Equicon/1975

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1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1981 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988
Convention
Name: Equicon
Dates: May 24–25, 1975
Frequency:
Location:
Type:
Focus: Science Fiction, Star Trek, films
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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cover of the 1975 program book, not credited but signed as Jim Pinklowski

From the San Diego SF convention web page: "Guests [at the 1975 Equicon] included the entire main cast of Star Trek....Briggs adds: the name derived from the convention supposedly being on the Equinox. There were several Equicon's in L.A. before and after, at the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes." Equicon '75 took place May 24–25, 1975 at the El Cortex Hotel in San Diego.

The Equicon in 1975 was chaired by Jean Peacock and Jamie Hanrahan with Bjo Trimble in charge of the Fashion Show, Bjo and John Trimble in charge of the art show, Pearl Rae Stickler, John Trimble, Nancy Bourdages, in charge of the Masquerade, D.C. Fontana was the Celebrity Coordinator, and many others.

Guests

At the time the program book was printed, there were 34 guests of honor (28 male, 6 female).

  • Equicon Guest of Honor—art director Walter M. Jefferies
  • Filmcon Fan Guest of Honor—editor of "Famous Monsters" Forrest J Ackerman
  • Poul & Karen Anderson—sf writers
  • Tim Baar—specialty props, miniatures, etc.
  • Rick Baker—makeup man
  • Ed Bishop—actor
  • Larry Brody—writer
  • R. Wright Campbell—writer
  • William Campbell—actor, rep. Motion Picture & TV Country House & Hospital
  • James Doohan—actor
  • June Foray—voice specialist, actress
  • Greg Jein—special effects, miniatures
  • David Gerrold—writer, costume call MC
  • George Clayton Johnson—writer
  • Robert H. Justman—producer, former assoc. producer, production mgr.
  • Bob Kline—FILMATION artist
  • Walter Koenig—actor, writer
  • Katherine Kurtz—writer (fantasy)
  • John Landis—actor, director
  • Walt Lee—sf & fantasy films expert
  • Bruce Logan—cinematographer (IDAHO TRANSFER)
  • Monte Markham—actor
  • Arlene Martel—actress
  • Nichelle Nichols—actress
  • Larry Niven—sf writer, TV sf writer
  • George Pal—producer
  • Fred B. Phillips—makeup artist
  • Gene Roddenberry—writer, producer
  • Majel Barrett Roddenberry—actress
  • James Rugg—special effects
  • Theodore Sturgeon—writer
  • George Takei—actor
  • William Ware Theiss—costume designer

Welcome: From the Program Book

By Jean Peacock, the concom chair:

Welcome to Equicon 75/Filmcon 3! As you probably know, these two conventions were combined due to their similarity of theme. (And contrary to popular rumor, they will not be parting company after 1975. Equicon and Filmcon will remain one convention.) So this weekend -- and for many more in years to come -- plan to enjoy the biggest and the best-loved fan convention anywhere on the west coast!

Never in the history of fandom has any convention combined so impressive a list of feature films, in-person celebrities and special events. Those poor tired souls you will see wearing "committee" ribbons around the convention floor deserve, at the very least, a handshake and a "thank you" for all their efforts in putting Equicon/ Filmcon together this year.

One of the questions we, as committee members, hear most often is: "What do you get out of all this?" For the most part, a committee worker has the satisfaction of having been a "part of things," and in having helped a large number of people to have a lot of fun for a very good cause. All of Equicon/Filmcon's profits are to be donated to our three selected charities, and none of the committee members receives any monetary payment for his or her contribution to the con. (We wouldn't mind being paid for all this work, to be honest. But we would rather see charity benefit from our collective labors than line our own pockets with the convention's proceeds, as is the practice at some fan conventions.)

The charities slated to receive donations from Equicon 75/Filmcon 3 are: The San Diego Children's Health Center; The Sophia Salvin School for Handicapped Children, Los Angeles; and the Motion Picture Country Home and Convalescent Hospital, Los Angeles.

We hope that you will enjoy Equicon 75/Filmcon 3, and that you can appreciate, as we do, the chance to have fun for the sake of some very worthy causes!

The Convention Committee Members and Volunteers

  • Chairman: Jean Peacock
  • Co-Chairman: Jamie Hanrahan
  • Registrar: David Barber
  • Assistant: Kay Jones
  • Treasurer: Dennis Hunt
  • Sales Administrator: Alice Mundorff
  • Fashion Show/Art Show: Bjo Trimble
  • Art Show: John Trimble
  • Masquerade: Pearl Rae Stickler, John Trimble, Nancy Bourdages
  • Recording Secretary: Pam May
  • Information Secretary: Donna McGary
  • Films Coordinator: Bill Lund
  • Asst: Joe Nardi Awards: Lynn Barker
  • Publicity: Rita Ractliffe
  • Celebrity Coordinator: D. C. Fontana
  • Auction: Laura Block
  • Head Gofer: Jeri Bethel
  • Exhibits: D. E. White
  • Fan Clubs: Karen Schnaubelt
  • Fan Security: Richard Kaapke
  • Ed Bishop Liaison: Dale Jones
  • Handicapped Services: Liz Greene
  • Computer Services Asst.: Cliveden Haas
  • Transportation: Fran Evans
  • Contests: Paul Pellettiri
  • Roommates/Child Care: Becky Foote
  • Art Show Assistant: Greg Bear
  • Special Celebrity Relations: Nadine Paulsen
  • Publications/Banquet: Chuck Graham
  • Press Room: Helen Bautista

Some Travel Arrangements

Many fan clubs caravaned in groups from other states:
"As you probably are all aware by now, S.T.A.R UTAH is planning to invade Equicon en masse. There are five vehicles of various and sundry sizes and shapes tentatively lined up to go and we're reserving five rooms at the hotel—three for the girls, two for the guys. Carol Andrus and Julia Howarth, our con coordinators, need to know as soon as possible who will be going (even if you are not going with the caravan or won't be staying at the hotel). We want to get all the plans firmed as soon as we can."[1]

Costuming/Masquerade

Con Charities

The charities slated to receive donations from Equicon 75/Filmcon 3 were The San Diego Children's Health Center; The Sophia Salvin School for Handicapped Children, Los Angeles; and the Motion Picture Country Home and Convalescent Hospital, Los Angeles.

