Visions (convention)

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Visions
Status Inactive
Genre Doctor Who, science fiction television
Location(s) Rosemont, Illinois
Country United States
Inaugurated 1990
Most recent 1998
Attendance ca. 1,100-2,000 each year
Organized by Her Majesty's Entertainment

Visions was an annual science fiction convention held from 1990 to 1998 in Rosemont, Illinois on Thanksgiving weekend. The convention was held at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare except for the 1992 event which was held at the Ramada O'Hare.[1] The convention was originally called Visions but was renamed HME Visions in 1998.[2] It was also known as "A British TV Celebration" before its first event.[3]

The convention was founded by retired fireman,[4] electrical contractor, and long-time Doctor Who fan Robert H. McLaughlin III of Hoffman Estates, Illinois.[5] He organized the 1990 Doctor Who convention to raise money for Lambs Farm.[4] The convention was run by McLaughlin with a committee of about twenty[6] plus fan volunteers (gophers) recruited at each event.[7]

Over time the convention expanded from a Doctor Who convention into a celebration of British TV shows.[4] While the main focus of each convention was Doctor Who, Visions often invited actors from Blake's 7, Red Dwarf and Robin of Sherwood. Visions '93 celebrated the 30th anniversary of Doctor Who and the 15th anniversary of Blake's 7.[8]

invited guests[9] estimated attendance ticket price[10]
Visions '90 (November 23–25, 1990) Jon Pertwee, Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Frazer Hines, Michael Keating, Sally Knyvette, Michael Praed, Jason Connery, Mark Ryan, Terry Walsh, Dave Rogers, Robert Allen, John Peel, John Freeman, Linda Thorson, Eric Hoffman, Jean-Marc Lofficier $50
Visions '91 (November 29–December 1, 1991) Tom Baker, David Banks, Jeremy Bentham, Richard Carpenter, Robin Curtis, Paul Darrow, John Freeman, Mike Grell, David Jackson, Sally Knyvette, John Levene, Steven Pacey, John Peel, Frederik Pohl, Mark Ryan, Mark Strickson, Mary Tamm, Deborah Watling, Timothy Zahn 2200[11] $50
Visions '92 (November 27–29, 1992) Colin Baker, Bill Baggs, Jeremy Bentham, Nicola Bryant, Jan Chappell, Craig Charles, Frank Conniff, Chris Jury, Robert Llewellyn, John Peel, Michael Praed, Gareth Thomas $50
Visions '93 (November 26–28, 1993) Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, John Levene, Elisabeth Sladen, John Leeson, Anthony Ainley, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred, Jan Chappell, Wendy Padbury, Jacqueline Pearce, Mark Ryan, John Abineri, Jeremy Bulloch, Danny John-Jules, Bill Baggs, Christopher Barry, Jeremy Bentham, Jean-Marc Lofficier, Randy Lofficier, John Nathan-Turner, John Peel, Gary Downie 1600,[12] 1800[6] or 2000[13] $100
Visions '94 (November 25–27, 1994) Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, John Levene, Chris Potter, Nickolas Grace, Mark Ryan, Paul Darrow, Sheelagh Wells, Joe Nazzarro, Doug Naylor 1100[14]
Visions '95 (November 24–26, 1995) Sophie Aldred, Brian Blessed, Michael Craze, Paul Darrow, Mira Furlan, Hattie Hayridge, Norman Lovett, Sylvester McCoy, Michael O'Hare, Michael Praed, Gareth Thomas, Terry Walsh, Anneke Wills, Kate Orman, Gary Schofield, Paul Cornell, Kim "Howard" Johnson $75
Visions '96 (November 29–December 1, 1996) Colin Baker, Ben Bass, Richard Biggs, Claudia Christian, Stephen Greif, Michael Keating, Mark Ryan, Yee Jee Tso, Philip Segal, Sarah Sutton, Lalla Ward, Deborah Watling, Paul Cornell, Jessica Kindzierski, Chelsea Potter, Gary Russell $75
Visions '97 (November 28–30, 1997) Julie Caitlin Brown, Jeff Conaway, Peter Davison, Frazer Hines, Louise Jameson, Sally Knyvette, Gary Lockwood, Jeri Ryan, Patricia Tallman, Jeremy Bentham, Adam "MOJO" Lebowitz, David Maloney, Dave McDonnell, Joe Nazzaro, Sheelagh Wells, H. Ed Cox, Beth Falcone, Paul Simpson, Mark Short 1500[5] $75
HME Visions '98 (November 27–29, 1998) Geoffrey Beevers, Nigel Bennett, Nicholas Brendon, Robin Atkin Downes, Erin Gray, Anthony Stewart Head,[15] Louise Jameson, Caroline John, Sylvester McCoy, Tracy Scoggins, Kent McCord, Mark Strickson, John Platt, Beth Falcone, Dennison Love, Paul Simpson $75

Convention events[edit]

[7]

Panels[edit]

The main attraction of each convention was the hour-long question and answer sessions with the celebrities. There were also smaller gatherings run by fans called fan panels.

