In Epiblog 3 of my ongoing Star Wars Celebration VII Anaheim experience, we come to…well, more lines. Last month I wrote about the line experience just for day one. This month’s blog will cover the next two days of the convention. It was all about the autographs! This was the first time in all my con years that I pre-purchased autographs. Little did I know just how much time it would take to accomplish. Little did I also know how great it is to meet the stars that are a big part of the movies you love.
The autograph experience started with a simple email. Here was a chance to meet the actors that played such important roles in the movies we love so much. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Ian McDiarmid had their own tickets, while the other guests’ autographs were determined by a certain amount of $10 tickets. I already had Kenny Baker’s autograph, so I got the other four “big names” and a good stash of the $10 tickets. In my head I thought, “OK, day 2 is filled”. In reality, it turned into several hours per day for two days. Like I’ve said, I’ll never do autographs again. That doesn’t mean we had a bad experience, it was just a lot of time that could have gone towards other activities at Celebration. The experience overall is always worth it.
As it goes with all plans one makes prior to a con, plans change all the time. There are factors that affect your plans not considered like panel appearances, breaks, running late, or having to take the dog outside. OK that last one only applied to Carrie Fisher, but it was a factor nonetheless. Another factor to your schedule was the number printed on the tickets. Luckily, I picked my tickets up early on day one and had really low numbers. There were some people who had tickets, but still couldn’t get in line due to the range of their numbers. They would only allow a certain amount of people to line up at a time, so if you couldn’t get in line you wandered around in circles until they opened up a few spots. We didn’t have that problem so we started diving into the Autograph Pavilion.
I made it a point with every star we met to thank them for taking the time to come be with the fans, how much we appreciate that, and apologize for anyone that thinks they owe us anything. That was met with gratitude each and every time. I had hoped that I could take pictures with them, but that was not allowed for everyone. I understand that would have taken even more time. It was bad enough that some people were getting over 20 autographs at a time. Crowds cheered when those people finally left their lines.
The first “over an hour” wait was for Ian McDiarmid, aka Emperor Palpatine. He was very friendly, shook both of our hands, and we talked about his role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (one of my favorite films).
While we were in Ian McDiarmid’s line Billy Dee Williams arrived. We decided to hit up his line next. Another super cool guy.
After Lando, we paid a visit to some of my favorite Jedi — Orli Shoshan (Shaak Ti) and Amy Allen (Aayla Secura).
Our good friend and fellow Geek, Missy, was a volunteer for Official Pix. Here she is with the first Emperor, Clive Revill.
Brandy I got some food to give us the standing energy needed for a good three-hour wait. It was time to enter the line for Carrie Fisher. I don’t have to go on about how quirky, funny, outspoken, outgoing, and unpredictable Carrie Fisher is. We just love her. She had her dog sitting alongside her while she signed, glittered, or did whatever she wanted for her fans.
I brought what Carrie Fisher has described as “her favorite” item made in her likeness. It was an old shampoo bottle that she says is “so Freudian when she twists off her own head and goop comes out.” I had hoped to get a picture of her and me with it, but due to the rules I couldn’t. That didn’t stop me from telling her how much I knew she loved that bottle and I had brought one with for her to play with or just twist her head off one more time. I pulled the bottle out of my backpack and she smiled as she took it from me. She twisted the head, danced it around a little, then turned it over and wrote “this end up” on the bottom. I couldn’t have been happier.
We were getting ready to call it a day when we noticed Peter Mayhew was staying a little later than scheduled. We decided to hop in his line. You could tell he was tired, but he kept at it for the fans. When I thanked him at the beginning for staying later he said, “I don’t want the fans to have anything bad to say about me.” I don’t think a true fan would. I would hope we all understand.
That wrapped up day 2 of Celebration, so day 3’s plan became “finish autographs”. I still had tickets for Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and a few of the $10 tickets. I planned to use those for a “little known Major” (in a Cliff Clavin accent) John Ratzenberger, aka Major Bren Derlin, and for the second greatest cyborg in the saga Matthew Wood, aka General Grievous.
We started day 3 in Anthony Daniel’s line, as Mark Hamill’s line was capped since he hadn’t arrived yet. We had about an hour and a half expected wait. Anthony Daniels is a fan favorite and he shows why that is all the time. Several times he would come out from behind the table, interact with the people in line, and take a picture, all done with a big smile. While we were waiting, Mark Hamill arrived. Brandy and I figured it would be smart to split up and get in that line. So glad we have cell phones so we can keep in contact during tag-team operations. I got to meet C-3PO and got my autograph.
I met up with Brandy in Mark Hamill’s line. We had about two hours ahead of us. No problem, it’s a walk in the park for us by now. We did a little yoga for our legs and back, made our way through it, and met the Jedi Master himself. I talked about Corvette Summer and how much my dad and I loved that movie.
John Ratzenberger is such a fun guy. We talked about marriage and the importance of keeping your wife laughing. I keep Brandy laughing every day.
We wrapped up our autograph adventure with Matthew Wood the man behind General Grievous.
With tired backs, sore feet, and an impressive autograph portfolio we declared an end to autographs for Celebration Anaheim.
We still had some time for the floor that day, so we managed to get a little exploring accomplished. We knew that the final day would be crazy exploring, plus I was entered into the Star Wars Ink and Fusion Tattoo Competition. Stay tuned for next month’s Epiblog 4 – “The Fandom Fun-ness.” It will be filled with tales from the convention floor, vendors, fans, friends, and so much more.
Thanks for checking out my blog this month and for your support of Coffee With Kenobi — “The Podcast You’re Looking For.”
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