Equicon/1974

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Convention
Name: Equicon
Dates: April 12–14, 1974
Frequency:
Location:
Type:
Focus: Science Fiction, Star Trek, films
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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Equicon '74 took place April 12–14, 1974 at the Marriott Hotel near LAX.

There appears to be no Filmcon counterpart this year.

According to the organizers of the San Francisco Red Hour Festival when the celebrity guests arrived at Equicon 1974, volunteers "deserted their posts." [1]

Official Guests

The "Guest of Honor" was DC Fontana. The "Special Guests of Honor" were Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett. Helen Young aka "Auntie Matter" was the 1974 Fan Guest of Honor.[2]

In September 1974's issue of Star-Borne:

I received from Terri Bryant a complete listing of all of the guests who attended EQU1CON 74 this year. Grand total - 43 celebrities.

These included Kirk Alyn ("Superman of the serials"), Jean Aroeste (ST writer), Ed Ashley (G II), Barry Atwater, Majel Barrett, Claire Brenne (PEANET EARTH), Judy Burns (ST writer), Ted Cassidy, Sara Chattin (PLANET EARTH), Jo De Winter (PLANET EARTH), James Doohan, Gene Dynarski ("Childress in MUDD'S WOMAN and Rodak" in MARK OF GIDEON), Mike Farrell, Dorothy C. Fontana, Alan Dean Foster, Robert Foxworth, David Gerrold, Einda Grant (G II), Bob Greenburg (special effects animation), Harvey Jason (G II), George Clayton Johnson (ST writer), Robert Justman, Sally Kemp (PLANET EARTH), Walter Koenig, Janet Margolin (PLANET EARTH), Arlene Martel, Lawrence Montaigne ("Stonn" and "Decius"), Elizabeth Montgomery (BEWITCHED), Sean Morgan (ST security guard in 4 episodes), Nichelle Nichols, Larry Niven, Dan O'Bannon, Joan Pearce, Gene Roddenberry, George Takei, Rai Tasco (PLANET EARTH), William Ware Theiss, Titos Vandis (G II), John Vernon, Larry Vincent (E. A. Horror show host), and Patrick Wright (OUESTOR).

Lew Ayres did not attend but did send a tape-recorded message for part of the OUESTOR panel discussion. (Lew Ayres was "Vaslovick" in QUESTOR)...

Committee Members

The program book included short bios for each volunteer along with the disclaimer:

This list is to acquaint EQUICON 74 members with their committee. And to assure parents that we are all responsible citizens with jobs, homes, families; just like any other normal person, and NOT weirdos, teenagers, or slavers! Except for the obvious insanity of running conventions now and then as a hobby, most of us are fairly intelligent. If you (or parents of an EQUICON 74 member) have any other questions, feel free to ask—some of us are parents too, and would be as suspicious of our children going away for a weekend with strangers; The actual company names have been left off the list, because as convention time draws near, we all get frequent phone calls, which would not be a good idea at anyone's place of business. Unfortunately, some fans think nothing of calling at odd hours to ask totally trivial questions! (We don't think much of it either).

In making up this list, we discovered how many librarians are on the committee. This may mean that librarians read more science fiction, or science fiction fans are librarians at heart, or that, in spite of some suspicions, librarians can actually read. Any other conclusions we leave to you, though we'd like to hear any imaginative ones.

  • John Trimble, Craig Miller (co-chair)
  • Bruce E. Pelz (treasurer)
  • Elayne (recording secretary, costume parade)
  • Pat Zotti (membership secretary, registration)
  • Bill Warren (films)
  • Tony Zotti (go-fer patrol)
  • Lois Newman (sales admin)
  • Bill Thomas, David Gelman (publicity)
  • Bjo Trimble (publications, art show, fashion show)
  • Francis Evans (art show assistant)
  • Lois Thomas (fashion show assistant)
  • Terri Bryant (celebrity coordinator)
  • Frances L. Berger (banquet coordinator)
  • Cliveden Chew Haas (mailing list)
  • Helen Bautista (information)
  • Chuck Spero (projectionist)
  • Mary Ann Cappa (courier)
  • Julie Funn (actuarial clerk and belly dancer)
  • Bruce Moir, Phil Malmuth (assistant publicists)
  • Jamie Hanrahan, Dave Barber (computer techs)

Some Video

The Program Book

From Star-Borne #13 (June 1974):

For those of you who either attended EQUICON 74 or sent in supporting memberships -- YOUR CON PROGRAM BOOK should be mailed in early June. EQUICON 74, unlike other cons, is publishing their program book AFTER the convention so that they can also include full details of what occurred at EQUICON 74.

This June date was a false one. From Star-Borne #14 in September:

Oh, a note from Bjo Trimble - the EQUICON 74 Program Book will be out fairly soon.

Masquerade and Costuming

Diane Steiner entered the Equicon '74 costume competition as an Atlantean slave girl, and was the winner of the poetry division of the Equicon writing contest judged by D.C. Fontana and Stephen Goldin.[3] Ruth Berman's "Nightingale Woman", a sonnet sequence also won first prize in the 1974 Equicon Phineus Tarbolde Contest (there were two winners that year).

