How I met Anthony Daniels and ended up on the news
I went to a sci-fi convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, with my sister Heather on June 5, 1999. We did not have an auspicious beginning. The convention started at 10 a.m.; unfortunately, we were not able to get there until 1 p.m. We therefore missed (sadly) the question and answer session with Anthony Daniels. Furthermore, when we arrived, there was some confusion about whether we would get autographs, despite the fact that the notices for the convention indicated there would be "free autographs for all, from all our guests." We spoke with one of the convention sponsors, and got that issue resolved. We had our autograph coupons (plus I bought some extras for another sister) and were ready to go into the convention.
After taking a quick look around at what the different vendors had to offer, we went into the main arena where a charity auction was underway. Anthony Daniels was auctioneering the different pieces; he was quite warm and personable. I bid on a Rene Auberjonois autograph but was outbid. When Mr. Daniels started auctioning the Star War pieces, there was high excitement with the crowd. A Ray Park (Darth Maul) autograph was a much-desired piece, and sold for over $50. Anthony Daniels prefaced this sale by explaining that this photo was signed by "naturally the kindest man in the universe."
After the auction, we got in line to have Anthony Daniels sign our photos. Earlier the line had been very long, but people were now beginning to move into the convention room for the question and answer period with Nana Visitor and Alexander Siddig. For this reason, the line was now rather short. Mr. Daniels was extremely gracious; when we got to the front of the line, he asked how we were doing. I told him that we were having a good day at the convention and then I mentioned that we had just rewatched the original Star Wars movie a few days before. He said, "Really? And what did you think?" My sister and I told him how much we enjoyed it. It is indeed a classic and timeless film. He asked if we wanted the photos inscribed and we said yes. After he asked how to spell each of our names, he explained that he always asks how to spell names, because sometimes they are spelled differently in England. He indicated that when he thinks he knows how to spell the name (such as John), he usually spells it incorrectly, so now he always asks.
As we were talking with Mr. Daniels and getting our autographs, two men from a local television station had started to film our conversation. After we had gotten the signatures and thanked Mr. Daniels for his time, the TV crew asked if they could ask us a few questions. So we spent a few minutes answering questions for them, like how we were enjoying the convention, what we thought of the atmosphere, how much money we had brought to spend, how we would display the autographs we had just received, etc. I found that I was a bit nervous about the possibility of being on TV, but my sister and I answered the questions and then they thanked us and moved on.
A few hours later, we decided that we wanted to have our photo taken with Anthony Daniels. There was no one in line for him (by this time, they were waiting for Nana Visitor and Alexander Siddig), so we asked if he would pose for a photo with us. He did, was just as kind as he had been before, and we left the convention completely content. Anthony Daniels really made the day such a treat. I cannot overemphasize his kindness, graciousness, and generousity. He spent time all day with the fans. We went home, and discovered that night that the news crew had used a few clips of our interview on their 9 p.m. program. All in all, it was a good day.
Nana Visitor and Alexander Siddig were the other guests at the June 5, 1999, convention. Heather and I enjoyed the brief question and answer period with them (it was too brief!) in which they talked about their favorite Deep Space Nine episodes, how they felt about the ending of the series, and what upcoming work was ahead for them. Then they were going to perform AR Guerney's Love Letters, and you had to have tickets for the performance, which my sister and I didn't have. We therefore went out to explore what items the vendors had in detail; we also wanted to buy photos for Ms. Visitor and Mr. Siddig to sign.
After an hour or so, a general announcement was made to come into the main convention area for an announcement. My sister and I went in, sat down, and waited. We discovered that those who had paid to see the performance would have their money refunded; therefore, the performance was included with the convention entrance price. Heather and I stayed for the second half of the play. It is a beautiful play, and Nana and Alexander performed it beautifully. There was no elaborate set, just two podiums for them to read from; no complex staging, just a compelling story read by two people with obvious talent and obvious love for each other. It was amazing, beyond words. I wish my sister and I had known that they weren't charging for the play; we would have seen the entire thing.
