|Dates:||April 19–22, 1973|
|Focus:||Science Fiction, Star Trek, films|
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Equicon 1973 was held April 19–22, 1973.
While there were some early Equicons which focused on general science fiction and fantasy (held in a smaller venue in Santa Barbara), the "Equicon" in 1973 was considered by many fans to be the "first Equicon."
The chairman was William Tuning. The toastmaster was Randall Garrett. The Guest of Honor was Theodore Sturgeon. Co-Chairman was Clyde Johnson, Secretary/Treasurer was Frances Tuning, Members-at-Large were David Gerrold and Bjo Trimble.
There were 22 guest, 6 of whom were female.
Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, D.C. Fontana, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelly, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, William Ware Theiss, Matt Jeffries, James Rugg, John Dwyer, Louise Wilhite, Betty Balantine, Celia Lovsky, Tony Young, Barry Atwater, Ed Biship, Larry Vincent (Seymour), John Jeffries, Robert Block, and Ray Bradbury.
Pre-registration for the entire con was $3.50 (till the end of Westercon), then $7.50 until September 10, 1972, after that and at the door, it was $10.
The banquet was $10, attendance was capped at 800.
The Shore Leave Party was two dollars, attendance was capped at 400.
The hotel rooms were $17 for a single up to $24 for a quad.
The airport shuttle was free.
A Change of VenueEquicon 1973 was originally planned to take place at the Francisco Torres Conference Center in Santa Barbara, but between the time of the first progress report and the second one, it was moved to the International Hotel near the Los Angeles, CA airport:
EQUICON '73 HAS ACHIEVED WARP TWO SPEED, AND WE'RE MOVING. We realized that we ha achieved Warp One some time back, when saw how many people were interested in what EQUICON '73 has to offer.
Guest of Honor, THEODORE STURGEON, winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, and author of Amok Time and Shore Leave.
Toastmaster, RANDALL GARRETT, the one and only (could there be a duplicate?), who has been a pro s-f writer longer than most of you poor Earthmen have been alive.
Very nearly the entire cast and crew of STAR TREK. Those who have not made written promises to attend have informed the committee that they will be there unless presently unforeseen career commitments interfere.
"PLUS" --- Enormous STAR TREK display of sets, original costumes, props, and weird things you never heard of; at least two art shows, one that has many never-before-seen originals, and one very large art show-auction; space displays from NASA that you won't belied until you see them an auction of s-f and STAR TREK memorabilia; a trading session for collectors; films, films, films; technical seminars; and many, many other displays and programs.
We hit Warp Two and are accelerating fast. The registration for EQUICON '73 at the 30th annual World Science Fiction Convention over Labor Day weekend made it plain that the number of members of EQUICON '73 will far exceeded the capacities of the Francisco Torres Conference Center in Santa Barbara, where we had planned to hold that "nice, quiet little regional con."
WE NEED A BIGGER HOTEL! So, we are moving.The new convention site for EQUICON '73 will be at that INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, Los Angeles.
Registration was $10, meals and lodging were extra, around $14–15 per night. A local newspaper report at the time estimated that almost 8,000 fans attended the 1973 convention.
Photos, Video, Audio Clips
The History of Equicon
Very simple, folks... There ain't none. This is the first Equicon, the one, the original, the authentic, look-for-the-bloodshot-eyes-on-the-committee-members, Equicon.
At Westercon XXIV, a group of fans got together and said, "Say, wouldn't it be nice to have a quiet little regional con
in Southern California down among the date palms and nut trees during 1973, when the Westercon will be in San Francisco and the Worldcon will be in Toronto? Fore sure. A nice, quiet little regional oon. Let early interest and responses from the fans, themselves dictate the emphasis, theme and direction that the con takes."
So, a few dozen people put some money in the pot to get it going, and it got going. The direction that Equicon took was a Star Trek one, and it has gone that way because that's what the members wanted to do with it.
The rest, as some hack writer once said, is history.
