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Volume 1778

My Breakfast with Nancy 
Ending the 2007 Dum-Dum with Denny Miller’s wife
By Ken Manson

    Someone at Bionicon spent $6,000 to eat dinner with the original "Bionic Woman," Lindsay Wagner, and the winning bid was $5,300 for lunch with actor Richard Anderson, according to Nancy Miller. I spent $13.15 for my own breakfast with tip and had a very nice meal with the wife of "Tarzan, The Ape Man" actor Denny Miller during the last day of the 2007 Dum-Dum, Aug. 2-5, in Louisville.

     Let’s start with the end of the convention. Having arrived close to 9 a.m. Sunday in the Magnolia Café of The Galt House for the farewell breakfast, I found my friends and fellow Muckers already had filled up tables. Left with vacancies at large tables with people I did not know well -- although Burroughs fans are very friendly people -- I spotted a "two-top" where Nancy Miller was sitting alone. Denny was at the two-top behind her and eating with a fan. The lovely Nancy graciously said I could sit with her and I learned more about her and Denny.

     Nancy said she had worked in public relations, at Nordstrom department stores and recently as a substitute teacher in Las Vegas where they live. She and Denny met in California and her former husband was Denny’s doctor. He also was divorced, from an actress.

     They travel a lot, mostly in August and September, when there seems to be the most conventions; many are western-oriented. Denny does not get many royalties from television shows anymore, she said. 

     A highlight of the convention was meeting my first Tarzan actor, Denny, and having him sign his autobiography, Didn’t You Used to Be What’s His Name?, and a Tom Weaver article about him in Burroughs Bulletin No. 47. 

     After breakfast, we checked out. Jim and Yoko Hadac,  French visitor Philippe Badre and I piled into the Ford Taurus rental car and headed back to Chicago.

     It took us only 5-1/2 hours to drive from Chicago to Louisville, with food and gas stops, along I-65 through Indianapolis. It took 8-1/2 hours back, because we/I decided to take a different way -- on I-64 west toward St. Louis and up I-57 into Chicago. We wanted to stop in Superman's hometown of Metropolis but that was at least one hour south of where we intersected I-57 and would have cost us two hours there and back to where we started. We barely made it to Chicago in time to get Philippe on his plane at O’Hare Airport for a 7:15 flight. We went directly to O’Hare and arrived with 1-1/2 hours to spare.

    The trip down on Thursday took a slight detour when we had to stop at an Office Depot so Jim and Philippe could make copies of their Muckers Magazine submissions. 

     In Louisville, when we turned off River Road onto Fourth Street, we could not find the Galt House hotel. We went maybe 10 blocks, turned around and asked a passer-by. She pointed us to this big building that had Galt House painted on the side that we couldn’t see coming from the other direction.

     It was a long walk to the huckster room at the farthest end of the hotel tower on the third floor. But it was bigger than Oak Park's, my only previous Dum-Dum.

     I was disappointed Thursday when we arrived at 5 p.m. and most of the huckster tables already were covered for the night. Hearing the room would be closed Friday because of the panels in the William F. Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville, I was worried I would have only one day to shop – on Saturday. But the huckster room opened after 5 p.m. Friday and I made plenty of purchases that day and the next. There were plenty of items, such as biographies of Maureen O’Sullivan and Glenn Morris,  that I wanted to buy but felt I could not afford.

    At registration, I got an official Dum-Dum T-shirt and a canvas goody bag containing a program; badge; banquet ticket; auction bidding card; copy of a photo autographed by Eve Brent to Gordon Scott; a 2008 calendar courtesy of the Bibliophiles; 2007 Dum-Dum  pinback button;  and Bibliophiles pin. The badge, T-shirt and other printed materials had a Venus drawing by cover artist Richard Hescox on them.

    The Mucker contingent included  Ken Manson;  Jeff "Elmo" Long and girlfriend Karen; Greg Phillips; Jim and Yoko Hadac; Joan Bledig; Ray and Shirley LeBeau;  Jerry Spannraft and Candy. Also Laurence Dunn, Mike Conran, J.G. Huckenpohler and Bill Ross, who have contributed to the magazine. Philippe also contributed an article to Muckers Magazine No. 4, which was assembled at the convention. We put together 25 copies of a 48-page issue and sold the extras to non-members.

     I wanted to recreate the cover for Muckers Magazine No. 2, drawn by Greg with sketches of all of us as Muckers. Everyone was there but Ellen Vartanoff and Bruce Wood. It never worked out. Maybe next time and we’ll wear vintage hats, like in the drawing.

     I skipped dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack because it was a walk of couple blocks away (at least double that, say those who went) but had a nice dinner with Ray and Shirley; Jerry and Candy; Tyner; Philippe and Fred  (whose last name I didn’t catch).

     The first event Friday, at 10 a.m., was Muckers Jeopardy. I thought it was too early because I had trouble rounding up Muckers for the 23-block drive to the Ekstrom Library. We thought the game was well-received even though we had only two, instead of three, members on each of the three teams. 

    Another highlight was seeing the Burroughs and Bob Hyde-contributed collections in the Rare Book Room of the library during tours. Other Friday events included meet the artists and hearing from Hescox and Denny;  and a slide show by Dorothy Howell of Tarzan-era fashions. During a lunch break, about three dozen of us walked to the student center with a choice of Subway or Wendy’s. Bob Hyde’s children and grandchildren later helped dedicate his collection and a reception followed.

    On Saturday, Tyner hosted a panel on the past, present and future of the Burroughs Bibliophiles, followed by the Bibliophiles board meeting. Then the annual auction with proceeds (more than $2,000 as I recall) going to the Bibliophiles. 

    The high point of Saturday was the separate auction in which the Muckers raised $1,750 selling the last issue of Muckers Magazine No. 1 for $200; materials from Muckers Jeopardy for $250 and Muckers Monpoly for $1,300, all  to Brad Vinson in spirited bidding. I heard one man say the Muckers game we worked on is beautiful (thanks, Joan and Greg).

    That night's banquet featured  a few Southern dishes. Richard Hescox got the Golden Lion award; Denny got a painting of him. Mike Chapman talked about Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett) and Gordon Scott, former Tarzan actors who died this year. Sky Brower read a tribute to Scott from actress Eve Brent. Hescox talked about his work. Dunn and George McWhorter hosted the ceremony. Denny Miller also talked. 

    Overall, I acquired 43 items during the Dum-Dum, none at the auction, although I bid.  They included a sketch by Richard Hescox for Lost on Venus – he also signed BB No. 19; the signed Denny Miller autobiography; Johnny Weisimuller bio signed by Johnny Sheffield; Canaveral Press first edition of  The Moon Men; four more Burroughs Bulletins (new series) to try to close the run; six Dell and nine Gold Key Tarzan comics; seven ERB-doms;  seven Tarzines, Erbania or ERB News Datelines; and five French comics from Philippe.

    Other memories: Getting and eventually reading the Bob Hyde memorial book; trying to say Lou-uh-ville, instead of Lou-ee-ville; socializing in lounges on the third-floor walk between towers; people remembering me although I haven’t seen them since the 2005 Oak Park Dum-Dum (a name badge helps); and spending $7 in the third-floor lounge for a mint julep that didn’t even have a sprig of fresh mint in it.

    I brought a small box of books to sell at the Muckers table, hoping to offset some of my costs, or at least the $65 registration. I sold only $28 worth, but that was fine. It paid the cost of my two dinners. 

    I look forward to Waterloo, Iowa, proposed as being the next Dum-Dum, and Dayton, Ohio, the next year.

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