December 31, 2012
The Hollywood Show -- a popular movie and TV memorabilia convention that features appearances by stars from years gone by -- is itself gone. From Burbank, that is.
Faced with the increasing costs of keeping the event at the Burbank Airport Marriott and the inability to secure discounted reservations for convention patrons after the contracted deadline, organizers say they have no choice but to move to another space in Los Angeles.
"We're not happy to have to leave, but it was sort of forced upon us," said David Elkouby, the event's promoter.
The convention's departure means a drop of up to $3,600 in vendor fees for the city for each show, Elkouby said, adding that four shows are held annually.
It will also result in lost hotel taxes, restaurant revenues and retail sales, which were fueled by the average 4,000-plus people who attend the Hollywood Show.
The convention, started in 1979, has been held at the Marriott in Burbank for about eight years, Elkouby said.
The new home for the show, which will be held Jan. 11-13, will be the Westin at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Bob Hope Airport spokesman Victor Gill said it's difficult to evaluate the impact of the show's departure because of the volume of passengers that use the airfield each year.
Still, he acknowledged that when an event like the Hollywood Show goes away, "it is something to take into account."
Reginald McDowell, the Marriott's general manager, said that while he is disappointed to see the Hollywood Show leave, he felt the hotel's offer was fair.
"We feel we offered a fair economic package for [their] convention" McDowell said. "We hope that they will reconsider and come back."
Besides an increase in fees, Elkouby said the hotel would no longer offer discounted rooms for convention patrons after the deadline listed in the contract.
The show sometimes books celebrities at the last minute, but fans who wanted to see their favorite stars were having to pay full price for a room more often during the past few years, Elkouby said.
"In the past, they used to work with us," he said.
-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News
Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam
IT wasn't God, but the male voice that floated over the P.A. system managed to convey all the solemnity and importance of a sacred occasion. "Debbie Reynolds," the voice gravely announced, "has now arrived."
And there she was, standing in a Marriott in Burbank. The woman who had jumped out of a cake for Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" and danced and sang when the movies were still golden, and then married Eddie Fisher only to lose him to Elizabeth Taylor, was here to bestow a piece of herself and her history on us. Serene as the Buddha, vivid in an electric blue coat, her blond hair impeccably coiffed and pale face lightly powdered, Ms. Reynolds was at an event called the Hollywood Show to walk among us. She had carried her own bags. But she was royalty, and when she passed through the hall, we quickly stepped aside.
An autograph and collectibles convention, the Hollywood Show takes place four times a year at the Marriott across from the Bob Hope Airport, some 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. (The most recent ran Oct. 9 to 11.) For three days the show fills an L-shaped foyer and adjacent ballroom, 15,000 square feet of the hotel's convention center. As the event's title suggests, collectibles — vintage movie posters, lobby cards and the ephemeral like — are part of the draw. A Paramount Pictures marketing manual and press book for the Jerry Lewis comedy "The Nutty Professor" caught my eye, as did an exhibitor's campaign book from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
By far, though, the biggest attractions are the celebrities who sign their names on photos, posters, baseballs, even napkins. There were 133 famous and less-so signers at the October show, including Jackie Cooper, the child star of the 1930s — immortal, and shockingly intense in the 1931 father-son weepie "The Champ" — who was so busy signing he rarely seemed to look up. A few feet away sat Mickey Rooney, one of the biggest box-office stars of the late 1930s and early 40s. A little farther dozens of actors from the original "Twilight Zone" kibitzed at rows of tables, including the comic Shelley Berman, who more recently played Larry David's father on "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
It was surreal, fascinating, unsettling. Here were some favorite actors, immortal on screen, very mortal in flesh. Here was Richard Kiel, still recognizable as the giant alien with a bulbous head from a 1962 "Twilight Zone" episode about extraterrestrials whose intentions are misinterpreted when they land on Earth with a book titled "To Serve Man." ("It's a cookbook!") Inside the ballroom Billy Mumy — who starred in another memorable "Twilight Zone" as a boy who terrorizes a community by wishing people into a cornfield — was tucked alongside fellow cast members from the television show "Babylon 5." A few tables away Angela Cartwright, who played Mr. Mumy's sister Penny on the 1960s show "Lost in Space," sat next to her own sister, the actress Veronica Cartwright.
Seated at nearby tables, smiling for the crush of attendees (almost 7,000), were Louise Fletcher, Jennifer Coolidge, Bruce Dern, Sally Kellerman and Beverly Washburn, a lovely, former child actor who appeared in "Old Yeller" and later "Spider Baby," along with countless TV shows. "Honey," my husband, Lou, blurted out, "there's an Oompa-Loompa here!" This was Deep Roy, who pops up in Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Deep Roy was in one of the busiest corners because he was near Sean Astin, who tagged after Frodo through the "Lord of the Rings" movies. A second-generation Hollywood actor, Mr. Astin is the son of Patty Duke. William Schallert, who played her father on "The Patty Duke Show," was in the foyer.
