I am, so it seems, BACK!
Altogether, Animania IV was an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience (this from the driver with the most mishaps within the limits of southern California).
I arrived at LAX about 15 minutes early, then waited 45 minutes in the rental car line. Still and all, even with slow traffic on the 405, I made it to the Travelodge at 12:05 -- and met Peter Yu, Rex Wheeler and Andy Mutchler (who had ridden to a voice tour stop in Austin with me and was one of two participants I had previously met). We hung out in the lobby for a half-hour or so and waited for the other folks to show up.
Then we took an hour-long, scenic drive up into the mountains to wait at a rest stop for the Roberts/Tindall vehicle (which, we were to discover a couple of hours later, had already been and gone). Kane Leung has about 45 minutes of camcorder footage of us (and other rest stoppers) milling about, grumbling, and formulating plans detrimental to Brendan's health). After the aforementioned fearless (mostly) leader finally learned via answering machine that our trip was indeed in vain, we made our way back to LA.
A trip to the Glendale Galleria reaped both a productive trip to the WBSS and a rather distructive one to the D*sn*y Store (wherein nefarious things involving plushies took place....). Armed with dubious directions, we set out for dinner -- and took an impromptu tour of several lovely Southern California highways and a questionable neighborhood convenience store -- none of which lead to the designated site for sustenance. Whereupon Peter, Rex and I adjourned to the hotel for pizza, HBO movies, and a quick calculation involving the 100 mile-per-day limit on my rental car agreement .....
Of course, the trip to WBA / WB more than made up for any inconvenience suffered elsewhere. I helped Rex put together the trip report, so there's not much to add there, except for the fact that I embarassed myself royally by mispronouncing Andrea Romano's name (to her face). I also feel a bit like the unofficial WB tour guide (I navigated our group to the comissary and back to the parking garage -- I'd been on the lot before). Jess, Tress, Kevin P., Karen Tindall, Kim Roberts, Jay Maynard and I were interviewed by a reporter from E! (who IMHO couldn't interview his way out of a wet paper bag, but that's another story . . .) Look for the report to air sometime in the first week of September -- the publicist is supposed to let us know the exact time when she finds out.
Celebrity sightings on the lot included: Mark Harmon (on a bicycle), JoBeth Williams and William Heard (in rehearsal for their new series, 'The Client'), Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (who had just finished a 'meet the folks' session with a group of 'Lois and Clark' fan club members), Patricia Kalember (in her trailer waiting for a 'Sisters' shoot) and Halle Barry (just walking down the lot looking ravishing).
As befits a true Goddess, I managed to leave empty Snapple bottles on top of trash cans all over the lot. It's a signature thing . . .
On Saturday, my pal Pat Fraley ('The Tick', 'TMNT', 'Tailspin', 'Scooby Doo' and NUMEROUS other toons) came by the hotel while we were watching 'The Tick'. He entertained the group with industry insider stories about 'life in the booth'. Saturday afternoon Rex Wheeler and I went to a refurbished movie theater on Sunset to screen a retrospective of restored (mostly) pre-code Max Fleischer toons. Awesome!
Sunday morning, Rex and I left the hotel at about 9:30 am to head for the airport. We were half-way to LAX before Rex told me he was flying out of *Burbank*. I did an about-face and headed back to Burbank to drop him off. Half-way back to LAX, I heard a phone ringing -- Rex had left his cell phone in my rental car. After turning the car in at Budget, I took the bus to Terminal 3 to ship it back to him from the Alaska Airlines cargo desk. Then back to Terminal 1 to check by baggage for my flight. As I was waiting upstairs for my boarding pass I realized I had misplaced the envelope containing all my keepsakes from the trip -- the 'Animania IV Participating Vehicle' sign with all the autographs on it, my pic of Skippy with the Ruegger kids' signatures, my WB parking pass . . . At last report, Kane was going to check around today to see if he could track it down. Everybody should think good thoughts and wish him well in this . . .
It was an unforgettable trip -- my only regret is that not everyone who wanted to go was able to go. We missed you all!
-- pinki --