Dixie Trek

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Name: Dixie Trek (early on as "Dixie-Trek")
Dates: 1981-83 (as Emory Trek), 1984-1995 as Dixie Trek
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Type: fan-run, celebrity guests of honor
Focus: Star Trek and other media
Organization: Atlanta Star Trek Society
Founder: William Smith and Owen Ogletree
Founding Date:
URL: Dixie Trek Facebook page
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Dixie Trek was a Star Trek and other media con held in Atlanta.

It evolved from Emory Trek and/or Emory Science Fiction and Fantasy Symposium (which Dixie Trek includes as the first three years of its "14-year run).

The con was a self-described "mini-con" until 1985:

As most of you know, our annual mini-convention is NOT going to be a MINI-convention anymore! Dixie-Trek '85 will be a full-fledged, three hotel-based, science fiction convention. [1]

Connection to Public Television

The single most contributing factor that led to the success of Dixie Trek's 14 year run was due to William Smith and his relationship with Georgia Public Television. Bill got us involved with fundraising at the station and as a result of "Doctor Who Nights" being among the highest money making evenings every quarter, they rewarded us by coming out to the convention and covering it live on Saturday nights.[2]

Connection to Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con was a supporter of Dixie Trek for an unknown period of time in the 1990s. From a fan talking about Mercedes Lackey's appearance at one:

As it happened, a medium-sized Star Trek convention, Dixie Trek, was being staged in Atlanta the same weekend that Misty and her husband Larry Dixon would be passing through. At the time, Dixie Trek was being temporarily operated (and funded) by Dragon*Con, since a few problem years for Dixie Trek had brought it to the financial edge. I asked Misty if she'd like to drop by the convention in lieu of a bookstore signing, and she agreed; I asked Ed Kramer, in operating control of the con, if he'd mind if Misty dropped by. [3]


These were Emory Trek.


The 1984 Dixie-Trek (the fourth con) was held April 7–8 at the Oglethorpe University Student Center at 4484 Peachtree Road in the Brookhaven community of Atlanta, Georgia. A flyer for the event billed it as "Our 4th Annual Convention" and presented by the Atlanta Star Trek Society and the Oglethorpe SF Club.

It was the first con under this name, but the fourth con in the related series.

The Guest of Honor was Mark Lenard. Additional guests included Richard Coyle, David Adair, Al Zequeira, Jack Townsend and Geoffrey Rayle.

Announced events and activities include "big movies and continuous films, dealers/collectors areas, comics, panels, game room, fan discussions, parties, Sunday costume contest, trivia contest and alien landscape art exhibit." Preregistered memberships were priced at $7.50 per person for the two-day convention.

A fan, Bill Smith, taped some of this con and sold the highlights on VHS tapes later. They cost $15.

1984: Con Reports

I am writing to congratulate you and your crew on running a Class 1 convention. DIXIE TREK '84 was a joy to be at and all the people in charge were always helpful and polite. The mark of a truly good convention is when all the problems that arise are handled quickly, coolly, and calmly and this one was a great convention. Good luck in the coming year and I can’t wait until the next DIXIE TREK. [4]


Dixie Trek 5 was held May 17-19, 1985 at North Lake Hilton.

A.C. Crispin distributed a hand-out called Some Notes on Writing for Publication.

A fan, Bill Smith, taped some of this con and sold the highlights on VHS tapes later. They cost $25.


Other confirmed guests who may or may not have been there:

  • Brad Strickland
  • David Anthony Kraft
  • Jack Massa
  • Mitch Maglio

From an early info mailing:

Thanks to the fans, DIXIE-TREK has grown large enough to move to the wonderful NORTHLAKE HILTON! This year we will have a ballroom for our dealers’ area, a video room, and two large rooms for films and events. Single, double, triple, and quad rooms are all available to DIXIE-TREK 5members at a special rate of $49 a night with a limit of four people to each room. Sorry, but no crash space will be made available at the hotel this year.

