Review: Chiller Theater 2013

Conventions is one of my favorite pass times, getting to meet the neat people who’ve worked on Ninja Turtles.  Go to panels and learn more about the industry.  And hang out with fellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans.  I shared in Cowabunga Corner episode 12 how I go about choosing my conventions and a few of the conventions I’ve gone to in the past.  I still do conventions, not as often as I did back in the mid 2000’s, though when one stands out I try to make it to the event.  This time I found my way to Chiller Theater to meet two awesome people that have acted for TMNT.  Here is my review of Chiller Theater 2013.

I arrived on Saturday, getting the wristband I figured the first thing I would do is locate where the guests were but this was not like a normal convention at all.  The guests were in room after room through the main floor of the hotel.  I did not get a program right away so just took a guess at where to go.  There were other guests at the event I wanted to see so felt it would be good to get a layout of the building.  Though they did not have any public maps up.  There was many pictures of the guests up in the hall saying “In this room”, they did not look like those were put up by the convention staffers.  This gave me some concern.

Shortly after arriving at the convention we met up with some other friends. One of which is a good friend of mine who I’ve known since 1996, on TMNT-L he is known as Shredder.  Online Shredder is the friend I’ve known the longest that I am still in touch with.  He brought with him, a Mattel Back to the Future Hoverboard to get autographed by James Tolkan.

As soon as I got my wristband I went on the search to find David Warner.  David Warner is Professor Jordan Perry in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.  That is his only connection to the Turtles.  He’s been in many other movies and TV shows.  I remember getting a laugh out of seeing him in Titanic where he held the lead role who was played by an actor named Leonardo at gunpoint.  So there was the joke that Prof. Jordan Perry held Leonardo at gunpoint.  He lives in England so it is not often to see him doing an appearance in the United States.  This was to be my first time meeting him.  I had a few things to get autographed, wanted one photo with him and to ask him for an interview on Cowabunga Corner.  I also brought a handful of trading cards, was going to get a feel for how things would be and if things went good I would’ve asked him to sign the cards to give away free to fans through the contests that we do here on Cowabunga Corner.

The first room I went into was a very tight fit, a bottleneck where if people stopped in front of us we could not move to get around them.  This hallway had guests doing autographs on both sides of the hall.  I made my way into the room down there and could see that there was a few rooms on this higher level with people doing autographs in them as well.  I did see two people I wanted to say hi too, Shani Wallis and Mark Lester who played Nancy and Oliver in the 1968 musical “Oliver”.  This is a movie I grew up with most of my life and remains one of my favorite musicals of all time.  I was excited to meet them, but was not buying autographs or photos until I met the two guests at this event from TMNT.  After saying hi to them, we talked to a few other guests and went back on the search.  The only exit from this area is through the same bottleneck hall that we had to come in through.

Once we got out of the bottleneck hallway we went into a big room that was just to the left of it. I walked around looking at the different people in this room.  In that room we found James Tolkan, and Shredder got his Hoverboard autographed.  Though there was no sign of David Warner or Jeffrey Combs, which was the other guest I was looking forward to seeing.  So I asked someone to see their program, they showed me and we see the name of the room that David Warner is in.  I got out into the hall and asked for directions to that room, we were given very vague directions and I tried to follow them.   This search took a bit, as I found a hallway of rooms with people selling stuff and doing autographs.  The last room in this hallway had Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork from the Monkees.

We went in and said hi to Micky.  I decided at this time to split from the rest of the room, with just Shredder joining me to go and find David.  I got out in the hall and asked another person where that room was, and this person helped us find it.  I went in and the room was large with a lot of people signing.  I found David and he was talking with the lady next to him.  I went up and waited, not wanting to be rude and cut into this conversation.  After a little bit of standing there, they noticed us and I said hi to him.  I pulled out my ooze canister to show him, when he asked if he was signing that I told him I could not do that on this trip.  Though when Shredder heard this, he helped me get it autographed.  What I did have autographed was my T-shirt.  I told him I’ll be back for a photo later with my sister and her camera.

I knew the next person I had to find was Jeffrey Combs so I mentioned finding one of those programs and someone overheard me and handed theirs over saying they were done with it for the show.  I checked the book and Jeffrey was in the room across the hall from here.  So I headed down to that room.  Jeffrey Combs is the voice of the Rat King in the Nickelodeon TMNT series.  This is also my first time meeting Jeffrey.  I brought in my Nickelodeon TMNT DVD cover to be autographed, and joked about the fact that he did not have any photos of the Rat King on his table.  We talked a little and he told me this was the first thing he’s never signed of the Rat King and even wrote #1 on my autograph.  I told him that I will return later with my sister to get a photo there as well.

We met up with Miki and her friend, Jen.  Jen was traveling with Miki and I on this trip and has been a friend of ours for years.  We went and got photos done with both David Warner and Jeffrey Combs.  Then Shredder took us out to eat for lunch.  Once we got back to the show I looked at the program for the event and realized there was barely any panels.  This is when I realized this truly is a one day type of convention.  There is no large pull to bring us back.  We went in and spent some time with one of Miki’s other friend’s at the convention.  Around that time, I bumped into a friend that I know from online, Beechan.  I did not realize who she was right away because she was in costume, it was good to see a friend.  Wish we could've hung out some more.  Though she had to go get food.  After she left, I spent time just walking around a little.  I found the dealer room, which was a lot bigger than I would've guessed it to be.  Even found TMNT items for sale there.

After that I went and spent some time outside, before Miki and her friends found me and we went back in together.  The con was closing for the day, besides for a concert that was starting at 8:30.  We hung out at the restaurant inside the hotel lobby, but when the concert started I called it a night.

The following day we showed back up for the event.  That day I wanted to get a photo with Shani Wallis and Mark Lester, that was the only real goal I held.  We spent the morning just catching up with people and looking around, even walked more through the dealer room to get a better look at the place.  Shredder was not going to the event that day, though picked Miki and I up for lunch so we could hang out some more while we were in town.  Once we got back to the event, we walked around saying our goodbyes to friends at the event.  We got our photos with Shani Wallis and Mark Lester right at the end of the convention.  Afterwards we hung out with friends late into the evening.

I go to a lot of conventions and find that if I’m going to travel for an event, I enjoy having more to it than just autograph sessions.  This is why I enjoy Question and Answer Panels, or themed panels for movies or shows.  It makes it so you can have so much to look forward too.  This convention was poorly laid out to where it was not easy to find the guests you go to see, guests were putting their own signs in the hallway to try and help the attendees find them.  Autographs, while chosen by the guests were higher priced than I normally find them.  Most conventions there’s a difference in prices between having your own item signed or getting the stuff at the table.  It was a disappointment.

Which is how I felt with a lot of the event.  Friends made the event worth being at.  While I know others enjoyed the event a lot.  I saw a lot of smiles, I also noticed that most people who went were only doing one day.  Though it is not an event I really want to return too.  Nothing bad happened, and the people I met were great.  Just felt there was something missing with the lack of events.

Have you gone to Chiller Theater? If so, which show did you go too? Did you go to see certain guests?  Tell us your thoughts on this event over all!  Please post all reviews, comments and questions below.

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