I was a big fan of television's Quantum Leap. Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell did such a great job, which couldn't have been easy considering the parameters of the show.
I was really excited when Stockwell was appearing at the Motor City Comic Con. Not only did I love his work as Admiral Al Calavicci on Quantum Leap, I also respected his immense body of work, which dated back to the 1940's. He was a child actor who went on to great success as an adult.
When I met him at MCCC, I am sad to say that the encounter was very flat. Stockwell did nothing wrong, but he didn't give me the interaction I had wanted. I asked him about a Quantum Leap revival (which was a hot rumor at the time) and he answered with a very short reply. I mentioned I was a huge fan of the show and of his other work and he thanked me. That was about it.
I've written about many other great encounters with celebs (and a few not so good ones). What makes a great encounter is some form of engagement. The fan wants to know that there was a connection, however brief. Stockwell gave me a lot of enjoyment over the years. I appreciated his work. It was a celeb that I really wanted to meet and one who didn't do many appearances. I was pretty stoked.
Was I too anxious? Did I expect (or want) too much? I don;t think so. I guess I wanted to know I wasn't just a blur as he signed his name again. Is that unrealistic?
Let me reiterate though, I am not ripping Stockwell. There could be many reasons why the encounter left me disappointed. Maybe Stockwell is just really quiet. Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe who knows what else.
In the end, I did get to meet one of my favorites. My opinion of Stockwell did not change. He didn't mistreat me. He simply did not "treat" me.
I think the lesson is twofold. Minor things really can make a big difference when meeting celebs. I wonder if they even realize how within a five minute encounter, they can alter perception easily.
On the other end, as an attendee of many conventions, I also have to keep my hopes in check, although that is hard when meeting favorites. In the end, there are far more great encounters than even mediocre ones. Fortunately, the really bad ones have been minimal.
My hope is that I get to meet Stockwell again. If that happens, I'll report back here, good, bad or indifferent.
Dean Stockwell and me in Novi, MI-May 2011.