See some examples at: International Costumers Gallery: Equicon 1974, Archived version

The Banquet Menu... Mmmmm

The banquet was $10 per person, and there were door prizes, and "surprises."

The menu: Mimosa Salad, Teriyaki Steak, Oriental Vegetables, assorted fruit tarts, "the usual garnishes and accessories and etceteras."

Belly Dancers

Merchandising Opportunities

The Powers That Be Take Notice: Phasers and Other Goodies

Equicon 1974 was also where Paramount studies began taking notice of some of the merchandising opportunities beneath the Star Trek franchise. There was a warning to fans in the pocket program to not sell or buy some fan-created items. From a notice in the pocket program:

ILLEGAL SALE OF STAR TREK ITEMS cannot be constantly policed by EQUICON -- nor do we want to do it -- but infractions will be reported, and purchasers risk losing both money illegally-bought items! It's too bad the practice takes place, since sale of illegal ST items is, in fact, STEALING from people who would get the legal royalties -- the creator of the show & ST people! Supporting this very un-Star Trek philosophy is highly illogical for anyone calling himself a FAN!

AMT and Lincoln Enterprises will soon have phasers and other items for legal sale: be patient!

Anyone caught selling (legal or illegal) items anywhere on the convention floor outside of the Sales Room will be charged a $25 table fee. The ONLY exception is fanzine -- amateur publications -- which may be carried around and sold out-of-hand.

From a progress report:

SALES ROOM INFORMATION: If you have a Star Trek item to sell: or even a Star Trek-oriented item, it is advisable to check with Mr. Anthony Sauber, LEGAL DEPT., Paramount Studios, 5451 Marathon St, Hollywood, CA 90038 before renting a Sales Table at EQUICON 74. You MUST have a license to show Ms Lois Newman, Sales Room Administrator, or you cannot have a table'. Verbal "permission" is not acceptable; we'd like to avoid any hassle with visiting Paramount Studios officials, who are within their rights to close down a Sales

Table and will do so without hesitation if they find illegal Star Trek sales going on! Sales Room table rentals will NOT be returned to someone who causes trouble for himself and EQUICON 74 by not acquiring a license.

Also see "Official" Props for Sale, But Beware the Energy Crisis.

The Birth of the Star Fleet Technical Manual

The official marketing people's slow response's to fan demand regarding Star Trek merchandise was evident to Franz Joseph, a fan who'd created a set of detailed blueprints. Before the 1974 convention, Joseph got special permission to sell the 500 copies of his creation, one he had titled Booklet of General Plans. A year later, these plans later became the Star Fleet Technical Manual:

...months later, with a major Trek convention approaching, Joseph had still not received official permission to sell his work. Bypassing Roddenberry, he made a one-time deal with Paramount to sell the “General Plans” (the Enterprise blueprints) at the upcoming convention. Equicon 1974 took place in Los Angeles from April 12–14. Of the 500 copies of the General Plans Joseph had prepared, 410 sold immediately; 450 requests for additional copies were taken on postcards. Paramount, which received Joseph’s royalty check shortly thereafter, sensed it was on to something, and began negotiating for a mass-market release of both the General Plans and the still-growing Technical Manual. The results exceeded all expectations. The blueprints went on sale across the nation on May 24, 1975, selling out within two hours. By May 28, 50,000 additional copies had sold, prompting Ballantine to print 100,000 more.[4]

Flyers, Clippings, Badges

Descriptions and Advice for 1974 Con-Goers

Below are excerpts from an Equicon 1974 progress report, one which ran 20 pages:

Images from a Progress Report

Will Attending Equicon Make Me a Fan?

I am a very "ardent" Star Trek fan and am also an artist. Because I am this kind of fan and collect scrapbooks, books, novels, paperclippings, comics, etc, on Star Trek, I still do not feel that is enough. So I would like some information on the upcoming convention, EQUICON 74. Because I feel that I will be a real fan after attending this convention. Do you agree?

(There is no magic moment when AUTOMATICALLY become a F*A*N! Some fans never go to a convention or collect a thing, but their attitude is per Star Trek! Other people will go to a con just to nit-pick, complain, obstruct and make sure their own interests are forwarded at whatever cost to anyone else's pleasure: are they fans? FANS have an active interest in helping -- look at the many charities in Star Trek fandom -- and in offering constructive aid to con-committees, and in arriving with the right frame of mind to a con in order to have a Good Time -- which is NOT going to be served on a silver platter, by the way: you wwill have to work a bit at it! But with the RIGHT ATTITUDE, you can become a FAN. So plan on coming to EQUICON 74 with the most enthusiasm possible, and PLAN on having fun, and "becoming a fan" will take care of itself, without your having to worry much about it!)

Getting Your Parents to Say "Yes."

I've met lots of kids who said they'd have attended the Equicon 73 convention if there had been someone to take them. Isn't there something we can do? - Richard B." and' "My parents are sorta unhappy about the idea of my going to your convention. Is there anything I can tell them? Would it be O.K. if they came along? -N.F.

