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!)

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