Missed another day at the ol’ blog — sorry about that. Still playing catch-up after ACE.
If you’ve been reading Rattle and Blast for awhile, you probably remember The Terrifying Tale of the Pants-Spider. Well, last night I suffered another incident of bug-in-trousers after drying my clothes on the line. I was due in Albuquerque for the Western Fictioneers signing (as an audience member, not a participant), so I showered and leapt into my clean jeans. I drove to Sarah’s house, and soon after arriving, felt something crawling around in my pants with me. The ensuing antics did a fair job of convincing Sarah I’d lost my mind, but pretty soon I shook a bug out of my pants and onto the floor. Fortunately, it was only a moth and was quickly eaten by one of Sarah’s cats. Still, frightening.
I did a bit more work on the Grotto today — finally got the entire courtyard seeded with various plants, so keep your fingers crossed that they’ll actually sprout. No sign of any growth from the ancient seed packets Scott Denning found in the barn, by the way.
My post-ACE post (!) the other day — specifically the stuff about meeting Stan Lee — got me to thinking about the various influential figures in my life and the times I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of them. I mentioned having met Forry Ackerman (editor of Famous Monsters magazine), thanks to my pals Patricia Rogers and Scott Denning, and I was so wigged out by meeting someone who had been such a massive figure in my life, I couldn’t even speak.
Other major influences I’ve been lucky enough to meet include Jack Kirby — he was standing around outside the convention center the first time I went to Comic-Con in San Diego, and me and my buddy Howie approached him to say hi. I got to shake his hand, and he even called me “pal,” which was a totally Kirby thing to do. I wish I had a photo of that meeting, but sadly, Howie and I were both too stupid (and starstruck) to remember to use our cameras.
I mentioned having dinner with Len Wein during ACE — oddly enough, I’ve also had dinner with Berni Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing with Len. The moment I realized I was sitting around talking to Berni freakin’ Wrightson about Bigfoot was pretty profound, I have to say.
The first convention I ever attended — the Ivan Cook con in Albuquerque in (I believe) 1978 — I met George Takei and DC Fontana, and I doubt I have to tell you how overwhelming that was for a big-league Trek nerd like myself. I’ve never met Shatner or Nimoy, though, and I’d sure like to. However, I did meet Bobby Clark, the man in the Gorn costume in Arena, the very first Star Trek episode I ever saw.
Another big influence is Ray Harryhausen, and I was able to meet him at Comic-Con a few years back. After getting his signature on a photo of the Cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, I stood back and watched his hands as he signed pictures for other folks — just thinking about the various creatures those hands had brought to life throughout the years.
At a Cinema Wasteland convention back in Ohio, I met Kyra Schon, the little girl zombie in the original Night of the Living Dead, a movie that had a huge effect on me as a kid. I asked her what it’s like to be a horror icon and she said “Are you kidding? I teach kindergarten, I get treated like crap.” She was very nice and not terrifying in the least.
And of course, I not only got to meet another titan of horror, but even directed him in Gimme Skelter, a low-budget movie I made — Mr. Gunnar Hansen, “Leatherface” in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Gunnar is a great guy, a heck of a good sport, and turned in a terrific performance in Skelter. I can tell ya, when I saw the trailer for Chainsaw at the drive-in when I was a little kid, I sure as hell never thought I’d be hanging around with the guy wearing somebody else’s face, let alone making a movie with him.
Obviously, there have been lots and lots of people who have influenced me, not all of them celebrities whose work I grew up on — plenty of folks I’m lucky enough to be friends with have influenced my life and still do, but there’s always something wild about meeting someone who had such a big effect on you as a kid. Now if I could just meet KISS…