Lucky Australian fans (myself included!) had the good fortune of meeting Linda Blair and attending exclusive screenings of The Exorcist during Linda’s recent tour Down Under to promote the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray release as part of Monsterfest.
Linda’s Australian tour was scheduled to start in Brisbane but she had to cancel initial dates to undergo urgent surgery to remove a hernia. Still recovering from that surgery she landed in Sydney on November 19 and began what would become a memorable tour where she got to speak passionately about her love of life and animals and the horror film that has taken her around the world.
Wednesday, November 20th 2013 – SYDNEY
Linda’s tour began with an interview on the nationally telecast Sunrise morning program. Here, Linda set the tone for the whole tour, happily answering the same tired questions about The Exorcist she’s been fielding for the past 40 years with an enthusiastic smile. There’s no mistaking ow professional and courteous Linda is. You can watch the interview below to grasp just how she diligently handled all of her upcoming store signings and Q&A screenings. Incredibly gracious and understanding right from the beginninng.
Linda’s first public appearance was at Kings Comics on Sydney’s Pitt Street (incidentally where Angelina Jolie shot scenes for her new movie Unbroken, just two days later). The store filled quickly as fans waited for their first glimpse of her. She burst into that store and bellowed to everyone, “I’m here, I made it! Hellloooo!” before quietly turning to the owner and requesting the lady’s room.
Fans were able to have personal items signed and request a photo with Linda. This is where I first briefly met her and she signed a few personal items for me, including the first DVD copy of The Exorcist I ever bought (even before I owned a DVD player back in the late 90s). I was thrilled to get a photograph with someone I’ve immortalized for many years. She was every bit as charming and adorable as I’d imagined.
That evening in Sydney, as part of the popular Popcorn Taxi series, The Exorcist played to an almost-full theater at Event Cinemas (not bad for a Wednesday night). I was pleased to finally meet long-time supporters, contributors and community leaders of captainhowdy.com, Ryan and Justin, in person for this event. We got to speak at length before and after the show about meeting Linda Blair and seeing The Exorcist on the big screen.
Linda spoke for 45 minutes before the film got underway and answered questions from the audience. Unfortunately some of the questions/statements from two members in attendance got a little untoward and Linda had to cut things short (even the audience started to tell one person is particular to shut up). You can listen to the entire Q&A below thanks to Justin.
Thursday, November 21st 2013 – MELBOURNE
Though only scheduled to appear until 2pm Linda extended her stay at the pop culture megastore Minotour until 4pm, gleefully greeting fans and giving autographs for a total of 5 hours. She followed this up with her scheduled evening appearance at another Q&A screening at Cinema Nova where she spoke for close to an hour, fielded questions and again provided signings in the lobby for fans.
Nobody could have faulted Linda Blair for calling it a day at this point, having spent literally hours greeting fans, posing for photographs, signing her name and answering questions– but before bed, Linda rocked the Cherry Bar as a guest DJ for the popular Melbourne Rock N Roll venue. Her set-list was fitting:
Saturday, November 23rd 2013 – CANBERRA
After another signing session at a very full Impact Comics in the center of Canberra, Linda would make a special appearance at Canberra’s East Hotel for an exclusive intimate meet-and-greet for just over a dozen guests. (I was honored to be part of this gathering along with Justin and will write about specific details in a future post very soon). Everyone enjoyed champagne and nibbles, a copy of the 40th Anniversary blu-ray which Linda personally signed for everyone, and about 3-5 minutes one-on-one chat with Linda followed by a photograph. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime event for a handful of fans, and a night I’ll never forget.
After the meet-and-greet Linda arrived at the nearby Manuka Greater Union cinemas and spoke to over 300 people in attendance before The Exorcist screening got underway. Linda also greeted fans in the lobby for even more autographs and personal greetings before finally bidding farewell to Australia.
An amazing soul and an wonderful experience for many fans to meet an iconic star. Linda Blair’s 2013 visit Down Under will be remembered for a very long time.
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