One of my favorite things about my life is my friends and, by extension, Jeff’s friends. We spent Sunday night with some pretty fun and zany people, including a phone call to Dan O’Shannon, executive producer of Modern Family, shortly after he won an Emmy.
The evening actually began early, at Jeff’s brother Brian’s house, where we celebrated our nephew Kevin’s 17th birthday.
Kevin and Laura, Brian and Barb’s kids, are two of our favorite people so we were reluctant to leave as early as we did, but we had made plans to meet at the Boneyard with a bunch of Jeff’s old buddies from high school. He has stayed in touch with a lot of them and they are a very close-knit group.
Actually, we’d had dinner Saturday night, as well, with two of those friends–Jim and Maureen Kraizel–because Jim and Jeff have been very close friends since they were in grade school and they started out doing comedy together as a team before going off separately as solo acts.
Two other good friends with whom Jeff started out his comedy days were Dan O’Shannon and Tom Anderson (also an old school chum), who eventually became Emmy winning co-executive producers of Cheers. In fact, Dan, who also wrote for Newhart, is the one who came up with the idea of the final episode where Bob wakes up in bed with Emily.
I digress. Jim is a collector of odd and interesting memorabilia. He and Maureen were recently out in Los Angeles, where they visited Dan and his wife, and took this picture (which he still had on his camera, and I took a picture of that picture) of Dan and one of his robots. Dan, according to Jim, also has a full-sized replica of the Lost in Space robot in his home.
While Jim and Maureen were in LA, they attended a Dark Shadows convention. Dark Shadows was , believe it or not, a horror soap opera in the 60’s. So for those of you who think that Twilight is cutting edge, you are wrong. My generation had our own vampire soap opera!
Jim brought with him a poster from the show, on which he had hopes of gathering autographs. This way he wouldn’t have to keep track of a bunch of signed headshots: the signatures would be on one piece that he could display. The primo autograph would be from Jonathan Frid, who played the vampire Barnabas Collins.
Unfortunately, Mr. Frid wasn’t signing individual autographs, due to his advanced age and ill health. However, his people had arranged a silent auction of some of his personal belongings that he would sign for the highest bidder. Jim wasn’t interested in the personal items, but he was willing to pay for an autograph on his poster, so he bid on some items just for that purpose. Oddly, and in typical Jim fashion, he ended up winning the bid on a pair of Jonathan Frid’s socks. Yes, his socks. The man’s assistant took them out of his sock drawer just that morning.
Jim collected his socks and his autograph, which he says is supposed to say “Happy Birthday Jim” (it was his birthday, obvs) but looks like it says “Happy Dudley Jim.” He had to remind Mr. Frid to sign his name to the poster.
A little later in the evening, we were amazed to see an unexpected guest, Tom Anderson. We thought Tom was in England, where he has been working with the BBC on their show My Family (not to be confused with Dan’s show, Modern Family) so we didn’t expect to see him, but there he was.
It was sad to say goodbye to everyone, because these really are good people. This isn’t the first (nor the last) time that Jeff and I have bemoaned the fact that it snows in Cleveland, because we’d live here in a heartbeat with such good friends here. Alas. It does snow, and it’s now time to go. We’re packing up and moving on to our next destination today, a campground about an hour east of here on the PA/OH state line where Jeff used to camp with his family, while growing up.
I guess I better go help Jeff load the car. It’s going to be difficult to leave this gorgeous hotel and go back to a tent, but … hey … this was supposed to be a camping trip, after all.