This past November when I met the majority of the Beverly Hills, 90210 cast at RewindCon, I was lucky enough to meet the mega fan who's greater than a MegaBurger (actually, he can even give you the recipe how to make a MegaBurger), Darren Martin. You might know him better by his Instagram and Twitter handle, the 9021bro. Darren is the keeper of the (zip) code. He started the best way to keep track of your week with McKay Monday (my favorite), Tori Tuesday, Walsh Wednesday, etc. Darren not only has some of the best, most obscure pictures of the cast, but has more memorabilia than anyone could ask for. In fact he has a whole room devoted to the gang in the 9-Oh! Sorry, everyone, but I was already promised the position of curator of the Dylan McKay wing. Serious inquiries only for role of the Dylan McKay wing understudy.
Here, the Bro met the Whoa!
A little over a month ago, Darren and I chatted via Skype and dished about our favorite show. Get to know the Bro!
LeeAnn: When did you first become a fan of Beverly Hills, 90210?
Darren: I first became aware of 90210 when I was in grade 8, I was 12 or 13. I was at a Scholastic book fair where there was a bunch of random books and I saw a bright, blue cover that drew me in. I started flipping through the pages and saw a picture of Donna wearing an orange shirt and thought, "Oh, that girl's hot!" Then I read her biography and saw she was on Saved By the Bell and bought the book based on that.
LeeAnn: Did you watch it when it originally aired?
Darren: Yes, but may have missed the first 7 or 8 episodes, but as soon as I got that book, I made an effort to tune in weekly. My parents ran the TV and I wasn't allowed to stay up late with school the next day. One of the first episodes I remember watching was where Andrea was on a tightrope in Season 3. I must have watched the first two seasons in syndication. Seasons 2-4 are my favorite.
LeeAnn: If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?
LeeAnn: I’m 35. I started watching in 5th grade. My brother and sister are older than me, 9 and 12 years older so I would always watch what they were watching, but 90210 was one where that even though it was out of my age range being in elementary school, it was still targeted toward young kids in a way because you wanted to see what these teens were doing, where SBTB was catered more to children. I guess I was turned on by the sexiness of 90210. Remembering exactly when I started watching now gets blurred for me because of the summer episodes. One key episode I remember watching as a kid was on Thanksgiving. I went to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving and came home and watched WWF Survivor Series and the episode where Scott accidentally shot himself.
LeeAnn: When did you first start collecting?
Darren: When I first started watching the show. I first bought the magazines they were on. My parents would give me $1.25 for hot lunch every day and I would skip eating to save the $1.25 all week. By the end of the week, I could buy 2 magazines. I went hungry for my passion for this show.
LeeAnn: Did BH run originally in Canada or was it in syndication first?
Darren: I think syndication. I would watch it on a station called MITV.
LeeAnn: Yeah, I have friends here who didn’t watch it when it originally aired because they were in weird pockets in the U.S. that didn’t get FOX. The show had a lot going against it when it first aired.
Darren: Yeah, it’s amazing it kept going.
LeeAnn: Did you watch the series all the way through?
LeeAnn: As a kid, I watched through season 4 all the way through and then fell off once Brenda left. I would see random episodes here or there, but then hopped back on to watch the final season because I was a fan as a kid and wanted to see how it ended.
Darren: I have the box set of all 10 seasons and then all of the individual seasons too.
What a pic! Darren with the gang at RewindCon in 2016.
Top: Vincent Young, Jason Priestley, Darren Martin, Luke Perry, James Eckhouse
Bottom: Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Gabrielle Carteris, Christine Elise
LeeAnn: What do you do for a day job?
Darren: I work at UPS in Customer Service.
LeeAnn: You’ve been collecting all of these years, do you sell things as well?
Darren: If I have doubles, I give them away. I feel bad selling it. I don’t want to make money off of it. The only thing I sold was a 90210 denim jacket.
LeeAnn: How do you find everything?
Darren: eBay. eBay came out in 1998 and I jumped on the bandwagon right away so everything I have unless it was given to me, I purchased on eBay. When I first started watching the show, I was fascinated by Tori and I wrote her to get her autograph. I received a postcard she sent in the mail (it’s in the 90210 room, of course).
LeeAnn: Were you in the fan club?
Darren: Yes, I still have my patch here, framed, but I gave away all my newsletters to Gabrielle Carteris.
LeeAnn: I wonder what she’s doing with them.
Darren: She says she loves everything I give her. I gave her a bunch of magazine clippings once too, like pin-ups. I emailed them to her and then when I met her, I brought her a goodie bag of them.
LeeAnn: This is what fascinates me. The cast has so many pictures of them from over the years and they have fans showing them pictures they haven’t even seen themselves. It’s crazy.
Darren: It blows my mind. I guess they weren’t saving magazines of themselves.
