Niles, Ohio

PT 2
October 18-19, 2008


Saturday morning found us dragging ourselves out of bed to try and make it over to the breakfast buffet. We were still running on California time and the mornings felt much earlier than usual. Especially after the long night we had the night before. Yvonne and Meridel were already there at another table that was full so we sat at next one to them. The group of us was pretty well versed in cross table chatter. Malachi soon joined us at our table as did Kathy. She told us about her plans to do a costume appearance that day as Aunt Hilda from the Marcia Queen of Diamonds episode and went as far as dressing up some toad figurines in Batman and Robin outfits like they did in the episode. I figured this was going to be a sight to see.

As we were finishing our respective meals, Kathy left and Vickie was going to head back to the room to work on her Catwoman makeup and hair. I felt a bit guilty that all I had to do was have a descent shower, shave and slap on a cowl over my head as opposed to her preparation. Malachi wanted to head down to the convention early to get set up but wasn’t sure how the shuttle service ran. He and I left the breakfast area and I checked the front desk for him to see. It ended up being very simple and at that moment I saw Fred come through the hallway door to greet us. Malachi was taken care of and Fred asked me if I cared to join him for some breakfast. I told Fred that I’d have bagel and some hot tea with him. At that point I heard somebody say behind me, “Aren’t you going to even say ‘Good morning’ to me?” The voice was unmistakably Adam’s.

Adam, Fred and I got a table in the breakfast area and we had a fun chit chat. At one point I told Adam about the Bat-party we had the night before after the banquet and how Fred was watching “Pop Goes the Joker” as well as “Hi Diddle Riddle” with the rest of us. Somewhere along the line, I did a quote from an episode of Adam’s imitating his voice and he laughed saying, “You’ve got me down pat.” We continued to talk about all kinds of subjects of which very little was about Batman. Come to think of it, most of laughs Adam and I had were when we were both poking a little fun at Fred. That’s always a good time. Lee Meriwether joined us at the table eventually.

It was time to get the day started, so Adam and Fred went their way and I sat with Lee for a little bit before excusing myself as well. I eventually hooked up with Chuck and Alex. Alex and I were going to follow the same plan as the previous day by hitting the convention as ourselves first then head back to change when Vickie was close to being finished.

This was Chuck’s first convention…ever. I took the time to show him around the convention floor and introduce him to some of the people we came across that he may have not met the night before. He was certainly the kid in the candy shop. It’s always great to see a fan come to one of these things for the first time. Even as we entered we came across a few full sized R2D2 droids roaming the floor via remote control complete with sounds. It was quite fun to have an R2 unit swivel it’s head your way and make one of its whirring sigh like sounds.

In the autograph area, we stopped by Malachi Throne’s table where Chuck saw a picture of False Face and Batman together. The cowl Adam wore in the shot is the one Chuck based his cowls on. Chuck went on to tell Malachi that this was his personal favorite episode. Malachi said it was his too. Chuck got the picture signed and we headed to see Adam. We came up to Adam’s table and I introduced Chuck to Adam as a good friend and the gentleman responsible for making my cowl. Adam actually asked him, “So how do I get one of these?” Everybody wants a Chuck cowl! By this time it was hard to tell which events made Chuck smile more since it seemed like the expression never left his face the entire weekend. But I’d imagine this was a biggie. He had Adam sign the same picture that Malachi had just signed. After some fun chit chat with Adam and Fred we eventually moved to Yvonne’s table where I introduced him to the girls. As usual, they laughed and carried on as if he was an old friend.

We saw Billy in his recently upgraded King Tut outfit and it was great. He made some changes and added some great touches and details fit for the king of the Nile. We was accompanied by Will (Silverknight58) was decked out in his Batman costume but with a special touch. He was wearing his pink cowl which a nod to the Mad Hatter episode wear the Batman’s cowl becomes contaminated with radiation and turns pink. Will has a knack for showing up in unique pieces like this. In Boston the previous year, he showed up one day wearing a replica of the suit that Adam and Lyle Wagoner wore for their screen tests. Once again he made an impressive presence.

