November 16-18, 2007
Another convention come and gone. I jotted down these notes as I was waiting for my flight to go back home. I’ll try to recap a lot of what happened although my brain is a bit mushy as of now. It’s been a long weekend and I’m incredibly tired. But it’s a good kind of tired.
Friday morning I got up at 3am to try and catch my flight to Boston out of LAX. I was carrying some pretty heavy suitcases full of costumes, cameras, and photo albums. A quick kiss for Vickie while she dropped me off at the airport and I was on my own. Six hours of bumpy air travel later and I was in Boston. I was greeted by board member Chazbat. He was driving to the convention and offered to pick up a few of us from the airport since he had a car. Twint9 and Mauled Vader soon arrived afterwards. As I walked to the parking lot, my thin Southern California blood was hit hard by the chilly Boston air. I should have packed my thermal B long underwear. Mr. Freeze would have been very comfortable here.
Traffic was extreme so we arrived to the hotel considerably later. We just happened to arrive at the same time as Mark Racop who was with his wife, Jill and their friend Nancy (correct me if I got the name wrong, there were so many new faces.) We tried to see if we could get adjoining rooms together and we were in luck. We got three rooms right in a row with two of them having connecting doors. This would work out perfectly for the planned Saturday night party.
I lugged my cases up to the room that Mauled and I were going to share. Once everybody was unpacked we eventually made out way to the hotel restaurant. We had a group of eleven by this point as Troy, Batman Dave, Etruscan Snood and his girlfriend, Theresa hooked up with us. We talked about all sorts of subjects through the evening until it got very late and they long stopped refilling our sodas. But that didn’t stop the conversations as they just continued up to our rooms. We made some plans as when to meet the next day and it was time to turn in.
Saturday morning was the start of a very busy one and I was sure to have a few people call me up early to make sure I got going in spite of the time zone change and jet lag. I saw Adam’s agent, Fred hanging out near the restaurant. We said hey and compared flight stories. He got in very late from a delayed flight and was pretty tired. I left to hook up with the board members having the breakfast buffet. Mistahand and his son joined us as well.
The convention finally opened and it was time to check it out. I really liked what I saw as far as dealers went and really wished to have had a budget to indulge in a lot of their goodies. Lots of vintage toy type stuff mixed with some newer items. But all in all a good variety. I walked around for a while and came across board member, Will otherwise know as Silverknight58. You really can’t miss a guy who looks like Elvis wearing a big brass Batman buckle. He is a great guy who is easy going and has a great sense of humor. We all walked around and pointed at this and that along the way. I walked over to the autograph area where the bat-cast would eventually turn up. Their tables were on an elevated stage and overlooked the rest of the convention. It was nice to see them getting the royal treatment. I was tickled to see one vendor selling some pictures that were retouches that I done and posted on my site. I almost bought one, thinking that it was better than a print I already had but then I recognized my own work. An artist will tend to see his own flaws first.
After a few hours out on the floor we all started to head back up to my room for some costume comparisons and related chat. Most of the Batmen who were going to suit up brought their cowls up. We had a great time taking photos of the grouped cowls and looking at the various differences. I spent some time consulting a few of the guys about making adjustments to their cowls to make them more fitted for them.
There were so many Chuck cowls that Mauled felt compelled to write his initials inside his. Funny thing was that I could tell the difference pretty quickly. Will brought up his regular cowl and his “screen test” one with the taller ears and odd eyebrows. They looked great and I started referring to his cowls as being “Willies.” Nick brought in his Wally one and Mistahand brought in his Billy Loyd built one. So we had a Billy, Wally Willy Willy, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck and the infamous Mark Racop homebrew. What geeky fun we had.
People enjoyed checking out Billy’s legendary ( and now rare) belts and comparing how heavy my cape was.
The time flew and we needed to get ready to suit up to debut “Bat Troop 66” on the unsuspecting public downstairs. Everybody went back to their respective rooms to suit up and we met up again in my room before heading down.
Batman Dave managed to get his Riddler costume just in time for the show so he suited up in his green tights. He got completely into character and was great. Chazbat got himself ready in his amazing Mad Hatter outfit with working hat. His costume is still one of my favorite villain reproductions to date because it is so dead on and the hat flips open. The eyebrows and mustache makeup make it a particular challenge as well. Mistahand’s son, Alex, joined us as our Robin for the day. He wasn’t very happy with his boots or gloves but we managed to fit him into some of our spare Robin costume pieces that we brought to make his costume really sing. What a great boy wonder!
