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Saturday, April 5, 2008
The Time I Met Tom Savini
One of the benefits of having a site like this is the fact that it gives me the opportunity to assume that people will actually care to hear about various personal experiences of mine, and then the platform upon which to share them. A narcissistic indulgence I grant, but this is the 21st century, and everyone else seems to be doing it. So, on a slow news day like today, I'm going to show off my second most prized possession.
In case you're wondering (and really, why wouldn't you be?), my number-one most prized possession would be my original 1955 vinyl copy of Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours. Hey, it ain't all about the horror, baby. But the solid number two is this copy of the 1996 Anchor Bay double-cassette VHS release of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, autographed by zombie makeup effects maestro Tom Savini himself.
There was a brief time between liberation from the bonds of parental supervision and the loss of disposable income via procreation that I took an interest in frequenting conventions. The best was New Jersey's Chiller Theatre convention, and it was at one of these that I met the man responsible for creating the images that haunted my nightmares for years.
I wanted to meet Tom Savini more than anyone else there--more than the guy who played Uncle Owen getting spoonfed by his attendant in the corner; more than any of the middle-aged chicks who had once played girls who got killed by Freddy Krueger; and even more than the guy who played the robot on Lost in Space but didn't do his voice. This wasn't a celebrity worship thing. This was me wanting to meet someone whose work I genuinely appreciated.
And there he was, standing at his table with a British woman who may have been a publicist, an assistant, a girlfriend, or a wife. I took advantage of the opening and introduced myself to the creator of Flattop, Bub and Dr. Tongue. I let him know how much sleep his effects work on Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead had caused me to lose. I asked him (circa 2000) if there were any plans for a fourth Dead film, to which he firmly responded there was no chance whatsoever (Tom, you sly dog).
After he signed my video box and I had walked away, I realized I had forgotten to pay for the autograph, yet he had never bothered to mention it or behave in anything but a gracious manner. That made a good impression on me. I never liked the idea of paying for autographs anyway, even if it's probably the bread and butter of a lot of the folks who appear at conventions.
And there you have it--my brush with the king of squibs and sheep intestines. Not much to it, but since there weren't any remakes announced today, I went with it.