By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
Ask them why they do it, and they tell you it's for the fans, which is a little like a stripper telling you she's dancing to put herself through law school. And the fans buy it at $20 a pop, the going rate for a celebrity's signature and, perhaps coincidentally, a lap dance at most topless bars. Kenny Baker, Star Wars' R2-D2 and a ubiquitous presence at the Hollywood Expo, has the car collection to show for his hard work. The con circuit has made him a fortune.
Others are just along for the thrill of it, the loose change and chance to be honored once more before fading into history. Timothy Moxon's biography sits in front of him on a table, to remind those who walk by that he is indeed someone who, however briefly, sat in fame's warming light. Moxon has made but two films, the most recent of which was 33 years ago, but the former solider in the Royal Air Force who served during World War II refuses to be forgotten. He appeared, for a small moment, as Strangways in 1962's Dr. No, the first Bond film, and it was a flicker that has lasted a lifetime. Here, sitting at a table sandwiched between Julian Glover and grown-up Bond girls and the man they called Jaws, Moxon finds a small spotlight shining on him. He bathes in it all weekend, sticking around long after The X-Files' Smoking Man, William B. Davis, and Mr. Chekov have called it quits.
So too has Julian Glover, a good sport right until the very end.
"It wasn't frightening," Glover says, hours before the con winds down. "It was nice. People are so enthusiastic. I mean, one can be sarcastic about this sort of thing, but it's as good as hobby as any. It occupies their minds, and they just love it, and they hand over money for it, which is great. And they're all smiling people. If you see happy faces, you respond to it...But you began this by asking me if I would do this again, and the answer is..." He takes a short pause. "I would have to think about it. I would have to think about it."
And with that, Glover returns to the table for a final hour of signing autographs. Before he can take his seat, a couple walks up with two enormous boxes of toys, each of which contains an Imperial walker featured in Empire. "This is my ship?" Glover asks, an actor's smile pasted on his face. The man asks Glover to sign not only the box, but the toy as well--its doors, its exterior, its interior. Glover, seemingly impressed by a grown man's toy collection, obliges. He even offers to inscribe on one box his lines from the film.
"Target the main generator," he says, offering a reasonable echo. "What was my other line? 'Target maximum...maximum...' I don't recall." A woman standing nearby nudges Glover's memory.
"Oh, yes: 'Target maximum power.'" He grins again, as the woman sitting next to him collects a handful of $10s and $20s.
At the same time, not a few feet away, a heavy-set, bespectacled Klingon gets his picture taken with Caroline Munro, now a middle-aged Bond girl. She tries to keep her distance, since the Klingon has a rather sharp and large weapon strapped to his back. Just a few feet down from them, Richard Kiel grasps a man's head between his enormous hands. Kiel smiles, growling silently to himself.