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Friday, August 08, 2008

Comic-Con 2008: Debriefing

Our 50th Anniversary STEVE CANYON ON NBC panel went off with nary a hitch near the end of the convention on Sunday afternoon. Aside from a bit of trouble dimming the room lights it all went well...and although not a packed room it was well attended by quite a few original die hard fans as well as a number of new recruits.

As predicted in the previous post, Harry Guyton, Bob Hoy and Mrs. Frank Ball were unfortunately unable to attend, so John Ellis (hey, that's me!) had to fly solo. John answered quite a few interesting questions during the program concerning the past, present and future of the series AND the Steve Canyon character.

Steve Canyon presentation art by Milton Caniff

We started off with a rapid-fire slide show featuring nearly 300 images relating to the tv series, which included never before seen behind the scenes shots and also rare images such as the one above which was the cover to an abortive mid-fifties presentation Milton put together to try to get Steve Canyon on TV. Images from our restoration effort were also shown.

Screen image from OPERATION NOSE WHEEL, featuring Dean Fredericks on right and Lamont Johnson on left.

Following the slide show everyone was treated to the promised screening of the episode OPERATION BIG THUNDER, which got a big round of applause at the end. Since we were short on guests it turned out we had just enough extra time to screen a SECOND episode (which we let the audience pick) and that turned out to be OPERATION NOSE WHEEL. Both shows featured added fun since they included the original network commercials...

Dean Fredericks hawking Chesterfield cigarettes for the show's sponsor.

...and also an original Chesterfield Cigarettes "endorsement" commercial by Steve Canyon himself, Dean Fredericks.

John chats with a group of fans at the end of the panel.

I think everyone had a good time at the panel (heck, I sure did!) and we all got to see two Canyon episodes that haven't been seen publicly in 48 years...and NEVER BEFORE on a big screen! How cool is that?

There was some discussion of our plans to release the full series on DVD, although we have not yet announced a "street date" (release date), but we plan to make an official announcement here in the weeks to come, and also reveal some of the packaging designs and other bookmark us here (or subscribe up there at top of the page) and stay tuned for breaking news about to come your way!


Although he couldn't stay for the panel, Dean Frederick's grandson Christopher met me early that morning and we walked through the exhibit hall and talked about his famous grandfather. 
Along the way we met and talked with the great Robert Culp (vocal fan of Milton Caniff's Terry And The Pirates) and stupendous artist Mike Royer (who told us of how he ALMOST became the letterer of the Steve Canyon comic strip). We found artist extraordinaire Mark Wheatley lurking about, and we also spent some time at ASIFA-Hollywood's booth with our friend Steve Worth and the Animation Archive's dedicated denizens. Be sure to click on over to ASIFA's amazing website and support them MIGHTILY as we do! We managed to spend a few minutes with a few old friends, including the incomparable Patricia Rogers, indy filmmaker Scott Phillips and the mysterious Charles Band, all of whom helped to make it a memorable show for us.


Part of the reason it has taken so long to get this post up is that we didn't have any photos from the panel, and I had to pull frames out of the video footage that Laura Lozano shot for us and prep them for insertion here. Thanks to Laura and our old Virginia pals Kurt Gustafson, Dennis Medinets and Tom Swyden. I also want to thank Phil Pyster and the gang from The National Cartoonists Society for their kindness and assistance during the show.

Thanks for tuning in! More is on tap and coming here soon!

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