At the Helm (Star Trek newsletter)

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Title: At the Helm
Publisher: The George Takei International Fan Club
Type: newsletter
Date(s): 1975-1979
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS/George Takei
External Links:
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At the Helm is a gen George Takei newsletter.

Issue 1/2

At the Helm 1/2 was published in Nov/Jan 1975/1976 and contains 9 pages.

first page of issue #1/2

Issue 3

At the Helm 3 was published in Mar/April 1976 and contains 10 pages.

first page of issue #3
  • an announcement about a planned con, Mudd's Super Con, June 4–6, 1976 at the Holiday Inn Rivermont in Memphis, TN, George Takei and James Doohan are confirmed guests, the con is sponsored by Star Trek Unlimited (president is Pam Ditto): "This is Memphis' first con and we hope not the last."
  • the yearbook is soliciting art, con reports, reviews of T.V. shows and movies and personal appearances, newspaper article clippings, poetry, puzzles "or anything else you think would be interesting or appropriate."
  • an updated info the "Fear of Flying" movie, fans are encouraged to "get those letters going"
  • "The Day I Met George Takei," by Patricia Yahn, a short testimonial about meeting the actor at the February 1976 con at the Commodore Hotel in NYC
  • a con report for Starcon in Dallas, see that page
  • "Al's New York Convention," a very short con report for the con at the Statler Hilton Hotel: the main comment was that George Takei's nephew Scott was ill which cut into George's appearances; sadly Scott did not get to see snow as it fell (8 inches) the day after they left
  • this issue has a Q and A with George Takei: samples -- "How goes Mr. T and Tina?", and "Did your early years in the internment camp leave you with any resentments?"
  • "Lisa's New York Con, or "Heartbreak Hotel," a con report for New York Star Trek '76, see that page
  • a very short comment about the February 12–14 con in New York—it is titled "Alas, Poor Committee, We Knew Them Well"
  • "'Pop'" Your Favorite Star by Jeanette Abel:
    I think I've found 2 effective ways to "fan" an individual or program. One is by "funneling" mail. When George was on Hawaii Five-O and Chico and the Man, I wrote the programs c/c the networks thanks for his appearances, but also wrote letters to him c/o the problems. If someone opened the letters by mistake, no one would know that I knew his address or that of Screen Actors' Guild. He reported that the 2 letters were forwarded. The purpose of "funneling" is to make the program or network take notice of letter and take action to forward. The other idea came later and I haven't been at it long. I call it POP (Proof of Purchase). I keep lists of goods and services advertised on favorite programs and buy what I can from the lists and send a POP as soon as possible to a program, station, or network or advertiser along with a letter of thanks for the performer or program. POPs can include labels, wrappings, bottle and box tops, photocopies, charge account, and receipts, etc. I use "fresh merchandise" since I know from my husband who works for an ad agency that labels and packages are always being changed and an advertiser or his ad agency will recognize a current POP. I use my normal buying power and I use "those commercial interruptions" as ballots to vote for favorites. POPs won't produce more commercials. Time allotted to commercials is governed by Federal Communications Commission and TV and radio stations have to keep tapes for the FCC of all that is broadcast. POPs I send for Star Trek go directly to advertiser. So far as I can tell, whatever address you find on product or package is sufficient. If it looks skimpy, it's a PO Box. I believe a letter should go with the POP — I did not get response from advertiser when I just typed on back of his label. If others take up with the POP idea, I would advise that POPs go to more than just "fanning" George or Star Trek — otherwise it might look like a "Trekkie Conspiracy" and maybe be discounted. Even 1 POP has impact — it is unsolicited, something money can't buy, feedback a rating service can't provide, a way to get a name or program in front of the people who make the decisions. They have to take notice of a POP because sales are what commercial TV and radio are about.

Issue 4

At the Helm 4 was published in May 1976 and contains 7 pages.

