Adventure at AdventureCon
Saturday, June 1, 2002
The first Annual(?) AdventureCon was held last weekend at the magnificent Merchants I-75 Expo & Nail Care Center, located on Clinton Highway in Knoxville, Tennessee... one of the few convention centers you'll find with the mention of an interstate highway in its name.
This convention consisted of lots of vendors selling toys and collectibles (mainly centered around movies, TV, G.I. Joes, and comic books) and featured a handful of old movie and TV celebrities. On hand for pictures and autographs were: Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars), Yvonne Craig and Julie Newmar (Batgirl and Catwoman from the old Batman TV show), the guy who played Swamp Thing, and the guy who played Michael Myers in Halloween II (I know... damn near the bottom of the barrel).
But, to me the main attraction at the event was Richard Kiel, known mostly for his role of "Jaws" in 2 or 3 James Bond films. He's been in quite a few movies, but I liked him the most in a little known film called "Eegah!", a really bad movie made in 1962... one of the worst films ever made. It's so bad, it's good. In fact, it has such a pitiful kind of charm to it that it's one of my favorite movies since I first saw it as a kid on the afternoon movie after school.
The Saturday morning of the show, I got up and threw together a quick little mini-poster of Eegah! from some art I had drawn years ago for custom videotape covers of copies of the movie I gave to friends. I'd been planning to do an Eegah! fan page for some time, but had not gotten to it yet. Anyway, my plan was for Kiel to sign my homemade poster. I printed out 5 copies to take.
Greg Watters (an old high school chum and fellow Eegah! fan), my son Nick, and I got to the show in the afternoon. We milled around the vendor area for a while and then ventured into the "Banquet Room."
Already in progress was a question and answer session with Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)...
Mayhew conducted the session in a rambling, incoherent fashion and constantly talked of his marijuana farm. As you can see from the photo above, he brought along samples of his product.
I watched this as long as I could stand it... about 3 minutes... then it was on to Richard Kiel. After all, Kiel is a real actor... and a veteran one at that... who has been in some big movies and classic TV shows, as well as classic bombs... not some guy who was in a hairy costume for all of 3 movies.
It would be an understatement to say that Kiel is a big guy, although he remained seated the entire time I saw him, he's 7' 2" and weighs over 300 lbs. and shaking hands with him is like shaking hands with a catcher's mitt.
I had to wait a few minutes before I dared approach him as he was finishing his lunch (a live goat lowered down from the ceiling similar to the T-Rex feeding scene from Jurassic Park 2).
I introduced myself to Sir Eegah, as if he cared, and asked if I could have my picture taken with him. His female assistant (wife?) promptly pointed out the price list to me. So, I told her that I had some artwork that I had done myself for him to sign. That seemed to be OK with them, so I gave her $10 and sat down next to him.
He took a look at my artwork and liked it. Even asked me to e-mail a copy to him. I gave him an extra copy on the spot. He signed a copy for me and even gave me a black and white Eegah! photo for free, which he also signed.
Nice guy... at first.
My friend Greg took the following photos...
Look how big this guy is (the guy on the right). Just before this photo was taken, I kidded with him, "Don't kill me, OK?"
I don't know what happened next... maybe I ticked him off somehow... but he increased the pressure of the grip he had on my head...
As you can see, I started to panic... and for good reason. You can't imagine the pain I was experiencing. And it only got worse as he started getting really rough with me...
Then Kiel, suddenly and without warning, let out this ear-piercing roar, gave one last pull on my head and neck, and everything went black...
Mr. Kiel then apologized profusely, mentioned something about his allergy medicine "weirding him out" and let me use his private dressing room where I could pull myself back together. After this harrowing experience, I had to relieve myself and went into his restroom and saw this...
It stands to reason that a giant man takes giant dumps. He even had a plumber standing by the toilet with a hydraulic plunger.
All in all, it was a fun experience and Mr. Kiel was worth meeting. You can visit his official fan website at RichardKiel.com.
Here's my artwork that he signed... I made him write "Eshtabilo" as this word is prominently heard grunted by him throughout Eegah!
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