Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tales of Adventure in Hollywood

Meeting the legendary Barbara Steele, the star of many Italian horror classics.

Although the summer months are brutal, living in Rancho Mirage (a.k.a. Brett's Rancho) does have its advantages. One such advantage is the fairly easy access I have to Los Angeles. Little more than a two-hour drive away, I can essentially travel there whenever I'd like.

After seeing its impressive guest list, I knew I wanted to attend the Hollywood Show in Burbank in late July. I made plans, and off I went.

It was a pleasure to meet Mamie Van Doren.

While it's a lot of fun to meet the celebrities who attend these autograph conventions, you must budget yourself carefully. It's easier than you might think to spend more money than you can afford! So it's important to go in with a plan and to do as little impulse-buying as possible. Stick to your plan, and you won't go home bankrupt.

Caroline Munro was a highlight of the convention. I spoke with her about such topics as Christopher Lee and traveling in general. She's as friendly as they come.

The Hollywood Show was held at the Marriott Convention Center in Burbank. This was also the site of Monsterpalooza (in 2009 and 2010) and G-FEST '99. It's a nice area; I just wish the drivers were as nice!

With the incomparable Carla Laemmle, who appeared in The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and Dracula (1931)! Ms. Laemmle, who turns 101 (!) in October, signed autographs steadily throughout the day.

It was great to meet all the celebrities I met at the Hollywood Show. However, I must make special mention of two wonderful ladies in particular.

In between Nika Solomon and Luciana Paluzzi.

For the second time at a convention, I got to spend a great deal of time with Luciana Paluzzi and Nika Solomon. These are two of the nicest ladies you'd ever want to meet. I always enjoy spending an afternoon with them, and I hope to do it again sometime in the near future!

Reptilicus reads Phil Kim's Famous Monsters of Filmland tribute to Forrest J Ackerman at the Melchior residence, but was disappointed to find several typos (Joseph Cotten's name misrendered as "Cotton," among others) therein.

After the Hollywood Show wound down, I was a guest at Ib Melchior's home. Mr. Melchior graciously invited me to spend the night, which was an invitation too good to turn down! Once again (and I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but it's the truth), I enjoyed being in the presence of this multi-talented writer-director.

After dinner, Mr. Melchior and I watched Silent Hill on the SyFy Channel. Neither of us could follow what was going on, but it was especially entertaining when Mr. Melchior interjected some MST3K-style riffs on the proceedings! Suffice it to say, it was quite a memorable evening.

Yup, that's a plate of lasagna, but it wasn't mine, I swear! And I didn't order any stuffed bell peppers, either!

The following morning, I met Peter H. Brothers for lunch at The Grove. I gave him an autographed program of Godzilla: Final Wars that Akira Takarada signed for Peter (after I gave Mr. Takarada a copy of Peter's Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men).

A shot across the bow? Nah, it's just Peter enjoying his meal!

This was my first time meeting Peter in five years! Hopefully we'll get together a little more often from now on.

Brett and Ib Melchior, shortly before I had to leave.

Peter dropped me off near Ib's house, and I said my goodbyes to Ib and his charming wife Cleo. Afterward, I had G-FAN business to attend to.

Brett and George Chakiris, following a fascinating interview for G-FAN.

I met Academy Award-winning actor George Chakiris (West Side Story) for an interview on the Daiei co-production Flight from Ashiya. The interview was enlightening, but what struck me the most was how down-to-earth and approachable Mr. Chakiris turned out to be. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and he gave me many great stories for G-FAN.

All in all, it was a very successful trip, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I'm not sure when I'll return to Hollywood, but after all the fun I had this past weekend, I hope it's very soon!


  1. Wonderful pictures and commentary Brett! I am so envious of all those gracious and lovely ladies you met (especially Caroline Munro). All this time I thought you lived in the Chicago area... but you're a Left Coast denizen eh?
    I've got a buddy who lives in San Clemente who's going to let me stay with him if/when we go to Monsterpalooza next year. Looking forward to meeting you in person.
    your pal,

  2. Oh, yes, I'm out here in California! I lived in North Dakota for four years (2005-09), but I never lived in Chicago. I've never even been there outside of going to G-FEST. You and I should definitely meet for Monsterpalooza. I'm looking forward to it!

  3. What a fun time Brett! I have attended the Hollywood Show (when it was Ray Court's) many, many times and always have a blast! And as you said, you can easily spend lots of money...which of course, I always do!

  4. Apparently the Comic-Con kept attendance fairly low, which was great for attendees like me! I had easy access to all the guests I wanted to meet and didn't have to wait in lines. So it was actually good timing on my part.