Puget Sound Star Trekkers Science Fiction and Star Trek Convention

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Puget Sound Star Trekkers Science Fiction and Star Trek Convention
Dates: 1975-1979
Frequency:
Location: Washington State
Type:
Focus:
Organization: Puget Sound Star Trekkers
Founder: Kitty Canterbury
Founding Date:
URL:
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Kitty Canterbury dressed as a walking kiosk advertising the 1975 con

Puget Sound Star Trekkers Science Fiction and Star Trek Convention was a series of three cons sponsored by Puget Sound Star Trekkers and Kitty Canterbury.

The second con generated a con zine: See Con Special Edition (January 1977).

Fan Comments

2014

Yes, I'm an unabashed fan. I'm not apologizing for it. Ever.

Since around the time I was old enough to be aware of such things, I was a fan of Star Trek. Unfortunately, that was the year NBC cancelled it, so I mostly recall watching it as reruns.

In the 1970s, a group of Seattle-area fans got together and founded the Puget Sound Star Trekkers (PSST), under the leadership of Kitty Cantebury who passed away in 2012. PSST ran a Star Trek convention, which grew out of control, lost money left and right and put Kitty into bankruptcy. After the second PSSTCon, a third was held, ostensibly to pay off Kitty's personal debt. [1]

2017

We had small, little cons here in Seattle. Starbase sponsored small, little cons held in the meeting rooms at Seattle Center. George Takei always came up for them. Every year was the year that he was going to have a TV show of Captain Sulu. He was a really nice guy, and we had a lot of fun. They finally put on, in ’75, I think it was, a bigger con at one of the local hotels in downtown and got Harlan Ellison as a guest and David Gerrold as a guest, and so it had gotten that big. [2]

PSST Con I

The first PSST con was called The Star Trek Fan Conference. It took place November 8, 1975 at the Seattle Center North Court.

November 8, 1975

It was hosted by Puget Sound Star Trekkers in conjunction with KSTW-TV and The Pacific Science Center.

Cost was $10 in advance, $25 at the door.

PSST Con I: Programming

  • art show
  • costume parade
  • model contest
  • movies
  • film competition
  • slide swap
  • Huckster and Fanzine Rooms

PSST Con II

January 29-30, 1977
a fan's badge from 1977

PSST Con II was held January 29-30, 1977 in Seattle, Washington at the Olympic Hotel.

This con generated a con zine: See Con Special Edition (January 1977).

This con had an on-site Red Cross blood donation center. While this had been a fixture at science fiction cons, this was the first Star Trek-centric convention to offer this volunteer activity.

The program book addresses as to why there were "only" four Star Trek episodes shown instead of the ten (two of which were from Animated Trek) that were advertised: "The full price or episodes is between $650 and $1400 each. We didn't have enough people who paid in advance to be able to pay for the episodes in advance. Instead, during those empty time periods, members of the Star Trek Cast will give hour long talks, rap with the audience, which is something we haven't see from 5-20 times before."

Advertised guests of honor were Robert A. Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, George Takei, (Frank) Kelly Freas, Bill Malone (and his friend Robby the Robot), Bjo and John Trimble, Grace Lee Whitney, David Gerrold, Susan Sackett, and Malcolm Klein (from Filmation Studios).

PSST Con II: Programming

  • nine "fan-oriented contests"
  • sixteen major motion pictures (including "2001: Space Odyssey," "War of the Worlds," "Fantasticc Planet," and "the entire "Apes" series.")
  • a dealers' room
  • film clip swap
  • fanzine library
  • game room
  • "autographs"
  • "over 32 hours of events"

PSST Con II: Photos

PSST CON II: From the Program Book

PSST Con II: Con Reports

[typos and spelling preserved]: PSST Con-II has come and gone; a two day weekend that seemed a month long. The most alluring facet of the Con were the VIP guests. As a member of Tic-Toc (or VIP escort), I had an opportunity to observe them at close range. I may be wrong in what I say, so I can't deny anyone the right to disagree with me; as long as they remember that the following are my opinions, NOT fact.

Part I: The Panel Guests Plus Two On Saturday morning, all the Tic-Tocs gathered in the command wing to determine who would escort whom to the panel discussion set for 10:00 AM.

The first VIPs I met were Grace Lee Whitney and her husband Jack Dale. They were the ones I was directed to escort to the panel discussion.