I asked Mark’s wife, Jill if she would be kind enough to tape the events with my video camera. She agreed to and we were off.
The vision of the multiple Batmen just tickled me to no end. Just going into and coming out of an elevator was a spectacle in itself.I would introduce people to the group individually as, ‘Batman…and Batman…and Batman…” The comedy seemed to invent itself. The looks on the attendees’ faces were priceless. A mixture of awe, amusement and confusion summed it up best. We made some rounds on the floor. We took pictures, blocked traffic and made people smile. The line for Adam seemed pretty long and the area was very busy making the room full of people start to feel very warm.
Fortunately, there was Batmobile outside on display and I thought that might be a good place for the bat-crew to cool down and some of the guys to have their picture taken with the car as well as buy us some time for Adam’s line to slow down.While I turned around to tell the group, something hit me. We were short a Batman and Mad Hatter. The more I thought about it, I realized that I hadn’t seen them join us in the elevator. Holy abandonment! I hoped for the best that we would find each other on our way to the vehicle. Not only did we find Mad Hatter and Twint9 Batman but we also came across Harveytwoface999 in his homemade Bat-suit and his mom. I apologized to Chazbat and Twint9 for my oversight.
Dave continued to flank us, running around and giggling. What a ham! We was born for this role! When we got outside the Batmobile provided him with the ultimate stage to entertain unsuspecting onlookers.
I got a major thrill in seeing newcomers Twint9, Mistahand, Troy, Silverknight58, and Harveytwoface999 experience the love and warmth from the convention goers.
Everybody seemed to be having fun and the Boston air seemed to do the trick in refreshing everybody with it’s cold air. But too much of a good thing eventually turned it from refreshing to chilling and people slowly made their way back inside to keep from freezing.
After a bit of regrouping, we made our way once again for the convention floor to try and meet Adam West with Dave running ahead laughing all the way. Priceless.
The line for Adam looked light enough and it seemed to be a good time as any to try and introducing him to the troop. While standing there I suddenly remembered that somebody mentioned that he had been charging for photo ops. I don’t take anything for granted but it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have any cash in my utility belt in case there would be such a charge. I asked the group collectively in what became a huddle if anybody had any cash.
No go. Jill ran upstairs to grab some…just in case. As I said, I don’t take anything for granted and a good crime fighter/convention goer should always be prepared.
As we waited, I got to spend some time with Larry Storch at his booth. I hadn’t seen him since he was staying at Wally’s back in July. What a talent. What a nice guy.Jill made her way back down. Etruscan Snood made it in time in his Bat-suit with two Batgirls by his side. Nancy was in a Yvonne Craig style suit while Theresa was in a Birds of Prey style suit. The gang was all here.
I went to the front of the group and waited for our turn in Adam’s line. I caught a glimpse of Adam’s face as he noticed the sea of Batmen about to converge on his table. He looked amused and stunned at the same time. He had one more fan that he was dealing with and our troop was next. As I stood waiting our turn I saw him look over the group and asked out loud, “Where’s Scott?” I sheepishly raised my hand about half way and he said, “You’ve got to stop doing this, I don’t look as good as you guys!” He said it with that twinkle in his eye that meant he was teasing.
I walked up to the side of his table and said over to his chair, “ Adam, I would like to introduce you to Batman…and Batman…” Each Batman came up one at a time and greeted Adam with a tapping of fist to fist. Meanwhile, Fred asks over the crowd, ‘Where’s the Mad-Hatter?” he sees Chazbat and says, “he’s my favorite villain!” Fred also got a kick out of watching Dave vamp it up as the Riddler but more importantly, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler. We all missed Frank.
Halfway through the introductions of Batmen, Mad Hatter, Riddler, Robin and Batgirls, Adam said, “You’ve got to stop, I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown and that everybody’s a Batman.” I asked him if he would mind taking a picture with the Class of 66. He said of course and that he would even stand for this one. Burt was on a break but Julie saw what was going on and wanted in on the fun so she joined in with our group. Mistahand even had his arm around her waist. Watch those hands Mistahand! What a fun moment. No money involved. Just fun.
