Florida Supercon Launches Web Site

Miami, FL – As the 5th annual Florida Supercon grows closer, dozens of exciting new guests have been added from the worlds of Comic Books, Anime, Animation, Sci-Fi, Video Games, Horror, Comedy and more! In addition to the exciting new guests that have been added, a new website has been launched to support the event. The new website can be viewed at www.supercon.tv

Florida Supercon (FSC) returns to Miami for its 5th year as it takes over the entire Doubletree Miami Mart Airport Hotel and Convention Center. South Florida’s Comic Book, Anime, Animation, Video Game and Sci-Fi / Fantasy Festival is set for Friday, June 18 through Sunday, June 20, 2010. The 5th FSC will be the largest yet, with almost 150,000 square feet of event space.

Florida Supercon is a three day festival that includes celebrity guests, comic book publishers, artists, writers, vendors, Q&A’s, parties, costume contests, anime programming, cosplay, panels, photo shoots, live music, video games and more. The event kicks off at 12:00PM, Friday, June 18 and the fun continues almost around the clock until 6:00PM, Sunday, June 20.

Over 80 guests have already been announced for FSC 2010, and that number continues to grow every week. Some of the guests already lined up for FSC 2010 include:

Comic Book artists and writers such as Ariel Olivetti, Bill Sienkiewicz, Khoi Pham, Rafa Sandoval, Dennis Calero, Brad Walker, Paul Gulacy, Fred Van Lente, Filip Sablik, Georges Jeanty, Dick Giordano, Dustin Weaver, Steve Kurth, Shawn Crystal, Joe Jusko, Allen Bellman, Clayton Henry, Derec Donovan, Alex Saviuk, Pat Broderick, Rob Hunter, Greg “Dark One” Williams, Vinnie Tartamella, Dick Kulpa and more!

Anime and Animation voice actors like Troy Baker (Naruto, Code Geass), Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim), Larry Kenney (Thundercats), Brittney Karbowski (Xenosaga, Pani Poni Dash), Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen), Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit), Brad Kesten (Charlie Brown), Angela Lee-Sloan (Lucy in Peanuts), Stacy H. Tolkin (Sally in Peanuts) and more!

Legendary Filmmakers Lloyd Kaufman and Hershell Gordon Lewis.

Movie and TV Celebrities such as Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World, Relic Hunter), John Wesley Shipp (The Flash), Charles Fleischer (Back to the Future II), Julie McCullough (Growing Pains, The Blob), Louise Robey (Friday the 13th the series), Rebecca Staab (Fantastic Four), Michelle Lintel (The Black Scorpion), Sinn “Kizarny” Bodhi (WWE) and more!

Musical Guests like MC Frontalot, Robbed By A Flute, Sci-Fried, The Pursuit, Murderous Rampage and more!

Cosplay and Entertainment Guests such as the 3000 Brigade (Smash Bros. Show), Supercon Championship Wrestling, Wasabi Anime, Outland Armour and more!

Stand Up Comedy Guests like Lisa Corrao, The Revenge of the Nerds Comedy Show, Julie McCullough and more!

Additional guests can be found at on the Florida Supercon website at www.supercon.tv

This year, FSC will have dedicated programming tracks for each of the genres being celebrated. Some of the events include:

  • Q&A’s with most of our attending guests
  • Comic art portfolio reviews for aspiring artists
  • Fan panels for all aspects of the show (Comics, Anime, Animation, Sci-Fi etc.)
  • Industry panels for breaking into Comics, Anime, Animation etc…
  • The FSC Costume Competition (with over $3,000 in cash and prizes)
  • The FSC Cosplay Skit Contest
  • Rumble Roses Cosplay Wrestling
  • The Otaku Insomnia Rave
  • Cosplay Deviant’s Hentai Cafe
  • Cosplay RockBand
  • Supercon Championship Wrestling’s “Supercon Mania!”
  • The Smash Brothers 3000 Super Show
  • Filmmaking workshops with Hershell Gordon Lewis
  • The FSC Film Festival
  • Live Musical Performances
  • Live stand up comedy
  • Over 100 video game stations
  • Video game tournaments
  • A 50,000 square feet exhibition room with over 300 booths and tables featuring vendors, celebrity guests, artists, filmmakers and exhibits.

The convention hours of operation are:

FRIDAY, JUNE 18: 12:00PM – 2:00AM

SATURDAY, JUNE 19: 11:00AM – 2:00AM

SUNDAY, JUNE 20: 11:00AM – 6:00PM

THE DOUBLE TREE MIAMI AIRPORT HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTER is located at 711 NW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33126. The Double Tree has over 150,000 square feet of total convention space to accommodate the growing attendance of Animation Supercon. Discounted room rates for convention are available.

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

By JAY R. NEILL

Autograph December 2009

[Read more…]

Who Is Lee Correy?

By PATRICK DOUGLAS

— Autograph February 2009

The cover picture of Correy's book Starship through Space

In his memoir the formative years of Model Rocketry 1957-1962, G. Harry Stine wrote the self observation, “It is not often that an aerospace historian has the opportunity to participate in the making of history,” that became quite prophetic to me after receiving a gift.