Mr. Dale is a six foot, umpteen inch, dark haired, gravelly voiced bean pole. He is thin, but his height makes him an imposing, faintly sinister figure. Appearances are deceiving because I found him to be a gentle and kindly man.

Miss Whitney is a chipper, bubbly lady. She and her husband share a good marriage. Lithe movements and an effervesant personality make her seem young. But lines, subtley etched on her face betrayed her. It's not the face of innocent youth. The vibrant a liveness she has is mostly real. The other part, the smaller part, functions as a mask, hiding the darker aspects of her personality.

The panel discussion was the only opportunity I had to size up several of the VIPs. Six of them were on the stage, seated at a table. From left to right, they were Susan Sackett, David Gerrold, Grace Lee Whitney, George Takai, Bjo Trimble, and Bill Malone.

Except for the fact I choked to death every time I was around her (she smokes), there is little I can say about Susan Sackett, because I had little chance to talk to her. She is older than I thought. The lines of her face are more perceptable than Miss Whitney's. She struck me as serious, taking life with methodical dillegence; but gladly welcoming any happiness and laughter that came to her.

David Gerrold -- brash bluster and blarny. Running into life, head on, enjoying it with happy abandon. Writing, sex, and money are his favorite pass-times. He has a charming smile, a perceptive intelligence, a disarming wit, and a mile wide streak of stubborness. Mr. Gerrold is, in his own words, "Old enough to know better and still young enough to enjoy it." A refreshing open-ess, a healthy sense of humor, and a carefree sensuality permeate him and his books. His wisdom is good for a hearty laugh, or an hour of escape.

He has talent, and he uses it but only where he will get the most money.

He admitted at the con he wants to write a sequel to "When Harlie Was One" called "When Harlie Was Two". But he refuses to do it until Ballentine Books pays him enough to make it worth his while.

If anyone decides to take Mr. Gerrold seriously, she or he had better have a box of salt on hand.

Grace Lee Whitney -- I've mentioned.

George Takai takes pride in his body, excercising it to keep it healthy. He shares a trait with Miss Whitney, because the face he shows is carefree and perpetually full of cheer. His laughter gave him away. It sounded hollow to me, jumping on my ear drums as if he were a walrus bellowing for his mate. I don't be1ieve his exuberance is a front, not completely. Like every human, Mr. Takai has many sides, many qualities. The traits of joy, happiness and zest for life are inside him; along with anger, frustration, hatred — the blackest parts of human nature. Mr. Takai cultivates his lighter side because the fans expect it. It is sad that demands of fans force him to take a part of what is him, and turn it into a mask.

Bjo Trimble is a special lady. I would describe her as: perpetual motion darting hither and yon, and a warm and open lady with no need of a mask. A part of her was missing at Con-II because John Trimble wasn't there. Mr. Trimble is full of life in a quieter way. His stability gives bouncy Bjo the support she needs to suceed in anything she undertakes. She shows this in the Star Trek Concordance. She writes in the dedication, "Dedicated to the three men who made it possible...John Trimble for believing I could get this book together..." I saw them together at Con-I. Each of them is a self-sufficient and wonderful human being. But their differences and similarities, counterpointing and blending into a good marriage, are an example if IDIC Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination.

At the panel discussion, Bill Malone sat at the end of the table. He didn't say much because few questions were directed toward him, and the others hogged the microphones. He was dressed in black, a Hamlet figure. As Prince Hamlet stood aloof from the reveling of Elsinore Castle, in mourning for his father. Mr. Malone was out of place at the panel discussion. His face was solemn throughout the whole proceeding. Perhaps he was in mourning for Robbie the Robot, who got lost in transit and didn't show up at the Con. Mr. Malone strikes me as a quiet sensitive man, wary of strangers; coming to life and opening up only when he is among friends , or people who can be friends.

Part II: Three Others

The next day I met Frank Kelly Freas. I'm flighty by nature and by this point in the Con my nerves were taut from the excitment and the pressure of my responsibilities. Mr. Freas sent out waves and waves of calm. No need to hurry. No need to rush. Relax and enjoy. And so he does. His life, the people he meets, and his are are something he savors and shares.

Another relaxed guest was Morrie Bennett, David Gerrold's business partner. Mr. Bennett is middle aged and graying slightly. He is capable of matching the antics of people half his age. But he tempers it with a measure of wisdom that is" attained only through years of experience.