The Program Book

The program book is 68 pages long.

It has a cover by Jim Pinkowski (not credited), and interior Star Trek illos by Ellen Winder."

Many, many pages of the program book consist of movie and television stills from the movie "War of the Worlds," "King Kong," "Wolfman," "Planet of the Apes," "Five Million Miles to Earth," "Invaders from Mars," "Panic in Year Zero," "White Zombie," "Island of Lost Souls," "Frankenstein," "Dracula," "Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein," "The Time Machine," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Batman and Robin," and many stills from "Star Trek."

There is an article by Bill Lund called "Why Special Effects?," a list of favorite science fiction movies, an article by Bill Lund called "The Cinematography of Karl Freund."

Ads for "Vertex" (a monthly tabloid of science fact and fiction), the science fiction zine "Destiny" (Bill Sourk), "The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films," "AMT Corporation" (Star Trek models), the Star Trek Welcommittee, "Star Trek: Again!" (zines, stationary, "Little Shoppe of Horrors" (store in Waterloo, Iowa), "The Count Dracula Society," "t-k Graphics (books), and "Richard Alf's Comic Kingdom" (San Diego).

Flyers and Badges

Commercials and Photographs

1975 fan created TV commercial for the 1975 convention. The Youtube commentary notes: "The members of S.T.A.R. San Diego ran Equicon 75 at the El Cortez Hotel, with most of the STAR TREK cast attending as guests. The "Captain" in the ad is now-famous science fiction author Greg Bear. (We knew him when!) Yes, it's blurry. (Sorry.) It's been pieced back together from a 34-year-old silent 8mm film, converted to vhs, then to dvd (with the sound dubbed back in from an ancient cassette tape), then converted again to an mp4 file!"

Photos from the 1975 convention can be found here.[2] And here. Linda Cappel's Benecian wedding dress took first prize at Equicon's fashion show.

1975: Con Reports

Links

Reports

This con was not well run. Part of it was the fact that it was in a different and smaller hotel than usual, one that was definitely not equipped to handle a 4000 plus (semi-official estimate, as I got it from the registration desk) con. Also, the slant of the con bothered me. It's supposed to be two cons together, a Trek one and a fantasy/sf film con. The Trek stuff wound up in this huge room seating I estimate over 1000 easily, while the sf/fantasy films were shown in a small room that only held a few hundred. I don't know whether or not the concom knew about the size of the film room, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they got jobbed by the El Cortez.

Hitting the high spots—the masquerade was okay. A few of the costume/presentations were so bad as to defy description, but the good ones more than made up for it. Two presentations I must mention were the guy doing the imitation of the Fire Marshall, and Crass the Magnificent. The Fire Marshalls in San Diego are well-known as fools and poltroons (I'd call them assholes, but you don't use such language in Menagerie ((hah!-- ps)); yet assholes they are), and the imitation was hilarious and deadly accurate. Crass the Magnificent did a funny "magic" show in which he and his crew of Klingons slandered the entire ST universe with obviously phony tricks, except for the unexpected last one. The panels were pretty good, although I couldn't get into one because of crowding. The makeup demonstration was fascinating; the fashion show far better than I thought it would be.

Among sf writers in attendance were the Andersons, the Nivens, Roddenberrys, and many technical people. George Takei and Walter Koenig were also there. Roddenberry announced that even though the ST movie script is not finished, he expects to have the movie in the theaters by Xmas. That's mighty damn quick, and I don't expect it to really come that quick.

The only BNF I met was Bjo Trimble. We were eating breakfast and vivisecting the masquerade rather loudly, when she heard us, and came over to ask us very politely to put our suggestions in writing and send them to her. Or better yet, volunteer to help on the next con. I was extremely impressed at how nice she was to us, considering how badly we had just insulted her con. She's marked up high on my list of good people.[3]

As Equicons go, the '75 version was a dismal, disappointing failure. The committee proved beyond doubt that good intentions do not make a convention. If you needed information, you didn't bother seeking out a blank-faced little person wearing a "committee" ribbon. By failing to assume responsibility, they set the tone of the whole convention Friday night at the chaotic, grossly uncomfortable cattle-herding exhibition called "pre-registration." Their confusion unfortunately spilled over into nearly every aspect of the con, especially the film scheduling. I spoke with the film coordinator's assistant who didn't know what would be shown or when, didn't know if there would be any STAR TREK films (24 episodes were promised in the progress report), didn't care what happened, and would just as soon not be bothered. Other than that, he seemed like a nice enough person... (All the committee members were nice people. They just were not committee material. Loose associations and no leadership may be fine for a small club. They just don't work at a large con!)

The hotel staff was, with rare exception, rude. If they hadn't wanted the convention in their crumbling, mildew-infested hotel, they should have said so in the first place. I especially noted their "concern" for the convention members—there was no air conditioning in any of the corridors, function rooms, or the lobby. It was stifling in the daytime and freezing at night. Is this San Diego hospitality?

Since STAR TREK is currently being shown there, the convention regretfully drew a large crowd of every Tom, Dick, and hairy thing off the streets and back alleys of San Diego. These were not Trekfen. These were Trekkies. You will, of course, note the distinction. They made for a very rough element among the attendees, taking rudeness lessons from the hotel staff and using STAR TREK as a springboard for their neuroses.

