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“These are old friendships. But you don’t keep in touch during the year. We come here, it’s as if we were together yesterday,” he said.

Weiss, a party supply salesman from Staten Island, was inspired by the convention to start his own radio show on the Internet. It’s eight hours long.

“I can’t stop,” he said. The party supply business isn’t doing too well these days, but “when I do my show, I forget all my problems. And for eight hours, I’m in heaven.”

Sometimes the family aspect is literal. Gary Yoggy met his wife at the convention. They’ve been married 29 years. Jeff Muller, 45, has been coming since he was a teenager. He brings his father.

“I guess it’s his second childhood, in a way,” he said.

And when the curtain comes down, after Jay Hickerson and his wife Karen play “I’ll Be Seeing You” and a version of “Thanks for the Memories,” with special lyrics written for the convention?

Weiss joked he’ll come back to the Newark Airport Ramada anyway and wander around empty rooms. Yoggy said he wants to help revive radio drama, which withered away decades ago, in the United States at least.

Jones, the Hitchhiker’s Guide star, said the form remains alive in Britain. Next year, the radio version goes on a live tour.

“Obviously, this art form hasn’t quite died,” he said.