(The word "convention" seems to mean drunken businessmen, careening down hotel halls, playing practical jokes on passer by! To science fiction fans, "convention" means getting together with people of like interests, to share a fine time of movies, speeches, meeting others, and generally having a good time, without being destructive to property or self. The most serious problem a young conventioneer might have is staying up too late to trade film clips or sing folk songs! We can only hope your folks give us a chance. Show them the committee listing, so they'll know we aren't a bunch of nuts, but responsible citizens with normal family lives, jobs and other everyday things.
Also, try to help out from your end, too: stop talking about Star Trek every minute and indicate a healthy interest in something else for a change! Then your parents won't feel they are perpetrating a fanatic fixation if they let you come to EQUICON 74, but merely adding a new dimension to a fascinating hobby. Right? RIGHT! Start picking up your room, keep your grades and homework done right and volunteer to do the chores without being nagged--then the only danger will be when your folks decide you are too sick to be allowed out of the house!
By all means, invite your parents to EQUICON! They might enjoy it. And if they are bored with our interests, there are many interesting places to visit in the Los Angeles area, and tour buses go to everyone of them! Our Registration Chairperson works as a tour guide at Universal Studios, in fact.)

Food at the Hotel: Be Sneaky, Be Neat

Hotel policies against outside food were very strict in the 1970s. Even the maids were to be feared. Attendees asked:

Could you tell us if there are any drive-in places to eat near the hotel or perhaps a supermarket? My two friends and I are going to eat very cheaply the three days we're in Los Angeles. Money can be a problem sometimes! -Kim P." and "I have a religious dietary problem; can you arrange for the hotel restaurants to accommodate me? -J.N." and "How can a fan eat at a convention? I brought some strawberries into the hotel last year, they stopped me and said I couldn't take them to my room! -B.J.K.
EQUICON 74 will have a guide of places to go for good but inexpensive meals. We don't want our attendees so hungry they faint from malnutrition--which has happened at cons! But play it cool: bringing food into a hotel and eating supermarket goods in your room is taking money away from them, and they rightfully resent that. When you bring something in, don't use an obvious supermarket shopping bag--there are many other things you can carry nibbles in! Don't just carry the strawberries out in the open. When in your room, be sure to clean up after yourself, and put all food away in a drawer; otherwise the maid will report it to management. Try to get food that won't go bad and smell up the room, or make a big mess; keep to high protein stuff instead of sugars, too! No, we cannot take on the job of handling everyone's dietary problems, sorry. Make your own arrangements with the hotel's restaurants AT THE TIME OF ORDERING: it is very inconsiderate to take up everyone's time fussing about it this early in the game: the restaurant can only do its best.

The Naked Lady

Apparently, during the 1973 Masquerade contest, several female costumers appeared in something less 'costumey' and more 'au naturel.' One attendee writes:

A friend tells me that you're going to have a rule in the costume ball against the Naked Lady. If this is true, how childish and stupid can a convention get? - Irate.
(It seems childish and stupid to insist on bugging us about this when letter campaigns should be directed where they will do the most good: at Supreme Court! The recent change in obscenity laws has made hotels very nervous; we found that word passed quickly in the hotel business and the first thing mentioned was the recent nudity at costume balls--not just at Star Trek conventions, by the way. We don't care to run the risk of having future cons turned down by GOOD hotels in every city in the U.S. because of someone's foolishness, even if you and your "friend" could care less! Meanwhile, some people may have to resort to creative imagination for their costumes, instead of cheap thrills. Sorry about that!)

Another fan felt the naked lady spiced up a disappointing masquerade:

The masquerade was a disappointment. Even the chick who disrobed only improved conditions slightly.

Boys Dressing Up

Why don't you have a contest for boys? Fashion shows are fine for girls, but we need something better: -Fred F.

(HOLD IT! The costume design contest is open to all sexes, and is a fan PARTICIPATION thing. Don't make it into a sexist bit, OK? Many of our entries were designed by males, and will be modeled by males, too, who will enjoy it. However, if design is not your "thing", try a different-not necessarily "better"--approach and enter the pun contest, the caption contest, the folk song or Phineas Tarbolde competitions, or the Enterprise-in-a-Bottle contest! Or think up a new one for us to try on everyone!)

Help Wanted with the Computers

HELP WANTED: Needed NOW--a key-puncher who can work from typewritten info, or someone who can transcribe typewritten info onto key-punch coding forms. Due to Energy Crisis, this volunteer MUST live in L.A. or Claremont area. We have mailing lists to do up--HURRY.

"Minorities" at the Convention

You guys make a lot of noise about "any race" can come to your convention, but that's so much noise, just like everywhere else, right? -Milt G.

(Migosh. Aren't we cynical today? No it's NOT just so much noise! STAR TREK Conventions have drawn greater numbers of Black fans than any other fan con, and the numbers seem to be growing--and that's very nice indeed! Our committee does not have a Black member, but that's because no one has volunteered yet- -we aren't picky: if someone is willing to work, they could be PLAID for all we care! We do have Orientals, Chicanos, Italians , Amer-Indians, and other neat nationalities. Every religion is represented, I think ... We would like to hear from anyone who feels they were really discriminated against at any kind of fan convention: which con, when, and who did it!)