Equicon is now shaping up to be a very large North American gathering of Trek enthusiasts and science-fiction people of all sorts that will rival any given Worldcon in size and scope. It has gotten real big real quick, and the committee, the department heads, the hotel, and the dozens of people that put a lot of time into organizing a con and get very little recognition for it, are all Working themselves silly to produce a con for you that will be a landmark. We have moved the Equicon from Santa Barbara to hoe Angeles, to a larger hotel that has more display and program space, that is close and convenient to L.A. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, and that has other large hotels close by to handle attendee overflow if we have more people attending than can be accommodated by the International Hotel.Y'all come. You'll like it, because it 's going to be a big, beautiful, hellraising-lot-of-fun convention.
Star Trek EmphasisThis con, according to the first progress report, quickly had a Star Trek emphasis:
As you may gather, from what you've heard on the old reliable grapevine, and from this Progress Report, the emphasis of Equicon '73 has become very heavily oriented toward Star Trek, so heavily, in fact, that we get a good deal of mail addressed simply "TrekCon." Three perfectly good reasons exist for this turn of events, in keeping with the theme of the con, "Something for Everyone." First, the response by fans indicates that a Trek emphasis is what they want in terms of the con program, guests, events, et cetera. Second, in our work of contacting people and arranging these matters of program, guests, events, et cetera, we have had the most enthusiastic response from Trek fandom, from Paramount Studios, from Gene Roddenberry, from the cast and technical people of Star Trek, and from writers and other pros connected with Star Trek. Third, while the above facts guide the con development, it will not be exclusively a Star Trek Con. There will also be such things—and these, again, are a product of where the interest and enthusiasm is—as straight s-f films, seminars, the Al Afrah, possibly an S.C.A. Tourney (if not a sanctioned event, then an informal one, much the same as at Westercon XXIII), and such-like good things.
THE PROS ARE COMING, THE PROS ARE COMING SOME MORE:
Yeah, and there will be quite a slug of them present, too. For instance, while the Guest of Honor wrote two scripts for Star Trek, he has also picked up a few other good things in his profession -- like Hugo and Nebula awards -- and, (bet you didn't know this one), he is the most widely anthologized living writer in the English language.
Gene Roddenberry and William Shatner, together with other prime movers of Star Trek have shown great enthusiasm for Equicon '73, and have told us they plan to attend. Other cast members who have put it in writing that they plan to attend include (alphabetically) MAJEL BARRET, JAMES DOOHAN, DeFORREST KELLEY, WALTER KOENIG, NICHELLE NICHOLS, GEORGE TAKEI. D.C. FONTANA has also written us that she plans to attend. DAVID GERROLD will be there with tribbles on. In addition, a large number of technical people from the series -- costumes, sets, props, special effects, and so on—have told us they plan to attend and will bend their own work schedules as far as possible to be present at Equicon '73. This will enable us to have some seminar discussions on the technical end of the series' production.
As if that isn't enough, there will be a large number of writers in attendance, both in the category of Star Trek and from the "straight- s-f field. Watch the membership listings in this and subsequent PR Reports.
A number of people connected with NASA are also Star Trek fans, and, as far as we know several of them will be there with their families, including a couple of Apollo Astronauts.
PROGRAM AND DISPLAY THINGIES
The BRIDGE SET from Star Trek is currently being re-built and re-wired to light up on 110v. current, and it will be set up as a display—somehow.
You will recall, no doubt, that the title shots of star Trek used a model of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE. Well, the thing is fourteen feet long, and we'll have that on display, too.
There will be the original costumes from a number of episodes in a special display, like, Gorn skins, Romulan suits, Klingon whiskers, aliens, and like that. David Gerrold will cover you with TRIBBLES. It's a lot like eating crackers in bed.
We will have, on loan, 25 STAR TREK EPISODES, to be shown, uncut, and uninterrupted in the film program. In addition, there will be a number of s-f films and documentaries.
[snipped]PROJECT: There have been inquiries about things that Trek fan groups can do to further the Con and insure that their favorite cast member will attend, and the suggestion has bean made that various Trek and fan groups can "adopt" a Trek Star and sponsor him or her. In other words, if a group wishes to, they can raise money to defray the lodging and meals expense of a specific cast member. If your group is interested in a project of this sort, you can write to the Chairman at the Santa Barbara address, and he will get them to let him out of his padded cell long enough to co-ordinate the whole thing. Wow.
