NIMR ReportsIn Conjunction With
VOYAGE-IN-PERSONOctober 9-11 1998
WITH VERY SPECIAL GUESTS
TERRY BECKER ...................................... CHIEF SHARKEY
DEL MONROE .................................................... KOWALSKI
ALLAN HUNT............................................................... RILEY
Photo Courtesy of The Irwin Allen News Network
VIP MAIN COMMITTEE:
(who unfortunately was unable to attend the convention)
THURSDAY, October 8, 1998:
- Del and Linda Monroe arrived at the Novotel between 5-5:30 pm (local time). At approximately 6:45 pm, Terry Becker walked through the doors, having driven in by car from Heathrow with Allan Hunt and his wife, Suzanne.
- To make sure the fellows felt like real "royalty" (i.e., VIPS), waiting for each actor in his room was a silver helium balloon saying "WELCOME", a basket of flowers, a box of English chocolates, a bottle of champagne, two glasses engraved with VIP '98, and a special Voyage-In-Person tee-shirt -- khaki for Terry, red for Del, and blue for Allan. All three gentlemen were overwhelmed by this heartfelt display of affection.
- Several lucky Voyage fans have already had an opportunity to meet and greet the guys. However, having traveled to England from California (an 8 hour time difference), our favorite submariners were feeling a bit jet-lagged and therefore made an early night of it.
FRIDAY, October 9, 1998:
- Del and Linda Monroe are thoroughly enjoying this, their first visit to jolly old England. (Allan and Terry have been here before.) Earlier in the week they did the standard tourist bit in London. The beauty and majesty of English architecture have interested both Del and Linda, as did a side trip to Canterbury -- where Del's mother hails from.
- The morning and early afternoon found convention attendees still arriving and getting to know one another.
- Mid-afternoon ... Susan and Pauline Pendrey had arranged for a news photographer to come take pictures of Terry, Del and Allan in an upstairs suite. The reporter will be coming later in the weekend to do an interview with the Voyage stars.
- At 6:30 pm, Jeanette Georgala escorted our three heroes to the Reception in the Periscope Island Bar -- the men were wearing their VIP tee-shirts! Jeanette introduced them to the guests -- many of whom were a bit actor-shy at first. After that, they went for dinner in the hotel.
- 8 pm - Trivia Quizzes ... The first quiz was a matching test. A list of Voyage's 110 episodes on one side; 110 song titles on the other. The idea was to equate the song title to the episode it best described. (No word on who won that one.) The other quiz was done with video clips of the actors' performances -- mostly in shows other than Voyage. A tough test -- especially since the sound system wasn't working! Fear not, Terry Becker jumped right in and started ad libbing. Perhaps inspired by Terry, Del, too, threw in a comic line here and there. (There were clips of Del Monroe, Terry Becker, Paul Carr and Henry Kulky.) Each actor was seated at a different table so all the fans could have access.
- 10 pm - Del, Allan and Terry rehearsed the skit they've written just for the VIP Convention. Written by Allan Hunt, the play looks to be quite funny. (Yes, somebody peeked!) Three "civilians" have been drafted by the boys to act as co-stars.
- The Enemy Below was screened at 8 pm in the Video Room. Next came the Time Tunnel episode with Del Monroe. "The Machines Strike Back" was also aired for the enjoyment of Voyage fans. At 10:30, Carole Whittaker and Sue Trent chaired a fun Voyage discussion: "Why is it that ... ?"
- An interesting and nostalgic five-minute video montage of various Voyage moments (put to music) was presented to the approbation of conventioneers.
- On display throughout the weekend is a "VOYAGE" banner (for all to sign), and a 1964 Photo Board -- A Who's Who at the convention. All guests were asked to bring pictures of themselves circa '64. And there are baby pics of the guys!
SATURDAY, October 10, 1998:
- At 9 am The House on Telegraph Hill was screened -- to the great pleasure of Richard Basehart fans.
- 9:15 in the Main Hall: Fans did the 'Rock 'n Roll' as Seaview got hit by a shock wave! (That was just to make sure everyone was awake!)
