Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Long Epic Tale of Two Uncles, One Niece and Many Monsters

Uncle Ted, niece Devin and contrary to any of my fiancee's descriptions, not me.

Last Sunday I decided to visit the Monsterpalooza convention for the first time. I thought it a good opportunity to make new contacts, market myself, find future vendors and... who am I kidding right? It was always supposed to be a fun adventure. Especially after inviting niece Devin and my brother Ted along with me.

"Really scary things?!"
After Ted and I picked Devin up. I warned her there might be some REALLY scary things and let us know if she got too freaked out. Well, based on the excited look on her face thinking about it. I got the feeling she was going to be just fine.

I had read that the day before was so crowded that parking was impossible to find and many folks were held on line outside for hours until others had left to make room. We prepared ourselves for disappointment if we couldn't get in. Luckily, we found a nice close parking spot on the street and only four other people in line for tickets in front of us. We practically walked right in.


Our first stop was the museum full of classic and recent film monsters displayed in a Drive-In theme. It included a large movie screen playing old horror films. The detail I liked most though, besides the fun entrance marquee pictured below, was the stands linking the ropes around the displays. Each had the speaker boxes you hang on your car door window.


Just a few feet into the room, stood a towering werewolf from The Howling. Devin was stunned declaring it to be the scariest, but best one she's ever seen. We both agreed that my Halloween yard needed one this year.

Moving along, Devin looked at all the displays with interest, but was a bit detached. I understood.

Despite how I tried to explain who Vincent Price was and the backstory of other characters, they weren't from films she's seen yet.

To her, I sounded like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons mumbling nostalgic stuff about old stuff.


Then we came upon a minotaur from Narnia. Devin geeked out. She recognized it from her favorite movies. Now she was connected to it all.

She asked if it was the real one from the movie or just a copy. Yeah, even at 9 years old she gets the difference. I saw the plaque that said it was by KNB FX who created many of the creatures in those films. I told her that it must be a real one. Uncle Ted added how sometimes numerous costumes are made for an actor to wear because they can get beat up and worn out while filming.

"That's soooooo cooooool!" she said. It was her first celebrity sighting in the museum that soon included two types of gremlins. The funny Joe Dante film creatures and the creepy one from Twilight Zone the Movie, which she just watched recently with her Dad.


The flood gates had opened and hundreds of questions and comments followed about everything. The day now became the educational field trip about all things concerning movie monsters, madmen and maniacs that I sort of secretly hoped would happen.

After the museum, we wandered the show floor taking in all the sights. It was here that the curriculum strongly emphasized the importance of keeping a good sense of humor about the subject matter.


Devin was star struck seeing a life sized version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Believe it or not, he's another celebrity to her. His was the first monster movie she ever saw. Devin's uncle Kirk gave her the DVD a few years ago being a favorite movie of his when he was a kid.

Devin demanded pictures of the Creature be taken immediately like some seasoned cryptozoologist fearing he might quickly disappear.


Our team cryptozoologist also mentioned a Yeti she had seen in the distance earlier. Although I couldn't see it among the crowds, Ted and I trusted her younger eyes with less feeble vision and walked the maze of booths and tables in search of him.

Yeti's attitude seeing our camera explains why there
is very little photographic proof of his existence.
The irony that the Abominable Snowman remained elusive in a room full of monsters was not lost on me.

Sure enough, Devin was right. There was a Yeti! He was really friendly at first as we asked for footprints, hair samples and DNA.

But then Ted pulled out the camera.

He went ballistic! We just barely got away with our lives!

After that beastly encounter we needed to wind down and relax. The Moebius Model Make 'n Take seemed the perfect thing to do. Especially after we learned, as fate would have it, a Creature from the Black Lagoon snap together kit would be made!

Watching Devin put together a monster model warmed my heart remembering my days building those classic Aurora kits when I was a kid. Ted noted something about this event later. Not only were the Moebius people fantastic with the kids, but there was no sales pitch to buy any of their products after. It was just for the pure fun of making a monster.


Our time at Monsterpalooza was soon to end, so we backtracked our footsteps looking at stuff we missed earlier. All the while, Ted and I continued to fill Devin's brain with useless knowledge about Lon Chaney Jr. and Sr., Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and any other monster info we knew.

She soaked it in like a sponge!

We went too far. Below is the last picture taken that day. Ted and I were never heard from again.

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