I feel like by 1983 The Police were just starting. What happened with that? Why did they suddenly break up?
Sadly, it all comes down to a common tale in the rock and roll world. One member, typically the singer, and as such in this case, got too big for their britches. As the story goes, Sting took control of the band, eventually making the remaining members, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, feel more like his employees than his band mates. Fighting ensued, and despite the band poised to be the next biggest thing in rock music, they finally called it quits in 1984 after a supporting tour for their 1983 album, Synchronicity.
Fortunately, before that happened, The Police left a mark in the music world which will forever be captured in vinyl, cassette and CD history.
The rest of Ghost In The Machine sounds very experimental with a heavy lean towards reggae. Mind you, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just interesting, in light of this, how the band became a "pop" sensation, as this was clearly not their objective.
What throws me off the most about the album is how short each song feels. Just as you're getting into it, the tracks fade out abruptly and in seemingly awkward places. You'd really have to hear it yourself to understand what I mean by this.
The album also features singles, Invisible Sun, Demolition Man and Secret Journey. However, these aren't particularly good songs, in my opinion. Overall, that's kind of my opinion about the whole record. It's not terrible, but it doesn't blow me away, as I would have expected it to do for how big of a stink some people make about The Police. It won't stop me from eventually getting around to their remaining albums. I'm just not in any rush to do so.
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I kicked around going to Retro Con for over a month, and only in the weeks leading up did I finally decide I would make the trek to Pennsylvania. The draw for me was that I would be able to get three of the four main cast of Thundercats to sign my complete DVD set, as well as get my glow in the dark Masters of the Universe complete DVD set signed by Skeletor himself, Mr. Alan Oppenheimer. Much more on this below.
Arriving to the con, the line was massive. I'm talking around the building. Since my brother lives in the area, My girl and I actually drove to his house, and he drove the rest of the way to the convention center. This turned out beneficial, as it allowed me to jump out on the corner to get in line as he searched futility for a parking space. By the time he got to me on foot, there were already another twenty people (or more) behind me.
As the line started to move at 10:00 AM, I eventually got my first look at the actual show.
Shortly thereafter, we were inside, and man was it a site to see.
For as many photos as I took, I dare say I could have easily taken three or four times more to capture everything. There were a ton of tables, and a whole lot more people to match. This place was packed! So filled to capacity that it was difficult to traverse all the way to the back where the autograph tables were set up.
An unfortunate side to the con, well, besides the crowd, was that I was on a time limit. I had to be back on the road by 2:30 PM. At minimum it was a two hour drive home, and a waiting dog that hadn't peed since my girl and I left for PA 6:30 AM that morning.
This is where I have to take a step back. Leading up to the show was a series of disappointing announcements wherein it was stated that Alan Oppenheimer (Skeletor) had dropped out for health reasons the week before the show, and literally the day before Lynne Lipton (Cheetara) stated she would not longer be able to attend. These two announcements almost made me cancel my plans to go. Especially the latter. Who cancels the day before? That's so inconsiderate of the fans.
At least with the week's advance notice from Mr. Oppenheimer, the show promoters were able to book Renae Jacobs (April O'Neil). It was not Skeletor by any means, but an equally exciting replacement on such short notice. They were unfortunately not able to find a replacement guest for Mrs. Lipton.
Bad lead ups aside, the signatures I got were still worth the trip.
First up was the table of Peter Newman (Tygra), and then Larry Kenney (Lion-O). While both actors also provided their voices for Silver Hawks, which I almost brought as well to be signed, the price points of $40.00 per signature ultimately led to me leaving those at home.
While I was in line for Larry Kenney, I looked to my left to see that nobody was getting anything signed by Marvel Comics artist and writer, Bob Budiansky. He had some cool prints he was selling / signing for $15.00, so I asked my brother to grab one for me.
This was totally an impulse buy, and only because of the immediate convenience of it. Otherwise, I would have passed.
But speaking of lines, much like my trip to Big Lick earlier that year, I was really surprised (in general) to see so few people wanting to get autographs. With exception of one person, I was in line no more than five to ten minutes, and in most cases simply walked right up to the person with no wait.
Such was the case of both Venus Terzo and Renae Jacobs. It totally baffled my mind that people weren't stopping by these tables in droves.
Mrs. Terzo has not only been an actress on numerous live action series, but the voice behind some of my favorite cartoons. While I could have chosen any number of shows, I opted to go with a Captain N: The Game Master theme, where she played Princess Lana.
Before whipping the Nintendo Zapper out of my bag, I made sure to politely ask her if she would have any issues with signing the "gun". She did not.
She was kind enough to write the character name on the barrel, and then sign the body.
She then signed my two Captain N DVD sets.
With exception on one DVD, which wouldn't fit in the shadow box, got put in some form of case or frame, I was particularly happy with the end result of this display.
Of all the voice actors I stopped at, Venus signed the most items for me.
