Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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An evening and a day with a real TRON fan

Last week, I met davetronbvg at a meeting, and discovered that he's as much of a TRON fan as I am an Animaniacs fan, and even more than I am a TRON fan. His TRON collection rivals my Animaniacs collection for completeness, and he's befriended many of the folks who made TRON what it was. As he took me home from the meeting, we hit it off, and he invited me to his place to look over his collection. I took him up on that offer Tuesday evening.

We got to his place about 9 PM, after getting hung up in traffic for the Hollywood Bowl. (Sting and Annie Lennox were having a concert.) I showed him my costume, and pointed out where it has seen considerable wear from all the use it's gotten - much more than I'd ever guessed when I made it. It really does look better on TV. He showed me a Tiffany lamp that - to his surprise - is the same as one in the movie, and a Cooper hockey helmet that's the same model as mine. (Mine did not have the padding when I got it, and the name on the side had already been removed.)

After wishing his son's SO a happy birthday, we went out to the garage to poke around. We started by playing both his arcade games, TRON and Discs of TRON. (The second was supposed to be another mode of the first, but they couldn't get it done in time.) I stunk at both, of course, never having played them before, but they were fun anyway. He's got a second TRON with a blown monitor that would be great to stick a MAME system in. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to get it to Fairmont...

The real fun, though, was when he opened up the many storage boxes of his, and Harrison Ellenshaw's, collections. Ellenshaw was one of the guys responsible for the visual effects, and he's got an extensive collection not only of things like newspaper clippings and magazines, but also the actual cels made to make the movie and other similar artifacts. Seeing the multilayered packages of cels, some photographically produced, some hand-painted, assembled to make the masks for the lighting was really instructive. Folks, making that movie took one hell of a lot of work.

Dave's collection is truly impressive. He's got one of nearly everything ever made that had anything to do with the movie, and grabs stuff that appears on eBay as quickly as it appears. (Except when a collector in the UK beats him to it.) There was an amazing amount of stuff made, too. Want to read the novelization in Hebrew? Dave's got it. Bed sheets? Got 'em. Complete set of the toys from Tomy? Two, one of which he gave to designer Syd Mead. The original version 1 script, complete with storyboard drawings? Two copies, one original, one Xeroxed for scanning and OCRing. Games, puzzles, toys, books, shirts, you name it, he's probably got it. He gave me an extra pillow case and a button from the fan gathering at the El Capitan showing of the movie.

Throughout all of this, he told stories that made it clear to me that the people involved are still passionate about their creation, 22 years later. I get the impression they'd all love to do a sequel.

We finished up about 11:30, and Dave took me back to my hotel. I collapsed almost immediately.

Dave had a business meeting scheduled for lunchtime Wednesday at Disneyland. He's got a pass that allows him to come to the park with three guests 25 times a year, and he used it to get the folks he was meeting with in - and I tagged along.

We took care of the business over lunch at the nice sit-down restaurant on Disneyland's main street. The folks he met with bought lunch for both of us, which I wasn't expecting and really appreciated. After that, we went our separate ways. I hadn't been to Disneyland since I was a teenager, and my recollections were fuzzy at best, so I wanted to see everything.

Before we went around the park, though, we had one thing to do first. Yesterday was Cindy Morgan (Lora/Yori)'s birthday, and Dave called her to wish her a happy birthday. He put me on, and we talked for a bit. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she's been watching my appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and even reads my LJ. (Hi, Cindy!) She's a nice lady, and I'm looking forward to talking with her on email just as soon as Dave gets me her email address. (Pokepoke.) I hope we can meet one of these days.

We toured the park starting at Tomorrowland and working around. The Star Tours ride/show was interesting: it's a pretty good motion-base simulator with a storyline that takes the viewer through a flight around a fair bit of the Star Wars original universe, winding up with following Luke Skywalker as he makes his successful attack on the Death Star. The motion is convincing without being too violent.

The Autopia ride, where you drive little cars around the track, was relaxing and interesting for the scenery they set up. I just wish the car we'd had hadn't had an impossibly loose front end.

We got something to drink, then walked around Toontown. This section was added after the Roger Rabbit movie came out, so it wasn't there when I had visited last. They did a good job of evoking the feel of the movie. We didn't go into much of anything, but we did take the Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin ride. That was fun.

On the way back, I just had to do It's a Small World. This was originally built for the 1964 World's Fair, and if anything is a signature piece for Disneyland, it's this. The animatronics are still running perfectly after 40 years, and there are a LOT of them. That's got to be a big maintenance job.

As Dave noted in his journal, many of the most popular rides were closed. The park's 50th anniversary is next year, and they're overhauling and adding to many of them. Most of the ones they're working on won't open till next May. The Haunted Mansion is an exception: while it's being redecorated, it's for the Nightmare Before Christmas, which will open in a few weeks.

Splash Mountain was open. The big drop looks scarier than it is, but I did get quite wet - although the camera stayed dry because I held it all the way up under the front of the car.

Another drink, and it was time for Pirates of the Caribbean. A very well-done water ride, with lots of animatronics and good scenery. It didn't photograph worth a damn, though.

I passed on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Roller coasters don't do much for me but give me motion sickness, and I'd avoided that so far.

Dave warned me that Indiana Jones Adventure was a kidney buster, so I decided to make a pit stop. I was glad he warned me, because he was right. It's probably the best ride out there, though; being one of the newest, they've applied everything they've learned over the years, and it shows. It's impossible to photograph, as the lighting is highly variable and the car takes sudden turns just when you're ready to fire the shutter.

We finished up Disneyland with a relaxing, if corny, Jungle Cruise. Well-done animatronic critters abound.

By this time, it was 5 PM. We went over to Disney's California Adventure next door, a theme park dedicated to more conventional roller coasters and such. We only had time for one thing, so I picked Soarin' Over California, a simulated hang-glider flight over different parts of the state, ending with a night flight over Disneyland as the fireworks go off. The seats are lifted into a domed screen, and the view is incredible. Dave filled me in on a bit of trivia: the guy hitting the golf ball at the viewers is Michael Eisner. It's good to be da king. I'd love to fly some of those shots myself.

We were both pooped, so we decided to have dinner and head back. Dinner was at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, a New Orleans-style restaurant in Downtown Disney just outside the park. Very, very good stuff. I had a truly huge mint julep (after getting to pick which bourbon I wanted it made with!), and was feeling quite happy by the time we left.

We had a very enjoyable time. I'm really looking forward to doing it some more.

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