I spent last Saturday with the Brady Bunch, thanks to Wizard World. Actually, it was half of the Brady Bunch, but it was a fun, nostalgic trip with one of television’s most popular families.
As part of Wizard World’s increasingly popular Virtual Experiences, public relations manager Jerry Milani hosted a panel featuring Barry Williams (Greg), Mike Lookinland (Bobby) and Susan Olsen (Cindy). The trio gave quick updates on their lives, then fielded questions sent to Milani from fans.
Talk turned to travel when Milani asked for their favorite special filming location. Not surprisingly, they all responded with Hawai’i, followed by the Grand Canyon and Cincinnati. We all remember those iconic episodes, and they gave their special memories. Williams even brought out the infamous tiki, causing all to laugh.
When asked about favorite special guests, Williams listed Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale and Lookinland picked Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath. Those seemed like natural choices, but Olsen surprised a few when she picked Vincent Price (over Davy Jones) and proceeded to share a warm story about the legendary actor.
The panel ran for close to an hour, well over the scheduled time slot, but the actors all stated they could have done this all day. The session flew, yet time stood still.
I previously met Lookinland and Olsen, but this was my first interaction with Williams. The actors could not have been any nicer. They were having so much fun with each other and the fans, which made it that much more fun for all.
The Brady Bunch virtual experience is part of Wizard World adapting to the pandemic. While nothing can replace meeting the stars in person, this comes close. It also allows many more fans from all over the world to partake. The free virtual experiences also offer one-on-one chats, video messages and more for separate fees. Milani told me, “We have tried to bring as much of what we do at our live pop culture events to the virtual world. We’ve done about 150 Virtual Events, mostly celebrities but also authors, artists, cosplayers and others, and it’s been a great way for fans all over the world, who may not have ever had a chance to interact with these stars and with each other, to be a part of what we do.” Future events include casts from Game of Thrones, Doctor Who and Baywatch.
The pandemic caused many businesses to be creative, and Wizard World rose to that challenge. Even as things return to normal and conventions start happening again, these virtual experiences shouldn’t stop. They will become part of the overall convention, making it bigger and better.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
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