1973 convention badge
"Our Honored Guests": Treat Them Well
From the second progress report:
From the third progress report, focus on the banquet:
There is an ancient and most honorable tradition among all civilized peoples—and most barbaric ones—that the person of a guest is sacred. Even the Norse Vikings—as bloodthirsty and hot-tempered a bunch of lads as you'd care to meet—treated a guest with honor and propriety, once he or she had become a guest. Even a guest who had committed some high crime or dread solecism was respected properly until the said guest had left the house of his host.
Can we, as fans, do less?
Our Guests at EQUICON '73 will be writers, actors, technicians, and others who are or have been connected with STAR TREK. They aren't being paid anything for coming: we could never afford what their time is worth. They are coming because they are warm, friendly human beings who want to enjoy themselves at the con just as much as you do. They honestly want to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them.Our Guests will be at EQUICON '73 for three days. Take your time. You will get a chance to meet them. Aside from the normal elbow-rubbing at fan conventions, we have arranged several meetings, seminars, and social events to bring everyone together. Remember two things: THERE WILL ONLY BE A COUPLE DOZEN OF THEM, AND THERE MAY BE A COUPLE THOUSAND OF YOU. AND, NOBODY LIKES TO BE MOBBED, EVEN IN THE MOST FRIENDLY FASHION.
Since the Committee is serving up the crew of the USS Enterprise, Gene Roddenberry, Theodore Sturgeon, and Randall Garrett, not to mention many others who made Star Trek, we thought the meal itself should also be outstanding. (No, Virginia; we weren't talking about cannibalism, there.) We also have a couple of other big surprises for you at the Banquet, but we're gonna let you suffer and wonder what they are until the event itself.
[see the menu in the images for the third progress report below]
Be SURE to include your name, address, and membership number when making pre-reservations for Banquet tickets. Also, write, directly on your check op money order, "EQUICON BANQUET RESERVATION." You can easily see the possible confusion which could arise from the fact that the Banquet tickets and the con memberships are the same price. Finally, the Committee won't guarantee your reservation-by-mail if it is postmarked later than 10 April. You may trust in . the U.S. Postal Service, but the Committee Treasurer is of a more practical turn of mind than that. Let us point out, right now, that the purpose of the Banquet is to honor our guests. We believe, however, that we should honor them as persons—the real persons that they are—rather than as some role they once played, even though it be on Star Trek. So, we are gathering on the last day of THE EQUICON, not to pay our respects to Kirk, Sulu, Uhura, et cetera, but to give testimonial to Shatner, Takei, Nichols, et cetera. Theodore Sturgeon would prefer to be recognized as Ted Sturgeon, more than as "That guy what wrote "Amok Time.'" The logic of all this should be obvious. ... Fascinating.
The Shore Leave Party
From the third progress report:
This event is unusual, for any science-fiction con, and should be a landmark in your recollections of THE EQUICON.
Scheduled immediately after the Masquerade, the old Shore Leave Party is so named in honor of our con Guest of Honor, Theodore Sturgeon (who wrote the Star Trek episode, "Shore Leave"). It will also be a real Shore Leave Party for the entire Star Trek universe. To elucidate: the Shore Leave Party will be held in the Penthouse Lounge of the International Hotel, with glass walls overlooking Los Angeles International Airport. There will be approximately an hour's entertainment by Diane Webber's renowned belly-dancing troupe, THE PERFUMES OF ARABY. If you haven't seen this troupe of twelve talented belly-dancers and a half-dozen live musicians, you just haven't lived. If you haven't seen Diane, you're not even alive.
The Shore Leave Party is designed as an organized social event with all professional entertainment which affords convention members a further opportune time—immediately after the Masquerade—to circulate, admire, and be also admired by other costumes from the Masquerade, all in the exotic setting of the Penthouse Lounge—a place that has an other-world feel about it as it is.
