Fan Memories - Convention Reports

The following were originally submitted to the EBF (Ed Bishop Fans) group and subsequently given to the SHADO Library & Archives by the original group owner for archiving.

Impressions of Ed Bishop

by Bernice Russell, 1990

The following is a transcript of my time with Ed Bishop when he came out to Melbourne and Sydney in 1990.

This is not a true convention report, but a disjointed run-down of the impressions Ed Bishop made on us during the days we spent with him in Melbourne and then afterwards when he came down to Sydney with us. This all occurred after Huttcon. If this sounds a bit strange, just remember these were the important impressions to me, that I wrote down on the bus going home overnight. If it seems we are very friendly with Ed, it's because he is a very friendly person, and besides, as soon as I saw him at the Con, I grabbed him to stake my personal claim. I can be as ingratiating as hell when needs be. Everyone thought we must have known each other for years. Well, I acted like that, and he was too polite to tell me to go nick off.

During the convention, we managed to get an interview with him and generally had a few good laughs, enough to get in sweet. The following is set after the convention had finished.

6 November 1990 - Monday

After a night of no sleep, I called Ed at 9.00am and asked if he wished to accompany us on a tour of the city. He said, "Sure, if it is no trouble, if it won't bore you young ladies to accompany a middle aged man around Melbourne" (Oh, yeah, as if!!)

10.00am - we are jumping up and down in the reception area - is he coming? The committee delivers him to us "Well, he's all yours, that's another problem off our hands", (The committee members [that doesn't include Edwina Harvey who had a breakdown trying her best - unsuccessfully - to run the con smoothly] were less than polite to the guest).

Grabbed a taxi to Spencer Street station, to collect our luggage. Taxi driver from Glasgow impresses us with his manners, a bag of prawn crisps, can of cola, and a severe gastric problem. Ed says, "You can take the boy out of Glasgow, but you can't take Glasgow out of the boy!". He also tells the driver, while we are getting his luggage, that we are his harem. The driver believes him.

Then to Flinders and a cruise on the Yarra River. Ed said I timed it with Astronaught precision. He tried to pay, but was out maneuvered on that. (His trying to pay for things gets to be a problem - keep in mind he was only given $100Aus for his appearance - he normally won't take any money for a con appearance, but needed a bit of cash to spend when he got here.). Also, most of the other actors generally turn out to UFO cons as personal favours to him. None of them get paid.

The first half of the cruise took us through the parks and gardens to Heron Island, lovely scenery.

Jokes about a couple snogging on the bank. Ed regales us with Stories of UFO and we explain that Straker was the sex symbol of the show, not Foster as he'd always believed. Ed is stunned and blushes. I say it was the tight suit, he has no answer to that, I think he is worried about my intentions! He tells about when he worked on one of the James Bond movies. The director had wanted a scene when Bond is menaced by man-eating crabs. They have all these crabs shipped out from China, put them in the pool, but everytime they yell 'action' the crabs go to sleep. Finally they find out the crabs are nocturnal. They become very active and threatening when the lights are off, but within 2 or 3 seconds of the lights on, they go to sleep again. He tries stirring them up, but animal welfare get uppity, and say he can't do it. By this time, the director is determined to get his money's worth, so he has the crabs cooked up and everyone on the set, including Ed, have a feast of men eating man-eating crabs!

He also tells us a story about having a drink with a friend in a bar, which they didn't realise was, until later when the pianist made a move on them, a gay bar, but I've forgotten the details of that.

I ask him how he managed to get the small scar on his lip, and he explains that someone thumped him while he was in the army. According to his story, he was talking when he should have been listening. According to me, whoever did it deserves to die - horribly!

Ed shows us a photo of his house. What a pretty place! We all admire it, and he invites us around to write a novel there. He's just lucky we can't afford the air fare, or he'd never be rid of us!

The flies are really starting to bother Ed by now, pity he had to arrive in the middle of fly season, still practising the 'Great Australian Salute' is all part of the 'fun' of touring down under.

We stop and have coffee - Ed drinks his coffee black (Straker has cream and two sugars). He says his middle name is black coffee.

The second part of the trip was through the industrial parts of the Yarra - not such a pretty place, but Ed says he found both parts interesting. We told him he only had a flesh wound in 'Brass Target' he laughs. We were going to take Ed to the Regent for lunch, but he wanted to go to Fast Eddies because of the name.

It took him a while to work out the menu, but then he gave in and used his glasses. He calls himself 'Slow Eddie' (groan). He says I talk too quickly, and change subjects too often. I can't help it if I'm a fast thinker! Because he speaks slowly and carefully, he annoys his daughters. They say, 'come on, get on with it, Dad'.

