Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the Ken Levine celebrity autograph and nostalgia show

Last month there was an autograph and nostalgia show in Burbank. They hold these every few months. Fans can get autographs and signatures with former stars and celebrities. They ranged from Jane Russell to the cast of the TERMINATOR (minus the governor of California). There are always a lot of former child stars and the guy who played Mini Me in AUSTIN POWERS. Also former BAYWATCH babes who haven’t ballooned to 320.

These once-notables often charge $20 a signature and another $20 if you want a picture with them. These showcases offer the celebs the chance to be recognized and adored once again, which is very nice. On the other hand, selling your autograph… for $20? Isn’t that more than a little sad?

I want to go to one, just for the cheese factor. There’s probably a funny post in it. But I know I’ll be too depressed to write it.

So instead I thought, if I were booking this, who would I like to see? What do you think?

Former child stars are always a big draw. How about Brian Bonsall, that cute cute kid from FAMILY TIES? Imagine the sighs of envy from all your relatives when you send out Christmas cards of you and Brian.Paula Abdul would qualify. In only two months she’s become an afterthought.

Rip Torn – one of my favorite actors/bank robbers. It’s clearly worth twenty bucks to get your picture taken next to him.And who wouldn’t want to chat up MacKenzie Phillips? I know I’m curious about a few things.

Nick Nolte could recreate his memorable character in DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS.

I’d have every AMERICAN IDOL but Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood although I worry that not enough people would remember them.

Reunions are popular. Let’s bring back the Enron board of directors to pose for pictures with your kids.

Heidi Montag and Tara Reid but they’ve had so much work done they might now look each other.

And besides, who needs them when you could see hot babe extraordinaire – Tawny Kitaen?
Assuming he remembers how to spell his own name, former President George W. Bush would be a good get. And every $20 counts when no one is willing to fund your presidential library.

Heidi Fleiss could explain how she commanded $1000 a night as a call girl.

I think it's a great idea. And the good news is all of these people are available (except maybe Rip Torn if he’s convicted of armed bank robbery)! We’ll see you next week at Ed’s Kozy Kort just off Highway 8 in Yuma.

25 comments:

kchelicopters said...

I understand that Randy Quaid only does the local shows.

Since all of the hotel desk clerks around the country now demand cash in advance.

jbryant said...

I may have told this story here before, but I went to one of these shows about 4 years ago and actually had a pretty good time. Sure, it was a bit sad in some instances, but on the other hand I got to meet Dwayne "Dobie" Hickman and talk to him for quite a while. Yes, I shelled out for an autograph and to have my picture taken with him (I knew he was going to be there, and he was the main reason I attended). The other big attraction for me that day was the AMERICAN GRAFFITI cast. Shockingly, Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford couldn't make it, and, unfortunately, neither did Mackenzie Phillips. I was hoping to meet her, since I had written for a Disney Channel series she starred in, but it shot in Canada, so we never crossed paths.

I know it's cheesy, but I still get a kick out of having met Peter Lupus, Kevin Sorbo, Paul Le Mat, Michael O'Keefe and, um, Traci Lords. Oddly, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes was there, but apparently as a collector, not an attraction. Anyway, a fun thing to do at least once in your life, if you're any kind of a pop culture junkie.

YEKIMI said...

What's even more fun is when they have local "celebrities" [you know, late night local TV station horror movie hosts, etc.] who were canceled 20 years ago at signings and wanting paid. I went to one, he wanted $15 because he wrote a book about his "TV days", I said "I'll give you $5" he gave me a dirty look and muttered "OK".

Also, I wonder what Ken's take on THIS startling piece of research is:

http://secure.condomania.com/render.asp?number=FAQ-RANKINGS

My city isn't listed but I'm sure it's probably a few notches below Smurf Village.

Guffman said...

Some scary names (and faces) are actually coming to the show. Here's the link to the list: http://www.hollywoodshow.com/starList.phpi

D. McEwan said...

Well you know I go to these from time to time. Today I'm glad I do, because at the last one I attended, I got to meet Robert Culp, and he won't be doing any more.

