The 2023 Svengoolie/C2E2 Diaries Day 1 – Friday!

On the morning of Friday, March, 31st, I hopped a train to McCormick Place to attend the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) armed with my camera and a printout schedule for MeTV’s National horror host, Svengoolie. In the past, I’ve covered this event, the cosplay, and celebrity guests but this year it was exclusively about Sven as his team graciously brought me in as a volunteer member of the crew. These next two blogs are a diary of that experience. 

As far as Svengoolie appearances go, C2E2 is a massive undertaking with this year’s two-day (Friday & Saturday) schedule no exception. It would include two photo ops, two signings, a Q&A panel hosted by John “Shakey” Siuntres from the World Balloon podcast, along with whatever guest and celebrity interviews he and his team could harvest for upcoming shows. Even in a convention loaded with cosplay, Svengoolie is too high profile to navigate the main floor without being recognized. Consequently, it doesn’t hurt for him to be accompanied by an entourage; especially if one of them (me) is built like a bar bouncer.

9:30 am – This was the first year I opted to take the train instead of driving. The advantage is that it’s way cheaper than parking, and doesn’t require doing battle with Chicago’s tumultuous traffic & never-ending construction. Best of all,  you literally exit the train, walk up a flight of stairs, and find yourself right there at the event. The flip side, of course, is that you are at the mercy of Metra’s travel schedule which, since the Pandemic, has been sporadic at best. This wasn’t much of an issue on Saturday when the trains ran more regularly but, on Friday, it was slim pickings. Case in point, the last train headed to McCormick from my station was at 9:30 am and the first train back wasn’t until 8:30 pm. 

10:15 am –  I arrived about two hours before the crew got there and used the extra time to admire the Cosplay.

This Dr. WHO Police Box walked right past me while I was waiting

11:45 am – I’m joined by a MeTV employee named Brianna whom I’d never met before. Among her station duties is to assist with social media and she was genuinely excited to be attending C2E2 for the first time.

12:00 pm – The Sven team arrives as scheduled, pulling up to McCormick’s South Building, Gate 4. Brianna and I join them outside as they’re exiting the car. Along with Svengoolie, the team includes his Executive Producer, Jim Roche, Associate Producer, Jane Borim, Patrick Payne the cameraman, and Director, Chris Faulkner. With a total of seven, the Fellowship of the Sven is ready to take on the event…

12:15 pm – We get our passes and go through security. This is definitely not a problem for Sven as the C2E2 staff and security officers start gushing the minute they see him. Meanwhile, the rest of us smile while basking in his orbit.

Heading up the escalator to C2E2

We head into the main hall with me walking alongside Svengoolie while trying to look intimidating. I’d like to say that this involved flexing my impressive muscles but, unfortunately, it was reliant upon my ample gut instead. While en route, people were constantly asking, “Oh my God! Is that the real Svengoolie!?!” And then squealing with delight when I confirmed that it was.

12:25 pm – We make our way behind the signing area to a spot dedicated to celebrity guests (and those of us lucky enough to accompany them). We staked out a table before enjoying some of the fine cuisine C2E2 provided. I later heard Jim wasn’t thrilled about the crew’s indulgence but, after Chris came back with a full plate, he left it alone.

12:30 – ? – The conversation flowed nicely as Jane loves extreme horror and we discussed The Sadness (2021) and the French film, Martyrs (2008). Patrick is a fellow reader and we dished on Stephen King, while Chris and I later delved into Buffy the Vampire Slayer right after Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase) strolled past us. Svengoolie, also a huge “Buffy” fan, joined in that conversation while later recounting some humorous stories of his own. We were all hoping to get a glimpse of the event’s headliner, Chris Evans a.k.a. Captain America, but settled with a few  Zachary Levi (Shazam) sightings instead. This lovely respite would mark the only real break we’d get before springing into nonstop action for the next two days. 

2:20 pm – C2E2 photo ops experienced delays which pushed Sven’s 2:20 signing to 2:30. Only Jim accompanied Sven to the photo ops while Chris and Patrick went out to gather footage on the main floor. Meanwhile, Jane, Brianna, and I prepared his signing area; setting up his signage regarding merch prices, etc, and putting out his station promo cards he’d be signing for fans who hadn’t brought an item of their own.

The line to see Sven (right)

The first person I recognized was Chris Connolly, the man who recently interviewed me on his YouTube channel Mr. C Dives In. Mr. C. is not only a gracious host but one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. His zeal is infectious and also inspirational. Chris believes in a cosmic Svengoolie “Synchronicity” – a Universal Law that creates unique opportunities while bringing the right Svengoolie fans together at the right time. If I weren’t a convert to Chris’ otherworldly beliefs on Friday, I’d become a full convert by the end of Saturday when superfan, Warner Huston, would make one of my most ardent Svengoolie dreams come true (more on that in my next post).

Chris Connolly can hardly contain his enthusiasm for Svengoolie

Standing next to Chris was a woman who brought along a Creature from the Black Lagoon graphic she purchased at the event. It was created by an artist named Jason Westlake and you should definitely check out his Etsy store

Chris brought along an amazing picture created by the talented Nicole Houff from Minnesota. This unique photographer creates stunning images utilizing vintage Barbie and Ken dolls posed within her own eye-popping retro dioramas.  As a big fan of mid-century modern aesthetics, I loved this image, with the Creature from the Black Lagoon (my favorite Universal monster) taking it straight over the top. In this, I was far from alone as Sven’s director, Chris Faulkner, also raved about it not to mention Svengoolie, himself. You can check out more of Nicole’s work on her Etsy store.