Finding the NERVE

An example of an imperious letter the con com received:

Regarding EQUICON 74, I am looking forward to the arrangement whereby you will have several simultaneous events to accommodate the massive quantities of bodies that will undoubtedly be present at this convention. However, I wish to see every Star Trek event at that convention, so if any two events occur, both should occur twice so that everybody could attend to both. I sincerely hope you will take this slight criticism in the spirit in which it was intended.

(Oh, hes; I think the whole committee took it in the spirit it was intended -- in fact, we had to restrain a couple of them! Seriously, friend, do you really believe that we can possibly double or triple program everything? If you miss a blooper film, you can catch it at the next showing, of course.... but if you miss a Guest Star, that may well be the ONLY time was could get him there, and that's really too bad for everyone who did miss him, but what can we do about it? Our only other choice is to NOT have the Guest Star at all; how about that? What makes you think that we can round up every single panel member to re-run the whole thing at your convenience? How could we find the NERVE to require that every Guest Star double and triple his appearances? No way! We are very grateful for what we can program for the Star Trek fans, and the unselfish ones are happy with what we can -- and will -- provide. Go thou and do likewise!

A Plea for More Foxy David Gerrold

Three fans' letters:

I really enjoyed the panel discussions where members of the audience could ask questions of the panel members. I noticed you didn't mention whether David Gerrold would be there. I hope he will be, I'm sure he would be very much in demand, con considering the two fantastic books he wrote on Star Trek. Also, he is such a fox, I'm sure he would liven up the convention if he just stood there. -- Mary H.

Suggestions: 1) Acquire a larger hotel. 2) Assassinate the Fire Marshall at the earliest opportunity. (Bjo Trimble adds: Tempting, but inadvisable!) 3) When celebrities are "on display" for autographs, see that an orderly progression/procession of fans is established. 4) Do not allow David Gerrold to make announcements prefaced by, "Well, gang, I've got some good news and some bad news..." Landru is all. -- R. I. C.

I wish David Gerrold would write some more books on Star Trek, I love the way he writes, the way he describes his adventures with Star Trek makes me feel like I am on the scene. Tell David Gerrold he is a real cool dude: -- V. V.

A Plea for Less Randall

I had a fantastic time at last year's con. But, please, do not let [Randall G] have the microphone this year. -- M.B.K.

([Randall G] is no longer connected with EQUICON in any official capacity.)

A Plea for Less Smoking

Smoking was allowed in some sections of FilmCon, but NOT in the screening rooms, where the blue haze would obscure the film on the screen, and endanger people who had to sit next to a thoughtless smoker for an hour or more -- perhaps smokers just do not care to believe that non-smokers do not like breathing in used smoke!

"Official" Props for Sale, But Beware the Energy Crisis

THE ENERGY CRISIS STRIKES AGAIN!

Plastic kits are a petroleum-base product, and allotments of this ever scarce item many force AMT to shelve plans for a Star Trek communicator & phaser kit for a time. DO NOT ORDER NOW: if and when the kids are ready, announcements will be made by AMT. The kits (if and when) will be in general distribution, and NOT the sole dealership of one person, as rumor now has it. (info as of 1/74)

Lincoln Enterprises has a communicator and phaser idea in the works -- perhaps ready by EQUICON 74, but no guarantees. These, according to our sources, will be the size of the original props, and you'll have to ask Lincoln for more details than that, including the price. Word is out that AMT has a model kit in the works, with phaser, tricorder, and communicator, but they are all one mold, which means they will be smaller than the originals.

[...]

There is ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION between Lincoln Enterprises -- formally Star Trek Enterprises -- and any fan convention. Lincoln sometimes sends catalogs to the cons, but seldom will they offer their items for direct sale at cons. Don't write letters to us about this; we don't know why. Lincoln is a private, commercial, non-fan business, and they don't usually have much to do with fandom.

See TPTB Notices Some Merchandising Opportunities.

Babysitters, and Surfing

Some parents inquired if the convention could hire babysitters. While the con was in support of the idea (due to "crying during "Amok Time" and "whining during panels"), apparently the local surfing weather had a lot to do with availability:

You see, we have to PAY a babysitter no matter whether or not anyone shows up to use her services. And nobody wants to take a chance on hiring a girl for 3 days, and then have no one use the babysitting room. That's expensive, and the con could have used the money to rent a good movie, instead!

So we asked, and found parents who "didn't think they need it," or Junior doesn't "relate well with other children" or "my kids want to see the events too" -- and whine all through panel discussions or cry during "Amok Time'... and so on.

The result is that one or two parents end up paying VERY high babysitting prices because the rest of you didn't "think you'd need it..."

[...]

BABYSITTING ROOM: Parents: will you support this idea? If so, please drop us a card, telling how many children and their ages, and approx. how many hours per day you might use the room. Otherwise, when you're finally tired of schlepping the kid around, or the poor baby is dead tired, you'll get socked about $2.00 per hour by the hotel, because EQUICON 74 won't set up a room for the kiddies unless we get some response! Easter weekend is great surfing weather, so LET US KNOW NOW, so we can get enough babysitters NOW--it is too late, that weekend.

