Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, June 3, 2013

So, You're My Fan...Give Me 50 Bucks

Although a Presley autograph is valuable on the open market today, like most celebrities of his day, he would send  a fan an autographed picture for free.
The first time I recall seeing it was at StarFest.  I'd heard that sports stars had begun to do it, but the first celebrity I recall charging for an autograph was William Shatner who was closely followed by Leonard Nimoy.  Now they all do it.  Major stars like Shatner's signature, I hear,  now approaches  a hundred bucks if not over although the first time I saw him do it, I think it was around $60.  But  at that time and for that amount, for me, it might as well have been a thousand, even though it was rumored he donated it to charity.  Oddly, I don't think he did.

Some still do not charge if you happen to meet them in public.  Steve Martin supposedly carries a stack of prepared cards with his autograph for fans. I know I see movie stars do it at openings or even stopping on the sidewalk to give an autograph or photo.  Not all of them are trying to make money.  Maybe it is just a phenomenon at fan conventions such as comic cons or science fiction.  Nerds do adore their celebrities.  

This week at the Denver Comic Con, I was saddened that even Mr. Nice Guy, George Takei now charges.  I still remember taking my young son to a mini convention where "Uncle George" signed autographs.  I've met many a Trek star even the glorious Majel Barrett Roddenberry who actually sat in the vendors room signing any and all autographs.  Even Patrick Stewart, signed autographs for his fans. I had Francis Ford Coppola, who had won the Oscar for the Godfather, sign at convention for free. There were, a few, who just didn't sign.  DeForest Kelly had arthritis so badly at that point I saw him, he was no longer able to sign.

It is no longer true.  At the Comic Con, most of the B-level Celebs charge.  Saul Rubinek was at $30 as was one of the former Doctor Whos, Colin Baker.  I believe Wil Wheaton was at $40 as was Takei.  I didn't bother to check Shatner, I couldn't afford any of them nor will I pay some one for an autograph who I made a star.

Without me, Mr. Shatner, Mr. Takei, or even you Mr. Rubinek, your signature would not be worth the paper it is illegibly scrawled on.  I...We are your fans.  Once, stars remembered this and gave us the gift of a small piece, the autograph.  They knew who made them and bought tickets even to the lamest of their movies. They weren't so greedy as to charge for that small 'thank you' of giving a fan a signature and photo with them.  A few, even charge for that too.

What saddens me more, is that fans will pay.  They will line up and fork over money for making an actor a celebrity. Perhaps, they are too young to remember when the stars autographed because you were a fan not because they could make money from their fans.  Perhaps they have that kind of disposable income or intend to make a little money by selling it on Ebay.  For me, I would like to see the lines and signature stalls, empty.  Celebrities standing there alone with their handlers wondering why they have no fans.  No thanks, I am not paying you for my contribution to your celebrity.  You're just not worth it.