I was very glad to attend one in 1995 where I got to tell Steve Reeves what his movies had meant to me as they were coming out as I went through puberty. He was very nice about my telling him that I had often watched his movies on TV later, with the sound turned off.

But Jbryant, I was lucky enough to meet Dwayne Hickman at a different type of event, so I got to have my picture taken with him for free.

Anonymous said...

There is a fine line between sardonic and mean I think.
I think we waded into mean waters just now.

Erik Holmberg said...

I don't know but to me 20 dollars for writing your name one a piece of paper seams like a very good deal.

gih said...

That's nice Eric. Good for you.

brickben said...

Really, another George Bush is dumb joke? It's 20 fucking 10 and there's Joe Biden around... No wonder the only writing your doing these days is this blog...

carol said...

I just went to a 'Monster Mania' convention, which abounded with horror movie stars and former stars, so I guess it is not unlike the show you are talking about.

They DID charge for autographs but most of them (Gary Busey and Corbin Bernsen aside) would take a photo for free. William Katt was there, and he was very nice. So was Eric Roberts.

I got my photo with Malcolm McDowell. There's no point to this story. I got to tell him I how much I'd liked his Fantasy Island show in the 90s. I just like telling people that, 'cause it was awesome.

Mary Stella said...

Sports stars have made money from their autographs for years. If someone's willing to pay an actor for his/her autograph, then three cheers for commerce.

Of course if someone's willing to give away their autograph for free, then three cheers for generosity.

steve macdonald said...

Well, there are some on the schedule I wouldn’t mind seeing. Like Rose Marie. How much longer do you think she’ll be around? I just want to say thanks for the old Dick Van Dyke show. I’d feel honored to pay twenty clams for the privilege.

Charlene Tildon? She was so hot in the ‘80’s that I really want to see what she looks like now.

Cloris Leachman? Another octogenarian. Get her autograph and pay your respects now, while she can appreciate it.

Fred Williamson? I lived in Kansas City during the first Superbowl. Any Chiefs fan would want The Hammer’s autograph.

Kelly Le Brock, Kitten Nativadad, Valerie Perrine, the chick who played the youngest girl on The Brady Bunch? Who wouldn’t want to see what they look like in person these days?

And I still love Green Acres. It would be great to shake Tom Lester’s hand.

You know what? I think I might just go to this.

Anonymous said...

Boy did this article SUCK; mean-spirited and NOT funny! Is this an audition for Family Guy or Janeane Garofaolo, I wonder?

Ian said...

Hmmm. I just went to the website for this event and it's oddly intriguing. Not everyone appearing at the next show is a refugee from some grade-Z zombie film or discontinued syndicated sci-fi series. There's at least one former mobster, and one disco diva. A few former performers who at one time or another had well-publicized issues with, er, "substances." There's the actress who played Cindy Brady right alongside Kitten Natividad (the mind boggles). Also some folks I think are pretty cool (although my idea of "cool" may not pass muster with everyone). Paul LeMat, Bo Hopkins, Candy Clark... they're okay by me. Miss Yvonne from PeeWee's playhouse? Valerie freakin' Perrine? The foundation of many an adolescent fantasy. Joanna Cassidy? She kicked Harrison Ford's butt in Blade Runner (until he shot her, anyway). My inner schoolboy finds this all kind of cool.

Anyway, it seems to me that time is really cruel to most TV and film actors. A lucky few make a boatload of money and have long careers. Most do a few movies or TV shows and fade away. The problem is that their faces are imprinted on our consciousness, forever frozen in our memories as they appeared on-screen. When the opportunities to act end, they become the "used-to's" that you see at the supermarket, as in "she used to be on TV, he used to be somebody"... the implication being that their lives are somehow wanting. That loss of anonymity seems terribly unfair to me.

If you're a writer and your last three projects bombed, and you couldn't sell a pilot to save your life, nobody points at you when you're waiting in line at Starbuck's (except when you have a piece of tissue stuck to your shoe). Nobody knows your face because - hey, you're a writer - nobody cared even when you were on top of things. This is a good thing. I've always thought being famous would be a terrible burden (being rich, on the other hand...). It's got to be hell when you've had a hit song or a hot TV role while young and you find your career on the downslope... I guess the residuals help, if there are any. Prattling on, sorry.

