Orlando Leap 2001
Orlando, Florida

Rich Whiteside
Deborah Pratt
John D'Aquino
Natasha Pavlovich
Daniel Roebuck

June 22-24, 2001



Full DVD video of
Orlando Leap 2001

Video: Rich Whiteside
at Orlando Leap 2001


Orlando Leap Report: By Jo Fox - Organizer

June 21st
 The day before the con. The family will stay at the hotel tonight. I've been planning this convention for two years. It took 8 months just to find the hotel. Great news that all 5 guest stars are coming! Judith was a house guest from England for the past couple of nights and went with me all over town today on errands. We dropped off my car for service, picked up the 8 passenger Astro van, came back to the house to load up all the con stuff, back to the hotel to register and schlep the stuff up to the room (3 trolley loads), then lunch at Denny's, then to Costco to buy food for the welcoming and wrap parties. After dinner at Golden Corral we shopped at Publix to get the drinks.

Some Leapers began to arrive Thursday evening. I visited with those who were there, then went to bed after Richard and I checked the AV equipment to be sure everything was copasetic. There were a couple of glitches that we corrected before the con cranked up.

AV Equipment.jpg (130176 bytes)

June 22nd Friday is mostly a blur. I know it rained. I know we went back to Denny's for lunch, this time with Keir. I know we did some setup of the room - maps and message board and registration stuff. I can't remember much more till 5 when the con began with registration. Packets included meal cards for the Ziggys, pens from Gallogly, Fernandez & Riley, LLP (Accountants and Consultants), bookmarks I made up, Orlando coupons, name badges, and the printed booklet. Rather than have the stars bring boxes of photos for autographing, I had the photos they sent me printed on cardstock for autographing. Minuteman Press did a fantastic job.

Deborah and Davey hi-fi.jpg (110168 bytes)

Keir took over for me at 5:30, Helene ran videos at 7:30 and the Fox family left at 5:15 to pick up John D'Aquino, Natasha Pavlovich and Rich Whiteside for dinner. We went to Ming Court, an elegant Chinese restaurant on International Drive and shared several dishes. Rich ordered sushi that we all shared as an appetizer. We got back to the Hawthorn in time for the Welcome party. I brought out the sheet birthday cake and we all celebrated birthdays. Debbie O'Brien's (red scarf)  was Saturday so this came one day early for her.

Charlie, Davey and Jamin. More about Davey later. :-)

After a brief explanation of Saturday's proceedings - we were extending the auction to 12 - the family left to drive the stars back to their hotel for the night.

Audience.jpg (110160 bytes)

Saturday began with buffet breakfast while I antsily (there's a neat word) waited for Connie Clark of Beta Center to arrive. I knew she must be nervous because we had never met and how was she to find me? I think I made an impression when I walked out to her, knowing immediately who she was by the stuff she was hauling in! Beta Center Inc was our chosen charity - an organization that helps teen mothers break the syndrome of children having children. (www.BCenterInc@aol.com)

Keir showed Connie where to set up while I got the auction started. We had over 120 packets plus the tables to auction off. Helene took over as auctioneer and I left around 10 to get the stars. Dan had a redeye in and didn't get any sleep (less than an inch between his knee and the back of the seat in front of him, so we left him to sleep some more and Natasha, John and Rich came back with me.

CU Dan.jpg (98958 bytes)

It was a rush to get through the auction. There were several packets still remaining when we had to stop the bidding in order to assign the tables. Richard came up with the idea of bidding on the stars' tables and paying the lowest bid of the top group. That seemed to work. The other tables were opened up to those not bidding on star tables.

Auctioneer.jpg (114679 bytes)

An autographed tee signed by the Luminaria cast including Scott.

Natasha and John were our first guests. They were on from noon to 1:30. I brought sandwiches into the green room for the stars. Our schedule was so tight we didn't have a lunch break. Natasha is the only woman I know who can wear chartreuse and look good!

Someone commented on Natasha's pants. She explained that there were all kinds of things she liked on them and proceeded to name a few.

