The Terrible Catsafterme

Brad’s Musings and Meanderings

random acts of quoting

"See if you can guess what I am now." - Bluto, "Animal House"

80.jpgHollywood ’80 is distinctly emblazoned on my mind as a completely iconoclastic experience – one that stands on its own, with no ‘before’ and no ‘after’. Unlike any other typical vacation, the time I spent on this trip is seldom thought of in the context of anything else that was going on during this time. It simply is remembered as ‘Hollywood ’80,’ the single most exciting experience up to that time, and likely one of the most important trips of my life. It was my first time in California, the first time to a Sons of the Desert convention, my first time on a plane, my first time meeting any L&H and Our Gang celebrities, my first ‘non-family’ vacation (I considered it to be much more of an ‘adventure’), and, as my attention to details are demonstrated by my remembrance of this, my first ham and swiss on rye sandwich.

My Dad and I went on this trip alone. We had discussed the possibility of my Mom and sister coming and we had even talked about travelling by train, but it was more feasible financially if only the two of us went by airplane. We had gotten into the Sons of the Desert chapter in Springfield, the Towed in a Hole Tent, at just the right time – having attended our first meeting in February of 1980. It is timing and circumstances like this that convince me of the reality of fate. As one of the very few eight-year olds that had a true appreciation for these vintage Hal Roach comedies, I deserved to be included in this gargantuan event.

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The excitement doubtlessly mounted for weeks before the trip – and whereas I am only able to remember the vaguest details of my trip earlier this particular Summer to Florida – there are dozens and dozens of very distinct memories of Hollywood ’80. I recall vividly the plane ride in which I enjoyed my very first ham and swiss on rye sandwich (for which I still have an affinity to this day) as well as some pretzels and gourmet cheese. We switched planes after a layover and wound up on a much larger commercial jet. We even got to watch a movie. They told us that the film would be 60 minutes. And it actually was an episode of “60 Minutes.”

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The date was Tuesday July 29, 1980 when we arrived at the downtown Los Angeles Hilton Hotel and we checked in at 5:00 p.m. My first thrill of the convention came when celebrity Chuck McCann asked to use my pen to sign something for the hotel desk clerk. We hit the registration table and went up to our room where I tackled the goody bag. We had dinner in the hotel cafe. I ordered a root beer and the waiter asked me if I wanted to upgrade to a root beer float, to which I answered in the affirmative. Dad told me that I would have to pay for the additional ice-cream charge, but later recanted when he saw my enthusiastic desire to make some L&H memorabilia purchases.

We hit the sack at about 10:00pm. My Dad had a small memo book where he jotted some very brief notes as to what we did each day. He reported that we (or he) had “JET LAG,” – in all capital letters – but I remember nothing of the kind. I was much too excited, poised and ready to dive into this convention and all it had to offer.

The convention will continue…

To follow the trail of my celebrity encounters and little autograph book, click here

Bypass the convention and continue with 1980

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