Holiday Cons - Page 3

Let me draw a picture of what I fell in love with. A three day Doug Wright convention would be held over Thanksgiving, Easter and the Fourth of July holiday weekends. On Friday, all the functions would open about 9 in the morning and there'd be six to eight things to do, among them a dealers' room, a Doctor Who meeting and Dr. Who film festival, a function room where a "Star Trek" guest or two giving a lecture, another room where a tech guest might be promoting the latest film coming out. Throughout the hotel, film rooms would be running films, for VCRs were brand new and only a very few fortunate fans had them then.

Everything described and more would be churning happily away up until about six or seven in the evening and then most of the function and conference rooms would shut down. As this was only the first day, Friday night, we would still have many more things to look forward to, unlike the current cons that terminate promptly at seven o'clock and tell you to go home.

No sirree, these were the good ol' days, we had the "Talent Show" to enjoy! These were scheduled to begin at seven and would often run to two to three hours of pure fan fun. As I remember it the promoters of this convention offered a cash prizes for the best skits, participants would pull out all the stops to earn them.

Here are a few of the best bits I remember :

A gentleman wearing a NASA jacket and cap walks up to the podium: "Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be lighting up the big screen in a minute." He gestures to the stage. "But first, please let me update you as to the current events happening on the moon. Apollo 16 has nearly wrapped up their mission on the moon and... Wait," he places his hand on his right ear. "I am told that transmissions are coming in from the moon right now, so we are activating the big screen." Again he indicates the stage.

As he does we observe two very good recreations of the NASA moon suits shuffle onto an them about the stage, recreating the "moon walk."

The suits have their own speakers built into the chest pack, so we not only are able to hear the lines spoken by the actors, within the suits, but also get the feeling of hearing a radio conversation at the same time and, due to the lower volume, there was a feel of distance to it.

The two suited figures bound about the stage, picking up a few "moon rocks" with toy grabber hands on a stick and placing them in a box hung on their suits.

We hear authentic sounding dialog like: "Houston, I found a good sample of indigenous rock here, I'm placing it in the sample case now. Jim, how are you doing?"

Other suit responds, "Fine, I too have filled my case with samples."

First suit, "We're nearly finished, sample cases filled, golf balls all in orbit or lost down a crater. Right, we are done here, Houston and proceeding back to the LEM now."

They shuffle/skip over to a stand-up rod with a rigid American flag attached to it and then the lead suit throws out both of his arms, stops rigidly both feet in a wide stance as if in shock and yells: "Houston, we have a problem here....the LEM is gone!"

Other suit, (slightly panicked sounding) "But, but we parked it right here...there's the flag...and over there is the burn mark of our landing, and you can clearly see the marks of our landing feet, so where could it have gone, and*how* could it have gone, I have the keys right here."

At this point a third space-suited person shuffles onto stage and stabs down a pole with a flag; on this flag is a picture of a vulture wearing a hard hat and holding a monkey wench, with the words in a ring around it saying, "Salvage One".

This new and slightly different suited person said, "Boys, it had no title or plates, so we junked it. Sorry about that." (Some of you might remember a little show called "Salvage One" starring Andy Griffith; who built a space ship and flew to the moon and salvage the left over space program parts there. The creators of this skit had recreated the flag from that show.)

That was when we learned the title of the skit: "Houston, Houston, just who has the pink slip?" (Pink slip is California slang for the automotive title paper, because California used to tint the title paper with red or pink colors for the emblem or seal; to "race for pinks" meant to race for each others' cars.)

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