San Diego Comic-Con has grown over the years from a sleepy exchange of comic books in a hotel basement to a massive pop culture Event, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the San Diego area. There’s a lot beyond the blockbuster movie panels that seem to grab most of the headlines nowadays, including an expansive show floor of exhibitors and a bustling array of smaller panels, including many that will be particularly enticing to fans of classic film and television. Check below for some of Comic-Con’s highlights in classic film and TV, from panels to parties… and also note that I’ve temporarily adjusted my definition of “vintage” to just being outside the past 30 years, to allow for a little more wiggle room.
Dial M for Meet Up
In what has now become an annual tradition, the boys behind Criterion Cast, Warner Archive Collection, and Battleship Pretension will once again be holding a meet up for fans of classic film and high-end home video collections.
Thursday, July 24, 8 – 10pm / Dublin Square (554 4th Avenue)
There are 500,000 square feet of exhibitors in the main hall, with much of that area dedicated to those selling random film and TV collectibles, posters, and bootleg DVDs. Make sure to leave some time in your schedule to explore the hundreds of booths in the exhibit hall. Here are a few to get you started:
Acme Archives Ltd / Booth 5629
Studio art, character keys, and more from classic Disney films, Star Wars, Fox, and Dreamworks.
Hollywood Book Poster Co. / Booth 5611
The landmark Hollywood Blvd. store sets up shop at Comic-Con with a collection of movie books and posters.
Hollywood Collectibles Group, LLC / Booth 4732
Figurines and prop replicas from a variety of genre properties, including Star Trek and Metropolis.
Leith Adams Movie Posters / J-04
Historian and Executive Director of Warner Brothers’ Corporate Archive offers a collection of impeccably selected posters.
Mondo Tees, LLC / Booth 835
Licensed print company that typically has a selection of classic-ish film posters among its bevy of offerings. Keep an eye on their announcements throughout the con.
Shout! Factory / Booth 4248
Beloved savior of many cult film and TV properties, they’re offering new Mystery Science Theater 3000 discs, along with their growing horror collection via the Scream Factory label.
THURSDAY, July 24
Legends of TV Land
Get up close and personal with icons of television! Superstar Betty White (The Golden Girls, Hot in Cleveland) and other TV celebs will answer questions about their work and making history on television. Plus, get a special sneak peek at the animated episode of TV Land’s original sitcom Hot in Cleveland, airing July 30th.
10:30am – 11:30am / Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Spotlight on Bill Finger, the Co-Creator of Batman
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the movie Batman, the 50th anniversary of Batman’s “New Look,” the 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Finger, the Caped Crusader’s uncredited co-creator. Not only did Bill Finger breathe life into Batman, Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Gotham City, and one fantastic villain after another, he co-created bat-free icons such as Green Lantern, Wildcat, and Lana Lang. Bill’s only living descendantsAthena Finger (The Cape Creator: A Tribute to Bill Finger) and her son Benjamin invite you to celebrate the life and achievements of the man who first put the dark in the Dark Knight. Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) moderates a bat-tastic panel, featuring Bob Kane’s biographer Tom Andrae (Batman and Me), writer Mark Evanier (Bill Finger Awards), actress Lee Meriwether (Batman: The Movie‘s Catwoman), author Marc Tyler Nobleman (Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman), Cartoons Arts’ Jens Robinson (son of Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson), and executive producer Michael Uslan (Batman, The Dark Knight film trilogy), plus special messages from legends like DC’s last surviving Golden Age artist, Wildcat co-creator Irwin Hasen.
