Yesterday I attended the 2006 Twilight Zone Convention. Hey, give me a break. I went with a relative for his birthday.
Serious fans, the kind who go to conventions, are often viewed as... Well, perhaps having too much time on their hands? One often senses that they may be just a little too into whatever it is they are interested in. I will admit that I tended to feel that way, myself.
I walked into that convention, and boy, did I feel at home. It was very much like literary events I've attended. Actors or other folks connected with The Twilight Zone in some way sat at tables at the convention just as authors sit at tables at, say, book fairs. The actors signed photographs, the authors sign books. The actors receive a fee for their autographs, the authors receive a royalty for theirs. Your Lois Nettletons (yesterday's Twilight Zone Convention) and your Tomie de Paolos (last year's Connecticut Children's Book Fair) have long lines of fans waiting to speak to them and get an autograph. At yesterday's convention there were also celebrities who weren't seeing much action, just as at literary events you find authors at tables, ignored and sitting in torment waiting for this hell to be over.
The Twilight Zone Convention had episodes of Twilight Zone running all day. At a book fair one author or another will give little talks during the day. There was a panel discussion yesterday afternoon. Yes, you get your panel discussions at, say, book festivals. We didn't stay for last night's dinner, but supposedly one of the celebrities was going to be seated at each table of guests. Yup, several years ago I attended UMass's Perspectives in Children's Literature Conference and there was an author at each table during lunch.
Book fairs, book festivals, literature conferences, store appearances...they are all fan events just like the fan events created around television shows. Our fans are no different than Buffy's fans, though she has a lot more than I do.
You'll never hear me laughing about a Star Trek convention again.
By the way, I was only vaguely aware of who was going to be at this convention yesterday. So imagine my surprise when I found myself standing right in front of Mary Badham's table. Who is Mary Badham, you may ask. She was Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird! I met Scout! She was also in the last original episode of The Twilight Zone, which is why she was there.
I met Scout!
I met Lois Nettleton, too.