Regarding the Blooper Reels

Bjo Trimble took credit for the wide-spread viewing of the blooper reel:

The Blooper Reels were first put together for a Star Trek cast party. Then the Trimbles saw them, and talked Gene Roddenberry into letting fans enjoy them, too. GR was worried that fans would not like to see their Heroes fluffing lines, and in general, showing that they were human. But when the first reel was shown, the fan reaction was so good that we've shown them many times since at various conventions. The Blooper Reels will be shown several times during EQUICON 74, and visiting guest stars will probably enjoy them as much as you will! Actually, the reels are all on one reel now.[5]

"Animated" Please, Not Cartoons

Can you get any of the Star Trek cartoons at the convention. That would be a very special addition!

(We'll try, but have a technical problem: most of the animated -- NOT cartoons, OK? -- episodes are only on 35mm film. So unless Filmation Studios puts more episodes on 16mm, we will be very limited as to how many we can show. You see, anyone can use a 16mm projector, and it can be placed on the floor of the screening room. But a 35mm is, by law, required to be in a projection booth, and have a licensed projectionist: both the machine and the man are expensive!

The Weather

LOS ANGELES WEATHER IN APRIL: Crisp in the morning & evening, warm during the day: sweaters are often needed, but seldom anything heavier. Easter weekend is traditionally Open Season for surfing (bbrrrr!). Clothing is casual in California, but scruffy people may find themselves waiting longer than usual for service while interesting things go on back at EQUICON 74.

Disabled Fans and Inclusion

Is there any way my handicapped brother can attend the convention? Will Star Trek fans be nice to him? -V.G.
(If you mean MAY your brother attend the convention, YES, of course! We have had Star Trek fans in wheelchairs or on braces and crutches; some who are epileptic, and with other handicaps. All FANS are welcome, and we will do our very best to accommodate anyone who needs a little extra help. Star Trek fans are very nice people, by and large: they were responsible for a goodly donation at Equicon 73 to Sophia Salvin School for Handicapped Children--where Katwen Trimble, age 9, and daughter of John & Bjo Trimble, attends school. Katwen is mentally retarded. So are some of her little friends, who will be at EQUICON 74, and none of them worry about people being nice to them; they KNOW the Star Trek fans will be understanding and friendly!)

IN SPITE OF FRAZIER, and a Tit for Tat, to the Fire Marshall

REMEMBER THE FIRE MARSHALL? Well, Mr. Frazier is still on the job, and unless we enjoy having to stop the convention and replace all the chairs where he wants them (and by law, he has the right to close-down any public meeting that does not comply--sigh!), then everyone better plan on being their own watch-dog! Replace chairs when you see them out of place, remind smokers--who ALWAYS need reminding, unfortunately--that smoking isn't allowed, and in general, let's police ourselves so that the Fire Marshall doesn't have to! It doesn't do any good to get childish about it; the man has authority over us, and there's nothing we can do about that! All we can do is try to see that EQUICON 74 flows smoothly IN SPITE OF FRAZIER, and the only way to do that is to obey every legal stricture he lays down (we plan to check and make sure that there is a law on some of the things). Bugging the Fire-Marshall may seem like good sport, but all it will do--especially in this case--is to make him drag out every single out-dated and obscure law he can find to slap on us and make the convention suffer! So, the word is: PLAY IT COOL, and hopefully, the Fire Marshall will too. After all, there are good reasons for most fire laws in public meeting places, so however unpalatable it is for us fun-loving conventioneers, those laws are for OUR protection. Our real gripe is the dedicated way this particular Fire Marshall nitpicks over totally unimportant trivia!

(One lovely moment at Equicon 73 occurred when [Fire Marshall] Frazier entered the banquet and lit a cigarette. Craig Miller told him to put it out; that we didn't allow smoking in any of the rooms, and especially where food was being served. Definitely a case of "tit for tat"!)

Con Reports

Hey, I went to the Equicon, and at the costume show there were at least three Lieutenant M'ress ripoffs. In spite of DC Fontana describing the virtual impossibility of doing a convincing catwoman (or felinoid) make-up, apparently some folks have decided to pick up the challenge. The con was also invaded by Orion bellydancers. I went as an Orion (guess who? I'll give you a hint—she spells her name Cyyl) but didn't try to make a fool of myself bellydancing—there were too many women there who knew how it's really done. Including DC Fontana, according to Gene Roddenberry.

It was an interesting con. Displaying an abnormal lack of good judgment (even for me) I stayed in the screening room most of the time watching Star Trek reruns. I don't have a television, you know. Therefore I missed all the good panels. Unfortunately, I did not miss David Gerrold, but he was unavoidable—he emceed the costume contest and managed to insult just about every Star Trek entry somehow. For some reason that guy has mostly contempt for Star Trek fen. Possibly because he was inundated with too much rah-rah Trekkishkeit at the beginning of his hyperbolic career. Now, if he could get his head deflated, I've been told he's a pretty nice guy. Ah, well, enough bitching about David Gerrold. You didn't pay a dollar for this book to hear me bitch about David Gerrold. You can bitch about him yourself, for free.

