How did it get to be mid-August already?!? Or perhaps, more accurately, how have I managed to not blog about the LA trip I took months ago?? Time to fix that! Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that I made another return trip to Los Angeles (my 16th consecutive trip!) for my favorite Doctor Who convention, Gallifrey One. I SO look forward to it every year, mostly for a long weekend in (usually) good weather with friends – the Doctor Who stuff is just the icing on the cake. 🙂 This year, I was particularly excited for the fact that Lalla Ward, an actress from the Fourth Doctor’s era of the original run of the show, would be making her first appearance. There aren’t many people from the classic series (who are alive) that I haven’t met before, so it’s always fun when I’m able to meet a new-to-me guest. Sadly, the weather didn’t look like it was going to cooperate as nicely as it had the past several years, which was a bit of a bummer. There have certainly been years where the weather was in the 50s and rainy (we are always there in February, after all), but at least the last four years have been sunny, warm, and basically perfect, so any weather that broke the streak was always going to feel extra icky. Upon my arrival on Wednesday and through Thursday, we did have the gorgeous, sunny weather we’d gotten used to and the actual weekend weather, while rainy and cloudy at times and cooler overall, didn’t end up being too terrible. Of course, we always spend most of the weekend (Fri-Sun) in the hotel doing convention stuff, but my friends and I always get rooms with balconies overlooking the pool (we even managed to snag adjoining rooms for the second year in a row!), so it’s nice to be able to relax, drink, and talk on them throughout the weekend.
The convention itself was, as usual, tons of fun. Also as usual, I kept myself busy during the convention proper with lots of Doctor Who stuff, including working as a guest liaison, which I’ve done for years. This year, I worked with Danny Webb, who was in two Who episodes in 2006 (as well as some Big Finish audio) and is well-known for lots of other stuff, both in film (Henry V, Alien 3, Valkyrie) and on TV (Humans, Holby City, Poirot). He was a really nice guy, easy to talk to, and great with the fans (many of whom were more excited to see him for his non-Who stuff!). When not doing my convention job, I busied myself with more panels than usual as there were several I wanted to see this year. Having attended Who conventions for so many years, the panels aren’t always that interesting (not because they’re bad – I’ve just heard a lot of the same content over the years, so I’d rather hang out with my friends), but with guests like Lalla (amongst many others) this year, I was particularly interested in a number of them. On the Saturday night, I even got to participate in the live recording of an episode of Reality Bomb, a great Who podcast done by my friends Graeme and Alex. Give them a listen (especially episode 043 to hear all the live fun we had)! Before I knew it though, the convention ended and I immediately started thinking about when I would get to see all my friends again. Gally is the big convention that pretty much all my friends connected to Doctor Who go to, but there are others throughout the year where I get to see at least some of them. CONsole Room (that’s the local convention here in Minneapolis that I helped to run for three years) came and went in May, so I got to see some of them then, but that may be the last time I see most of them until next year’s Gally (which, admittedly, is less than six months away at this point). I’ve previously attended Long Island Who and Chicago TARDIS (both in November) in the past, but I’m not sure if I will this year, given other obligations around Thanksgiving. I’m definitely working on making at least Chicago happen, so watch this space!
For my Who-minded readers, enjoy the photos!
Dick Fiddy (from the British Film Institute) interviewing actress/comedienne Hattie Hayridge. Hattie is a friend of my friend Ruth Ann and the three of us (plus another friend) once spent a nice afternoon together in London. I hadn’t seen her since, so it was nice to cross paths again.
My friend Jeff with Louise during one of her photo sessions. He was showing her a photo the two of them had taken together 30 years earlier and was even wearing the same shirt in this photo as he was in that one. Louise loved it!
A shot from the recording of Reality Bomb in which Bill wears a trench coat (which he bought specifically for this AUDIO-ONLY recording) and co-hosts Graeme and Shannon aren’t even trying to keep it together anymore.
Lalla thanking all the attendees, not only for a great weekend, but also for helping to raise over $18k for her chosen charity, the Denville Hall Trust, in the convention auction.
If you’re still with me, don’t forget to check out the official convention recap to read about how much fun we had. Maybe you’ll be planning your own trip to Gallifrey One soon? Unfortunately tickets are sold out (they always sell out VERY quickly once they go on sale), but don’t fear as there are always people who end up not being able to go who sell their tickets through the convention’s ticket trading page on Facebook. If, by some random chance, you’re in attendance and recognize me from this blog, say hi!
Now, for those readers who may not be Doctor Who fans, your time is now! In addition to enjoying a long weekend of Doctor Who-related goodness, I also spent a few hours doing the Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour with my friend Felicity. Because I’m usually in LA Wed-Tue and the convention only runs from Thursday night-Sunday night, I always try to do at least one big thing outside of the convention hotel and this year, this tour hit the spot. I’ve never done a real studio tour before (I’ve just visited the MGM Studios and Universal Studios theme parks), so Felicity and I decided we would do this one. I’m really glad we did! While I honestly am not familiar with some of the stuff we saw (we toured the set for a show called The Fosters and saw a few locations for Pretty Little Liars, neither of which I’ve ever seen), the overall experience was a lot of fun and our tour guide was really good. And of course, we did also see plenty of cool stuff and the weather was so great (a good chunk of the tour is outside) that it was tons of fun. At $65 (when we went), it’s not the cheapest activity and it took a bit of time to reach it in our Lyft from the LAX Marriott, but it was a great way to spend a day and we both had fun, so I would still recommend it.
There isn’t a ton of stuff to say about a studio tour except to show it off, so check out the pictures below!
This may not look like much, but when filled with (heated) water, it becomes the location of a couple of famous on-screen moments, including Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection in The Muppet Movie and Doug Ross saving a drowning boy in a famous episode of ER (season 2’s “Hell or High Water”).
The famous Warner Bros. water tower. Any Animaniacs fans out there? We never did find out if Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were home!
This is the start of our walk through the prop house. This is (unsurprisingly) the Oval Office set from The West Wing. Apparently the designers from that show were the first group allowed inside the actual Oval Office to take exact measurements to create as accurate a set as possible.
Although basically everything in the prop house can be used for any production, this light fixture (and its twin) aren’t allowed out as they came from Casablanca and the studio doesn’t want them to get damaged.
This is Stage 16, which was built in 1935 and then raised by 30 feet for the film Cain and Mabel (Marion Davies, who starred in the film, asked her sugar daddy William Hearst to pay the $100k to complete the work).
After the tour, we had a delicious late lunch at the Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank (how’s that for alliteration?).
If you’ve stuck with me through this recap and the many pictures, bravo! You may think you get some sort of prize for that, but the prize was the journey, right?
Stay tuned for two more catch-up posts before I bring things back to the present for my upcoming trip to London!