In the last decade, I’ve somehow developed a celebrity autograph collection. It started when I was working at this newspaper and had a man by the name of Jim Parker stop by the office in 2009. He introduced himself as the Vegas Vampire, a character he had created for a Las Vegas TV network who served as the host of the show airing B-grade horror movies.

I knew I had to write a story about the Vegas Vampire – it was the type of interview you don’t get too often. He told me about meeting the Rat Pack and the golden era of Vegas. It ranks among one of my most memorable interviews. After the story ran, Jim decided to thank me by gifting me an autographed photo of himself. That picture is still displayed in my living room.

Jump ahead six years — I volunteered at a comic convention being hosted in Madison. One of my assignments was to keep the line moving at Bruce Campbell’s autograph table. He has a particular way on how he wants the line set up. I spent an entire Saturday ensuring the actor’s line went smoothly. On Sunday, I was surprised to receive a personalized autographed photo of Bruce for working in his line.

Since 2015, I’ve amassed a small collection of celebrity autographs from my time volunteering at different events. Among the most prolific are Nichelle Nichols (she’s absolutely lovely), Michael Rooker (who made fun of me for not being able to figure out someone’s camera phone) and voice actor Rob Paulsen aka the man who probably voiced part of your childhood if you were born in the 1980s. Those three are actually people who I had the chance to work with at comic conventions, which makes them stand out a bit more for me because there are fun stories that go with each of them. Other actors like to dole out signed 8x10s to everyone who is volunteering at a convention and about half my accidental collection is made up of those.

While the actors may be more prolific, I have plenty of other autographs on the title pages of books and album covers. All of these autographs are from events I’ve attended. I know some people look for autographed copies of certain books and are willing to pay a steep price, but for me, it’s more exciting to be able to tell a writer how much I’ve enjoyed their work than just get their signature. The same goes for my signed album covers. Though I admit some of the autographs are from authors and bands who aren’t renowned. At least not yet.

I never intended to start an autograph collection, yet here I am with signatures from actors, writers, illustrators and musicians. I will admit, there are certain people I’d like to get an autograph from. But more than the autograph, I’d like to thank them in person for all of the entertainment and inspiration they have provided me. The signature would just be a happy bonus.

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