11:30am – 12:30pm / Room 4
1984’s Greatest Geek Movies: Big Brother Wasn’t The Only One Watching While Doves Cried
While Eurasia was still at war with Eastasia and Big Brother was watching you, some amazing movies slipped into cinemas and our panel of experts are going to wax on, wax off about the great geek year of 1984 as they look back at such films as The Terminator, Gremlins, Repo Man, Ghostbusters, Dune, Splash, This is Spinal Tap, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, Star Trek III, Buckaroo Banzai, Body Double, The Karate Kid, Red Dawn, Night of the Comet, Once Upon a Time in America, This is Spinal Tap, and, of course, the incomparable Purple Rain. Celebrating the fact that they still love the ’80s will be Ashley E. Miller (Thor, new Terminator TV series), David E. Williams (editor,GEEK magazine), Robert Meyer Burnett (Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays), Marc Berandin (The Hollywood Reporter), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Transformers Prime), Joe Kraemer (Jack Reacher), and moderator Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise, DOA: Dead or Alive). This panel is sure to get turned up to 11.
2:00pm – 3:00pm / Room 5AB
Meet the Flintstones, Meet George Jetson: Hanna Barbera Beginnings
Wouldn’t it be great to be a fly on the wall in 1963 in Hanna Barbera Studios with three men who helped make it such an essential part of cartoon history? Comic-Con special guest animator Willie Ito gathers his friends and cohorts Tony Benedict(writer, Flintstones, The Jetsons) and Jerry Eisenberg (layout artist, Flintstones, Jetsons) to discuss what made early Hanna Barbera into the powerhouse of cartoon history it became. Moderated by Leslie Combemale (film artist advocate/owner, ArtInsights Animation & Film Art Gallery).
2:30pm – 3:30pm / Room 24ABC
Star Trek at 50: From ‘The Cage’ to Today
The man The Los Angeles Times dubbed “the world’s foremost Trekspert,” Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise) moderates a panel celebrating five decades since filming began on the original Trek pilot starring Jeffrey Hunter. Panelists consist of a murderer’s row of Star Trek luminaries reflecting on 50 years of Trek history, including Scott Mantz (chief film critic, Access Hollywood), David A. Goodman(producer, Star Trek: Enterprise, author Federation: The First 150 Years), Marc Cushman(author, These Are the Voyages,Volumes 1-3), Ed Gross (legendary Trek journalist),Robert Meyer Burnett (producer, Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays), Jeff Bond(author, The Music of Star Trek) Vic Mignogna (Captain Kirk, Star Trek Continues) andChase Masterson (actress, Deep Space Nine). Look back…and forward…at sci-fi’s first franchise. It’s like nothing you’ve encountered before.
4:00pm – 5:00pm / Room 23ABC
Thunderbirds at 50
As Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s iconic Thunderbirds series turns 50 next year, Jamie Anderson (Anderson Entertainment) executive producers of the new Thunderbirds Are Go series Richard Taylor (Jane and the Dragon, The Wot Wots, LOTR), and Giles Ridge(Harry Potter: Behind the Magic, The Illustrated Mum) talk about heritage programs, and the importance of remaining true to the ethos that made the show so successful first time around. Join the Thunderbirds team for this Q&A, moderated by head writer of the new series Rob Hoegee (Slugterra, Generator Rex, Teen Titans).
4:30pm – 5:30pm / Room 8
Holy Bat Panels! Get all the details on the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment reunites pop icons Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar on the Hall H stage for a Bat-tastic look at Batman: The Complete TV Series. The actors behind Batman, Robin. and Catwoman, along with moderator Ralph Garman, will give you an inside sneak peek at all the exclusive content within this blockbuster home entertainment release, as well as exhibiting dazzling HD remastered footage from the landmark series. Batman: The Complete TV Series will be released in November 2014.
6:00pm – 7:00pm / Hall H
FRIDAY, June 25
Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy
For the first time, Lucasfilm has opened its Archives to present comprehensive storyboards for the original Star Wars trilogy-the world-changing A New Hope and its operatic sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi-as well as never-before-published art from early conceptual and deleted scenes, in a new book from Abrams:Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy. Former ILM art director Joe Johnston will discuss the newest addition to the Abrams Star Wars Library and the singular experience of creating the iconic trilogy’s storyboards with his stellar art department team. Johnston won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark and has directedHoney, I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer, Jumanji, Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo, and Captain America: The First Avenger. Moderated by Lucasfilm editor J. W. Rinzler.