From Epsilon Nine Friendship Messages v.7 n.1 (Sep/Oct 1984):

If you haven’t been before, 1985 is the year to attend, Dixie-Trek 5 will be a full-fledged three-day convention, to be held May 17-19, 1985, at the Northlake Hilton Hotel. It's close to the Northlake Mall in lovely northeastern Atlanta. Too little space and the absence of a near-by hotel forced the ASTS to move Dixie-Trek from Oglethorpe University. The guest-of-honor at Dixie-Trek 5will be Majel Barrett, who portrayed "Nurse Chapel" in STAR TREK and first officer "Number One" in the pilot episode. Another recently confirmed guest is actress Angelique Pettyjohn (Shana from the TREK episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion"). I’m sure you’ll be interested in what will soon become Atlanta STAR TREK fandom’s answer to the Atlanta Fantasy Fair.

1985: Con Reports

[from Jon Pertwee, one of the guests of honor]: Now that I have returned to London I would like to thank you all for your kindness and hospitality during our visit to Atlanta. I thought the conference was beautifully organised and impeccably run. I couldn't have enjoyed it more, Please don’t hesitate to ask me again as I would be delighted to make a return visit, (You have my) kindest regards. [5]

ABOUT DIXIE-TREK 5 — all we can say is summed up simply as: Jon Pertwee has to be the best guest we have ever had! We would like to send him a copy of this issue as we are sure he would appreciate receiving one (Owen, are you listening?). Jon seemed to have a wonderful time, and expressed his desire to come back again. He wanted to talk much more than

we were able to schedule him, and probably would have been delighted to go on for hours. If you would like to have Jon back at a future Dixie-Trek, let us know as soon as possible so that scheduling can be arranged.

The interesting thing about Jon's appearance was the fact that his episodes have not been aired in Georgia yet (we understand that Georgia Public Television may be going to air them as soon as the current run of Tom Baker and Peter Davison episodes concludes) but even at that, his lectures at the convention were the most packed, and everyone in attendance seemed to possess a wealth of facts about his episodes. Understandably, a lot of attendees were from North Carolina, or what could be called the WHO-state since the episodes have been in continual run there for over three years and at one time had three Doctors running at once. But there seems to be a lot of videotapes of his shows floating around (ahem), and a lot more people than we expected knew ALL about Jon Pertwee.

Terry Nation was a most interesting guest also. His reminiscences about the early days of WHO were extremely enlightening, and if we continue to pester GPTV enough, BLAKE'S SEVEN will be seen as well as the Doctor. Terry also was very approachable, as was Doctor Jon, and could be seen in the corridors or in the hotel lobby giving impromptu talks now and again. This is the kind of thing we like to have at a convention. The big shows, usually up north, tend to have the guests rushed in, rushed out, and you have the impression they are exiled to some other hotel since you never see them between "official" appearances. The impression we got was that the fans loved Jon, and Jon loved the fans![6]

Bravo for Dixie-Trek 5! You've got the secret so many cons lack — good talkers for guests. Here's hoping next year's event is twice as much fun, but in a hotel three times as large. P.S. —Do you think that strange young man who sang Beam Me Up Before You Go Go" will ever recover? [7]

I picked up these cute hand-outs at Dixie Trek, and decided that they would be easy to run off. I didn't realize that Pocket Books had such a sense of humor. The other hand out is one that AC Crispin was handing out. She spoke at Dixie Trek, and handed out to a few people who expressed an interest in writing. I have a friend who is, and she got copies, which she ran off for me, which I ran off in copies for the APA.

Crispin spoke mainly on writing, both for professional writing in general, as well as her ST writing. She read about 12 pages (at least she said that it was 12 pages!) from her new novel, the sequel to Yesterday's Son, which sounded interesting. I don't know if the story will be better, but I am willing to bet that the writing will be more mature that YS.

Majel Barrett spoke only a bit on STIV. Nothing really new, mostly the stuff that was in Interstat and such. I'm not sure if it was mentioned elsewhere, but MB stressed that IV would take a lighter view, in their time travel. (Lighter than III?) I haven't gone over my tapes yet, so maybe I will pick up some more stuff for the next issue that may be of interest, even if not hot news.