For a few hours, you can LIVE in the future, in the Star Trek world, not in a play-acting kind of way, but in a spacious dream of the times yet to come, when such a gathering will be common in the lounge of a luxury space cruiser. Surround yourself with the men and women of other planets, and strange aliens who make their homes on far worlds that orbit around distant stars. See the future as it may be. See the living universe of Star Trek. Be a part of the science-fiction vision of our galaxy and those who inhabit all its corners.
The Committee is arranging additional entertainments—as many as can be managed.
Yes, Virginia, there will be a cash bar.
What's the catch, you say? Only one, and it doesn't amount to a great deal. There will be a small charge to get into the Shore Leave Party, for two reasons: a. to help defray the expense of producing such a party, and b. since the Penthouse—capacious as it is—cannot possibly hold all the attendees of THE EQUICON, we want people to attend who can really dig it and make it into a living thing.And -- what the hell -- a buck or two isn't much to pay in the way of transporter expense to spend four hours in the future.
This party was not a success. Fans complained about it in one of the 1974 Equicon progress reports, see con reports below.
The Huckster's Room: No Gorn Teeth
From the second progress report:
When we say "hucksters" with respect to EQUICON '73, we are speaking in the more or less pure sense of the word, which is to say that we're thinking of magazine and book dealers, people with film and/ film clips to sell, poster mongers, and that sort of thing. We would like to draw the line at what night be called "tourist junk." This appelation [sic] is not meant to offend people who like/buy/ sell tourist junk, nor is it meant in any derogatory fashion. After some sine wave discussions of the matter, the committee is of the opinion that the place for mass-produced plaster castings of Mr Spock's left big toe, preserved Klingon fingernails, brass-fitted Gorn teeth, and the like is not the Huckster Rooms, but rather that such items are more appropriate to fan trading sessions where anything goes, as long as you got some of 'em and can find someone else who wants some of 'em.
It is not the committee's policy to be arbitrary about this or to lay down hard-and-fast rules about what will and what will not be permitted in the way of huckster merchandise. Let your conscience and your good taste he your unswerving guide and everything should be perfectly cool.Once again, the committee has given absolute, life-and-death control of the huckster operations to a fan who is a fantastic organizer of the huckster logistic problems, and who has shown herself to be eminently capable of doing a great job of it, both for the hucksters and for the collectors—LOIS NEWMAN. It hath been said by the Equicon Honcho, on behalf of the committee, 'Lois, you are more than able when it comes to setting up huckster operations. The committee would like you to take it over and run it as you believe it will work best. As far as we're concerned in this area, when you're right, you're right; and when you're wrong, you're right."
Regarding the Guest of HonorFrom the third progress report:
It is largely through the good offices of the Toastmaster General of THE EQUICON, the one and only—could there be a duplicate?—RANDALL GARRETT, that we are privileged to have as our Guest of Honor that redoubtable gentleman and Master Storyteller, Mr. THEODORE STURGEON.
So, you say, "Why is THE EQUICON supposed to be so grateful to Randall Garrett?"
Very simple. Ted Sturgeon is a retiring soul who lives quietly and does not often attend science-fiction conventions. It is doubtful if The Committee cauld have persuaded him to be THE EQUICON's Guest of Honor, for he is a modest man who does not have a great deal to say about his long experience as a superb author of science-fiction. However, Randall—and a couple of other people—sort of twisted Ted's arm, and he is our Guest of Honor. If you can get an opportunity to chat with him at THE EQUICON, you will have met one of the most fantastically talented, imaginative minds extant on the face of this planet.If you are not a reader of his prose science-fiction, become one. You will meet strange beings. You will see distant worlds and times. You will meet yourself along the way—out there. You will meet a master storyteller. --William Tuning
Aimed for Accessibility
From the third progress report:
COME ONE -- COME ALL.Many Trek fans have wondered if they would be welcome. THE EQUICON and the Committee have had inquiries from a number of persons to the effect that they would like to come, but have reservations about joining because they are under eighteen, or because they have some physical problem, or because they are handicapped. Hence, the Committee says to you all, right now, "Come one, come all!" We have a good chunk of members in their early teens who plan to attend. Anyone who has a physical handicap, and would feel more comfortable and secure knowing that we are available to help, needs only to contact the Committee. We will make every effort to assist as much as is needed. The International Hotel lobby is at street level, has escalator from lobby to convention floor, and is possessed of four spacious, rapid elevators. There are no annoying—to people in wheelchairs—step-ups, step-downs, or breaks in the floor elevations. There are SOME steps in the Penthouse lounge, and in the north lobby entrance, but NONE others in the rest of the hotel. So, COME ONE, COME ALL.