After the play, we were told about the process for the autograph line. Those who had originally paid for play tickets would have their money returned and would go in line first. So my sister and I checked out the vendor tables again until it was our turn to get in line for autographs. This autograph line was longer, and moved slowly. We weren't disappointed, however. Both Nana and Alexander took a moment to talk with us. I told Ms. Visitor how much we enjoyed the play, and expressed my sadness that we had only seen the second act. She said, "Ooohh . . . you really should see the entire play when you get the chance." She also mentioned she enjoyed the fact that this was a smaller convention than some because it gave her a chance to have more interaction with the fans. Alexander signed our photos for us, and said, "If you want these personalized, let me know." We indicated that we did, so we gave two of the photos back to have him inscribe them to us. My sister told him that we loved the play; he said, "Thank you," and we moved on.
All in all, it was a good day, and we had a good time. I was so delighted by the kindness of the guests. If you have a chance to meet any of them--take it! You won't regret it.
In the past, Cindy Crawford would send a pre-print; she would, however, sign photos that were sent to her. I believe she has stopped signing altogether--all of the collectors I've heard of who have sent photos recently have had them returned unsigned. I haven't heard of an authentic response this year. If you have received one, let me know where I can see a scan of it. Otherwise, I think the news is this: she just isn't signing.
When a celebrity has died, it (obviously) makes it more challenging to obtain his or her autograph. One of the people who has been on my most wanted list is Patrick Troughton. I had essentially resigned myself to the fact that I would have to buy his autograph from a dealer, when a friend of mine found a signed photo for me at an on-line auction. I'm really lucky--his autographs are rare, and this one is authentic. I bought it for $10. What a deal! I'd still be interested in his signature on an index card--I'd like to have it framed with a cast photo I have. For now, though, I am thrilled about my wonderful deal.
The most recent information about his signing habits is that he has stopped signing for anyone. He had stopped signing for US collectors in January of 1996--something I wan't aware of when I sent a request last September--but now he has stopped altogether. This is unfortunate, but understandable, since he has been deluged with requests from Star Wars fans.
This week I noticed that on another autograph web site, Kiefer Sutherland's signature acquired via mail was listed as a secretarial. While I haven't found an in-person signature I can compare my autograph to, I now fear that it probably WAS signed by a secretary. When I first received the autograph, I remember thinking that the handwriting did look "feminine." Not wanting to stereotype, I accepted it as genuine. But now I will consider this to be fake, unless I can prove otherwise. If you have an in-person signature, or can direct me to one, please contact me. A guestbook signer has confirmed that these are, indeed, secretarial signatures. It's a disappointment, but I'm glad to know the truth.
Another update for this actor: there have been several recent RTSs from the following address: 415 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills CA 90210. I don't know if he is signing for any other addresses. I'd like to hear from anyone receiving a success after March 1998.
On Sunday, August 31, I went to the Roundabout Theatre in New York, where Brent Spiner plays John Adams in 1776. My sister went with me, and I was planning to simply find the stage door so I would know where he would be coming out; I would then know where to wait for him on a different day. I couldnít find a stage door--there were just the double doors to get into the theatre. However, we noticed that a few people were waiting outside the theatre, and realized that the matinee would soon be finished. So my sister and I decided to wait to try and get his signature.
We waited for around half an hour, and then people who had seen the performance started to come out. We got two playbills from people who were leaving and didnít want them. Slowly, the crowd of people leaving cleared up, and we went inside the theatre to join the 12-15 other people who were waiting for Brent Spiner. After about 15 minutes, I looked up and saw him coming down the winding staircase. Iíve been a real fan of his since (of course) Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I was excited to finally be meeting him. He came down the stairs with pen in hand and started signing for people. He was very polite to everyone. Then a rather funny thing happened. A cute older man went up to Brent and told him, "I loved you in Charley Rose." Brent Spiner looked pretty surprised as the older man walked away. This man walked over to my sister and said, "Who is that?" My sister said, "Brent Spiner--he was on Star Trek." He said, "Oh, I thought he was Liam Neeson!" and walked out. Brent turned to us and asked, "Who did he think I was?" My sister replied, "Liam Neeson," and Brent replied, "Oh," and smiled.
