Playboy Playmates and vintage stars unite at Hollywood Show Chicago

I always love participating in autograph signing conventions. I used to meet up with my Playboy Playmate pals at Glamourcon, a show that was run by Bob Schultz but no longer exists. I lamented this loss and didn’t think I would have any other chance to see my friends now that Glamourcon is gone and the Mansion parties are basically over but, happily, I was wrong. The Hollywood Show came calling and I was all in!

Scott Ray booked the Playmates and contacted me after a recommendation by the uber-glamorous Crystal McCahill (Miss May 2009), who was there signing side by side with her mom, Gale Olson (Miss August 1968)—a rare mother/daughter combo for sure.

Other ladies in attendance included Cathy St. George (Miss August 1982) who brought her darling pup Maybelline, Charlotte Kemp (Miss December 1982 and author of “Centerfolds” ), Reagan Wilson (Miss October 1967) and dear friend Liz Glazowski (Miss April 1980).

I was thrilled to be seated next to the handsome Nelson Twins, Gunnar and Matt. They are the darling sons of the late singer Ricky Nelson (and grandsons of Ozzie Nelson of “Ozzie and Harriet” fame).  Matt told me they loved visiting their grandpa as he kept a stash of Playboy Magazines. They are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and were most certainly raised well with manners, charm, talent and smiles to spare.

The twins told me they are not fans of flying which stands to reason since their dad tragically died in an airplane accident. They related two near misses that had my hair standing on end! One flight lost an engine and they had to dump fuel and circle for six hours. Everyone on the plane was instructed to move to the opposite side (can you imagine?) They told me they texted their families to say goodbye.

Lucky me, throughout the day, Gunnar strummed his exquisite guitar so I was serenaded while meeting fans and friends.

The show was a who’s who of vintage Hollywood and featured so many stars of my youth. Richard Chamberlain, “Dr. Kildare,”  who is as handsome now as he was when his series was airing. Angie Dickenson, 85, has more energy than a 12 year-old and was always the last to leave. More importantly, she was so nice and would’ve spent an hour with each of her many fans if she could have.

Donnie Dunagan was a name I’d never heard but, upon further inspection, I found out he was the VOICE OF BAMBI! This is one of my favorite children’s books and films so I was thrilled to meet him. And you just never know what lies beneath. He was a Marine who has three Purple Hearts to his credit! He said he kept it secret for a long time being in the service, but finally decided he wanted to let the world know and I’m so glad he did. He was there with his cute wife who was ever so proud of him. The lines were long for this iconic memory of my youth.

Other charming stars included Charlene Tilton who played Lucy Ewing in “Dallas” and Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann in “Gilligan’s Island.” Dawn told me she was from Wild West stock and that her family drove stagecoaches and was even robbed by Black Bart, who left a solid gold piece behind out of guilt, she supposed. Ed Asner (Lou Grant on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show”) and sexy Mary Margaret Humes (Gail Leery in “Dawson’s Creek) were also in attendance, among many others.

In the va va voom category, Stefanie Powers, 74,  (who played Jennifer Hart in the 1980’s TV hit show “Hart to Hart”) is even better looking NOW than she was in the early days. Petite, trim, beautiful face and a megawatt smile, I guess this is what living close to nature can do for you. After all, she did found the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in Kenya in honor of her late partner and spends much of her time there.

In addition to these Playmates and iconic stars, there were also over 100 vendors selling comic books, posters, vintage autographs, photos, collectibles, industry related toys and promo items, vintage mags and so much more.

It was a three-ring circus at the Hyatt Rosemont on March 25/26 for movie buffs and Playboy fans and I can’t wait for the next one. I cherish any opportunity to reconnect with my Playmate sisters and meet new friends!

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