Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Of WonderFest, Drive-Ins and Legacy

This past weekend, Donna and I made our annual trek down to Louisville, Kentucky to attend WonderFest. The fact of the matter is that neither of us really ended up attending WonderFest, per se - aside from going out for meals, we didn't get downstairs at all! We hear there are good people and good things going on down there, but the reason we go is to spend time with our friends and we couldn't break away from our duties in what has come to be known as The Kogar Suite. Named in respectful deference to our friend and mentor Bob Burns, each year the Kogar Suite grants sanctuary to those nearest and dearest to us, while observing a different room theme. One year, it was Kogar and other assorted apes; then it was DARK SHADOWS... and this year, Donna and Lisa Herzog came up with the idea for a Drive-In theme. It proved to be pretty popular among the attendees, especially once it was decided to include a free concession stand - complete with taste-tempting hot dogs, mouth-watering popcorn, delicious candy, and a host of sparkling soft drinks! Traditionally, the Suite is a place where we all gather to discuss the most important topics of the day (for example, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD) as Donna plays hostess, welcoming people and mixing up something she calls a Vodka Sunset. This year, something called a Re-Animator was added to the cocktails menu (or is that a Reanna-mator?) and our special guests included actor Brian Howe and Nashville's own diabolically rockin' The Exotic Ones.

Yes, even The Exotic Ones (and John Davis) enjoy Kogar Suite Hot Dogs!
This must have been our fifteenth year of attending, as it was also the fifteenth year that David Colton has presented the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Film Awards down there. VIDEO WATCHDOG and I were nominated in several categories but we didn't end up in the Winner's Circle anywhere on the ballot. So you can imagine our surprise when host David Colton suddenly announced "something new" - a new award, not necessarily to be given every year, but in consideration of "special achievement" - and then proceeded to present Donna and I with the first-ever Rondo Legacy Award for having produced 27 years of VIDEO WATCHDOG.

Donna and I with David Colton and our new addition.
There is video of our acceptance - apparently too large a file to share here (thanks, Blogger) - but, trust me, the award came as a complete surprise. I was genuinely speechless and grateful to Donna for meeting the moment with some eloquence. I am especially pleased that her name is on the award. I've often had to remind her that all of our Rondo wins for Best Magazine and Best Book are shared by her, but this is the first Rondo Award that actually bears her name. It's now my hope that Jim & Marian Clatterbaugh will win one of these next year for their many years of producing that beautiful magazine, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT.

I want to close this entry with a special word of thanks to David Colton... not just for creating this special award that brings a touch of blessed closure to something that had to end much too suddenly, but for bringing the Rondo Awards each year to WonderFest. Had he not done this fifteen years ago, I might never have discovered this convention or met so many amazing people who have become some of my dearest friends. You've made a real difference in my life, David - Donna's too. Thank you.

(c) 2017 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.