Meeting 80s Stars At Chiller Theatre, Part 4: April 2019 And October 2019
Updated: May 12
Welcome to the fourth and final part of Meeting 80s Stars At Chiller Theatre. This article will cover my April 2019 and October 2019 visits to my favorite convention, but first a bit of background as to what happened in the months between October 2018 and April 2019. In early 2019, I was forced to cut down my hours at my retail job even further than they already were due to reasons I can't get into here. I was nervous about what that meant for my attending the Chiller Theatre convention in the future, but with the help of some good friends, as well as several different sources of money, I'll be able to attend Chiller for a long time to come.
Johnny Caps and Cathy Silvers
We start with the April 2019 Chiller, where the first 80s star I met was my Facebook friend, Cathy Silvers. Well-known to Happy Days fans for her role as Jenny Piccolo, my first exposure to Cathy's work came vIa her voice work as Marie Dodo in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird. As I did with Caroll Spinney and Eddie Deezen when I met them at Chiller, I told Cathy of the impact Follow That Bird had on me as both a child and adult. For more about Ms. Silvers' life and work, here's a link to my Pop Geeks interview with her from last year.
Johnny Caps and Samantha Fox
After Cathy, I met famous 80s singer and model Samantha Fox, making her return to the Chiller Theatre convention for the first time since October of 2013, two shows before I started attending Chiller regularly. As I've mentioned before, Samantha Fox was my first successful phone interview subject, and I was glad I had the chance to finally meet her in person. For a more in-depth look at meeting Samantha Fox, here's a Pop Geeks article I wrote about meeting Samantha, but the short version is that Samantha is as cheeky and sweet as her music is, and she's fantastic with her fans.
Johnny Caps and Lee Grant
Lee Grant was back at Chiller, but only for Friday night of the show. I knew I had to meet her again. After all, she's a legend of film. She was just as friendly in April of 2019 as she was in April of 2018. I had her sign a photo of her and Sam Wanamaker in the 1976 movie Voyage Of The Damned, and I asked her if Wanamaker, who moved to England when he was blacklisted, had a British accent off-screen. She said no, but that's something I've always wondered about Americans who spend extensive time abroad. Do they adopt the accents of the countries they're in?
Johnny Caps and Mark Patton
Next up was Mark Patton, who memorably played Jesse in A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. I'd recently been added again as a Facebook friend of Mark's shortly before the April 2019 Chiller, and Mark was just as friendly in person as he is online. We talked about ANOES 2 and its' impact on audiences. If I recall correctly, I also mentioned that I was one of the Kickstarter backers of his documentary Scream, Queen!: My Nightmare On Elm Street. Mark is a kind and compassionate person, and I encourage you to meet him if he comes to a convention near you.
Johnny Caps and Jack Sholder
Signing alongside Mark was another Facebook friend of mine, Jack Sholder, who directed Mark in ANOES 2, and also directed one of the best sci-fi action movies of the 80s, The Hidden. That was the movie I got an autographed picture from, and I had the chance to tell Jack what a fantastic movie it was. I hope that a label like Scream Factory might get their hands on The Hidden to make a Special Edition Blu-Ray of the movie.
Johnny Caps and Oliver Robins
I then met a future Facebook friend in Oliver Robins, who memorably played Robbie Freeling in the first two Poltergeist movies, classics of 80s horror cinema. We talked about the films, and he had an interesting viewpoint on who really directed Poltergeist. It's sadly slipped my mind, but if I ever interview Oliver, I'll ask him again. In the meantime, I had him sign a picture from Poltergeist of the attempted clown strangulation with the personalization, "Johnny, clowns suck! Oliver Robins".
Johnny Caps and Christine Elise
After Oliver, I met another future Facebook friend and interview subject, Christine Elise. Well-known to 90s audiences for her work as Kyle in Child's Play 2 and Emily Valentine on Beverly Hills, 90210, Christine was part of the revolutionary Boston punk scene of the 70s and 80s before her acting career started in the late 80s with appearances on shows like Head Of The Class and Baywatch.
Christine is fantastic when it comes to meeting her fans. Having seen her Head Of The Class episodes, I found her to have some great comic timing, and that timing extends to her work as a writer as well. Her book, Bathing And The Single Girl, is razor-sharp witty, and I plan on revisiting it soon. In the meantime, I look forward to Christine's eventual return to the Chiller Theatre convention. She's an amazing person in every way.
Johnny Caps and Tony Danza
The next 80s star I met, Tony Danza, was making his second appearance at Chiller Theatre. His first appearance was at the October 2017 Chiller, but I didn't think to meet him at the time. I remedied that this time out, and I found Mr. Danza to be very friendly. Not only did I get his autograph for myself, I also got autographs of him for Emerald Point's Wall Of Fame and for my friend Adam on his She's Out Of Control VHS cover, which was previously signed by Ami Dolenz after I interviewed her for Pop Geeks in 2018.
Johnny Caps and Morgan Fairchild
Near to Tony was Morgan Fairchild, one of the reasons why I'm such a big fan of the pop culture of the 1980s. Her acting roles, her great beauty, and her activism for noble causes are all things I think of when it comes to the 80s, and it was wonderful to meet her in person. I got her autograph on a very 80s photo of her that looked like it could be an album cover for her, and if I recall correctly, I had her sign it, "Johnny, let's rock and roll. Morgan Fairchild". I would actually meet Morgan again at the October 2021 Chiller, and she was just as friendly the second time I met her.
