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Moonridge Animal Park Report
for August 25, 2001
Charity Show with Celebrities
in San Bernardino, CA mountains in Big Bear
Report | Pictures
First off, let me say that of all the TS actor thingies I've been to (Vancouver set visit, the Rally, the Horseshow), this one was my favorite! GM was great (and very accessible), the fans were great (and well-behaved), and I think everyone was able to get all the autographs and pictures they wanted.
Becky and I arrived at Moonridge a little after 3pm and there was already a long line of people waiting to get into the park. The park is a ways from Big Bear Lake and across the street from a ski resort. GM wasn't there yet, though we found his table in a shaded spot next to the wolf enclosure. We walked around the rather small zoo in about 15 minutes, then stood around listening to the auction dude who sounded like Dom Deluise (Marty Ingels). I'm glad Bonnie posted a report with the other celebrity names, because I didn't really know who anyone else was besides GM and Richard Karn from Home Improvement.
GM showed up about a half hour after we got there. We knew when he showed up because we saw a bunch of ladies walking purposefully toward the wolf enclosure :-). Garett was wearing a white-with-blue-stripes plaid shirt, faded jeans, hiking boots, and these new cool silver-rimmed glasses I hadn't seen before. His hair was down and about the length it was in Switchman. He looked pretty much the same as he did on TS. Don't worry, we took pictures :-). His brother Brandon came with him and patiently stood on the sidelines as Garett met his fans. There was also a security guard assigned to GM -- I think he was hired by the park or something because later he asked one of the fans who GM was and why all these people were there to see him! It was nice because the security guard didn't have to do much except stand in the background about 6 feet away from GM. He didn't have to say anything to any of the fans and no one felt like he was getting in the way.
I was impressed with how comfortable and relaxed Garett seemed the entire time. He seemed completely at ease with all the fans. He chatted, joked, and posed for photos, even asking fans if they wanted to be in the picture with him. He willingly signed multiple pictures/items for some people and thanked each person for coming. Becky and I brought our black-and-white promo pictures from the Pasadena fan rally so GM could sign it (we already had RB and BAY's autographs on it from the rally). He joked about how the picture kept showing up with his signature missing. I think I was one of the first people who asked if I could get a picture of him and he said "Sure!", then asked if we wanted to be in it, too. Duh, of course we did! Becky also later asked him to sign the Switchman still shot from near the end of the episode.
Becky and I stood around and watched GM sign autographs and pose for pictures for the next couple hours or so. Someone brought the Elvira comic with Jim and Blair in it (anyone have a picture of this?). He got a total kick out of seeing himself in the comic book. He called his brother over to look at it -- "Hey look! I'm in a comic book!" and "What am I going to do to Elvira?" Some people brought homemade shirts for him to sign, and he looked at them and grinned, saying "That's me!" There were about 30 TS fans there, probably the biggest single showing for any of the actors present. We got to meet several CT listsibs while we were there -- Dianne, Bonnie317, Jamie Ritchey, and Auntie Hill. Everyone seemed nice.
After Garett signed autographs and posed for pictures for everyone in line, he took a break and walked around the zoo himself with his brother and the security guard. They also got a special tour of the zoo and got to go in the bear enclosure, etc. There were animal keepers walking around with some of the birds of prey and snakes, and GM took some pictures of himself and some of the animals with a disposable camera he'd brought (as in held the camera out in front of him at arm's length and took a picture of himself). He also walked around and met some of the other celebrities and asked them if he could get a picture with them.
During the whole time, they were holding auctions of donated things -- mostly paintings and services local businesses had donated. Some of the other celebrities got up to talk during the auction, but GM didn't. Becky and I couldn't help but think that if they had thought to auction off something Sentinel-related, it would have gone for a lot of money.
A little later, GM got to go into the wolf enclosure with some of the other celebrities and an animal keeper. The animal keeper said he'd been there earlier that morning to get his picture taken with his adopted wolf (I thought they said it was Nova, but I could be wrong), and he had a ponytail and sandals on -- apparently a bad idea when you're in the wolf enclosure! He didn't really pose with any of the wolves while we were watching, just stood there and watched them and took pictures himself.
Hmm, let's see -- other stuff I heard GM say: Someone asked about the rumor of him appearing on Poltergeist: The Legacy. He laughed and said it wasn't true, but he was getting asked that a lot. He said he'd love to do it if they asked him, though. Someone said they'd heard on the Moosebay list that he was going to be in a play. He said maybe, but nothing was definite yet. Someone told him he should guest star on Stargate: SG-1 and he said, "I'd love to!" I asked him how he got involved in appearing at the animal park. He replied, "Debbie [one of the animal keepers, I think] called and asked me, and I love animals. Plus I had a free weekend."
Becky and I stayed at the park until past 7pm. Towards the end, Garett and his brother were just hanging around in the crowd of visitors around the auction area, chatting with each other and some other celebrities and people from the animal park. I think the security guard had left by that time -- I think he figured out that GM was going to be fine by himself. The entire time, no one ever mobbed him. It really speaks to how well the fans behaved, and the whole atmosphere was so casual -- you could just walk up to him and talk to him if you wanted to, and he never seemed to mind. Most of the pictures I had taken so far were in the shade next to the wolf enclosure, and I was hoping I could get one of Garett more in the sun. So I *finally* got up the courage to go over to Garett and ask him if I could take a picture of him standing in the sun, and he said "Sure!" He stood over by the bathrooms and was pointing at them to be funny :-). Then he asked if we wanted to be in the picture with him, so Becky and I stood next to him and he put his arms around us. Aww! Okay, *then* I felt like we could leave :-). Garett and his brother also left about the same time we did -- maybe to take a break before the banquet. As we were driving away, we saw Garett and his brother walking down the road (presumably towards the place where they were staying or their car) and they waved at us as we drove by. We waved back!
We had a lot of fun seeing Garett, and I think the animal park raised a lot of money. Cheers to GM and all the fans for making it a great experience!
Becky's additional notes:
A few times, Garett mentioned having to go to the "green room." At first I didn't realize what this was, until I saw just where he went. It was the men's bathroom -- the walls were very green which you could tell from the outside just walking by. So were the walls in the women's I discovered later.
Eventually, Garett got a nametag. Only they got his name spelled *really* wrong -- Garrat Maggart. ~rolls eyes~ What is it about his first name that just confuses people? It's not that strange.