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A word from Ian...

June 2006-06-08

I can't believe how time is flying by and its remiss of me not to have been more up to date with the site.

It seems like days ago when I was writing about the convention in Devon only to realise that since then I've been to C3 and Japan and loads of conventions in between.

In that time too we've sadly lost some great favourites from the Star Wars Galaxy: Will Hootkins (Jek Porkins: Red Six) was always such a laugh at conventions and he was also a very fine and highly gifted actor and he will be sorely missed. John Hollis (Lobot) has also left us: John worked in my Hiss & Boo Company in jkits very early days.
The biggest loss has been Michael Sheard and countless fans have spoken to me at conventions etc saying how sorry they were to learn of his passing.

It was largely thanks to Michael that I got involved with the Star Wars characters at conventions. I was asked to write an obituary for Michael which I gladly reproduce here:

I last saw him at Celebration III in Indianapolis where he was his usual ebullient self, always ready with a witty remark, the first to indulge in cheerful banter and often (by his own admission!) the last to buy a round at the bar.

It was Michael who first brought me on to the 'convention' circuit when he invited me over to an event on the Isle of Wight about ten years ago. I was very unaware of what was expected of a guest but Michael made me feel very welcome and he soon put me on the right track. That was the first time I experienced one of his famous (to the actors involved, often infamous!) question and answer sessions. I soon learned that Michael asked all the questions …. and usually gave all the answers.

He never missed a chance to attend a convention or event, however big or small, and his famous 'badged blazer' carried his treasured insignia of the many organisations with which had become involved over the years… and in which he maintained a genuine ongoing interest.

Michael was a staunch and fervent advocate for all that was Star Wars. In the many conventions I attended where he was a guest, I never saw him be rude or dismissive to any of the many legions of fans to whom he was a very popular personality. He would always chat with the fans and if he ever tired of their questions, he never showed it.

He will be very sadly missed by so many people he had befriended all over the world as part of the Star Wars circuit.

He was a talented and versatile actor and a 'real pro' of the old school and I shall miss him enormously.

My sympathy and thoughts go out to his beloved wife, Ros, and his family.

May he rest in peace.

On a more cheerful subject, Celebration 3 in Indianapolis in April 2005 was as much fun, if not more so, than Celebration 2. The highlight for me was a very unexpected presentation of an award from The Rebel Legion: see attached pictures. I was very touched by the trouble these guys had all gone to on my behalf and was taken aback by the presentation. The plaque sits proudly in the dining room at home.

News is travelling fast about Celebration 4: … and one of the very first places you would have heard about it would have been on wesjansondotcom@yahoogroups.com thanks to the sharpness of our wonderful editor in chief on the site ( and wesjanson.com US correspondent) LeAnn LeVeque.

I quote:

Just announced on StarWars.com

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Gen Con LLC will throw the largest party ever for fans of the saga, taking over the entire Los Angeles Convention Center in May 2007 for
five days filled with live entertainment, celebrities from all six movies, special film and video presentations, an exhibit of movie props and costumes, exclusive merchandise sold at a 24-hour-a-day store, pop culture tributes, immersive events, costume contests, and
scores of additional activities. Star Wars Celebration IV will fill the L.A. Convention Center from Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28, 2007. Admission to the first day of the event will be for worldwide members of the Official Star Wars Fan Club, many of whom will help
plan and run special programming themselves. The convention will be open to the general public from Friday through Monday, Memorial Day.

Source

Needless to say I hope to be there but it's still a tadge too early to know what the guest list will be.

Apart from some fun conventions in Birmingham, Colchester and Swindon - where I proudly received another award for "The Best Crash in Star Wars" from organiser Luke Skywalker. Yes, the guy changed his name! -- WWW.LUKESKYWALKERS.CO.UK

My trip to Japan in February (courtesy of Masahiro Abbey Abe) was hugely enjoyable even if some of the venues were hastily organised. We had a good turnout wherever we went and made many new friends. Not least an Australian actor called Kyle Rowling who was Christopher Lee's sword double and had much to do with various fight sequences.

He was in the company of Gary X from US autograph experts Wattographs. Check out their site at http://wattographs.com/articles/recollections to see a Q & A article they've recently done with me.

The memorable aspects of the Japan trip were a visit to a Kabuki Theatre, a wonderful, memorable trip to Kyoto (as well as Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya with a trip on the Shinkansen (bullet train) … and a hugely enjoyable trip to a Sumo wrestling tournament. What a shame our promoter couldn't find the money to pay our fees … still, a good time was had by all and the hospitality was second to none. Japan is a beautiful country and very well worth a visit.

What's next? Well I'm in the middle of hectic preparations for all the Christmas show which I produce. See www.hissboo.co.uk for details: as you'll see from the site I'm also appearing with my own shows so I'm as busy as I want to be.

Best wishes
Ian

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