Somewhere about this time, Chuck and I came up to Steve Stanley’s table in the artist area. Steve recognized me and said hello although we had never met before. The internet is a fascinating thing. I’ve always loved Steve’s work and evens topped by his table the day before when I was in costume but he wasn’t there at the time. Chuck and I complimented him on his work and we were soon joined by Chris and Ivan to where we began talking about art, composition, materials, paper and so on. It can be fun when artist get to talk about craft.

Time flew and we needed to get back so I could get ready for the afternoon suit up. We got back with Alex and drove off. We made a short stop at a Kinkos so Alex could print up some more flyers for the Bat-Shield he had on display. I hope he made some sales while he was there at the show.

We didn’t even get out of the hallways
of the hotel before the pictures started

I tried out one of Chuck’s belts after seeing it the night before

Before too long, we arrived once again to the convention as the dynamic duo and Vickie as Catwoman this time. We were greeted by Nick and his buddy Ryan as Green Hornet and Kato. Although I had posed with a Green Hornet before, a couple of Katos before and even dressed up as green Hornet myself, I had never had a picture taken with the duo represented together before. What a treat.

Here’s a crossover for you

Vickie had done a great job with her makeup and wig to the point where people completely thought it was her own hair. Catwoman went over very well and was extremely popular amongst the convention goers.

Bat Adrian

Bat Ivan

Saturday was much busier and more populated with costume players than Friday. Kathy showed up as Marsha Queen of Diamonds’ Aunt Hilda, complete with toads dressed in Batman and Robin costumes. She did a better job with their costumes than the TV show ever did. This was another witty costume choice and execution by one of the board members. Adrian showed up as Batman and this was his first time to don the costume. Ivan sported his Batman suit as well as Mauled Vader did with his son in his Robin suit.

After making the general rounds it was time for the Adam West and Julie Newmar panel. Regretfully, Vickie, Alex, Monica, Chuck and I got there too late and the room was so packed we couldn’t get in. We decided it was probably a good time to grab a quick bite and see about getting a ride in the Batcopter.

The amazing Peter Smith who made it all happen

It was an interesting excursion through a KFC drive through if you consider the combination of a packed car, costumes and fast food. But being the pros we were, we managed to scarf down the food with our costumes remaining stain free.

We drove over to the spot where the Batcopter was taking off and landing. It happened to be a fenced off parking lot to a local ball field that adjoined the mall parking lot. I guess it was safer to have it out here than in the middle of the mall parking area event though that would have been closer to the actual convention. The wind was kicking up pretty good and it added to the chilly afternoon.

Andrew Goodwin greeted us as we waited for the Batcopter to return from a present flight, captained by Eugene Nock. It was an amazing sight to just the Batcopter in flight in person.

After it landed, Alex and I were first to jump into the copter, get strapped in and take off. What an amazing experience as the Batcopter slowly lifted up into the air. The bubble housing made the view even more stunning as one could see from virtually all around, above and below. Eugene told us the height and speed we were at but it was difficult to hear over the noise. Not to mention it was probably hard for me to really concentrate while I was completely geeking out inside. The skies were so clear you could see for nearly a twenty mile radius and the colors of the autumn trees were stunning. We made a fairly short circular trip around the overall mall and shopping area that lasted a few minutes but the experience was nothing short of awesome!

After we landed, I got out so Monica could ride with Alex. Eventually they returned so that it was Vickie and my turn and then it was Chuck’s. Everybody had a thrill and arrived back with ear to ear smiles. We were soon joined by Troy and Chaz who were dressed as False Face and Mad Hatter. It was a kick to see the Mad Hatter go up in the copter. It looked almost like he was stealing it. After he got back we took some pictures with Eugene and his amazing Batcopter. What a great guy and a real once in a lifetime opportunity he gave us.