11:00am – 12:00pm / Room 7AB
Rocky and Bullwinkle Short U.S. Premiere & Panel
In celebration of the 55th anniversary of Rocky and Bullwinkle, join Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation for the U.S. premiere of a newRocky and Bullwinkle short that will appear on the upcoming release of Mr. Peabody & Sherman on Blu-ray and DVD on October 14. Director Gary Trousdale (Beauty and the Beast) and executive producer and Bullwinkle Studios president Tiffany Ward(daughter of Jay Ward) discuss the film and the legacy of Rocky and Bullwinkle on animation, followed by a Q&A session moderated by film critic and animation expert Leonard Maltin (Of Mice and Magic).
11:30am – 12:30pm / Room 8
The Greatest GEEK Movies & TV Never Made
In the panel that wowed WonderCon Anaheim, take a look at some of the greatest genre projects that never made it to the silver and small screens, ranging from Philip Kaufman’s Star Trek: Planet of Titans (the original ’70sStar Trek reboot that was never made) to David Lynch’s Ronnie Rocket and One Saliva Bubble to Bryan Singer’s Battlestar Galactica to an incredible look at Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mind-blowing adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. The discussion will include filmmakers Steve Scarlata(Jodorowksy’s Dune), Tom De Santo (Transformers, X2), Thomas P. Vitale (EVP Chiller strategic operations, Syfy Original Movies and Co-Productions),Ashley E. Miller(Thor, X-Men: First Class), Charles de Lauzirika (Crave, Blade Runner Blu-ray, Twin PeaksBlu-ray), Steve Melching (The Clone Wars, Batman: The Brave & The Bold), David E. Williams (editor, GEEK magazine), Chris Gossett (The Red Star), and Mark A. Altman(Femme Fatales, Free Enterprise).
5:00pm – 6:00pm / Room 7AB
An Inside Look at Shout! Factory, Shout! Kids, and Scream Factory
Brian Ward (DVD producer), Melissa Boag (VP, kids & family), and Jeff Nelson(senior marketing director) give you an exclusive sneak peek at upcoming Blu-ray and DVD collector’s editions and make some very special announcements. Moderated by Kyle Anderson (Nerdist).
7:00pm – 8:00pm / Room 23ABC
SATURDAY, June 26
Warner Archive Collection: Trailers from Hell Live!
A match made in classic movie heaven: the gurus of Trailers From Hell paired with the fan-centric trio of Warner Archive Collection podcasters, making a detailed, often humorous dissection of trailers from some of the great films in the fanboy spectrum. From SciFi and Horror to Action and Noir, you’ll get an interesting, hilarious education on current and upcoming releases in the WAC catalog and Warner Archive Instant from a panel that includes Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson (A History of Violence), Golden Globe Award-winning producer/writer Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt) and director/writer Stuart Gordon, and WAC Podcast hosts George Feltenstein,Matthew Patterson and DW Ferranti.
1:00pm – 2:00pm / Room 25ABC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary
In 1984, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird published the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The comic book was an overnight success, and three decades later, the Turtles are more popular than ever, starring in a hit Nickelodeon television series, an award-winning toy line, monthly comic books from IDW, and a new live-action movie later this summer. Join TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman for a 30th anniversary celebration featuring a who’s who of talented people who have contributed to the Turtles’ enduring history. Guests include Karl Aaronian (Playmates Toys), Townsend Coleman (voice of Michelangelo in the original TMNT animated series), Lloyd Goldfine (4kids TMNT, Turtles Forever), Ciro Nieli (executive producer, NickelodeonTMNT), Ernie Reyes Jr. (Keno inTMNT II: The Secret of the Ooze), and Tom Waltz(writer, IDW TMNT comics), and panel moderator Andrew Farago (curator, Cartoon Art Museum; author of TMNT: The Ultimate Visual History).
