I know it seems like I just went to an autograph show—and I did!—but even in the middle of a stressful office move, I managed to train over to Chiller Theatre in Parsippany, NJ, with my pal Tom. I can't believe I went back after what happened last time! But I could not resist the siren song of Parker Stevenson, who was "the big one" on my very short list of must-haves.
Got there around 7:10PM (it opened at 6:30PM), the first time I've ever done the short opening night as opposed to one of the weekend days. It. Was. Packed. Horror fans are not fucking around with this stuff. It was Tom's first show, and I think he was kinda amazed at the sea of humanity, and not just because some of them were sporting fake blood and dead-for-a-fortnight skin tones.
I immediately went for probably the most famous person there, gorgeous Dean Cain, 45. Man, does he ever still look good enough to eat. I think this was his first show, and rather than being vaguely mortified (I'm remember people like Vicki Lawrence), he was super (no pun intended) nice. I told him I was a fan of The Broken Hearts Club (2000), a gay romantic comedy by Greg Berlanti. He said, "Man, I loved that movie. I wanted to be in it so bad, but they wouldn't even see me! I had to agree to audition, so I said, 'Fine, whatever it takes.' I was really proud to be in that. And the people in that were all so talented."
I also small-talked with him about being from Michigan (he's from Mt. Clemens, I'm from Flushing) and he would've gone on more but his agent, a Richard Dreyfus type, was kind of staring me down. Opted for a signed Lois & Clark (shirtless) pic that he provided as well as a photo with him. I also popped for a Polaroid with him, which he signed before it was even visible. His agent was not happy when I asked for a retake of my personal photo; my new camera takes shots that look to be at a normal distance only when you're on top of the subjects.
Next, we grabbed Cathy Moriarty, 51, she of Raging Bull (1980) fame. She was buried in the corner but on the main floor and was in good spirits even if she for some reason wasn't dolled up. She was seated with her mom and had a nice helper who pointed out to her that the original still I'd brought was special. She made sure not to smear it and admired it. "I haven't changed a bit, huh?" she asked sarcastically.
When we did our pic-with, she surprised me by grabbing me and plastering her head to mine. It made a terrific shot, but still she pulled off me after and said, "I'm sorry—I should've asked if it was okay to touch you." I said, "No, it's okay. I wondered if I would have to pay extra!"
Right next door was my main man, Parker Stevenson, 59 (60 next month). I had seen him chatting with fans and had a feeling he'd be really nice. He looks fantastic, still so sexy with those piercing blue eyes. I went up to him and told him straight off that I'd had a huge crush on him as a kid, even before I knew it was a crush, and that I'd had all these pictures of him around from teen magazines that really blew my cover. He laughed and really enjoyed hearing that. He told me it was good that I knew that about myself so young and had that confidence.
I want to say my talk with him made it my best-ever meeting at one of these shows. When I told him I was always a Parker dude and didn't wanna know from Shaun Cassidy, he said, "Really?" in disbelief, and proceeded to tell me how he'd had to get used to arriving at the studio and directing the waiting fans to Cassidy with a wry, "You're probably waiting for him."
We talked a bit about his being in teen mags ("They'd come over and take pictures of me sitting in my yard or something") and about working with Angela Lansbury on Murder She Wrote (he said she was not intimidating but very gracious and easy to work with).
When I showed him the Lifeguard (1976) still I had, he told me he'd made the movie because he needed money while in college, but it had ignited in him a desire to act. He also said producers had seen it and it led, many years later, to his role on Baywatch.