National horror host, Svengoolie, has been a staple of the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) for the past seven years and I’ve faithfully seen him at each one. This year would be no exception, though his role would expand to an additional session on Friday’s opening day. In addition to greeting fans again on Saturday, he’d also be the subject of a “Svengoolie Spotlight” panel – another Svengoolie/C2E2 first. His crew graciously allowed me to hang with them both days in an example of mutualism at its best – I get the inside scoop & photos and they get an extra set of hands and guy built like a bouncer while he’s on the floor. The biggest challenge is just keeping up with them!
Early Friday afternoon Sven’s producer, Jim Roche, shot me a text saying they’d arrived. I then stood near his autograph line (which had begun forming over a full hour before he was scheduled) awaiting word that “Elvis had entered the building” before springing into action.
As soon as I spotted them I ran over and greeted the crew which, in addition to the man himself, included Producer, Jim Roche, Director Chris Faulkner, and a new cameraman named Mike Cittadino.
Our first stop was to say ‘Hello’ to Svengoolie’s friend and professional wrestler, C.M. Punk! I’ve seen these two interact before at last year’s C2E2 and am hopeful someday they’ll coordinate their schedules and Punk will appear on the show.
Our second stop was a lot more surprising – Mark Sheppard a.k.a. Crowley from “Supernatural!” It turns out the British actor loves Chicago as well as two of its icons; the Chicago Cubs and Svengoolie!
With both stars having a few minutes to spare before their autograph sessions, Sheppard agreed to participate in an interview. To find a quieter spot, we all walked behind the curtain designated for celebrities and staff only. This area also had a makeshift “green room,” tables & chairs, and lots of open space so headliners could be whisked to their booths via golf cart. Behind each curtain numbers created with blue masking tape alerted celebrities which spot was theirs. The crew and Sheppard joked how appropriate it was that Supernatural’s “Crowley” should have number “13” as his. Just in case anyone was superstitious, however, Sheppard rearranged it to “31” for the interview.
Just before the interview began, a golf cart came speeding past us with someone yelling, “Spongebob loves you Svengoolie!!!” As the cart sped away we noticed the man doing all that hollering was none other than Spongebob, himself, Thomas Kenny!
Svengoolie’s interview with Sheppard went exceptionally well and I look forward to seeing it during an upcoming “Svengoolie on the Road” segment. The two made plans to have dinner together that weekend; thereby going from mutual admirers to friends.
After saying their “Goodbyes,” Sheppard quickly changed his curtain number back to “13.”
With mere moments to spare, we made our way to Svengoolie’s spot (Booth #34) and Jim quickly went to work on the crowd.
Meanwhile, I planted myself on the sidelines where I could take pictures and assist without being in anyone’s way. There was nobody signing on the booth to Sven’s left so that’s where I spent the majority of its duration. To his right was ex-Power Ranger, David Yost, but there was still plenty of space between them. After Jim’s introduction, Svengoolie entered the scene…
There were two lines to see Sven, and everyone was very nice. Chris and Mike went out on the floor to scope out interesting cosplayers for the show.
During the signing, Sven was interrupted by Dan Didio and Leilani Ramos Lugo from DC Comics. Dan is co-publisher of the company (along with Jim Lee) and a big of Svengoolie. In fact, I remember them coming to see Sven at his booth last year. This time around they brought the host a bunch of DC swag as well as a copy of MAD Magazine which is getting a reboot this week. They wanted Sven to pose with a copy of the new Issue #1 as the host will be making an appearance in the second issue by legendary MAD artist, Sergio Aragones.
As with every appearance Svengoolie makes to C2E2, his line had to be cut and the host went into overtime. Thankfully, there was nobody slated to sign right after him at this booth and nobody who waited in line was turned away. Once the last fan left satisfied, Sven and the crew quickly packed up. I walked back with them through the convention hall as they were leaving, watching him stop to take a few pictures with fans along the way.
This was a great Svengoolie appearance (and for those keeping track, my 83rd one) but the following day would be even better! The 7th Anniversary of Sven on National TV would be highlighted by yet another huge turn-out of fans, a “Svengoolie Panel,” and the great Spongebob Squarepants himself! Stay tuned for next Saturday morning’s post for all those Sven-tastic details and photos!