Tom Quigley said...

RE: The pictures -- I wasn't aware that George Romero was filming another version of DAWN OF THE DEAD... Instead of just asking for their autographs, I think I'd prefer that they all provided signed and notarized affidavits guaranteeing they weren't in possession of any needles or weapons...

Alan Coil said...

brickben said:

"It's 20 fucking 10..."

No, it's not. It is two thousand ten.
________________________

The first Anonymous said:

"..fine line between sardonic and mean...'

I see nothing sardonic. It was mean, and they had it coming.

Dana Gabbard said...

"brickben"--Joe Biden makes an occasional verbal gaffee. George W. Bush after snidely annmouncing he should be elected for his high morality presided over budget deficits, a poorly handled war against terrorists and embroiled us in a war that we should never have started. People died and lifes were ruined--just think of all the lost jobs during the Bush recession we are fighting to end. All the brickbats Bush gets are well earned!

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Well, since Engineer Bill, Skipper Frank, Sheriff John, and Jimmy Weldon are all dead...I'm not going! So there...

Joe Biden said...

Thank you, Dana, for standing up for me. Who is this George W. Bush fella anyway? I'm not familiar with him.

brian said...

Friday question for you: did you ever get the note from the network that Diane needed to be more likeable? If so, what did you do?

Greg Ehrbar said...

Jimmy Weldon is very much alive.
http://www.jimmyweldon.com/

kchelicopters said...

Joe Biden only makes an occasional gaffe....

yeah and Willie Nelson just takes an occasional toke of weed

Alan Coil said...

"Jimmy Weldon is very much alive."

So is Abe Vigoda.

Jimmy Weldon said...

Rumors of my death are very much exaggerated!

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
There is a fine line between sardonic and mean I think. I think we waded into mean waters just now."


And what's wrong with mean? As Jack Benny said to Carol Burnett on The Jack Benny Show once: "Carol, if you can't say something mean -- SHUT UP!"

brickben said...
Really, another George Bush is dumb joke? It's 20 fucking 10"


So? He's still dumb, and we're nowhere near finished cleaning up the devastation and wreckage he left behind. And Joe Biden, gaffer that he is, is William Shakespeare next to Bush. Plus Bush was Evil. Biden is not. Hell, I'm still making Nixon jokes, and that evil bastard has been dead for 16 years, but not dead enough to suit me.

" steve macdonald said...
Well, there are some on the schedule I wouldn’t mind seeing

Charlene Tildon?
[sic] She was so hot in the ‘80’s that I really want to see what she looks like now.

Cloris Leachman? Another octogenarian. Get her autograph and pay your respects now, while she can appreciate it."


I met Charlene two years ago. (My brother worked on Dallas) and she looks a bit chubby, but better than Sally Struthers, and she's a total sweetheart.

Cloris is awesome, in the original, true meaning of the word. She's a force of nature, plus she's had hot sex with Gene Hackman. Awesome! I went to see her tape a TV show about 8 years ago, and had sense enough to bring my DVD of Young Frankenstein along. She not only signed the disc itself, but she let fly with "?He vas my boyfriend!" at full volume for me, and it didn't cost me a penny.

"Anonymous said...
Boy did this article SUCK; mean-spirited and NOT funny! Is this an audition for Family Guy or Janeane Garofaolo, I wonder?"


You will receive a full refund of your entire purchase price. We are sorry you were forced at gunpoint to read it.

"Jeffrey Leonard said...
Well, since Engineer Bill, Skipper Frank, Sheriff John, and Jimmy Weldon are all dead...I'm not going! So there..."


Jimmy has already lept to the fore to let you know he's very much alive and well. Let me add that Sheriff John Rovick is also alive, and living in Idaho, which is like being dead. Engineer Bill was the first celebrity I ever met, when I was five years old, and over the two decades after 1950, I got to meet all four of them, and Tom Hatton and Chucko the Birthday Clown as well. (Tom is alive. Chucko is dead.)

Of course, Chucko had his theme song with the immortal, inappropriate lyric: "Christmas comes but once a year, but I come every day." Nice for him, but hardly the sort of thing to brag about to children.