Variety show[edit]

The cabaret (renamed "variety show" in 1992) was 90-120 minute show featuring celebrity guests performing a variety of acts. A separate admission fee was charged for this event.

Dealers' room[edit]

Video rooms[edit]

Video rooms (one in 1990, two thereafter) ran television shows and movies, concentrating on programs that attending celebrities appeared in. A third room featuring fan-made videos was added in 1996.

Autographs and photographs[edit]

Each fan was given the opportunity to meet the celebrities and receive and autograph and a photograph.

Costume contest/masquerade ball[edit]

Art show[edit]

Auction[edit]

Each year fans participated in an auction of science fiction memorabilia. Proceeds went to Lambs Farm and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Gaming[edit]

Publications[edit]

Program book[edit]

A program book was given to each attending fan. The book included biographies of the guests, a map of the hotel, a schedule of the weekend's events and general convention rules.

Newsletter[edit]

ReVisions was published 4-6 times a year and contained news about the past and/or upcoming convention.

Rookie guide[edit]

The Visions Rookie Guide was written for first-time attendees of Visions.[16]

Websites[edit]

The original website was at http://www.xnet.com/~tardis. A second, http://hme-visions.com, was added in northern autumn 1998.

Merchandise[edit]

T-shirts[edit]

T-shirts featuring that year's logo were available for purchase by mail or at the convention.

Videos[edit]

Video tapes of selected panels and variety shows were available for purchase by mail.

Special events[edit]

  • Attendees of Visions '92 were given the chance to help in the development of the Doctor Who pinball machine. At least one machine was available for play during the convention.[17]

Other conventions[edit]

Visions followed earlier conventions held in the Chicago area around Thanksgiving. Brit TV was held in 1988 (in Lincolnwood, Illinois) and 1989 (in Rosemont, Illinois).[citation needed] Spirit of Light Enterprises ran Doctor Who conventions in the mid-80s.[20] Following the demise of Visions Chicago TARDIS took over the Thanksgiving slot beginning in 2000.[citation needed]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Ramada O'Hare, 6600 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, IL. In 2006 the building was sold to Holiday Inn and partially demolished.
  2. ^ The 1998 program booklet billed the convention as Her Majesty's Entertainment Presents HME Visions '98, the Unconventional Television Convention.
  3. ^ "November '90 Convention Listing". rec.arts.drwho via Google Groups. November 5, 1990. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Convention's a Who's Who of That British TV Sci-Fi Favorite", Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1996: Weekend section, p. 76 
  5. ^ a b "Sci-Fi Fans Meet Some Favorites", Chicago Tribune, December 7, 1997: Tempo section, p. 2 
  6. ^ a b "Stars Help Make Sci-Fi Charity Auction Shine", Daily Herald (Arlington Heights), December 5, 1993: 1 
  7. ^ a b Various program booklets.
  8. ^ a b Visions '93 program booklet.
  9. ^ Transcribed from program booklets. Guests may have cancelled after the booklets went to press.
  10. ^ In US dollars for a 3-day membership purchased at the door. Transcribed from program booklets and/or ReVisions.
  11. ^ DeBartolo, Anthony (2 December 1991). "`Dr. Who' is just what the doctor ordered for Lambs Farm coffers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Dreamwatch Bulletin (123), February 1994: 7 
  13. ^ "A Who's Who of Science Fiction Lands in Rosemont", Chicago Tribune, December 5, 1993: Tempo section, p. 2 
  14. ^ "Futurevision: Sci-Fi Characters Come to Life as British TV Convention Invades Rosemont", Chicago Tribune, December 4, 1994: Tempo section, p. 7 
  15. ^ Did not appear. "Visions '98 Convention Update". rec.arts.drwho via Google Groups. November 19, 1998. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  16. ^ The Visions Rookie Guide, 1994.
  17. ^ Visions '92 program booklet. Both Wikipedia and the Internet Pinball Database state the machine was released in September 1992, two months before the convention, so it is unclear what effect fans had in the development.
  18. ^ Dreamwatch Bulletin (122), January 1994: 4 
  19. ^ "A brief list of all of our performances". shillpages.com. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  20. ^ "Watch the Skies: Lost in the Void Since 1989, Doctor Who Makes a Brief Return", Chicago Tribune, May 12, 1996: Arts & Entertainment section, p. 10 

External links[edit]