- Jeanette took Terry, Del and Allan downstairs for the Opening Ceremony at which another sequence of Voyage video clips was shown to music. This one contained shots of the three playing cards in the Mess Hall, having a fight, and other familiar scenes we all know and love.
- Next, Ian Boyce introduced the VIP Committee to the audience. Then, it was Jeanette's turn to welcome the actors. (It was her meeting with them in America last year that made their appearances at VIP a reality.) At that point, Jeanette explained that the fans had something they wanted to say to Terry, Allan and Del. They "said it" to the tune of Rogers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things". The fans' unrehearsed performance went off unbelievably well. The gentlemen were very touched by the gesture. [Click here to see the text of "Our Favorite Things"]
- When Terry Becker came on stage, the first thing he did was thank everyone for the flowers, for the balloons, for the chocolates ... for everything. Since they can't very well take the flowers on the plane home with them, the boys have generously offered to give them away to the attending guests. Whoever wants to may take a flower from Terry's, Del's or Allan's basket and keep it as a personal memento.
- A panel session followed and was followed by a photo op. For the pictures, Terry sat in a chair; behind him stood Del on the left, Allan on the right. Each fan would come and place him or herself in between Del and Allan, and Alison Reed would snap the picture. Afterward, she ran down to the local shop and had all the pics developed so everyone could have a copy right away. (Now that's service, folks! Just another indication of how very warm, personal and intimate this Voyage Convention is. In fact, it's less a convention than it is a family gathering.)
- The autograph session with the actors occurred next and was very successful.
- After Lunch, Commander Jeff Tall of the Submarine Museum gave a talk about "His Life on Submarines".
- Terry Becker's Q&A was cancelled because things began running very late. It was decided to go right into the plays.
- "Ladies of the Seaview" by Alwyn Chappell went on first. This was a very funny piece about two cleaning ladies on our beloved sub who come across all kinds of strange "things" in the course of their duties. [Click on the title to see the script.]
- "No Escape From the Terror of the Nightmare of the Phantom from the Deadly Past", another fan skit, came next. [Click on the title to see the script.]
- And then, the pros put on a play for the fans. Del was dressed in a red boiler suit, Allan in blue, and Terry was wearing beige pants and a beige shirt. By all accounts, as the play started, everyone felt as if it were 1965 all over again. Goosebumps and chills went through the audience. To hear the actors' voices, to see their faces, and to watch them step into those characters we all love so very much, even these 34 years later, caused a sense of deja vu that will never be forgotten by the people who witnessed it. It was an eerily wonderful, fabulous few minutes! The fans gave the boys a standing ovation after it was over. [Click here to see the text of the actors' Voyage Skit.] After the performances, copies of the plays were given to everyone as a souvenir.
- Terry, Allan and Del also prepared two songs with which to entertain the guests. The first was sung by Terry Becker to the tune of "Sunrise, Sunset" and was called "Up Scope, Down Scope". The second was a takeoff of "I Remember It Well", and was performed by all three gentlemen. (Allan Hunt was at the keyboard.) The crowd was surprised, astounded and otherwise thrilled beyond measure!
- Del Monroe's Q&A was scheduled next, and Del asked Allan to do the session with him. One thing they talked about was how Bob Dowdell got the part of Chip Morton. It seems Irwin Allen had asked David Hedison along to watch Bob's audition tape -- which happened to be a death scene from Stoney Burke. Dowdell is dying on screen and David is praising the actor's ability. The scene ends. David says to Irwin: "That's pretty good, don't you think?" Irwin responds: "I don't like him." David asks why not and Mr. Allen replies: "He doesn't have a sense of humor." So after that, he hired him!
- At the costume party tonight, Allan, Del, Terry and Commander Jeff Tall acted as judges. And the winner was ... Val Raven, who came dressed as the "Shadowman". Congratulations Val! All the costumers paraded around in a circle in front of the judges, at which point, Allan Hunt decided to play an accompaniment on the keyboard. The parade then turned into a funny kind of dance to Allan's honky-tonk beat!
