Tangram Fury and Celebrities
I have had the good fortune of sharing my tangram art with several celebrities at various Comic Cons. When I meet them, I let them know that I've appreciated their work over the years and would now like to share some of my own work with them. Several of them think that I'm trying to give them something to sign for me to keep, but I explain that it is my gift to them. They have responded very appreciatively to this. In some cases, they've actually offered to give me an autograph or posed for a photo with me and my kids. This section includes photos and such that I have paid for, or received as gifts back from the various celebrities.
When I started doing this, I first gave them one of my Utah Tangram Packs, as a souvenir of Utah. It would either be that or one of my Sci Fi Tangram Packs, since many of them had been in Sci Fi films. For instance, when I gave a Sci Fi Tangram Pack to David Prowse (who was the one who played the original Darth Vader) I pointed out that "his ship" was in the pack, meaning there was a tangram puzzle of Darth Vader's ship. He liked that. His handler pointed out he could play with the pack on the plane. He grinned and agreed.
I couldn't help picturing Darth Vader sitting on a plane in his cape and breathing mask trying to solve my tangram puzzles. Of course, he wouldn't do that in costume, but I couldn't stop that image from popping up. I pictured Darth getting upset as he tried to use the Force to solve them and then pounding the tray with a powerful, black-gloved fist as James Earl Jones' voice cried out "Blast!" and the guy in the row ahead of him jumped from his in-flight nap as Darth's tray shattered to the floor....By the second Comic Con that I attended, I decided to start making special Tangram Packs that included images of the celebrities who would be attending. This was a bit challenging as I wanted to come up with new images for depicting them. In some cases, a celebrity would be announced for whom I'd designed a tangram image, but then they'd cancel after I'd already produced the Tangram Pack. Oh, well.
I generally don't sell the Comic Con Packs, as I don't print very many of them. I usually give away the ones I've made. Actually, I generally let my kids be the ones to give them the Tangram Packs. Beforehand, I try to watch something or other that has the scheduled stars in them, so my kids will know who they're going to meet. But still, my kids generally don't know what to say to the stars and these Packs become a great ice breaker. They end up starting a fun, short conversation and interaction between them and the stars. We come away and the kids say, "He/She was really cool!" Then, when we later see another show or movie with them in it, they remember meeting the star. Fun stuff.
One instance that stands out for me was when I gave Erin Gray (from the "Buck Rogers in the 21st Century" TV show) a Pack, she asked what it was. I explained that it was a pack with tangram puzzles to solve which consisted of tangrams made in honor of the celebrities who had come to SLC Comic Con. She responded, "That's so great of Dan [Farr, the founder of SLC Comic Con]. He's always looking for ways to make us feel at home here. I love puzzles!"
I had to explain that Dan didn't have anything to do with the puzzles. I said that I had personally made them to give to the celebrities as a personal thanks for their work. She liked that.
I don't always know if they liked or remembered the Packs, but sometimes I find out they did. For instance, I had given Danny Glover a pack one day and let him know how much I appreciated his work in "Lonesome Dove." We had a photo op with him the next day and I reminded him that I was the one who gave him the Tangram Pack. He smiled widely, saying, "Yes, yes, you are!" as we posed for the picture. (They fire you through those photo ops VERY quickly. Not really any time to talk.)
When we met John Rhys-Davies, he was so genuine and warm with my kids that I also gave him a full Tangram Fury game. A friend of mine later gave me a photo he'd taken of him signing autographs with the game on the table next to him. He kept it close by and another worker there later told me that at the end of the day, he made a special note of taking the game with him, saying he wanted to play it with his grandkids. Cool.
This section of my website is a tribute to some of the many that we've met. I don't have photos of everyone, but I do have memories. Here and there I'll try to include a little note about some of the interactions. (Sadly, in some cases the star's handler or agent wouldn't let me give a Pack to them or even talk to them unless I bought a photo or autograph. I simply can't afford to pay everyone that I want to give a gift to, so there were several who I had hoped to meet, but didn't....)