“I go online and print everything I can find on Svengoolie and then hang them all over my kitchen walls,” said the older lady to my right. “I’m just worried since I saw him at last year’s Flashback Weekend he’ll think I’m stalking him by coming to this one.” Considering the number of Svengoolie appearances I had under my belt, I confidently gave her some reassurance. It was just a few short weeks since G-FEST and I was back at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, this time swapping Godzilla for slashers. Somehow the two conventions still seemed related thanks to the presence of my friend, Don Johnston. Don’s a powerful presence at the hotel and it’s never more apparent than when his venue hosts events such as these. He’s a larger than life character that appears to be everywhere at once – a titan with a heart of gold who shares my love of comics, horror, and Svengoolie. He was definitely in the “convention zone” on this day as he barreled past me near the photo op area asking if Sven’s crew had arrived. Minutes later, MeTV’s national horror host and company materialized; ready to take on Flashback Weekend as they’d skillfully done at the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) last April. And, just like that occasion, they permitted me to stay amongst them where I could observe the broadcasting legend interact with fans, host the annual costume contest, and interview celebrity guests. In exchange, I’d assist them in selling T-shirts and posters while snapping a few fan photos when needed. This gave producer (Jim Roche), director (Chris Faulkner), and cameraman (Chas Ailing) more freedom to keep the appearance running smoothly while capturing material for his upcoming Saturday night shows. So to be put things into perspective – I get the best seat in the house doing something I enjoyed doing anyway.
There was still sunlight when I arrived at the Elgin Safe Zone for their annual Nightmare on Chicago Street this past Saturday evening. This year I’d be attending alone as most of my friends were back home watching the Chicago Cubs play in a historic baseball game that would see them heading to the World Series for the first time in over seventy years. Under those circumstances, their absence was understandable…and what better reason to skip a zombie Apocalypse than for the possibility of watching Hell freeze over instead? In my world, however, the Nightmare on Chicago Street IS the World Series and there was no place I’d rather be.
Last weekend I went to see national horror host, Svengoolie, at a Chicago store called Cook Brothers (“We stack em Deep and Sell em Cheap!”). Though not as remarkable as his previous appearance at The Squared Circle, it did represent a bit of a milestone for me. Since discovering that he’d return to the airwaves in 2003, this would mark my 35th time seeing him (either as Svengoolie or Rich Koz) at a public event.
Last year at Thanksgiving we decided to feature a post dedicated to showing our appreciation to those who helped us out in ways that went above and beyond the call of duty (as seen HERE). This past year has been even more amazing as we saw our young blog break 100,000 hits with over 20,000 last month alone. That’s not too bad for a private blog that scarcely advertises outside of Facebook. It’s been a humbling experience for two guys who, after spending most of our lives standing in the shadows, finally found our own voices. The feedback and growing readership has been incredible and, above all, we thank YOU the readers. There are a LOT of blogs and websites out there and for you to not only take time out of your busy lives to visit, but come back and see us again is appreciated more than mere words can convey. Some of the folks from our last list will be back on this one, but we are really happy to feature the ones we just met this past year and who generously showed their support! So, without further adieu…
It’s been awhile since I have had fun…I mean fun like a kid. As adults we become pre-occupied with things such as working, paying bills, raising a family, etc. Not that these are bad things but in the process, we forget how to have fun like we did when we were kids. I think that is why I like being a monster fan so much…you can do all of the important and responsible things in life and yet still be a kid! Who can forget the excitement as a child on Christmas Eve. Family get-togethers that then led to a sleepless night, in anticipation of Santa’s annual visit. This followed by the nervous excitement of walking down the stairs to see if the big guy brought us everything that we had asked for. These times were magical and that is the first thing to go in adults…the magic.