In order to understand our excitement at meeting Bruce Campbell, it may be necessary for the benefit of some of the poor non-Evil-Dead-watching, tragically Brisco-ignorant bastards out there to explain our involvement with the man, or, more accurately, with his work. So here is my own personal
Timeline of My Involvement with Bruce Campbell's work
-Paul, Nate and I begin faithfully watching Xena: Warrior Princess, where we "ooh" and "ahh" over the Hong-Kong-action-flick-influenced fight scenes, hilarious sound effects, and lovable cast of characters. Our favorites include Ted Raimi's character, Joxer, whose name we thought was "Jockstrap", and Bruce Campbell's own character, Autolycus, whose name we thought was "Italicus".
-We discover a movie called Army of Darkness, starring Bruce Campbell and directed by Sam Raimi (one of Xena's executive producers.) It also features Ted Raimi in a small role. We enjoy the movie, and soon after Paul and Nate watch Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 without me. I hate them because every time we go into the video store, I say, "Let's rent Evil Dead 2," and they say "Naw, we've already seen it," and I never get to see it.
-Reading a Nintendo magazine I got free with purchase at FuncoLand, I learn that Bruce Campbell is a voice in some video game. I briefly want the game, then I don't. I would never play it.
-A Disney remake of the old movie The Love Bug is shown on ABC. Because Bruce Campbell has a major role, I tape it on the slowest speed and edit out the commercials and everything.
-My girlfriend and her sister comes over and sees my cut-out TV guide cover with Bruce Campbell leaning against Herbie the Love Bug. My girlfriend's sister accuses me of having a crush on Bruce Campbell. I say, "No I don't! Shut up!"
-Paul, Nate and I begin setting our alarm clocks for Saturday morning reruns of Bruce Campbell's old cowboy show, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. I find the relationship between Brisco and his sometime arch-enemy, sometime best friend, Lord Bowler (Julius Carry), simply delightful.
-Paul and I find Evil Dead for $6.99 at K-Mart. He's already seen it, but we watch again. It's funny because it's lame, not because it's genuinely funny, like Army of Darkness. Still, you've got to love Bruce Campbell being young and inexperienced. At this point I still have never seen Evil Dead 2.
-I make a half-birthday card for Bruce Campbell depicting him as Autolycus from Xena. About a month later I receive a postcard with a picture of Bruce Campbell on the front and a message on the back reading, "Hey there! Here's a little something for your troubles!"
-At my fourteenth birthday party, I finally rent Evil Dead 2 and watch with a group of my friends. We chuckle along with the cheesy (though less cheesy than the original) special effects. Unlike the first movie, which is lovable yet horrible, Evil Dead 2 is genuinely good at parts--mostly a funnier, higher-budget, better-made, better-written, better better version of the first. Army of Darkness is still my favorite--it's really funny and completely different from the others--but Evil Dead 2 is also quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, I have only seen that one once, and Evil Dead is the only one I own. I still have to watch Army of Darkness on TNT with the commercials in.
-At a school trip to a bookstore, my classmates and I are each allowed to pick out one summer reading book. I select Jane Austen's Emma. My friend Dave selects Bruce Campbell's first and only book, the autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. I say, "I changed my mind, I want that." He says, "Too late, sucka."
-Paul tells me he has a copy of the book, but he lent it to Nate. I ask Nate to lend it to me when he's done, but he says he's reading it at a snail's pace. It's been a month and he's about halfway through. "Ask me in another month," he says.
-At my going-away party before I leave for Japan (it counts as a party because, in addition to the three friends I've hung out with every day that summer, Dave is also there), my friends and I outvote Nick and choose to watch Evil Dead rather than Dead Again, because Evil Dead is "more of a party movie." Everyone regrets the decision, especially Nick.
-Nate still not finished with If Chins Could Kill. Finally, I borrow Dave's copy. which is technically the school's property and has "Property of Peace Campus" stamped on the inside cover. I stay home from school sick the next day and read the book cover to cover. Then I get up, make some toast, drink orange juice and watch TV.
-My family and I watch The Hudsucker Proxy, in which Bruce Campbell has a somewhat minor role.
-My ex-girlfriend, who I haven't spoken to for almost a year, emails me to say that Bruce Campbell is coming to Providence the next week. I tell everyone I know, and no one's heard about it. I hope my ex-girlfriend isn't playing a cruel trick on me.
-Paul and I find a mysterious old video tape sitting sleeveless on top of a shelf. We pick it up, disturbing years of dust, cough profusely, and brush away enough cobwebs to read the label: "THE LOVE BUG STARRING BRUCE 'ITALICUS' CAMPBELL". There are hearts drawn all around.
OCTOBER 17, 2001: We go to see Bruce Campbell at the public library! It's wonderful and exciting. See Nate's article for details. Here are two additions:
1. I am getting Dave's book signed, since he has to go meet his girlfriend's parents and I don't have a book of my own. Both the helper guy who writes the names on post-it notes so we don't have to spell for Bruce Campbell and Bruce himself comment on the "Property of Peace Campus" stamp. Later, Dave delights at the message ("Hey Dave--Stay groovy! 10/17/01"), and Ben insists I should have gotten the book made out to "Peace Campus." However, stamp be damned, the book is undoubtedly now going into Dave's personal collection. He better take care of it; it's a first edition.
2. My ex-girlfriend is there wearing a tiny fez and accompanied by her sister and friend. I go up to them, shake their hands rigorously, and return to my seat. However, there involvement in the night's activities is far from complete. Here is a dialogue: