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2017 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Reunion
Saturday, April 29, 2017
After staying up for 24-hours on Friday, I got a total of 3 ½ hours of sleep and woke up at 5:30 am. Way too excited to sleep, I got out of bed and readied myself for the day ahead. I joined my friends in the hotel café for breakfast and then excused myself to meet up with David to help set up for the day. We “received our VIP badges and headed into the room that we would be in the rest of the weekend. Our first task was to hang the poster that David ordered right above Bruce’s table. I hiked myself up on a chair and we went to work. (It was the only way to even things out in the height department – to say David is tall is an understatement). 😊 We laid out the nearly dozen or so different SMK photos that David had ordered for Bruce and then Greg Morton and his wife, Sandra arrived and they were just as fun and sweet as they were the day before. Greg immediately started teasing me and that totally put me at ease. Growing up with four older brothers I easily fell right back into the exchange of barbs and it was great! For a self-proclaimed introvert, he sure can play a great extrovert! 😉
Once the table was set, I noticed that Stephen Macht (Paul Barnes from We’re Off to See the Wizard). He had just started setting up his area when I approached him. He could not have been more welcoming. I introduce myself and he told me I had a pretty name and repeated it perfectly and then proceeded to spell it correctly. No one ever says my name correctly at first let alone spell it right. I let him know how excited everyone was that he was there. He very excitedly explained that he was Scarecrow’s boss. I said, “not only were you his boss at one point, but YOU gave Lee his codename! You were the Wizard of Oz!” He was so happy to hear that. He started telling everyone around him that he was in fact, the Wizard! Then he asked what his character’s name was and I told him. At that point, Bruce and his wife had arrived and I had to excuse myself to help them get set up. GULP! I was about to meet the man I had watched on television since I was ten years old.
I have to be honest, the actual introduction is a bit of a blur. I remember seeing him in his bright coral silk shirt and then he spoke . . . in THAT voice. I had to repeat my name “T-A-Y-A, pronounced Tay-Uh.” But from then on, he said it right and spelled it right on all my photos he signed. He was extremely charming and kind. His wife, Verena was absolutely wonderful. She was so down to earth and seemed to be Bruce’s calm. We set about getting Bruce’s pics added to what were already laid out. Then we established how much Bruce wanted to charge for autographs and pictures with him. Once we were set up, his line started forming. It was interesting to see how grown women and even men were reduced to puddles as they cast their eyes upon Bruce. He took it all in and gave it back tenfold what they gave him.
Throughout the day, Greg kept grumbling about me having my water bottle on his table since Bruce’s photos were taking up all the room on the table where I was sitting. I tried to bribe him with Mentos mints but he would just eat the mints and keep moving my water bottle. 😊 “Keep your shit off my table!” Never in the past 34 years did I ever think I would have Jamie King tell me to keep my shit off his table. Funny how life works out, isn’t it? More on this later!
Martha arrived and she and David started unloading all her wonderful display items. She looked wonderful and seemed genuinely happy to be with her former cast mates and talk to the fans. They all hugged and exchanged some jibes back and forth throughout the day. I introduced myself and she was very warm and friendly. At one point during the day, Martha came over an teased Bruce that she was giving all of her fans page protectors for their photos and he made some funny comment back (just can't remember what it was). I have to give props to Martha, she had a brilliant idea to sell latex gloves (Animal House) and she would put the glove on her hand and then sign it "Love, Babs!" and then autograph them. It appeared a lot of guys were purchasing those. At one point, a gentleman asked to buy 100 of them. He said he wanted them for his company's picnic. Man, I sure hope that's all it was for. 😉
The stories and the people were all great. The funniest part would be when someone would walk up to the table and stare at Bruce and smile and then finally say “Don’t you remember me, Bruce?” Bruce would smile cordially and then laugh nervously. Then the person would explain how they sat behind him at an event 30 years prior. Bruce would go along with them and then after they left he’d mumble about how could possibly remember them from that long ago. He was very gracious and seemed to truly appreciate the support his fans continued to give him.
My favorite part of the day was in between fan visits. That’s when Bruce would tell me stories. He told me how sad he was that Kate didn’t come to the event or any of the previous events. How smart she was and how she knew more about the camera better than most directors. He also told me about how he was food poisoned by a mean-spirited and very demented room service attendant in Canada . . . twice while filming Tron Legacy. He pulled out one of his 8x10 photos from Tron Legacy and pointed out how gaunt he looked and how loose his clothing was. Unbelievable that some people are that evil.
Mid-day Beverly Conner presented Bruce with an absolutely beautiful oil painting that her very talented daughter did of Bruce with his friend and mentor, James Arness. His face lit up when he saw it and you could tell it meant so much to him. He mentioned that he was going to frame it and place it next to the painting of he and Kenny Rogers.
Later in the day, when Beverly stopped by the table, Bruce whispered to Beverly he wanted to have dinner with her and a few others that always travel to his appearances and then much to my surprise, he turned to me and touched my forearm and said “And of course, you too, Taya.” Somehow I snagged an invite for my very good friend Sheila. So, I texted Sheila “Who’s your bestie?” To which she replied “You, lol!” Me: “We are having dinner . . . with . . . Bruce Boxleitner tonight!” And since young people may read this I will not repeat what she said to that. 😊 Needless to say, she was equally as excited.