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» Friday, September 03, 2010Dragoncon, Day 1
A very long day beginning at eight when we got up and I had breakfast. (James picked his up on the way.) Willow followed us downstairs and kept trying to leave with us. She's never done that before. Kind of weirded me out.
Once parked in the garage, we immediately separated; not sure where James headed, but I went to the I Dream of Jeannie reunion panel with Barbara Eden, Bill Daily, and Larry Hagman. They were all in high spirits and teasing and enjoying being on stage. They chatted some about the series, plus some other projects they had done. No one asked Barbara Eden about Five Weeks in a Balloon or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, but the guys had questions about Dallas and The Bob Newhart Show. Bill Daily told a funny story about meeting Bob Newhart for the first time at a Hallowe'en party: he was dressed as Leonardo DaVinci carrying a copy of the Mona Lisa that was partially a blank paint-by-number. Daily said he just had to meet that guy!
Many people just stated how special the series had been to them, like a woman who had watched it with her mother who just passed away. Probably the most affecting of these was from a man who served in Vietnam and said Barbara Eden's picture was carried by as many soldiers as Betty Grable's had been in World War II, and it helped him get through the hardships of war.
Much fun! Next a more serious panel: "What the #$!$#$! Happened to Our Space Program?" Basically the moderator, a Georgia Tech professor, stated that NASA really ended in 1972 and now is just a job-retaining agency, and that many better plans for space exploration had been dropped just so people could keep their jobs. He chatted about all the alternative plans for a reusable space vehicle that would have been more economical in the long run, and safer as well.
Had the schedule stayed the same, I would have now been headed to the Kai Owen (Rhys on Torchwood) panel. However, he had to bow out, so I was at loose ends for an hour. I waited until the dealer's room opened and then wandered around in there. It pretty much seems to stay the same every year, with the same vendors in the same places. I then headed upstairs to start going through one of the exhibitor's halls (basically two extensions of the dealer's room), then realized I was hungry. I found a little sofa area on the far side of the Marriott and sat down and had my bologna sandwich, some apples, a juice box, and some baked Cheetos. James turned up, and we traded future plans, then he was off to the Hyatt and I went upstairs.
There were two things I was determined to see at this convention: one was Kai Owen—oh, well—and the other was the Quantum Leap panel with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. The latter was at 4, but when I got up there at 2:30, they were already queuing up for it, so I got in the queue and waited. Unfortunately I was in the part of the line that was already outside, but there was a breeze and I was in the shade, so I just stood there and read Death at Blenheim Palace until it was time to go in the room.
The panel started late, but it was fabulous: Scott and Dean teased each other throughout the panel, and reacted with bemusement at a group called "The Church of Bakula" or something like that. Various questions were asked, from the usual—what's your favorite episode?—to the unusual—one person asked them to look at each other as if they had just leaped into the room and both say "Oh, boy!" They both looked fit and happy.
Of course there were questions about a reunion movie. Dean said he hadn't heard of any plans, while Scott said there had been some news, but that they would not be involved, or at the least would have only cameos, to which the whole audience groaned. There were also questions about if they thought Sam had ever gotten home or not; they were frankly not sure because the final episode left so much open to interpretation.
Anyway, very much worth standing in line for.
I met James back at the sofa area, and we walked back over the new skybridge from the Marriott to the Hyatt (no more crossing that noisy, hot street via that steep set of stairs), and then outside and up two blocks to the Westin, where the alternative history panels are being held. The streets were clotted not only with fans, but with folks out partying on a Friday night at local restaurants and places like the Hard Rock Cafe. Thankfully, the panel room was right inside the door.
This was the "Hollywood vs. History" panel where the participants, all alternative history writers as well as history buffs/instructors, had five minutes to comment on history-based films whose titles were printed on slips of paper and picked out of a hat by audience members. We went to this last year and it was just as much fun this year, but it needs to be longer! With intros and parting thoughts, even only five minutes on each film means you only get to hear about ten of them. This time there were groans for such films as Titanic ("Well, the ship did sink!"), Pearl Harbor (don't even get me started), the most recent Robin Hood, and more.
Now it was time for the first of two Atlanta Radio Theatre Company presentations at the convention. For some reason they had people queue up outside—at this point it's still 88 degrees out there—instead of letting them in the room as they usually do. [shakes head] Annoying as all get out. So we just waited inside until they let everyone in and we joined the end of the line already in progress.
Two rather different productions were done tonight. The first, "The Proper Thing to Do," written by Bill Ritch and Brad Linaweaver, postulated a future where golden, irresistible aliens visit the Earth. Everyone is fascinated by them, to the point where they are willing to give anything to them, except for a small group who are not affected by the glamour. The story is is bit whimsical, but with a point well made by the end of the story.
The second story, "The House Across the Way," took place in a small Southern town of the past, where a widow and her two daughters of marriageable age become involved with a young male neighbor who has just lost his father. But there's a third daughter involved, one who seems a bit uncanny—in fact, she appears to be dead. A very neat story, with a twist to the end that was quite satisfying.
James wanted to see one final panel, so I decided to go to the "Canon in Doctor Who" panel. I arrived at the Sheraton to find the corridor stuffed with people—for an 8:30 panel. Goodness! I did get in, but the room was packed! The panel description made it sound as if we were going to discuss the classic series more, but most of the questions were about the new series, with some questions if the new stories might refer back to events from the classic series, like the character of the Valeyard. It was still a fun panel to end the night with.
I trudged back to the Courtland Street Garage and sat in the truck with the A/C running until James wended his way through the Hyatt and over the "Luke Skywalk" from Peachtree Center. In fact, the first two paragraphs of this blog entry were written via Blogaway on my Droid.
Saw lots of neat costumes today: an Avatar guy, someone from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a Zap Brannigan (thankfully with the legs for the costume), the usual contingent of zombies, Trek shirts, film characters, pirates, lots and lots of steampunk costumes, including a guy with an authentic pennyfarthing bicycle, many half-clad ladies, a "Jeannie" at the Jeannie panel, Browncoats, redshirts, and even, walking back to the garage, a Dread Pirate Roberts!