LeeAnn: You would think a family member or someone would.
Darren: You would think. That’s what happened when I was in Star magazine.
LeeAnn: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that too. When did that happen?
Darren: That’s a funny story. I was in line for Tori’s book signing in 2009. The girl in front of me didn’t have a camera so I offered to take a picture and email it to her. The girl replied saying, “Oh, by the way, I couldn’t tell you about this at the book signing, but I work for Star magazine and if you want, I can get your picture in the magazine.”
The first time Darren met his favorite lady (besides his wife), Tori Spelling.
LeeAnn: When did you first meet the cast?
Darren: First person I met was Tori and it was at the book signing in 2009. I had been a fan for such a long time and I remember watching her reality show, “In Love.” I watched the episode of her book signing, sTORI Telling. I didn’t know about the signing and wished I would have gone. Then when she released her 2nd book, I said I had to go to it because I was such a big fan. I went to a place in Ridgewood, NJ and was on the show. A few months later, a friend on Facebook said, “Oh, my god! You were just on Tori Spelling’s reality show.”
The time Tori Spelling took Darren backstage at a taping of the Martha Stewart Show.
LeeAnn: Did you meet the other cast members at conventions?
Darren: Second person I met was at FanExpo in Toronto in 2013. 4 years after I met Tori, I met Jason Priestley and Luke Perry. I know you’re a Luke Perry fan, but I was always a Jason Priestley fan because he was Canadian. I had the choice to stand in Jason Priestley’s line or Luke Perry’s line and decided on Jason’s line. When I got to the front of the line he recognized me saying, “Oh my god, you’re Darren Martin!” I asked how he knew me and he said, “You Tweet me.” I asked how he recognized my face and he said, “Your profile picture is with Tori Spelling.” I said, “Yeah, that’s me!” Jason turned to Luke and said, “Hey, Luke, this is Darren and his profile picture is of Tori kissing his cheek.” So, he introduced me to Luke Perry while I was meeting him.
The first time Darren met Luke Perry and Jason Priestley in 2013.
LeeAnn: Did you meet Jennie Garth for the first time at RewindCon?
Darren: No, I met her at a taping of the “Mystery Girls” pilot episode. I cashed in all of my air miles to go to California to go to the taping. You said she summoned me at RewindCon?
LeeAnn: She really did. It was while my friend and I stood in Tori’s line for a 2nd time to try to meet her. You were standing with us and one of Jennie’s friends or whoever heard that you were there and then brought you to the front of Jennie’s line.
Darren: I don’t remember. I must have been so shocked.
LeeAnn: I feel you just got there after a long day of traveling. We joked that we needed to hang out with you the whole time.
Darren: People ask how I meet them and really, it’s dedication and willingness to travel.
Darren with Tori Spelling & Jennie Garth at the "Mystery Girls" taping.
LeeAnn: They were all so nice, so genuinely kind. I remember when I first met Gabrielle Carteris, I was seriously star struck.
Darren: I love her.
LeeAnn: How long have you been on Instagram as the 9021bro?
Darren: 2 years. It’s crazy how much it has grown. I recently checked and I’m at 22,000 followers (27,000 followers as of today. My, how you've grown!). I had to start watermarking my pictures because I take a lot of time finding the pictures, scanning them and uploading. I spend money to buy this stuff so I would like to get credit for it.
LeeAnn: I hear you. My page is a more comedic take on the show. I’m a fan at heart, but poke a little fun at it. When I posted my Valentine’s Day cards, I saw that people were sharing them and cutting off where I would put BH9021Whoa. I’m happy they’re sharing it, but also want the credit. It’s kind of like that whole Fat Jewish thing with him stealing other people’s work.
Back to the important stuff, have you met the whole cast?
Darren: Not Shannen Doherty, Brian Austin Green or Carol Potter. Or Tiffani Thiessen. For some reason, I would rather meet Carol Potter than Tiffani Thiessen. I like SBTB, but I want to meet the original cast. I would love to meet Carol, Brian, Shannen, Tiffani and Kathleen Robertson. Kathleen Robertson is why I watched seasons 5-8.
LeeAnn: I like Kathleen Robertson as an actress, but don’t love the character Clare. Clare is funny, but I thought she was filler.
Darren: My favorite relationships on the show were David & Donna, Steve & Clare and Dylan & Toni.
LeeAnn: One of my friends has a huge crush on Clare. I understand having a crush on her, but as a character, I don’t think that they would have given her a whole plotline, just parts that ultimately push Steve’s plotline.
Darren: No, they wouldn’t.
LeeAnn: So, you met Tori first, then Jason and Luke. How did you meet the others?
Darren: I met Jennie in 2013 at the “Mystery Girls” taping and then met Jason again because I had tickets to go to the Halifax Film Festival and he had a movie called “Cas & Dylan” screening there in 2014. And then I met Ian Ziering. Oh, man. That guy is my favorite. He’s the nicest gentleman.
