|Hawthorne Hotel and Conference Center.|
The format was the standard one for film fan conventions, consisting of: panel discussions and autograph sessions with the stars; movie screenings; and a room full of vendors selling DVDs, movie posters, comic books, etc. My goal was to interview some of the celebrities for this blog, though--having never attended a fan festival--I didn't know if my plans were realistic.
|The wonderful Piper Laurie.|
|Parker Stevenson--on the right--and me.|
Most of the stars signed the Western Film Fair program for free. However, they charged $20 to $30 for an autographed photo and $10 to autograph an item provided by a fan. One gentleman had Piper Laurie sign a mint-condition, one-sheet poster of her horror film Ruby, which undoubtedly increased the value of that collectible significantly. By the way, Ms. Laurie posted a sign stating that all the proceeds from her autographs would be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. Such a classy lady!
|Jim Rosin with one of his books.|
After screening the Western Smoke Signal, I stayed for the panel discussion with Piper Laurie. Jim Rosin spent the first half-hour asking questions about her career, from her start in Hollywood at age 18 to a recent appearance in the stage musical A Little Night Music. Ms. Laurie then spent another thirty minutes fielding questions from the audience of about 60 people. Of her Smoke Signal co-star Dana Andrews, Piper Laurie said she idolized him as a teen ("My girlfriend and I would go to see films he did with Linda Darnell six times"). Yet, when she first met him at his Burbank home, he was "out cold" from intoxication in the backseat of his car. He struggled with alcoholism throughout the making of Smoke Signal. Ms. Laurie ended, though, by adding: "Mr. Andrews became sober, rehabilitated himself completely, became president of the Screen Actors Guild, and became a useful member of society and a star of Broadway after all this."
|Tommy Hildreth, one of the organizers.|
|The Purple Monster!|
|Bob "Fuzzy" Brooks.|
|A WFF attendee.|