After a ton a flash bulbs slowed down we started to clear the stage so Adam could catch his breath and get back to business but he took the time to get on the PA system next to his table and announced to the rest of the convention goers what a surreal moment that was. It was a hit.
Some asked me if we should hang around for Burt to do the same thing but I said that I thought the moment seemed so special to Adam that it should remain his moment. We slowly worked our way out of the autograph area and I eventually excused myself to get back to my room so I could start getting it ready for the other half of the day. The Saturday night parties!
I left the floor and changed out of my costume and into my street clothes. Many of the costumed gang did so as well except for Mauled and Dave who both decided to keep going all day and night. A number of us gathered together back down at the hotel restaurant and talked about the events of the day so far. Everyone was excited and having a good time. There was going to be a VIP party put on by the promoters for an intimate Q&A with Adam and Burt and photo op. It came with a pretty hefty but fair price tag of course. The subject of the VIP party came up throughout the conversation. What did we think would happen? Who was going and who was on the fence? I was still on the fence. Not due to lack of interest but a possible lack of funds and time to do the VIP and get the room party ready. The VIP was to start at 6:30 and the one up in the rooms would start at 8:00. Weeks prior, I had asked Mark Racop if he would help me with the party arrangements and he kindly agreed. Not only did he agree he ran with it. He brought sodas, snacks and Batmobile props from his shop. He made flyers for the event to post around the hotel and hand out as well as numerous other contributions to the cause.
My dilemma really came down to whether I could afford the VIP show, still have enough to get back to the airport, eat, get autographs and such with present funds. The main issue to me was would the VIP go longer than I had planned before I had to start the other party at its announced time for those who were not attending the VIP. While I sat at the table I got into thinking about this heavily and to some it may have appeared that I was unhappy but I was just focusing and trying to sort it out in my head. I decided that I needed to talk to Fred and check out what the plans were and timelines for the VIP party. I told the people at the table I would be back but not why and jumped out of my chair. There wasn’t any time to explain as I felt that Fred and Adam may have already left the floor at this time of day or were getting ready to. I hurried through the convention floor to the autograph area and I could see Fred and Adam getting up to leave. This was not good. You see, when Fred needs to get Adam off of the floor he has to be very focused and needs to keep moving like a laser beam in order for them to not get tied up and bogged down. This is completely understandable but not very good for conversation. I started to ask Fred about what were they planning timeline wise for the VIP but then they made a turn down one aisle and I somehow didn’t notice and went down another. I felt pretty silly trying to catch up with them when our paths crossed again and certainly didn’t want to come across as a nut to Adam (he has said he has a hard time recognizing me without my cowl.) But I did catch up for a second time and started to bring up the subject to Fred but then again somebody else ( a promoter perhaps) was talking to them and I felt really awkward so I told Fred that I might not be able to attend tonight just to let him know. There was a little too much confusion trying to walk and talk and I got pretty self conscious so I waved off to Fred as I got the restaurant and joined my friends again. That excursion didn’t help my concerns one bit.
Back at the table, everybody looked at me like I was ill or something. They seemed very concerned and sympathetic. I told them I was okay, just trying to make up my mind. What to do or how to go about it. Many guys tried to offer financial help but I already felt that I had been helped more than I deserved by those who made the trip possible in the first place and any more than that just felt too much. I’m odd that way. But Mistahand offered to drive me to the airport the next day on his way back home. It really wasn’t on his way so I was even more than grateful that he offered and did that. That was one issue down. At least I might be able to afford the VIP party and squeeze enough to eat on. But would the times line up?
VIP or no VIP, I still had a party to get ready so I high tailed it up to my room and started setting up costumes, photos, props and things in my room while Mark and company got his room together. The adjoining doors were open so this was going to be a great setup for this shindig. Mark’s room would have the refreshments and snacks with plenty of Batmobile parts and props to drool at while my room would have the videos going… THE VIDEOS! I needed to get the TV that Dave brought out because the hotel TV’s wouldn’t hook up to any of our equipment and Dave out and about in costume. The VIP was going to start soon so I called down to Chazbat on his cell to see if Dave was anywhere near. I was in luck. Mark, Will and I met up with him and got the TV upstairs. The VIP had already started. Mark and I looked at each other with the final debate. VIP or no VIP? We both decided that if we didn’t do it we would probably always kick ourselves later. So off we went and fingers crossed that we would still be back in time for the party.