cover of the fourth issue
  • a fan has analyzed George's handwriting from the Q&A in the previous issues—some observations: "George is pretty much of an 'evenly keeled gentleman. He does have several problems, but he manages to keep them under control," and "He can be very cagey and scheming though. His mind is sharp and perceptive. He is a quick thinker. His imagination leads him to adventurous, dreamlandish states about once a day," and "His face tells me he is fond of the opposite sex -- get ready girls -- and will spare no charm in enjoying their company. His sensuality is super, and he will always be in luck when it comes to the opposite sex."
  • a filk by Sharon Black, "Sweeter Than Sweetness" (to the tune of "Younger Than Springtime") -- contains the lines: "We wish that we could know what you think, but you keep smiling. Who do you love or plain hate, What do you want, please dictate. I'm sure that we could figure it out, just leave a clue." This filk was performed on April 17, 1976 when 16 of George's friends surprised him with a birthday dinner party at the Matire Jacques on the Charles River. A description of this party by Dawn, Laura, and Mae is included in the newsletter, which also includes a photo
  • the Q&A section now has a name: it is called "T'ask Takei"—some sample questions:
"Do you have any one particular fetish or crazy hangup?" (answer: climbing tall buildings)
"I understand there is a movie you acted in that has been re-issued as an X rated skin flick. Would you care to elaborate?" ("Back in 1970 I made a beautiful independent picture entitled "Josie's Castle." It was an idealistically themed, lovingly photographed project shot on location in beautiful San Diego. Unfortunately, the producer just couldn't get a distributor for the film. It sat on his shelf for a long time tying up a lot of his money. As a matter of fact, he believed in his project so much that he had mortgaged his own house for it. He was finally put into a position where he just had to bail out. He sold it to a distributor outright, who then went out and hired some "bodies" to perform some sequences that were spliced into the action I understand the picture now is horrible. Now, why didn't that distributor have the imagination or the guts to ask me to do it right!")
  • there is a pen pal section: 5 females, 2 males, their ages 12, 12, 13, 18, 21, 26, and not stated
  • this issue has a full-page bi-centennial illo that is not Trek related

Issue 5/6/7

At the Helm 5/6/7 was published in July/Sept 1976 and contains 11 pages. The cover is by Azusa Imaki, a foreign exchange student from Japan studying in the United States

inside page from issue#5/6/7
  • "Star Trek '76, or Did He Really Know Me?" by Tammy Gibbs, a long description of meeting Takei at Star Trek '76 Houston
  • a blurb from "Daily Variety" about Gene Roddenberry's plans for a new Trek TV series
  • a blurb about Takei's role in Ba Ba Black Sheep
  • the club has sent a "lovely white shawl" to the Doohans to commemorate the birth of Eric Doohan
  • a reprint of a letter to the club from the Inner City Cultural Center (the club's charity) thanking members for the $40 donation
  • "Mr. Sulu!!!!!!" by Pam Ditto, in which a club member describes spending a full day with George Takei in Memphis
  • "T'ask Taei" Q&A -- some sample questions: "What is your political stand on the busing of school children? Would your view differ if you were the father of a child being bused?" (segregation coded question) and "If you had the chance to go back in time, where would you go and why?" (George picks Elizabethan England and the the time of the French Revolution. But he also says he's enjoying 1976 a lot.)
  • a list of George's convention appearances

Issue 8/9

At the Helm 8/9 was published in Jan/March 1977 and contains 7 pages.

cover of issue #8/9, Susan Houck
  • "I Just Love Hollywood, It's So Much Fun," a short article by Dawn, Laurie and Mae, about how fabulous that area is
  • George Takei's Numberscope, by Dian Cushing
  • there is a reprint of the letter by Susan Sackett sent to fans, asking them to rat out other fans, see Stardate 1977
  • some sample "T'ask Takei questions: "Do you like stock car racing? The Grand National type" and "What are your favorite male and female singers?" (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand) and "If you're on a nude beach and someone asks you for your autograph, where do you keep your pen?" ("As a matter of fact, I am a habituate of nude beaches here in southern California. The people there are so "hang loose" in every way that when I get recognized, they just stop and sit and have a nice conversation but they don't ask for autographs. If you were ever there and asked for one, I would do it all over your lovely, suntanned body with a tube of tanning lotion.") and "What qualities are you looking for in a wife? Would she be of the same ethnic background?" ("The question seems to assume that I'm searching. It has hasn't happened yet, although I've come pretty close to it on a couple of occasions. It'll happen when it happens. I'm a fairly independent guy and I seem to find that quality one of the attractive qualities in a woman. [snipped] These qualities are not particular to any one ethnic group.") and "I've just finished reading the book "Why Not the Best?" by Jimmy Carter. I found it to be very idealistic, but do you feel his outlook and attitudes are realistic?" ([snipped] I'm hopeful that Jimmy Carter is that kind of leader and look forward to the next four years.")
  • a list of George's upcoming cons (roughly two a month)

Issue 10/11

At the Helm 10/11 was published in May/July 1977 and contains 11 pages.

