The Chiller Theatre Convention is filled with celebrities, musicians, artists, wrestlers, models, zombies, monsters, vampires and so much more. The celebrity guests are all usually, human, mostly. This is a three day event, twice a year, to which I happily attended the Sunday show on April 28, 2013. My friend Anthony and I drove up to NJ to spend a few incredible hours at Chiller from Baltimore. I thank Kevin and Eddie who allow me Press passes to cover the event!
This foray of guests of all venues, genres, film, TV, and other worldly and non-worldly celebrities all gather to meet and greet and sign. They sign in their own unique way and all have wonderful stories to share for fans. That is what makes acquiring their signature so special to us, well one of the many reasons!
I have attended Chiller to cover the event for at least a dozen plus year now. What happens at Chiller…..stays, well you know.
So, unfortunately I missed the first two days of this event. However, because I had to leave my own shuttlecraft at home, my friend Anthony agreed to drive and shoot my video and stills for me, as my goal is always to interview as many guest stars as I can covering the show. I had a few other friends already there in NJ to assist me as well.
I was able to interview a few really great guests, and if I would have had more time, yes, double the amount for sure. After about 3 hours, plus, we walked into the hotel.
Ahhhhhh, the room was filled with fans, and guest stars and many assorted creatures walking around the place. My kinda space, as it were. We met up with friends, Karen, Judy, Rick and George, who had been there since Friday. They were now part of this realm within the convention, until sundown that is. Now, my mission, to interviews with some of the awesome actors and artists in their own fields, to boldly try to ask what no one has asked before.
When I attend a show just for one day, there is a lot of running from guest to guest, room to room, and try to get an interview with them. This is more or less commando coverage for me. When a guest tells me, YES, to doing an interview with me, sometimes it may not happen right away. I could change that, but my time machine is in need of repairs.
I always respect the fact that the reason a guest is there, is to meet and greet and sign for a fan. Plus this is a way for the guest to make funds. So, I don’t wish to interrupt this process.
With the hundreds and hundreds of interviews I have done over the years, I have this almost down to a science. Almost. If a guest tells me they want to interview right there, right now at their signing booth, it takes me a couple short minutes to set of my camera gear and microphone, video and still. Then I sit down and we are off!
Because I know about these guests at any given convention, and mostly what work they have done, or from or TV they have been in, my interviews are, for me, the easy part. I still will do a bit of research, on a guest star if I know I may get to interview them. After all, I am NOT a computer, nor a cyborg. My memory is that of a human. So what if I look like a cross between an Ewok and a Smurf.
I let them know beforehand, they will enjoy the interview, and that I am not like the paparazzi. I tell them I am a fan myself. Then after the interview, I will obtain an autographed item from each guest, and/or ask them to sign a few items I brought myself.
Most all guests are happy to do this for me. And, that rare hand signed in person signature is always one the main reasons to enjoy meeting a celebrity indeed.
So here I am following my friends that already cased the joint for me Friday and Saturday. OK, sorry, slang, whaddya want?!
First celebrity grand room is filled with guests, and many many fans. It takes a while to approach each guest that I want to interview. I was able to secure a few interviews, but timing them with each guest, now there is the conundrum.
OK, here are the guests I was able to sit and interview. John Amos, Tia Carrere, James Tolkan, Erika Eliniak, Butch Patrick, and two from The Walking Dead. Theodus Crane and Travis Love.
Here are a few tid bits form my interviews with these guests I did very recently.
Tia Carrere tells me she was actually discovered in a grocery store called The Food Pantry in Waikiki HI. Her first film was Aloha Summer, then she moved to LA and got General Hospital, MacGyver and the rest is history for her! She just really wanted to be a singer and not an actress. She was part of the Wayne’s World film anniversary this year as well.
James Tolkan, tells me he loved acting and really got into his role as Mr. Strickland in Back to the Future because the writers were great. James love to spends time with his Corgi’s and he rides bikes and runs all the time to stay in shape.
Both actors from The Walking Dead, Theodus Crane and Travis Love told me they were blessed and in the right place at the right time for their roles in this awesome Zombie TV series. Keep watching their names; they have many projects due soon.
Butch Patrick shared with me how awesome it was being a young actor working with the stars he worked with. His first role was the premier of the first episode of General Hospital in 1961. He has a scrapbook he is doing on the Munster’s due out next year.
Erika Eleniak tells me she began at age 10 in training films and the like. She also said the old alumni from the show Baywatch may have something in the works.
John Amos was quite a great interview for me. He enlightened me about his role in Good Times and Mary Tyler Moore Show and films he was in. The funniest anecdote he shared was that when we was in Two and a Half Men as Charlie’s girlfriends fathers gay partner, he said that actor Stacy Keach who played his partner, had to huddle behind him in a scene and stay that way even when the crew yelled, cut to reset the shot. John says that Stacy joked that if he had to stay there huddled behind John much longer, he would soon definitely sport a woody.
The Chiller Theatre Con is always fantastic, and I look forward to attending their next show around Halloween.
Just remember if you attend this show, please bring some garlic, a cross, some Holy water, a stake, and anything else you wish to pack, just in case you run into the many vast assortments of creatures walking about the place.
Do not ask them if they are real. You may snap a few photos, then walk away, slowly.
Ok, I have to try to find someone to help me repair my time machine now, so I have to go. See you at a genre convention soon, as we gather there as fans to meet the guests, collect their autographed items and hang with like-minded people. Yes, and like-minded creatures, monsters and our otherwise non-human acquaintances. See you soon, or tomorrow or yesterday, depending when I get this time machine I acquired repaired. Peace.
Mark J Gross is a freelance writer and celebrity interviewer and sometimes, even more!