|Angela Cartwright will be there!|
Café: What inspired the very first MANC back in 2006?
Martin Grams: As an attendee and vendor at more than 26 conventions a year, I observed over time what I thought was the best and worst of ideas. Every convention has its own flavor. After seeing the handwriting on the wall at a few of these events, I felt it was more important to help carry on the tradition with the best of ideas. So friends of mine and I put together MANC, applying the best of what we observed at other events. This turned out to be a recipe for success because the crowd has consistently grown about 200 to 300 people in attendance every year. People keep referring to our show as a throwback to the way conventions used to be. And that is a good thing.
Café: Some of our favorite stars will be at this year's MANC. How do you determine who to invite?
|Margaret O'Brien at the 2013 MANC.|
Café: Your screening schedule includes a plethora of hard-to-see movies (e.g., four Danny Kaye shorts, the Ritz Brothers' Straight, Place and Show) and TV series' episodes (e.g., Casablanca, the Playhouse 90 teleplay of The Days of Wine and Roses). Which ones were the hardest to track down?
MG: We pride ourselves on screening rare films that you won't see anywhere else. While our event is not a film festival per say, the selection of films makes our event qualified as a film festival. Especially if the films are not available on DVD through the commercial market or the "grey" market. This year we are screening the lost 1955 I Love a Mystery television pilot with Howard Duff. The film was discovered a year ago and transferred to digital exclusively for us for the convention. You won't see that available anywhere else. We never seek out rare films. We have access to hundreds of rare films and when one strikes our fancy, or there's a connection with a celebrity we have at the show, it's a natural selection.
Café: The MANC web site lists all the interview panels, screenings, and seminars--but are there any events that you'd like to highlight?
|Rocky Lane played Red Ryder--|
and was the voice of Mister Ed.
Café: What can attendees expect at the dinner banquet?
MG: We always have a musical performance from a gifted singer. Sometimes a magician or Abbott and Costello impersonators entertain. Donald and Mary Ramlow direct a "lost" radio re-enactment on stage complete with microphones, sound effects and scripts. This year's highlight is the very first Dragnet radio broadcast from 1949, which does not exist in recorded form. The first two or three radio episodes never had the familiar theme song and to ensure accuracy, we will include that theme song. We also have an awards ceremony.
Café: This year, you're doing something very unique by streaming the MANC over the Internet. How will that work?
|Piper Laurie--another 2014 guest.|
Café: We're going to put you on the spot here: Who are some of your favorite celebrities from previous MANCs?
|Roy Thinnes of The Invaders.|
Café: The celebrity auction to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital sounds like a great event. What are some of the items donated by celebrities this year?
MG: In the past, we have had autographed items donated by Elizabeth Taylor, Casey Kasem, Alan Young, and other celebrities. This year, we have autographed items from David Hedison, Peter Fonda and two more just came in this morning. We have original television scripts donated by actor Jim Rosin. Attendees always bring vintage merchandise to donate to the auction and I am constantly impressed with some of the items people are willing to part with--great stuff that helps support children with treatable cancer.
Café: Finally, what advice can you give someone coming to their first MANC?
|The autograph and vendor room.|
Café: Well, we do have one last question: Any hints about what stars may be attending in 2015?
|1960s pop singer Lesley Gore|
on TV's Batman.
You can learn more about the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention on its website.