Schuster Star Trek Conventions/1975 New York City Schuster Star Trek Convention
The Fourth Annual International Star Trek Convention was held on January 10-12, 1975 at the Americana Hilton in New York City.
That Al Schuster called it the "Fourth International Star Trek Convention" was a bit of chutzpah as it was only the first under his complete purview; Schuster's title was a reference to the first three Star Trek Lives! cons as the first three "International Star Trek Cons," something that may have not sat well with that original comcon.
That same year, the Star Trek Lives! convention was called "1975 Star Trek Convention" and was held at a different hotel a month later. Al Schuster was able to secure William Shatner's attendance even though the 1975 Star Trek Convention had booked him to appear at their event. Luckily, both events did well.
Guests of Honor
Tidbits and Anecdotes
"The Conning of a Con"
The Conning of a Con (OR THE "OH MY GOD THE MUGATU WANTS TO PLAY GAMES!" Syndrome) is a zine with the subtitle: "A True Story."
It consists an interview with "Warlock," a male fan who dressed as a woman for this con's costume contest.
The interviewee was "Warlock," who stated he decided to enter the costume contest as a female character. His entry card read: "Barbra Wheadon...New York City...as Dracona, the vampire queen of Ka-Lahn"
The reason for his choice of costume: "Well, to put it quite bluntly... I don't like Al Schuster. I know what's really been going on, the con game he's been pulling. And when I first heard about 'Al Schuster's Fourth Annual International STAR TREK Convention', I said,"Okay, that's it!" I decided I wanted to "stick it to him" at his own con, in a way that was not illegal, not immoral, and nobody would get hurt."
Flyers, Badges, Program Books
This newspaper article, detailing Al Shuster's removal of funds from the convention bank account, was printed on the back of the 1975 Committee Con program guide. Click to read.
cover of the 1975 International Star Trek Convention, art by Steve Stiles, this one has Star Trek Lives! on the cover
Flyer for "Al Schuster's 4th Annual International Star Trek Convention." The artist, Steve Stiles explains: "This was the first convention flyer I ever did, also the first piece of art I ever used duotone on. It was also about the time I had thoughts about trying to become a comic book illustrator."
Links to Photos
Con ReportsA convention report in issue #23 of A Piece of the Action:
From Warped Space #3:"... reaction [to the convention] held last month in New York City was varied, and had much to do with whether one had attended a Star Trek convention previously." Some complaints were that there were too many children and neofans there, the same old topics were being rehashed, the lines were long, the con disorganized, the huckster room a "big barn," the costume call was "a disaster" ("some of the nudes were too fleshy for their costumes")...
A MIXTURE OF PAIN AND DELIGHT
I was asked to give my impressions on the ISTC, and the most difficult part about it was attempting to decide whether I was delighted or dismayed by it, (Hence the horrendous pun in my titlel) There were pleasant and unpleasant surprises hidden around every cornerl (And I DO mean surprises!) At any rate, for what they are worth, here are some of my opinions on the con.
Overall organization was at first glimpse adequate, but it quietly deteriorated. The films were choice bits of delectable fare, but no film schedules were posted until late Friday night end they ware rarely followed. There wasn't enough room for everyone in the film room and-much ill feeling was generated over inability to see the sceean or even find a seatl Occasionally, films were shown in the much larger auditorium used for speakers and special events, and conditions there were MUCH better. ST episodes shown were: Amok Time , Mirror, Mirror, Corbomite Manueur, Court Martial, Doomsday Machine, Tholian Web, and Trouble with Tribbles. There was also one blooper reel (2nd season), 2001: Forbidden Planet. and 2 or 3 Apes films.
I was very disappointed in Bill Shatner's "performance" as opposed to Walter Koenig's and Jimmy Doohan's. Walter and Jimmy moved among the crowds frequently in the dealers' room, signed autographs, and posed for pictures with people; Bill only had two rap sessions (as opposed to 4 for Walter and Jimmy) ON STAGE, and he refused to sign autographs or pose with anyone. (I realize that it was his first ST con, but Walter and Jimmy had a first time too, and I'll bet they didn't refuse any contact with the "mob".) All three of the ST cast guest stars looked beautiful!
I found Harlan Ellison to be the most interesting. His manner of addressing an audience is always unique and ALWAYS amusing!I He read some excerpts from his original version of City on the Edge of Forever. GREATQ Another enjoyable experience was hearing Jimmy sing some Welsh ballads, his voice is incredible.
The costume call was one of the better- attended activities, and it was most enjoyable. The winning costumes were quite clever, and more than deserving of the prizes they won. (A Communicator was 3rd, a Mugato was 2nd, and a Horta was 1st!) The usual number of scantily clad females appeared, and the most entertaining feature was watching the judges react! I entered in my Starfieet uniform, and the scariest thing I ever had to do in my 20 years of life on this planet was to turn and face the Judges!
However, the biggest disappointment of all (as far as I was concernsd) was thatDe Kelley didn't come! Oh well, maybe NEXT year? (I can't afford Equicon!)
From Warped Space #3:
THE ULTIMATE FASCINATION
What can you say after your first trip to the big bad city in nine years? The entire weekend jaunt was well worth the time and effort us put into it. For Lori, our "Fearless Leader", Candee and me, the surprises began before we arrived in New York. On the way we counted police cars (Ohio has an abundance of them on patrol), alept, ate some bagels, slept, and listened with overwhelming delight to STAR TREK tapes (the gas attendant looked at us as if we ware strange!) and, at one service plaza a moldy creature inquired If we were golng to route 19, said that he enjoyed riding with young people (especially ones waaring capes, etc.) Our nolo male escort extracted us tactfully from the situatlon by saying I was his pregnant wife! So we left and in regard to one of his nasty comments, I still want to know what capes mean in the Underground???
