|Genre||Doctor Who, science fiction television|
|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. The convention was originally called Visions but was renamed HME Visions in 1998. It was also known as "A British TV Celebration" before its first event.
The convention was founded by retired fireman, electrical contractor, and long-time Doctor Who fan Robert H. McLaughlin III of Hoffman Estates, Illinois. He organized the 1990 Doctor Who convention to raise money for Lambs Farm. The convention was run by McLaughlin with a committee of about twenty plus fan volunteers (gophers) recruited at each event.
Over time the convention expanded from a Doctor Who convention into a celebration of British TV shows. 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.
- 1 Convention events
- 2 Publications
- 3 Websites
- 4 Merchandise
- 5 Special events
- 6 Other conventions
- 7 Notes and references
- 8 External links
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.
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.
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
Each fan was given the opportunity to meet the celebrities and receive and autograph and a photograph.
Costume contest/masquerade ball
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.
ReVisions was published 4-6 times a year and contained news about the past and/or upcoming convention.
The Visions Rookie Guide was written for first-time attendees of Visions.
T-shirts featuring that year's logo were available for purchase by mail or at the convention.
Video tapes of selected panels and variety shows were available for purchase by mail.
- 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.
- To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Doctor Who the BBC broadcast a specially-made episode called Dimensions in Time. Producer John Nathan-Turner brought a copy to Visions '93 and showed it Friday and Saturday nights. As the episode was made in 3-D, special glasses were sold for the viewings with the proceeds going to Children in Need.
- The 1996 convention saw the premiere performance of Mysterious Theatre 337 (MT337). An homage to Mystery Science Theater 3000, MT337 performed to Doctor Who episodes instead of B movies. Additional performances occurred in 1997 and 1998 and continue at Chicago TARDIS and Gallifrey One.
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). Spirit of Light Enterprises ran Doctor Who conventions in the mid-80s. Following the demise of Visions Chicago TARDIS took over the Thanksgiving slot beginning in 2000.
Notes and references
- Ramada O'Hare, 6600 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, IL. In 2006 the building was sold to Holiday Inn and partially demolished.
- The 1998 program booklet billed the convention as Her Majesty's Entertainment Presents HME Visions '98, the Unconventional Television Convention.
- "November '90 Convention Listing". rec.arts.drwho via Google Groups. November 5, 1990. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- "Convention's a Who's Who of That British TV Sci-Fi Favorite", Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1996: Weekend section, p. 76
- "Sci-Fi Fans Meet Some Favorites", Chicago Tribune, December 7, 1997: Tempo section, p. 2
- "Stars Help Make Sci-Fi Charity Auction Shine", Daily Herald (Arlington Heights), December 5, 1993: 1
- Various program booklets.
- Visions '93 program booklet.
- Transcribed from program booklets. Guests may have cancelled after the booklets went to press.
- In US dollars for a 3-day membership purchased at the door. Transcribed from program booklets and/or ReVisions.
- DeBartolo, Anthony (2 December 1991). "`Dr. Who' is just what the doctor ordered for Lambs Farm coffers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Dreamwatch Bulletin (123), February 1994: 7
- "A Who's Who of Science Fiction Lands in Rosemont", Chicago Tribune, December 5, 1993: Tempo section, p. 2
- "Futurevision: Sci-Fi Characters Come to Life as British TV Convention Invades Rosemont", Chicago Tribune, December 4, 1994: Tempo section, p. 7
- Did not appear. "Visions '98 Convention Update". rec.arts.drwho via Google Groups. November 19, 1998. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- The Visions Rookie Guide, 1994.
- 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.
- Dreamwatch Bulletin (122), January 1994: 4
- "A brief list of all of our performances". shillpages.com. Retrieved 2007-06-13.
- "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