The third of the "Three Others" is a mystery to me. I never had a chance to speak to or even see Malcom Klein so I can't say anything about him.

Part III: Risking My Neck

Halan Ellison has a reputation. It is not easy to sort through all the gossip and half truths and try to find out why he is what he is. I don't like what I saw.

He is outrageously funny and sarcastic, worldly cynical, and a ladies man. He gets his way through intimidation, being considerate only when it suits him. He admitted that a great many of his works are revenge stories. When someone or something crosses him, he dashes to his typewriter and draws the poison out of his system, putting it on paper, and selling it for a great sum of money. He jabs, cuts, and tears to pieces his subject matter with bitter humor. The strongest example coming to mind is the story he read on Sunday night at the Con. It dealt with the "best f--k in the universe". I roared with laughter with the rest of the audience as he moved in and out of the different characters white he read. It was uncanny to see him shift from a bulling interrogator to a meek and hempecked temponaut (time traveler). When he was finished, I felt a faint after-taste of bile. The more I thought about the story -- "disgusting things" (Mr. Ellison's noun), "coitusing" (Mr. Ellison's verb) the human race to death -- the more I wondered how much of it was a reflection of his own life. The story was stimulating--physically. Sex was reduced to an exercise, indulged in only for the pleasure of orgasm.

Mr. Ellison's bed-hopping is almost legendary. It's an open secret he shared his bed at the Con with a nineteen year old girl. Cynicism. Sarcasm. Intimidation. Sex for the hell of it. What does it point to? A clue to Harlan Ellison's character; am embittered, dirty old man, ready to pounce on anything that threatens him. He can't stand it when an editor rewrites his work. If his stories are part of himself, does he consider an attack on his words an attack on himself? Probably. I suspect very few people know what lies deep inside of him. I can only guess, but I see is frightened, insecure, unloved little boy inside. Mr. Ellison tries to prove his courage by putting on a tough act. He looks for security in material things, writing as much and as fast as he can to make money. He looks for love between a woman's thighs, moving to the next one when he doesn't find what he is looking for. I wonder if he will ever find it.

Part IV: An Apology And A Promise

I can hear the yowls of dissappointment reverberating because I have made no mention of our most renowned guests, Heinlein and Heinlein. But I would be giving them the short end of the stick if I tried to crowd them into this missive. Robert Heinlein and his lady fair, Virginia, deserve an article to themselves. So, in "Reflections Of A Tic-Toc II" I shall devote special attention to them, I promise. [3]
At table three, we were just beginning our dinner amidst getting acquainted with each other and our guest celebrity Bjo Trimble. I found here quite delightful to listen to; she's so full of anecdotes about everyone and everything connected with the Star Trek phenomenon.

Over to our left was table four, presided over by the very lively David Gerrold. Suddenly, there was a flurry of commotion -- a rising, deafening crescendo of clapping by people at all the tables. Many of the guests stood, in an attempt to see what was happening. Others, because their view was blocked by those standing, whispered excitedly to each other and to their celebrity for any scrap of fact or rumor!

From the right came Kitty Cantebury, dramatically bearing high before her a shining silver platter with only one item upon it: a 2" wooden hockey puck between an oversized hamburger bun.

Deafening applause greeted the offering and its bearer! Straight to David Gerrold she strode, and presented it to him with elaborate and appropriate words!

Then David began to speak, first thanking "the ones responsible" for the very unusual dinner, and then going on to explain to everyone (both those who understood its meaning and also to the majority of us who "were in the dark".

What had prompted this whole affair? It seems that he has always complained loudly everywhere he goes about hotel food being as tasty as a hockey puck so several of his cronies, who are always playing jokes on each other, cooked up this scheme to get back at him! [4]
Before I moved to Canada, I went to a few local cons in Washington and Oregon. This one was somewhat memorable; I believe it was 1975. [5] Jon Gustafson, my late friend and cohort, heard that Robert Heinlein was going to attend a Star Trek con in Seattle, and we decided to hop into my Mazda and go. We had just produced New Venture #5 (our fanzine), the Special Art issue, and because Kelly Freas had done the cover, and Kelly was going to be there, too, we decided to take a few as freebies. When we got to PSST-CON II we were able to give copies to Robert A. Heinlein, Kelly Freas, Harlan Ellison and, if memory serves, Walter Koenig of Star Trek [6]. We knew Kelly through his work (and the mail, but had never met him in person before). He became our instant friend that weekend—a friendship that lasted until Kelly died. Thanks to Kelly, who was an old friend of the Heinleins, we were able to spend some hours listening to Robert and Virginia reminiscing; and Harlan was extremely complimentary about our fanzine, too. All in all, we had a wonderful time. [7]

PSST Con III

PSST III was a one-day con on April 16, 1978. It was held at the Seattle Center North Court, which was the venue of the first con.