He starts to tell us a story, then considers it inappropriate for the company. I say, "Come on, get on with it, Dad!". He cracks up. Nice to see him have a good belly laugh.

The story, if I can remember it is, (a dolly, by the way, is a piece of equipment used in filming - I think it has something to do with the lighting). In the episode 'Time Lash', there is a scene where a young starlet is frozen, with an equally frozen male actor staring down her cleavage. The Director shouted "We need to move the dolly in a bit closer", whereupon the starlet took a few tottering steps in. This cracked up the set. He enjoys his Caesar salad, but is unimpressed with the seafood platter. Boy, for a skinny dude, he sure can tuck the food away. Good healthy appetite.

Had coffee after, black of course. (Incidentally, Fast Eddies serves a very nice Vienna coffee).

A bit of an upset when he demanded to pay the bill for lunch. We had it organised. How embarrassing! What kind of hosts are we? He threatened (promised?) to spank us if we wouldn't let him pay the bill, of course that didn't work. But an order from Commander Straker and a stamped foot are not to be ignored. Distraction tactics failed, but, we are taking him to dinner Wednesday, in Sydney, to make up for it then. Then we trotted him through to the Regent to show him the view from the men's room. This is a most impressive hotel, and he was most impressed. He said that if he believed in heaven, then this was it!

It may sound strange, but the men's room of the Regent on the 36th floor is the most famous view in Melbourne, every taxi driver will recommend it for you.

I gave him my camera, and said he could use up the film in the men's room. Hope the film works out okay, he had the flash on the whole time (Ed Bishop likes to flash in the men's room - groan to me).

We took some more photos and showed him around the place, think he enjoyed that. Hope so.

We wanted him to see the View from the Rialto, but they wouldn't let us in. Don't they realise we have the most important man in the world with us? Ignorant scum!

After a lot more walks, and three more rolls of film, we went back to the hotel in St. Kilda where the convention had been. He knew more about the Tram system than the Melbourne person who accompanied us. Ha.

We said our good-byes and Ed was pleased to find out we'd escorted him home, when we had to turn around and go back to the city anyway.

A couple more autographs and good bye kisses and we said farewell. He kissed us! He kissed me!

It doesn't matter if I miss the bus. I'll just float home!

27 November - Tuesday

Back in Sydney. No Ed today. Sleep today to recover from the excess of the convention, and an all night trip on the bus. Found out our cat, Shadow, had had kittens. Decided to name them Ed Bishop (Shortened to Bishy - I already had an Ed Straker), Michael Billington (Mickey), and George Sewell (Georgie). Seemed appropriate.

28 November - Wednesday

We all meet at 6.00 at Ed's hotel (he flew down the night before). Linda is late of course, but then she always is, so we don't bother waiting for her. There are a group of us now. Jenny and Drew (who brought his video recorder then lost the tape), Sharon and Robert, Vera (who was so shy Ed thought she didn't like him), Edwina and Garry, and myself.

We all went to the Sydney Harbour Restaurant. Expensive, but a lovely view of the Harbour. Since Ed is a semi vegetarian fish was appropriate. We had a great meal, and I gave Ed all of my oysters. Yucky things, but he loves them. Makes him tremble. He tried to pay again, but I'd got the drop on him this time and had asked the waiter not to let him have the bill. It was paid before he had the chance. Ha! Can't fool me twice!

Linda hasn't showed up, and Ed was a bit unhappy, thought she no longer loved him. Turned out, she'd gone to the wrong restaurant. Silly Bunt. Took him home, walking of course, no way we could get that man into a car. He moves very slowly, but loves to take a walk, and there was a lot to see in Sydney. Went through the Rocks on the way back to the Hotel, took a lot more photos, including some of the Giant Christmas Tree. As his hotel was over the other side of the city, this was quite a long walk, but it gave us plenty of time to show him Sydney by night. He was impressed by the 'modernity' of the buildings.

Edwina asked me if I'd take Thursday off work (I was supposed to have gone back on Wednesday) to help show Ed around a bit more. What a stupid question! Stuff employment, It's a Question of Priorities', so I had 'gastric trouble' (ha) so bad that I couldn't possibly turn up for work the next day.

29 November Thursday

Turned up at Ed's hotel instead of work, and took him on more walking tours of the city. Had to take him to the Opera House first, as this was his main ambition in Australia (the second was to buy another suitcase, as his daughter had pinched his, and hers had broken on the flight over, spilling his undies all through the plane.) Took 'big heap' photos of Ed and the Opera House. This was something he had particularly requested. Mind you, I'd been taking 'big heap' photos anyway. It took us about four hours to get him all through the Opera House, and he was very disappointed to find out that there was nothing worth watching, a place that big and only one bad play on.