We made our way back to the convention floor. We were greeted by a few people who wondered where we went off to. I finally got to see my friend Dave Emel and his family before they made their way back home. I had known Dave on the board since practically the beginning but had only met him once in New Jersey back in 2005. Although I did see him for a very brief moment that morning after breakfast, he wanted his family to see me in costume as well as meet Vickie. He was another batfriend I was really glad that they made it out to the show even if it was for a little bit.

With my friend Dave Emel and his family

Mauled, Adrian, and Ivan were decked out in their own bat-suits. Of course that meant getting some fun photos of the four of us. The costumes have just gotten better and better through the years. There is a unique bond that seems to felt between people who don the classic cape and cowl.

Just can’t stay away from the Batmobile

Catwoman looks like she’s trying to steal it

Mauled trades Robins for some pictures

Vickie and another, Katie

Once again, we made our way towards the autograph area. I realized that Vickie had never gotten her picture taken with Yvonne, Lee or Julie as Catwoman. We started down the line with Yvonne and worked our way down. Lee was next and she was very impressed with the costume saying that it was the right material and everything. Vickie told the former Miss America that she once told us the story about how she got a horrible sunburn after wearing the outfit outdoors. Vickie thanked her for the story because she now makes a point of wearing sunscreen whenever doing an outdoor appearance. Julie was getting ready to leave but I managed to ask her if she minded getting a picture with Vickie. She said, “Sure.” Vickie sat down next to her and Lee ended up coming over to point out to Julie how great the costume was and took a hold of Vickie’s arm to show Julie the material. It was such a cool moment I told Monica who was holding the camera, “Be sure and get this.”

Alex and Lee

There were even more bat-folks in costumes that we saw while we were there. One of them was a guy named Gary who happened to be one of the first people I ever saw dressed as an Adam West Batman online when I started my research for my own costume. It was great to finally meet him although I don’t think he realized how much of a moment it was for me. We also met Bat-board member Lisa (aka PA Batgirl) who sported a great Batgirl outfit that was more inspired by the Michael Keaton Batman suit than the Yvonne Craig one but she did an excellent job with it and looked great.

One of the biggest thrills I get when seeing all these people in costume is when I see somebody do something entirely homemade and original without purchasing a thing online. The results are usually inspired, unique and a real showcase of ingenuity. Two examples were the ones done by a fellow called NewbieBatman and his friend. They had a Batman and Batgirl outfits that were a cross between the show and the comics. Her Batgirls cowl was very good and I asked her what she did for the construction underneath. When she told me that the inner shell started as a straw hat, I nearly fell over. Fans are so inventive. I would have never guessed it was so good.

NewbieBatman does the Batusi

A great DIY Batgirl

Monica meets Adam!

He may be dressed in black but he seems very happy

After a bit more socializing and picture taking, people started to make their way over to the Batmobile. Those who bought a premium ticket were going to get a photo op with Adam West next to the Batmobile. Needless to say I saw a lot of familiar faces standing in that line and got to spend a little bit of time with my buddy, Billy. It’s a funny thing how these conventions go sometimes. You can talk on the phone for hours about how much you can’t wait to see a friend to a show but when you actually get there, you hardly get a minute to really do it properly. Billy and I have grown use to this. We each took our turn to get a picture with Adam and then we topped it off with the costume people taking a group shot with him. Of course it would not have been complete if we didn’t include the man who made this all possible, Peter Smith. He really did a great job and the event was still not over yet!

In line waiting our turn

A local theatre was going to show the 1966 Batman movie in conjunction with the convention. Many people were already talking about getting together before heading out to see the film. I told Mauled to give me a call on my cell phone once they figured out a place to eat. Meanwhile, we headed back to the hotel to change back into our true identities. I got the call that we would meet up at the Steak and Shake near the convention center. So we headed out with Chuck and Rubén in tow in Alex and Monica’s car. It was tight squeeze to carry six people in a car meant to hold only four. But hey, we’re just a close family.

At the Steak and Shake, the group took over one of the dining areas across several tables and booths. I sat at a table with Mauled, Alex and KGB. Once again, I tried to make up for lost time between friends. Even though we were there four days for a three day event, it seemed like there was never enough time.

