No…the show is not stopping. Let’s get that straight right off the top. I don’t want Ken to be emailing me about misleading people! The show will go on, just not with Kitley’s Krypt there vending.
Back in September of 2000, we set up at the very first Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo, in Strongsville, Ohio. 19 years later, after 34 shows, it is still going strong. We were a dealer at that very first show and have continued to set up there since, never once missing one. In my years of going to shows, both as a fan and as a dealer, which is three decades worth, I’ve never known a show like Cinema Wasteland.
It has remained at the very same hotel since that first show. And believe it or not, but the hotel still welcomes the Wasteland fans! There is always plenty of stuff going on there to keep any fan busy for the whole weekend, from Q&A’s to film screenings that go on until the wee hours of the morning. They have great guests, but usually not the same ones you’ll see at every other show. Ken always tries to do something new and different.
Over the years, there has been so many great memories, getting to meet some of my idols there, such as the esteemed Richard Johnson (pictured above) from The Haunting (1963) and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979). I’ve had the honor to meet such luminaries in the cult and exploitation cinema as Ted V. Mikels and H.G. Lewis. Or even the lesser known names that you’d never see at most conventions, like Bud Cardos, Gary Kent, William Smith, William Grefe, and Charles B. Griffith. All of these people made an impact on my cinematic journey. Or how about Italian icons like Sergio Martino, or this unholy trinity pictured below of Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Lamberto Bava, and Mariano Baino!
Then you add in all the friends that I’ve met and made at this show over those last 19 years and it is truly beyond words what they mean to me. A lot of people I consider part of my convention family and look forward to seeing them every year. I’ve had a lot of incredible experiences at this show, like seeing my son Nick completely geek out when he had the opportunity to meet one of his idols, Reb Brown!
I’ve always said that if I ever stopped being a dealer there, I would still come out to the show. Well, that time has come.
As much fun as we have at the show, our sales there just have not been consistent to continue setting up. Once you throw in the hotel and table costs, and unfortunately not a lot of people there buying books, it just isn’t viable for us to continue to do it. So the last October show was in fact, our last show. As a dealer.
Don’t worry…we will be there at the future shows, not as a dealer, but just as a regular fan. I’m actually looking forward to be able to spend more time during the Q&A’s, listening to the stories I usually miss. Or getting to sit and watch some of the great films they screen during the day. Oh yeah…and maybe getting more than 3 hours of sleep each night too!
So a huge thank you to Ken and Pam, and all of the Wasteland staff that has made this show one of my favorites and one that I looked forward to each and every year. I still will be, but this time on the other side of the table.
Here’s just a few photo highlights over the years, showing so many great times and very close friends. We’ll see you in April.