I arrived to the door of the VIP event and saw Burt’s agent Andrew and Fred. Andrew was asking me where I had been all day. I realized that I hadn’t gotten a chance to see them at their table yet. I would have to make up for that. Fred asked me where I went earlier when we were walking. He didn’t realize that I had waved them off and that he started to talk to me as if I were still there until Adam asked where I had gone. Yeah, I felt stupid. Fred then told me to go inside and took one of my biggest worries off of my shoulders completely. Take nothing for granted folks. Fred was my hero.
The VIP session was already underway. There were about twenty or so people attending a conference type room with most of the attendees being board members. They were all seated in their chairs facing Adam and Burt who were seated as well and casually answered questions presented to them. No PA was required so this really felt more like a conversation. Mauled and Dave were seated still in their costumes. Mark Racop came in just after me. The questions were diverse but really refreshing to hear. They were different from the usual, “when is the DVD coming out?” or “how itchy were those tights?”
At one point Mark asked them as question I had been dying to ask which was about the sets. “If you were on the set of the Batcave and you looked towards the cameras, was there another set behind them and which one?” Geeky altogether but I had been curious. Burt said that was a good question and they described that the two soundstages that they used were connected so it was like one big facility. You would have many sets in the same sound stage depending where you turned the camera. I mentioned to Adam that I had recently gone to Culver City Studios with his friend Wally Wingert. Adam said instantly with the up most respect, “Wally’s a good man.” I started to quote Wally at being on one of the soundstages there and began mimicking him. Adam then said that I did a great imitation of Wally. How funny is that? I get complimented by people that I do a good Adam imitation and now Adam compliments me that I do a good Wally. That was fun to hear.
The two of them continued to answer question after question but did so in a very laid back and casual manner so different than what you would get at large size panel. They were great together. Always have been and you could tell that they really do have tremendous respect for one another. It was a wonderful evening to witness.
But as it went along I kept checking the time. Would they get to the photo ops before I had to run off to the party? Just as it seemed it was going to run much later, the Q&A wrapped up and they went right into photo ops with the two of them. Since most of the people were from the board and knew I was going to run back upstairs, they didn’t seem to mind letting me get my picture taken first so I could run off. I asked Adam and Burton and Adam if they could pose doing a “thumbs up” with me but Burt kindly said, “Uh, we didn’t do that.” Right! I shut up, dropped my hand and stood there with the two of them and the flashes went off. Hopefully somebody got a good one for me.
I had tons of video loaded into my iPod including every episode from the series and it hooked up perfectly to the big flatscreen Dave brought over. The video was going, people were starting to snack and newcomers were checking out the goodies. The party was on.
Newcomer Alan brings by an Incredible Costumes cowl from Argentina
Silverknight58 tries it on
Harveytwoface999 (real name Chris but there are so many Chris’s that we just kept referring to him as Harvey) and his mom, Linda (sp?), were among the first to arrive. I’ve always enjoyed Harvey’s enthusiasm and do-it-yourself attitude on the board. He made his own cowl, cape and assembled his own costume from scratch. I wanted to take the time a share some of the costume items that I thought he might have an appreciation for. First was my cowl. I handed it to him to put on. I was really impressed how well it fit him and well good it looked on him. I don’t know if I ever saw a Batman smile so much. Of course the gloves were next and eventually the cape. He seemed to get a kick out of it. He was posing for pictures and his mom seemed like she was having fun as well because she eventually put on Vickie’s Catwoman mask and ears.
Harvey dons my cowl and gloves
Harvey’s mom gets in on the fun
Troy and I both thought that Harvey’s attitude and age would make a perfect Robin and we managed to have just enough Robin pieces between the group bringing items that we were able to squeeze him into most of a Robin suit. I do mean squeeze. I don’t think he could breathe to be truthful. What a trooper! He looked great though in the outfit and I wished he was more comfortable because I would have loved for him to be Robin on Sunday to my Batman. That would have been so much fun. But the boy certainly couldn’t bend and barely move so there was no point in torturing the poor teen with the constricting vest.. We set him free and I could see the color return to his face. Well, a color different from blue.
