Film Conventions: The Celebrities' Cash Cow
There was a time when you went to horror/sci-fi conventions to meet the actors, directors and producers of your favorite genre film. Either autographs were free or the celebrity in question might charge $5 or $10, and you even got to talk to them for a few minutes.
In 1999, however, things began to change. At a Chiller Theatre Convention, Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace," charged the princely sum of $25. Now wait a minute — he charged $25 per autograph and yet his character was only in the film for about 10 or 15 minutes, tops? Something is definitely wrong here! Surprisingly, the large crowd of fans forked over the money without a complaint.
Since that time, celebrities think nothing of charging between 20 and 30 dollars for signing their name to a photo, poster or whatever else you place in front of them. It used to be they'd extend their hand to shake yours; now it's to take your money in exchange for their autograph.
It had gotten to the point where I'm leery about approaching a celebrity just to say hello and then to be asked if I'd like to buy a signed photo. In the meantime, their agent/handler keeps a close eye on the metal lock box where the money will be deposited and counted later. The fans have become nothing more than the celebrities' cash cow and I don't like it one bit! Yes sir, it's greed on parade.
To give you an example: actor Sid Haig who has gained fame as Captain Spalding in "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects." There was a time, not too long ago, when Haig (who up till then was known as a "cult actor") would have been thrilled to pieces if someone came up to him and asked for his autograph.Continued on the next page