Twenty-five years ago I was in Santa Monica for a Hercules/Xena convention. The cast from Young Hercules was there. Ryan Gosling, Dean O’Gorman, and Chris Conrad were on stage on January 23rd and I was in line to ask a question for them but alas, it never happened. Chris did come off the stage to give a little girl in front of me a hug and we ended up shaking hands when he said hi to some of us in the line. Later, I met all the guys during the autograph line. I was weirdly silly and asked about Erik Thomson. I took pictures of each of them. You can see them at my report from that weekend here.
The next day, January 24th, Ryan and Dean were set to sign more autographs in the lobby of the venue, joined by Joel Tobeck. Chris wasn’t available for a reason I can’t remember. It was a bummer too because I had the other three sign the Young Hercules poster I had. I would end up getting everyone’s signature on that poster, which I still have, except for Chris’. The missing autograph haunted me for decades. Then Chris sent me that vest jacket so my melancholy about not getting his signature has been eased a bit.
After getting those signatures, my friends and I went back to our rooms to put away our posters and photos, then headed back to the venue. When we saw that the boys were taking pictures with the fans, we went back into that line. (Seriously, go read my report. It’s embarrassingly detailed.) When it was my turn for a picture, we did the group shot and then Ryan and I took a picture together.
Back in those days, we had to actually WAIT to see our pictures because it was film. I’m not sure how long I had to wait for my pictures. I imagine that I had them developed right away and I was most likely VERY relieved to see that the picture of me with the boys was the most amazing shot ever. Look at my happy face. It’s ridiculous how happy I look. It is my favorite shot EVER of me with people who are neither family nor friends. I love the picture so much that I used it later that year as my “now” picture for my 10 year high school reunion memory book. People at my reunion asked me if Ryan was my boyfriend because of that picture. It was probably the first time they ever saw Ryan Gosling’s face and it was next to me. I wonder if anyone remembers that. Damn, it’s weird to think of that way. It would take years before people recognized the talent and appeal of Ryan Gosling but some of my friends remember that I was the one raving about him for years before they realized who he was.
Twenty five years later, this group shot is still one of my favorites. It was a favorite before Ryan became Oscar nominated Ryan Gosling. It was a favorite before Dean O’Gorman would play Fili in The Hobbit trilogy. It was a favorite while Joel Tobeck was wreaking havoc as Strife on Young Hercules. It’s one of my favorite shots because it was the capper to one of my favorite convention going weekends. I had so much fun with my friends and meeting the guests was just icing on the cake. It was the convention weekend that made me appreciate spending time with my friends as well as enjoying the guests.
Some other things of note:
- I posted this photo to Twitter years ago and it was my most popular post. It got the attention of Joel Tobeck and he ended up tweeting a picture of him with Sullivan Stapleton to me because I was in my Sully stage at that point. The internet can be such a fun place.
- It’s also super interesting that I met Ryan on William Gregory Lee’s birthday and that a year later, on Ryan’s twentieth birthday, I would meet William Gregory Lee at a Xena convention in Palo Alto. It would take me years to make that connection.
- Chris sent me the Hercules/Xena crew vest jacket sometime after I mentioned not having his autograph on my Young Hercules poster. Another example of when Twitter was amazing by connecting you to your favorites. I do have Chris’ autograph on a Young Hercules still that my friend gave me years ago. I think it’s in storage. Should I find it someday, I’ll probably scan and post it somewhere. I would still like to someday get Chris to autograph my poster but not sure how that will ever happen. Then again, who knew I’d get a crew vest jacket?
It’s always fun to dust off the group shot and remember that weekend. It’s super wild to me that this was twenty-five years ago. Time flies…