After that we took him to the Centre Point Tower for lunch. Food was horrible, but the view of the city was excellent. Takes two hours to go around the rotating restaurant completely, so he was able to see a fair bit of the city, and work out what he wanted to see before he had to leave on Friday.

After that we had to take him to get a suitcase. HE wouldn't let up on that. Drove us mad. So we took him to Grace Bros., for the largest suitcase display in Australia. HE choose a blue one to match the amazing blue suede acrubra hat some other fan had given him. He hated that hat, but we all thought it set off his eyes nicely. Mind you, the man could war an old tyre and a paper bag and we'd all think it was the height of fashion (UFO fans have to have a retarded sense of fashion to enjoy the show!)

He got his suitcase and he was happy and we were relieved to hear the end of it. Then we all argued over who got to help him carry it, eventually taking turns. It was dragged all through the Queen Victoria Building, and all through the Botanical gardens, and wherever else he decided to wander, with his entourage in tow.

It started to drizzle then, and he doesn't like the rain - being made of sugar, he might melt, so it was back to the hotel room. We all had coffee, Sam beat the rest of us to the honour of washing his cup.

I was too embarrassed to ask him to sign a picture I had drawn of him (see previous UFO zine for said picture), so I asked Linda if she would do it. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention that she should not let him see the rest of the portfolio. I re entered the room just as he turned to the nude cheesecake drawing of Ed Straker. Oh boy, could I ever have died!

All he said was 'What a beautiful picture, Ed Straker never looked that good'. Balderdash! Who does he think I was drawing? Anyway, he is always the gentleman, and we got a laugh out of a situation that otherwise could have been very embarrassing indeed!

Well, eventually, we had to leave, and he flew back to England the next day.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Bernice Russell 'Peaches'

DeepCon 1 with Ed Bishop

by Gabriella Ascari

I'll try to stick to the highlights, though the days of the convention were so intense that I may quite possibly wander off...

The DeepCon 1 itself started on the Friday, March 3rd, but Mr Bishop arrived the following day.

We were expecting him around lunchtime and he was true to his word, for at about noon the whole group arrived: Ed Bishop and Jane, Paolo Malaguti of ISOSHADO and his wife plus a couple of other people all driving from Rome. I was wearing my UFO coat for the day, in his honour of course, and I am pleased to say that he spotted it at once and complimented us on our costumes.

After the usual introductions and once they had checked in, we took them to their room, right next to mine just in case, and then we left them. In the hotel dining room, something funny happened which could have become unpleasant had we not spotted it: as the guests of the convention did not exactly know when Mr Bishop was going to arrive, they had basically occupied all the available tables, so that that which was supposed to be the VIP table was not there! Fortunately I spotted it, and we had another table set before anyone knew it.

Myself and one of the two organizers of the convention were not at that table at lunch, but my friend and colleague - the other interpreter - told me at once after lunch that *we had nothing to fear*: Mr Bishop was as charming a man as we had heard.

After lunch we stayed with Mr Bishop during an interview he gave to an Italian Satellite TV channel that specialises in sci-fi - and I was pleased to say that the questions were excellent (I can't stand stupid questions from people who know nothing about the person they're interviewing). The interview lasted about 1 hour and Mr Bishop was very generous in talking a bit about everything, from UFO (of course) to his new adventure with Captain Blue, from Kubrick to his career in general.

The meeting with the convention guests was equally interesting - and not only because my friend and I translated for Mr Bishop. This was followed by the autograph session, which is what made something click in me: I sat next to him for the whole 3 hours, pouring him water, spelling out Italian names on a piece of paper so that he could spell the dedications right... and I was amazed at his doing this with such kindness and patience. I don't know, this is perhaps a personal observation based on my experience, but I've seen quite a few autograph sessions and very often celebrities tend to lose touch with the fact that there's people before them, and fans at that. Well, not so in his case: he had a word for everyone, talked to everyone without worrying whether this would draw out the process. That, I think, is when I began to realise how delightful his whole attitude was.

Later that evening was the gala dinner, and I was sitting next but one to him on that occasion according to the very scrupulous seat plan that we had made. We talked in between courses, obviously, and something else came up which really made me look on him with respect and admiration - I mean real respect and admiration. I just happened to mention the fact that during the meeting with the fans he had perfect timing in relation to our translation service: his sentences were just the right length for us to translate and he always knew exactly when to stop to let us translate his answer to the audience. I mentioned this - for it's a rather rare occurrence to find a speaker who can do that, believe me - and he said that it was one of the things he knew he was good at. He told me he had been doing the voiceover recently in a documentary on the holocaust, where his voice was going to be superimposed on that of the Israeli speaker. He said that the man behind the consolle came to him after that session and told him: "how can you get the exact timing and rhythm of a person who speaks in a language you don't know at all" for he had timed his own commentary to that of the actual speaker so perfectly that one would have thought he could understand the foreign language. He said that that is what he knows he's good at, and he believes it's very important to know exactly what you can do and what you cannot do as well. Like singing, he added, over which he spent a lot of time and money in the past until he realised it was not for him, and that he should concentrate on his gifts, rather than on his limitations. Well, I don't know what other people think, but knowing one's limitations and acting on one's strengths is, I think, a wise, humble and realistic way to look at things.

