For the past month and a half, I have promoted an event called NostalgiaCon ’80s on my morning drive radio program. Poorman’s Morning Rush is Orange County’s only live and local morning show, airing from 7 to 10 a.m. Mondays through Fridays on 101.5 KOCI-FM on your radio dial. It also streams live worldwide at www.KOCIradio.com. NostalgiaCon, the brainchild of Manny Ruiz from Florida, took place Sept. 28-29 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Manny created an ’80s world celebrating the arts, pop culture and lifestyle of the decade. There was a boombox museum, a Delorean automobile exhibition, ’80s cosplayers and a giant stage where ’80s actors, musicians and icons were interviewed. Me Decade freaks were literally immersed in revelry and memory.
I was hired to conduct the onstage interviews. It was important to dress to impress. I wore a loud yellow “punk rockstar” jumpsuit handcrafted by ’80s artist Keith Haring and designer Steven Sprouse. This jumpsuit was special. Only a few were made, and I stood out like an exploding supernova! It was purchased by my girlfriend Aime McCrory in the late ’80s for a mere $187. Today, it is worth upwards of $5,000, and it amazingly fits me like a glove. Complementing the jumpsuit, I sported an old school “Supreme” Coin Hat (circa 2012) and flip flops with red socks. Yes, the Poorman was stylin’!
Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was the ’80s Celebrity Row. A long line of separated tables were occupied by some of your favorite celebs of the decade armed with Sharpies and ready to sign photographs for the adoring crowd … if they could meet the asking price for a picture and autograph. There was “Ponch,” Erik Estrada, at the CHiPs table. Next to him were Howard Hessman and Loni Anderson at the WKRP in Cincinnati table. There was Cindy Williams, Shirley from Laverne and Shirley. Towering over everybody from his solo enhanced booth was the No. 1 star of NostalgiaCon, Christopher Lloyd, the legendary mad scientist Doc Brown from the Back to the Future films. He was charging top dollar for a pic and autograph: $103!!!!!
At age 81, Christopher was in huge demand and loving it! The weirdest signing situation of all involved actor Val Kilmer representing the movie Top Gun. Val did not want to sit at a table where everybody could see him. Instead, he hid at a table behind a curtain, where fans could pay to enter Val’s secret curtained world and get the autograph and photo op. The only problem was Val left less than a half-hour after arrival, apparently upset about something that happened. No one seemed to know what that was.
The Delorean exhibition was pretty interesting. As you probably know, this was the vehicle used in Back to the Future. There were a dozen of them on display. They were only made for two years, 1980 and 1981. One of the owners who was dressed as Doc Brown told us a few facts about the Delorean. Even though they’re rare, you can buy one at a price somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $50K. I expected they’d be more expensive. The windows were poorly designed. They don’t roll down! Due to the configuration of the Delorean, the designers created a small opening at the top of the window only. Given this defect and the aluminum body, the owner let us know that on a hot day, the inside of a Delorean is like driving in an oven. Nevertheless, fans were taking Delorean selfies like crazy. I’m happy to announce the Deloreans didn’t charge a fee.
I was fortunate enough to be part of four onstage panels at NostalgiaCon. The first one was a reunion of the original MTV VJs. It went great for the entire one minute I was there. Yes, folks, I was late showing up, as I was scheduled to host the Q&A with Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and Nina Blackwood. They were already onstage for 45 minutes when I ran up there in my jumpsuit. Mark recognized me from our days working together at KROQ. Not many people know he was a KROQ jock for a minute. Mark screamed “Poorman!” We hugged, the crowd cheered, I apologized for being late, and the panel was over. Not real smooth or professional on my part.
The next panel I hosted was the ’80s English invasion featuring Londoners Martin Fry of ABC and Tony Lewis of the Outfield. They later performed at the event. I wasn’t even supposed to host, but there wasn’t anybody else there to do so for some reason, so they asked me one minute before everyone went on stage. That one was pretty cool even though, quite honestly, I didn’t know much about the Outfield. My apologies to Tony, who unfortunately recognized that.
Sean Astin and Corey Feldman hosted a very popular and funny Goonies reunion Q&A. Remember Goonies? Corey has always been hilarious and controversial. I’ve interviewed him many times. The last time was in 2003 when I was working with KIIS-FM, and I ran into him at Wango Tango at the Rose Bowl when we were introducing the acts. This time, 16 years later, I crashed their Q&A, and Corey and I shared a few laughs. I met Sean for the first time and shook hands with him.
The final Q&A I conducted was one of the truly great interviewing experiences I’ve ever had. I was fortunate to be asked to do a one-on-one interview with Christopher Lloyd. He’s an absolute legend! People were lining up like crazy to ask him questions. That’s what Christopher really wanted: questions from his fans. One guy just wanted a hug. Another dude who knew everything about Christopher’s career almost lost his lunch while talking to him. I thought it was especially interesting when he told the story about when they were first shooting Back to the Future. The original Marty McFly was not Michael J. Fox. It was Eric Stoltz. Six weeks into production, director Bob Zemeckis didn’t like Eric in that role. I guess he wanted Michael J. the entire time, but he wasn’t available. Stoltz was fired, Michael J. was ultimately hired, and Christopher Lloyd said there was instant chemistry. He also said he hasn’t spoken to Eric Stoltz since. Imagine living with that the rest of your life if you’re Eric Stoltz.
I can’t end this article without telling you about yet another inevitable Poorman moment. There’s always a Poorman moment it seems. This one was truly bizarre. The backstage area at NostalgiaCon near where the ’80s icons were signing was roped off. Security guarded and protected an area that had a buffet table and one bathroom. The bathroom sign read “women’s room.” I asked the security guard where the men’s room was. He told me there wasn’t one, but I could use the women’s room just as long as there were no women inside. I went inside and made sure nobody was in there. This was an enormous bathroom with 20 stalls on one side and 20 more on the other side separated by a divider, At the front of the restroom was a giant mirror and 10 sinks where you washed your hands and groomed yourself. I walked to a back stall and took a pee with the stall door open. All of a sudden, I heard the clack-clack of high heels. A woman had entered. I finished my “business” quickly and flushed the toilet. She couldn’t have seen me. As I walked up toward the mirror and sinks to leave, there was a blonde standing there facing the mirror with her back to me. My first thought was this is not going to be good. She’d see me in the mirror and might freak out. The next thing you know, she turns around, and there was the “Poorman Moment.” I couldn’t believe who I saw! I was face-to-face alone in the women’s room with, of all people, actress Loni Anderson. She looked at me, and I mumbled something about using the toilet when nobody was around. Amazingly, Loni was fine with it. She smiled and everything was good as she continued to fix her hair while I walked out of the women’s room. All I could think about was “Phew!” BTW, she looks great!
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When Poorman doesn’t have his feet in the sand, you can find him on the air Monday-Friday 7am-10am at KOCI hosting Poorman’s Morning Rush – Orange County’s only morning drive show. His show brings plenty of excitement, and of course, the Poorman’s aura of unpredictability – both good and bad – that has defined his legend! Email Jim “Poorman” Trenton at email@example.com to request a song or submit music.