Oh, before I leave the con—which was IMMACULATELY organized, so it's forgivable that the organizers spent most of that ten-dollar luncheon patting each other on the back for the great job they did, and I got more exposure to Gene Roddenberry when I almost ran into him in the lobby (he had a rather glassy stare at the moment—he must hate cons—the only thing he could think of to say about Equicon '74 was that it was the best-run con he's been to—he 's probably sick to death of ten-dollar shoe leather teriyaki and dime store Monty Halls but then it's not an easy life hustling tee-vee shows. (More on THAT shortly), but it was nice of Nichelle Nichols to come and personally sell her records.

Anyway, this con proved to me that someone was wrong when they said, to have these good monster cons you have to have big names, big stars. That's falling into the same commercial mess as has comic fandom by the throat. Cons are about people interacting with love and having a good time. They shouldn't be big, except that numbers really impress the Man at Paramount. Equicon '74 was small as Star Trek cons go—only about 3000 people. I'm glad I didn't make ISTC this year—12,000 people is far too many. But do 4000—or 12,000—people get together just to catch a glimpse of Leonard Nimoy or get Gene Roddenberry to autograph their copies of THE MAKING OF STAR TREK? I don't believe so. There's a lot to this phenomenon that simply can't be defined in such rah-rah terms.

[much snipped]

[Terrible] things keep happening to those who can least afford them, and we largely go through life unaware and unconcerned that half the world is starving. I know you aren't supposed to bring things like this up in fanzines. In fact, it's considered extremely poor taste to drag the Awful World Out there into fanzines. But one of the things I've noticed about Star Trek fandom and nowhere else(as far as fandom is concerned) is a level of concern with what fundamentalists call Good Works and devout Jews call mitzvahs -- the proceeds of the Equicon went to Gene Coon's cancer fund and the proceeds of the next ISTC (which won't be called that) will go to some other worthy charity (NOT Al Schuster!). Maybe it's because Star Trek fans are older and maybe have a little more money.[6]

Guests in attendance at EQUICON 74 included (and I apologize if I miss someone since 1 could not be everywhere and see everyone!) Miss Dorothy C. Fontana as Guest of Honor, Gene Roddenberry, Majel Roddenberry, Mrs. Roddenberry (Gene Roddenberry*s mother), James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols", Walter Koenig, Robert Foxworth (Questor)/Mike Farrell (Jerry Robinson), John Vernon (Mr. Darrow ) David Gerrold, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Niven, Arlene Martel (T'Pring), Ted Cassidy (Ruk in ST and Isaiah in PE), Barry Atwater, Alan Dean Foster (doing the novelization of the Animation episodes), Elizabeth Montgomery, and Mrs. Helen Young as Fan Guest of Honor (Head chief of STW!!) I also believe in attendance were other celebrities. If anyone can identify someone that I have missed please write me.

Famous Fans that were seen at Equicon 74 besides Helen Young and Russell and Curtis Young, included Mrs. Laura J. Basta [7] , and other S.T.A.R. Central people, Alicia Austin, Jeannie Peacock (EQUICON 75 con committee as well as S.T.A.R. San Diego!), Maureen Wilson (GRAS), Denny and Richard Arnold (TABA), Janice Scott (STW), Diane McClaugherty (STW), Shirley Maiewski (mail room, STW), Daphne Hamilton (McCoy's Scribes), Doris Beetem and Gail Barton (ERIDANI TRIAD), Linda Wright, Dawn Huntley, Doug Herring, Karen Flannery, etc. etc. etc.

Special thanks must go to the EQUICON 74 con committee for the best STAR TREK con of them all. There were so many events planned besides the 24 hour film rooms (2 of them) for ST episodes and sf films, that the effort to put this con on must have been monumental. Thank you very much! EQUICON 74 is the best example of how-a-con-should-be-run that I’ve ever seen [8]. (And I have attended 14 sf and ST cons. . . . )

Special events that occurred during the con that must be mentioned, besides Gene Roddenberry’s speech are numerous. The main highlight Friday night was the beautiful fashion show. Over 50 costumes designed and then made by fans (as well as Bjo Trimble) were modeled. And some of the models included The Larry Nivens, Dorothy Fontana, and Arlene Martel and her children as T’Pring and family. A very good time was had by all. And entertainment was provided afterwards by the Roto-Rooter Good-Time Christmas Band. Perhaps the best way to describe their special brand of insanity is that in comparison to this band, ST fans are almost normal. If you ever get a chance to see them - do so. They are unbelievable. Saturday night was the costume ball, and what a costume ball it was! There were well over 250+ entrees, and some of the special effects and makeup were astounding. David Gerrold was the emcee for this event. But not only were most of the costumes good, but while the judges were deliberating (and they had a lot to deliberate upon!) the audience was entertained by two young stunt men who performed enough stunts to amaze anyone. The life of a Hollywood stunt man is not an easy lot.... Entered in the costume ball were a great many dancers, Kraith-related costumes, and enough tribble contestants to invent a new category... after the costume ball was the run-amok-time party, which featured (would you believe?) belly dancers with two navels. One of the dancers was Dorothy Fontana.