My interest in Stine’s life took shape about a year ago when my father-in-law gave me an old novel called Starship through Space, written by one Lee Correy.

Because it was printed in the early 1950s, the only thing I initially knew of the book was that it was old and appeared no different than any other used book that you could buy for a buck at a local used bookstore. But then I discovered that it was signed by the author, and the inscription had a personal and possibly historical message written inside:

“1 October 1954—White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, USA, Terra. To Margaret and the rest of the people of White Sands—who are doing the basic groundwork which may make this story come true—Cordially, Lee Correy (G. Harry Stine)”

The message in itself was intriguing, especially after I started researching the author. It turns out the book is an early glimpse at the life of a man who contributed greatly to the fledgling ideals of space exploration, as well as the hobby of model rocketry.

Fresh out of college, Stine, who oftentimes used Lee Correy as his pen name, went to work at White Sands Proving Ground, where he became Chief of the Controls and Instruments section of the Propulsion Branch; he tested liquid and solid propellant rockets for the Army and honed his knowledge of rockets.

According to his memoirs, Stine wrote science fiction in the evenings, which culminated into his first published “boys book,” Starship through Space, the very book I had sitting in my lap. He would go on to write 63 books, including the Star Trek story The Abode of Life.

The price being asked for unsigned copies of Starship through Space online led to more curiosity. On Amazon, a third edition was being sold for $164, while first editions, like the one I have, were going for around $250 or more. One website in particular had a price tag of $400, stating that the book was in “lovely” condition.

With such a high demand, and knowing that my signed copy with its enigmatic message must have a story behind it, I began sending out emails to find out just who Margaret was and if the book belonged in a museum rather than in my autograph collection.

Most of my emails came back with even more unanswered questions, but I did receive an interesting response from Terrie Cornell, curator of the White Sands Missile Range Museum.

A page from Starship through Space signed by the author "Lee Correy" (G. Harry Stine)" and inscribed "To Margaret and the rest of the people of White Sands--"

“I think Margaret was in the White Sands Proving Ground Personnel Office,” said Cornell, adding that she was just giving me an educated guess. “I’ve heard many old-timers say they were hired by Margaret. She must have been quite a person, since everyone remembered her fondly.

“Harry Stine did indeed work out here and is considered the father of model rocketry,” she continued. “Like so many early folks here, he must have been a genius renaissance man. You have a wonderful book there. Treasure it!”

While her message was affirming of its importance, it still left me a bit confused as to the history of my book and the man people referred to as “The Old Rocketeer.”

I visited the website, questaerospace.com, and found documents written by Stine and his wife, Barbara, that painted the man’s legacy as not only a scientist and innovator, but also a humanitarian who wanted to help children have fun and be safe at the same time.

This led to trying to locate Barbara and I set about it nearly a year after receiving the book. After a bit of sleuthing, I found a number and with my fingers crossed, I called her at home.

“The book that he was most proud of was the Handbook of Model Rocketry,” she explained during our conversation. “That really started the whole model rocketry deal. I was secretary treasure for the first seven years and spent at least 40 hours a week running the organization out of our basement.”

Barbara shared stories of Stine, including why he originally went with a pseudonym in his early books. “The pen name was not a secret,” she said. “Everybody knew that when Harry was writing non-fiction, it was G. Harry Stine and when he couldn’t get a point across through the non-fiction area, he would write it as Lee Correy.”

The pseudonym was nixed later when Stine wrote his series of Warbots and Starsea Invaders books.

“His last 15 fiction books were published under the name of G. Harry Stine because the publisher thought that the name was better known than Lee Correy, which is kind of a goofy twist,” said a laughing Barbara.

Harry Stine turned down requests from Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry to write scripts for the show, according to Barbara.

“[Rodenberry] wanted him to write screenplays and he said, ‘No, I write books. That’s what I do. I don’t want to belong to the Screen Writers Guild anyway,’” she recalled. “He wanted the freedom to do what he wanted to do. He was good at writing books.”

As for the book I was researching, Barbara offered up some stories about its creation.

“There was a formula,” she said. “They don’t have that category anymore. This was like something that a young man who read the Boy Scouts’ Boys’ Life would read. There was a definite formula that he had to follow which doesn’t exist anymore. His hero had to be adventurous; sort of the rules don’t apply to him. He couldn’t smoke, he couldn’t drink and he didn’t have a girlfriend. That formula had to be adhered to for those first three books.”

Stine had a mentor in another great science fiction author, Robert Heinlein, whose most popular stories include Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. Heinlein’s book, The Door into Summer, was based on a cat that the Stines gave him.

G. Harry Stine, aka Lee Correy, pictured on the back of his book, Starship through Space

“The cat would sit by the door and complain because it was snowing and he didn’t want to go out in the snow,” she said, adding that the Heinlein book Have Spacesuit—Will Travel was dedicated to her and her husband.

“Bob Heinlein encouraged [Harry] and mentored him when he was in college,” Barbara said.

