30th Annual Lead East Car Show: The World’s Biggest ’50s Party!

Over the Labor Day weekend in Parsippany, NJ the 30th annual Lead East Car Show took place at the Hilton hotel. It’s an event that I’ve heard so much about and have been meaning to go to for a long time, and this year I finally went and I’m glad I did. Read on for a recap and at least two references to Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Held annually in New Jersey, Lead East is the biggest car show in the state, or as they bill it, “the Biggest old car event” and the “Biggest ’50s Party,” and let me tell you they ain’t kiddin’! In addition to over 1,800 vintage and custom cars from over 20 states, Lead East offers concerts, parties, costume contests, food, collectibles for sale, movies playing drive-in style, karaoke, a prom, a sock hop, swing dancing, and of course, some good old fashioned cruising. With all that stuff going on, you don’t even need to be a hardcore fan of cars or the ’50s. It’s a chance to enjoy a fun day out with the whole family, and even the dog. There’s lots of folks who set up shop with tents for the whole 5-day stretch. One of those couples was nice enough to have myself, my father, and his friends at their tent for drinks and food which was awesome, especially the chance to get out of the blazing sun for a while.

Playing with Hot Wheels was one of my past times as a kid, but as I grew up I wasn’t much a gear head. I changed a tire once, but I can’t really tell you what’s what under the hood of my car. I do love looking at cars though, and driving them, especially the few all-time favorites of mine. I enjoy going to car shows like this in hopes of seeing my favorites and some of the rare cars that I had no idea existed. That’s where Father Armpit comes in. My Dad knows every freaking car imaginable and what year they came out.


My Dad merely needs to glimpse a car for a split second and he can spew out all it’s details. Going with him to car shows is fun because he’s so enthralled by them. So many of the cars we saw (and studied) at Lead East hold special memories for him. He could tell you every car he ever owned, my uncle’s first, second, third, and fourth car, and even which cars were purchased by a few celebrities. It’s like putting me in a KISS or WWE museum. I’d never come out. I’d be staring at everything as if I was Cameron Frye at the Art Institute of Chicago. And even though I’m not as fanatical about cars as my father is, I still had a blast.

Stutz – this model was owned by members of The Rat Pack

Although Lead East is a ’50s inspired car show, I had a hunch that I’d be seeing at least ONE of my ’70s favorites. In fact, almost as soon as I walked into the show I walked right up to my all-time favorite car, a 1973 Mustang Mach-1. The color wasn’t my preference, but that wouldn’t stop me from taking it for a spin or rubbing it with a diaper (like Cameron Frye’s dad does!). If you’re into ’70s cars like me, we’re all in luck – the Lead East website states that they have started to allow later model cars in the show on the Sunday installment of the show including 1976 models and earlier. It’s possible that each year they may let accept later models.

1973 Mustang Mach 1

Remember the “Greased Lightning” sequence in Grease? That’s what some of the cars reminded me of. But what was more amazing than all the crazy custom cars and all the little events they had going on at Lead East, was watching these guys and gals relive their high school days. The sight of a car can elicit such glows on people’s faces. The guys started to Remem-mem Rememmemmeber the first time they “parked” with their girlfriend, the first time they raced their car, and the first time they puked in their friend’s back seat. The Back to the Future DeLorean wasn’t there this year, but the thousands in attendance didn’t need it since the event itself was a time machine.

This truck reminded me of something out of Disney’s CARS

Chiller Theatre Spring 2011 Recap


The Chiller Theatre Expo vs. The Monster Mania Con has become an often debated clash amongst fans and bloggers. While it’s not quite the magnitude of Frankenstein vs. The Wolfman, it has sparked some contention.

Both events are pretty damn cool in their own right, it just becomes a matter of preference. Many con fans have become vehemently opposed to Chiller for some reason. But what I find is that both conventions offer similar dealer tables, the same lines for overpriced autographs, and the same lack of parking. Although I will say that you have a better shot at parking at Chiller in Parsippany than you do at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, where I feel like I park 16 miles away sometimes. I plan it out so I don’t hit the brunt of the insane crowds. I also don’t linger around. I make sure I hit everything and then I’m out of there!

Monster Mania gears their con more toward horror rather than the pop culture Chiller has evolved into. If you want Tom Savini you go to Monster Mania, if you want Cindy from The Brady Bunch you go to Chiller, or you can be like The Sexy Armpit and just go to both! These conventions are always fun and I consider myself lucky to live in an area that offers this type of event. If I lived in a less populated area I might be salivating at someone else’s blog post recapping events like these.

Out of the slew of guests that appear at Chiller, I usually zero in on one or two who I am interested in meeting. I was anticipating the spring installment of Chiller for months because I was excited to see that Suzanne Snyder (Return of the Living Dead Part II, Killer Klowns From Outer Space) and Judie Aronson (Friday the 13th IV, American Ninja) who played Deb and Hilly from Weird Science, would be appearing. Weird Science is one of my favorite movies of all time to the point where I know every line of dialogue. In the film, the fantasy girl who Gary and Wyatt created was Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) but I was never attracted to her at all, I had the biggest crushes on the ’80s mall chicks Deb and Hilly. I never thought in a million years I’d be introducing myself to these hotties in the same geeky way that Gary and Wyatt did in their bathroom.