STAR TREK? What's that? Equicon '75 can only be described as a non-Trek-convention. Filmcon took over. We had such STAR TREK greats as "The Slob," "Citizen Kane," "Good Humor-Man," "Horsefeathers," "House of Dark Shadows," "I Was A Teenage Werewolf," "Jack the Giant Killer," "King Kong," "Babes in Toyland," "The Mummy," "Seven Faces of Dr. Lao," "Sherlock Holmes Faces Death," "Ship of Fools," "Slaughterhouse Five," "Spellbound," "White Zombie," and "Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm." There. Doesn't that sound trekkish? As a final kick in the pants, even the souvenir booklet is loaded with filmcon material—not much ST at all. There were eleven picture pages from "War of the Worlds!" Landru forbid if Equicon had featured something Trekfen might have enjoyed!

Not that everything was poorly organized. When something ran smoothly and with good STAR TREK attitudes all around, there was a Trimble in there somewhere. At the other activities, you were on your own. You could have a good time, all right, but you had to make it yourself. I happened to know a few people attending, but I pity the poor soul who didn't.

Friday night, after escaping from the pre-registered line with my badge and my life, I rushed across the street to to the Century Room where ST films were supposed to be shown. No ST films. No ST fans. Would you believe a group of overly zealous religious types? I spoke with the woman in charge (her little people seemed terrified of the idea of actually speaking to an "outsider") — nothing like communication. "Are you interested in religion?" she asked uncertainly, her vocal cords rusty. "Of course," I replied, wondering if I should explain the basic IDIC concepts and ask if she had Affirmed the Continuity.

Back across the street in the hotel lobby, I happened to run into a fellow LNAFer (Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans.) A couple of people from Cal State, Long Beach showed up and we greeted each other like long-lost relatives. A short time later, Signe Landon and Amy Falkowicz came up, Amy noticing that my badge said "Bellflower, CA" and wondering if I knew a friend of hers. Signe abruptly noticed that our name badges knew each other, and the four of us went up five flights of stairs to my room for an impromptu get together that included photo-buying, slide-browsing, and Kraith songs performed by Amy who accompanied herself on the guitar. (For those of you who have never been involved in such Illogical Behavior, you start conversations with three different people. When you lose the train of thought with one person, you turn around and start talking to someone else. It keeps things going smoothly.) We somehow made it downstairs. Signe and Amy left, I think to go back to their hotel and drop off Amy's guitar.

The LNAFer and I happened to be in the lobby when I noticed a couple of faces in a small group in front of the elevators. Needless to say, I had stumbled onto the Captain of the Clipper Trade Ship, our fearless leader and defender of the typographical error, Jim Rondeau. With him was a fellow named John Bradley—we'd met last year at THE Equicon. Once again a group of four stalwart souls, we clumped up the stairs to John's room for a deep and penetrating discussion of nothing in particular and The Clipper Trade Ship in general. John's roommate turned on the news, and we waited in anticipation. Nothing. "Routine message to their home base, no mention of us." THEN! Wonder of wonders! Landru be praised! The last sixty seconds of the news! These she was! Amy Falkowicz on San Diego television, displaying her Peter Sunn sweatshirt! A round of nearly cheers!

We were finally driven downstairs by sheer dehydration. The Great Coke Machine Quest had begun. It took a while to find the lobby, however. There were several sections to the hotel and each had its own elevator. Getting oft on the third floor of one section left you confined to that section. It was impossible to travel by elevator. We happened to find one with a cement floor, and rode down to what we thought was the lobby. Fooled us. We were in a service elevator. The turbolift it's not.... Deciding there was a slight possibility we'd made a mistake, we stopped out onto an un-carpeted concrete floor and started down some narrow cement steps with a galvanized metal railing. (A real "luxury" establishment.) They lead us several floors down to the Generator Room. Obviously we weren't the only ones sidetracked that night. A red, metal-sheeted door was freshly charred from phaser fire, welded shut. We retraced our steps back to John's room, then made it to the lobby. I'm not absolutely sure what happened after that, since I was in a state of shock; a friend of a friend blew into town and took up semi-permanent nesting in my room. There's one at every convention.

Jim and I spent the night sitting in the lobby, talking. The El Cortez clientele left a lot to be desired. Patched, faded Levis . Army surplus jackets. Combat boots. The ultimate scrounge. Some were even backpacking, camping out in the lobby, right in front of the registration desk.

[snipped]

Saturday at 10 AM, the Art Show was supposed to open for browsing. Unfortunately, few of us were ready. I hadn't staked out a "claim" on the burlap display stands, and had never hung my own work before, so I was in for a surprise. Those infuriating little art-holding hooks! Signe crowded her work together so we could have her stuff on the same display. It was excruciatingly hot in the room. No air conditioning. No way to open a window. Fighting with those darn hooks would have been a lot easier in a cool room.

Memo: never mount anything with Prit glue stick. It may be a neat way to glue. And it may not pucker the picture. Too bad it doesn't stick. Signe left her own art partially hung and ran down the stairs and across the street to get her trusty, reliable, stickable Elmer's white glue.

The art show was spectacular as usual. How could it miss? There were K*A*R*E*N**F*L*A*N*E*R*Y pen & inks, Kris Trott pencil drawings, and beautiful oil paintings. There were also nude Spock prints, (that's au naturel to you, Rocky.) Since it was Trimble-run, it was fairly orderly. Even the security guards were unusually polite. One young "rent-a-cop" seemed especially interested in the artwork. He kept looking around, wide-eyed, eager to leave his post. You can always tell an undercover Trekfan.