Now both rooms were filled with people looking at pictures, watching episodes, picking up and talking about props. This certainly turned into the hot spot for Bat-geeks and we were loving it. Two girls we met earlier at the convention who was dressed as Poison Ivy and a Comic book Catwoman showed up. The y showed a keen interest towards the costumes and crafts and had fun talking with all of the sorted fans in the room. We told them about our online community and they seemed very interested in checking out and possibly joining.
Oddly enough, a gentleman from Brazil that we met at the VIP party had come up to the room. His name I believe was Marcelo. He took a keen interest in the Robin pieces and I asked him if he wanted to try on the suit. He literally jumped up and down with enthusiasm.
FelineFatale as Catwoman, Marcelo and PoisonKisses as Poison Ivy
I held up the tan tights and said, “How bad do you want to be Robin?” He grabbed the tights, t-shirt, trunks and headed for the bathroom to change. There’s a go getter. He came out and he fit right into the vest no problem. Troy had a pair of Robin boots that would fit him fine and with the rest of the ensemble from others; he was a fully dressed Robin. He looked great and had a great attitude. As he and Mauled went to take some photos in the hallway, Troy and I discussed the logistics of him being able to borrow the pieces for Sunday. Troy was taking off later in the morning but thought it was okay if we sent his pieces back to him afterwards. I checked with Chazbat on his pieces and we were settled. Whether Marcelo knew it or not, he was going to be Robin on Sunday. I went out to the hall to tell him so. At that moment I also decided that since a bat group was really starting to form for Sunday (Catwoman, Riddler, Mad Hatter and now Robin) and that Mauled would more than likely be guaranteed to be in costume anyways, I was not going to dress up for Sunday. I wanted the group to have continuity and not have two Batmen popping up in a ton of pictures. It was different with the troop today but the Sunday group should look right. Besides, I thought it would be fun to try and do what Wally now does. Sit back and watch others have the fun that I’ve experienced so many times before now. I asked if he would like to be Robin on Sunday and the look on his face said it all. I told him and Mauled that they would be Batman and Robin tomorrow and although Mauled looked a bit confused at first he seemed pretty happy to have a Robin to team up with.
Marcelo after his transformation
We started to put on video clips including Tom Woodruffs hilarious short film that got everybody laughing. Somebody asked me to play the “Fanatical” program that featured me and talented artist Andy Price. I debuted my latest video that was going to posted on the board “Bat Tours: The Batcave.” Along with videos of past conventions including the 40th Anniversary show in Burbank. They saw that we had fun then but we were having a ton of fun in Boston.
Troy tries on a Ken cowl (at first we thought it may be a Wally. Wrong)
Etruscan Snood does some card tricks
Silverknight58 identifies some of the cowls
A bed full of assorted Bat head wear
Chazbat’s Mad Hatter’s hat next to its inspiration
FelineFatale tries going a little more retro
Scrolling through my iPod to show another episode by request
Everybody had a good laugh with Tom Woodruff’s short film
The first wave of the party started to die down as some folks made their way out and then the second wave picked up when Fred and Andrew showed up. They looked at the props, cowls and pictures and showed as much enthusiasm as the rest of us. These guys were fans. They just happen to be fans with coolest job of being friends and agents to the biggest stars of the show. Andrew stayed for a bit but eventually left while Fred made himself at home and we started a video marathon on the TV with ongoing commentary and discussion with Fred. He had insight from Adam and his own personal affection for certain episodes. We chimed in on various facts and would occasionally freeze frame and restart scenes to discuss them. Fred talked about Frank with great affection towards a good friend that we all missed. Beyond the Batman episodes we started to view various video clips of Adam through the years like his appearances on Conan O’Brian, Johnny Bravo, assorted reunion shows with Frank and his pilot “Lookwell.” We wrapped it up with the William Dozier interview on “Telescope” from 1966 that many had not seen. It was close to 2am before Fred and others called it a night.
Fred checks out some of the cowls
You know the party’s over when Elvis puts the
Batmobile beacon on his head for a lamp shade
Some of us still sat around and talked for a while and I finally crawled into bed at 3am thinking about all the things that had happened during the day and passed out.
