JULY 13TH 1996

It was an exciting weekend of General Hospital events, but we have to put it in perspective by telling you that it was framed by five days of Disneyland...with a three-year old child. This gives life, and perhaps this report, a rather surreal ambiance.

We started out the GH portion of our vacation with the Brad Maule Luau. We lacked the stamina and funds to do all the General Hospital events in the Los Angeles area on the weekend of July 13th and 14th. We missed "Monica and Alan's Brunch", Maurice Benard's event and the Interact Theater performance (w/Matt Ashford). Hopefully other RATSAers will fill you in on these happenings. (Razz, Tangy, Rika, Pat?) But we'll tell you every detail of what we can remember. (And some people will tell you that is entirely too much.)

The Luau was on the 13th of July from 4:30 to 7:30. It was sold out, as was the banquet the next day, and apparently the hotel staff wasn't quite prepared for the number of people. By the time we arrived, early at around four, the seven or eight tables available had been filled. At the door (Well, the door was only a concept. It was outside next to the pool and the door was the end of the sidewalk.) we received a fine Hawaiian welcome, including a plastic lei, a Brad Maule calling card, a Brad Maule fan club note pad and a copy of Soap Dish magazine. However they did forget to put the bright purple bracelets on us. More on that later.

We wandered around the lovely Sportmens' Lodge landscaping, looking for a place to sit. We tried an unsturdy looking bench and rocks by an artificial waterfall, until the hotel folks finally brought out a cart full of chairs for the wandering Luau-goers to use. We quickly snagged four of them and set them up on the grass. Oh, did we forget to introduce the rest of our party? Besides ourselves, T n' T, there was Tommy, (the above-mentioned three-year old, a.k.a. Cookie-boy) and our friend, David (an on-again off-again GH fan, whom we have evilly drawn back into its clutches).

Apparently someone had noticed our lack of the identifying purple bracelet and ratted on us. Eileen Bengelsdorf, Brad Maule's Fan Club president, came over to throw us out... No, no just kidding. She knew we were supposed to be there. We'd given her enough of a headache with our last minute questions in the previous weeks, (Would Cookie-boy need a ticket? Can we add on David? What the heck is a Pu-pu platter?) that she recalled our names immediately, but she did send us over to get our shiny purple hospital bracelets attached.

The first RATSAer to arrive that we recognized was Tangy Nancy, Kurth/Taylor, net.promoter. She said "hi" and wandered off to try and find a place to sit. Meanwhile the punch-bowl kept mysteriously filling and emptying before we could get anywhere near it. Razz, Rika, Pat and the Mad Poet materialized, joining Tangy on the cement. We moved off the grass (and out of the sun) and joined them, just as the band started playing. The band was called... we don't know. It was a country band, with medium long hair, some beards and a reasonable command of their craft. We were chatting, not listening.

Then Brad Maule took the stage and we were attentive and riveted by his stage presence. (Yes, this is the way we prefer to remember it.) And now through the magic of technology here is exactly what Brad said and did.

"This a Luau, you know." Brad started. "I don't know, why do we pick a luau every time? It's because I lived in Hawaii. For Christmas in the aloha bowl, they have a new shirt I need to wear again. {okay, that last sentence wasn't logical, but we may be mishearing due to the overabundance of background noise.) But anyway, I used to be a back up singer for Don Ho. You probably didn't know that, did you? Or maybe you did. Let's go... {rest of song introduction obscured by loud chatter. It is a Hawaiian song which Brad performs with great skill. Don Ho would be proud.}

The following songs were more country in nature. "Not The Man I Used ToBe." Brad commented, "I wonder what the rest of the hotel thinks of this?" and launched into his next song, "Love shows."and then "Working It Out".

"I wanted to thank "The Desert Wind" {Oh yeah, that was the name!} for coming today. I really appreciate it. They helped a lot and they're doing it for free. {general laughter and offended band looks.} I am so happy to be here. I take it you all watch General Hospital. Uh, oh, one man said no. I bet you didn't get lei-d today. That was a dirty one. If it was too dirty just tell me; write me letters at the studio."

"There's my kids over there if you want to meet em. The tall child over there with the blonde hair is Michael. He's seventeen. And the one that's just disappeared. Where'd you go? There's Hunter in the t-shirt. He's almost ten. And Lily is right down there; sitting down hiding, and she's eight. And they found two little kittens on the street today and we've got 'em at home. And we only have about a hundred animals now at the Maule shelter. But anyway what could we do, they were on the street in a box, right? And this is Laverne, my wife. Pretend it's just a big family reunion where you haven't seen everybody in a few years. Have a good time and get to know friends... Oh there are Mai Tais here! You're the designated driver. "