LeeAnn: You recently met Nat too. That picture of you two having drinks looking like old pals.
Darren: The girls at “The Blaze” podcast had a live reading of the “Donna Martin Graduates” episode, “Something in the Air,” which is one of my favorite episodes. I was running late from traveling and walked in the wrong direction from the theater. I circled back and stood in line and saw Brandon Routh who plays Ray on “Arrow.” I asked if he was a 90210 fan. Brandon said that his buddy’s wife was reading the Brenda role. So, we talked about “Arrow” for a bit. I walked into the theater and someone came up to me and said, “Are you the 9021bro?” I said, “You seriously know who I am because I’ve never been recognized before?” She said, “My name is Candice and I saved a seat for you because I knew you were traveling in.” And I ended up sitting 3rd row center next to her and her husband.
Darren with Gabrielle Carteris and Denise Dowse (Mrs. Teasley) at The Blaze's live reading of "Something in the Air."
I met Nat on the same trip. At the reading, I met Gabrielle and then one of my all-time favorite writers, Chuck Rosen, the Executive Producer & Head Writer of Beverly Hills, 90210.
Darren with Beverly Hills, 90210 writers, Chuck Rosen and Larry Mollin.
Ian and I had been chatting back and forth since I met him in 2015 at Hamilton ComicCon. He was #6 of the 8 I wanted to meet. Ian Tweeted me, this was before he had my cell phone (serious statement here!) telling me he was going to be in Canada. I don’t know if Ian knows how big Canada is, but I said if it was nearby I’d go. He said he was going to be in Hamilton at ComicCon. It was a 20-hour drive. I ended up flying there and going just for him. He was so honored that I flew there that he made me a star for the day. I got to sit at his table with him. He brought his U4EA shirt for me to wear. The shirt he wore in that episode and I got to wear that. Then he asked what I was doing that night. I said, I was going to go back to the hostel to make myself something to eat. Ian said, “No, come out with Tara Reid and I for drinks and burgers.” So, I met him at their hotel and Tara Reid, her assistant, Ian Ziering and I went out for burgers and drinks for 2-3 hours. The funny thing is that it was the same night that the Lifetime 90210 movie aired. Ian asked if he should watch the movie or should he go out. He decided to go out instead of watching the movie.
Darren sporting the iconic U4EA shirt beside Ian Ziering.
LeeAnn: Do you know if Ian watched the Lifetime movie after?
Darren: He was Tweeting about it while I was with him, but I don’t think he ever watched it. He just went by what fans were Tweeting him.
LeeAnn: Did you watch the Lifetime movie?
Darren: I did. I didn’t like it. It was fun, but I would give it a 6 out of 10.
LeeAnn: I thought the casting was questionable.
Darren: I thought the guy who played Luke Perry really looked like him.
LeeAnn: Yeah? I have a picture of the Dylan doll with the guy playing him in the background with the subject, “It’s uncanny.”
Darren: I went the long way around it, but meeting Nat was in the same trip to L.A. to see the “Donna Martin Graduates” reading. The second day, I went to all the 90210 locations and saw Casa Walsh, Dylan’s bungalow, the beach house, the Apple Pan, which is the real Peach Pit.
Darren at the real West Bev. Go, Wildcats!
Darren at the Beach House!
Then Ian texted asking what I was doing the next morning. I said I was free all day. He asked if I wanted to go for breakfast. He said to meet him at the Griddle Café. I met him and he had a seat reserved. The restaurant was packed. He asked how my mom was because he was friends with me on Facebook and knew that my dad had passed away. So, he made an effort to see how my mom was. We Facetimed her and then he wouldn’t let me pay for anything. He asked what I was doing the rest of the day. I said I was just going to hang out, maybe meet up with Robin Lively (yeah, from Teen Witch! Again, a real statement here!) later. Ian said he was going to invite me back to his place because he had stuff for Lexi (priestleysgirl ) and Sarah (Sarah_in_the_90210) and asked if I wanted to pick it up. So, we went back to his place for a couple hours and she showed me around. He showed me the jukebox from the Peach Pit and other memorabilia he had in his basement.
Oh, you know. Darren just hanging out at Ian Ziering's house!
He said if you want to try to meet Joe E. Tata today, you should check out the Saddleback Ranch. I went there and I was there for 45 minutes, drinking coffee, hoping he would show up. As I just about to leave, sure enough, Joe E. Tata sits right beside me and I wasn’t even aware of it and I freaked out. I didn’t verbalize my freak out. I said, “You’re Joe E. Tata.” And he said, “Yeah, I am.” He asked who I was and I said I was a huge fan of the show. He said, “You knew I was gonna be here?” I told him that Ian mentioned he goes there and he said, “You tell that fucker to call me!” Then we just sat there and he told me a bunch of stories.