After the meal we piled back into the car with Rubén sitting up front while Monica drove. Chuck, Alex and I say in the back while Vickie decided lie over the three of us. We were a bit uncertain as to exactly where the theatre was but figured if we drove around the area enough we would find it. We were wrong. I finally called Mauled for more specific directions. Once I had them I gave them to Monica. We happened to be at an exit for a parking lot and the sign said “right turn only.” We needed to head the other way so rather than going right and making a U-turn, Monica decided to just turn left since the traffic was non existent at the time. It seemed well enough until it became apparent we were driving on the wrong side of a median and therefore on the wrong side of the road! It wasn’t a long stretch before Monica could correct this but meanwhile we ended up having a car coming up on us. They passed us with out incident but not without screams and shouts from inside our car. That would have been a very stupid death and I dreaded to think of the headline.

We finally go to the movie theatre and the picture was just starting. Lee Meriwether introduced the movie before it began and even sat in the audience to watch it with us. Needless to say, anytime she was seen on the screen it was met with cheers, hoots and whistles. The film was a pretty beat up sixteen millimeter print of the film but that just seemed to add to the charm of the evening. With the seats filled bat-board members and other fans this was the perfect way to see the film. We all knew the dialogue and many recited it out and we cheered at key moments in the movie. It wasn’t a quiet audience but more like a Bat-concert of sorts. Unforgettable.

Once the movie ended, we gathered together in the lobby. We took the time to get a group photo taken. Lee even joined in on the fun. She truly is a marvelous lady. We tried to figure out what to do next and Vickie suggested pie. Because late at night, “pie is king.” Others agreed and asked some of the locals what was in the area at that hour.

Can you name everybody? ( I get stuck on the twins to which is which)

We made a caravan over to the Porters. As we came in the host and hostess asked us, “how many?” I looked at the ten of us that were already there and told them that more was coming and we weren’t sure of the head count as of yet. They looked bewildered as more and more came through the door. We managed to get them to open a side room that was previously closed just for us. To be truthful, I don’t think they had much of a choice. Once again, our group had a room to ourselves to eat and converse. What a great cap to a fun day and evening.


Sunday morning felt like it came much sooner than I was ready for. The time shift and long days were starting to catch up with me. We made sure we were up early enough to still catch the morning breakfast at the hotel. While Vickie and I ate, Kathy came by and dropped off a zucchini loaf that we were instructed to save for the trip back home. I said good morning to Adam and Fred and some of the other board members that were there.

To mix it up a little, Vickie and I chose to dress up in our Star Trek uniforms instead of our bat-gear. We figured that since Yvonne, Lee, Malachi and Julie had all appeared on Star Trek we were still properly attired. Besides, some of our board friends were avid Trek fans as well.

Monica took the day off from filming us and took off for some shopping. Alex handled the cameras (which can be a good or bad thing depending on which way his sense of humor swings that day.) Monica has really gotten us spoiled over the past few years. She always has a great sense of when to switch from video to stills and had even been known to shoot both sometimes with one camera in each hand.

We got to the convention earlier than the previous days since this was suppose to be a shorter day in general. We immediately ran into Will, Chaz, Troy (who was suited up today as Batman) and RoyBatty. Many people had already left to head back home including Billy since they had a long drive ahead of them. I looked behind the guys and spotted the huge Superman cake from Friday night. It still had plenty left! So of course, we dug in. Kent and Ivan came by and took some pictures with us. Ivan was in his bat-suit as well and so was Mauled. So there were plenty of Batmen representing today.