From her table, it was next door to Renae Jacobs. In hindsight, I wish I would have also brought the lid of my Turtle Van complete DVD collection. Unfortunately, space in my backpack was limited, and not only would it not fit, but I foresaw it would inevitably get broken if I brought it. As such, I settled for having the standard complete series DVD signed.
I really like what she did here. She signed it first with a yellow paint pen, and then went over it with a black Sharpie when it dried.
Speaking of paint pens, with the exception of her autograph, all the pens used to sign my stuff were ones I brought. Pro-tip! Bring your own pens. The people signing are typically willing to use them, and are really happy if you in turn let them keep it when they're done. I gave my entire box of pens to Larry Kenney.
I was admittedly very surprised to see that Butch Patrick was not drawing in a crowd. I not only walked right up to his table to get my 45 LP signed, but then went back a second time to get the complete Munsters series signed as well.
I bet you didn't know Eddie Munster was also an accomplished bass player. Have you heard this classic from 1985 from the short lived Eddie & The Monsters?
I've long since wanted a copy of the complete series of The Munsters on DVD, and when you can buy it directly from Eddie Munster himself, and have it signed, kind of a no brainer.
The last table I went to was one I initially wasn't going to, and which also turned out to take the longest. People were lined up in droves to get autographs from The Monkees Micky Dolenz. I had the foresight to bring my CD copy of "Head" with the mindset of, "Maybe I'll get it signed".
To the left of his table were the classic Monkeemobile and Dragula.
Those in and of themselves were worth stopping and seeing. Cool stuff!
I will admit that the biggest turnoff for me in getting stuff signed by Mr. Dolenz was the price points. Fifty for an autograph, and more if you buy stuff from him, such as drum sticks for $80.00. It wasn't astronomical. It was just more than I wanted to spend on signatures...and then did anyway.
I'm not gonna lie, I'm glad I got some autographs from him. He was really awesome to meet, friendly, playful, and wanted to interact with fans.
After signing my two pairs of drum sticks (he signed all four sticks), he then said, "I have to tune them up for you, and proceeded to tap out a drum roll on his table. He then handed them to me, and said, "Now they're used."
These are really awesome.
He was also nice enough to write, "Can you dig it?" on my Head soundtrack, which is my favorite track from the album.
I guess you could say I also got an added bonus, because he blew on everything he signed to dry it. Fans of anyone will understand how big a thing that is, in a weird way.
There was a final signature I initially wanted, and that was to have my Back To The Future soundtrack signed by Claudia Wells. However, she was wanting $60.00 per autograph, and I had to draw the line, and say, "No way." With all due respect to her, she may have been in one of the most iconic movies of all time, but her signature by no means has that kind of value to me. I mean, come on. Micky Dolenz was charging $50.00 to have something you brought to the show signed, and he was part of one of the biggest bands on the planet. Her signature should have cost $20.00, and at worst case scenario, $40.00, to be in line with the other folks there.
The show also featured a screen driven Kitt from Knight Rider, and a Delorean from Back To The Future. However, these were hidden behind screens, forcing you to pay to even see them.
There was a downside to autograph hunting, and that was the time. Between getting into the show, and getting things signed, it was already 12:20 PM. With the anticipation that we would join my brother for lunch, that didn't leave me much time to actually walk the convention. As such, believe it or not, the photos in this post are really my first opportunity to take in visually anything that was being sold.
Starting from the front doors, I quickly took a lap around the floor, frantically snapping photos where I could, while dodging people. The bright side to my speed was that I really wasn't looking to buy anything. As such, while I am sure I missed several things I would have bought, I also didn't end up impulse buying things.
I did stop at the tables where I saw NES games, futility looking for a copy of Wrecking Crew. After three tables of misses, I finally spotted something I absolutely wanted.
I've been meaning to start my collection of Spidy Super Stories for a long time. However, these books are often times not only expensive, but in terrible shape. While this copy is by no means mint condition, I wasn't leaving the show without it. The same dealer also had a gold cover second print of McFarlane's Spider-Man number one, which I took off his hands.
From there, I told my brother that between my budget for the show being depleted, and time constraints, we needed to make our way out. That was when I saw something totally shocking. Oh my gosh, the line to get into this place. If I thought it was bad when I was standing in it, I kid you not when I say I would have simply left if I was in it now. It was not only around the building, but then all the way down the sidewalk running parallel with the parking lot, and not moving. I speculate the problem was that the show was at capacity, and they weren't legally allowed to keep letting people into the building.
Once we were driving down the road, my brother informed us he didn't want to eat lunch, so we made our way back to the car, and left. It turned out to be a good thing to get an early start because several accidents resulted in a three hour drive home.
Overall, it was a good trip, but time constraints really impacted my overall ability to do anything other than get autographs, sprint through the place, and then leave. If I were to return in the future, I would definitely find a way to avoid a cutoff time.
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