Cincinnati Old Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention 2002
We left Grandma's house (Lafayette, IN) at around 5 or 5:30
Friday morning. I slept through most of the drive, since I had barely
gotten any sleep the night before--I can never sleep when I'm really
excited. I woke up four or five hours later to hear Daddy announce that
we were only twenty minutes away.
When we pulled into the hotel parking lot, I jumped out of the
car and ran inside to the lobby where we checked in. Ed and Nana Klute
were also there. We rushed to put our stuff in the room (the same room
we had last year, nostalgically enough) and then finally headed down to
the thrilling reunion in the Dealers' Room. I dashed inside and just
stood there for a moment, looking around at everything and eveyone to
make sure I wasn't dreaming. Once I had ascertained its glorious
reality, I ran to Jim.
Jim is one of the most wonderful people in the world. He is one
of the dealers, and he is one of my "adopted grandparents." He gave me a
big hug and we talked for awhile. He gave me a few stories he had
written. Jim is an excellent writer, and he gave me some advice and told
me about his own experiences.
After I had talked to Jim and said hello to Hal and Sonny (two
other dealers and wonderfully kind people), I spotted Derek at the other
end of the room, looking at magnets. Derek is also one of the most
wonderful people in the world. I ran over to him and, unable to come up
with a clever opening line, said, "Boo." He gave me a big hug and we
talked for quite awhile. Derek is so funny!
I walked around the dealers' room for a few more hours, talking
with all of my OTR family. I saw Mike and Leah Biel--Mike teaches OTR
and Leah is about my age; incredibly nice people--and John Reynolds, who
went with us to White Castle last year and who encourages me to come to
the Newark convention, Rodney Bowcock, a friendly dealer, Rick Keating,
who wrote a terrific article about OTR, and a very nice man named Joseph
A. Hasenstab (forgive me if I got the surname wrong) who told me about
his memories of the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast.
At around 3:30 we headed to the room next door to audition for
the re-creations. We were a little early, so we chatted with Don (the
director) for awhile. He told us about his years with a rock band.
Suddenly, Steve and Rene and David appeared in the door. I was so
excited! I hugged them all and we talked and talked and talked.
Finally it was time for the auditions. They were nerve-wracking
(as any audition is), but they were also fun. Daddy was cast as the
announcer for "A Date With Judy," and I got to be a snitty teacher in
"Our Miss Brooks." The "OMB" rehearsal was almost immediately after the
auditions, and Jim came to watch. Hal Stone played Walter, Bob Hastings
played Principal Conklin, and Rosemary Rice played Miss Brooks. They are
all absolutely incredible, and Hal Stone is a genius. He sounded exactly
like a teenager. It was hilarious.
After the rehearsal we rushed to McDonald's to grab something to
eat, then came back for the evening's performance. The Boogie Woogie
Girls sang a few songs, and Steve and Rene did a wonderful "Baby Snooks"
routine. "OMB" was the last show of the night, and it went very well.
We headed up to bed after that, and I managed to get at least a little
Up bright and early the next morning to go back to the dealers'
room! I needed to catch up with all of my friends--after all, I hadn't
seen them for almost 12 hours! I chatted with Jim, who gave me more
advice about writing and told me more stories, Derek, who told me about
the sadly wretched state of current Broadway shows, and tons and tons of
other wonderfully nice people.
The first show that day was at 3:00. First the Boogie Woogie
Girls sang, then Rosemary Rice and Bob Hastings did a wonderful "Ethel
and Albert." After that Daddy starred in "A Date With Judy." It went
splendidly. The raffle was held in the dealers' room after the show, and
we managed to track down Bob Burchett. Bless his heart, he let me buy a
ticket to the dinner that night even though it was technically too late!
The dinner that night was wonderful. I got there before they let
anyone in and had a nice conversation with Rick and Derek about all sorts
of fun and exciting things. They let us into the room a little while
later, and Rick and Derek and I sat at a table in the back of the room
with Mike and Leah and four other wonderful people whose names, I'm
afraid, I do not know. It was wonderful listening to everyone discuss
OTR books and the Newark convention and everything else. Leah helped me
out when I didn't know which fork to use.
After all of the food had been cleared away, Ed Klute played
requests on the piano. I quietly said something to the effect of,
"Wouldn't it be nice if he played 'Love in Bloom'?" and Derek stood up
and called, "Love In Bloom!" Derek is so sweet!
Gary Yoggy delivered a beautifully moving tribute to Dave Warren
then. It was very warm and extremely moving. I wish I could say more,
but anything else would sound cliche and wouldn't do justice to it.
The Boogie Woogie Girls sang a few last songs, and thanks to
Derek I managed not to cry (too much) during "We'll Meet Again." (They
asked everyone to sing along, and Derek kept looking over to make sure
that I was.)
"Archie Andrews" was next, and Hal Stone performed in full
Jughead costume, complete with letter sweater and little grey hat. The
man is brilliant.
"Ethel and Albert" was the final show of the weekend, and it was
just wonderful. Bob Burchett presented awards to a few people (including
Bob Newman and his wife), and then, before I knew it, it was over. Derek
and Rick and Mike and Leah and I stayed for about an hour afterwards and
talked, but the convention was officially over. It was sad, but now we
can all look forward to next year.