Link to the 2004 Twilight Zone Convention blog
The unofficial Twilight Zone convention was held at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in Hollywood on August 24-25, 2002. We planned our vacation around this, since there were many stars there that we wanted to meet and talk with. We stayed with our dear friend Frank Merwald, a film and television producer, who also gave us his five star tour of Los Angeles.
We left Omaha at 6:30am on Friday August 23, after getting virtually no sleep the night before, thanks to a loud thunderstorm, and a dog who is terrified of thunder. We flew into LA and the minute we arrived at Frank's house we were off again to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the 75th Anniversary memorial service for Rudolph Valentino's death. We got to the cemetery just as the service was concluding, but we did get to see all the people and took pictures of his crypt and the memorial. I also made sure that I took pics of some of my favorite actors out in the cemetery itself, too.
Valentino's niche at Hollywood Forever
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr.'s Monument at Hollywood Forever
I also took pics of Rick Jason's ashes in his niche, because my husband is the world's biggest Combat! fan, and I grew to love Rick myself. He was a star from the old studio system who adapted himself to the different world of television, and he definitely played the star to the hilt while being completely accessible to his fans. He had his faults like everyone else, but he was fun to talk to and denied nothing to his fans.
After the cemetery, Frank took us on his well-honed tour of LA. We stopped by the studio where he worked and he showed us the editing bays, and we went to the Cinerama Dome, where we would have loved to see a film in the theatre but didn't have the time. We stopped by Grauman's Chinese Theatre and took the obligatory pictures of footprints of the stars.
We went to dinner at The Formosa, which has been in many films, most notably "LA Confidential." The period atmosphere was thick inside, with the red vinyl seats in the bar, but the food was good. By that time we were exhausted, and because we had to get up and make it to the con the next day, we went back to Frank's house and collapsed.
On Saturday we got up early and went off to the Twilight Zone convention. **There will be another Twilight Zone Convention on August 21/22, 2004, in LA, and we're hoping for some New Twilight Zone attendees! Click the Convention link to see the details!**
Before you read all the names of the stars we got the chance to meet, take a look at their pictures which have been enshrined in a place of honor on our TZ autograph wall (sadly, we've since moved and the TZ wall has been retired to a binder, far less accessible now). Here are all the autographs we were lucky enough to get during both days (except for the marvelously funny dedication and autograph that Alan Brennert wrote on the new Twilight Zone laserdisc cover for me). Notice our H. M. Wynant section; he's practically a wall of his own.
At the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn we stood in line for about 30 minutes; we got the chance to watch Barry Morse eating breakfast on the restaurant piazza. We also watched the stars walk into the meeting room; Cliff Robertson, Beverly Garland, Joanne Linville. They let us in at 10am, and we went straight to Cliff Robertson first, since he was only there on Saturday.
We had to wait in line for about 15 minutes, but it wasn't bad. Mr. Robertson was just wonderful; we'd taken a screenshot from "PT-109," "Spiderman," and his Outer Limits episode, "The Galaxy Being," for him to sign. He was amazed at the pictures, and commented on each one. I had him sign my shot of him and Jacqueline Scott from "The Galaxy Being." He commented on it, and on the shot of him as Uncle Ben from "Spiderman," which we got for our son. I was so nervous talking to him, because he was the first person we went to and he's a big star, I could barely hold the photo but he was so nice. I told him that my husband was his biggest fan, and he chuckled warmly at that. He talked with us as if we were friends he hadn't seen in awhile, and we enjoyed it. He mentioned that his secretary, Evelyn, who was sitting with him helping, had been with him since the very first days of his career. He said that next time she was going to sign autographs.
Martin Milner was next, who was also there only on Saturday. We'd taken a screenshot of him from his role in the William Castle classic "Thirteen Ghosts," and he just about died laughing when he saw it, and told Steve he needed a class upgrade if that was his favorite film.