By contrast, the huckster room was packed. Really congested. Totally disordered. I avoided it for the most part when I found out that no one had been licensed to sell film clips and very few people were trading. It was just not worth getting creamed.

[snipped]

I headed for the Masquerade Procession. A line had already formed, people waiting to get in. I met an older man from Northern California who was a refreshingly pure, unadulterated Trekfan. (A welcome relief after the Trekkiepoos). We sat together through the entire, incredibly hot, airless event, groaning through the neofen "down with earthers" presentations, howling through the Klingon magician's performance (a highlight at Dullcon), and oohing and ahing over the costumes. A couple of very female contestants made me suspect that he wasn't oohing and ahing over their clothing. His respiration rate was a dead giveaway. Godzilla, bravely suffocating in his rubber dinosaur head, made it to the final judging where he began physically eliminating the competition with his famous Godzilla-Meets-Bambi tactics—stomping them to death!

[snipped]

[at a room party]: Gail Barton and Doris Beetem of Eridani Triad showed up a while later and a discussion which started out as a serious criticism of the Kraith universe quickly deteriorated into group insanity which included "Dial a Ritual" for Vulcans in emotional need and "Kreate-A-Kraith"—the Vulcan children's game in lieu of Monopoly, Scrabble, or other inferior pastimes. We created numerous rituals such as "Thrusting with the Ahn Woon" (a simple leather strip used in combat) which is of necessity always proceeded by the Kraith Ritual of "Starching the Ahn Woon."

[snipped]

Monday morning. The Art Show Auction at 10 AM. Nice of the committee to schedule this event opposite "Amok Time" in the Century Room and the Kraith discussion. If I'd had any shred of common decency, I'd have gone to the Kraith discussion as a heckler. But the Art Show was the big deal for me. How could I leave? I was in the same room as Karen Flanery, and actually breathing the very same air! (There was a little path worn in the carpet all around K-Nut's display where a few members of the Karen Flanery Worship Society had periodically held meetings, gathered reverently around the beautiful artwork.)

Hoping to increase sales and benefit the artists, the Trimbles haa hired a genuine auctioneer. S*I*G*H. A celebrity or superfan would have been much better. The bewildered fellow was out of his element. He didn't know the first thing about fandom, astronomical names, or our unique brand of human nature. He warmed up a little at the last, but only the Trimbles and Head Gopher Jeri Bethel kept it from being a total disaster. They knew the audience, knew what to say, when to say it, and how to have fun. To offset the pathetic auctioneer, Jeri Bethel, holding an extremely large oil painting with an equally large frame, called out pleadingly, "Hurry! It's heavy!" Her handling of the adorable sehlat hand puppet increased bids tremendously—it waved to the audience, hid its sweet face demurely behind its paws, and played peekaboo with the crowd. She also boosted the bids on my Super Vulcan cartoon by stopping the auctioneer and reading off the script with all the innocent over-acting it required.

[snipped]

[Once at the bus station, waiting to go home]: we exchanged farewells, and Jim went back to Dullcon. I actually got to watch some ST—in a noisy, run-down bus station, seated in a gum-encrusted, filthy chair and watching a dirty, broken, fingerprint-smeared little pay tv. It was "I, Mudd."

Well, there's always next year. Equicon will be at the Marriott Hotel and will be Trimble-run. But despite those advantages, I'm still apprehensive. Trekfen deserves more than a repeat of Equicon '75. A Trekperson is a member of a select group of extraspecial creatures who communicate across every artificial barrier society has ever imposed upon itself, who meet to dream and share those dreams with others so they can build upon them. The best thing that could happen to Equicon is for Filmcon to wither back to its Thanksgiving weekend slot and leave Trekfandon to flourish in peace. [4]

[The 1975 convention is also known for the less than successful introduction of a Harlequin Book series. In his essay "Focus on Laser Books" Alan Chudnow wrote]: ....the Laser Books series was published between 1975 and 1977. Following the successful formula of its romance line, Harlequin produced the series on a strict schedule releasing three books a month all with a distinctly similar design.... A series subscription was offered in addition to the normal distribution to booksellers.

The series was not popular with readers of the time most probably because of inconsistency in quality and a general sense of it being too “institutional” in its production. It is however, rather famous in science fiction fan circles for the phenomenon surrounding the appearance of premier title, Thomas F. Monteleone’s first novel, Seeds of Change.

In an effort to get widespread exposure for the series Seeds was given away in large quantities as a free promotional “collector’s edition”. Large quantities of the book were distributed to attendees of a number of science fiction conventions. The result was less than ideal.

Unfortunately the book was not very good and immediately attracted the mockery of a large number of convention attendees. I happened to attend the Equicon SF convention in Los Angeles that year. By Saturday night of the con, groups of fans were gathered around on the upper balconies of the hotel publicly mocking the text as it was read aloud. As each page was finished it was ceremoniously ripped out of the book and flung out over the balconies to the convention floor below. It was a scenario that was repeated at several conventions that year.[5]

You did WHAT for 18 hours?

What do I want to say about Equicon ’75? I didn’t think I would be able to go. I was putting together the May issue of THE COMMUNICATOR to be ready to print and take to the con . . . and suddenly Bev Jones, who was driving one of the “caravan” cars and stopped to say goodbye, said, “Look, you two (meaning Carol and me). I can pay for you—come to the con with us!”

We didn’t protest much—we’d been bemoaning the fact that we couldn’t go while all our friends were. So we packed and left—just like that! I chucked THE COMMUNICATOR and found somebody to feed the cats . . . and we were in Beaver before it really hit me that I was going to Equicon!

AS you can see from our driving log, it was my first trip out of Utah since I was about 3 years old. I had never been to California, never seen the sea. Argh! So I was rather in shock all the way.