cover of issue #10/11, on the cover: "OKAY PARAMOUNT! WHERE'S OUR SERIES?????"
  • "A 'Zoo Story' Report," by Laurence Laughlin, a fan's short report of George in this play at the Palmer High School Auditorium in Palmer, Alaska
  • the editors remind fans that the newsletter only comes out when it has sufficient material to print, so contribute more and more often
  • a comic in graphic form by Nanette Ibrahim
  • a copy of a press release by Paramount saying that the proposed new Star Trek series has been canceled
  • an excerpt from "Officers of the Bridge" (pro thing?) about being a helmsman
  • "T'ask Takei" Q&A sample questions: "What is the nicest experience you've ever experiences" (Hiking to the top of Mt. Fuji and watching the sunset while drinking champagne.) and "What type of home do you have?" ("My home is a French tudor townhome condominium with a babbling brook running under it. I've designed some of the furniture pieces that I live with myself. Perhaps someday you can visit?") and "Where do you feel a woman's place should be? What do you think of the Woman's Liberation Movement?" ("A woman's place should be wherever she chooses it it should be for her. There are as many places as there are women. IT might be the traditional rold for that person who chooses that and it can be as individual and singular as the modern woman who is shopping for her new life. As to "the movement," it has brought a lot of healthy changes about, defined many issues and certainly has made life different for men. Some of the more hard edged aspects are a bit difficult but I supposed that it is the price of any significant social chance.")
  • "A Summer's Dream," fiction by Nanette Ibrahim—An RPF story where four women are the head of Paramount, trying to get the new TV series launched and find themselves in the company of the Star Trek actors who are REALLY the Star Trek characters on Earth sent there to prevent the kidnapping by the Klingons of the real actors in order to prevent the new series from being filmed. In the course of the story, the four women are beamed aboard the Enterprise:
It was summer, 1977. An early summer day caught the four women working in their office at NBC. Penny Colwell was the new president of NBC. Maria Shotz was her V.P. They had never thought that financial problems of a major network could be so exciting — and exhausting. With them were Celia Lee and Angela Barson, in charge of production. They were almost as exhausted. Still, they were determined to get STAR TREK on the air by the spring of '78.
A phone call from William Shatner was just what was needed to break the monotony.
Celia answered, "Oh, Hi Bill... what' s new?...Yeah, we're trying to get it back for next spring...Who?...He is? Please put him on!.. Hi, Leonard."
Even though these girls were accustomed to dealing with major stars as well as important producers and directors, such a call from not only William Shatner, but Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelly and George Takei was a thrill. When the gentlemen asked them to dinner — with Gene Roddenberry, how could they refuse?
At the fine restaurant where they dined, everything went well, but they realised that Leonard Nimoy never smiled, and when anyone spoke to him as Leonard, DeForest Kelly would look up. It was a little strange.

Issue 12/13

At the Helm 12/13 was published in Sept/Nov 1977 and contains 7 pages.

front cover of issue#12/13

Issue 14/15

At the Helm 14/15 was published in Jan/Mar 1978 and contains 9 pages.

front cover of issue#14/15
  • Paramount news bulletin announcing the new Star Trek movie
  • George is elected vice-president of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, description of the celebration dinner at La Strega
  • "Change of Command," fiction by Kevin Mathe (original female character is the youngest member of the team, has long, flowing ebony hair and is named Karryne Anndeeverse), to be continued in the next issue
  • George's scheduled con appearances
  • an anime-inspired illo, not credited
  • another installment of "The Adventures of Sulu! The Helmsman," graphic comic by Nanette Ibrahim
  • "T'ask Takei" Q&A sample questions: "Do you have a girlfriend?" ("No I haven't -- not a steady. Perhaps a sane girl wouldn't put up with all the busyness I'd impose or maybe I'm just an old independent cuss roaming all over.") and "Are you a one woman man or do you play the field?" ("I think the answer above would indicate I'm not a one woman man -- at least not now. But who knows, people have been known to change, and I've got to admit, I do feel some need for peace and stability creeping into my life.")
  • some word searches and puzzles

Issue 16

At the Helm 16 was published in May 1978 and contains 9 pages.

  • postal increases mean that club members will receive only four newsletters a year, rather than six
  • an installment of "The Adventures of Sulu! The Helmsman" by Nanette Ibrahim
  • "T'ask Takei" Q&A sample questions from a RELENTLESS fan: "I love you, will you marry me? If not, do you fool around?" ("Let's get together, you rascal, and see what happens.") and "In the past year, I've asked you many questions, a lot of them very personal. You always answer them. Do you mind answering personal questions? I hope not, because here's another one. What does a gal have to do to 'turn you on' or get you in the mood for a 'romantic interlude'?" ("No, I don't always answer 'personal' questions. You might have noticed I involve myself in the answering process but verbally parry some of the questions. Have you noticed my fencing with words? But I won't fence with you on this one. What 'turns me on' is the person herself. I do have specific erogenous zones in some of the most unexpected places but the fun is in the exploration, don't you think? I don't believe in ruining the fun. As for the 'mood for a romantic interlude,' I think soft music, good wine, privacy, and...")
  • a long con report for a con in Anaheim that took place around Memorial Day, George Takei was a guest and perhaps Nichelle Nichols, too (a Creation Con?
  • second part of the story, "Change of Command," by Kevin Mathe, to be continued
  • report and photos of George running in a race, the 27th Annual Nisei Relay Races

