Back on 'Prairie' for Bakersfield Comic-Con

·4 min read

Nov. 16—It will be like a "Little House on the Prairie" reunion this weekend at Bakersfield Comic Con. The two-day event will bring together nine actors from the 1970s TV series.

Slated to appear are Dean Butler (Laura's husband, Almonzo Wilder), Patrick Labyorteaux (Andrew Garvey), Charlotte Stewart (schoolteacher Miss Beadle), Ketty Lester (teacher Hester-Sue Terhune), Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey), Pamela Roylance (newspaper owner Sarah Reed Carter), Wendi Turnbaugh (played Grace Ingalls along with twin Brenda) and Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush (shared the role of Carrie Ingalls).

(Alison Arngrim, who played the spoiled brat Nellie Oleson, had to cancel due to a work commitment.)

Event organizer Steve Wyatt said the reunion came about through his friendship with Labyorteaux.

"He collects comics and we've been friends for years," Wyatt said of the actor also known for his role on "JAG" and films including "Heathers" and "Summer School."

"They did a 'Little House' reunion in Hollywood and he invited me and (my wife) Julie. They have one manager who sets them up for shows. And I asked, 'Would this work in Bakersfield?' This kind of reunion wouldn't work in the Bay Area but Bakersfield is more country. You know what I mean."

This weekend's event at the Kern County Fairgrounds will be a delight for fans of pop culture with celebrity guests, comic book artists and creators, a Fantasy Faire, gaming center, costume contests, TV and film cars, vendors selling comics, collectibles and much more.

"Our gaming room has doubled," Wyatt said. "We have Campus Gamers bringing 20 different video game systems. There's a guy bringing (arcade) cabinets with 'Street Fighter' and more. It's all free to play."

Paladin's Game Castle will also have card and board games for demos and matches.

The faire will feature Renaissance performers as well as George the Giant who will bring his feats of daring to the stage along with other sideshow acts including jugglers.

Along with the "Little House" gang, Wyatt is also excited to bring actor John Noble to the show.

The Australian performer is known for his roles as the doomed Denethor in the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy and Dr. Walter Bishop on the Fox sci-fi series "Fringe." He has also done voice work including as the villain Scarecrow in the video game "Batman: Arkham Knight," Leland Monroe in the game "L.A. Noire," Unicron in the animated series "Transformers: Prime" and The Diviner on "Star Trek: Prodigy."

Since the 74-year-old actor, who is currently working on the new season of Apple TV+ series "Severance," has said he's looking to move back to Australia, Wyatt said this may be one of the last chances to catch him at a convention.

Along with signings and photos, Noble will also take part in a spotlight panel on Saturday.

Two other special guests will also receive similar treatment: Sam J. Jones, best known for the lead role in the 1980 film "Flash Gordon; and Ron Waybe Farris, aka The Honky Tonk Man, who wrestled for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), where he held the WWF Intercontinental Championship for a record 64 weeks in the late 1980s.

Another guest Wyatt knows fans will be excited to meet is stuntman Bobby Clark, who worked on numerous TV shows and films including "2001:A Space Odyssey," "Gunsmoke,""Poltergeist" and "Kung Fu," but is best known for playing the Gorn in the original "Star Trek" series in the episode titled "The Arena." Clark also appeared in three other episodes from the series.

On the comics and art side, guests will include Eric Shanower (comic book "The Wizard Of Oz"), Dan Brereton ("Nocturnals"), Chuck Patton ("Justice League," "Teen Titans"), animator Steve E Gordon ("X-Men," "Fire & Ice"), Chris Marrinan ("Wonder Woman"), New Yorker cartoonist Lonnie Millsap and Disney artist Len Smith.

Wyatt said he aims to provide as much entertainment as possible while keeping admission low ($10) to maximize the fun guests can have.

"I want the fans to go out to the show and then say, 'Man, that was great. See you next year.'"

With his wife and son among the team helping put on the event, Wyatt said he's happy to keep organizing shows that include Bakersfield Mouse-Con and Bak-Anime along with others in the state.

And although he's looking to retire from full-time planning in the next five years, he knows he'll always be present.

"My job (the day of the event) is just to walk around and make sure they have a smile on their face. I'll do this part of it until the day I die."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.