From the fourth progress report:
In the interest of having SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, The Equicon Committee is planning something that has never been done before at any science-fiction convention, we are putting together a program which will allow us to tap into the cable-tv system of the hotel, broadcast videotape over it,and turn one channel of every TV set into a Star Trek Channel, which will continuously broadcast tapes of Star Trek episodes, live broadcast coverage of major events on the convention floor, and re-broadcast of major convention events for those who may have missed something for wish to look at their own selves on television.
Needless to say, we will also furnish you with live, up-to-the-minute news coverage of convention activities, and, you'll never get away from them -- commercials. These commercials, however, will involve things Star Trek, news of auction events, special displays, unusual items in the sales room, the arrival of special guests, and that sort of thing.
If you miss a seminar or speech you particularly wanted to hear, it is very possible that you can catch a live interview with those personalities involved over Channel KIRK-TV. Likewise, we will be able to offer news of forthcoming daily film schedules, those thousand little things you want to know about in advance, but might not otherwise hear of, due to the human inability to be in more than one place at a time.Oh, yes... we will also have a gossip columnist, so watch it!
From the fourth progress report:
Star Trek Exhibits in the Blue Room will feature some things that have been did at other Star Trek conventions, some things that have not been did, and some you did not think could be did. We did them, swimming upstream like Siamese Fighting French Fries to produce the kind of Star Trek exhibit room that you will never forget. We've been lying awake thinking about it for quite some time -- now it's in existance [sic] and your turn to think about it.
Press and Pro Party
PRESS and PRO PARTY—Thursday evening, penthouse lounge:About 7:00 pm there will be a series of press conferences held in the Penthouse Lounge for the news media and the convention guests.The event will be CLOSED to convention members UNTIL approximately 8:30, at which time the Penthouse will be opened to convention members who wish to greet our guests and open the convention. At 9:00 the opening proceedings will begin. The Chairman will officially open The Equicon, introduce guests, and punch out anyone who tries to make a long speech. During all this gaiety, there will be a cash bar open and functioning to oil the wheels of good fellowship.
Futuristic Fashion Show
From the fourth progress report:
FUTURISTIC FASHION SHOW -- friday evening, ballroom:About 7:00 pm, a superb fashion show, featuring Star Trek, fantasy, and science-fiction themes will be held in the international Ballroom. If you are interested in what a Helsenian nobleman wears on formal occasions, how a Vulcan lady dresses for an embassy party, the clothes that are favored by a female space pirate, or the working duds of a gltzprens hunter, then you won't want to miss this event. It promises to be a lush show, and there are a couple of surprises tucKed into it that will make you whistle through your teeth.
From the program book:
The judges were Alicia Austin, Dian Girard, Kathy Beterton, and Bjo Trimble.
There were 163 entries and 42 winners, including honorable mentions.
- "The New Star Trek"
- "The Star Trek Technician"
- "What is a Science Fiction Writer?"
- "Star Trek Questions and Answers"
- "The Compleat Star Trek"
The Souvenir/Program Book
There are two. One is a short program book with a black and white cover. The other is 73 pages long and has a color cover.
It includes photos of the guests, and some bios. Also, art, ads, and programming.
[From the committee's welcome]:
WELCOME! Members, Guests, The Press, and all devotees of the art of realizing good science-fiction in the television and film media. WELCOME to THE EQUICON!
Some of you may be wondering why we chose the name "The Equicon." Very simple. It is short for the "Equinox Convention of 1973." And, as you doubtless recall, the Equinox is the time of the first day of Spring, and there is a melding together there between the Spring Equinox celebrations of ancient times and this Easter time of the year. (Some wags have suggested that properly this convention could be called "Trequicon One," but we have all tried to ignore them.)
