Tales From MOC Con

Really, there is a redundancy in that title, but if you don’t know what MOC stands for, or accept that it became a proper name unto itself, the extra Con is needed. Today, a quick (?) tale from my time on the science fiction convention circuit and an interesting (if ultimately slightly horrific) interaction with one of the actors from Dr. Who.

For today’s post, I blame Amy and Aymar as it was a discussion with them that led to my thinking about/remembering this episode. We were discussing Dr. Who as the result of some rather loathsome comments by an actor, and got to thinking about the Doctor who brought us into the series. Given my memory, the first episodes I ever watched (most likely on PBS) may have been Jon Pertwee, but it was really Tom Baker who was “my Doctor” and got me to enjoy the series.

Over the years, I actually met a number of actors from the show, including Mr. Pertwee (still, I hope, have an autographed and personalized copy of his autobiography somewhere). When I met Louise Jameson she was on a tear trying to scandalize those attending a convention, I suspect in part because of the location where it was held. A story for a different day. Can’t remember some others (stupid lightning), but I did very briefly meet Patrick Troughton.

For several years, I was a guest at MOC con, which started as “Macon Opus Con” and then became “Magnum Opus Con” before just getting called MOC con by most. It started in Macon, Georgia, and was too big (and just too much for sleepy Macon) even in the first year. As a result, it moved to Columbus, Georgia, for its second year. And, yes, I did look up a number of things for this (stupid lightning).

Since I was not a television star, but a science (and minor writing) guest, I was not in the main convention hotel at the start of that second year. Disappointing, as being able to go back to your room, store stuff there, and be close to your room between panels was handy. Got through the first day okay, but was on a list to get moved to the main hotel if a room came open.

One thing I do remember from that first day was opening ceremonies. I seem to recall that one of the guests had played “The Master” on Doctor Who, and when he was introduced to the crowd a bunch of booing and cries to do bad things to him broke out, such that the poor man looked rather scared for a moment. Then he realized that the “crowd” doing the booing and making comments was one person: Patrick Troughton. Who, as the other actor clutched his chest and shook his finger at him, was doubled over in laughter at having gotten his colleague. Everyone cracked up, relaxed, and a fun time began.

I was surprised to get a phone call early the next morning, telling me a room had become available at the main hotel, and asking if I would like to move over? Of course, I said yes and move I did. Made it much more convenient in regards my panels, and things were going along well until around lunch time I think. It was then someone mentioned a thing not being discussed in public (I don’t even remember any rumors that morning), that Mr. Troughton had died of a heart attack at breakfast (just after ordering apparently). Thankfully, the room I had moved into was not his, but had belonged to friends traveling with him. I have to admit I was relieved.

Yes, it did cast a pall over the convention. Mr. Troughton was friendly, had a good sense of humor, and was very much enjoying himself. I seem to recall some DJs put out on air that the “star” of the con had died so don’t bother going, which did hurt attendance. Jerks never did apologize for that one if memory serves.

I was a guest at a couple of other MOCs over the years I think, and I met some interesting people as part of it. Got to meet some literary figures I enjoyed, and was surprised a bit at some of the media people truly being interested in what NASA, DoD, and others were doing. Got to visit with Mr. Doohan on a couple of occasions at MOC, which was always a pleasure and not a surprise that he was interested in current projects.

Over the years, I was a guest at some other conventions, including one or two of the early DragonCons. I remember one at least, as that was the one where I spent a bit of time with Larry Bond, Tom Clancy, and some other interesting people. I also got Timmyed (a word I just made up) into helping with the start of LibertyCon, working with Klon on programming. If you never worked with Uncle Timmy, especially when he had a project (crusade), by the time you heard the whistle, the locomotive had already run over you. The Timmy Train was quite the thing. Again, a story for another day.

I think I’m making getting back to LibertyCon a bucket list item. It would be good to see how it’s grown and to meet up with some old friends in the process. Maybe even make some new ones. Heck, with what the lightning did, some of the old I don’t remember might become new again.

That was the interesting thing about the cons: you did meet some very good and interesting people, and sadly I’ve realized writing this how many of them have passed. Which means it’s time to try to meet some new good and interesting people.

Onwards.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. There is also the Amazon Wish List in the Bard’s Jar. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Tales From MOC Con”

  1. I’ve dropped out of fannish activities for a ‘few’ years but thinking seriously about making a run at LibertyCon ’25. Seems close to what I remember from earlier days.

    1. I’ve been out for quite a while myself. There are parts I really miss, and some people. Sounds like LibertyCon has kept up the fight, would love to get back and see how it’s going.

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