Old pals, Darren and Joe E. Tata.
LeeAnn: How often do you watch Beverly Hills, 90210?
Darren: At least twice a week, but it’s always seasons 1-5. If I could watch two shows over and over again, it would be 90210 and Seinfeld. When I rewatch the show, I watch what I call the “Rosen Years,” seasons 1-4. And then sometimes 5-6. I tend to stop after that. It went a little downhill after that. But, it’s still my favorite show and I still watch it. If Season 8 were on TV, I’d watch it still.
LeeAnn: Is your wife a fan?
Darren: She is. Her favorite was Brian Austin Green.
LeeAnn: That’s funny that your favorite was Donna and hers was David.
Darren: She liked Steve too. Do you know how much flack I got for being a Donna fan growing up? When my wife and I were dating. She actually bought me a copy of Stuff magazine with Tori on the cover.
LeeAnn: Awko taco!
Darren: I still have it and got Tori to sign it.
LeeAnn: Being a fan of the show and now having fans of your own for being a fan, how has that been for you?
Darren: It’s insane. I swear people were yelling out “9021Bro” at RewindCon.
LeeAnn: Yeah, they were. You were seriously another celebrity there.
Darren: People stopped and recognized me at RewindCon and same thing happened at the 90210 Musical. I’m not used to people recognizing me. It’s flattering to be recognized, but I don’t do this for fame, but the connection I feel to the show.
Darren with Christine Elise at the 90210 Musical.
LeeAnn: If you could only keep one thing from the 90210 room, what would it be?
Darren: It’s a hard call. It’s like asking a dad, “Who’s your favorite kid?” But Ian gave me a signed I8A4RE license plate and Tori sent me an inscribed copy of her book I was in.
LeeAnn: Yeah, Tori is always giving you the shout outs on social media calling you “her friend.” That’s pretty awesome.
Darren: That girl. I have a huge amount of respect for her.
LeeAnn: I told my friend who I went to RewindCon with that I was interviewing you and we discussed how you’re a respectful fan, not an Internet troll. You respect the show, you’re a fan, you appreciate what they did and want to keep it going. That’s awesome.
What’s your favorite episode? I’ll give you three.
Darren: “Something in the Air,” the Donna Martin Graduates episode, “Things To Do On a Rainy Day,” the Color Me Badd episode and a tie between “U4EA” and “Wildfire.”
LeeAnn: Are you going to any upcoming conventions or have plans to meet anyone else?
Darren: Nothing right now and I’ve met everyone who I really wanted to meet. It takes a lot of time and effort to meet these people. If there was a 90210 convention where all of them were going to be, then it would be worth my while to see more than one person.
LeeAnn: At RewindCon, during the 90210 panel, you got a little shout out from the cast. That’s happened before, though. I’ve seen the clips.
Darren: Yeah, it happened the first time I met Jason and Luke because I gave them stamps from the Ivory Coast that they were on. During that panel, Luke told Jason to bust out the stamp. Luke called me a “Rock n’ Roll Machine.” Then he started chanting, “Darren Martin Orchestrates!” I need to get that on a T-shirt.
LeeAnn: Yeah, you do!
Darren: He thought of that on the fly. The idea of him calling me out like that is just crazy. When you met Luke Perry, you have what I call my “Tori Spelling smile.” Your smile is so big.
LeeAnn: Yep. Yep, it was. Our faces were smashed together.
Darren: I love meeting other fans too. The Peach Pit pals.
LeeAnn: Have you met a lot of fans who are on Instragram and Twitter?
Darren: Just at conventions, the musical and the reading in L.A. I’d like to meet Lexi (priestleysgirl) and Sarah (Sarah_in_the_90210). Sarah and I call each other Peach Pit Pal BFFs because she likes Andrea and I like Donna. Sarah has sent me so much Donna content that hasn’t appeared in Canada or the U.S.
LeeAnn: Did you write a lot of fan letters to the cast when you were younger?
Darren: I used to send them birthday cards every year. I just sent a birthday card to Ian this year, but now I have his home address. So weird. If you told 13-year-old Darren this is going to happen, I wouldn’t have believed it. It blows my mind on a daily basis that they even know who I am. The show is a never-ending passion and something I will always enjoy watching. I wish there were more of us dedicated fans because I’m happy to have Peach Pit Pals.
Darren and I wrapped up our conversation by exchanging vows to be Beverly Hills, 90210 fans forever. What a guy! Darren’s fan stories are absolutely amazing. Can you imagine receiving an email with all of these great pictures? I showed a coworker who is also a fan of the show and said, “Can you believe this?” Darren Martin orchestrates, indeed. You can follow Darren on Instagram and Twitter at @the9021bro.