Thursday, September 2, 2010
Color Plates and Smoke Alarms
But I do have three Ozzy plates that are unique and kind of special to me. They were hand painted by Rob Roy MacVeigh. He was a long time Oz Club member and a Seattle-based film maker and animator.
All three of these were painted at the 1983 Winkie Con. Rob was often struggling for money. And to defray his convention costs he was trying to make a few dollars by doing little Oz paintings.
He had made about ten for the convention and they'd quickly sold. He'd only asked five or ten bucks apiece. I hadn't bought any and they were gone. But during the Saturday night party at the con Rob pulled out his watercolors and a stack of fresh plates and started to do a few more. I asked for a Scarecrow and a Cowardly Lion. We sat side by side on the hotel room floor and I watched him paint the two plates I was buying.
This 1983 Winkie Con was the last one held at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite, California. In Oz club circles this con has become kind of legendary - especially the 1983 Saturday night Winkie Con party! Sometime after midnight, after Rob had painted quite a few additional plates for folks, he said he couldn't do any more. But Rob just enjoyed drawing and after awhile he started another plate for his own amusement. Rob had been drinking and smoking for a couple hours, and he was very mellowed out. He began to paint a plate in honor of the 1964 Rankin-Bass television movie Return to Oz.
Oh, but that party! Thirty or so Oz fans were crammed into an old Victorian hotel room. People had been drinking and smoking and everyone was very Ozzy! Party guests included Royal Historians Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren Lynn McGraw. And one Oz club member had taken it upon himself to sing Stephen Sondheim's "I Never Do Anything Twice," despite the fact that he'd sung the song many times before!
But around 1:00 AM a security guard came knocking and said the talking was too loud and to please keep it down. Some old judge had the room above and apparently he was not amused. So we all hushed up and talked much more quietly.
All was well until the smoke from the cigarettes and a pipe set off the room's smoke alarm! A well-meaning Oz fan climbed up on a chair and was half way through pulling the battery from the screeching smoke alarm when we all realized the security guard had returned and was standing in the open doorway. The party was over. Except for the half dozen of us who relocated to Eric Shanower's room and things got so crazy that at one point a slice of cold pizza flew across the room. Incidentally, this was the Oz con where Eric and I met. It really was a great party - and I still have my plates!