Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten-Year Mark for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con

Anyone who grew up watching The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman on television may be surprised to hear that a cast reunion (Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner and Richard Anderson) will be held Sept. 17 to 19 at the Hunt Valley Wyndham Hotel. The tenth annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention promises to surpass its nine previous installments, with three days of eclectic programming and celebrity appearances. This will be the third time since the television programs went off the air in 1978 that all three actors are coming together for their fans.

Every year in mid-September, legends of Hollywood and Television fly in to Baltimore to attend the Convention solely to meet and greet with fans, sign autographs and pose for photos. If you questioned how people manage to post photos of themselves with Hollywood celebrities on Facebook, or on their blogs, the Nostalgia Convention is where it happens. Do not let the name of the event fool you: attendees represent states as far as California and Florida, and countries including Canada, England, Finland, Belgium and Portugal.

Caroline Munro in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
Among this year’s highlights are Jon Provost (Timmy on Lassie), Angela Cartwright (one of the Vonn Trapp daughters in The Sound of MusicLost in Space), Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick (James Bond girls), Jeremy Ambler (The Walking Dead), Tempest Storm (1950s legendary burlesque performer), Veronica Carlson and Suzanna Leigh (Hammer horror stars), and a cast reunion for My Three Sons (Barry Livingston, Stanley Livingston and Tina Cole), among others.

Celebrities at past events include Davy Jones, Shirley Jones, Patty Duke, James Darren, Ed Asner, Julie Newmar, Connie Stevens and even a James Bond, along with scores of others. It is convention policy to have different celebrities every year so fans who procrastinate for whatever reasons they find not to attend... it is their loss. 

Jerry Beck, animation historian
But celebrities are not the only bullet point noteworthy to mention. What makes my mouth water are the slide show seminars that are conducted every hour, on the hour, throughout the weekend. These seminars are very informative and are conducted by authors, historians, researchers, museum curators, club presidents, magazine editors and even film preservationists. Among this year’s highlights is a history of Betty Boop (who turns 85 this year), the comedy of Abbott and Costello, a history of Popeye the Sailor, and question and answer sessions with celebrities on stage. Jerry Beck, a respected animation historian from the West Coast, is going to offer the two animation presentations. Personally, I have been waiting years for someone to do a presentation about Popeye, the Sailor. 

A charity auction will be held to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Attendees can donate items for the auction and/or bid on items and every year the record is broken... raising money for children with treatable cancer. Hollywood celebrities and celebrated authors donated autographed books and glossy photos throughout the year. 

Like most events, vendors from all over the country offer collectibles ranging from comic books, tee shirts, movie posters and vintage toys. Many of the vendors occupying more than 200 vendor tables at the show are experienced in their field. Similar to the appraisers of Antiques Road Show, collectors can be educated in the grading of condition, how to spot a fake, and what is considered in today’s market a sound investment. Even if you are not the type of person to spend lot of cash during a convention, the education level is worth the price of admission.

Author David Pollock.
For film buffs, the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention also provides an alternative for those who cannot afford to fly to California to attend the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, or San Diego Comic Con. The Nostalgia Convention is the equivalent of an East Coast TCM Film Festival. Terry Moore, for example, will not only be a guest at the convention but some of her movies will be screened as well. The screening room runs 24 hours a day and some of the films are so rare that you cannot find them on DVD commercially. This year's offerings include Incident at a Corner (a 1960 television special directed by Alfred Hitchcock), Shemp Howard comedies that have never been seen in seventy years, and Island of the Lost, a 1920 German silent version of the 1932 horror classic, Island of Lost Souls with Bela Lugosi and Charles Laughton. Vintage cartoons provide daily entertainment for children.

Author Carol Ford will be discussing the life and career of Bob Crane, star of Hogan's Heroes. Author David Pollock will be discussing the career of Bob and Ray. So much to see and do and the convention program guide is available for free download in PDF form if you contact the convention via e-mail through their website. There are some fascinating articles worth reading in the 56 page program guide,  including one contribution which will appear on my blog in a few days regarding the unaired TV pilot for Captain Midnight.

Whether your plans are to meet a Hollywood celebrity and get their autograph, or get the appraisal for a vintage toy in your collection, the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention has plenty for the entire family. Held at the Hunt Valley Wyndham Hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Thursday to Saturday, September 17 to 19. For more information visit www.MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.com or call 443-286-6821.

The event is sponsored by AudioFlix.com, offering old-time radio programs and new radio dramas for a superb subscription price. Check out www.audioflix.com and discover that "no listening limit" really means!