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Fu Fest '96

David Carradine was in France filming a movie, so he couldn’t make it to the con.  Chris Potter, meanwhile, said he’d try to make it, but Silk Stalkings began filming that week and there was a presidential convention in San Diego, which made flights in and  out of the airport impossible.  In the end, he didn’t make it.

Scott Wentworth was busy working on some plays, but he did send a video message which I’ll expand upon later.

I arrived Friday afternoon.  Rob Moses (Kahn) was hovering about in the lobby, chatting with fans.  And that’s where I met up with several people I had been chatting with for so long via e-mail.
 
The first event scheduled was a Welcome Party, where we had some nice finger sandwiches and other snacks and drinks.  What I didn’t expect was the turnout of Fu people who showed up.  Not only was Michael Sloan there, but Sandey Grinn (TJ)...
Belinda Metz (Jody)...
 Kate Trotter (Simms), Victoria Snow (Skalany)...
William Dunlop (Strenlich)...
Robert Nicholson (Blake, who was wearing a T-shirt that said, “But what I really want to do is wait tables.”)...
and Rob Moses were there.

But that’s not all....

Many of our beloved minor characters showed up as well.  Matt Trueman (Terry the bartender), was one of them.  He is a very nice (and very handsome) man.  At lot of women were quite taken by him.  Some even commented later about wanting to be his fan club president.

He and I talked for several minutes.  I told him how I suspected Terry to have a shady past, since he always showed up at every bar.  He laughed and said that he was glad they finally kept him in one place.  He said he’d like to come back if TV movies are made -- in a bar!  I added, “Or at a catered affair, serving grasshoppers.”

Matt asked me about the internet, and he wanted to know how he could join in on the Fu activity.  I told him about the lists and he said with a laugh, “Can I be my own fan club?”  He joked about how he’d always want to steer the conversation back to Terry.

Then Catherine Blythe (who portrayed Sandra Mason from Channel 3 Action News) walked up to us and said hello to me.  She told me she was going to be hosting a syndicated program about cooking from around the world.  She said it was to start in January 1997.
 
Later on I made the rounds and got to talk to Ho Chow (stuntman, constant villain - Initiation, A Shaolin Treasure...) briefly and told him how much I enjoy pointing him out in the episodes.  I made a reference to “Where’s Waldo?” (Where’s Ho?).  He laughed.
David Hewlett (Nickie Elder) was there sporting a beard and a “Tank Girl” T-shirt
 I handed him a photo of his to autograph.  It was a still from the show of him without a beard.  It looked like he was saying something in the shot.  David laughed and said, “That’s how Nickie always looked.”  Then he said, “Can I draw a beard on him?”  I laughed and said, “Sure.”  So now I have an autographed, bearded Nickie Elder with the inscription, “Did I say that?  Yeah...I said it really fast like!”  Then he signed it, “Lots of love,” and put a smiley face with his signature.  It was quite funny.
Eve Crawford (Laura Caine) was there too.  She said she was disappointed that the show was canceled, especially when she’d play a part in it in the future.  Her hair on the show was a blond wig.  Her natural color is red.  I told her that the wig looked like a strawberry blond or red.  She was relieved, because she hated the wig.

Kim Nelles (Carolyn Blaisdell McCall) was there two with her kids, but I missed speaking with her.  She didn’t stay long.  She looked great, though.

Later on Sandey Grinn, Michael Sloan and Belinda Metz sang a few songs at the piano for us.  It was a lot of fun.  Belinda gave us a fantastically emotional performance of “How Did I know?” from Shaolin Shot.  It was a much longer version than the episode, and much more powerful.  She said the song is very close to her heart, because it - coincidentally - was the same song she had auditioned with for a “singing role” in first season (I’m assuming it was Tyler).  But Michael liked her enough to ask her back for a non-singing part.  When the episode came along, he gave her the freedom to choose whatever song she wished.  She didn’t realize it was the same song until after the episode finished filming.

Sandey and Michael performed a duet that was hilarious.  Then Michael sang “Chances Are” and Belinda sang “There’s a Place for Us” as a way to say that the show will live/go on.

Well, that’s Friday night.

Saturday started with a dealer’s showcase, where fanzines and photos were being sold.  Then the room was prepped for a luncheon.  Sandey, Michael, Belinda, Kate, Victoria, William, Robert, Rob, Matt, Ho and Mo Chow (brother of Ho and locations manager of the show) showed up for the meal once we were all seated at our tables.  They circulated around between courses, chatting with all of us.  It was nicely done.

Then the room was rearranged again for the panel.  Once that was done, everyone took part in the discussion.  Sandey is a card!  the man is so funny.  He even ribbed Michael Sloan about how TJ only plays the piano on the show.  He really carried the whole weekend.  He was so funny and a lot of fun to be with.  He said some nice things about everyone, including Chris Potter, Michael Sloan and William Dunlop.

Much of the panel was a blur to me.  Most of the questions revolved around what Michael would have done if there was a fifth season, and what the actors were doing since the show was canceled.
 
 
After the panel, they had an autograph session.  It was set up very nicely with the members of the panel being split up into groups of two at a table.  Fans were called up by their membership numbers and sent to the first empty table, so there wouldn’t be an extremely long line.
Among the autographs I got was one from Sandey that said, “You can call me TJ”.  That was pretty funny.  I’m sure he wrote that for everybody.

After the autograph session there we had video night which featured bloopers (hilarious), a message from Scott and three yet-unseen episodes.

Scott Wentworth and Michael made a video of Kermit sending a message to the fans.  It was so cute.  He thanked everyone for going to Scott’s plays.  At the end he said, “Go to the internet.  Ask for Kermit.  He can help you.”  And, yes, he did say, “Oh, yeah” at one point in it.

Michael also showed a video montage of Kermit scenes he called “Shaolin Eyes.”

After that we got an advance viewing of:  "Who is Kwai Chang Caine?", "A Shaolin Christmas" and "Requiem".

Kate, Belinda, Rob, William, Sandey and Michael were all there enjoying the screening with us.

Sunday rolled around and it started with another dealer’s display.  Then there was a raffle.  Among the items auctioned were an autographed copy of the Black Widow script, one of Blake’s gadgets, the phone message Blake handed Peter in Shaolin Shot, a tape of Initiation & The Making of KFTLC, several shooting schedules and other paperwork from various episodes, a Michael Grange CD and a vehicle parking sticker that said, “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Production Vehicle” with the WB logo on it.  I won that.

Then there was a panel with Sandra Mikki (Locations Manager), Mo Chow, Ho Chow, Rob Moses and Brian Kaulback (bit player in Dragon’s Eye and May I Talk With You?).
They discussed the art of finding locations and the art of doing stunts.  Ian Chow (also related to Mo and Ho) performed some of the complicated Kung Fu moves used in the show.  A few of us recognized him from several episodes including "Tournament".  He was so sweet.  He had this serious expression during the demo, but when someone asked him if he made those cameos the nicest smile filled his face.  I think he even blushed.

After that, Belinda and Sandey took turns auctioning things off.  Among the items was Belinda’s jacket from Requiem; her portfolio filled with two years worth of polaroids, script notes and other items; book ends from Peter’s shelf; temple candles and the back of Kim Chan’s director’s chair.

After much coaxing by Belinda, she managed to get Sandey to auction off his T-shirt, and to put lipstick on and kiss a script.  It was hilarious.  The T-shirt went for $300.  I think the script went for more than that.

And that was it.  All in all, it was a lot of fun.

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