Monday, August 19, 2013

Linus Meets John Saxon! (17 Aug 2013)

When I was nine years old, my father was into two things: M*A*S*H and martial arts films. I can remember vividly that he loved USA’s Kung Fu Theater (click here for the memorable intro) and he watched it as much as he could. One day, he brought over the videocassette for this little movie called Enter the Dragon that starred Bruce Lee. In that film, there was a man who from the moment I laid eyes on him was one of the most beautiful men in the entire world (Yes, I know what you’re thinking: You had those thoughts at nine years old?) and I was immediately fascinated by a gentleman going by the name of John Saxon. I didn’t know his name back then and I wouldn’t see him again in another film until I would sit down in front of Nightmare on Elm Street for the first time many years later. I remembered his eyes, his voice….that physique and instantly became a fan. Over time (especially once after I’d become the budding horror fan during my formative years), I found out that though he’d been a mainstream success in Enter the Dragon, he was a huge horror/B-film name and I started watching all his films one-by-one beginning with Blood Beach and sitting though Black Christmas, Zombie Death House and his small but fantastic role in Dario Argento’s Tenebre. Little by little I was falling for the man (in a cinematic sense, of course) and as I was watching him one day (in Blood Beach nonetheless), I knew one day I would welcome the opportunity to meet him.
About a year and a half ago (ish), it was announced that he would be appearing at the Time Tunnel Toy Show in San Jose, California to meet, greet and sign autographs. I usually frequent that show so I was immediately dead-set on attending. I mean, I wasn't going to miss out on the chance to finally meet Señor Saxon face to face. As the day drew nearer, I was disappointed to find out that because of work and other circumstances way beyond my control, I wasn’t going to be able to attend the show, thus meeting him was now forever out of my reach. I was very overjoyed to hear through the grapevine later on that he ended up not being able to attend due to professional commitments and had plans to reschedule. What?! I was thrilled to hear that I hadn’t missed my chance after all and that he’d be coming back to make up for his absence. Several shows passed (as they happen at or about every three months or so) and no news had surfaced about him coming back. So, I slowly gave up hope and let the fantasy go.


Then, to my surprise, a postcard came in the mail announcing the show that took place this past Saturday, August 18 and I was psyched to see that John Saxon himself was returning! Immediately, I cleared my schedule for that date and made sure there’d be nothing to keep me from going. Before I knew it, the date came and my cousin and I were on our way to the San Jose Fairgrounds to check this off my bucket list.

He ended up appearing after 11am, once the early bird period was over and I was overwhelmed when I saw him sitting at his table smiling. It was actually going to happen! When I approached him and when he threw me that smile of his, I was charmed. I shook his hand and uttered to him that I’d been waiting to meet him since I was nine years old, when my father first brought home Enter the Dragon. His response? How old are you now?  I chuckled and answered, I’ll be forty years old next year, sir to which he immediately replied, Oh geez! And yes, folks, that was how my meeting with Mr. John Saxon began.

I had brought my laserdisc of the original Nightmare on Elm Street for him to sign and he made a point to tell me that everyone else at the toy show had come to see him for his portrayal of Roper from Enter the Dragon and here I was coming to see Lt. Don Thompson. Duh! He was very handsome in person and he was very nice and cordial and was happy to sign my laserdisc and a photo of him as Thompson in NOES. Oh yes, and by the way, this appearance was officially his last as it was announced on the show’s website so I was very relieved and very happy that I was able to see him before retiring from the convention circuit. It was one of the people on my bucket list that I hoped to meet before either of us passed, and I was thrilled to have been able to meet him face to face. Hats off to you, Mr. Saxon. You will forever be amazing.