Johnny Caps and Pamela Sue Martin
I then met Pamela Sue Martin, well-known to 80s fans for her work on Dynasty. I made an impression on her by doing a few bars of the White Guy and Wife rap from Pamela's SNL appearance in Season 10, and she enjoyed recounting her appearance on that show. I got Pamela's Playboy signed on Friday night, and I would get her autograph on a Dynasty photo on Sunday of the show as well. Pamela was friendly to meet, and I plan on sending her an interview request soon. In the meantime, I went up to my hotel room for the night to rest up for Saturday, the busiest day of the show.
Johnny Caps and Cheryl Ladd
The first star I met on Saturday was Cheryl Ladd, well-known to 80s fans for her work in movies like Purple Hearts and Millennium. When I met Cheryl, I asked her about appearing on The Muppet Show, which she had fond memories of, and she signed a bikini photo with my favorite personalization, "Johnny, let's go for a swim! Cheryl Ladd". She was fantastic to meet.
Johnny Caps and Larry Hankin
Equally fantastic to meet was another future Facebook friend of mine, Larry Hankin. The versatile Mr. Hankin has been performing for decades with no signs of slowing down. When I met Larry, I talked about how I thought it was cool that he appeared in the music video for Janet Jackson's What Have You Done For Me Lately?, leading to a brief discussion about celebrity appearances in music videos. For more in-depth stories from Larry's life and career, here's a link to my Pop Geeks interview with him from 2019.
Johnny Caps and Cindy Pickett
Around the corner from Larry was Cindy Pickett, who played Katie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I'd briefly interacted with her on our mutual Facebook friend Terry Soto's page a while prior, and in that interaction, I brought up her 1980 collaboration with Roger Vadim, Night Games. Although she expressed some reluctance in talking about that movie on social media, she did have a sexy shot from that movie available for signing, so I went for it.
Johnny Caps and Lyman Ward
Signing alongside Cindy was Lyman Ward, who played Tom Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and was married to Cindy in real life for a period of time as well. If I recall correctly, we discussed how people apply the Alternate Character Interpretation trope to Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In my opinion, I see Ferris the way the movie wants us to see him, as a hero. Some people, though, view Ferris as a manipulative jerk, but the way I see it, you need to watch the movie through the eyes of a teenager. What teenager honestly likes school, anyway?
Johnny Caps and Piper Laurie
The next star in the grand parade was Piper Laurie, the three-time Oscar nominee well-known to 80s fans for her work in movies like Return To Oz and Children Of A Lesser God. When I met her, though, I talked about her work in the 70s horror classic Carrie. That was a very powerful film, and I'm glad I had the chance to tell Piper about the impact it had on me and so many others. Conventions are a way for fans to say thank you to the stars whose work impacted them, and in some cases, changed their lives. It's a great feeling.
Johnny Caps and George Wyner
After Piper, I met George Wyner, the third Spaceballs cast member I met at Chiller, following in the footsteps of Brenda Strong and Stephen Tobolowsky. We talked about how the movie didn't initially do well with critics or at the box office, but would find its' audience on home video. For many kids, myself included, Spaceballs is their first introduction to Mel Brooks. Strange how things can work out like that.
Johnny Caps and Felipe Rose
Two former members of Village People were at this Chiller, so I knew I had to meet them. I started out by meeting Felipe Rose, the original Indian of the group. Felipe was very kind to meet. We talked about Can't Stop The Music, and I said to him that I didn't think it was as bad as some others do. I said that the music helped the movie out tremendously. After all, Village People did some memorable tunes, music that stays in your head when you hear it.
Johnny Caps and Randy Jones
Alongside Mr. Rose was Village People's original cowboy, Randy Jones. I talked positively about Can't Stop The Music with Randy as well, and I also mentioned that I liked his more recent solo song Hard Times. When I can, I like to mention different credits to the stars I meet that aren't necessarily what they might be there for. Maybe it's a more obscure movie, or a deep cut from a more recent album, but I like to think outside the box when I meet the stars I admire.
Johnny Caps and Liane Curtis
Speaking of stars I admire, my Facebook friend, and 2016 interview subject, Liane Curtis was the next star I met. We had discussed conventions in our interview, and it was great to meet Liane in person. She recognized me before I even had the chance to open my mouth, and meeting in person solidified our friendship. When you finally meet a friend in person that you'd previously known only through the phone or social media, it's a wonderful feeling, and Liane is a wonderful person. This isn't the last time you'll be hearing about in this article, though.
Johnny Caps and Mary-Margaret Humes
After Liane, I met Mary-Margaret Humes, whom I recognized from Mel Brooks' History Of The World, Part 1. She talked positively about working on that movie, saying she had a lot of fun. This was a few years out from Hulu's announcement of the upcoming series History Of The World, Part 2. so part of me wonders if Ms. Humes might come back for the show. After all, Mel Brooks himself is coming back.
Johnny Caps and Matthew Rettenmund
The next star I met was author and Facebook friend Matthew Rettenmund, the author of books like Boy Culture and Encylopedia Madonnica, the latter of which has recently been revised to cover even more about Madonna than was covered in the previous installments. Matthew was attending as a convention-goer like myself, but he's just as talented an author as the actors, musicians and artists who attend Chiller are in their fields.