2:00pm – 3:00pm / Room 23ABC
Spotlight on Willie Ito
With nearly 60 years as an animation artist, Comic-Con special guest Willie Ito has done it all. He worked at Disney on Lady and the Tramp’s spaghetti scene with mentor Iwao Takamoto and on One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera Doc at Warner Bros’ famed Termite Terrace under Chuck Jones’ direction. He went on to The Beany and Cecil Show with Bob Clampett and then Hanna Barbera for the beginnings of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and many other cartoons. Ito has great stories and experiences to share. After HB he went to Disney Consumer Products and spearheaded implementation of collectibles and licensed products worldwide. He has also designed comic books, comic strips, coloring books, and more. Join animation expertLeslie Combemale of ArtInsights for a spotlight on Willie’s life, including the part of his childhood spent in a Japanese internment camp that inspired his most recent venture, a series of children’s picture books based on the experience.
3:00pm – 4:00pm / Room 9
That ’70s Panel
It was a time of change in comics with a new generation intermingling with the old and taking command. Hear what it was like from Steve Leialoha (Howard the Duck, Spider-Woman), Len Wein (Swamp Thing, The New X-Men), Walt Simonson (Manhunter, Batman), LouiseSimonson (Creepy, Eerie), Anthony Tollin (Batman, Superman), and more, plus moderator Mark Evanier (Groo the Wanderer, Blackhawk).
4:30pm – 6:00pm / Room 5AB
SUNDAY, June 27
Sesame Street & Pop Culture: 45 Years of Spoofs on the ‘Street’
Sesame Street has continuously turned the sensations of the entertainment world into lighthearted attractions that make children and their parents laugh, sing, and learn. See a special screening of the new Sesame Street spoofs “Numeric Con” and “Star S’mores” (hilarious parodies of Comic-Con and Star Wars), debuting in the show’s upcoming 45th season. Then explore the ways pop culture has played a vital role throughout the show’s history during a panel discussion with the Sesame StreetMuppets and Eric Jacobson (Grover and Bert), Joey Mazzarino (Murray Monster,Sesame Street head writer and director), David Rudman (Cookie Monster and Baby Bear), and Carol-Lynn Parente (executive producer). The discussion will be moderated by Chris Hardwick (Host of @midnight and Talking Dead, Nerdist).
10:15am – 11:15am / Room 6A
The Cross-Generational Appeal of Doctor Who
Moderator C.J. DeAngelus (Repo! The Genetic Opera) leads a discussion exploring the appeal of Doctor Who amongst fans of all ages. Fans are encouraged to bring their fondest memories of the Doctor to the panel. Panelists include Billy Javandel (age 11), Bob Mitch (The Big Whobowski), Ewan J. Anderson (The Doctor Games), Vickie Sebring, and E. Gerry Hoard.
11:00am – 12:00pm / Room 29A
Warner Archive Collection: A Batman for All Seasons
As Bat Mite so eloquently stated to the extra-dimensional Comic-Con bat-fans, “There is no one correct kind of Batman.” Join respected producer/author Michael Uslan (The Boy Who Loved Batman), producer James Tucker (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), producer/director Brandon Vietti (Young Justice), producer Greg Weisman(Gargoyles, Young Justice, Star Wars Rebels), WAC Podcast hosts Matthew Pattersonand DW Ferranti, and some surprise guests as they examine those “other” Batman iterations and oddities throughout history – from early films like “Public Defender” and the filmation Batman cartoons to new versions of the character (Young Justice, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman) the off-kilter takes (like the cult favorite “roast” of Legends of the SuperHeroes) and new media (motion comics likeBatman: Black and White, Batgirl: Year One & Batman Adventures: Mad Love). And stick around – there might just be a special WAC announcement that will excite fans both “Young” and old.
12:00pm – 1:00pm / Room 7AB