All in all this was a GREAT Dum-dum especially for a couple
of first timers. We met a lot of new friends (including the Hillmans) learned
a lot about Dum-dums and ECOF gatherings, and just generally enjoyed ourselves.
And... I have it all on tape! (See
footnote) I decided then to try to make either a Dum-dum or
ECOF gathering each year. However, this was not to be.
In 2000 I planned to attend the ECOF in Clarksville. I sent my registration
check to Jim Thompson and then proceeded to make travel arrangements. First
I contacted George McWhorter to ensure that I would be included on a tour
of the Louisville library. Then I made my flight arrangements to arrive
in Nashville and depart from Louisville. I made arrangements for a car
rental to be picked up in Nashville and dropped off in Louisville. I had
even scheduled an extra day on this trip just so I could get up to Louisville.
Everything had been worked out.
"So what happened?" you might ask. Well instead of taking my trip, I
took a long walk off a short roof and spent the next ten weeks in the house.
(Sorry, no pictures, because I looked like something out of a Freddy Krueger
movie.) The first couple of weeks all I did was sleep. The next eight I
spent learning that there is nothing on daytime television.
I did get souvenirs from "The Moon Maid" convention and I was there
in spirit. Ken Webber brought me some stuff back and brought it down to
me during one of his visits. Jim gave me the option of a refund or a package
containing the registration goodies. I, of course, took the package.
In 2001 we planned to attend the Dum-dum in Florida, but after we purchased
our tickets for a trip to Belgium the Dum-dum date was changed to the same
weekend we were flying out. We worked on it, but could not come up with
a way to do both. Things are getting serious now. Two years and no convention.
In 2002 we decided to make up for the missed conventions by attending
both the Dum-dum in College Station, Texas and the ECOF in Los Angeles.
College Station was a great time again. The first person we met up with
was Laurence Dunn. He was just wandering around waiting for people to show
up. We asked him to join us to get lunch, and he did. After that we just
kept meeting friends; old and new. This convention was made memorable by
Brad Vinson's wonderful hospitality in opening his home and allowing us
to drool over his fabulous collection. His special treat of a plaster of
Paris figurine for each person at the banquet was just great also.
On our way back to Houston, we stopped in Huntsville to spend the day
with my sister. They took us to see some of the nearby sights, but not
including their place of employment. The Texas Department of Corrections
at Huntsville is not high on my list of places to be, even for a visit.
For ECOF 2002 we returned to the Los Angeles area. We arrived too late
to get in on the reception Danton held. We went directly from the airport
to Danton's and arrived at his house at about 8:00. We thought we might
still get in on the last of it, since the reception was supposed to last
until 8:30. However, we observed that there was only a car or two present
and no one wandering around, so we did not knock. We were really bummed
out about missing that and resolved from that point on, to arrive early
the day before any convention officially starts.
Well things got much better the next day. There was the huckster room,
the stars (Lydie Denier, Bruce Boxleitner, Denny Miller, Eve Brent), the
panels, the artists, the banquet, all our old friends, our new friends.
This was a much better year as we had had a double dose of the ERB support
group. We had met a lot of old friends and made a few new ones. I was calm
now. Everything would be fine. It is only a few months until the next convention.
Of course we had to go to the 2003 Dum-dum in Louisville. Finally a
chance to see "the" collection, which we did... twice. Then there were
the different groups going together for meals. And, of course, the auction,
panels, the regular attendees, and the special guests.
The reception at the library was a blast. A chance to mingle with old
friends and to make new ones, like Walter and Veronika Tauser from Austria.
We also met Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell. They are a delightful couple.
We saw a vehicle in the parking garage with the license plates "XTARZAN"
and we just assumed that they belonged to a fan. Later Denny Miller was
telling us about his new (to him) vehicle and then it dawned on me what
the plate meant. This vehicle belonged to an ex-Tarzan.
We had to go to Churchill Downs before leaving the area, so we invited
Walter and Veronika Tauser to accompany us.
Just a wonderful time again, and again captured on tape. And then the
announcement... "The next Dum-dum will be in Fort Collins." What? In COLORADO?
We could drive!
The 2004 Dum-dum awaits us, but already, it was almost another miss.
Again, we made plans for a trip to Belgium and again the date is changed.
This time, however, we had not yet purchased our tickets. Since we will
be so close to the Dum-dum we were able to shift our trip a few days to
allow us to attend the Dum-dum and fly out the following Monday for Europe.
We will be there!
Regardless of where the Dum-dums or ECOFs have been held we have always
had an extremely good time with all of our old and new friends.
It has been my custom
to transfer my video records from 8mm tape to standard VHS tape and make
these conventions available to anyone who wanted it, if they would pay
the cost of postage from me to them. That offer will still be available
at this year's Dum-dum, but now Abner Perry has perfected his technique
for making DVDs from my tapes and offering them at a very reasonable price.
At this time he has available the 2003 and 2002 Dum-dums and the 2002 ECOF.
The 1999 Dum-dum should be available soon and I assume that the 2004 Dum-dum
will be available later in the year. Interested parties should see his
site at http://www.erbatlas.com/jacketstore.shtml.