Some familiar faces

Troy sporting his amazing suit

We went over to the autograph area to try and get some pictures with the respective Trek celebrities. Julie was already gone to attend a friend’s birthday party back home and Adam was just leaving with Fred to catch their plane. Malachi was glad to see us and commented that my hairpiece made me even more authentic to William Shatner or as he referred to him, “Billy.” He also noted that the angled side burns I had like the early series were very difficult for him to do when had them. We got our photo taken with him and then were asked by Peter’s wife, Dawn if we would please escort Malachi over to the panel that he was scheduled to do with Yvonne and Lee. We eagerly agreed. As we walked beside Malachi, he decided to take each one of our arms as if we were trotting down the yellow brick road. I decided to take my phaser out and make it look like we were escorting a know felon. It was a fun romp as Malachi started singing along the way. I was glad he was having a good time.

Malachi still hasn’t gotten the Vulcan greeting down

KGB is doing alright in his Battlestar Galactica uniform

Another impressive Star Wars costume

The Yvonne, Malachi and Lee panel was fun and entertaining as each of them had fun stories to tell and each were such fun personalities to boot. They covered topics from Batman, Elvis, Star Trek, Irwin Allen and more. The sound in the room from the pa was not very good at all as it was difficult to hear them over the constant hum coming from the electrical panels nearby. The panel also had a hard time hearing questions from the audience but they all pressed on to our delight.

“It’s an advanced for of communication…okay, it’s a cell phone”

After their panel finished up, we did another shameless plug for Radio Scooter’s Pimp My Batmobile. At that point Chuck and Nick came by to say their goodbyes before hitting the road. Meeting Chuck finally was one of the biggest highlights of the weekend because it really felt like seeing a long lost brother for the first time.

Once again in the autograph area, we met up with Rubén who was still busy doing drawings promoting the busts. He asked me if I could participate in the upcoming panel with him for the busts so that he didn’t have to go at it alone. No problem I told him.

With our pal, Roger Ramjet

Since we had some time before we had to be at the panel, Vickie and I got some photos taken with Yvonne and Lee. They liked the tribble that Vickie was carrying around as a prop as well as a purse. Yvonne got a good laugh from my hairpiece since she had the fun story how she didn’t even know that Shatner had worn one at first.

Alex and Noel

The time came to do the panel for the busts. Rubén led the way carrying the display case containing the sculpts. I felt a little self conscious wearing my Kirk outfit when I was to do a presentation as myself but I figured I’d just let my fanboy fly. There was no real reason to worry since the turn out was very modest and I pretty much knew everybody there. I really don’t think Rubén needed me there since he told wonderful stories, gave really articulate explanations and handled himself very well. Go figure, he’s done a bunch of these already. Still, it was fun to do and if this was to be my first I couldn’t have asked for a nicer and more considerate audience.

With another space traveler

I don’t know… if I TRUST this guy…OR his….empire he speaks of

He kept spouting off something about DANGER

After our panel finished, Mauled and I had some fun posing for some pictures with the Bat-shield and phaser. I wish I knew who took the pictures because I ended up with just one from the batch. It was around this time too that Alex had to say his goodbyes since he was going to get Monica and they were driving off as well.

All things considered, I’d rather have the phaser back

The show was slowly winding down but Yvonne, Lee and Malachi were there till the end. I managed to get a nice picture of Noel, Lee and Yvonne while we were at it. They are truly super ladies.

Nuff said

I made a few rounds to say goodbye to some of my friends like Steve Stanley and Radio Scooter that were cooped up at their booths and did some last minute shopping as well. There was an auction going on nearby and although I didn’t attend it, Ivan managed to pick up a fantastic watercolor that I had seen earlier and greatly admired.

Ivan and his latest collectable

Peter came up to Vickie and I and invited us for a little get together dinner that he and Dawn were throwing for some of the guest later. I said we would be honored and would ready later for sure. I also told Peter that this show had exceeded all of my expectations and was quite clearly the best Bat-event I had ever attended. He and his staff took such great care into putting a show together that felt tailor made to so many interests and had the personal touch. He seemed quite moved by this but it was well deserved.