When we reached San Diego we all just dropped dead in bed once we got our hotel rooms. And that (getting hotel rooms) was just the first of our problems.

Since Carol and I had no memberships, we tripped on over to the El Cortez at 6:00 p.m. to buy them. Some guy who will remain nameless (because we never did get his name) but who haunted us all through the con with bad luck, whom we call “handlebars” because of his moustache, told us very rudely that we couldn’t get memberships yet! What a blow. Here we’d just driven for 18 hours and then waited all day, and couldn’t get in yet.

Well, I won’t go through all the hassles we had getting our memberships, but thanks to some wonderful people, we managed, the next morning, to get them. So now we were free to roam the con—sort of.

S.T.A.R.**Utah and affiliated organizations had a dealer’s table, so we had part responsibility for sitting at it. Whew. It was stuck in a back corner of the dealer’s room where all we could see were the two gofers guarding the doors. The only excitement that happened was when Walter Koenig and George Takei signed our “register”—and of course I wasn’t there then.

I got to one panel discussion the whole time. It was the fantasy writing panel, with Ted Sturgeon, Katherine Kurtz, Larry Niven, and Poul and Karen Anderson. It was quite interesting, when any of it could be heard. The room was tiny, jam-packed, and without microphones.

Later, roaming about the dealer’s room, I met a lot of people I had just been writing to (or meaning to write to): Jim Rondeau, who really is just as nutty as I am; Debbie Collin, who does great art and stories; Signe Landon, who is also a good artist; and Cathy Keegan, the Klingon. (We have some incriminating pics of you in our files, people! You may get to see them someday when we have the money to get you copies.)

The one thing I noticed about the con was how disorganized it was. The rooms were too small for the panels held in them, nothing was on time, there was little guide as to what was where—I never found where all the movies were being shown (across the street) until the second day—and other symptoms of “what’s going on here?” I was also upset because our rooms were at the Royal Inn and we had a heck of a time getting to the El Cortez and back.

Being a science fiction fan first and foremost (trekness is just a symptom of that illness for me) I especially enjoyed several things at the con. I loved the masquerade, even though I had trouble getting a seat. If you heard somebody clapping madly for the “Hosteen Storm—the Beastmaster” costume, it was me. I’m a great Andre Norton fan from way back. (That’s why I was delighted when, later, I got some good pics of Katherine Kurtz dressed in a costume from one of Andre Norton’s books.)

I’ve read other people’s con reports and I guess I was just lucky. I got to see several STAR TREK episodes and caught the bloopers three times. It’s great to see “I, Mudd” for the first time on big screen in color. (Even though I only saw half of it, and then went back to the hotel and saw half of it again on TV. To this day I’ve only seen the last half of “I, Mudd.”)

I lived on cheese and crackers and Bubble-up from the machines at the Royal Inn. (I don’t think any machines worked at the El Cortez.) I not only couldn’t afford Denny’s, I wasn’t about to risk my life! And you will remember, I set off for this con without a penny to my name.

The biggest disappointment to me was the banquet. The food was terrible—burned! and with green pepper, which I’m allergic to. Having bought my ticket late, I of course couldn’t sit with any sort of celebrity, but I suppose it was just as well for it seems half of them didn’t show up. (Maybe they saw the menu?) All in all, it was a great waste of money.

The con, for me, had its high points and its low points. I enjoyed the art show, the masquerade, bumming in the dealer’s room meeting people, and clowning with Jim Rondeau. I hated never getting to see the movies, like “Andromeda Strain” and “Forbidden Planet,” because of lousy scheduling, and going to panels and finding they were moved, or cancelled, or something. (I also hated getting lost on the San Diego freeway on the way to church Sunday—but that wasn’t the con’s fault!) There was a great deal of room for improvement, and I hope that Equicon next year in L.A. will not be so disorganized. But for me, it was a great adventure, and I’m glad I went.

–Julia Howarth [6]

Better Luck Next Time!

First of all, I wasn’t even expecting to be able to go. I desperately wanted to, but back at the first of the year I’d been sick and lost my job. No job, no money. No money, no con.

Well at the last minute (literally!) Bev Jones turned up and said that just the day before she’d gotten all her tax money back and could afford to loan Julia and me the cost of one convention trip. Rejoice! (There are still a few miracles around.)

Of course, this meant a trip by car all the way from Salt Lake to San Diego—and back. Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I detest being in a car for more than about an hour at a time, so the second miracle was that I survived the trip (although the only reason I made it back in one piece was that I slept at least a dozen of the 18 hours of the trip home!)

We arrived at the Royal Inn at the Wharf at 6 a.m. Friday. The hotel people told us we wouldn’t possibly have our rooms for at least another hour. Argh!

We drove around for a while and finally ended up back at the hotel coffee shop, figuring that breakfast would give us a cheerier outlook. At this point, we discovered the second carload of S.T.A.R.**Utah folks, who had apparently turned up just a few minutes behind us but who’d thought of breakfast first.

Our rooms still weren’t ready so some of us camped out in the hotel lobby, much to the chagrin of the management. The others actually felt ambitious enough to go exploring.

Finally we got our rooms–one for the seven girls and one for the five guys. (We seem to have run a practical seminar on the problems of over-population. How appropriate for an SF con!)

After naps and showers, we finally started feeling human again. The con committee told the few of the more ambitious members of our group who had made an expedition up to the El Cortez that registration would begin at 6:00 p.m. Accordingly, we all showed up at 5, not knowing what sort of lines to expect.

