Words and Pictures Membership Party 1997

In honor of it being Kevin Eastman’s Birthday, a week from today, I would like to share one of my many stories of a time I met up with Kevin.  Today’s story goes back to 1997 at the Words & Pictures Museum.  It was time for the Words & Pictures membership party and a handful of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans from the TMNT-L mailing list decided to meet up for the event this year.  It was a busy weekend.  On Thursday, Kevin was doing a speech about his life at the museum and we also had the airing of the second episode of the Next Mutation that Friday.

I showed up on Thursday. I remember the long drive to Northampton as we were traveling on and off with a fellow member of TMNT-L, MrLee2.  Once we got to the museum, I went to head straight upstairs.  At the elevator area I was pounced!  Ria-Angelo, a long time member of TMNT-L and good friend of mine, found me.  It was our first time meeting in person.  We had so much to say, what an exciting time.  We got to the second floor and sat front row.  Kevin and his wife Julie were already there.

Kevin came up to me and mentioned how he already knew I was on the set of his live action TV show.  What a surprise that came to me.  I thought for sure I was going to shock him with the news.  So I shared some of the photos with him.  I grabbed out three scripts I brought with me to have autographed.  Kevin looked at the scripts and looked back at me asking how many I had.  I told him I had around 20, and that these were my favorites.  He then asked where the others were, with a grin I replied “at my hotel”.  To my surprise, he told me to bring all the rest with me that Saturday, because he wanted to autograph every one of them.

After he signed the few things I brought, and everyone was there, he started to talk about his life and going into more detail than any interview I’ve ever seen.  He talked about everything including the creation of the Ninja Turtles.  It was a very fun and enjoyable evening.  He joked with us in the crowd and even said if he had a house fire, he was going to come after my collection.  Julie was sitting in the front row with Ria, my mom, Miki and I.  We all had a ton of laughs.  I so wish I had a video camera back then as this would of been a great speech to get on tape.  MrLee2 was there, though he was in the back of the room as he had a few other things going on that evening.

After the speech, we all started to say our goodbyes.  Kevin told us where to get some close by pizza, and we helped MrLee2 with a few things going on before returning to our hotel.

A few days later was the big meet up though, as other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans showed up for the membership party.  Members from TMNT-L were Leonardo, Ninjara, Shredder, Ria-Angelo, MrLee2 and myself.  We met outside the museum before they opened, this was my first time meeting Ninjara, so the group of us got to talking.  As we were all out there, Kevin and Julie came from across the street and said hi to all of us.

Once inside, we were hanging out a bit on the second floor, once again that is my favorite area of the museum.  Though the autograph session was on the 4th floor, I knew I had to be up there as I brought all those scripts that Kevin told me to bring for autographs.  I went up to see him and he smiled to me saying that I could hang out at the autograph session and he’ll sign my stuff in between signing stuff for others who were in line.  Sitting next to Kevin for the autograph session was Ben Edlund, who was the creator of “The Tick”.

I was thrilled to get to hang out with Ben since I loved “The Tick” cartoon series.  We started to watch it because the sidekick of the series, Arthur, was voiced by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees in the first season of the series.  Though it did not take me long at all to realize that “The Tick” was voiced by Townsend Coleman, the original voice of Michaelangelo!  The series was great, full of action and laughs!  So I even got some of the toys, including the talking “Tick” giant action figure.

While standing there I got to talk with both of them.  At one point, Ben brought up that they were going to do a movie about “The Tick”, which is when I spoke up.

“Oh! If you do a movie, you need to keep the same voice actors from the TV series!”
“Oh?  Why?”
“Because the Tick is voiced by the same voice as Michaelangelo!”  I grinned.  Kevin and Ben looked to each other and at the same time said.
“Our characters have something in common!”  We all laughed.

I remember that during this time, Shredder was also hanging out on the 4th floor not far from me.  So between talking with Kevin and Ben, I would be talking with Shredder.  He was showing me his TMNT art work that he brought with him.  Though I did not know where the rest of our group was, I later learned that they did step out and get some food.

When other fans were up getting their stuff signed by Kevin, I would remain quiet to give everyone their time with him, seeing I was getting plenty of time to talk to him.  There were times I was pulled into the conversation with the other fans to answer a question or help point people to others at the event.  Kevin signed every script I had during that time.  He really is an awesome guy.  I still have most of those scripts, though one was stolen with my laptop in 2008.  All the others are kept together in my room.

After the autograph session was over, we all had to leave while they got ready for the party.  Our group returned for the party and got to hang out.  The main party was on the 4th floor like normal, they had some small table and chairs set up.  My mom was sitting in one right across from the staircase that would lead down to the other floors.  We all posed for a group photo with Kevin at one point in the evening.

I really do miss the parties that the Words & Pictures Museum held annually.  It was an event I always looked forward to.  Everyone there were friends.  This party is just one of many great memories there.  For those who have not seen, we do have videos of the Words & Pictures Museum up on Cowabunga Corner.  Here is the video of Cowabunga Corner #5, the opening of the Words & Pictures Museum to help with the layout of the building.

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