The show was literally folding up at this point and we went to help Rubén pack up his stuff and see about catching one of the shuttles back to the hotel since we lost our ride with Alex. But before we left for good, we made a stop by the nearby mall to check out some of Rubén’s work that was suppose to be on display in a gallery there along with other contributing artists from the show. We got over to the mall and although the exhibit was now closed, we did manage to see some of Rubén’s work through the glass windows. Funny thing too was that since Vickie and I were no longer at the convention, we really stood out at the mall in our Star Trek attire and turned more than a few heads.

Malachi looking festive

Back at the hotel, Rubén finally got a chance to sit and pose with the Batcopter that was parked there for the evening. Being so busy at the show, he missed his chance for a ride in it but Eugene let him take his time and take all the pictures he wanted. Eugene definitely went in my book as one of the good guys.

Ruben in the Batcopter

Before we headed out to the lobby to meet with everybody who was going to the dinner, I got a call from Chaz wondering what we had planned for that evening. Ivan, Troy and he were staying the night like we were as opposed to those who already hit the road and caught their planes. I told him that we had a prior engagement with Peter and some of the guests but definitely wanted to see the three of them later after we got back if that was okay. He said that sounded like a plan and that we should call the moment we got back. Vickie figured we could talk to them at least as we packed because we still had that chore to look forward to when we got back from dinner as well.

The dinner party ended up being many of Peter’s guests including, Yvonne, Meridel, Lee, Rubén, Dennis Steins, Jim Hedges, Malachi and others I did not know. A couple of shuttle buses pulled up to take us to our destination. Since Yvonne was still in a cast she and Meridel were going to be taken there by car. Vickie and I piled into the shuttle along with Jim, Dennis, their respective spouses, Lee, Malachi and still a couple others I did not know.

We had no idea where we were going to but the drive ended taking about an hour. The nice part about it is that we drove through some more residential areas that had Halloween decorations out. It was very refreshing for me to see houses and neighborhoods that varied and didn’t look like they were sprung out of a track home development. I love older neighborhoods with growth around them and land between them. That’s more of a rarity in my neck of the woods.

We finally pulled up to a restaurant that seemed to be a cross between an Italian place and a sports bar. Everybody arrived just fine and we all settled into our seats, booths and adjoining tables. We sat at a set of tables with Rubén, Yvonne, Meridel, Jim, Dennis and their group. We all exchanged chatter, stories, laughs and fun banter while we ordered food, waited for food, ate food and then some. We were a pleasantly noisy bunch. When we first got there, Peter was absent and Dawn said that he was still taking care of convention stuff. I was glad to see him when he finally came in to join us. I told him he needed at least take a moment to relax and enjoy himself. He said he was having a great time already. I looked over to Rubén at the edge of the table and saw that he was still drawing away while the group talked. He would chime in no problem but still drew on his pad. As it turned out he was making giveaway presents to the guests there and even made a wonderful picture of Batman for me.

After the dinner we piled back into the shuttle and this time Lee came in saying in a comical old lady voice, “I’m going to sit in the back where we can neck.” On the way home, Jim engaged her in a great conversation where Lee talked about how she accidently discovered that she was nominated for the Miss America pageant and had no prior intention to enter it. She went on to tell us how she never knew who nominated her until nearly twenty years later. It was fascinating to hear because this was the one event that really changed her life and set her on her path to the present day. Wow.

We got to our hotel room pretty late but I called Chaz on the cell phone anyway. They were still up as it turned out and would head over to our room soon. Vickie and I packed all of costume gear, wigs, Star Trek arsenal and Bat-paraphernalia while we talked to Chaz, Ivan and Troy. Everybody tried to recap the vents of the weekend and kept going on how great this show turned out. The conversation went on for hours until Ivan was passing out, Vickie was passed out and I was looking forward to about two hours of sleep before Vickie and I had to catch our morning shuttle to the airport. But as Vickie said, she hated to say goodbye to her old friends and now newfound ones. They really are like family to us and it’s a shame we live so far apart. But the joy that we all share when we do get together and have these remarkable memories to experience together and through one another is really the best part of these conventions.

And for the first time…I slept on the plane back home.

To everybody who was a part of our Ohio experience… THANK YOU!