The Americana is a class joint. Ue successfully checked in, then investigated the building. We found the dealer's roon empty as it was still being set up and were promptly asked to leave, (Howdare they?) Survey completed, we returned to the room and Pat arrived. Candee and Lori slept on the floor (somewhat painfully) until the alarm roused us out at an unearthly hour. Registration began at 10:30 so ue waited around for a considerable length of time, listening to and talking ST. Not being complete fools, we all got near the front of the lines when they formed. (Pat, Lori, and Can in pre-registration lines and me in the other) And, feeling very pleased, sat front and center in the Imperial Ballroom. Needless to say, we guarded our chairs closely throughout the day.
Heash, our Master of Ceremonies, entertained us from the start (just to keep us off the chandeliers?) and continued to do so throughout the con. we welcomed his humor during all the waiting, even though us listened to the same comedy sketch three times. He does an excellent impression of Sulu and Scotty and a very satiric, even nasty, one of Kirk which temporarily put Heash on my blacklist. It was only temporarily because, a few minutes later, one gentleman with sexy syes and an absolutely devastating mustache strode onto and across the stage. With a most singular and enchanting smile he endeared himself to me, phasad out Capt. Kirk, and, I think, favourably impressed the others, Jimmy strolled out with Harlan Ellison to join Heash and Walter. I simply must credit Harlan for his sexy bod and confess that I only noticed it after an exclusive showing of Lori's slides. Candee was bubbly, giddy, and incoherent after a chance encounter with the three stars in an elevator. I think we must have lost sleep planning it.
Ws suffered through the traditional questions- "How does a phaaer work? What is warp? Will you explain stardate?" And so on and so on. One item of interest -- two stools were on stage, so Harlan stood. When Walter go tup, he immediately lost his seat to Harlan. He almost sat on Harlan's lap, but then sat on the floor and more or less sulked until presented with another chair.
When Walter and Jimmy left, so did most of the crowd, including me. While traipsing down to the dealer's room I nearly walked into Walter. My teeth almost fell out. After all, I had been smiling, staring, etc, at him for the last hour and dying overtime he caught me at it, especially when he smiled back. I gave him a pen, and fumbled for my program upon which he affixed his signature. Some short time later, in the dealer room, Walter again gave me his autograph, this time on a picture of Chekov. He posed for a picture with me with Candee snapped. So right there, I was at the peak of perfection as an overly-emotional, hyper tense, uncontrolled, swooning trekkie. Picture that, then imagine what it felt like when I noticed that the lens was closed! Even though I had to change film and cubes, dear Walter posed again, but this time while kissing me, and I was embarrassed. I was also in ecstasy and oblivious of all else for the rest of the day. By the end of the con, I had acquired three autographs and countless pictures. He never failed to recognize me and sometimes added his tradition greeting for all the young ladies, "Hi, baby," which is what I mostly felt like.
[snipped]The costume call was enjoyable, but Bill arrived late -- Hollywood entrance. I have advised Walter that he and Jimmy should instruct Bill in convention etiquette before February.
Registration didn't begin until 10:30. GAH! Nancy got her convention materials first (and she stood in the un-preregistered line!) and promptly showed the program to us. No De Kelley - and he had been a big reason why we'd travelled all that distancel! But a nice surprise was Harlan Ellison; I was just recovered from a Kwest*CON-induced bout of Ellisonitis. Needless to say, I immediately succumbed once morel
The weekend blurs together into one long day In my mind, but I think it was Friday night when Pat and I had to wait and wait and wait ... for an elevator. When we did catch one, it went up instead of downl And than this guy wearing a Hal Clement name tag got on and I brightly asked, "Are you Hal Clement?" He said, "I think so," and smiled. He was, and I enjoyed the chance encounter.
I didn't start spending any money until Saturday, 'then suddenly went wild and bought film clips, and more film clips, and more ... Also STAR TREK publicity photos and a couple of six foot Spock and Kirk posters. Etc., ate, etc. At the Auction in the Imperial Ballroom I was outbid on a Saurian brandy bottle (more on that later), and a pair of real-life-honest-to-gosh Spock ears once worn by Leonard himself and donated by Fred Phillips last year went for $80, I think. *sigh* I took a close look at them, just to satisfy my curiosity, and didn't think they looked like much. If they'd been occupied, now ...
Then on Sunday I was busy talking uith Pat and Nancy while walking past the dealer's room and somebody said, "There's Jimmy?" I looked up just as he walked by and shouted, "Jimmy!" while thinking to myself, Good God! Did I shout at a STAR and call him 'Jimmy'? He turned, and smiled. I was completely flustered and babbled, "Will you sign my T-shirt?" He grinned even wider and I hurriedly added, "Not the one I'm wearing, the one in my bagl" I fished out my trusty NCC-1701 Great Bird shirt and held it agalnst the wall and he signed it. *sigh*
Nancy's gone into the rap session, so what could I add? Harlan's magnificent rendering of his CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER was ... magnificent. And I (and the rest of the audience) howled with laughter when he told the story of how he'd attempted to track down the man responsible for ordering Spock's pointed ears airbrushed out in the early publicity brochures, and the Brazilian-dubbed version of STAR TREK he'd seen where a man spoke Uhura's lines. He read an original story with great feeling and held the audience spellbound. *sigh* Harlan, I salute you!
Jimmy and Walter were great; Jimmy was good at keeping things organized and Walter was the politest, nicest, and most accessible guest (with Hal a very close second!)
[snipped]Oops- running out of room! Not much to say about Bill Shatner except that it yea his first con... Next issue I hope to offer some complimentary remarks about him as regards to the play I saw him in over the summer.
- Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History By Robert Greenberger.
- Steve Stiles' post to the Fanhistory Facebook group dated Oct 20, 2014.