Here Julia and I had our first encounter with Handlebars. (Can’t remember his right name but he was tall and blond and his ugly handlebar mustache was his predominate feature.) He did not have a committee badge. I think he had a gofer badge, but even on this point I’m not positive. I will grant that he knew all the committee members and they knew him. He did seem to have some authority but wow! did he ever abuse it. Apparently he didn’t like folks who knew what they were doing without his blessed assistance.

Anyhow, the registration folks were still opening mail (!) and kept postponing registration—I think it was more like 7:30 before that got going. And then they told us that only the folks who’d preregistered could check in then. This, of course, rather upset those of us with S.T.A.R.**Utah who weren’t preregistered. (They did let us buy banquet tickets then, though.)

This immediately presented problems for Julia, Jeff, and me. Of course there were some films and activities we wanted to get into that evening. We needed to get in the next morning, to set up the S.T.A.R.**Utah table in the dealer’s room. We had a S.T.A.R.**Utah meeting scheduled just after that. There was no way we could get to registration until nearly noon if we’d had to do that, but on the other hand we couldn’t get into the dealer’s room, etc., unless we had badges.

We were, fortunately, rescued from this dismal dilemma. Never doubt the power of friends! Thanks to Liz Greene, Jeannie Peacock, and all the folks in charge of the gofers, we ended up with gofer badges in order to be able to get around until we could somehow manage to get registered.

Saturday morning we got in and set up our table, then set off to find the S.T.A.R.**Utah meeting. Since no-one except the officers showed up, Julia and I set off to go to registration. Disaster! But just as we arrived there, someone on the committee spotted our gofer badges and sent us off to hunt down someone else on the committee. This entailed getting on the elevator a dozen or so times, following up leads as to the place in which this individual could be found. On one of these elevator trips we ran into Helen Bautista who noted that we had gofer badges but hadn’t registered yet. We explained our dilemma briefly and she immediately told us to follow her (couldn’t leave those unregistered gofers running around all day!) and we ended up behind the registration table, out of the hassle, much to the chagrin of Handlebars, who had been giving us heck all morning.

Registered at last, we figured we were finally on the way. But no. . . . After all the trouble the committee had gone to for us, we figured we’d just keep our gofer badges and work as gofers! This wonderful sense of obligation almost lasted out the day. (Note to all convention attendees: EITHER a dealer’s table OR a gofer job. If you try to manage both you might just as well have stayed home, considering all of the convention you WON’T get to participate in.) Saturday almost doesn’t count as a day at the con.

On Sunday, Julia, Jeff and I were planning on attending church so we found the address of the nearest chapel and the meeting times. We set off with Bev’s car promptly at 3:30, armed only with our San Diego street map. We figured we could make it easily to the 4 o’clock meeting. HA! We were continually thwarted by one way streets and the lack of signs on the freeway. About 4:15 we had finally figured out what we were doing, but of course we were too late to get to church. And going to a later meeting was out since we’d paid for banquet tickets and at $10 each we weren’t about to let them go to waste.

As it turned out, it was still a waste. The food was ho-hum and the entertainment (at least I guess that’s what it was supposed to be) wasn’t entertaining. In fact the best part of the banquet was being at the same table with some ST Archives people and the one and only D’Artagnan. Also at the table were a teenage girl and her mother. The mother was behaving like a teeniebopper, much to the dismay of the daughter. (In fact, Mom just about passed out from excitement when she discovered one of the stars of the soap “General Hospital” at the next table, attending the con with the director of “Questor Tapes.”) We had a great waitress for our table, too, and finally persuaded her to let us take her picture. (Only we could come up with something like that!)

Towards the end of the meal, I got up and went over to Gene Roddenberry’s table. (Yes, I know it’s rude to bother someone while they’re eating, but I still hadn’t seen a single celebrity and GR is one of my special favorites.) GR was really cool about it and we were in the middle of a nice chat about his visit to the U of U the year before and chuckling over the bomb threat that had interrupted his speech, when superdud Handlebars came up behind me, grabbed me around the waist, and literally dragged me. OH WOW! The only reason I didn’t start screaming and kicking was that I wasn’t about to be the one to disrupt things (although Handlebars seemed to be trying to fill that position—GR looked a little astonished at my sudden disappearance!)

It really bothered me having the banquet in the middle of the con that way. Seems like the banquet should signal the end of things, but here we were with an entire day yet ahead of us.

All things considered, Julia and I did manage to get to a few activities. Two movies, several ST episodes, the bloopers THREE times, the fantasy writers’ panel, the masquerade (although I got very tired of preachy aliens, many of the skits were good and there were a lot of outstanding costumes). I also enjoyed the art show and was very pleased with my purchases there, even though I could only afford the sketch table. I did get a little upset to see some of the lousy needlepoint on display. Julia and I were selling ours dirt cheap at our table, and it was better stuff than things in the art show which had minimum bids double our costs. Just wait till next year—we’ll show ’em what good needlepoint looks like!

My main gripe about this year’s con was the lousy schedule—or lack thereof. I only got to see two films. I wanted to see several others, but it was impossible to plan ahead in that department and since I had to help out at the S.T.A.R.**Utah table I couldn’t just wander from film room to film room just to see what was REALLY showing (as opposed to what had been posted only an hour or two before). Missed more panels because they’d been “postponed” (and never rescheduled). And I only saw any of the celebrities by sheer chance.

The great thing about the con was meeting other fans: got a chance to see old friends from Equicon ’73 (Pam Kinney, Chey Gurwell, Sue Daniels), met folks I’d only written to before (Joyce Thompson, Jim Rondeau, Cathy Keegan), met all the friends of friends (Virginia Walker, Debbie Collin, Signe Landon, the Star Trek Archives folks), and of course got acquainted with lots more folks who I’m looking forward to seeing again at other cons.. I guess that’s mostly what a con is for anyhow—meeting folks—so in spite of hardships, I guess I’ll classify the whole venture as a success, although I must admit to some eagerness to see the con safely back in the hands of the Trimble crew.

