A few days ago I made a post HERE about how I first discovered The Toxic Avenger. Today I want to share a short story about the time Chris and I first met Toxie's creator Lloyd Kaufman.
About 10 years ago "Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV" was making a city to city tour. The film was being showcased in small independently operated theaters around the East Coast. We found out that Philly made the cut and our plans to see Blade 2 that weekend got pushed aside!
The place chosen for the Philadelphia premiere was The Roxy Theater. I have only been to the Roxy a few times in my life, but let me say that it's the closest thing our city has left to a "Grindhouse" experience . . . Well, there is also The Forum, but that place only screens porn! Needless to say, a Troma Movie at the Roxy was a match made in Trash Cinema Heaven!
There were two showtimes that night with Lloyd Kaufman attending both in person. Chris was working during the first show so we had to see the later, which worked out perfectly for us since as soon as we got there we spotted Lloyd in the lobby drinking a coffee. Chris and I talked it up with The Man for a good half-hour, in my eyes this was better then meeting Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. This was Lloyd Fucking Kaufman the head of Troma Studios and we were in the same room with him! Lloyd told us all about the many different projects he had in the works (none of which came to be) and how they were getting ready to release Toxic Avenger III on DVD. Being the idiot that I am, I told Lloyd that I didn't particularly care for part 3, but that I loved part 1 and thought 2 was OK. Without skipping a beat Lloyd said, "Yeah 3 was shit, but you're going to Love 4!" . . . God I love Lloyd, he's the ultimate businessman.
Lloyd excused himself because he had to say a few words after the end of the first screening. Since we had some time to kill Chris and I headed over to the CVS to buy a disposable camera (man the days before camera phones were BEAT). We wanted to grab some photos with the guys dressed like Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman and maybe even one with Lloyd himself!
After the viewing of The Toxic Avenger IV, which I did end up loving (See, Lloyd was right!), we made our way back to the lobby where there was a lot of Troma action going on. Chris and I got our pics with Lloyd, Kabuk, and also with a Mopless Toxie. As you can imagine this was all very surreal. Not only did we get to chat with Lloyd earlier, but he graciously posed for pics too!
It's crazy, all of that was ten years ago and I remember that night like it was yesterday. The Roxy is still the go to place for all Troma premieres in our city. Just a few years ago we saw Poultrygeist there. Sadly, without an appearance by Kaufman that time around. I didn't meet him again until I went to the Chiller Horror Con in Spring 2011 in Jersey and at least this time they were able to afford a mop for poor Melvin!
Lloyd is a friendly dude and he will always have a life long fan in me. Between him making special appearances like the one in Philly 10 years ago or still showing up on the convention circuit, it shows what a standup guy Lloyd is and someone who doesn't take any of their success for granted. Sure he is there to make some cash, but he also takes the time to talk to everybody that comes to his table. And he doesn't charge for signatures or only pose for a photo if you buy a Troma DVD, something I more than likely would do anyway!
- Tom Bryce