Friday, February 14, 2020

Memories of Robert Conrad

Earlier this week we heard about the passing of Robert Conrad, the athletic, two-fisted actor who starred as Secret Service agent James West on the television program, The Wild Wild West. He was 84. Conrad was among the many actors employed by Warner Bros. Television to appear on the studio's stable of programs starting in the 1950s, and first gained attention for playing Tom Lopaka, a partner in a detective agency, on ABC's Hawaiian Eye. Rarely screened on television today, Hawaiian Eye was among the detective programs worthy of revisiting -- including 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six and Bourbon Street Beat.

In 2016, Robert Conrad was among the celebrity guests at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. You know that event where Hollywood actors spend three days signing autographs for fans outside Baltimore, Maryland, every September? Yep, Conrad was there. And he was a real trooper, too. Where most celebrities stopped signing to get dinner around 5 or 6 pm (which is when the autograph lines tend to die down for the day) Conrad's line was still outside the hotel. People reportedly stood in line for four hours to get his autograph.

Perhaps no better tribute to Robert Conrad can be found than the following story Carla Cathcart, an attendee of the convention, posted on Facebook.

I met him that day. He was amazing. The line was long, and just as I got to his table, one of the staff announced, "Mr. Conrad will be taking a break now." To which Robert announced, "The hell I will! These wonderful people have been waiting for a long time, and I'm gonna sit here until I can't sit any longer or my hand gives out, so why don't YOU take a break?!" The staff member just laughed and asked him to let him know if he needed anything. Then, it was finally my turn to meet him, and his smile and those blue eyes still looked wonderful. I joked with him, and said "tough guys don't take breaks, do they?" He laughed, and said, "That's right, Sweetheart." After getting his autograph, I got a photo with him. I'm so very thankful that I got to meet him.

Thank you, Mr. Conrad, for your never-give-up, and be-comfortable-being-yourself attitude. Meeting you was REALLY special and inspiring!!! I won't forget that day - or you.

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