There is a request that interested people write Paramount and request that Dr. Chappel [sic] be in the next movie. For those who need a quick address reference: Mr. Frank Mancuso [address]. [8]

Jon Pertwee remarked during Dixie-Trek 5 that the con was "...very well organized, yet it still has an informal, family feel to it." This sums up the fifth anniversary ASTS convention in a nutshell.

This first 3-day Dixie-Trek was a smashing success. It left its prior mini-cons far behind. 300 to 400 attendees were expected, yet a little over 1,000 came; events and guests covered a wide cross-section of science fiction interests.

Majel Barrett, our own Nurse Chapel and Number One, gave two talks on subjects ranging from the TREK phenomenon in general to the workings of commercial television. She spoke of ST4 as well, and a little on Gene Roddenberry and his beginnings as a writer. (And, I bet none of you knew that he and Majel like to play golf, especially on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island. Remember folks, you heard it here first!!)

DOCTOR WHO #3 Jon Pertwee delivered two lively talks on DOCTOR WHO, from comments on his co-stars and then-WHO producer Barry Letts, to his favorite episode of WHO. He also talked about some of his upcoming projects, including doing some of the voices for an animated show called SUPERTED. He described himself — not to blow his own horn too much — as the "Mel Blanc of England." His talk was peppered with anecdotes on and off-screen while doing WHO and other productions; for example, he became a collector of any WHO props that caught his fancy but were destined for the junk heap after filming was completed — including the infamous Whomobile.

Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks and the four-season BBC TV series BLAKE'S SEVEN, also lectured twice. He was articulate and witty, and entertained audiences of rabid Dalekfans and aspiring producers. He’s now living in California to work in American television, and hopefully we'll get to see some of his work soon. He also stated that if BLAKE'S SEVEN receives a good response and a fan following like that of WHO, then more seasons of the show might be produced, in America if not Britain. He then said that a new distribution deal was in the works that may bring the show to more areas of the U.S.

Other Dixie-Trek guests included a number of writers. Among these were Ann Crispin, author of "V" and TREK novels; noted author/editor Orson Scott Card; T.E.D. Klein of the "Twilight Zone" magazine; and Richard Meyers, media director for the NEW TWILIGHT ZONE television show. Two artists were also in attendance: Doug Chaffee and Al Zequeira. These guests also participated in their own talks and on panel discussions on such subjects as "Humanity in SF." The lectures given by the "Big Three," Pertwee, Majel, and Nation, touched on the same important subjects but went out on their own tangents enough so that the lectures weren't identical, or boring to those who saw both of each's lectures. One note for WHOfans concerned about the imminent cancellation of DOCTOR WHO: one of the guests remarked that it looked to him like the new upper-level BBC management wanted to clear the way for new series of their own — that they wanted to make their own mark on BBC programming. As in the old saying, "a new broom sweeps clean," DOCTOR WHO is a very successful remnant of the previous programmers that is going to be swept out. It doesn't have much to do with any fault in the series itself or its marketing prospects. This guest also said that he hopes there will be enough hue and cry from WHOfans, especially in Americans, to make the BBC stop and reconsider.

Unfortunately, Angelique Pettyjohn had to cancel her appearance — one week before con-time — due to commitments to her Las Vegas show. The con video room showed a special tape of her in costume addressing Dixie-Trek attendees several times, however.

Films and TV episodes shown included items from "Angry Red Planet" to shows of LOST IN SPACE, OUTER LIMITS, TIME TUNNEL, and episodes of STAR TREK that included Gene and Majel Roddenberry's personal copy of the original pilot, "The Cage." There were a number of video rooms in the hotel also, with showings of everything from "Dark Shadows" to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

The dealers' room was VERY good as well, with a good cross-section of merchandise. The highlight was Majel Barrett's table of TREK memorabilia, with a lot of pictures, scripts, and high-quality TREK jewelry. Jon Pertwee also had a table, where he was to be found often autographing copies of his book, "Moon Boots and Dinner Suits." He sold out of them by con's end, and I haven't seen them at any American bookstore since.

