Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Friday November 7th: 'And...Loving It'

> Skip to the start of the holiday

Crept from the Red Vic, having written in the guestbook for posterity, at 7AM to catch the flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

We were told we had been 'selected for secondary screening', which sounds great but actually meant we had to queue for the privilege of having an electronic device run up and down our bodies and in and out of our trousers. That'll teach us to be aliens.

By the time we'd checked out of LAX and into the hotel and I'd had a bath, it was time for me to set off for The Get Smart Gathering.

I got into a taxi - very nervously, as one hears All Sorts Of Things about LA. But although I was a lone female foreigner in a strange city, the cabbie categorically did not rape me, murder me, slice me into pieces and bury the remains in the desert as I was half-expecting. In fact it was a wonderful ride, with the sun going down over the palm trees, the moon rising over the skyscrapers and the neon Felix the Cat flashing out its warning, in the words that it was forming.

Carl, moderator of the GS mailing list and organiser of the event, had had to choose between a big convention-style affair with autographs and all that jazz or a more personal evening event with limited numbers. He picked the latter, and much kudos to him.

Around a hundred fans gathered for a cosy dinner, with those of the cast and crew who could make it allocated randomly to the different tables. Imagine my joy when I found that my table's guest was the original, the one, the only, the lovely Agent 99 herself: Barbara Feldon!

We didn't get much chance to chat as she kept getting called away for hugs and photos; the poor woman didn't finish a single course, and Amanda, a listmember who sat next to me and was lotsa fun, polished off her appetizer. No wonder she still has a fantastic figure.

In fact so cripplingly shy am I that I didn't address Barbara beyond 'hello' until she was leaving, at which point I grasped her hand and babbled like a cretin. (You would have, too.)

Also at my table was Alan Spencer, producer of Sledge Hammer. I've never seen the show but halfway through the meal he pointed out that we were wearing the same watch - the 'Living Daylights' Swatch - clearly a man of good taste.

Don 'Maxwell Smart, Agent 86' Adams broke his hip a few weeks before the event but gamely turned up on a Zimmer frame, looking delighted and a little startled to see so many adoring fen. It was also charming to see Ed Platt's (The Chief, who sadly passed away a few years after the show finished) lovely family present and having a whale of a time.

But although it was totally awesome to meet the stars, what really made my evening was meeting all the good folks from the list whose messages I've been reading all these years.

OK, I lie: what really made my evening was having my name mentioned by Carl in his introductory speech as one of the attendees who'd travelled furthest to get there (the winner was one of the Platts, who lives in Norway). I got to stand up and take a bow in the same context as Don, Barbara, Bernie 'Siegfried' Kopell, producer Leonard Stern and the rest of the alumni.

To sum up:

Ticket for the Get Smart Gathering: $125
1960s-style dress from eBay: £15
Cab to the restaurant: $55
An evening with the creators, stars and fans of my favourite TV programme: priceless

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