Both ladies eagerly interacted with their fans. The best part is that Judie Aronson, owner of Rockit Body Pilates in California, remembered The Sexy Armpit from Twitter! What a sweetheart. Now I don’t have to go into a social coma!

There were a few very surreal moments for me this time around at Chiller. For instance, talking at length with Rob Romanus, who played Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was so frigging cool. It’s another one of those things that I never thought I’d be doing. Chatting it up with Damone about how his character is so embedded in our pop culture. I also told Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds that I was listening to the Nerds rap on my iPod on my commute to work that morning (…”Now clap your hands everybody…”). Just the fact that I was driving to work listening to that song was weird enough, it never crossed my mind that later that day I would actually be telling the guy who rapped the song that I was listening to it. That’s the place Chiller has in my life. Years ago at a Chiller Adam West handed me the Batphone because he said it was for me. That one really blew my mind.

Way too much money was extracted from pockets all weekend. let me give you a quick summary of some of cool stuff I picked up.

If you read Kindertrauma or Freddy in Space then you are already familiar with the brand new badass Mad Monster Magazine. Ebben from the mag was manning their table and we talked for a few minutes. He’s a cool guy and the magazine is definitely worth the $6.66 price. At first you’ll be impressed by the collectible quality of the pages and the writing and art inside, but just the fact that they’ve captured more of a personal style is the real selling point. The Fangorias and other horror magazines seem like they are run by the film companies, but not Mad Monster. Whatever you do, get your hands on a copy.

Within a few minutes of entering the dealer room, my eyes immediately locked onto a thrilling piece of art. I went over to the table where I saw the black and white print hanging where I met artist Mike Turso. The ingeniusly conceived, beautifully painted piece was a horror parody of the KISS album Dressed To Kill. Being both a hardcore member of The KISS Army and a horror fanatic, this was a jackpot for me. Naturally I couldn’t afford the $700 dollar price tag of the original print, but I snatched up a smaller $20 print without even blinking an eye. I balled for several minutes to Mike about what an awesome idea it was and how much I loved it. Mike’s work is brilliant and if you’re a fan of comics, horror, or movies, he will have a print you will want, I can guarantee it. Check out his website HERE for a gallery of his work.

I also added a couple of Hot Wheels to my collection: The DeLorean and The Batman version of the Batmobile which I recently read about on Moongem Comics.

Retro Lovely is a premium magazine filled with pinup models and retro style photography by Ric Frane artist known for Monsters, Pinup Girls, and Danger! Also, from the Troma table, I bought a Toxic Avenger collected edition comic that I’ve had my eye on at the last couple of cons. And finally, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein of The Misfits commented on how much he liked my tattoos, and in turn I endorse his MADE IN HELL hot sauce. It’s not so hot where your mouth becomes numb and it had so many different subtle flavors that it’s probably more suitable for use as a spicy marinade for chicken than it is just a regular hot sauce.

Birthday Nostalgia

Dukes of Hazzard Cake 1

“DUKES!” was my answer to everything for a long time when I was a kid. I was talking about Dukes of Hazzard, a show that I was obsessed with as were many other boys my age. My mom would ask me what I was going to ask Santa to bring me for Christmas and I’d reply “DUKES!” super loud. “Yes, but what Dukes thing do you want, Jay?” “A DUKES CAR!” I said to her, strangely in a thick New York type accent. When I was a little kid I had a hard time pronouncing my R’s which lead people to scratch their head when I said words like SMAWF and BAWN which actually meant SMURF and BURN. This is an issue you’ll hear many kids struggle with but usually grow out of. Occasionally that problem comes back when pronouncing the word BREWERY. To me that is the hardest word to say. I don’t remember having issues with the word BIRTHDAY, and what do you know, today is mine!

Dukes of Hazzard Cake 2

In this post you are looking at a few photos from a couple of birthdays from when I was a kid. The first one is circa 1982 where you can check out the awesome Dukes of Hazzard cake that was made for me. Back then the world wasn’t as obsessed with the insanely intricate gourmet cake decorating that we are today. Now we have Cake Boss and other shows like it and there’s no cake that can’t be created! Back then this cake was pretty f’n awesome. Through the years I’ve had a bunch of awesome cakes made for me such as Batman cakes,  and a Sexy Armpit cake made by my awesome girlfriend.

Sexy Armpit Cake
Jay Getting Bobby Heenan Figure

The above photo was several years later after my I was a full blown WWF addict for a long time. You can see how excited I was to receive the Bobby Heenan action figure. I was so anxious to amass the Heenan Family and without it’s manager they were nothing so I was pumped. Anytime I got a WWF action figure I remember yelling so loud as if it was Silver Banshee’s sonic scream. I still get excited about things but I tend to be more reserved. Nowadays I don’t think I would shriek like that unless I won $47 million dollars. So, times have changed in some respects, but many aspects of my birthday remain exactly the same. For instance, this year I already bought myself a few hot wheels cars (not a General Lee), a couple of action figures, and my birthday weekend will include a TNA Wrestling show in Rahway NJ!