Back in November, 1988, NJN - New Jersey Network - held a special event in Newark, New Jersey at the Marriott Hotel in Newark International Airport to mark the silver anniversary of the series, and I was one of about 500 people to attend, back when I was 16 years of age.
The first I heard of the event was by a short advertisement shown on my NJN station - channel 50. This was shown following their weekly broadcast of Doctor Who for several weeks on Saturday nights. I seriously doubted that I could convince my father to allow me to attend. Much to my surprise he did, and even paid for the entrance fee, which was $15. When the ticket arrived, enclosed within was a description of a raffle being held, the grand prize for which was a trip for two to London. My mother saw this and gave me an additional $5 so that I might enter.
A number of things still remain in my mind regarding the Saturday of the convention proper: having Tom Beck take my ticket, viewing The Making of Doctor Who on a hugh projection TV, seeing the first few minutes of Remembrance of the Daleks Part One on a camcorder viewfinder, and chatting with a few fans whom I'll probably never see again. Oh, and about that raffle: I did enter; however, I did not win the grand prize. What I did win was a free stay overnight at the hotel, and breakfast the following morning with the guests, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, as well as NJN producer Eric Luskin and 19 other winners and any guests they might invite.
Unfortunately, having no money meant that I couldn't afford to eat anything, so I found myself drinking about a dozen glasses of water from the sink in my hotel room's bathroom. For food, I ate the little Andes candies left on the bed by an anonymous maid. For some reason, the TVs in the hotels could not receive NJN, so I could not see Sophie Aldred during her pledge appearances. To this day I have not. Is there any kind soul out there who'd be willing to make me a copy? :-)
The following morning, after a restless and hungry sleep, I awoke, tried my best to make myself appear presentable, and went downstairs to eat like a proverbial pig. Sylvester McCoy didn't arrive until about a half hour after Sophie did, since he was incredibly tired - there are some pictures in the book Ace that were taken that night... All in all I enjoyed myself, despite the torrential rain that was falling when my father arrived in his trusty blue K-car to pick me up shortly afterwards.
I still have the card which announced me as a winner. Sophie Aldred kindly autographed it at breakfast. To see it, click here.