I have a love/hate relationship with the Chiller Theater conventions. I love seeing the eclectic and varied guests that attend these things and I love hearing the guests speak at the panels they hold during the convention.
I hate the long lines and I sometimes hate the venue when the attendees overwhelm the hotel in an effort to see all the cool guests. I think given the choice between Chiller and no Chiller I would have to put up with the problems these shows bring with them because there's always been something interesting that's happened at each one that's given me a terrific memory to bring home again along with a bunch of autographed pictures and taped panel discussions. The best Chiller conventions take place in January when the crowds stay away and you can take your time talking to the guests and listening to the panels. The spring show was a little different in 2006, held later than usual which didn't keep the crowds away. A terrific guest list brought the fans out to Jersey for some fun, myself included.
I used my advance tickets to get on line for the Star Trek: The Next Generation Guests Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes and Denise Crosby
They all look tired, I guess it was 8:00am Los Angeles time! I didn't speak to Denise at the autograph tables because buying autographs from Spiner and Frakes kind of tapped me out for cash and I didn't want to waste her time on someone who wasn't going to buy anything. In retrospect that was a mistake because Denise gave the best talk I've ever heard at a Chiller Convention. She had the crowd rolling and it was fantastic. I usually upload the audio from these but I'm going to hold the audio on that one for a little while in case any Desperate Housewife might object to it. Denise, if she ever comes back to New Jersey is a must see guest.
I spoke to Frakes a bit about the Thunderbirds movie which I loved and I wish I had known about his upcoming project with Harlan Ellison. He signed my Thunderbird Movie DVD and took a letter from my daughter who loved that film as well.
From there it was off to get an autograph from John Wesley Shipp for Howard. Even though Shipp played the Flash on TV he still signs his name the same speed as everyone else! We talked a bit about Stony Brook New York where John had done some theater and while I was waiting on line for him I spoke to the lovely Megan Gallager who had starred in Nowhere Man. If you watch the first episode of Nowhere Man you'll see Megan break the Nowhere Man's heart. I spoke a little bit about that scene to her and we had a good laugh.
The main reason for Chiller Theater though is to celebrate and spend time with Zacherly, the horror host and ex DJ. I only know about Zacherly through Chiller but if you talk to anyone who's lived in the tri-state area in the 1960's they'll remember Zac fondly. Zacherly is a true showman who embraces his place in the pantheon of horror TV hosts and always has a kind word or two for every attendee at Chiller theater. Young or old, fan or newbie it's not a Chiller convention unless you see the man himself, Zacherly.
Zacherly and Rosemarie
Here Zac is singing with a young fan who came out to get his guitar signed by him. At every one of these Chiller shows Zac will either reminisce or sing his songs with a fellow playing the guitar. It's a little surreal as it's an electric guitar accompanying an 88 year old man singing,
"Come with me to Transylvania"