During Natasha and John, I went to get Dan. He flew in Friday night and would fly back Sunday morning to be home in time for his daughter's dance recital. We were all thrilled that Dan was willing to come just for the day. He didn't know of the special evening we had planned. John had suggested Dan as a guest. I know several people came to Orlando Leap because Dan was going to be there.

John and Dan.jpg (84135 bytes)

Ok. Someone tell me what's going on here. I know John and Natasha were on stage together, but here is John and Rich and above is John and Dan. I know I missed a lot, but I didn't think I was THAT out of it!

John and Rich.jpg (82291 bytes)

Natasha told me in the car that when John was talking she was going to be on the other mic and make comments like, "Yeah, sure." I wonder if she did?

CU Natasha.jpg (103892 bytes)

A relaxed moment for John.

CU John.jpg (87579 bytes)

Ian , Jo and Keir. Ian and Keir were two of Orlando Leap's security. I made up 4 shirts like the one I'm wearing and two were auctioned for Beta. Each one is slightly different and all were signed by the guests. Kewel.

Ian, Jo & Keir good.jpg (122625 bytes)

I don't know what was said during Dan and Rich's segment, but I don't think there was a serious moment from the sound of the laughter. I'm so glad Richard was taping it all. I'll have to edit the 6+hours he shot just to find out what went on.


Jo and Deborah.jpg (111373 bytes)

At 3 we showed "Girlfriends" produced by Deborah Pratt and she came on at 3:30 to talk about the new website she and her sisters are putting together. There will be no commercials and it will be completely interactive and different for each person who enters. Deborah said it will take more than two years to get the site up and active.

CU Deborah Pratt.jpg (72648 bytes)

Meanwhile, you can get a preliminary look at the site by visiting (www.vmgn.com) . Deborah brought a CD of the site and Richard ran it through his laptop, projected onto the screen using a video projector (for you technophiles).


Deborah answers questions.jpg (59243 bytes)

We followed Deborah's hour with an autograph session for Dan and Deborah. John, Natasha and Rich would autograph on Sunday. While Dan and Deborah signed autographs,  I drove Natasha, John and Rich back to ttheir hotel to freshen up, rest, and get ready for the Ziggys.

Animated Dan and Deborah at autograph table.jpg (129166 bytes)

What are the Ziggys? I wanted to do something different for Orlando Leap. I thought an award ceremony like the Oscars might be just the ticket. It was tricky keeping it quiet from the stars because I had inadvertently let the cat out of the bag early on in planning. But luckily, most of the stars forgot that they would be receiving awards as well as Leapers.

CU Deborah.jpg (87492 bytes)

Cons are generally laid back and casual. To make this event special, we decided to have a dress-up affair and an MC in tux, John Koenig. We had awards specially created and film bits of each actor's work which was displayed on the screen prior to the actor's acceptance. During dinner, a revolving award filled the screen along with slides of Scott, QL, and all the stars.

John Koenig and John D'Aquino.jpg (120364 bytes)

After dinner, John Koenig got the ball rolling and I presented the Volunteer awards. Someone remarked that it felt like high school graduation 'cause all the volunteers got certificates. But the certificates had Oscars on them and that ain't graduation! :-) Another remark, from John Koenig, was the number of volunteers it took to put on a con.

The first Leaper award was presented by Natasha to Nancy Mathews for paying the highest amount for a single auction item. She got the framed and certified Scott and Dean picture.

Karen and Dan.jpg (94159 bytes)

The next high roller award, as John Koenig called them, was  Antonio Zavanaiu for buying the most auction items and Dan Roebuck did the honors.

Antonio Zavaniau wins award.jpg (91766 bytes)

We wanted to give an award to the person who donated the highest bid auction item. Verna Schossow wasn't present to accept due to illness but the award was sent to her along with our good wishes for a speedy recovery and the thanks of Beta Center. John D'Aquino accepted the award on Verna's behalf.

John upstaged by Davey.jpg (73723 bytes)

Rich Whiteside came on stage to present the award to the Leaper who brought the best show and tell goodies to Orlando Leap. Helene Kaplan won handsomely with her videos although Freda Whaley's Scott and Dean dolls were a crowd-pleaser. (wait for the video)

Natasha came back to the stage to present the award to the Most Congenial Leaper.