Issue 17

At the Helm 17 was published in Aug/Nov 1978 and contains 18 pages.

front cover of issue#17
  • a press release from Paramount about the upcoming movie
  • a con report for the Portland con in July 1978
  • "Change of Command," by Kevin Mathe, conclusion
  • "Which Way Did He Go," updates on what George has been up to (includes a report of a recent haircut, includes a photo with a rather grim looking fan)
  • a full page publicity shot of Leonard Nimoy, a long bio, and a letter from Nimoy saying he is glad to be a new member of the club as he's a big fan of George
  • a lot more really nosy questions in the Q&A "T'ask Takei"—a sample of a less-nosy ones: "Did you see Star Wars? What did you think of it?" ("A good, brainless, escape entertainment. Fun while it lasts, but four hours later you're left with that empty feeling. Maybe that's why people keep going back?")
  • a full-page photo of George in a pair of swim trunks lounging on a deck chair
  • a full-page ad for a trip to see George Takei at the Star Trek Festival in Hawaii

Issue 18/19/20

At the Helm 18/19/20 was published in Nov/Feb 1978/1979 and contains 17 pages.

front cover of issue#18/19/20
  • the "T'ask Takei" Q&A is toned-down this time, and not as sexualized—in fact, it is George this time, not fans who bring up anything racy. Regarding his nephew having seen all of his screen work, George jokes about the film "Josie's Castle" (mentioned in a previous issue): "All except for one which had been "spiced up," as they say, after the fact. It was an independent film that I did back in 1970. A beautiful little film about 3 idealistic drop outs in San Diego. Well, they had distribution problems so they hired a few "bodies" for a few added footage and X rating. Scott will never see how I "surrender" in that!"
  • "A Not So Grim Tale," a parable with a pun at the end, by MLS
  • "The Arrival of the Enterprise," article by Marcia Tankersley (about the Enterprise space shuttle: one interesting note: "Unfortunately, the "Enterprise" will never be used on a mission! After the testing is completed, it is to be cannibalized with its parts being used in other shuttles. It is rather sad to think that the "Enterprise," the special pride of "Star Trek" fans, has undergone so much rigorous testing, but will never fly in space.")
  • "Samurai Saga," fiction by Carla Jordan and Terry Madden ("This story takes place right after "The Deadly Years." We apologize to Shogun.")
  • a clipping about the grand opening of a regional transportation facility, George is the guest, there are photos of him with fans dressed up in Star Trek outfits
  • "If You Believe, If you Believe in You, Everything You Thought is Possible, If You Believe..." by Kathy Browning, a long article about the 10K Arthritis Run-a-Thon in Griffith Park, LA—George was a participant, includes a photo of George doing some stretches against a tree
  • "Leili," fiction by Nanette Ibrham (spelled that way, differently than in other issues)
  • a love sonnet for Sulu/Takei by Letha L. Longley
  • "Play Ball," an article by MLS about a softball game between cast members at Universal Studios, includes lots of small photos
  • info about Shogun
  • a puzzle by Diane Cushing

Issue 20/21

At the Helm 20/21 was published in Aug/Nov 1979 and contains 11 pages.

front cover of issue#20/21
  • a full-page ad for George's book, "Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe" (about a character named Hosato (George's middle name) who is a swashbuckling samaurian hero fighting killer robots).[1]
  • "I Love Ya, But!" by Janice Hrubes (about talking with George)
  • a clipping about science fiction styles affecting the fashion industry and clothing, not credited
  • "My Con Happenings," short thing by Carolyn Frodsham about attending cons
  • long clipping about Stephen Collins, uncredited
  • uncredited clipping about Persis Khambatta
  • plug for the movie novelization
  • George's persona appearances (no cons, lots of theaters, lots of movie promotions)
  • word scramble puzzle
  • some "T'ask Takei" Q&A questions, one to do with did he sleep in the nude, one where he described signing the butts of some Star Trek fans at a nude beach, one where he says he is s supporter of Jimmy Carter, and many more tidbits


  1. ^ In G.H.T. Journal #16 (1988), this book is mentioned, along with a planned sequel: "The sequel to George's book is called "Stellar Flower, Savage Flower." Like "Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe," George co-authored with Robert Aspirin. The last I heard they're trying to buy the rights back from the publisher as it looked very much like the publisher might no publish for a long time. But here's hoping, one day soon, it would be nice to see it in print."