Day 1. I’ve never done an event with this many people. A crowd of 50,000 was expected. I remember my son telling me that when he played drums with REM the first time, he walked onto a stage at a Free Tibet concert with 500,000 fans cheering them on. Now that’s a very good shock to your nervous system. Things like this can be overwhelming, but I try to stay in the moment and experience it with joy.
Jered and I packed up (mostly Jered) and hit the road for our 50 mile journey to the Anaheim Convention Center, across the street from Disneyland. I decided to bring a mannequin with the outfit I wore in my last scene on Batman’s “Joker Goes to School” episode. Hopefully it would stand up to the wear and tear. So far, it has stood the test of time (46 years) with just a little stubbornness performed by the zipper! We also brought a laptop to play my Batman episodes for fans. Old and young alike were mesmerized. I certainly know how to put a smile on their faces… just show them Adam and Burt in tights!
The first person I encountered was Lou Ferrigno, The Hulk himself. After all, we’re at WonderCon. It is indeed a pop culture event AND a place to dress up in your favorite super hero or villain costume. Fantasy meets the streets. Every character from Batman on was represented in some form. I especially appreciated the man who was The Penguin… impeccable nose application! To my surprise, children really do pay attention to the photos of Batman and Susie. Their parents would say, “That’s the Batman I watched on TV when I was your age”. But everyone’s favorite photo was Robin’s first Kiss! What really blew my mind were the 20-25 year old young ladies who dressed like I did in the Sixties. They wore their hair and make-up the same, too. And, they knew me!!!
Being in an enormous crowd like this and physically coming into contact with individuals who feel they know you intimately can be a challenge. It reminded me that our country’s leaders should take more responsibility for the neglect of our citizens’ health. Michelle Obama is doing her part to encourage more awareness for better eating habits and physical fitness, much like our beloved John Kennedy did in his time. Toward the end of the first day, Jered surprised me with a hot tea; organic Chamomile. Well, there is some awareness here. Kinda shell shocked, we retreated to our quiet home in the canyon to prepare for another day.
Day 2. Rain greeted us and a drop in temperature. It never rains in California! When we arrived in Anaheim the traffic was horrendous. The convention center had several events going on simultaneously so all the nearby parking lots were full. For two hours we waited to enter a lot one mile away. Crossing a parking lot facility in the rain, Jered toted 100 lbs. of luggage containing all my memorabilia. I lagged behind in my four inch heels. Through my rain-drenched glasses I could see a rather ominous roller coaster at Disneyland across the street. Not too many takers today! Finally we made it to the entry, sopping wet. Fans were waiting for me, asking where I’d been. I arrived at 2pm, two hours late. After a brief explanation they could see I had just romped through the sloshing rain to get there, so all was forgotten and I got down to the business of signing autographs.
I had a lot of fun taking pictures of some of the characters who dressed up in their favorite costume. My cell phone is not the latest so please forgive the fuzziness. One little boy named Benjamin really stood out; he was Batman. He looked at my picture with Adam West and then looked up at me and proclaimed,”I want to be that Batman!” His parents told me their son, only 5 yrs old, sleeps in his Batman costume and it shows. One ear flops over and the bulging muscles built into the suit have shifted his pectoralis majors… hahaha. But no matter, this little boy visited with me and shared His Dream.
Day 3. Dreams are what it’s all about. On the third day, a young man from Arizona proved that to me. While we were setting up, this darling young man helped us reassemble our area with banners and such. He explained that his dream was to be an actor and I think he has potential. Here’s the photo we took. He came back at the end of the day to ask if he could help once again and that’s when we took this photo. His parents are a mixture of Latin American and primarily Eastern Indian, with a little Cherokee thrown in just to keep things a little east/west. To me, Sukhdan Baron, a vegan and crusader for peace, will find his way.
By the end of this marathon my voice was sooo tired. Leaving this world of pop culture enlivened me to think how history influences so many generations. But I was ready to rest my voice and depart. My junior high school friend, Janis, lives in Laguna, not far from OC, so we met to celebrate our birthdays. I’m 6 days older. A teacher and high school consultant, Janis always respects her elders; me in this case! We met in the 8th grade when we were both 13 and have been friends ever since. I told her of the wonderful experience we had and a friend who is an author, Patrick J., who inspired me to begin writing my autobiography. He was at WonderCon as part of the press and did many interviews over the three days. An extraordinary fellow!
The rain had cleared to beautiful Southern California skies. We could see forever. Amazing what a good rain can do; thank you Mother Nature. Arriving home, we literally left all the luggage parked securely in our car over night. That was a big adventure for two hippies who lived on an island for 15 years! We came home to sad news. A Kumu, someone who is an icon in the Hawaiian community, had a heart attack on the the old Kohala Mountain Road and died. My girlfriend Vicki sent me this video.
Our hearts are interconnected within. Just like the network of water flowing from the Ocean to Rivers and Streams, We are all one and will be forever. Aloha A Hui Hou
To all you Batman “Susie” fans, GOOD GRAVY!