There have been other STAR TREK conventions before this one, but we have connived to make this one the biggest, best,most hell-raising lot of fun STAR TREK convention that has ever taken place—at least on this planet. We decided early to combine a STAR TREK theme with the old-time science-fiction conventions of the past—which have been going on, now, for over thirty years or so. One of our purposes has been to get everyone together. So voila! SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE'.We not only welcome our fellow Trek enthusiasts, but we also extend our greetings to all other fans of science-fiction we all love, and the world of fantasv fiction.
Sample Program Book Interior
ad for David Gerrold's tribbles
ad for The Star Trek Concordance
David Gerrold and a tribble, as portrayed by George Barr
an ad for the second Filmcon
ad for Hour 25
an ad for the zine Monolith
The Progress Reports
It has three pages. The art was by Stan Strong.
There were two printed and mailed. The second one (color: gold) was mailed on July 1, 1972 and it replaced the earlier printing (color: blue) "which has information errata."
This PR lists guests 1-47.
cover of the first progress report
It has 8 pages. The art was by Stan Strong.
This PR lists guests 48-209.
Bjo and John Trimble are listed as being in sole charge of the art show.
It is noted that back when the con was going to be at the Francisco Torres Conference Center in Santa Barbara, there was a membership limit. Now that the con is at the International Hotel in Los Angeles, there is no limit restrictions.
It has 16 pages. The art was by Stan Strong.
This PR lists guests 210-356.
Bjo Trimble is now in charge of the fashion show, and John Trimble is in charge of the art show.
from the third progress report, David Gerrold sells tribbles
It has 11 pages. The art was by Stan Strong, Tim Kirk, and Johnny Chambers.
This PR lists guests 357-744.
From Dorothy Jones Heydt, full version is very long and includes much commentary about the films shown:
Alan White writes of the 1973 Equicon:
The Ambassador Hotel In Los Angeles Is one of those Institutions which was exceedingly posh forty years ago (it contains the Coconut Grove and is across the street from the Brown Derby, and If you don't recognize these names, ask Daddy), and has been resisting the downhill slide ever since. It's still quite posh in appearance, but it's Thirties posh. Vast amounts of dark wooden paneling where it isn't really appropriate, acanthus leaves all over the rug, phoney marble doorsllls in the bathroom. And I dare say that, like most other hotels that have hosted a science fiction con, it'll never be quite the same. All the other denizens of the hotel were either Los Angeles types in too much glitter going to the Coconut Grove, or elderly people who had their peak around the time the hotel had its. Curiously enough, we didn't attract much in the way of curious stares --not even Hal and me in our heraldic medievals. I rather think the elderly types had seen everything and were weary of it all, and the glittery Angelenos were going to act as if they'd seen everything if it kiiled them.
[snipped, info about a dreadful "medieval dinner"]
Well, the con. It was well-stocked. Unlike SFCon, which ran each film at least twice so that you could see everything (assuming you had limitless endurance), each film was shown an average of once. (This, of course, had considerable to go with the terms of rental.) Films came in three categories, which I shall define as Hard-Core Science Fiction, Soft and Slithery Science Fiction, and Vampires, though the Committee had set up definitions slightly more genteel. They did their best to have only one film of a given genre running at a time, but there were occasional overlaps. (As Eric Hoffman said, "I'm only inhuman, I can't do everything.")
[much, much about films snipped]
In the evening the Draculans met and somebody premiered The Thing With Two Heads, whereof the advertising slogan is, "They grafted a white bigot's head onto a soul brother's body -- " yes, quite. Some of the ersatz heads were on exhibit in the exhibit rooms, one with buttons hooked up to make it blink. We saw Mission Stardust, which turned out to be a Spanish adaptation of Perry Rhodan, who turns out to be Europe's answer to Captain Future. The special effects were unly fair, the plot and acting almost as bad as the worst of Hollywood, but I will say this for Perry Rhodan, he only looks clean-cut. He is slightly more lecherous than James T. Kirk, though not during business hours.