We went over to Tom Lowell next, so my husband could get his two dozen Indian Hills t-shirts signed. We'd had to haul these things all over, so he wanted to get them signed and back into the trunk of the car. I had to tell Tom that I'd had a crush on him when I was 10, after watching "The Gnomemobile," and also that I loved his small part in "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation." He laughed about the crush, and mentioned that "Mr. Hobbs" was his first film role.
Tom Lowell signing the Indian Hills T-shirts
I left my husband getting the shirts signed and went to see Suzanne Lloyd, for whom I had a screenshot from the Diana Rigg "Avengers" episode "The Murder Market" to sign. When I showed her the picture, she screamed out loud and wanted to know where I'd gotten it. She loved it, and showed it to Asa Maynor, who was sitting next to her. She said that working with Patrick Macnee had been wonderful, and that he was a perfect gentleman. We had a nice talk, and she remembered me later on, simply because I'd personalized the visit for her.
We spent about an hour with William Windom over the two days, and had a private conversation with him during his break on Sunday for almost half an hour. I was in heaven, believe me. I think I embarrassed him with all my adulation, because I told him he was the sole reason I had made the trip, which was the truth. If he hadn't been there I don't know if we would have gone. But he was funny and attentive, and told us many funny stories. Steve asked him about the Combat! episode he was in, "Off Limits," and he related a funny anecdote about Robert Altman directing the episode.
Steve and William Windom
Read Morgan and William Windom; Mickey Rooney is just out of sight to the left, and Amzie Strickland is out of sight to the right
I took screenshots of Windom's appearance on Night Gallery's "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" and "Little Girl Lost" for him to sign, and he was astounded with the shot from "Tim Riley." He couldn't say enough how much he liked it and asked if I had another copy I could give him, but I had only brought the one. I took down his address so I could send him some copies, which I've done.
Peter Mark Richman is another of those actors that have been in everything for 40 years, and I'd taken a screenshot of his Outer Limits episode "The Probe," and one of his Combat! episodes, "The Hostages." He loved the Combat! shot and his wife and he talked about his appearances on the show. She said he sang a German song in one of them. He had also been in a "Search" episode (a 1972 Leslie Stevens series starring Hugh O'Brian, Tony Franciosa and Doug McClure as high-tech agents, that only lasted 23 episodes; 5 of the stars there, Richman, Anne Francis, Garry Walberg, Antoinette Bower and George Murdock (who couldn't make the convention, unfortunately), had guest shots on the show) and I had tapes for all of them of their respective shows, at the behest of the "Search" discussion group on Yahoo. He was a lovely man, very nice to talk to and responsive to fans and the most internet savvy of the Search group; we must have spent at least 30 minutes over the two days talking to him, because he remembered everything he'd done.
While I was explaining to him what was on the tape he sat there looking at the info on the tape label. After I'd finished, he sat there for a few moments more, then looked at his wife. She said she didn't remember the show, and after a few more minutes (during which he closed his eyes and I could tell he was searching his memory), he said it had something to do with gangsters and he had played a gangster. I said he was correct, and he said he didn't remember anything more. Then he looked at me and said, "This tape is for me?" I said yes, and he said "Why?" That took me aback and I had to find the right words. I told him the Search discussion list wanted him to have it, because the series is so hard to find and they knew he'd like to see his work, and if he had anything he'd like to share with the group about his experience on the show they'd love to hear it. And that he could go out to the "Search" website to see scans from all the shows and see how it and his work on the show are still appreciated by its fans. It took another few minutes to convince him that the tape was for him, and there were no strings attached to it. He wouldn't take any money for one of the autographs he did for us, because I gave him the tape. I tried to pay for it and he wouldn't take the money. A wonderful person and a nice man; he has since contacted the Search group, for which the Search fans are extremely grateful.