Finally my sister and I were the next in line--the problem was that the woman in front of me had taken his pen. I handed him the playbill and he pretended he was signing it. I quickly realized the problem and gave him my black sharpie. Once he signed it, I thanked him and he said, "Youíre welcome." He signed for my sister, told her to take care, and then he went on to the next people in line. I was so impressed by his graciousness, and by the fact that he wasnít as tall as I imagined! I am thrilled to finally have an autograph from this great and talented man.
On Wednesday, September 3, I went to the Eugene OíNeill theatre at 10 PM with a friend to wait outside the door for Lucy. I was pretty excited, because Lucy is one of my favorite actresses, and I actually went to New York because I wanted to see her in Grease. I went to the opening night (September 2) performance, and thought she did a wonderful job! We went on Wednesday to be close to the front in the autograph-seeking crowd. And 10 PM was a good time to arrive; we were right up at the front. My friend already had Lucyís autograph from a convention, so she agreed to hold one of my pictures. We stood at different parts of the barricade just to ensure that at least one of them would be signed.
We waited, and waited, and the crowd outside the stage door grew. Grease ended around 10:30, and many people who had just seen it joined us at the barricades. I was informed that she would probably come out around 11 PM. Other cast members started coming out around 10:45, and I was happy that people cheered for them. (Lucy wasnít the only one in the play, after all.) Eventually there were around 50-70 people outside the door, and then I was even more glad I had arrived early. Just before 11 PM, Lucy came outside and everyone cheered. She is quite stunning in person, and I laughed as she pulled out a black sharpie and smiled as she showed it to us. She knows how to interact with a crowd. Well, she started signing things for people--she signed posters, pictures, playbills, and action figure boxes. What really impressed me was that she signed for kids first, and then she signed for adults. She started out on the other side of the barricade, and finally came over to ours. People were screaming her name--it was just crazy. I was glad when people shouted "Lucy" and not "Xena."
She finally got down to me, and I held out my picture for her to sign. She signed it (it doesnít look like the convention signatures because she was signing in great haste) and gave it back to me. I said, "Thank you so much." And she smiled and said, "Youíre welcome." Bless her, she was gracious and generous, and I ended up getting both pictures signed. (And Iím keeping both of them!)
There is much debate about whether John Travolta's through-the-mail signatures are genuine. The debate apparantly arose because of the quick response time when you ask for an autograph. Some people believe these are secretarial signatures; however, I believe they are real. I'm sure there will continue to be speculation. I'll post further updates. ** Iíve got an update on this authenticity question. In New York I was given an informal tour of NBC by a man who works behind the scenes (let me emphasize: this was NOT an official tour, and I was able to see much more than you normally would). Anyway, as we were walking down one of the halls there were autographed pictures on the walls of people who had been on the Rosie OíDonnell show. My sister loves John Travolta, and she stopped to look at his picture. I thought about this controversy, and so I took a close look at it too, and guess what? It matches the signature I received through the mail. I simply cannot imagine him having a secretary sign a picture that is going to hang in the studio; moreover, he probably signed the picture while he was there. So while the controversy may continue, it's over for me--itís authentic.
Last week I received fake autographs from Brian Austin Green and Tiffani-Amber Theissen. The signatures were on the back of postcards, but they were dull--clearly pre-prints, and poor ones at that. Admittedly, the picture on the front of the cards was nice, but both cards were a bit bent because instead of using my SASEs, they were sent as regular postcards. It was discouraging to write a nice letter to the celebrity, only to receive this type of response. I DON'T believe that the celebrity owes us anything, but I am concerned about this trend. This seems to be the case with many young American celebrities. What do you think about this? Would you rather have a poor pre-print or no response at all? Send e-mail about your opinions. I'll post your ideas!
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