SAN MATEO, Calif. (AP) _ Don't you hate it when the tallest person in a crowded movie theater sits in front of you?

But if it weren't for tall-types there probably wouldn't be push-back seats in theaters or adjustable tilt steering wheels in cars.

About 300 tall people from around the United States, Canada and Europe - men towering at least 6-feet-2 and women at least 5-feet-10 - met Sunday for the annual International Tall Club convention.

Since the first Tall Club began 53 years ago, members have lobbied for mass production of king-size beds, special theater seats and the tilting steering wheels.

Convention-goers sported T-shirts flaunting their height such as, ''Kiss someone tall, it's worth the climb'' and ''You have to be at least 5-foot-10 to ride this ride.''

When a short person asked 6-foot-9 Uwe Seyler if he played basketball, the 50-year-old German peered down and answered back, ''No. Do you play miniature golf?''

Susan Hopkins, Miss Tall Orange County, who is 6 feet, said she and her cohorts play softball every year with members of Short People of America but are used to losing.

''They always win because their strike zone is so small we end up walking the whole team,'' she said.

Although tall tales were in abundance at the convention, many participants confessed they grew up feeling like misfits who were cramped in classroom desks and had to have special clothes made for them.

But they said the greatest change the clubs have made is in the self-image of tall people.

''We've learned to capitalize on a God-given gift - our height,'' said 6- foot Susan La Pierre of Philadelphia.