Anne Francis was gracious and kind. I had a TZ shot for her to sign, and asked her about her appearance in "Search." She didn't remember "Search" at all. I went through the actor's on the show and the premise, but she couldn't remember anything about it. My husband mentioned that he's had a huge crush on her when "Honey West" was on (I imagine half of the men in America who are between 45 and 60 could say the same!), and asked if he could give her a hug. She said sure, and he leaned over the table. She had expected him to come around the back and went "Whooaa!!" He apologized, and went around the back of the table, and she said the last person to do that had been Robert Blake, who leapt over a table at her. So now I'm teasing my husband that he lunged at Anne Francis.
Garry Walberg, who was hard of hearing, was our next stop; it was also noisy in the room, and that didn't help. Trying to explain what "Search" was about was an exercise in frustration for both of us, because I don't think he ever understood what it was, despite the label. He also couldn't understand why I was giving him the tape, and I had to go through the same words with him. He was nice, though, for what he could hear of what I was telling him, and along with the autograph I purchased of his TZ episode he gave me an extra little card, autographed by himself, from a guest shot he did on "Gunsmoke," a post card that they used to send out in the old days of TV (1962!) when an actor was going to do a guest shot.
Antoinette Bower was also very gracious, and she also was surprised I had a tape for her and didn't remember "Search" at all. She did remember working on Combat!, she said, because of all the bombs and explosions that went off around her! She also remembered the name of her episode, "Battle of the Roses," and smiled when she saw our screenshot of her and Vic Morrow from that episode.
I also took a screenshot of Jonathan Harris from the Night Gallery episode "Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay," making sure I had James Farentino in the shot wearing a green carnation. Harris remembered the episode and what it was about, and he remembered Farentino. In fact, he remembered everything I asked him; I was surprised, because he's been in so many things, but he's on the ball. Steve bought a shot of him and the robot from "Lost in Space," and mentioned that he'd loved the show so much when it was on he'd called the local station to see how he could act on it; he'd been about 9 at the time. Harris said, with a droll look, "You would have had to be a friend of Irwin Allen to get on that show."
I forgot to take a screenshot of Mickey Rooney from Night Gallery's "Rare Objects," and I was mad at myself for forgetting, but Steve did get his autograph on a Combat! shot and the laserdisc insert from "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Rooney's son was there with him, and his wife, and though Mickey didn't say anything to us he smiled at us. His son and Mickey's wife both commented on the Combat! shot.
Lloyd Bochner, in particular, was a sweet and warm man. We had a shot from Combat! for him to sign, and he loved it; he talked a bit about Rick Jason. I mentioned that I'd meant to bring a shot from "The Night Walker," and he smiled and said he hadn't watched the film in years. He said that he didn't know if he was staying at the con the entire day on Saturday because his wife was in the hospital, and when I told him I was sorry about that and that I hoped she would feel better soon, he thanked me so sincerely and had tears in his eyes. I had never thought of him like that, because he always played such sneaky and haughty characters. I will always remember him in that way, and think so much more highly of him now.
Antoinette Bower, Frank Aletter and Lloyd Bochner
Robert Sorrells, who played the robot in "Mighty Casey," practically went ape over the shot I'd made from his Outer Limits appearance in "I, Robot." He was so gratified that someone had remembered he'd done other things in his career he thanked us for bringing it, and asked if I could get a copy to him, which I promised to do and have done. Jason Wingreen also loved the shot from his Outer Limits appearance on "OBIT," and commented that Jeff Corey, who starred with him in that episode, had just died last week and that they had been good friends. I told him how much I loved Corey and that we had talked about his death on the Night Gallery board the week he died.
Steve, Robert Sorrels and Me
William Schallert was extremely funny, and made one of his classic faces for us, which we got on tape. I had a Combat! screenshot for him to sign, and he mentioned that he'd wanted to die in a certain way on that episode, with his eyes open, but that's about all he remembered. Steve told him he'd always loved his role of the Admiral on "Get Smart," and he said that he did, too. He said that he always thought people talked like the Admiral when they got old, and now that he's old he's surprised to find that he doesn't talk like that at all. He sounds just like he did back in the 60's. We also bought a beautiful color shot of him and Kevin McCarthy from the TZ movie.
