I am a short person. Not by choice, you understand. I come from a long line of short folks on both sides of the family. When fully grown, I reached the unassuming height of five foot eight inches. But when I was a kid, I was really small. When I danced with my mother at my Bar Mitzvah, she was taller than me. She was all of four foot ten.
In grade school, I was either in the first row first seat—assigned by height; or the last row, last seat—by alphabetical order. Either way, it is an isolating position and not a whole lot of fun.
And so it is with a warm smile that I remember the time when I was the tallest guy in the room. Okay, not in the room, maybe. But in the group.
It was at a New York City convention–either a comic-con or a sci-fi con, circa 1980 (they say memory is the first thing to go, and they’re right). I was the editor in chief of Starlog magazine, which at the time was a big deal. It was not only nationally distributed, it was sent around the world. And one Japanese company did an unlicensed knock-off using our trademarked logo. They were so successful at cloning us and adding their own material, that instead of suing, my publisher offered them a sweetheart license for Starlog Japanese. But I digress. . . .
I was in the company of giants. Okay . . . not physical giants, but men of stature in their chosen fields of endeavor. I was walking across the convention floor with a bunch of guys I knew and respected: my ace interviewer at Starlog and future Hollywood screenwriter, Ed Naha, and award-winning authors, Harlan Ellison, and Ron Goulart. And yes, halfway across the floor I realized that I could see over the heads of the entire group. I was the tallest guy among us. It was unique. It was intoxicating. It made me feel . . . oh, I dunno . . . gigantic.
There are two stories from this convention that I’d like to tell; one that focuses on Harlan Ellison, and one that’s specific to Ray Harryhausen. So . . . stay tuned.