James Doohan flew down from San Francisco both Saturday and Sunday to be at the convention. He is currently starring in "The Trial of James MacNeil Whistler" with Rudy Solari . There is a possibility that the play will go on tour. We most certainly hope so. Mr. Doohan's speech Saturday mainly concerned the play as well as modern art, the possibility of the return of ST, and the probability that he will soon make a record. Also on Saturday, besides the Roddenberry speech, The QUESTOR cast spoke and answered questions from the audience. (Talk about really nice people...) If QUESTOR comes to NBC, Jerry Robinson will remain part of the cast.

On Sunday, the highlights included a panel with Bjo Trimble, David Gerrold and Margaret Basta on the ST fandom, and Arlene Martel answering questions as if she were T'Pring. Then there was the banquet. A policy for banquets that was adopted from FILMCONs was held that at as many tables as possible, a celebrity would be seated. Many ST fans were elated to discover that they would be seated with such people as George Takei, James Doohan, The Roddenberrys, etc. I hope that this is a policy that will be continued at future conventions.

The film program at EQUICON 74 was incredible. There was one complete room devoted to ST episodes and the blooper reel. And another room for sf films. Some of the films included the premiere showing of a fantasy film called "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad". If you can see it when it comes to town, do so. The special effects are fabulous. Also shown quite often were OUESTOR (that film gets better every time around), GENESIS II, as well as other sf films.

On Monday after the convention however, the gofers and other hard-workers for the con were given the chance to attend a private screening at Warner Bros, of the film PLANET EARTH. That's a great way to thank a con's volunteers.

The Huckster's Room was quite crowded with dealers, even though business has been better at other cons. However, the smart fan could find some very good items, not to mention unusual items in the 4 dealer's rooms. Nichelle Nichols was selling records and posters. Walter Koenig was selling scripts and photos. (It was surprising at how long some of the celebrities would sit at tables in the dealer's room signing autographs. Such endurance. . . ) STAR TREK ENTERPRISES also, for the first time, had a table at a convention.

The Art Show was large, and very well hung, and it featured some truly delightful as well as beautiful exhibits. One of the hits of the show was Elizabeth Marshall's sehlat footstool, where, if you tweeked one of its ears, the eyes would light up. Also the "thing-in-a-bottle" competition brought in some ingenious entries including one bottle in which there was a mountain of tiny tribbles, and from the top of it, an arm was seen, in Captain's green, holding the white flag of surrender. Throughout the entire convention area, the rules and regulations of the concommittee were posted in the humorous style of Alicia Austin's drawings.

There were several special exhibit rooms. The main room featured a laser and holograph exhibit, as well as photos from the sets of UFO, PLANET EARTH, GENESIS II, the Disney version of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA as well as an actual model from the movie of Captain Nemo’s ship, another fan-built version of the Enterprise bridge, and an almost continuous makeup exhibition. There, the fan with enough courage could have done professionally-made Vulcan ears (a lot of ears were seen at the con, and for the brave, complete ape makeup from the PLANET OF THE APES movie series. Fascinating for someone who has never been exposed to such skill before.

There were also two fan rooms, which, unfortunately because they were on another floor of the hotel, did not see too many visitors. However, the material as well as the people manning these rooms were interesting.

Many, many S.T.A.R. chapters and affiliates were represented throughout the entire con from all over the country, and not just California. There was also a fairly comprehensive fanzine exhibit - which was out in the open for people to browse through - and not one fanzine that I know of was ripped off. Compare this to the fact that at the INTERNATIONAL NYSTCON #3 all the fanzines on display were stolen the first day. .... [9]

As for the MARRIOTT HOTEL, it was a luxury hotel, and the staff seemed more than happy to have the fans there. I know of very few unpleasant incidents that occurred between the hotel and the con attendees. The hotel even provided portable bars wherever an event was being held, as well as a quickee sandwich and drink line for those in a hurry.

The prices were high, but no where near as steep as those in New York’s AMERICANA, and the quality of the service was infinitely better. These just ain't no such thing as a hotel large enough to host a ST con and that is also cheap too. . . Between 6,000 to 8,000 people registered for EOUICON 74. However, because the hotel was so huge, and there were so many events occurring simultaneously, there was no crowding whatsoever. It was a relaxed con in spite of its size. If there was any complaint about the con to be made, it is the fact that so many events were scheduled opposite each other, that you did not have the time to see everything in just 5 days... [10]

It was really quite a con. The figures the attendance were not available at the time we went to press, however, we do have several reports from con-goers and their reactions. One of our correspondents spent over 50 hours on a bus going and coming. We finally talked her Into writing about the con instead of the bus ride, mainly because we had only seven words left after our editor censored it! Here's how the con went:

FRIDAY: at 10:00 am the film room opened with both episodes of STAR TREK and feature SF films. At the same time, they held the first session of the "Gamesters of Triskellion" STAR TRSK Trivia Contest (our reporter won this particular contest and was awarded seven Quatloos).

