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PARTY TIME!!!

GRIDLOCK AT SUNSET BEACH

My account of the first Official Sunset Beach fan club gathering which was held at Sportmen's Lodge in Studio City, CA, USA on February 27, 1999.

PART ONE

I will not say that event was without its problems, as the room was much too small accomodate the large group of eager fans and cast members who turned out to meet and greet. I must say that despite the conditions (which were especially difficult for me in my wheelchair) courtesy and patience were the watchwords for actors and fans alike.

The event opened with a nice surprise as Nick Stabile (ex-Mark Wolper) stopped by during the cast introductions to offer a quick "hello" and to let his fans know that he will be appearing on "Dawson's Creek" in coming weeks. Sarah Buxton (Annie) and Lisa Guerrero-Coles (Francesca) had to leave early due to prior commitments but not before thanking the fans and leaving plenty of autographed photos behind for everyone. Buxton also answered a Q&A regarding Annie fantasy life. Her favorite: The Western. The most difficult: The Whipped Cream bikini. (It seems she caught a cold -- poor thing!)

Fans were dispointed by a few no-shows such as Eddie Cibrian (Cole), Susan Ward (Meg) and Michael Strickland (Brad) but that did not dampen anyone's enthusiam to meet those present at the autograph table. Two lines were formed at either end which formed a collision point at Clive Robertson (Ben) ...but more on that later!

Posing with

Shawn Batten (Sara) & Nick Kiriazis (Antonio) 

First, at my end of the table were Shawn Batten (Sara) and Priscilla Garita (Gabi), both of whom I had met last Spring at previous events...But I was shocked that they remembered me. Both were gracious and funny while eating cheesecake... but lamenting the size of the room which was becoming increasingly warm...crowded... and (quite frankly) dangerous! Next was Hank Cheyne (Ricardo) who was a little disappointed when he asked if Gabi should end up with him or Antonio and I opted for his brother. (Nick Kiriazis (Antonio) and I come from the same area of Long Island.) But Hank gave me an autograph anyway as I waited to make my way to Russell Curry (Tyus).

It was about then that Sam Behrens (Gregory) got up from his chair and started working his way down the line signing autographs taking photos to facilitate the back-up. Smart man!

Did I ever make to my appointment with Dr. Tyus Robinson? Read on for Part Two of:

Gridlock At SUNSET BEACH!

PART TWO

I finally made it to my "Doctor's Appointment" and found Russell Curry to be charming, intelligent, and articulate and extremely talkative. I especially enjoyed a discussion of his time on "Santa Barbara" -- my all time favorite soap!

I, then, spoke with one of my all- time favorite actresses, Kathleen Noone (Bette) who seemed to truly be enjoying the good natured kidding going on between my sister, Jeanne and myself. Apparently, she has the same type of relationship with her sister. What a great lady...

Moving on to Gordon Thomson (A.J.), who had indeared himself to me earlier by stating that his favorite character to play was Santa Barbara's Mason Capwell was as engagingly warm as when I had first met him during his "Capwell incarnation." Lesley-Anne Down (Olivia) is always a delight and much more up-beat (Thank God!) than the character she plays. We talked about her part in one of my favorite mini-series, North & South My Mom mentioned she liked N&S, Part II. Lesley mentioned a Part III we had not known about. It seems few people do. It aired during the Olympics. If anyone has a copy of the mini-series"North & South, Part III on tape please e-mail me, maybe we can make a deal. I'd love to see it!

Next came Clive Robertson (Ben), but we were abuptly moved onto a different line, due to the inappropriate room capacity...and would have to make our way back from the opposite end of the room back to the center where Clive was...or would we?

PART THREE

Before I continue, I must admit that I forgot to mention a great conversation I had with Carol Potter (Joan). She is a nice lady. We spent most of our time talking about her "daughter, Meg"...and Susan Ward, the actress who plays her. Carol loves Susan, and respects Meg because she is "nice... but not perfect...not a goody two-shoes!" We discussed Meg & Ben's wedding, and Maria coming back...She really admired Susan's acting during that time.

But getting back to what I was saying... They wanted us to switch lines...unfortunately there was nowhere to go, and we wound up stalled in the middle of the room. Eventually, the swarm opened up behind us... Mom was able to back me (almost literally) into Nick Kiriazis (Antonio). I had met Nick before and found him to be warm, charming, and gentle. Then, however, I didn't know we came from the same area. As we reminisced about local haunts...he signed an 8x10 (all of which were provided free of charge --nice touch!) The swarm descended once again!

So I moved on to Kam Heskin (Caitlin). She was sweet, kind...and appeared a bit overwhelmed by all the attention! I can't blame her. Things were getting pretty crazy! Many (including myself) congratulated Kam on her fine work of late! She said Caitlin's lies coming back to haunt her had been an interesting, but depressing challenge for her.


PART FOUR:


a fascinating talk with Christina Chambers (Maria)...and Finally...Clive Robertson (Ben)

I have to say I love Meg as much as anyone...but Christina Chambers could steal any guy's heart. Her eyes are so big and wonderous -- they are like windows on the world... and this day she proved her smile illuminates even the most crowded of roooms. While she was signing an 8x10 for me, I joked that Maria should get the house...because Ben built it for her!...And you'd think Meg wouldn't want to like in a house that came out of Ben's love for another woman anyway!

Christina nudged Clive next to her and told him: "John says I should get the house, it's mine. You built it for me!" Clive responded that she could have the boat, too.

But I said there were too many bad memories connected with it...but she would sell the boat to him. Clive accepted the terms.

Then Christina said "Do you want a picture? I said you gave me one... But she meant a picture with her. I thought that would be impossible with the ever-swelling crowds, but she managed to lean across the autograph table and smile big.

Finally reaching Clive was a relief -- especially for my sister as Clive and Sam Behrens are her favorites! After posing with my sister, Clive graciously noted that my position on the house was quite right...now we'll just have to see what the writers do. Then, we moved on --time was running short, but the crowds were getting to me. We somehow found our way back to the table, as a very kind Sunset Beach staff member, who's name I unfortunately can't remember collected the remaining autographs for me.(I was still missing quite a few: Randy Spelling (Sean); Jason George (Michael); Dominque Jennings (Virginia); Sherri Saum (Vanessa); and Dax Griffin (Tim); etc. I may not have met everyone this time around...but I got the signatures without fighting the crowds anymore!

Tim Adams ran the raffle, (I didn't win anthing...but I was just lucky to be there) and wisely suggested the other actors circulate and make sure everyone got all the autographs they wanted. So I got to meet Christi Ellen Harris (Emily)...she is even more charming than the character she plays!

On the way out, we a each received SUNSET BEACH gifts: a keyring, beach ball, sports bottle & "frisbee".

I also had chance meetings with Dax Griffin (Tim) and Sherri Saum (Vanessa). Sherri told me her Mom video tapes and keeps every episode she appears in! That must create quite a storage problem.

All in all, it was a very nice day....but next year get a bigger room --- this show is much more popular than the Nielsen ratings indicate....Thanks to kind actors and patient fans...we survived and a good time was had by all!

COPYRIGHT 1999 BY JHB WEBSITE.
*JHB Website is wholly unofficial and not endorsed by any entity connected with "Sunset Beach", its producers (Aaron Spelling Productions), fan club or NBC-TV.

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