Sarah Goolie a.k.a. Texas DJ, Sarah Rhodes, was back in Chicago and joined by her pals, Nanette Kier and “Svenards” man, Drew Love. I’d last Sarah at Flashback Weekend and Nanette and the Svenards man at Nightmare on Chicago Street

Merch sales were ok but nothing like Volo a.k.a. Svengoolie’s answer to Black Friday. The signing went well but not without a few oddballs. One couple sauntered into line saying, “Svengoolie? Sure, why not?” followed by fits of laughter. Jim asked if they were fans of the show and the lady cackled that she was (I’m not exaggerating, this lady cackled). Jim challenged them by asking what movie Sven showed last weekend and what film he was presenting next. “Um (fit of laughter) wasn’t it like a musical or something?” Jim brought them up to the booth. “Here are some HUGE fans to see you, Sven,” at which point it was my turn to start laughing.

The two were giggling so hard throughout their meeting with Sven that I was tempted to grab his rubber chicken and club them over the head with it. When they were informed of this week’s movie, the lady asks, “Hee, hee…how am I going to remember that?!” along with yet another fit of laughter. So Sven wrote it along with his signature on the station promo card.

Not long after the signing began, Jane took over the merchandise sales while I took photos of the fans using their own cameras. When I asked one man if he’d like me to take a photo of him with Svenm I was taken aback when he responded, “I don’t want a picture with him!” While the person he was with got an autograph, the mam recorded the meeting. When Sven asked the man recording if he’d like an autograph as well he responded, “No!!!” and took off. All I could think of while he was scurrying away was that famous Svengoolie sound effect, “So long, jackass!”

One gentleman brought an officially graded copy of the Svengoolie comic book that  DC released a few years back. I thought that was really cool until this same guy showed up the next day with yet another graded Svengoolie comic, personalized to a different person. Sure, it’s possible he had two relatives that want this neat Svengoolie collectible. However, the fact that he ran off both times without wanting a picture suggests it was more likely a business venture.

4:30 pm – The signing is finished and concludes Svengoolie’s first day at C2E2. I walked them back to the Gate before returning to the event.

5 pm – 8:00 pm – I walk around the entire hall, purchasing a few books and enjoying the sights. What I really wanted was this amazing X-Plus King Ghidorah but, at $3,000, walked away empty-handed.

8:00 pmWhile heading back to the train station, I saw a guy dressed as Bane standing about ten feet from a cool-looking Batman and Penguin. I asked Bane if I could take his picture and, after he agreed, asked if he was with Batman and Penguin so they can be included in the photo as well. This apparently hit a nerve. “No!” he snaps, looking right at them and speaking loud enough for them to hear. “And you’d think they would have come over and wanted to take pictures with me so we could all be together!” I told him to hang tight while I asked Batman if he and Penguin wouldn’t mind coming over for a group shot which they agreed.

Right after taking the photo, Bane (apparently still irked with the Caped Crusader) tells him, “I’ve been standing here for fifteen minutes and can’t believe you two didn’t come over here to take pictures with me!!! Don’t you think people would want ALL of us in a photo!?!” 

At which point I had to leave for my train, leaving behind a bitter Bane and befuddled Batman.


Coming Up…Day 2 of the 2023 C2E2/Svengoolie Diaries!


9 thoughts on “The 2023 Svengoolie/C2E2 Diaries Day 1 – Friday!

  1. Greetings, Dave & all fellow readers of “#TerrorFromBeyondTheDave”/#Svengoolie Super #SvenPals! This is wonderful!

    Very wonderful, awesome, neat & cool that you enjoyed Sven’s #C2E2 appearances & #Chicago’s #C2E2 2023! I enjoyed reading the first installment of your Sven/C2E2 2023 adventures article featuring cameo mentions of fellow Super #SvenPals Sarah/#Sarahgoolie, Nanette & Drew! I’m Looking forward to reading the upcoming/second installment of your Sven/C2E2 2023 adventures with a cameo mention of fellow Super #SvenPal Warner!

    I’m keeping all fingers crossed for a future Sven festival/#Berwyn/#Chicago visit with all of you in the future! Hope all is well, safety first, keep up the wonderful & excellent work three cheers, two thumbs up & all the best to you, #Svengoolie/Rich, Jim, the entire Sven/Me-TV crew, Sarah/#Sarahgoolie, Nanette, Drew, Warner, all fellow Super SvenPals/Super Tooners & the entire “#TerrorFromBeyondTheDave” crowd, Dave! All of us are dancing/jumping for joy for all of you, Dave, Sven/Rich, Jim, Sarah/#Sarahgoolie, Nanette, Drew, Warner & all fellow Super SvenPals everywhere!

    -Cheers, Take Care & All the Best,
    Chris Hamby 😉

  2. Holy. Smokes. First of all: I LOVE getting all the behind the scenes Sven amazingess at an event that is on my bucket list (hopefully next year)! Second: I’m beyond honored for the “shout out” – Seriously, I’m just gushing 🙂 THANK YOU!!!!!

    I hope to meet you in person at a future Sven appearance!!!

    • Thanks, Nicole! I think your work is amazing and, as mentioned in the post, I am crazy for the MCM look. My living room is basically a thrifted tribute to the ‘50s and ‘60s. So I wasn’t kidding with my praise. I hope to meet you someday as well. Thanks again for your nice comments!

  3. Love this insight to C2E2 each year, I’ll have to go one time. I hope you can be my guide!! Another great post!

  4. I waited to comment, as a means to practice restraint. This was a fun event, a fun review, and a great time, another great highlight in the Sven-verse.

  5. Pingback: “Svengoolie” presents his big broadcast premiere of “Destroy All Monsters” (1968), this Sat. on Me-TV | Silver Screen Reflections

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