–Carol Andrus [7]

Commodore’s Log

The 23rd Century: a time of high adventure and peril on the growing rim of the United Federation of Planets. And, through the medium of that Time Machine known as “The Tube,” we can witness and participate in the exploration of a galaxy.

STAR TREK has been our ticket to new tomorrows and will be again with Gene Roddenberry’s movie and possible mini-series.

This hope was supported during S.T.A.R.**Utah’s attendance of Equicon ’75/Filmcon 3, the west coast STAR TREK Convention.

It was my first STAR TREK Convention (barring the Red Hour Festival Minicon in San Francisco) and despite transport problems, high food costs, and extreme lack of sleep, it was the most enjoyable trip I’ve ever made. It was no less than purest pleasure to converse with, argue with, dine with, and otherwise hobnob with those people who one has merely read about and seen on television and those thousands of persons whose minds run in the same beam as mine and yours.

During the con I met Poul and Karen Anderson, Larry and Mrs. Niven, Walter Koenig, George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, Robby the Robot (!?), Theodore Sturgeon, D. C. Fontana, William Campbell, Matt Jefferies, David Gerrold, Franz Joseph Schnaubelt, and assorted Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, etc.

I told George Takei about helmsman Sulu was cursed for inaccurate phaser fire in our Stargames and was told that Sulu actually wears glasses and is as blind as a bat without ’em!

Robby flashed his lights at us.

Theodore Sturgeon and I discussed the relevance of science fiction in today’s world and he showed me his latest manuscript, a chapter on science fiction for a university text.

Larry Niven told me that he was responsible for the aliens and Jerry Pournelle was responsible for the background in the Hugo-nominated “Mote in God’s Eye.”

Walter Koenig visited our dealer’s table and purchased several of my hand-painted wargame figurines while talking about his current projects and the Star Trek movie. I never had a chance to go to a panel, what with the dealer’s table and all, and Mr. Koenig’s information was most welcome. He told us that the STAR TREK movie was to be about the beginnings of the Enterprise and her crew and that he had lost ten pounds and shaved his moustache to prove to Gene Roddenberry that he could play the part of Chekov again.

By far the most profitable conversation was with Franz Joseph Schanubelt, the creator of the STAR TREK Blueprints. Mr. Schnaubelt told us of the reasons for many of the details of the plans and excited us with descriptions of the Starfleet Technical Manual to be published by Ballantine later this year. The Technical Manual will be over 97 pages long, containing three-views of all ten classes of Starfleet vessels and the shuttlecraft, maps of the Galaxy showing the location of the Federation and the Romulan and Klingon Empires, the charter of the United Federation of Planets, the articles of Interstellar Commerce, and all of the directives and primary regulations of Starfleet. Quite a collection but we’ve still got to wait months before it comes out.

A Con is confusion and disorder, and it’s happiness and fulfillment. The representatives of S.T.A.R.**Utah had plenty of the former but the latter is what will be remembered.

Michael Scott

Commodore, S.T.A.R.**Utah [8]

Response by Jean Peacock (con chair) to Several Con Reports

Jean Peacock wrote a lengthy response (printed in The Communicator v. 3 n.5 (November 1975) to the con reports in The Communicator v. 3 n.4 (September 1975).

Dear People,

Enjoyed reading the Sept. '75 issue of your 'zine, THE COMMUNICATOR, Obviously, you put a great deal of work into it. And you're the first 'zine to have reviewed Equicon 75/Filmcon 3 that's been thoughtful (brave?) enough to send us a copy! I want to relate a few (hehheh) opinions, pro and con, and if you want to print the letter or any part thereof, please feel free to snip/edit/shorten where you will...

[snipped]

As the chairman of Equicon 75/Filmoon 3 I'd like to reply to several points brought out in your reviews of the con. For the most part your articles were honest, straightforward and favorable, and I enjoyed reading them. They did, however, contain a few common misconceptions.

First, Carol Andrus remarked that the offensive gofer she calls "Handlebars"..."Knew all the committee members and they knew him." That's at the very least a grossly unfair misassumption, I found Handlebars offensive too, but NO ONE on the committee can tell me who he was, because none of us knew him! ((He sure managed to intimidate a lot of concoms then, since many obeyed his words]—cja)) ((However, we do stand corrected.—ed.))

Carol also said, "I must admit to some eagerness to see the con safely back in the hands of the Trimble crew." I have news, friends. The con was never at any time OUT of the hands of the "Trimble crew." If you were to compare committee lists for 74 and 75 you'd note a substantial overlap. And every con has a high committee turnover each year, so there always are several new names. Obviously, the advance publicity on Equicon 75 misleadingly made it look as though the con were being handed over lock stock and barrel to a collection of utter amateurs. But such was simply not the case.

So why was the con "disorganized?" The more you attend cons the more you will begin to notice that no matter how experienced the committee may be, the level of disorganization is directly proportional to the number of people in attendance. Equicon 73 was a shambles schedule-wise with nearly 10,000 bodies to contend with, (but I had a blast there anyway). Equicon 74. was more "orderly" because there were only 3000 people. Filmcon 2 in November of 73 was my all-time favorite con, and it had only a comfy 800. Equicon 75 had nearly 6000 (Yik). Next year, I for one hope it is smaller again. The Marriott is not spread out like the maze of the El Gortez was, and I don't relish the thought of 6000 bodies squishing into that lovely compacted area. I found 3000 bodies in 74. quite squishy enough, thank you. The only solution would seem to be to advertise less and draw fewer people to the con, but you see, that hurts the charity effort, so. . . What to do?