The most popular convention event was the costume contest, hosted by "Weird Al" Zequeira. It was judged by Majel Barrett and Jack Townsend. Most of the entries were either from STAR TREK or DOCTOR WHO, but there were also a few original costumes and some from other shows, rounding out the list. My nominations for Che "Conrad's Cleverest

Costume Award" are (1) Bill Smith as DOCTOR WHO #4 being marched onstage by a pair of Visitors at gunpoint, (2) Jim Brooks as Admiral Kirk, trying hard to explain to the Federation why he hi-jacked the Enterprise, got Spock killed, etc., etc., and revealed a probable new title for ST4; "Hang 'Em High"... and (3) one of the audience members who was dressed in a Visitor outfit with a lizard's tall coming out of the back end of the costume. Who do YOU vote for, readers? ASTS President Owen Ogletree, staff coordinators Linda Ogletree, Marilyn White and others, and the staff in general were easily recognizable by the little wings attached to the ends of their sneakers. They worked very hard, and the result was a series of very well-organized, smoothly running events all through the convention. They were a pretty friendly bunch, too, despite symptoms of "Tired Con Organizer's Syndrome"...

To continue, Sunday's Breakfast With the Stars" was a very relaxed, low-key event in the hotel's Promenade restaurant, and there was a good buffet breakfast assortment. Bleary-eyed con-goers found it easy to approach the guests and talk for a bit.

It's difficult to do the convention justice within the confines of this column, so I've written a longer overview of Dixie-Trek for this year's LINGUACODE 'zine (available at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair). Don't miss it! Lastly, if Dixie-Trek 6 looks like it'll be anything like Dixie-Trek 5, then walk, swim, ride, roller-skate, or ski to attend it — it'll be worth every bit of mileage. [9]


Rare 1980s Sci-Fi Con Footage » Drewprops Blog, Archived version

atlanta fantasy fair: Dixie-Trek 1986, Archived version


It was held May 22-24th at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Michael Keating was a guest.


May 13–15, Sheraton Century Center Hotel, Atlanta GA

Terry Nation was in attendance. Other guests: Jonathan Frakes, Julie Newmar (FRIDAY'S CHILD). Cost was $28/3 days at the door.

atlanta fantasy fair: February 2017, Archived version



front cover of the 1990 program book
back cover of the 1990 program book

Dixie Trek 1990 was dedicated to the memory of Jim Henson.

Guests of Honor were Denise Crosby, Billy Mumy, Dave Jackson, Dave McDonnell, Mark Goddard. Other guests were George Perez, Greg Baker, Craig Brasfield, Phoenica, Pat Broderick, Bob Burden, Jean Lorrah, Bill King, Michael K. Bell, Cheryl Mandus, Frank Turner, Paul Monroe, Joseph Phillips, Richard Arnold, Mark Triplett, Michael Keating, Wayne Vasant, Lamar Waldron, and Melody Hall.

1990: Con Reports

STARDATE: 9006.16 - We went to Atlanta, Georgia for the 10th annual DIXIE TREK. The list of guest stars was incredible: Denise Crosby, Dave Jackson ("Gan" from Blake's Seven), Dave McDonnell (Starlog editor), Jean Lorran (Star Trek novelist), Richard Arnold (Star Trek archivist), Cheryl Mandus (Star Trek artist), and 11 other Star Trek lst's, mostly working in the comic book industry. Last, but not least, Billy Mumy (Will Robinson) and Mark Goddard (Don West) from Lost in Space, who were there to celebrate the 25th anniversary of L.I.S. (This was an added surprise - I came to see Denise!) The first day (Friday) there was not too much going on. We perused the dealers' rooms, mostly scrounging around for the item that you don't know is there; in fact, you don't even know what it is, but when you find it, you will sell half the members of your family to the gypsies to be able to buy it. I found mine: a kit to make a next generation tricorder for a fraction of the price of a finished one. BOOM! Shot a big hole in my minute bankroll, but hey, isn't that what God created dealers' rooms for? Of course! To prove the axiom that a fool dressed in a Starfleet uniform and his money are soon parted!