- The Dealers' Room has been open all day. Voyage stuff is selling like hotcakes!
- Other videos shown have been Stoney Burke, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (the movie), City Beneath the Sea, Hart to Hart (with David Hedison), and more ...
- At precisely 7:29 and 50 seconds, Carole Whittaker began a ten second countdown to "Eleven Days to Zero"(marking 34 years to the second that Voyage premiered on British television).
- After watching the pilot, all those gathered took a moment to raise their glasses in a toast. The glasses, by the way, were filled with "Seaview" wine. (Believe it or not, Seaview wine is an actual spirit from Australia!) The toast was offered in honor of everyone who made VIP possible, from the committee, to the guests, to the actors, and to the many people behind the scenes who lent a hand in some way or another. Also, each guest had "poppers" and "crackers" -- English noise-makers. Inside the "crackers" were little orange fluffy bugs which said: FOUND IN SEAVIEW'S CIRCUITRY ROOM. (Claire Saunders went out and bought 120 "crackers", unwrapped them, stuffed all the bugs inside, and then re-wrapped them! Thank you, Claire, for going above and beyond the call of duty!)
- At 9:15 the cakes came out. The first was a sheet cake that said: HAPPY 34th BIRTHDAY! The other was a two and a half-footer built in the shape of the SSRN Seaview, designed and baked by Jerry Hunter of Jerry's Cakes. Terry Becker and Allan Hunt cut into the bow portion of the sub, Del Monroe and Commander Tall carved up the stern! As he cut into the windows, Terry joked about having chopped up our beloved Admiral Nelson! (Is that insubordination?) Someone in the crowd commented that this was like a wedding. Therefore, Allan ought to feed cake to Terry -- so he did! Everyone had a marvelous time.
- We should let you know that Bob Dowdell made his presence felt at the convention. For the second fan skit ("No Escape From ..."), a cutout of Chip Morton was pasted onto the wall, and stayed there for the entire day. During her toast, Jeanette made a joke about Voyage monsters. She further teased when she said there was a monster behind her -- referring of course to the cutout of Dowdell. Incensed Morton fans booed and hissed appropriately on behalf of their man!
- Lucky lady Jeanette Georgala danced with our dear Terry Becker at the disco later in the evening. It was an old-fashioned slow dance; Terry led with his left. The Chief tried his best to get Jeanette to do a complicated twirl, but he ran into a slight terpsichorean generation gap!
- Just for fun, there's a special caption contest going on. There's a picture of Kowalski, Patterson and crewman Clark (Paul Carr); the other shot is a spaghetti-type monster floating down over the Flying Sub. The contest will be judged tomorrow.
- One last tidbit from the panel session today ... Del mentioned that he went to his doctor last week for his annual checkup. The doctor casually inquired about what was coming up for Del in the near future. Naturally, Del talked of his upcoming trip to England for the 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' Convention. "'Voyage ...' Wasn't David Hedison in that?" asked the doctor. A surprised Del Monroe answered in the affirmative and wondered why the doctor had mentioned David of all people. "Oh," replied the physician, "because he was just here for his annual physical last week." Small world, huh?
SUNDAY, October 11, 1998:
- The auction took place at 10:30 am, and was run by Allan Hunt and Gill Trevor. Among other things up for bid were books,
photos, scripts, a program from a play David Hedison starred in this past summer, "Alone Together", signed by David especially for the VIP auction. Then the actors auctioned off teddy bears in their likenesses. (Also on the block were an Admiral Nelson bear, a Captain Crane bear, and a Chip Morton bear.) Amazingly, the Sharkey bear, the Kowalski bear and the Riley bear all sold for 60 pounds each!!! The paper chef's hat that Terry wore in the skit on Saturday also sold well. Terry signed it for the lucky guy who outbid everyone. The same person also bought the shoebox with the toilet paper in it. (You've got to read the actors' play to know what we're talking about.) The TP went for 15 pounds! All totaled, the auction benefited the Royal Navy Submarine Museum by about 1000 pounds.
