October 25, 2013
It was the first time I've ever been to one of these and it was a lot more fun than I expected. The main point of going was to see "Weird Al" Yankovic, and if Al was the only person we wanted to see, we probably would have passed, but we were able to justify going because Jackie and I each were able to find someone else on the list we wanted to meet. For Jackie, it was the actor who plays the veterinarian on "The Walking Dead," and for me, it was one of my favorite professional wrestlers, Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
We decided to go Friday night because of two reasons. First, we thought it would be the least crowded, and second, we are busy Saturday and Sunday. We got there a little after 6:00 and the place was already crowded. Police were directing traffic, and the parking lot was full so we had to park across the street. We didn't have tickets so we had to wait in line to purchase tickets. We finally got in around 6:30.
Our first stop was to see Al. Al was in the Chatman room all by himself, and the line was out of the door, and around the corner. While in line, I got some compliments on my t-shirt, and some questions about the 2x4 I was carrying. When we were let into the room, "Albuquerque" was playing over a portable stereo, and there were a few tables with merchandise on them. There was also a big sign with prices. Jay Levey was also there, busily moving merchandise and tables around. Al was behind a folding wall so you could not see him unless you paid, and he could not see what was going in the room.
The merchandise and prices were the same as at concerts, with the exception that there were no t-shirts or tour shirts. They had bobble heads, trading cards, books, CDs, DVDs, and 8x10 promo pictures. Autographs were $40, regardless of the item, and pictures were $30. There was also the option for a professional photo for $40, though I do not know what that entailed, and you had to wait until 9:40 for it.
We decided to go with the least expensive choice, which was a picture. As we walked around the wall, Al's mouth dropped and he genuinely looked like he was at a loss for words. it was worth the price just to see the look on his face. We talked for a bit. He seemed a little confused why we would pay for a picture with him, but we basically told him we couldn't pass the opportunity if he was coming within a half hour of our house. We talked a little about how he got involved with Chiller Theater, and if he had seen anything else there yet, and he said all he's seen so far is the room he was in. I let him know he should walk around if he gets a break as he would enjoy it.
After our picture with Al, we walked into the room across the way. There were only a few people in that room and the only two I recognized were Maryse Oullet, and an empty table where Omarosa was supposed to be. I made a comment that Omarosa was such a bitch, she even no-showed the event. We then set out to find Scott Wilson. As we were leaving the room, Omarosa walked past me.
Scott Wilson was a very large room with many tables in it. It was the most crowded room we went into. Of the names I knew, also in the room were Gilbert Gottfried, Lou Ferrigno, and Ralph Macchio. Scott's line wasn't too long, but the room was so chaotic and crowded, I waited back while Jackie got her veterinarian book signed and a picture.
Our next stop was the "Jaws" museum, which was a large room set up with props and artwork from the movie and tables with actors and crew from the movie. There was also a giant shark you could get your picture with for $5, so we decided to do it for fun. The guy running it took one picture of us next to the shark, then encouraged us to stick our heads in its mouth for second free picture.
The next stop was Hacksaw Jim Duggan. we were told he was in the vendor room, which we found quickly, but we couldn't find Hacksaw anywhere. It looked like we were in the correct place, as there were several other wrestler tables in that room, including Ted Dibiase, Jr., Tito Santana, and several TNA knockouts. I had already met Ted Dibiase, so I skipped him, and decided to get a picture with Tito Santana and his American Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship belt on a whim.
We left the vendor room and found a few more wrestlers out in the hallway. Lita was there, and The Boogeyman was lifting little kids on his shoulders for pictures. Matt Striker was also walking around the hallway, but still no Hacksaw. Finally, Jackie asked The Boogeyman where Hacksaw was, and he directed us to a second vendor's room we didn't know about, and told her to tell Hacksaw The Boogeyman sent her.
Hacksaw was the first table as we walked into the room, and simultaneously we spotted each other and he immediately grabbed my 2x4, lifted it in the air, and started yelling "Hoooo!" and full on having a good time cutting promos, and getting the crowd and I to yell along. He asked me my name and he started to sign my 2x4. I was expecting a small signature off to the side, but I wasn't paying attention to what he was doing because we were having so much fun goofing around and cracking jokes that when he handed it back, he had written across the whole 2x4 as large as possible, "To Dave. Best Wishes. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Hoooo! HOF 2011." He showed me his Hall Of Fame ring and said people ask him all the time how many diamonds it has, and he replies that he got it from Vince McMahon, so it has coal instead of diamonds. Then he said when people tell him he's looking old and looking rough, he tells them he looks better than Macho Man.
He had me cracking up the whole time, and though I never met him before, he treated my like an old friend. We posed for two pictures, one with Jackie, Hacksaw, and I holding the 2x4 with our thumbs up, and another one where Jackie and Hacksaw put me in a choke hold. He told me to walk around and stop by again before we left to say goodbye. I'm so happy to find out he is genuinely a nice guy. I'd love to hang out with him sometime.
We walked around the vendor room a little more. I found a "UHF" mini-poster, and Jackie bought a t-shirt and button. By that point, we were hungry, and had seen enough, so we stopped by to say goodbye to Hacksaw, and headed out to Red Lobster for dinner. Overall, a very enjoyable night.