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» Sunday, September 01, 2019DragonCon, Day 3 (Or "Butch and I Go It Alone")
Alas, James was out of vacation time (it was used up with his MOHS surgery and followup), so I was on my own for DragonCon for the rest of the weekend. I couldn't afford to pay for breakfast and for the parking as well, so I ate at home and left the house at nine, arriving well in time to get a good parking space at the Courtland Garage and make my first panel.
William Shatner always gets a good crowd, but his panels are never full to the brim, so I had a good seat about ten rows down on the end of a row. Shatner's the only one, too, who seems to enjoy early morning panels, and he came out smiling and in a good mood. The mood was explained by his announcement that he had won a championship with his trotting horse in a competition against 20- and 30-year olds after coming in second and third for years; his trainer is also in his 80s, just like him. You have got to hand it to this guy. He may not remember much about the series that made him famous, but he does not stop going. I mean really: Be like Bill!
Someone asked the question I wanted to ask: were there moments from Better Late Than Never that were filmed, but didn't make it to air? He said they did have some moments in the second series where they had to eat the spoiled fish that came out of the can (during Terry Bradshaw's Viking epic). No one told them the can had to be opened under water to dissipate the horrible smell and to keep it from bursting open (probably on purpose, if you've seen Better Late Than Never), so the can did burst open, liberally spraying cast and crew with fermented codfish. One crew member actually vomited. Later, Shatner recalled with glee, he chased Terry Bradshaw around with a piece of cod. He also did some reminiscing about some of his old roles, like "who would have thought a story about a guy scared of a little Polish man in a furry suit" would become a classic? (Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet") and how his daughters, when they were little and would fly with him, would urge him "Daddy, do the face!" to the flight attendant.
Some of the panel was taken up with promoting his new show The Unexplained. But, as he told the audience earnestly, isn't everything unexplained? What about Dark Matter? Apparently he asked Neil Degrasse Tyson how they knew Dark Matter existed even though they know nothing about it. But if you think about it, he says, how did we become human? How does life really work? It's all pretty amazing—and it's pretty much amazing that even though Shatner is 88 years old, he wants to keep searching for the answers and know more than he knows. He's so earnest about it that it makes me feel ashamed that I am so fearful.
I had a choice of things for the next panel, but I decided to "go where no man" or, rather, no Linda had gone before: to the Cary Elwes panel. I got there just as they were starting to load the main audience and got my end of row seat, quite happy to be sitting and resting. The two-hour stand yesterday has set my back to tormenting me and I had to put my ankle brace on for the remainder of the weekend.
Don't kill me, but I have never been a big fan of The Princess Bride. I like bits of it, and James and/or I sometimes sent each other or someone off with "Have fun storming the castle," but I'm not crazy about the movie like others are. However, I loved Cary Elwes as the snooty Jonas in Twister and of course as a Robin Hood who could speak with an English accent in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. And his panel was great fun. I bought James his book, As You Wish, as a gift, and he'd already told me this story, but it was wonderful to hear Elwes tell the Andre the Giant story from Princess Bride. Short form: they're performing a scene and he noticed Andre looked a bit distressed. A pause, and Andre lets out a ginormous fart. One that lasts about a minute, with strange up and down sound ululations (and, he added, an incredible smell). Finally it ends and Elwes imitates director Rob Reiner: "Andre, are you all right?" And in another uncanny imitation, he tells us Andre's reply, delivered with a big grin: "I am now, boss!" Too funny. His imitations of other actors are so spot-on! He also talked a little about being on Stranger Things, and that we should petition Netflix to preserve "Starcourt Mall."
Then it was up the Courtland Garage elevator again, across the "Luke Skywalk" to Peachtree Center, to take the "habitrail" covered bridge into the Hyatt to see another Orville panel. Chad Coleman had left, so it was left to Peter, Mark, and J. Lee to answer all the questions. Mark Jackson explained a little more about Isaac's mask, which is held together with magnets! It also has an earphone, a little microphone, and fans in it to keep him cool. He does say his lines on the set, but then overdubs them in post-production as Isaac's precise voice otherwise would sound scratchy. All three men talked about their stage experience as well as other jobs they had held, and Peter Macon talked about some of his favorite science-fiction shows when he was a kid, including Space: 1999 and Star Blazers. We also found out that the plot point in the second season opener, when Bortus goes back to Moclan for his yearly urination, was prompted by Peter's observation to Seth McFarlane that if Moclans only pee once a year, then this must obviously be a Big Thing for them. Hence the "peeing" episode was born.
Happily I was in the Hyatt, so all I had to do was walk out the front door and walk the two blocks to the Westin. The Dealer's Room line was incredible. It went two blocks, turned a corner, went three blocks, then went back around another corner and down the hill. Insane! I never did go to the Dealer's Room, which is a good thing as there is no money for it.
I was at the Westin for the Crusade panel (the sequel to Babylon 5 that TNT hated because it didn't have enough half-naked women and wrestling and fistfights; apparently they killed the show by trying to make it what it wasn't). John Hudgens and Van Allen Plexico from the B5 panel and also Peter David, who wrote B5 episodes and books, were the panelists. I had frankly forgotten most of the Crusade episodes, and I appreciated that they talked about their favorites and the ones they thought were good and the ones that were not so good, so then I could recall the plots. I definitely remember the one with the dedication to the cat! When we are done with Perry Mason, should go back and watch Babylon 5 and Crusade again, but those mid-years are so hard to watch, with characters being tortured or dying.
Next it was down the hill (and that was the quickest way to go, straight down Andrew Young) to the Hilton, where the Classic Doctor Who panel was on once again. This had a wonderful gaggle of old friends (Alan Siler, Rob Bowen) plus Rob Allsopp who has worked on the old and the new series, and others on the panel in a big wonderful discussion of "Who" was your first Doctor, best episodes to show to people who have seen the new series, whether the cliffhanger episodes or the "movie versions" were better, what were classic stories, and about the continuing adventures of the classic Doctors in the Big Finish audios. (Plus I sat next to Roger Nichols and was able to inquire about his broken arm, healed, with an impressive scar on his arm.)
Then it was 5:30. I made a brief trip upstairs to see if I could get in to see Catherine Tate (nope, her panel was already full), so walked down to the Sheraton for "Fearless Fans of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. It was just a nice quiet hour of talking about favorite episodes, favorite characters (mine is Dot; I do love Ashleigh Williams!), favorite outfits of Phryne's, etc. We also talked about the new Ms. Fisher's Mod Murder Mysteries, set in the 1960s with Phryne's niece as protagonist, which is running on Acorn, but which I haven't watched. It got good reviews from the audience, and one of the panelists even said she liked it better than the original! Apparently they are working on three Miss Fisher movies, but no idea about release dates or plots.
I had thought to stay and see a spy panel, but I remembered last night that it was dark by the time we started to drive home. I've always had a problem driving at dusk and the stupid cataract in my right eye just makes it worse. Besides, I was missing my running buddy a lot. So I came home as James was on the last hour of work; it had been a very dull day (but not as quiet as he expected) and he was very glad to leave it and have his dinner while I talked about my day. And of course there were doggie greetings and budgie songs to welcome me home.