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Nolan's Pop Culture ReviewBlast From The Past Comics and Memorabilia Show
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, January 20, 2011    Share

Blast From The Past Comics and Memorabilia Show w/ Star Trek Live Event.
Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida.
January 14--15, 2011.
Entry: $10.

I have long been on record as being as enthusiastic about local comic/memorabilia conventions as I am about big, expensive corporate affairs. Though the celebrites and dealers may be fewer in number at the smaller cons, they usually try harder, and I always have a splendid time.

Last weekend's Blast From The Past Comics and Memorabilia Show at the venerable Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater marks the latest such occasion.

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Chris Woods, left, and Terence Nuzum look over goods at the DVD dealer's table. Said dealer lurks in the background, haha.
Now upstairs, Terence and Chris inspect one of the the toy areas, just before the celebrities room.
This one is for ED Tucker's benefit, the G.I. Joe section.
The still-beautiful Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island) converses with a fan.
The still-beautiful Marta Kristen (Lost in Space) converses with a fan.
Lurking in the hall outside the celebrity area, actor Warren Madden (Brain Robbers From Outer Space) on left, with paranormal reseacher/ghostbuster Thomas Lee Curtin on right.
Ye Olde Editor finally has a few minutes with the amazing Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island). It is incredible to believe she's 72. Very friendly and eager to talk to fans.
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You had to know this was coming! Traditional group shot, L-to-R, Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, CREEP poster (one of the all-time greats), Joel D. Wynkoop, Nolan B. Canova.
From Joel's table, a look back into our room. Fanboys line up to interview our lady celebs. On his knees with camera, Doug Vaders tapes a spot with Marta Kristen. Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys) hangs out, just to the left of Vaders.
Ye Olde Editor, left, with David Goudsward, author of Shadows Over Florida a history of films shot in the Sunshine State.
Vampires among us! Brooke McCarter, left, of The Lost Boys with Ye Olde Editor.
The one and only Tim Gordon, left, formerly of the Tampa Giant Comic Con at his booth. Though "retired" from Con operations, he intends to keep up the busines end of dealing in comics and memorabilia. Great news.
A HUGE surprise for me was an unexpected PCR reunion of sorts with former writers Lisa Scherer (FANGRRL), John Miller (Lampin' @ The 6th Borough), and pictured center left above, Andy Lalino (Oddservations), all in attendance. I sincerely regret in the confusion neglecting to get a picture of the whole group, which would've been rather historic.
Producer/promoter Chuck Stevens obviously had high ambitions by securing such a venue, along with arranging appearances by baby-boomer favorites Dawn Wells (Gilligan's Island), Marta Kristen (Lost in Space), as well as horror-fan favorite Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys) to entice classic TV fans to the show. Local boy and "King of the B-Movies" Joel D. Wynkoop rounded up the celeb roster. Also promised were comics, toy, and memorabilia dealers.

Gates opened for a few hours late Friday night, but we opted to go Saturday morning, just before noon. Terence Nuzum and I arrived on schedule to meet up with Chris Woods out front. Parking was easy as there was not a huge turn-out, at least at this time.

Ruth Eckerd Hall is certainly beautiful, but an unusual place to hold a comic and toy convention. As Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods and I entered the main lobby, we were greeted by--for lack of a better term--"professional greeters", some nice old ladies who pointed us in the right direction. Surrounded by movie and TV posters as well as portable televisions playing vintage commercials, the tone was appropriately set right from the get-go!

I should stop here for a second to clarify a bit of unusual business regarding the show as a package. The original publicity tied this into a "Star Trek Live Event" at Ruth Eckerd Hall. In all the weekend chaos, I never found out what the Star Trek thing was supposed to be that was going on. So I have nothing to report on the "Star Trek" part if you have read this far and not found it, sorry to say. Now, back to the Con...

The Con was on two floors which was kind of odd in that there weren't all that many dealers, but then again, the hallways connecting the rooms were where the dealers were set up and not wide enough to support double rows of booths. The "main" room is where the celebrities were.

Immediately I spied Tim Gordon's table (Tim, formerly of the Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show) and we chatted up a bit. Down from Tim were, I think, only two or three more dealers, one a DVD seller. This is where I lost Terence and Chris for a while, predictably.

Eventually, we made our past some more dealers and into the celebrity area.

Marta Kristen, aka "Judy Robinson" from TV's Lost in Space, was at the table closest to the door, with Dawn Wells, aka "Mary Ann Summers" from Gilligan's Island next booth over. Next table over from Dawn was Brooke McCarter of vampire-fan favorite The Lost Boys. At the end of the room was B-Movie King, Joel D. Wynkoop, and author David Goudsward.

Like I said, this is not MegaCon, this is a smaller, more intimate (if you will) event and was functioning as designed.

Due to the thinner-than-expected turn-out, I was able to get in a little quality time in with Marta and Dawn.

I told Marta we had met on two earlier occasions, but it is always good to see her at conventions. (In hindsight, I think my memory failed me again--I think Marta and I were together only once, at MegaCon 2004.) She is still beautiful at close to 66!

Dawn Wells was very open and personable (I don't know why I would've thought otherwise) and I must tell you, she is amazing-looking for a woman of 72! I honestly didn't know how old she was, she told me herself. I would've guessed no more than 65. We spoke of Gilligan co-survivors Russell Johnson (86!!) and Tina Louise (close to 80?). She also clued me in to more intimate details on the sad death of Gilligan himself, Bob Denver at 70 in 2005. His last months were really rough as he died from -- I believe -- cancer of the larynx. Obviously, they were close friends in real life. For the more prurient among you, no, I did not bring up anything regarding their pot busts. Besides being in poor taste, I believe it has been covered enough in the media and Dawn has answered all that exhaustively already.

Along the mingling multitudes, I met local actor Warren Madden (Brain Robbers From Outer Space), paranormal investigator(!) Thomas Lee Curtin, and author David Goudsward (Shadows Over Florida, a compendium of Florida-based films), this last gentlemen having a table near Wynkoop's.

Satisfied with our stay in this area, we went back downstairs for a last swing by the dealer's area. I bought two back issues of Marvel's "Tomb of Darkness" from one dealer, and four issues of Marvel's "FEAR" from Tim, all comics from the '70s in good shape.

So...I decided to rest on a convenient upholstered bench nearby, while Terence and Chris finished up their business. Who, but WHO arrives around this time but former PCR writers Lisa Scherer (FANGRRL), John Miller (Lampin' @ The 6th Borough), and Andy Lalino (Oddservations)! They are fans, yes, but for whatever reason I did NOT see this coming! After a few initial awkward moments (it's been awhile, long story), we settled around the bench together and it was almost like old times, really. I found myself enjoying it quite a bit and was grateful we didn't leave early and miss it. In the shock of the moment, however, I neglected to get a group shot, which would've been rather historic. Oh well.

Congratulations to Chuck Stevens on an ambitious undertaking, I hope the rest of the day went well (the Con ended Saturday), and we'll likely attend the next one, if there is one.

"Nolan's Pop Culture Review" is ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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