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A Guest of Big Green Things

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The past couple of days have included some Sven public appearances that were related to large green things-even if we have been experiencing drought conditions! Friday night, we made our way from downtown Chicago to Munster, Indiana- for a special wine and cheese event held prior to a performance of the musivcal "Little Shop of Horrors". We arrived at the Theatre at the Center in Munster, and, before the public arrived for the meet-greet-and eat, were invited to go onstage to take a look at the big green star of the show- the giant "Audrey II" man-eating plant from space puppet! There is actually an exciting story behind this vegetation villian- this was actually the Audrey puppet used in countless years of presenting the musical on Broadway!The theatre obtained the huge puppet, had it stripped of its exterior and refurbished into tiptop shape. Yes, it is big enough to "swallow" people- and, they even opened the plant's massive jaws for us to take an "inside look"!Seeing it up close was a real treat- I may put a couple of the pictures in our next monthly newsletter (so, there's another reason to sign up for it, if you haven't already! The link is on our site here...) By then, the guests had arrived, so I took my place at the signing table, and went to work autographing for the nice people who would soon be in the audience for the musical- but had the chance to enjoy some refreshments and visit with me first! Yes, some of them had brought something that theatre-goers rarely bring for a night at the show-their own rubber chickens (Patty, the dear lady who was our contact for the evening, even brought hers- a custom job with its own special feathers!)It was really nice to get to meet all these fans, pose for pictures with them, and discuss our movies with them. Right before the curtain went up,I went backstage to meet the cast and crew of the musical-a very talented group, many of whom had especially asked to be able to meet me, which was so flattering!Even the band came down to say hello, before heading to their post backstage, where they would play from- located side by side with the microphone at which the actor who does the voice of the carnivorous plant works! At showtime, I was asked to introduce the show- and went onstage to greet the audience. I mentioned to them how ironic it was that a cheaply made Roger Corman movie that typically showed up on programs like mine would spawn such an entertaining musical event- and remarked that the show was actually the main character Seymour's sort of Cinderella story- if the pumpkin coach ate its passengers. My final words before the show started- "Be nice to your plants!"

The show goes on at the Theatre at the Center- you can find out how to get tickets at www.theatreatthecenter.com/

Yesterday, it was appearance number two - at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare in Rosemont, where we've appeared before- but this was our first visit to "G-Fest"-the Midwest's greatest Godzilla and giant Japanese monster convention! We arrived to find along line of fans waiting for autographs- and spent the next two hours signing autographs. I was surprised by how many of the fans told me that the first place they had ever seen Godzilla was on one of my TV shows, going back to the "Son of Svengoolie" days at WFLD! As we signed, several costumed creatures wandered by- including the "Smog Monster" and UltraMan getting into a mock battle next to our table! Our friends Angie and Ron brought with some rare Godzilla Beanie Babies to display- I didn't even know they had ever MADE those!This was the first time I ever balanced a Beanie Mothra on my hat. One gentleman surprised me by bringing some old original Jerry G. Bishop Svengoolie memorabilia to show me- including a newspaper ad for Jerry's Sven's appearance at the old Hillside shopping mall! We wound things up by making a brief visit to our friend Dave Fuentes' panel about horror hosts and Godzilla. I really enjoyed my time among fans of the big green guy (those of you who would complain that Godzilla was actually gray- please let that slide...) More appearances are coming! Make sure you check our "appearances" tab on a regular basis!