At 11:30, Bob Greenberg held a discussion on "The Art of Animation." At noon, the art show opened with some really fantastic works, but nothing the average fan could really afford. At 2:30 D.C. Fontana gave the keynote address. In which she really didn't say much. Just hinted that the Great Bird of the Galaxy had some 'very good news' for us on Saturday. Also on the platform were Nichelle Nichols, David Gerrold, John and Bjo Trimble, Larry Niven, Alan Dean Foster, and the LOCAL girl who played Astrid (Linda Blalr?) In Genesis II. Bjo Trimble announced that the Fan Guest of Honor was Helen Young of the STAR TREK Welcohmittee. At 3:30 the cast of PLANET EARTH (excluding John Saxon and Diana Muldar) were there, and talked generally about "The Confederacy of Ruth," the second pilot episode. The Fashion Show was held later on that evening, with the STAR TREK blooper reel being shown at the same time in another part of the hall.

SATURDAY: The second session of the Trivia Contest was held, and the film room opened again. At 11:30 they had the Los Angeles premier of a new film called "Golden Voyage of Sinbad." At noon Jimmy Doohan appeared and met the fans who were crowding around him. Then at 1:00 QUESTOR TAPES was shown, and afterward Robert Foxworth and Mike Farrell, along with the two gentlemen who played Mr. Darrow and Lady Trimble's bodyguard talked about the present status of the QUESTOR series. After this. Gene and Majel Roddenberry made the big announcement about STAR TREK. Majel had managed to 'let slip' at a press conference on Friday, so the news didn't come as a complete surprise to some fans. Gene then answered questions about STAR TREK and its revival, and then introduced his mother who was in the audience, and flashed around some pictures of their new baby. Later that evening the costume contest (entirely different from the fashion show) was held; this was followed by the 'Shore Leave' party.

SUNDAY: Once again the Trivia Contest (Finals) opened at 10:00 a.m. At 10:30 they held the art auction. At 1:00 the banquet and reception began. At 6:00 they held the final auction of STAR TREK paraphernalia (like actual scripts used by the stars). The con ended after this, but the films ran to midnight. [11]

... I went to the Equicon, and had the best time imaginable. I really never thought that it could be so much fun. I let a great many people I've always wanted to meet and spent hours just talking. Our room seemed to be a general meeting place.

The hotel was really well laid out for such a convention, and the committee had done a fantastic job of organizing things to the best advantage. The art rooms, sales rooms, exhibit rooms, movie rooms, all were well marked. And with the attendance kept deliberately lower, about 5,000 average, there wasn't the feeling of being overcrowded as I had heard that the New York Con was. All in all, it was a fantastic experience that I hope that I'll be able to repeat again soon. Among those celebrities that I had the privilege of seeing and speaking to were Majel Barrett, Jim Doohan, George Takei, and Arlene Martel. They are all, without exception, marvelous people. I spoke to Arlene Martel for several minutes as she was being made up for the costume call, and took a few pictures of her and her two beautiful children. Anyone who wrinkles their nose at her name simply because she played T'Pring, will get a word or two from me. She is not only an incredibly beautiful woman, but just a beautiful a person as well. And those two children! Wow! And between you an me, that guy that was hovering over her wasn't hard to take either. All four of them simply marvelous.

I had no time for more than just “Hi" to Jim Doohan, but that beard is very distinguished. George Takei turned out to be a real doll. Surprised me no end when I walked up to him and said "Hi George”, and had him reach up, say "hi" back, and kiss me on the cheek! We talked for several minutes, and exchanged notes about someone we both know, a man named Bob Sharp who was a camera man for ST for a while whom I had cared for while he was in the hospital. What really surprised me with George, was that he actually recognized me! I didn’t realize how many people know me.

I spoke to Majel only for a moment, as she was quite tied up at the time, but was able to give her a small gift for the new baby. The next day, I was rather amused to have quite a number of people come up to me and ask where the devil I had been the day before as both Majel and Gene Roddenberry were frantically searching for me and had a couple of dozen others looking as well. Trouble is nobody thought to look in my room. Karen and I were then informed that Gene had invited us to view a special screening of "Planet Earth", along with convention committee members and guests. We delayed our return to Fresno long enough to cram into an already overloaded van and go over to Warner Bros., to do just that. Very exciting way to end a convention! Needless to say, it won't by any means be the last for this old gal. [12]

References

  1. ^ Source: Archives Log 1.8 (Dec 1974).
  2. ^ Source: Who's Who in Star Trek Fandom.
  3. ^ Source: Who's Who in Star Trek Fandom.
  4. ^ Franz Joseph and Star Trek’s Blueprint Culture posted March 11, 2012.
  5. ^ from an Equicon progress report
  6. ^ con report by Cara Sherman, printed in Romulan Wine #4
  7. ^ Laura J. Basta was a relative of this con report's writer.
  8. ^ Margaret Basta was an out-spoken critic of Star Trek Lives! cons, and this was a jab at that con series.
  9. ^ Another jab at Star Trek Lives!.
  10. ^ by Margaret Basta in Star-Borne #13
  11. ^ from Sub-Space Chatter #3
  12. ^ by Nana Grasnick from Da Scribe's Grapvine (May 1974)