Saturday morning's G-TV lineup brought us the first episode of "Ultra Galaxy" and the beginning of "The Manster," which became a favorite after last year's G-FEST. Making our way to the elevators, we were greeted once again by Robert Scott Field, who was kind enough to pose with Andy for the picture you see here. We really enjoyed our brief personal time with RSF!
One of the first areas to open Saturday morning was Minya's Place, which we had missed on Friday. Ron Lipecky's artwork is a major element of this kid-centric venue: many crafts feature his drawings of pint-sized Godzilla, Anguirus, Mothra, Rodan, and the like. Andy stopped to use an Anguirus template to create a scene of his own.
By ten o'clock, G-FEST had roared to life, highlighted by an in-depth interview with Akira Takarada and the opening of the Dealer's Room. We were on a specific mission, though, which was to enter Andy's model in the official contest. After a momentary wait, we were ushered inside the model room, where we carefully filled out an entry form, placed his model on a table, stowed our packing-peanuts-filled box and enjoyed the other amazing creations on display. It is impossible to name a favorite, but among the most notable were an MST3K-framed Gamera and Guiron, a forced-perspective fighter jet attack on Godzilla, a Half Human snowman and a dynamic Mecha King Ghidorah.
While there, we were treated to some humorous "worst case scenario" model-making stories by the fellows on the panel, which included the afroementioned Stan Hyde. The Modeling Thread, as it has come to be known, is a convention within a convention. One could easily spend the majority of his time simply absorbing the vibe and information shared by these meticulous artists, to the exclusion of G-FEST's other attractions.
Around this time we crossed paths with Don Kaiju and Jadon and found oursleves back in the costume and filming area, where we happened into a monster battle between Godzilla and Ebirah! Shortly thereafter, it was time for another foray through the Dealer's Room.
Wandering back through the convention hall, we caught the end of Akira Takarada's interview, and thus began one of the weekend's most memorable experiences.
As Mr. Takarada made his way from the stage at the conclusion of his interview, many fans took the chance to get photos with him, and some even asked for autographs. I thought this might be the closest encounter we would have with the storied actor, so Andy and I entered the relatively friendly scrum. Within a minute or two, Akira Takarada himself was standing directly in front of us. A couple of times, Andy politely asked Mr. Takarada to pose for a photo, only to have eager autograph seekers thrust items at the Toho legend, which he graciously would sign. Finally though, as if acknowledging Andy's patience, Mr. Takarada nimbly scooped him up in his arms for a once-in-a-lifetime picture, much to the delight of everyone--especially us! Later, Andy would say he was "in amazement...I felt like, "What just happened?""
We were stunned by this, to say the least, and at the time I was convinced that we had just experienced our pinnacle moment of G-FEST XVII. Astoundingly, I would end up being wrong.