Kevin McCarthy almost stole the screenshot I had for him to sign from "UHF" because he loved it so much, and the only way I could get it back was to promise to send him that picture and more via email; he was absolutely hysterical and I couldn't stop laughing. He heard my name and started singing a song to me called "Marta and the Wild Rose," which convulsed us even more. He said it was a real song and he remembered it from his youth. We'd taken our camcorder and got wonderful footage of him overacting, and singing to me; he's a real character. I've since sent him a ton of screenshots from "UHF" and he's very happy about it. We also had him sign the pic we'd bought from William Schallert of the TZ movie.
We'd taken a shot from "Specimen: Unknown" for Russell Johnson to sign (I was focusing on the Outer Limits or Night Gallery connection for everyone there, rather than TZ, if they had one) and he was also gratified to see something other than Gilligan's Island in front of him. He was interested in the shot and talked a bit about it.
Arlene Martel was very reserved, but even she smiled and said that there were many stories she could tell about her work on "Demon with a Glass Hand," when she saw the screenshot of her and Robert Culp, and that glass hand. She didn't tell, but she was nice just the same.
James Best also remembered working on the Combat! episode when we showed him the screenshot, and said there were chickens in it somewhere. My husband said there were, and they talked a bit about the series.
Michael Forest doubled over with laughter when I handed him a shot of him screaming from the Outer Limits episode, "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork," just as the energy being was about to kill him. He loved it, and showed it to Antoinette Bower and James Best, saying that he might have been overdoing it in that scene, and in Hollywood that was called "chewing the scenery." But he was marvelous, and told Steve some rare stories about working on Combat! with Vic Morrow, whom he'd been good friends with, which we got on tape.
Barry Morse was a delight; he exclaimed over the shot of he and Carroll O'Connor from "Controlled Experiment," and said that it was supposed to be a pilot for a series, where he and O'Connor would go all over the galaxy with their spying machine, but it wasn't picked up because "My Favorite Martian" debuted that year, which knocked out their pilot. Steve said that his mother was at home, waiting to watch the tape of the convention and that she'd enjoyed him on "The Fugitive." He told Steve to focus the camera on him, and he sent a special message to Steve's mother, saying that he's not half as nasty as Lt. Gerard. It was funny, and he was also another who remembered everything he'd ever done in his career and could talk about it at length. He said the con had flown him over from London, and he was pleased to be there. And you could tell he was; he was having as much fun as the guests.
Then, I had Jacqueline Scott sign the photo of Cliff Robertson and herself from Outer Limits "The Galaxy Being," and she mentioned that she enjoyed working on the episode. Frank Aletter talked with me for about 10 minutes about the MASH shot I had for him of his appearance on a second season episode. He said he's been trying to get a copy of that episode for years, but never can catch it. I told him that they had just come out on DVD in the past few weeks, and he was glad to hear it. Then we talked about residuals and all sorts of other things, including "It's About Time," the short series he did with Imogene Coca in the late 60's, which he laughed about. He was an interesting man.
Philip Pine, who played a gangster or tough guy in just about every show ever made in the 50's to the 70's, was sitting right next to H. M. Wynant, who was also in every show during that time. We had a screenshot of Pine in a Combat! episode, and he asked us how we found one of him smiling, since he played such bad or downer characters he never got to smile. He loved the shot, and we also sent him several copies of it after we got home, as well as a copy of the episode itself. I also asked him to sign the screenshot of his Outer Limits episode, "100 Days of the Dragon," one of his few good guy roles, which shows him and the double agent who'd been made to look like him.
