Trust me.
It's dangerous to walk around these shows for too long, because you start to weaken. You see someone whose movies you liked or whose TV shows you watched every day and that person is all alone, getting no business. I almost bought another Haywood Nelson autograph (and probably would've if he had better photos) because he was consistently alone (and next to the similarly unbusy Mason Reese). Helen Slater was doing an OK business, but it was starting to tail off. So since she seemed nice, was in "Ruthless People," and was selling a CD, I gave in. I'm a sucker.
I probably ended up staying a bit too long (and definitely overspent), but I was still able to get back to NYC in time to catch a train back to Asbury Park to see the mighty Hudson Falcons on the outdoor stage at the Stone Pony. And then I lounged/helped out at the merch table (sold a CD...success!) and recovered from the day...so I could do it all again on Sunday.