35th Friends of Old Time Radio Con: Day Two

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Irwin Hasen
Leonard Starr
Little did I think when Day Two began that I'd end up hanging around in the hotel bar with Irwin Hasen (creator of DC's Golden Age Wildcat and co-creator with Gus Edson of the Dondi comic strip). It was a delightful day, in short, focusing for me on the afternoon "Funnies Friday: Old Time Radio and the Comics" panel. Panel members comprised Jim Gauthier, Anthony Tollin, Leonard Starr, Irwin Hasen - and me. Hot diggity! (If you can imagine covering the entirety of the topic in an hour and a half, of course, you don't have enough information. But the scope of the discussion meant we hit several high points, and I, at least, had a great time.) Biggest theory I came away with was one posited by Anthony, and I'd never considered it before: He suggested that the idea of long-time serialized dramas [read: radio and TV soap operas and, oh, yes, vast chunks of today's entertainments] came out of comic strips, perhaps beginning with The Gumps. This needs further mulling. Which I shall do.

By the way, if you haven't been picking up the wonderful strip compilations of Starr's On Stage and Dondi, you should start now. With Volume One of each. (And thanks to Jim for helping to bring those projects to existence.)
The afternoon was topped off for me by the fact that, as Leonard and Barbara Starr prepared to leave the hotel following the panel, Irwin Hasen reluctantly decided he wasn't up to his original plan to stay until 10 or 11 p.m. So there was an early need to contact the driver who was to take him home - but the driver was at that point at JFK, so it would take a couple of hours for the driver to get to Newark. So (oh, I'm so thoughtful!) I said Irwin and I could sit in the hotel bar until the car could get to the hotel. What a delightful couple of hours! As anyone who's been lucky enough to attend any of his convention appearances knows, his conversation is packed with wit and information. It was grand. Oh, and do let me recommend another of his projects that I only had a chance to glance through before an eager fan bought it: Loverboy - recently out from J. David Spurlock's Vanguard Productions. Note, though: It's not the suitable-for-kids project that was Dondi. I don't think you'll have seen anything quite like it.

And now I've got to get ready to head to the morning rehearsals for the Blondie performance. I'm to play Cora Dithers. Guess who's going to play Dagwood. (Yes, Will Hutchins, who played the part on the TV series broadcast in 1968-1969. Hee!)


35th Friends of Old Time Radio Con: Day One

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Show organizer Jay Hickerson, performer Chuck McCann
Satellite Media's Fred Berney
 I've spent a bucket o' cash, had countless fascinating conversations, and enjoyed three performances of radio material, and it's only the first day of the Friends of Old Time Radio convention in Newark, N.J. On my schedule are the upcoming panel on comics and their associations with Old Time Radio (Friday), a re-performance of a Blondie radio show (Saturday: I'll play Cora Dithers), and a re-performance of a Superman episode (Saturday: I'll do a voice and a tiny part as Lois Lane). In the meantime, I'm hanging out with brother Paul Curtis and daughter Valerie Thompson and seeing a vast number of friends I haven't seen for a year. As with every convention, I can't begin to predict what all the fun will be. Fun "purchase" of the day is an auctioned old (pre-ZIP-Code) NBC envelope and pencil that came from the desk of Gregg Oppenheimer's dad, Jess (who, among other things, was producer and head writer of I Love Lucy). Now, come on! How could I have predicted I'd end up buying that at auction? Recording many of the events is Fred Berney of Satellite Media Production, so many of the adventures can be shared even with those who can't attend. What will tomorrow bring?


AAUW Book Sale Is Coming Oct 21-24 to Appleton, Wisconsin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Off and on over the past several weeks I've been helping to prepare books for the annual American Association of University Women book sale in Appleton, and it's time to spread the word. (My attention was drawn to the AAUW years ago, when its book sale in Lake County, Ohio, turned out to be one of the best book sales I'd ever attended.) Basically, we get donations through the year and sort them into categories. Then, there's a last-minute push in October to move the boxes and boxes and boxes from the storage site to the sale site. Above left is a view of that sale site following preliminary table set-up. Above right is one of several photos I took last week, as the sorting reached its final stages. To give you an idea: I worked Saturday from about 11 a.m. till 5 p.m., hoping to wrap up sorting the "Mystery" tables in alphabetical order. (There had already been a lot of pre-sorting done, with - for example - three large boxes of Agatha Christie mysteries pulled into their own section.) I did not complete the job; in fact, I think I managed about half the alphabet and then time ran out. I'm sure they - and more - are sorted by now.

So. Don't miss it if you (a) buy books and (b) are near the Northland Mall in Appleton. (Enter in the Mall entrance near Shopko. Walk down the hall and up a short flight of stairs. The sale is on the left. You'll see. The schedule is as follows:
Thursday 3-8 p.m. (hardcover fiction will be $2 @, most other books will be $1 @)
Friday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (almost everything will be $1 @)
Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (half-price day)
Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. ($5 per "armload")
A few items will be priced higher, but there will be bargains galore. Just saying.


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