I was talking to H. M. Wynant, and I said if he'd been in a Combat! we would have had a pic for him to sign, and he said he'd been in one. Well, we were embarrassed and apologized profusely, because we hadn't done any in-depth checking and relied on the IMDB for our Combat! info and neither of his episodes are on there; I've since added them. If I'd looked into the Combat! book, I would have seen his name. So, I got his address so I could send him a screenshot to sign, and also bought a photo of him in his TZ episode, made out to me. I sent him 2 screenshots to sign after we got home and a copy of his two Combat! episodes, and just today I received the signed photos back, as well as several other photos and a personally signed TZ card from him. A very lovely and generous man who I will always remember.
Shelley Berman is still as funny as ever. I had been waiting for Beverly Garland to get back and stay in her chair, but she kept leaving again. She sat on the other side of Mr. Berman. When I saw her in her seat again I got my photo of her (we were with H. M. Wynant at the time, who was on the other side of Shelley) and went past Shelley. He said, "Wait a minute, what about me?" and started lamenting that I'd forgotten about him. I was laughing and told him that I had to get Ms. Garland's signature before she got away again. I went right back to him and got a signed photo from his TZ episode. There was an indie filmmaker there filming people as they talked to Mr. Berman, for a documentary he's doing on his career.
Warren Stevens has also been in everything, and we had a shot of him in his Combat! episode, "The Gun," to sign. He liked the shot, and told us some interesting stories of working with veteran stuntman and photographer Earl Parker, who had taken the behind the scenes shot. We also bought a photo of his from "Forbidden Planet," and I had him autograph to me a screenshot from his Outer Limits episode, "Keeper of the Purple Twilight." I had a complete stranger stop and ask if I had any more of that shot, which shows him with the Keeper, because they wanted to buy it.
Beverly Garland liked the screenshot of her from her TZ episode, and we talked briefly about Ross Martin, who was in that episode with her. I also bought a signed colorized photo of her and the cucumber monster from "It Conquered the World." It's a real classic. :-)
Alan Sues was hilarious, and told us a few stories from a guest shot he did on "Wild, Wild, West." His agent, Fred Westbrook, mentioned that Alan had just lost 10 pounds, and he did look great.
Frank Gorshin showed up, even though he was never in a TZ, and had his photos out. Steve was upset because if he'd even guessed Gorshin would be there he would have brought a screenshot of him from one of his Combat! appearances, but we bought a great shot of him from Batman as the Riddler. He talked about his Combat! appearances, remembered the episode about the tank he was in, and also talked with Steve about Rick Jason.
Julie Newmar was also there, and we watched her for about 10 minutes while she signed a conversation with a couple who were deaf. We bought a print of her in her Catwoman outfit.
Marsha Hunt, an actress from the days of the studio system at MGM, was there, and I had taken a screenshot of her Outer Limits episode, "ZZZZZZ." She was quite amazed by it, and told us that they had been filming that episode on the day Kennedy was shot, and the set was shut down because of it.
I had a shot of Joseph Ruskin's appearance in his TZ episode, but I told him I'd rather have had one from "The Longshot," which was a film he starred in with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, that I loved. He laughed about that, and said that the funniest time on that film was standing around outside their dressing rooms, listening to Conway, Korman, Jack Weston and Ted Wass.
Leonard Maltin came into the convention room towards the end of the day Saturday, and Steve took a minute out of our schedule to thank him for taking the time to do a public service commercial for the fight to save the Indian Hills Theatre, here in Omaha. He said it was no problem, and that he was just sorry it didn't help to stop Methodist Health Systems from tearing it down.
We left on Saturday about 4:15pm, thoroughly enchanted but also exhausted and suffering from heat stroke. The air conditioning was not working, and it had to be 120 degrees in that room. I was surprised that no one passed out, especially me. While trying to get back to Frank's house, we overshot our exit and went all the way to Santa Clarita, which was a long way from where we should have been, but eventually made it back to his house.
Our host grilled chicken for us, baked potatoes and made a salad, and we ate dinner poolside Saturday night and talked for hours.
