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Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023



Superheroes, villains and all in between ready to slay

Back in the day, Scott Innes was like a lot of kids.

He grew up watching Scooby -Doo.

“I used to curl up on my grandmother’s couch or lay on that big, green shag carpet of hers,” Innes remembered of growing up in Poplar Bluff, Mo. “I was really good at memorizing lines, even as a kid. … As I was trying to wind down and try to go to sleep, I would re-live that day’s episode. Almost verbatim, I would go back and forth: ‘Come on, Scoob, let’s go solve a mystery!’ ‘OK!’ ‘How about a Scooby snack?’ ‘OK!’”

But Innes didn’t just memorize the lines of Scooby – a Great Dane who speaks in broken English – and those of Scooby’s best friend, Shaggy. Innes sounded like Scooby and Shaggy.

In 1997, Innes’ talent paid off. He was hired as the voice of Scooby-Doo in the movie “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island,” which came out in 1998. That role led to Innes being Scooby’s voice in several other films.

And Innes’ big bark – I mean, break – came at just the right time.

“When I got the Scooby-Doo role, I had GMAC (finance group) trying to hunt me down,” the longtime Baton Rouge radio personality told 318 Forum. “I was six car payments behind. They wanted my car. I had bought a bicycle to ride back and forth from the apartment complex to the radio station. I think I had 200 bucks in my pocket.”

Safe to say, Innes may have a little more in his pocket – or at least his bank account – when he appears at Geek’d Con – a pop culture festival – August 18-20 at the Shreveport Convention Center.

“Scooby-Doo has helped out with the Scooby Dough,” a laughing Innes said.

Innes is one of more than 40 special guests scheduled to appear at Geek’d Con, which its organizer expects to be attended by 20,000-25,000 people.

“We are going all in this year,” said Greg Atoms, live events manager for Townsquare Media, which produces the event. “We’ve rented more of the convention center. We’re going to be on two levels. We’ve got more celebrities than ever before. I’m working to try and find space for all of them. … We’re pushing all the chips into the middle of the table this year.”

While not new to events like Geek’d Con, this will be Innes’ first visit to Shreveport’s Geek’d Con.

“Everybody’s talking about Geek’d Con,” Innes said. “I’ve seen over the years how it’s grown, and I said, ‘Wow! I need to be a part of this.’ I’m excited. People love Scooby- Doo.”

You know what to expect if you’ve been to any of the previous seven Geek’d con. If you’ve never been to Geek’d Con, there isn’t a simple explanation for what you can expect. It even takes Atoms a while to explain.

“We cover everything from superhero movies, to filmmakers, to cartoons — cartoons like TV cartoons on Cartoon Network, to Japanese anime, to Disney movies — the big budget Disney movies (the voice of Peter Pan — Parkway High School graduate Blayne Weaver -- the voice of Pocahontas, and the original Tinker Bell are all scheduled to appear). We’ve got everything from Disney to Harry Potter to Scooby Doo. We have horror movie representation. We have pro wrestling. We have some sports (former Dallas Cowboy great Bob Lilly) mixed in there, too.”

But Atoms isn’t finished explaining. “We’ve got over 200 vendor booths – vendors from across the country. People bringing in rare collectibles. People bringing in brand new comic books, trading cards, T-shirts and posters. Things that you normally don’t have access to on a daily basis in Shreveport. The type things you have to go on-line to buy. When you go online to buy a collectible, you really don’t get to see it. You don’t get to hold it. You don’t get to see the condition that it’s in. But at an event like this, you get an opportunity to shop for the things you don’t have access to, and you get to do it in person.”

Or maybe there is a simple explanation of Geek’d Con.

“There’s a little something for everybody, and that’s at the core of this event,” Atoms said. “Everyone’s a little bit of a geek. It just depends on what you feel that geek need with.”

If you’re looking to fill it with celebrities, there will be many, including a couple of big names: Kevin Smith (Filmmaker, Actor, Comedian, Comic Book Author)

“Kevin Smith is, in this industry – in the Comic Con, fan expo, convention pop culture industry – he is an A-list star,” Atmos explained. “He headlines events bigger than ours, in cities bigger than ours. Major cities. For him to be coming to this show is a coup. … It would be like if Brian Kelly had decided to coach the University of Louisiana-Monroe instead of LSU. He is the kind of filmmaker that has a very large, very passionate following. He’s one of the bigger names in Hollywood pop culture. Him coming to this type of event is a really big deal.”

Brandon Routh (Actor)

“Having Brandon Routh come in is huge,” Atoms said. “He’s one of only three actors who has ever played Superman in a major motion picture. In addition, he’s the only actor who has ever played Superman in a major motion picture and a television show. He starred in ‘Superman Returns,’ which is the sequel movie to the Christopher Reeve movie. Then, he appeared as Superman in the CW network’s “Arrowverse” TV show, where he played the Kingdom Come version of Superman.”

But there was a time when Geek’d Con didn’t have a chance of landing Smith, Routh or some of the others in this year’s lineup. That shows how far Geek’d Con has come in a relatively short time.

“Now, when we’re asking about one of those ‘B’ or ‘C’ names, the agents are saying, ‘That’s fine, but I think you should do this,’ and they throw an ‘A’ name at us. That’s where the change has happened. We used to ask for a ‘C’ or a ‘B’ name and get offered a ‘D’ or a ‘F’ name.”

But even if a star – no matter their letter designation – initially agrees to appear at Geek’d Con, that doesn’t always mean they will make it here.

“There have been numerous guests that we have gotten all the way through the negotiations, and then they let us know (they will only take) non-stop flights,” Atoms said. “This year alone, there were three really good guests that I was really excited about. … Right at the last moment, (their agent said), ‘I need it to say “non-stop” in the contract.’ Well, we don’t offer that here. It has also happened where some of them have softened on that because they like the show – they’ve heard good things. It has changed to where a guest who previously said, ‘I only do non-stop flights,’ will say, ‘If I only have to do a layover in Dallas, I’m OK.’”

It was 25 years ago when “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island” debuted in theatres. It’s one thing for Innes to be Scooby’s voice in movies, where he sits behind a microphone. But there’s a different enjoyment when Innes goes into character in front of kids, especially special needs children.

“I had a kid in Kansas City. He loved Scooby-Doo. Everything in his life was Scooby-Doo. He was dying of Stage 4 cancer. The doctors said he only had a week to live. His mother contacted me, and I overnighted this huge box of Scooby stuff and called him the next day. I talked to him for an hour in the Scooby-Doo and Shaggy voices, Scrappy and the Creeper. His mother said he had not smiled that much in months, he had been in so much pain. To see those characters bring that child’s smile to his little face, it’s something you can’t put a price tag on.”

There’s no doubt Innes will put smiles on children’s faces the third weekend in August.

“Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you?

We’ve got some work to do now.”

To learn more about Geek’d Con 2023, you may visit www.geekdcon.com.


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