If anything constituted the Achilles' Heel of Equicon 75/Filmcon 3, it was the film scheduling. There were too many people crowding the rooms, too many films to show in too little time (not enough allowance made for breakdowns, etc.), and the film rooms were too far apart from one another for the runners to make good time. There was also the lack of sufficient efficient committee help to keep things from falling apart. Three lone tired souls half killed themselves trying to prevent a total disaster there. (As a matter of fact, none of the committee members slept much, if at all, from May 23 to 26. Sigh.)

Equicon 75 was plagued with a number of problems. Paramount promised us 25 ST episodes. At the last minute they pretended we didn't exist and refused to give us anyl Only be sheer political string-pulling did some committee VIP's drag 7 episodes out of them, and they whined about that grudgingly. . . At least one notable committee member tripped over his/her ego too many times to be altogether helpful. The same person revelled in making executive decisions (like deciding someone was no longer on the committee) without bothering to consult or inform the chairman. . . Another set of concoms, old enough to know better, staged a colossal lovers (?) quarrel during the set-up and screeched so loudly at each other, at the fans, committee and hotel people alike that I heard jokes for days that WWIII had started in the ___ room. A number of here-nameless celebrities preferred to spend their time getting boozed over doing what they were supposed to be there for. Looking back at the whole thing, I think the most ugly aspect of organizing the con was that politics and pampered egos had to enter in so many times and screw up the works. The most unappreciable example of that was a stroke by one particularly smug committee member who invented the "San Diego hates the L.A. committee people" rumor and proceeded to spread her vicious little lie throughout the L.A. committee faction until most of them ended up believing it. Did wonders for our organization, that.

The 75 committee, with very few exceptions, consisted of hard-working over-dedicated individuals who managed to pull off a pretty darn good con in the face of what were looking like pretty horrendous oddsl They are all to be commended for their efforts, especially the successful efforts, because believe me, they already know all too painfully well where the failures werel Some of the more sensitive concom members were so miserably discouraged by the whining of ungrateful fans that they swore off ever serving on another con committee. If running yourself ragged till you nearly drop of exhaustion is only met with "this is sure a sh__y con" and "everything that went wrong had to be your fault!I" well, why bother? It's not worth it.

One of the most unfair criticism of Equicon 75/Filmcon 3 came from an obvious Trekkie-type who loudly bewailed (in print) the addition of Filmcon to the formerly all-ST Equicon. Funny, we received a far greater number of bitter complaints from people who resented Star Trek "moving in on Filmcon" than vice versa. Tou just can't please everybody. ((Anyhow, seems there are plenty of other cons around. Why go to one you don't like?l—ed.)) But economics demanded the merge and contrary to popular rumor, they will not be separated again. Eq/Fc will remain in L.A., however, for several reasons. L.A. is more centralized, and moving a con this size about even slightly is a pain in the rear end. The hotel problems would take a volume to explain. For one thing, tho, there simply aren't many hotels in all of San Diego and the better/more desirable of those condescendingly turned us down. (They didn't think we'd bring in enough business. They are reportedly still dining on stewed fedoras.) As for the dissatisfaction with the merge of Equicon and Filmcon, tho, most people seem to have enjoyed both features. For those who didn't, . there are plenty of all-Star Trek and all-Non-ST conventions on the west coast to ohoose from. San Francisco, for one, holds a nice ST con of limited size every year. And a ST or film convention in San Diego some year isn't an impossibility either.

I have three last notes in reply to your reveiws before I stop boring you and shut upl lou said in one reveiw that a ) the banquet food was burned and terrible, b) half the guests didn't show up, and c) it should have been held on the last day. .Veil, a) I donno what ycu got, but my. dinner was OK. Not great, mind you, but OK. b) With the exceptions of Ed Bishop and Monte Markham, both of whom were prevented form attending by last-minute jobs, and then June Foray, who had to leave due to a fauiily emergency, all the guests we had confirmed (and then some) showed up at the con. And as far as I know, all those th.t confirmed for the banquet showed up there, too. (A few didn't want to go.) ({Well, all I can say is that there were one heck of a lot of empty chairs at celebrity spots at the banquet tables. Even the waitresses were making comments... —ed.)) And finally, c) if the banquet had been held on the last day, MOST of the guests would not have been there, not to mention lots of fans who had to leave by then too. Signalling the end of a con with the banquet may be a "tradition," but in this writer's humble opinion it is a mistaken one. It unfairly excludes several guests and fans and loses the convention money on the tables it could have filled if the meal were a day earlier. ((But I keep hearing about all the fans who couldn't get banquet tickets because they'er already sold out —even for end-of-con banquets...—ed.))

All in all, I do think your reviews were both frank and fair, and again, thank you for sending the zine to us. ((And thanks to you, Jean, for clearing us all up on a lot of the background. I'm sure many of our readers have been enlightened as current Con com members ourselves, all of us on the staff of the COMMUNICATOR ARE already fully aware of the hassles. —ed.)) wer'e glad you enjoyed Equicon/Filmcon in spite of the problems (and believe me, the only way to ever enjoy ANY con is in spite of its problems) and I'll hope to see you all next year at Equicon 76/Filmcon 4!

[9]

References

  1. ^ The Communicator vol 3. no 2 (1975)
  2. ^ WayBack Machine link.
  3. ^ from Menagerie #6
  4. ^ from The Clipper Trade Ship #7
  5. ^ Focus on Laser Books by Alan Chudnow dated March 7th, 2007 .
  6. ^ from The Communicator v. 3 n.4 (September 1975)
  7. ^ from The Communicator v. 3 n.4 (September 1975)
  8. ^ from The Communicator v. 3 n.4 (September 1975)
  9. ^ The Communicator v. 3 n.5 (November 1975)