On Sunday Frank cooked homemade pancakes for us, which were fantastic; I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted. We joked that we'd recommend "Frankie's Bed and Breakfast" to all our friends.
We got ready to meet Alan Brennert for brunch. Alan drove us to his favorite restaurant, Cha Cha Cha, where we had a great lunch and a great discussion on all the shows he's worked on, and what he's doing now; we also talked about the NTZ, which he has said is still his favorite experience. Not everyone would take time out of their Sunday to meet fans, so I very much thank him for doing so.
I look dreadful in this shot, but Alan looks great.
We went back to the convention, since Steve had a Combat! Recon 2000 T-shirt he'd forgotten to take to get signed by the stars.
I had a shot of Nan Martin from her New Twilight Zone appearance on "If She Dies," that I'd wanted to get signed but she wasn't there on Saturday. I was disappointed; it was the only NTZ shot I'd taken, though Warren Stevens and William Schallert had also been in an episode of the NTZ. She is one of the main reasons we went back on Sunday, because I wanted her autograph. She was there, and I had the most miraculous talk with her. We didn't get there till about 1:30pm, so it was getting close to the end of the con. I showed her the shot, and she almost started crying, and showed the shot to her husband. She said that all day long she'd been trying to tell people that she'd also been in an NTZ episode but no one remembered the series. She flicked contemptuously at her stack of photos from "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" and said, all they remember is this. She thanked me for bringing the shot and showing up, because she remembered her stint on the episode well. She praised the producer and the writers on the NTZ, because they were on the set every day, and made sure everything went well for the actors and the crew, and she never had a better time. She said she was so disappointed when it was canceled, because it had been a quality show. We talked for 15 minutes about network TV and how they are canceling good shows before they can find an audience. She shook my hand and sincerely thanked me for showing up with the photo and talking with her, and for being an intelligent viewer who knows the difference between trash and quality. I said I didn't know about that, and she said yes you are, that I wouldn't believe the people she'd talked to that didn't know the difference.
We had the best time ever at this TZ get-together; every single one of the stars was a joy to talk to, and I'm hoping they'll do another one and get more stars at the next.
We left the con at about 3pm with our host, Frank, and went to the Silent Movie Theatre to see Rudolph Valentino in "Blood and Sand." The pianist gave a grand performance as he accompanied the film, but we all agreed we couldn't see what anyone saw in Valentino. He was not a great actor, and I'm sure his "looks" made women swoon in 1922 but today, many people in the audience laughed. The best part was the Will Rogers short before the film, "Big Moments from Little Pictures." He spoofed famous films of the day, including "Blood and Sand" and Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s "Robin Hood." It was extremely funny and we've got it on our "To Buy" list.
We had seen Debralee Scott on Saturday in the restaurant at the convention, and I had to restrain my husband from going over and interrupting her lunch to get her autograph. Ironically, we ran into her again at the Silent Movie Theatre and this time he did get her autograph, and had a nice talk with her.
Frank, Debralee Scott and Steve
We went to dinner at Pink's hot dog stand, which I'd heard about for years. It meant standing in line for nearly an hour, but the food was good. We then drove along Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and I took photos of Frank and Steve by the Beatles star.
Frank, Steve and the Beatles
On Monday morning we went sightseeing and doing touristy things. On recommendation from Frank, we stopped at Fry Electronics in Chatsworth. We walked in, and I was astounded. Not having a Fry's in Omaha, I had no idea they had different themes, or a theme at all. But this Fry's has an Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass theme that just floored me. I wanted to take pictures, it was so wonderful. There were 12 foot high statues of the Red and White King and Queen, the White Rabbit, all the figures of the books. I loved it.
We went to Griffith Observatory and took pictures of the building and the view, which is magnificent. And of ourselves and the Hollywood sign.