Sunday came and I was dead. Part of me thought I made the right decision to not get into costume that day since I had so much cleaning and packing to do. I still had a convention to go look at. I also hadn’t picked up a single autograph while had gotten here. Not that I needed one but that I hadn’t thought of anything special I would have them sign. But I thought about it and realized that I did have something special. Somebody had given me a copy of the file that had my picture with Adam and Burt from the night before. I figured I could try to find a drugstore with a photo kiosk and get a print made to have them sign. I now had a quest. It wasn’t too difficult as I told Mauled and he said Dave knew of one down the road. Twint9 was leaving early that morning and I offered to try and get his picture signed for him while I was at it and send it to him later. Mauled decided he wanted to do the same thing so we piled Dave’s vehicle when he came by for the TV.
At the CVS drugstore, I got to talk to Dave while we waited about his previous day’s adventure. He loved it. He was hooked. He originally thought of doing the Joker but now he couldn’t see himself other than running around as the Riddler. I could see why. He was a natural at it.
The pictures took a little longer than I planned and I found myself rushing back to the room to try and get my stuff packed and the room cleaned out before check out. Mauled moved his stuff over to Chazbat’s room since they were both staying an extra day and Marcelo came by to get suited up for Robin. Catgreg and his friend Ashley came by the room before she got ready as Catwoman in the suit he made. Catgreg and I have been corresponding and talking on the phone for years now but this was the first time we got to meet face to face. We spent some times looking at the changes and improvements he has made to his Catsuits. He does an amazing job and Ashley does a great job doing the suit justice.
But I was once again racing the clock and a had to go back to my itinerary. I barely got all of stuff together and packed in time. I moved my luggage over to Mark Racop’s room since he offered to hold it for me until I was heading out. I grabbed my pictures and decided to leave the cameras behind. I was on vacation and going to just enjoy the con today.
I went up to Burt’s table first to get my picture signed. He and Andrew were looking at an artist’ portfolio that was stunning. Burt looked at me and said, “Did you see this?” I came up and looked at the guy’s work. I just wish I could remember his name but he did great drawings and painting of the Batmobile and collages of characters from the show. They were amazing and sometimes photographic in quality. Burt got into a conversation with another artist so I started to talk to Andrew a bit. I tried to make up for the time missed the day before for not coming by and besides, I like yacking with Andrew. Rarely is it about Batman oddly enough and almost always we end up talking about music gear since he plays as well. I wish Andrew lived closer we seem to get along that well. Finally, we got down to business and got the pictures I brought signed. They looked great.
I then met up with Catgreg and Ashley out on the floor just before they got to meet Julie Newmar. I had to see this. Once they came up to Julie’s table I could see Julie looking over the costume and making this comment and that. More importantly, I could see Catgreg smiling so I figured Julie was saying some nice things about his amazing work. She posed with the two of them and even got up to pose with Ashley.
Adam had returned so I went to his table to get the pictures signed. Adam thought the pictures turned out great and said he didn’t think he looked too bad for a guy who was ninety years old with that knowing twinkle in his eye. I told him that I had a great time at the VIP party. Somehow the conversation turned to him saying, “So you know Wally?” And I told him that Wally was one of my best friends. He said once again without hesitation, “He’s a good man.”
I made the rounds along the floor and came across Ashley and Catgreg again. They were joined with Mauled, Marcelo, Dave and Chazbat all in their costumes. I looked at Marcello, Dave, Ashley, and Catgreg and got a tremendous wave of joy from the look on their faces as they delighted fans and celebrities alike on their first convention in costume. Marcello didn’t even know he was going to be in costume less than twenty four hours earlier and here he was wowing the crowd as an excellent Robin.
I came across the other scattered board members like Silverknight58 in his screen test costume and Harveytwoface999 who was playing a civilian today. Larry Storch came up to me and wished me a happy holiday season as he was leaving. He’s such a wonderful guy.
The convention slowed down. Celebs were leaving and vendors were packing. I had one more meal in the hotel restaurant with Chazbat before I left with Mistahand to the airport. Eleven hours later and I made it back to my home. I’m glad I came out to see some old friends and especially make some new ones.
I would just like to say thanks to everybody who came out to Boston and made this the best Bat-Board convention I’ve ever experienced.Thank you for making me one happy Bat-fan.
* a special thanks to those folks who supplied many of the pics used from the party