I don't know what I expected from the Hollywood Show, a little entertainment, a glimpse of a subculture I appreciate but prefer to keep at an analytic distance. Certainly I don't think of myself as a collector. I don't keep memorabilia, and I own a single framed poster, for Otto Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder," which I prize for its striking Saul Bass design. I also don't think of myself as a fan, largely because adoration seems a betrayal of reason. Fall in love with a star, and you might not want to admit just how bad he is in his next movie. These, of course, are lies that I like to tell myself.
The truth is that movie love is itself a form of collecting, and to live with the movies, to write and watch and read about them day after day, year after year, is a form of intense worship. The word fan is thought to come from the word fanatic, which derives from the Latin word fanaticus, "of a temple." Hollywood was built on such adoration, with ornate movie palaces that were shrines, and stars whose ethereal beauty made them virtual gods and goddesses. Such idolatry had its skeptics, like Nathanael West, whose short 1939 novel "The Day of the Locust" ends with a movie premiere that turns into a riot. "At the sight of their heroes and heroines, the crowd would turn demoniac," West promises. "Individually the purpose of its members might simply to be to get a souvenir, but collectively it would grab and rend."
The crowd at the Hollywood Show didn't grab and rend, at least while I was there. Maybe the handful of Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs wandering about and sometimes posing, helped keep the order. But the mostly middle-age attendees, who paid a minimum of $20 for a one-day pass, seemed well behaved. They patiently stood in lines, discreetly passing cash to the signee or an assistant. Some celebrities pocket the money, while others sign for charities, like Mr. Cooper, who donated his proceeds to the Motion Picture Home, a hospital and long-term care facility for industry veterans that, after 60 years of operation, is to close by the end of the year.
An average member of the Screen Actors Guild makes less than $5,000 a year. This helps explain why even some famous faces end up on crummy television programs or peddling cosmetics and fat cures on late-night television. Or why they become regulars on the convention circuit, signing photographs at events like the Ultimate Collectibles and Autograph Show near Philadelphia, which in early October featured appearances by athletes and actors, like Ice T, who asks upward of $30 for a photo. His wife, Coco, rates $15. By contrast Jim Bunning, a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher turned Republican senator from Kentucky, charges $50 to sign balls, $65 for jerseys and bats. The boxer Jake LaMotta asks $50 for "gloves & premium items."
The practice of athletes selling their autographs stirs criticism, but the sports autograph circuit has more mainstream acceptance than celebrity events like the Hollywood Show. History probably helps explain the difference: Babe Ruth was famous for signing thousands of free autographs, particularly for young fans, while it was the Hollywood studios that sent out the glossies of their contracted stars. Kevin Martin, one of the owners of the Hollywood Show, partly blames the stigma attached to celebrity autograph shows on tabloid outlets that position celebrities who attend his event as washouts. "That kind of press coverage," he said, "actually makes it very difficult for us to get the stars we want because they think there's some low-rent" — he laughed uncomfortably — "associations to doing that."
Mr. Martin bought the show more than a year ago from a couple who ran it for years, and now he owns it with David Elkouby, a collector who has a memorabilia shop in Hollywood. In 2000 Mr. Elkouby bought a pair of Dorothy's ruby slippers for $666,000. "They're in a vault," Mr. Martin said. "I've seen them." I was so distracted by the idea and price, I forgot to ask what they looked like.
The world of collecting can be a shadowy enterprise, but what was most striking about the Hollywood Show was its ordinariness, the absence of frenzy and desperation that often colors the discourse on fans and stars. Only after I had wandered through the show several times, looking into the faces of people who had given me so much pleasure over the years, did I realize how badly I had misunderstood the event when I first walked in. However enjoyable and gratifying their exchanges with the fans, these were actors at work. As they smiled for us, signed our photographs, shared their memories, they were also giving us a performance. And like all performances, they were as manufactured as they were absolutely real
The Hollywood Show Valentine’s Weekend Spectacular.
The Hollywood Show invites you to spend Valentine’s weekend with over 75 celebrities! See our list of confirmed celebrities here.
The Hollywood Show Reunions.
Donny and Alan Osmond have pre-signed a limited quantity of this 11 x 14 photo! Available for purchase at our online store. Click here to get yours!
Started in 1979, The Hollywood Show is perhaps the best known autograph show in the Hollywood area. It is legendary among autograph shows, not only for the celebrities who appear, but the crowds each event brings. It's the only celebrity autograph convention held four times per year. Currently taking place in Burbank, California, The Hollywood Show has earned the reputation of being "THE PLACE" for celebrities to appear, and known worldwide as the perfect place for fans to get "up close and personal" with their favorite stars!
In addition to the fabulous line-up of celebrities offered at each event, The Hollywood Show has teamed up with hundreds of vendors to offer fans the ultimate selection in show related memorabilia and much, much more.
The staff of The Hollywood Show works around the clock to bring entertainers and fans together for each of our events. We have a large network of contacts and celebrity relationships that always prove helpful when inviting guests to appear.
The Hollywood Show is owned by entertainment industry veteran David Elkouby.
David Elkouby is also the owner of Star World on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Star World is Hollywood's premier destination for movie memorabilia, posters, photos, autographs, toys, action figures,concert videos, scripts, and magazines featuring all of your favorite stars: Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Beatles, Paris, Britney, Michael Jackson, and thousands more.