We then saw "I, Mudd," which it transpired Hal had never seen. His helpless giggles of mirth at the illogic were shushed by few, because practically everyone else had gone to see "The Night Stalker." Then there was a small Harlan Ellison festival consisting of "City on the Euge of Forever" and "Demon with a Glass Hand." I had not seen "Demon" previously, and enjoyed it. Harlan can indeed write coherently when he wants to. The action took place in a large slumscme building, possibly because all the stairs were fun to run up and down, but more likely because they'd used up most of their budget in building the very impressive glass hand. It was now 2:30 In the morning, and we could have stayed up till 4 and seen Dracula, complete with armadillos, but somehow we didn't.
Ah, yes, Seymour. I heard more damned enigmatic references to Seymour all through the convention: "They say Seymour's coming." "I got Seymour's autograph." "Ricky Schwartz as the Real Seymour." "Seymour's supposed to be at Table No. Umpty. " He turns cut to run the local version of Creature Features, and I still don't know what he looks like but if Ricky Schwartz Is to be believed he wears a broad-brimmed black hat like a southern Senator in a cartoon.
And then there came the MASQUERADE.
There were, let's see, about ten costumes/acts/what not, some of them containing two people. With one exception, who wasn't really in costume, everyone got a prize for something. Even Ricky Schwartz as "The Real Seymour." Like I say, there were about ten costumes. Hal and I were wearing our formal medievals and if I could have thought of a title in a hurry we'd have entered and probably walked away with a prize or two. There were a few monsters and a few pretty girl costumes and one rather pitiable aged Andorean lady. Also a gentleman from The Omega Man who turned out surprisingly well because of his white-painted contact lenses, and when I consider what contacts cost he deserved an award just for devotion to the original above and beyond the call of duty. Also a nice girl whose name I can never remember, but she won the Westercon's Most Naked Lady contest as Golden-Haired Sif. She was again in her skin, plus a label and a few gift wrappings, as "A Hannukah Present for David Gerrold." (David was among the judges, because Bill Theiss couldn't make it.) And that was about it. Everybody got an award of some kind and we were out of it in time to go upstairs and see "Journey to Babel."
We did, however, get up In time for the Star Trek festival at 10, All manner of Trekkian personnel were there, some of them vastly changed. DeForest Kelley and James Doohan still look about the same, but the younger members have let their hair grow since they got out of the UFP Star Fleet. Walter Koenlg has a moustache and Is completely unrecognizable. Gene Roddenberry Is still his sweet self, but Majel Barrett (introduced as "my wife, the nurse") has done her hair back to brown and lost ten pounds she didn't need to; she's still pretty but she looks ill. One hopes not. Everybody was there, In fact, but Nlmoy and Shatner. I dare say they've gotten a bit shy. They had surrogates, however, of whom more later.
So they explained how, yes, It's conceivable that Star Trek may be revived, and the people to convince at the moment are Paramount. David Gerrold and Dorothy Fontana supplied names and addresses of people to bug, and I've lost them. Roddenberry and Fontana are currently working on another-projected series (pilot, in the form of a movie-for-TV, is evidently to be shot one of these times real soon now) entitled Genesls II, which takes place 108 years from now and 100 years after the Great Conflict. Civilization is just beginning to struggle back, and of course it takes a different form in every village, which should make life varied.
At three there was a, yes, banquet. They introduced a small feature for this one which I hope will be copied: there was no High Table. Each table contained one celebrity and a dozen or so other people, and one could sign up ahead of time for the famous person of one's choice. We sat with Robert Bloch, who as I'd suspected ts very pleasant company, and Mrs. Bloch took Hal and me for nineteen and somewhat younger respectively, which was great for my ego at any rate. Hal cannot properly appreciate youth, considering he's still got it.
By this time, like every con since the hallowed first probably, were running late. So along came David Gerrold, saying, "I'm supposed to speak for half an hour, and we 're 24 minutes behlnd schedule. So I'll answer questions for six minutes, and then we'll show "Tribbles" and be back on schedule. Now, your first question, 'How can you break into television writing? ' You can't. Next question." And he answered a few and then they put on "Tribbles."