"Just for you, the man in the blue. What's your name?" {The answer came back from the women accompanying the man in question. "Sid!"} Sid? Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols? No. Where you from? Green Bay, Wisconsin? Thank you for coming all that way. That's a long way not to know me. You came to see who? Matt? Oh, Matt Ashford. I know Matt Ashford and I'm no Matt Ashford. I'm glad I got your money first. We'll soak you for enough. Well, this is just for you. This is what I call The Ballad of Tony Jones. If you're feeling left out just come over here and sit on the cement. {he motioned to all of the crowd.} Nothing's too good for my crowd. This'll catch you up. Actually I've gotta write a sequel. {Sid meanwhile had picked up his chair back on the grass and and brazenly sat down in the area in front of the stage.} Come over here, Sid. Get comfy. God bless you, you'll make me forget my words. Come on now everybody. Just come on up; bring your chairs up. That's hysterical. Look at the lens on that camera. You can shoot my molecules with that. That's okay." He begins to sing. "It all began as a simple mistake, I slept with my stepmother...."

After the song he turns to the non-GH fan. "Thank you, Sid. See, I got you hooked, didn't I? I just want you to know that my character is nothing like this on the show. No. One lady asked me one day, she said, What's it like to be the dullest character on a Soap?'. {The Crowd aaahed.} No, it was kind of neat. I said, I'm not the dullest; got a couple of dead ones on there.' You know not really dead, but..."

"Maybe I can sing a ballad now and kind of tell you where I'm from. I'm actually... Most of you already know all this stuff, but I'm from Texas. From a farm. Came here a long time ago and worked for.... man, I have had such a weird career. I was with the Serendipity Singers. Have you ever heard of them? And then I got stranded in Hawaii and worked for Don Ho. {He rattled off a spate of Hawaiian. } You don't want to know what I just said. Actually that's the back up for "Tiny Bubbles", I believe. I did a lot of back up singing for different people. Bobbie Gentry, Jim Nabors, stuff like that. But I'm from a very small place. There were thirty-six people in my whole community. Thirty-five, now that I'm not there. Went to school with a hundred and fifty people in twelth grade at San Marcos{?} which was a little community down the road. So Anyway when I came came out to L.A. it was about the biggest place. I'd never been here, obviously, when I moved here, but I was just dumb enough to think you could be in show business. So I wrote this song while I was out here when I was first here." {He then sang a sweet ballad, beginning... "I was raised in the country."}

"I see the food's here, so we'll do one more song and then we'll eat. And I want a Mai Tai. And I'll answer questions. We can sign autographs. Whatever you want to do." {Someone in the front apparently asked him if he had a battery because their camera battery had died.} Do I have another battery on me? No, just my pace maker."

He began the last song..."I went down to the river."{?} This one had more of rock n' roll country beat. "Thank you very much. Before we eat I do have one little present I'd like to give to Eileen. I want to introduce you. Most of you know Eileen Bengelsdorf, my fan club president. There's no comparison. She justs runs the best club in town, I believe. Just about everybody gets all there mail answered on time. And she's raised the money for... I had a scholarship fund that I was trying to raise money and it sort of dwindled along. Then she got a hold of it and raised it too much, or something I don't know. Anyways we endowed one scholarship for my University. Now we're working on one for my high school. Then we're going to do one for the Senior Citizens center in my hometown. And then, I don't know, we'll start sending you guys to Hawaii on vacation. Yeah, clap for that, huh? And this is.. Hunter brought up this. This is for Eileen. It's a little present. It's real heavy and you have to open it in front of everybody. {Eileen opened her package.} I'll hold it up for you. We never get to communicate enough so we got a fax machine now. Well, have a good time and I'm going to go and dry off and then we'll have some fun. Thank you, guys."

And that's exactly what happened while Brad Maule was up on stage... more or less. Afterwards a line quickly formed by the food. It was a long line, which one of us was unwilling to fight. It was a hungry line. One of us had to settle for the leftover raw fish on white bread. Oh, sorry not just one of us. By the time Brad had freshened up, all the food was gone. "I'm hungry and all the food is gone," he complained. Cookie-boy was touched by this and completely on his own volition approached Brad and offered him an egg roll/dumpling/burrito {hard to tell with this food}. Brad had the grace of a practiced parent and accepted the gift.

Later Brad sat down at a table and an autograph line formed. Black and White 8x10s; Bless his heart he had them. So of course one of us had to wait in line to get that autographed. This was at the same time that the cake was being served. It was an amazing cake. They kept setting out pieces, but the original cake remained intact. {We guess Brad can have his cake and eat it too.} The band played again, but they did not get cake. There was a tray of it for them that some how got knocked over and went flying in a rather spectacular display.

After we had gotten Brad's autograph and bought his cassette tape, we tried to make our way back to our chairs, but found the way blocked by the arrival of a second celebrity. The little boy who plays Lucas, Justin Cooper, had come in.

We'd have liked to stay longer, but our ride was picking us up at the official cut-off time of 7:30. So we said Good-bye to the RATSA gang for the evening.

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