I had such a wonderful time last weekend in Chicago at the Hollywood Show. It's always such a boost to speak with people just as excited about Christmas entertainment as I am. I was even thrilled to meet a few people who had already read one of my books--and came to purchase another one! I still feel a little flash-blind from all the photo taking. Thanks to everyone who came to meet me.
|Erin Murphy played Tabitha on TV's Bewitched.|
The Hollywood Show doesn't isolate the big celebrities away from the other vendors present at the show. So this means little ol' me was sitting next to child actress Erin Murphy--who played Tabitha on Bewitched--all weekend. What a nice person she is! Next to her was actress Jeannie Russell and actor Jay North--who played Margaret and Dennis respectively--from TV's Dennis the Menace. It was so wonderful watching people seek the autographs of their favorite childhood TV stars all weekend long.
|Though he was very busy, I was able to speak with Jay North briefly and share with him how much I enjoy the Christmas episodes of Dennis the Menace and his singing "Silent Night" in each of them. He was so kind and gracious to me.|
On the other side of Jay North was Mackenzie Phillips (from American Graffiti and TV's One Day at a Time) and Scott Schwartz who played Flick in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story. I know, right? It was awesome being surrounded by these stars--all of whom were friendly, outgoing and very busy greeting their fans all weekend.
|Scott Schwartz was friendly and very approachable--he's a people person!|
Across from Schwartz's booth was Kristy McNichol and Jimmy McNichol. I got a little giddy when Jimmy McNichol smiled, winked, and shook my hand on one of the times I passed by him! I have to admit I began looking for reasons to walk by him again and again all weekend long.
|Ron Moody--who appeared in the very first and last Bing Crosby Christmas TV specials!|
As you know from my previous blog post, I was looking forward to meeting actor Ron Moody. He was a part of a mini-reunion for the cast of the musical Oliver! that attended the Hollywood Show that included Moody--who played Fagin, Mark Lester--who played Oliver Twist, and Shani Wallis--who played Nancy. Coincidentally, Ron Moody was seated right across from my booth! But it took two days for me to find an opening between his many fans for me to be able to speak with him. He joked with me about how people pointed out on the set of the Bing Crosby Christmas specials how much he resembled Bing--and how Bing tried to teach him his signature singing style ("buh--buh--buh--buh"). What a special moment that was for me.
|Tina Cole holding my DVD copy of the King Family Christmas Retrospective--have you seen it on PBS?|
Another highlight for me was the mini-cast reunion of TV's My Three Sons with Tina Cole--who played Katie, Stanley Livingston--who played Chip, and Barry Livingston--who played Ernie Douglas. I just read Barry Livingston's new book The Importance of Being Ernie: From My Three Sons to Mad Men, A Hollywood Survivor Tells All this past winter, so I was beside myself to share with him how much I enjoyed reading it. However, Tina Cole was so generous with her time--she organized a meet & greet on Saturday night for her fans! I slipped into this group and sat rapt for hours as Tina shared stories about My Three Sons and life on the road with the King Family. I just posted about the 1967 King Family Christmas TV special. Tina made us all laugh and cry with her amazing stories. How wonderful it was to get to spend time with her. This was certainly the best part of my weekend!
|While in Chicago, I sought out the TV Land statue of Dr. Bob Hartley, played by Bob Newhart--honoring his TV show The Bob Newhart Show. "Tell me Doctor, why do I love watching TV so much?"|
Other celebrities at the show included Barbara Eden and Bill Daily from I Dream of Jeannie, and Tippi Hedron--who was busy signing Hitchcock's Birds memorabilia for her many fans. They were seated in a long hallway to accommodate the long lines of fans gathered to meet them. It was too difficult for me to leave my own booth to meet them--and I didn't want to interrupt their time with fans who waited in line--so I didn't get my photo taken with any of them. There were so many celebrities--it's difficult to name them all! But Greg Evigan--who was on TV's BJ and the Bear and My Two Dads, smiled at me and made my knees weak! And, Johnny Crawford from the TV western The Rifleman dropped by my booth and we briefly discussed how The Rifleman never created a Christmas episode. Next week, I'll get to see Johnny Crawford again--as we are both attending the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention just outside of Baltimore, on Sept. 19th-21st. Will I see you there?