On Saturday, we went to see Billy (now it's Bill) Mumy and Mark Goddard. They were very entertaining. Some of the old L.T.S. costumes and props were brought out and they enjoyed explaining them and answering questions. Then it was time for Richard Arnold. He didn't have much new information other than the season finale will be a cliffhanger, an one or more characters may or may not be back next season (That's as much detail as be would go into). I can't believe anyone would want off the show now, but you never know... Patrick Stewart doesn't have to polish his head every week to do those Pontiac commercials... (and he actually thought people wouldn't recognize his voice!) Next up was Denise Crosby. She was as warm and effervescent as ever - I think she really likes doing cons. (See last month's column for details of a con appearance by Denise.) The last event of the evening was the inevitable costume contest. I actually entered this one, with a new strategy: I entered as commander Riker (whom everyone knows) instead of entering as me (whom nobody knows) - The result: I still lost! But I learned something from looking at my pictures: I look nothing like Will Riker! But if you think about it, if he entered a "Pat Heinske costume" contest, Johnathan Frakes would lose, and I would win! So, that made me feel better.

Sunday was pretty much a repeat of something Saturday, you could catch it on Sunday. Later that evening, I went down to the bar in the lobby to indulge myself with some evil juice, and as I sat down, I realized that Mark Goddard was sitting 1 stool away from me! We started talking and then we spent the next couple of hours buying each other drinks and talking about things other than L.I.S., since he seemed to tire of that subject almost immediately when he wasn't behind a podium.

This experience is in close competition as the high point of the convention with the look on Denise's face when I asked her to autograph a photo and she recognized it as the one I had mom take of me with her (or her with me, if you'd rather) in Orlando the weekend before. I saw the line of people all with the same photos you see at every con, and so when it was my turn, I handed it to her and said, "I bet you haven't seen this one before!" She looked, and broke out in a big smile and said, "Hey, last weekend in Orlando! I remember this!" and happily signed it. Well, that's about it for DIXIE TREK.





May 14-16, 1993 in Atlanta, Georgia.

David Hedison (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) was a guest of honor, the only time he attended a media con. He made an appearance (along with his wife, Bridget) opening night, then an appearance the next day at 2:00 for a Q&A session with autographs, then again at 11:00 on Sunday. The Q&A transcript, typed by Elaine Hauptman from an audio recording, was printed in In the Belly of the Whale #5 (1996). The topics of the session were the many movies and shows Hedison was in.

An excerpt:

What is was like working with Richard Basehart? It was fantastic! I was a very lucky actor to be working with him. You know, originally I had turned down "Voyage" when the producer, I remember Irwin Allen. I had done a film for him called "The Lost World" which I hated, I just hated that film, and hated working in it and I was very depressed doing it, so then when Irwin called me about a film called "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", I thought no way do I want to do that. But at the same time, I didn't want to get put on suspension. I said to him, I told Irwin I just don't want to do it now, I think I'm going to be doing another film, and this sort of thing. Well, luckily I wasn't put on suspension and thank God I got out of doing the film. So, then a year or two later came the series and I ran like crazy. I didn't want to touch it because I knew the kind of thing it was going to be and I wanted to do some thing more like "The Man From UNCLE". You remember that series? (Applause.) Something like that.... And all the emphasis was that the characters were one dimensional and all the emphasis was on photo effects, and of course in the fourth year, which drove me crazy, every monster in the world: fishman, frogman, rockman, God. I don't know, it just drove me nuts. And I said this is a sure way of getting canceled, I'm sure. So, that was the reason. But I'm getting off the subject.... Richard Basehart was a wonderful man. He taught me an awful lot, be cause 1 don't think I was as good an actor at that first year as I was when the series ended. I think I learned a lot from him and I'm grateful, and I love you Richard! (Applause.)


