Travel Back to Yesteryear at the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Con 2018

Photographer & Roving Convention Reporter Mark Gross catches up with some cult stars of Yesteryear.

In case you don’t have a time machine as I do, you can travel to the past at Baltimore’s Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention by car. This show features many guest star celebrities that we remember and watched in film and television. Martin and Michelle Grams have put on this stupendous show for many years now. MANC, feels like stepping back into an era of old sci-fi and horror films, street gangs, cops, coppers, robbers, cowboys, comic books, dolls, toys, television, posters, in fact, the list would fill volumes.

Stephanie Powers & Robert Wagner try to find out who murdered the coffee.

The headliners for this show this year were Stephanie Powers, Robert Wagner, Kristy McNichole, Ed Begley Jr, Diahann Carroll, Ricou Browning, Howard Hesseman, Tim Reid, Jan Smithers, Jordan Rhodes, Trina Parks, Mark Lester, Jeremy Ambler, Geri Reischl, and Morgan Fairchild.

I was unfortunately not able to interview any of the guests, mainly because they were so busy at their tables signing and interacting with so many fans! I did, however, hang out with many of them at their tables and in the green room where they can relax and eat and relax a little.

Incredible lineup, I know!! These guests had so many fans at their signing tables to chat as we remember the roles they portrayed. Yes yes, these guest stars also signed tons of autographs. For a reasonable fee, you could talk and then have an item that a guest was selling on their table or bring some collectible you owned to be hand signed in person by them, and snap a photo of you standing with them to show off your new autographed item!

It is always fun for me being one of the photographers and I also help with anything the guests might need as well. Being behind the scenes, I got to watch all the guests get together throughout the weekend in the green room and chat. Kristy McNichole got to meet Robert Wagner, and the look in her face was a look of total awe. Such is the case when some guests meet other guests at this show!

Mark hangs out with one of the original Battlestar Galactica Viper pilots Ed Begley Jr

The dealers were selling so many nostalgia items and collectibles, such as rare and unique classic films and TV shows on DVD, toys, photos, posters, classic magazines and books, records and any almost anything you could think of in this realm. The show also runs classic films and TV shows during the weekend, there is a charity auction for St. Jude’s for children, and panel discussions. The guests themselves attend various panels to answer questions from fans about their roles and other trivia these stars share.

I sat at one of the tables in the green room watching and listening to the WKRP cast catching up after not seeing one another for a while. All the guests were reminiscing together, and these were my own moments of personal, awe and amazement just hearing their stories among themselves.

Mark hangs out with Jan Smithers and Tim Reid

Howard Hesseman is just as witty as ever. Real funny guy. Joked about everything much of the time there. Jan Smithers and Tim Reid made plans to get together with Howard when they have some downtime away from shows. Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers were chatting about their adventures on the convention circuit as they plan to attend more shows. Jordan Rhodes who has been in the acting bizz for over five decades was great. He joined me and a few friends in the hotel bar the second night of the convention. He regaled us with stories of Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, Shirley Jones, and many other actors. He told a few funny tales of the late Burt Reynolds too. Kristie McNichole was excited to see the other guests and she chatted with all of them. It is always fun for me to snap photos of the guests meeting the other guests. Very cool.

I will say there were very long lines waiting to get autographs of the Hart to Hart and WKRP guests through the event. Every time Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers came down to their signing tables, the crowds waiting in line for their autographs all screamed, yelled and clapped for them. It looked like something you’d see at the Oscars on the red carpet.

A camera crew from Fox 5, as well as WJZ channel 13, came to report on the convention for TV. I chatted with Fox 5’s Tony Perkins as well as showed him where the guests were all seating and helped with a few other things. Tony was to interview Krisite McNichole, however, she was not at her table yet that morning. So to fill the time allowed for Kristie, Fox 5 Tony Perkins interviewed, me, live on air, about what I do at this show and what kind of autographs and collectibles I was selling at the show. He and the in-studio anchors were all laughing about how much I look like Richard Dreyfus. I finally looked right into the camera and said, “Yes, I am Richard Dreyfus, his look alike anyway, and there is no charge for my autographs, so come on down to the Nostalgia Con. I sign for free. Hahahahahaha.”

At the end of all the outstanding times shared at this convention by guest stars, staff, fans, media, dealers, and everyone able to attend, Martin put on a Banquet, for fans with guest stars at each table!

Fans and guests got to relax and let their hair down to chat and eat a great catered meal. Then there was some on stage fun with the celebrities and a few appreciation awards for the guest stars as well.

All in all a wonderful weekend to see the guests interact with fans and each other. Also, it is fantastic to regroup with fellow friends and fans as we share our own tales and show off our own autograph collections.

Great time. Speaking of time, I am off to hop in my time machine to embark on another adventure. Looking forward to next years Nostalgia Con. I could travel ahead in time and tell you about it now, but that would not be fair. I’d like to thank again Martin and Michelle Grams, Karen Cadle, Marty Kircher, Kathleen Meola, Dawn Jahnigen, and everyone else that I hung with including the guest stars!

I hope this darn time machine works for me now, so I can report on yet another show.

See you all at the next convention in the near future. See you all at the next convention in the near future….oopppsss, a time travel glitch. Bye.


Mark J. Gross has been a fan of the sci-fi, fantasy and horror genre, since being stranded on this planet in 1955. Not telling anyone I was stuck here with a broken time machine, shhhh.... on paper I hail from Baltimore Maryland.
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