|PLANO 1998 CONVENTION REPORT
Written & Submitted by Susan Mollenkopf
Had to leave the Texas Sci-Fi Expo at noon on Saturday to catch a flight to Arizona USA and haven't heard from any of the other Cult members who had planned to attend.
Ken Colley's first convention appearance in North America was conducted under the auspices of the Men Behind the Masks venture. The convention was organized enough to satisfy even my anal standards, but lacked the opportunity for informal interaction upon which the Cult's initial ambassadors capitalized so effectively in Great Britain.
Special guests at the convention were seated on a stage and could only be approached by queuing up in a passageway behind the room where most of the display tables were set up. In order, one filed past: Lou Ferrigno ("The Incredible Hulk"), Mark Goddard (the original Major West from "Lost in Space"), Mr. Colley, Michael Sheard ("Admiral Ozzel"), and Mercedes Ngoh ("Rystall", Jabba's Palace Dancer from the "Special Edition").
Convention officially opened at 10:00. Hung about below the stage until 11:00 Saturday morning, when the last call was sounded for VIP ticket-holders before the autograph queue was opened to the general public. Stood in line for almost an hour before mounting the stage, bypassing Ferrigno and Goddard, and standing in the august presence of Mr. Colley. He appeared terminally fatigued, but was superhumanly decent, making small talk to give me time to let the ink dry on his autographs before the line moved forward.
Having taken the award for oral argument in law school, I quite naturally lost all coherency when I stepped up to Mr. Colley's table and ponied up the charge for his time ($6.00 U.S. for an autograph, $10.00 U.S. for an autographed photo of the Admiral). I believe I blurted out something like, "Mr. Colley, other members of your fan club will be here some time today, but I don't just now know where they are. We currently number some 350 members around the globe". I then thrust at him a printout of the most recent Cult membership and a black polo shirt, size Medium, embroidered with www.piett.org in what the shop liked to call "brilliant blue". I feebly expressed the hope that the shirt would fit; he forced a tired smile and replied, "We'll make it do."
Mr. Colley autographed my videotape of the BBC production of "Measure for Measure", in which he starred. He remarked that he had not seen that example of his work in some time and, graciously attempting humor, pointed to one of the etchings of Shakespeare on the jacket, remarking, "See? There I am."
He then autographed three Piett photos and turned to the pile I had laid on the table before him, inquiring, "Is this for me? Oh my gosh". By that time, assured that the ink on my autographs had dried, he allowed the line to move forward. Mr. Sheard, seated next to him, jocularly said something like, "Came all the way through the queue and didn't stop here once? This is going in the book!"
Hung about in front of the stage until 12:00, by which time the judging had concluded at the Dallas Rose Show down the hall at Plano Center, into which my SO had snuck. Then had to leave.
Line Captain Susan Mollenkopf