My Days in Denver
My experience with fan events is limited to one PaleyFest and a regional Comic Con. At the end of a PaleyFest Q&A all manner of humanity rushes the stage in a crushing bid to get Jon Hamm’s autograph. Worth the effort, if unnerving. At Denver Con fans approach their idols with heads bowed asking, “Please sir, may I have an autograph on this $40.00 likeness of yourself?” Not so at “Days in Denver” where cast members joyfully signed autographs for thousands of fans. Organizers welcomed newcomers, returnees, and lifetime Days of Our Lives loyalists with free autographs and a tightly scripted event. My goals included speaking in full sentences to Rob Wilson and Victoria Konefal, and not sobbing upon meeting Mary Beth Evans.
I queued up at Park Meadows Mall with thousands of women and a few men at 11:30 AM for the 1:00 autograph signing. I am grateful to my new friend Linda who quickly struck up a conversation with me. Once she and I realized that the other was neither a white supremacist nor a climate-change denier we got along like a house afire. The two-hour wait flew by as we discussed everything from the midterm elections to Alice Horton’s donut recipe. Meanwhile, my teenage daughter scouted the locale and snapped photos like a pro.
The nine members of the Days cast in attendance appeared to be enjoying themselves and could not have been more gracious. They signed 5X7 photo cards provided by NBC. Each cast member shook my hand and thanked me for coming while I spouted gibberish about their work. Casey Moss (JJ) and Freddie Smith (Sonny) were all smiles and Judi Evans (Adrienne) practically buzzed with energy. Paul Telfer (Xander) joked that the spelling of my name was “fancy.”
When I stepped in front of Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Rob Wilson (Ben) I hoped to say something intelligent to the Cinful duo. Instead I gushed, “You two are amazing together!” They thanked me politely and behaved as professional colleagues, with not a fall or a catch in sight.
I then attempted a coherent sentence in Wilson’s direction. I either praised the subtleties in his acting style such as an extra touch here, or a long look there, or simply said, “You act good!” I’ll never know.
For his part, Wilson responded by taking one of my hands in both of his, looking into my eyes, and thanking me. I looked back at him and thought, “Dear God, how can this man be both genetically perfect and humble?” Then I made a ridiculous comment about telling my daughter she shouldn’t fall for a serial killer and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe) piped up with a joke about how he or the character (not sure which) isn’t actually a serial killer. She could have been speaking in tongues for all I knew since I was still recovering from the whole double-hand clasp thing.
I found my wits in time to thank James Reynolds (Abe), for his remarkable performance regarding Theo’s shooting. I had done the same earlier with Casey Moss. Reynolds noted that when an actor is given such important material it’s important to do justice to it. He and Moss certainly did.
Oh dear. Next up – Mary Beth Evans. Actual text conversation between me and my daughter:
ME: Please take pics of the blond lady at the far end.
DAUGHTER: The one with the cool glasses?
ME: Yes. I hope I don’t cry when I meet her.
DAUGHTER: Just don’t cry. Even if you do she’s like the last one so . . . Ben is quite attractive in real life.
For me, meeting Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) felt like meeting a friend. I mean this in a non-stalker kind of way. Seeing her in person brought on waves of nostalgia for my high school and college years when Steve and Kayla fell in love and danced to “Lady in Red.” I thanked Evans for her work on Days and for sticking with the show. She said, “I have so much fun [at Days].” In a sense, the fans do to and that is what keeps us coming back for more.
The photo below captures the spirit of the day with Evans waving at my daughter as she took our picture.
I left Park Meadows with a stack of autographs, not sure what to do with them. I couldn’t possibly hang one in my office for fear of losing the hard-won respect of undergraduates, could I? As I look around my office, however, I see Cap, Buffy, Barbie Betty Draper, and enough Oliver and Felicity to save Star City. Come to think of it, Mary Beth Evans will fit in quite nicely.
I’ll leave Cin at home.
Many thanks to NBC, Days of Our Lives, and the cast for such a delightful experience.