Since we were already near the hills, we drove up to the Ennis-Brown House. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and has been featured in many films. Most notable, to me at least, is Vincent Price's "House on Haunted Hill," where it was used for the exterior shots.
We tried to get up to Hollyhock House, another Wright masterpiece in LA, but they are completely reconstructing the park around it and are refurbishing the house itself, so we didn't get a chance to see it. We drove up to the site, but couldn't get to the house. The picture below is part of the complex, but not the main house.
We went to Hollywood Boulevard and walked along it to the Egyptian Theatre, then did some shopping at the places along the Walk of Fame. I loved a little shop with Egyptian curios, where we spent a bit of money, and another where we bought souvenirs for everyone. Then we went in a magic, hobby and costume shop that I just loved, and spent quite some time in there.
We went back to Frank's, and then he took us to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, where we did some sightseeing. He took us to Greystone, a local landmark and mansion now leased by the American Film Institute, which many series and films have used as a setting; on the day we were there it was being used again as a set. We couldn't get to the front of the mansion because of this, but we saw the gardens and the gargoyles.
We then drove to West Hollywood and had dinner at Barney's Beanery, where we had trouble deciding what to get since they had every conceivable food item on the menu.
Frank had purchased tickets for us to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people) weekly screening of a Best Picture film, and that night's film was "Going My Way" from 1944. Steve and I both have always loved this film, so it was a great chance to see in on the big screen for the first time. In the lobby, they had actual animation cels and conceptual art from classic animated films and shorts that had won the Oscar, on display. I found several conceptual drawings from "Fantasia" that I would have loved to have a print of. They were gorgeous. While we were standing in the lobby, we saw Kathryn Grant Crosby come in, with a gentleman that we'd met on Saturday at the TZ con, a longtime casting director for films and TV. She had been invited to see the film, since she was Bing Crosby's widow.
On the second floor there was a display of Oscar photos and posters. They also handed out a poster reproduction from "Going My Way," about letter size, which had the poster on the front, and the program of the evening to come on the back. We went in to sit down, and got a great seat close to the stage. They introduced Mrs. Crosby, and then also introduced Margaret O'Brien, the preeminent child star of the late 30's-early 40's, who was also in attendance.
I've never seen such a pristine print of "Going My Way," and had great fun watching it on the big screen, as did Frank and Steve. After the show everyone filed out, but a few hung around the stars, and got autographs. Of course, we had to do that, so I got a personalized autograph from Kathryn Grant, since I'm a Sinbad movie fan and she was in "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad," and Steve got Margaret O'Brien's. We're having the autographs, tickets, and the poster side of the handout framed, in honor of the occasion.
Frank took us on a hair-raising ride through the canyon where Charlton Heston lives, but since it was dark we couldn't see much. Then, he took us by the large estate that Jack Oakie owned in Chatsworth, telling us a story about his early days in Hollywood. He had to take a release form for Jack's widow to sign, 4 or 5 months after Jack had died in 1978, and how she was upset about the terms of the release. She took him to see Jack Oakie's study, which looked as if it hadn't been opened since he died. It had a "Sunset Boulevard" kind of aura to it, as Frank told us the story. As we drove by the large estate in the dark, Frank said that no one was living there now, since his widow had gone to a retirement nursing facility at least 6 months ago. The thought of the large, silent, closed-up house, all alone and by itself in the middle of the wind-slashed acres of pitch-black trees, and Jack's study, probably still in the same state it was when he died, was quite eerie to me. I would not have wanted to go up to it, in the night at least.
We had to get up the next morning extremely early and leave Frank's house by 7am, since our flight left at 10:45am for Omaha. We said good-bye to him and Steve and I both were sorry to leave. Frank is a wonderful host and a lot of fun to converse with, and I hope we can take advantage of his company again. :-)
We had a full day of traveling, and didn't get to Omaha till 8pm that night. We were both tired, but glad to see our animals, who missed us terribly. And, of course, our kids. ;-)