TunnelCon III report
by Lisa Howard

After I went to my first convention (Great Expectations) last year in Austin, I just couldn't resist going to TunnelCon III in Las Vegas this year. I saved and saved my money (which didn't amount to much!) and managed to have enough to stay in Las Vegas for one week for a much needed vacation (as long as I didn't gamble!).

I arrived on Monday, July 4 and stayed at the Luxor. On Thursday, I checked in to the Stardust. TunnelCon was about to begin! Several very dear friends that I have met through Beauty and the Beast had arrived that day and we all connected. Thursday evening we registered early and reserved our banquet table and saw bunches of friends. The theme of TunnelCon III this year was "A Family Reunion" and it was wonderful to see, and meet, friends from fandom.

On Friday morning, the opening ceremonies began. Unfortunately, I made it for the last five minutes. Oh well. The rest of Friday afternoon was full of workshops about different aspects of BATB. And, of course, THE DEALER'S ROOM, my personal favorite! Friday evening was the talent show and costume contest which started out with Edward Albert "auctioning" himself off for our designated charity, a home in Las Vegas for children with AIDS. The talent was wonderful, especially the Dreamseekers' skit, and the costumes were a hoot.

Saturday was the Q & A. David Schwartz (coordinating producer), David Greenlee (Mouse), and Edward Albert (Elliott) were all there and wonderful. Roy Dotrice was in England and wasn't able to attend. David Greenlee was better than expected (from earlier reports) and was very funny. Edward Albert brought his guitar and sang several songs and told wonder-ful stories about his life and life on the show. They were all very gracious. Edward Albert is just getting to know his fans, and fandom, after all his years in the business and I really think he (as were the others) was overwhelmed at all the love and support Beauty and the Beast receives. After the Q & A, it was autograph time. Luckily, I was one of the first 50 people in line. I got some wonderful pictures of the stars and, of course, those much prized autographs!

Saturday night was the banquet. Everyone in their finest and some in costume. Before the banquet was a cash bar where everyone met and talked. David Schwartz came over and spoke with me a while. We had met last year and had some wonderful discussions. After a few photos, we all went in and found our tables. Ours was one table back from the front, in the center. The stars ate on a dias at the head of the room. I had "met" a fan on America Online, Deb, and had signed her up for our table and it was great meeting her. Turned out we had alot in common <grin>. (She and I were in the hallway smoking and Edward Albert came out for a smoke too. I got a wonderful photo of him and Deb!) After a very moving candle lighting ceremony, we all ate. Two couples in fandom had just had children and we had a naming ceremony. It was so sweet.

Gwen Lord (Roy Dotrice fan club in England) then made a surprise announcement that Roy had told her three weeks earlier that he had heard from "reliable sources" that a Beauty and the Beast movie was in production! Then silence. It was so strange. (More about this later.)

After a few videos and talk about our charity (we had the cutest little girl mascot, Heidia), the Carousels and Caverns group played a fan made video. The first part was a song that Mike Maloney (our resident fox) wrote, produced and starred in called "Remember Love". Then they played a "teaser" for next year's con in Los Angles, "A Distant Shore - The Fairy Tale Continues". It was superb!

Absolutely have to go to LA next year. They have big plans. Their video featured Ellen Geer (Mary), David Greenlee, Armin Shimmerman (Pascal), Tony Jay (Paracelsus), Jay Acovone (Joe), Roy Dotrice (Father) and the girl who played Jenny whose name I can't remember, sorry.

Sunday was the Art Auction and Celebrity Auction hosted by David Schwartz and David Greenlee. The highlight was a full sized stuffed Vincent being bought by pretty much the whole group. David Schwartz said he would try to get it in the Debbie Reynolds Museum in Las Vegas. We then had the closing ceremonies where the "con candle" was passed to Mike Maloney (who was wearing the original costume bought by fans last year). Sunday night was very sad running friends to the airport and saying our goodbyes.

I missed several activities at the con (mainly because I was doing the Vegas tourist thing) but I had a wonderful time. But next year, in LA, where all the stars are! (They are inviting about 25). They also plan an outing to Griffith Park where the tunnel and carousel are and a trip by Catherine's apartment, cumulating with a special presentation at Ellen Geer's outdoor Shakespearean theater (with hopefully stars from the show in it). I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Now about that movie thing. As some of you may know, there was a big letter writing campaign earlier this year to Spelling Entertainment about a BATB movie. Then Gwen Lord's announcement at the banquet. When I got home I had received the following letter from Republic which reads in part:

 "Thank you for your letter and interest regarding Republic  Pictures' Beauty and the Beast. We appreciate your input  regarding any future "B&B" projects (for t.v. or film). Unfortunately, there are no plans to produce any additional  episodes (for film or television) of this series."

Then it goes on trying to sell the videos already available. So, well, what can I say! But we all know that fandom will survive, even if it is just a few of us. But don't give up hope! You never know what the "powers that be" will do!

I had a great time at TunnelCon III and am really looking forward to

A Distant Shore!


Lisa