- An autograph session followed. Many fans brought in Allan Hunt's VIP skit script for the boys to sign. Surely a one of a kind treasure.
- The actors went for a tour of the Dealers' Room, the Art/Model Room, and were very impressed with what they saw.
- Del Monroe started off the panel session by himself, while Uncle Terry took a break for lunch. Allan found his way into the room and decided he would ask questions! Eventually, Del managed to get his comrade to the mike with him. Before long, Terry joined the party and all three spent time answering questions from curious Voyage fans.
- Meanwhile, various films were running all through the day. Screenings included an episode of Hawaii Five-O with Paul Carr, Quincy with Allan Hunt, Rawhide with Terry Becker, The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen, and some of the great Voyage episodes such as: "The Buccaneer", "The Saboteur", "Escape From Venice", "No Way Back", and "The Phantom Strikes".
- The Raffle took place around 3:00. The guys sat at a table and pulled out the winning names from a box. Believe it or not, Del pulled Terry's name! His prize was a tin of sweets. Allan accused Terry of picking his own name, but the charge proved false! Our Chief would never cheat!!! (Although he did have a "colorful" youth, didn't he?)
- At sometime during the day, Jeanette put in a call to The Rising Star Convention in Virginia -- to show solidarity with other Irwin Allen fans. She had the good fortune to speak with Heather Young, Deanna Lund and Don Marshall.
- As the closing ceremony approached emotions were running high. Thank yous were handed out all around. For a farewell present, the Committee gave each actor a teddy bear in his character's uniform and a gift-wrapped box. Jeanette had the mike for this part of the ceremony. Bob Dowdell was still hanging on the back wall, and he was given a pat on the shoulder as well. The fellas all opened their presents at the same time. Inside they found a silver Seaview pin from the whole convention. Remember the flowers the men found waiting for them when they arrived at the hotel on Friday? In the end it was decided to auction Allan's blue vase and Terry's and Del's baskets to aid the Submarine Museum charity. After all the presentations were done, Jeanette told the guys there was one last thing everyone wanted to say. Once again, without so much as a minute's rehearsal, the fans broke into song -- a reprise of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things" retitled: "Our Favorite Guys". And then it was over.
- Terry left with Del and Linda Monroe in a taxi which took them off to Heathrow. Allan and Suzanne were staying one extra night, so they went out for pizza with those of the crowd who were left.
- You didn't hear it from us, but Jeanette took Terry, Del and Allan on a top secret mission, which Voyage fans will hear more about in the very near future!
- Okay everybody, the future is NOW! Those wonderful fellas known as Terry Becker, Del Monroe and Allan Hunt completed their mission and are now ready to make their report. If you'd like to hear a lovely, loving, heartfelt message from the three greatest guys this side of Santa Barbara, click on Greetings from the Guys! (This is a 1.2 megabyte AU file which takes a while to load. You can also listen to the message as a streamed audio file with Real Player by clicking HERE. If you don't yet have Real Player Audio, click on the logo to download a free version: .)
- For those of us who couldn't get over to England for this historic event, there is now an official picture album website at The Irwin Allen News Network. You can see the Seaview cake, you can see the Chief tripping the light fantastic, you can see the guys as they were making their report (see previous bullet), you can see photos of the auction, the various skits, and a whole lot more. You'll feel as though you had actually been to VIP. Click here for VIP Photos 1, VIP Photos 2, VIP Photos 3.
- For more information, including details on obtaining memorabilia from VIP, please visit The Irwin Allen News Network's Official V.I.P. Website
If you would like to comment on anything you have seen or heard here about VIP, or, if you've attended any conventions featuring Irwin Allen actors and actresses, and would like to share your adventures with other fans through the IANN website and journal, please feel free to send e-mails, reports and/or photos to: The Irwin Allen News Network.
We hope you enjoyed these daily reports of the goings-on at VIP. So when, you ask, will the next Voyage Convention take place ...?
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