Sir Ian McKellen sends loving message to Tehachapi, thanks to a creative group of teenagers
June 22, 2019
As a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, I was over the moon excited to see that Gandalf himself (well – Sir Ian McKellen) had sent a personalized video message to the residents of Tehachapi. Or – as he so wonderfully pronounced it – Tehachappy.
The message was played during Tehachapi Library's very first Comic Con event, held June 15. The idea for a Tehachapi Comic Con came from the library's Teen Advisory Board, which plans and organizes a variety of Teen Fandom events, like the yearly May the Fourth Be With You activities and the popular Harry Potter event.
"During one of [the Teen Advisory Board] planning meetings, we wanted to think of an activity that would draw all ages of people to the library. The idea of holding a Comic Con was presented. We all thought it sounded really fun," said TAB member Kara Rasmussen, 17.
As the board started planning the event, TAB member Samuel Torres, 13, said they all started drawing from ideas and experiences they've had during visits to other Comic Con events.
"We discussed different components that would make the Comic Con more appealing. The board had the idea of writing letters to different celebrities inviting them to participate in our Comic Con. The amazing Ian McKellen was kind enough to send us a personalized video message," Kara said.
They ended up sending approximately 50 letters to celebrities, inviting them to attend Tehachapi's first Comic Con. Samuel said among the celebrities were many actors from the modern Marvel movies.
It took the board less than a month to get all the letters fully prepared.
"It only took a few weeks after the celebrities were selected and letters written. We sent the same copy of the invitation letter to each celebrity, but personalized it with their name. We all individually signed our names. Considering the sheer bulk of the letters, signing took quite awhile," she said.
Besides McKellen's video message, the Teen Advisory Board also received an autographed photo of Robert Downey, Jr. Kara said she was ecstatic when she heard about the response from McKellen.
"Our adviser notified the board via our group text that we received a personal video message from Ian McKellen," she said. "We were all overjoyed!"
Samuel added, "It was really cool. We were all really excited that he thought about us and cared to send a video."
The video message was played during Comic Con and Samuel said the crowd couldn't stop talking about it.
"They were all really happy. They even cheered," he said.
Congratulations to the Tehachapi Library Teen Advisory Board and thank you for giving the community such a special gift!
Check out more photos from the Tehachapi Comic Con on page 31 and a listing of upcoming events at the library on page 24.
See you next time and be kind to one another!