Vincent Price was a...we know he's a wonderful actor and it was great working with him and I remember I was deadly serious about my work when I was doing "The Fly". That was my second film, and the first being "The Enemy Below" with Bob Mitchum. And in "The Fly" I was yeiy serious about it and I was conscientious and I always got to work extra early. I took every scene very seriously, and I remember when Vincent came on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" as a guest star, and I was kidding him around and I'd go by and goose him, and I'd do something silly like that, you know I'd be telling funny stories, and he said "Dear Boy, I remember you as being so terribly earnest in 'The Fly'". And I said 'Well, you know when you play a fly you have to be earnest'. (Much laughter.) But he was a terrific fellow, a very very nice man, and I loved both his wives.


here were a lot of bloopers. I don't remember what they were but we had a lot, and Irwin Allen was going to save them and show them at the Christmas party, that sort of thing, but you know, he never did because he was embarrassed by them. He didn't have that much of a sense of humor, I think as you can tell from "Voyage". (Laughter.) He liked the serious and the grim stuff. I remember once Richard Basehart and I had a scene, it was in the first year, and it was about, oh, a four page dialog scene. And we found a way of playing it that was quite amusing, and, we thought, terrific. And would you know, that Irwin made us reshoot the scene and play it the way he wanted us to play it. I was very grim, and Richard was very grim, and every thing was very serious. That's what we did, we reshot it. And those are the things that drove me crazy. But, what can I say? [Irwin] did it, he was the salesman, he was the boss and I worked for him and I worked hard on it, and God love him.


I don't think that Irwin wanted women on the Seaview in the TV series. And I'll bet you don't know, do you? You really have no idea, do you? 'Cause I do. Because he was very tight with the money. And you know, getting David Hedison ready takes five minutes. You just slap something under his eyes to take the dark circles away, and then that's it. I'm finished. With a girl though, the hair, getting it right, and the curlers, the dryer, she's half an hour late, her make-up's wrong, the costume doesn't fit right. It takes time, and time is money. And he said he didn't want to bother with any of that with the women. And that's why we didn't have too many women.






The Dixie Trek/Big Bang/Wil Wheaton Connection

If you are reading this, you are familiar with The Big Bang Theory and the legendary rivalry between Sheldon Cooper and Wil Wheaton. It started in the episode "The Creeping Candy Coating Corollary."

In the episode, Sheldon revealed the feud's origin: He went to a convention named Dixie Trek to see his idol Wheaton in person. Wil failed to appear and Sheldon was devastated, thus setting up a long seething hatred of all things Wesley Crusher.

It turns out that the Dixie Trek mentioned in the show was a real convention. I was one of the founders.

How many of you knew that Dixie Trek was real? Let’s see a show of hands. You in the blue and white striped shirt. Are you stretching or raising your hand? Oh. Well, then. That few.

Come with me back to 1980 in Atlanta, GA, where a group of Star Trek fans formed The Atlanta Star Trek Society and put on Emory Trek, their first convention, on the campus of Emory University. Two years later yours truly was vice-president of the group, and we were looking to expand the show. Dixie Trek was chosen as its new name.

Our guest list grew with us, and soon included actors from Doctor Who, Lost in Space and of course Star Trek.

Our contact at Paramount Richard Arnold helped us secure many of the Trek guests. Richard represented himself as a Star Trek authority, so much so that he became the "Archivist" in Star Trek: The Next Generation credits.

When we visited him at the studio. it became apparent that he was a gofer who handled the fan mail. This was proved correct within a month of Gene Roddenberry’s passing in 1991, as he was off the lot and out of the show’s credits! He did get us such celebs as Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby and Gates McFadden, who had to bow out due to travel restrictions during pregnancy.

When we stopped wanting Richard to be a paid guest at Dixie Trek, he was of no help getting us cast members. So, alas, Wil Wheaton never made it to an actual Dixie Trek!

The convention ended in 1994, with Christopher Reeve making his only convention appearance ever.

By the time the convention took place, according to the Big Bang episode, in Mississippi in 1995, the real Dixie Trek had closed her doors and turned off the lights.

Now imagine my surprise -- as one of the convention founders -- when I am watching The Big Bang Theory on October 19, 2009 and Sheldon says Dixie Trek is where he began loathing Wil Wheaton.

The next day I did some searching, and called the studio and spoke to one of the writers and thanked him for choosing my convention.

Flash forward to 2011 and DragonCon. In my capacity of director of the American Science Fiction Classics, I had the opportunity to talk with Wil about all this.

As I explained to him who I was and what I did, he had a small freak-out when I told him Dixie Trek was real. He said he had no idea and thought it was just made up by the writers. I told him that it was real, but located in Atlanta, not Jackson.[11]

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