By the way, somebody other than David indicated that part of Shatner's Weltschmerz out of that show derived from an allergy to tribble fur. I'd like to hear more about that. Anybody keep track of the Captain's rashes?
Ah, yes, Spock's and Kirk's surrogates. Those who attended LACon will recall a very young man with a lovely blue shirt and shiny black bangs, with Terran ears but all in all looking more like Spock than he has any right to. Well, he's found a buddy who looks more like Kirk than he has any right to, and they go around in their exceedingly well-made uniforms causing whiplash in the suddenly-turned necks of incautious spectators. The trouble is, Spock and Kirk weren't a Commander and a Captain at the age of fifteen or so. They ought to have lovely grey-blue cadets' uniforms with gold sunbursts on them, like Finnegan's. I don't know if you can become a cadet at fifteen or so, but then we all know Spock and Kirk were both demon students. (By which I do not mean to imply they studied demons. I'm sure they left that to the Draculans.)
It was really a very pleasant con, all things considered, wish there had been less overlapping and more duplications --maybe not to the extent SFCon took of having everything run at least twice, because nobody is going to want to see every last little frame. At least I hope and trust not. But I wouldn't have missed, say, The Time Machine or The Raven if they hadn't been there at all; and I was exceedingly frustrated that they were there and I couldn't see them. The Committee freely attests that the Filmcon is in an experimental state and will probably change a lot. Maybe they can arrange for some reshowing of some of the older, less expensive films?Anyhow, it beats turkey at the in laws'.
The conventions were wildly popular and often attracted huge crowds:Equicon was responsible for luring thousands of youngsters into fandom who really had neither idea of "Science Fiction" or "Fandom" thus terraforming conventions forever. Suddenly there were restrictions for costumes, parties and fandom as we knew it.
The convention also had a profound impact on many of the attendees:My first convention was Equicon 1, held in LA, which was the second Star Trek convention. It went down as the fire martial con since they did a tv ad at the last minute and instead of max of maybe 500 total, got over a thousand attendees in a day. So the fire martial made people wait in line and if someone left, someone could go in.
Regarding the Shore Leave Party:My Dad took me to a Star Trek convention in Los Angeles, Circa 1973 (Equicon/Filmcon, I believe). I saw computer time-sharing terminals (old acoustical modems and "glass teletype" CRT screens) playing a Star Trek "battleship" inspired game, just more elaborate. I was 15 years old at the time and absolutely fascinated. They had other more elaborate tactical battle programs, but please remember at this time computers were all textual, no color graphics and sound effects. Just clever layouts of information and text on a CRT. I later found a fan service, the Star Trek Welcommittee, and obtained a BASIC computer program for one of the games - totally unaware of what still stood between me and being able to play again. Not knowing just what kind of resource I was trying to commandeer, I started calling computer companies in the yellow pages. I found a local company that let student programmers learn BASIC using off-hours computer time (again, remember this was pre-PCs). I taught myself computer programming, and therefore got a leg up on personal computers and technology before it became popular - fast forward 40 years, I ended up in Silicon Valley with six-figure job before it was all over and done with.
"The Shore Leave "Party": this did not confirm to my idea of a party (nor did it conform to the way it was publicized). When one has to pay extra for an event, one should get something extra." [Bjo Trimble's answer]: "[The 1974 Equicon will have a big open party after the costume show]. The strong anti-Shore Leave reaction has convinced us to drop the idea -- it didn't work out at STAR-Con in Detroit, either. We agree that convention parties should not be exclusive.
- Source: The San Bernardino County Sun, April 24, 1973.
- Despite the fact this was used as the sole credit in the first progress report.
- Lisa Deutsch.
- from "How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation," printed in T-Negative #20
- WebCite for 1973 - Convention Madness, by Alan White.
- What does STAR TREK mean to you? (television, series, show) - TV -Shows, stars, ratings... - Page 3 - City-Data Forum, Archived version forum post by nightbird47, dated July 4, 2011.
- How Trek Changed My Life kinda post by R. Bear Helms dated September 18, 2008; WebCite.
- from a Equicon 74 progress report