A Diary
The 22nd Annual Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention
October 23-25, 1997

Posted Sat, Oct 25, 1997 at 23:44:11

As usual, Saturday was the big day; after dinner, awards, recreations, and even some gaffes!

Bob Mott received an award for his sound effects work. During The Cisco Kid recreation, Bob's gun misfired twice - John Rayburn raced to the mike and blasted a shot into it...right about the time the third time was a charm for Bob, and the gun fired. During the ensuing pandemonium, Bob picked up his award and offered it back to Jay, which brought the house down!

(When things quieted down, John had the next line: "That was a surprise..." The house again erupted into laughter...)

This is the last diary entry for the convention, which is now history. Tomorrow, it's back to the grind, handling the stacks of email and other work. But for a few too-short days, I spent just a little while in the simpler time of the past. And for their kindness, and willingness to give so freely of their time and talents, all of the stars have my eternal gratitude.

And to those who are no longer with us, like Arthur Tracy and Terry Ross...we remember you.

Posted Sat, Oct 25, 1997 at 13:15:27

Ok, so Henry made me get up early - sure was worth it, though. The performance of The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, "In the Hour of the Wolf," was frightening and humorous...well written, and performed with unbridled glee. Good stuff!

Today is the day I avoid the dealer's rooms like the plague. Many people come in for just today, so the rooms are generally packed. (The dealers love it, but what I don't have by now I'll pick up by mail later.)

There's lots of OTR talk all over the hotel today, with the stars and guests making themselves available to us. The only bad thing is, the convention is almost over.

Posted Sat, Oct 25, 1997 at 00:08:56

Great performances tonight (you had to see Barney Beck to believe it), wonderful dining company (Arthur Anderson and his wife Alice, as well as Miriam Wolfe), and I even imposed on Leonard Maltin to enscribe his book (The Great American Broadcast - buy it...trust me).

We even got to hear John Rayburn through out some of his Spoonerisms!

Oh, an update; apparently everyone attending the convention is actually staying at this hotel this evening.

Gotta get to bed; The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company performance comes awfully early...

Posted Fri, Oct 24, 1997 at 17:34:04

What a cool day!

Been chatting with many of the stars about their memories of old radio, grabbing a few autographs, and generally having a blast. The people here are terribly nice, and quite tolerant of a star-struck tongue-tied OTR groupie.

I've also received a few nice comments on the web site from people who've visited. (Yup, that makes me feel pretty good, too!)

Finally tracked down Henry Howard with the Atlanta Radio Theater Company; this is the guy that's going to force me to get up early tomorrow morning. Their performance is at 9:00am, and I really don't want to miss it.

Next stop...cocktails and dinner!

Posted Fri, Oct 24, 1997 at 10:25:33

Got the chance to stop by the Thursday IRC chat last night, just for a moment, to let the folks know what they were missing by not being here. (Lois, I'm holding you to your promise to let me buy you a drink next year...)

Boy, the buzz this morning is still the hotel's complete screwup of the convention reservations. I've passed at least four conversations on the subject just this morning.

Also had the chance to talk to some great people; Arthur Anderson, Jeanette Nolan (who guested in my favorite I Spy), Rex Koury...man, I love this convention!

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 1997 at 23:38:47

Don't faint, folks, but I actually bought myself some tapes today; picked up some reels I had already ordered from truck, and some other stuff on cassette. Life is good.

Oh, brother. Apparently a lot of people didn't have rooms this evening, and were sent to the HoJos (which also owns Holiday Inn). But there is something else truly weird going on here as well; the head of the food services company made it clear in an empassioned speech that they were not responsible for the confusion, and were really ticked off about the whole thing. (We were also given a wine service as a good-will gesture.)

Bottom line, I think, is that the new management of the hotel has managed to screw things up before this, and there's a lot of anger on at least the food service company's side.

One heckuva program tonight; two new scripts, one the winner of last year's script-writing contest, and one a continuation of the Barbor family. Too cool.

Had dinner with truck this evening, talked about old-radio with lots of folks, and just generally had a great time. And it's only the first day!

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 1997 at 16:47:46

The Con is officially underway!

Wandered around the dealers rooms for a bit; they've got some great stuff here, at reasonable prices. Rumors are flying about relations between the hotel management and the Convention committee (which I will not repeat here), but mostly folks are talking, listening to, and breathing Old-Time Radio. (You really need to come to this convention!)

(Apparently the new management of the hotel has managed to screw up a number of reservations; people are being sent to Howard Johnsons and other hotels in the area.)

Had a brief conversation with truck (Ed Carr) this afternoon.

Got a few pics before the "Kiss From a Little Old Lady" rehersal; I cheated and used flash. (Flash pictures are not permitted during the programs, of course.)

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 1997 at 08:08:08

I should have posted this last night, but the truth is after only getting 3-hours sleep Tuesday night, driving up here, enjoying wine and conversation with the folks here, and a good meal next door, I...uh...fell asleep.

(A special personal thanks to Richard Fish of Loadstone Productions, who made the PA and NJ Turnpike miles just whiz by; I forgot to bring your email address with me, but bet'cha you'll be getting my thanks by mail when I get back...)

A little about the hotel. Apparently it is under new management, and has been completely renovated (well, ok, the lobby has been, anyway). Now don't misunderstand me, the place really needed work, but they have this truly ugly greco-roman thing going, complete with faux pillars and urns.

I've never liked this hotel all that much anyway (the service has always been second-rate), but this is really...um...tasteless.

Spent an enjoyable time at the reception last evening, catching up with old friends, saying hello to a few of the stars who made it here early, and sipping a bit of medicinal red wine (my doctor tells me it's good for my heart). On Paul's advice, Annie and I went over to the Sheradon next door (not the prison side, the other direction) and had an excellent meal at one of the three restaurants there. If you ever come to this hotel, consider making the short walk for some good food.

There's nothing left now but to wait until registration opens this morning. And yep, like a kid in a candy store, I can't wait!