After dinner - I should add that meals lasted on average 1.5 hours every day, and we found ourselves begging the waiters to stop bringing us food for it was all so good ! - we had the costume competition where Mr Bishop and Jane were supposed to be the jury. A friend of mine and her little niece - two astounding Lt Ellis - won the prize, of course!

Sunday I spent practically all day with Mr Bishop, also to relieve my colleague. It started with another interview to one of our national TV networks which is going to show UFO again shortly and will also televise the interview in 4 instalments. Then - a further show of kindness - Mr Bishop said he would be available to sign autographs for those who had come to the convention that day. I should add that he was not supposed to do it, as he had already complied with the terms of his contract.

We stayed for about an hour, then him, Jane, myself and one of the convention organisers went for a short guided tour of Fiuggi - after all Jane had taken heaps of walks but Mr Bishop had not left the hotel in 24 hours!

Then there was lunch, after which he was supposed to go back to the airport and fly back to London. Again I sat next to him, and was drawn into one of his favourite *games*: watching people and trying to guess things about them. He had already told me that was something he liked to do, as he likes to know what people do in life - he always asks people what their job is and then apologises saying that he asks because he is nosy. So we started watching and making quiet comments about the other guests of the hotel: an old lady eating alone and trying to give a tip to a waiter which the waiter would not accept, an older man and a young woman who was definitely not his daughter... things like that.

We talked quite a lot, with Jane as well, and it turned out that they'd love to visit Sicily - which I recommended, in spite of what people who have not seen it think, as it is a lovely island to spend a holiday in.

And then, after lunch, we exchanged our goodbyes as I was also leaving, saying that we hoped to see each other again in the future.

Well, this is it. A bit long perhaps and definitely from a personal viewpoint, but that's the only way I can tell a story :-)

Gabriella Ascari

When I met Ed Bishop

by Helen Weber, Commander S.H.A.D.O.-USECC

I had the privilege of meeting Ed Bishop at Fanderson '82 for the first time. He was very nice and was kind enough to sit through an interview I did for S.H.A.D.O.-USECC. This was the first time I'd ever met anyone in the entertainment industry and this was also my first interview. I had heard horror stories about how obnoxious stars could be, had seen a few examples at Philadelphia cons for a certain tv show, and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Ed was very relaxed, put me at ease and I survived the interview and actually had material to write about when I got home from England.

Fanderson '84 saw a return trip to England, and again Ed was kind enough to sit through a question and answer session with me This interview was done in my room and I had enough stuff in a pile ready to pack when Ed saw this and was amazed at all the items that were produced for UFO and CAPTAIN SCARLET. I think he was even more stunned that I was going to carry all the stuff home with me. My mom and I did this cargo packing feat by creative packing, having two of the largest suitcases made with us and buying another carry on bag to bring with us in the passenger compartment. Ed spent about an hour doing the interview before he had to return to his con duties and I couldn't thank him enough for taking the time to sit through another interview with me.

The command of S.H.A.D.O.-USECC changed July, 1988, and with it I became the club's contact officer to Ed, along with my other duties. If I have a question or need information about his current work, activities, or if someone questions his biographical information, he's always very nice, answers all of my questions no matter how strange they sound, and keeps me well informed about his career - and makes my job so much easier.

I first became aware of Ed Bishop when a local channel ran CAPTAIN SCARLET and I heard an American voice that made the Captain Blue character come alive and sound real. Then in 1972, the Philadelphia CBS affiliate did something unheard of, which hasn't been done since: ran a syndicated science-fiction show, UFO. I didn't bother reading the credits, but the voice of the head of S.H.A.D.O. sounded familiar and it wasn't until later when I pulled an audio tape of CAPTAIN SCARLET out that I had made and compared the two voices that I realized I was seeing the voice artist for the first time. After that, I always checked productions for the actors' names and got to see Ed in a variety of roles and productions. Actors of Ed's ability and talent are becoming an endangered species so it's nice to have someone who is still working in the acting profession who can actually act, make their roles believable and can use their voice to bring printed material alive and do justice to the work of the author.

Helen Weber, Commander S.H.A.D.O.-USECC

Ed with fan Hiro - date unknown.

Ed In Japan - date unknown

Ed at the 2000 Century 21 Convention.

Ed Bishop Page