Stine’s contributions to the world of model rocketry brought it from an idea to a hobby that has spread internationally. His son, Bill Stine, has kept the tradition alive, coaching the United States team in the International Junior Model Rocket competitions, recently traveling to Spain for the event.

“He’s done it for a couple of years,” said Barbara of her son. “They didn’t used to have any competition internationally for the young people.”

As if all of this wasn’t enough for one man’s life accomplishments, Harry Stine is often given credit for coming up with the giving term “pay it forward,” which was made popular in the film of the same name starring Haley Joel Osment, Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey.

What started out as an old book being passed from one person to another, turned into an education into a man’s existence and a revelation of value that makes it much more than a common used hardcover novel.

As for the Margaret who was referenced in the signature, her identity was made clearer after talking with Barbara Stine.

“He’s referring to the lady who was head of the physical science lab, where they had a program in which the students worked six months at White Sands and then six months at the lab and had hands on experience,” she said.

I now know that the book might not be something meant for a museum, but it’s certainly worthy of being a huge part of both my book and autograph collections, and I’m proud to have it. Stine died of a stroke on November 2, 1997, at 69 years old.

*The opening Stine memoir excerpt was used with permission from Barbara Stine.

Virginia Davis: Disney’s First Star

By MARGARET KERRY

— Autograph February 2009

Signed photo of Davis as “Alice” in Disney’s Alice Comedies (1923-25)

Many disney fans are unaware that before the mouse, there was 4-year-old Alice. Virginia Davis is the Disney legend who starred as Alice in the young director’s first live-action animated short film, Alice’s Wonderland, which led to a series of 14 Alice Comedies. As two of Walt Disney’s earliest actors, Virginia and I always have much to talk about. I attended her interview with a biographer for an upcoming book and we got to catch up on old times.

Sitting in the small library in her retirement home, Virginia was stylishly dressed as always, this time in beige slacks with an elegant fitted jacket. Her signature cap was perched over her blonde curls.

“Virginia, you’re as bright as a new penny and as lively as the day Walt Disney spotted you in 1923,” I said.

“That was before there was any thought of a mouse,” Virginia replied emphatically.

It’s hard to believe that this beguiling little lady celebrated her 90th birthday on December 31.

Margaret Kerry: So, tell me, how did Walt Disney find you?

Davis holding the poster for Alice’s Day at Sea

Virginia Davis: He found me on the screen when he went to see a silent movie in Kansas City, Mo. When I was 4 years old, I was picked to be the model for a Warneke Bread advertisement that popped up on the screen between films. I was posed reaching for a slice of the bread and my mouth seemed to say ‘Yum Yum’. Walt was barely out of his teens and he was really struggling to make a go of his Laugh-O-Gram cartoon company. He got an idea for a series of six- or seven-minute live-action animated movie theater shorts titled Alice Comedies and starring a 4-year-old girl.

When he cast you as Alice, you became the little girl who started the Disney dynasty, right?

Davis-signed photo of an Alice the Peacemaker poster

Yes, Alice’s Wonderland, the first Alice Comedies short I did was actually filmed in our family’s house with Walt directing and [his brother] Roy Disney behind the camera. One scene called for my movie mother to tuck me in my bed. Walt asked my own mother, Margaret, to do the scene but she was shy, so my Aunt Louise tucked me in instead.

Did you film all 14 Alice Comedies you starred in while you were living in the Los Angeles?

Alice’s Wonderland was really the pilot, the one filmed in my house. Walt relocated to L.A. and finally got a distributor for the shorts. The contract called for me to be the star. My folks thought the world of Walt so we moved to Los Angeles. During the time I was being filmed playing Alice, I went to school and dancing classes. Good thing, too. You can’t stay a 4-year-old forever.

Signed photo of Davis as one of the 12 “Harvey Girls.” Davis is behind Judy Garland (front center) to the left

As an adult, I danced in many films in the glory days of musicals. I quit the business after making The Harvey Girls with Judy Garland at MGM. I married a wonderful man, Bob McGhee, and settled down to raise two daughters, Laurieanne and Margaret.

And now, I’m back and appearing at autograph shows around the country. Fans are so surprised when they learn of Walt’s earliest days and see the photos that I sign. It’s a great experience.

What are the top three memories of your career?

I loved working with so many top choreographers, dancers, famous directors and actors. I’m particularly pleased at having quite a large part in a movie called Three on a Match, in which I played Joan Blondell as a 12-year-old.

Davis signing a photo with her poodle, Buster

And I know just how special it is that I am one of the very few people who was actually directed by Walt Disney and filmed by Roy. You know, when Walt was directing me he’d say “Let’s pretend,” then he’d tell me the story of the scene. We had to get it right on the first take because Walt and Roy couldn’t afford to buy film for “take two.”

I guess the third highlight would be the time I was given a Disney Legend Award at the Disney Studio. That represented many things to me. But in particular I like to think that those who said over and over ‘It all started with a mouse…’ became aware that Walt Disney’s career really started with a little 4-year-old girl—Me!