Natasha's Ziggy outfit.jpg (104633 bytes)

Janey Graves was voted Most Congenial by Leapers attending the convention.

Deborah Pratt was saved for last to present the award to the person who best exemplified the QL motto, "One Person Can Make a Difference."

Deborah presents Ziggy.jpg (99528 bytes)

Margaret Colchin accepted the award for making a difference in Quantum Leap fandom.

Margaret accepts Ziggy.jpg (95063 bytes)

Next came the Ziggys. Karen Fox recited a poem she had composed to honor John D'Aquino as the first star recipient of a Ziggy. John could be heard groaning through his film clips, especially when we got to the Xena clip. "No," he moaned. "Not that one." But yes, the scene chosen was the landing at Ithaca. :-) Davey Jones came on stage to hold John's award as he accepted the Ziggy. Upstaged by a five-year-old in a tux. hehe

John receives Ziggy.jpg (72287 bytes)

Karen then introduced us to Dan and presented him with a Ziggy. John or Dan told the audience how they had just remarked in the van on the way over that here they were presenting awards to Leapers and they weren't getting any awards. Leapers are good at keeping secrets. They all knew the stars were getting awards but kept it quiet.

Dan receives Ziggy.jpg (103661 bytes)

Natasha was really overwhelmed. Her husband has all these Oscars but Natasha said she would display her Ziggy next to his. She was proud that we recognized her for her acting ability. I think the best compliment was a story Karen told Natasha. When Karen was at college, she called all her friends together to watch the 2000 season opener of JAG. She was watching for Natasha and had been watching her for several minutes as the gypsy before she realized it was Natasha! That's acting.

Karen and Natasha.jpg (114195 bytes)

Rich Whiteside came on stage to accept his award, which covered his writing as well as his acting. He quipped that he was a glorified extra but Rich has made a lasting impression on all who have met him.

Rich CU.jpg (134721 bytes)

I had the honor of presenting Deborah Pratt with the first ever "Voice of Ziggy" award. When preparing for her introduction, I discovered Deborah wrote 22 of the episodes of Quantum Leap and produced all of the episodes. In accepting the award, Deborah told us this was an award dear to her heart because Quantum Leap was dear to her heart. Of all the awards she has won, she said this one meant the most.

Deborah hugs Jo.jpg (69612 bytes)

I thought the evening was over, except for Natasha's announced surprise, but Karen had a surprise for me. She presented me with an Oscar statuette and yes, I broke into tears. It was a neat surprise for me. The Oscar is on my mantle and that's where it is going to stay!

Natasha's surprise was, of course, the taped interview with Scott. She taped it Thursday morning just before coming to Orlando Leap and kept the surprise from everyone, including me. Now she has graciously made it available to the internet. You can download the digital MPG by clicking the 2001 button at the top of the main page.

Natasha's smile.jpg (74738 bytes)

After the Ziggys, we took a few photos. Dan and Jo.jpg (95394 bytes)
June 24th, Sunday. The Ziggys ended rather late and room parties geared up after that. Each room was equipped with a VCR so parties went on till 2 in the morning. We began Sunday at 9:30 and the stars pulled a switcheroo on us. Instead of them on a panel, past con organizers were called up to the stage and Natasha, Rich and John asked us questions like if we could leap into Quantum Leap, what role would we want to play. I said I'd like to have Sam leap into a con and have to run it. :-)

Then, John, Natasha and Rich signed Orlando Leap Programs. When that ended, we wrapped, had cookies, and Keir handled the showing of Prowler which Scott had graciously loaned us for the convention. Meanwhile, John, Rich and Natasha said their good-byes and we all piled in the van for a behind-the-scenes look at Kennedy Space Center.

Autograph line.jpg (100602 bytes)


Group shot and shuttle.jpg (96278 bytes)


Group shot and VAB.jpg (123067 bytes)

Running a convention is a lot of work but very rewarding when everything goes according to plan. We all had a great time and I know I have some very fond memories of the weekend. Thank you to all who made it happen - stars, Leapers, and most of all, my family.