The cost was $10 (Feb and Mar), $11 in April, "?? at the door."

This con was held, in part, to pay off the personal debt that Kitty Canterbury had incurred in running the first two PSST Cons. [8]

Advertised guests were Harlan Ellison, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Susan Sackett ("with information about Star Trek II"), Bjo Trimble, Bill Malone (with Robby the Robot"). Kermit Eller (as "Gort" in "The Day the Earth Stood Still") was advertised on one flyer.

PSST Con III: Programming

  • "The Magic Behind 'The Force'" ("a presentation on Star Wars SFX by Adam Beckett")
  • eight full-length related films
  • several Star Trek episodes
  • dealer room ("Dealers coming from as far away as Florida, California, WITH SUPER GOODIES!!")
  • game room
  • computer games room
  • autographs
  • costume contest (called "Clothes Encounters of the Third Kind")
  • model contest
  • art contest
  • food bank collection drive
  • "Future Fair at the Food Circus"
  • trivia quiz
  • blood drive
  • awards ceremony

PSST Con III: Photos

PSST III: Con Reports

George Takei was the guest of honor that year. It was a single-day convention. He was a real sport, and I believe it was Kitty who presented him with the "Captain Sulu" t-shirt. This was many years before the character showed up in Star Trek 6 as captain of his own ship. I never asked what George's fee was, I wasn't involved in running the convention. He may have come free of charge, as Heinlein had the year before.

But of course, that's not why George Takei is the best person ever. [9]

Interested in a conrep? I surprised myself by attending the 3rd annual con here in Seattle. The last time I went was in 1975, the first con put on by the Puget Sound Star Trekkers. I was astonished to note some new trends:

Most noticeable was the infiltration of STAR WARS. There were more Darth Vaders and Princess Leias than STAR TREK characters — and no Spocks at all! Last time there were little green Vulcans underfoot everywhere one looked. This time it was R2D2. This was also true at the huckster tables. Merchandise was almost equally divided between ST and SW, plus a lot of vaguely science-fiction related offerings ranging from religion to King Tut. The exhibits included a life-sized Captain's chair, Robby the Robot, a Transporter pad, and the usual artwork and model displays (50-50 SW and ST) with a lot of sf/astronomy for good measure. There's one good thing for sure: our national economy may be suffering from inflation, high unemployment, and other monetary woes, but there’s no lack of money among fans when it comes to a Con... I got there about noon, and already some of the hucksters tables were empty. All the fanzines were gone except for two whose publisher apparently had an inexhaustible supply.

The programming was divided between two halls at the opposite ends of the Con site (which consisted of a half-dozen or so rooms to which entrance was permitted by displaying a vivid orange bracelet received at the door upon entry payment.). In one, a continuous showing of films was presented: ST episodes interspersed with old science fiction movies like Collossus, Forbidden Planet, Westworld, etc.

In the other room, the live speakers alternated with movie skits like Hardware Wars, an amusing parody of SW with egg beaters and steam irons fighting around a waffle-grid planet. And a blooper film, of course.

George Takei was there, and very obligingly allowed himself to be cornered for autograph sessions every time he appeared in public. He made up for the non-appearance of the others, for Susan Sackett did not show (reasons of health) and If Bjo Trimble was there, I failed to see her.

The panel was a disappointing telephone session with Sackett re the forth-coming ST movie — which evidently aims to outdo SW in special effects, if nothing else. The most interesting lecture I heard was a NASA representative reporting on the various satellites and the information received from them about our other planets.

I was surprised to note that the most numerous uniforms (previously, of course, ST uniforms of every home-made style and color were) consisted of a red velvet tabard worn over street clothes. They were so prevalent -- and so officious — it looked as though they were in charge of the Con. Made me wonder If Creative Anachronisms, Inc., had also infiltrated TREKdom... or possibly in some alternative ST universe, the crew wore medieval dress????

The general age of the attendees seems surprisingly older than at previous cons... which is probably to be expected. Loyal fans from the days when ST began have now aged from their post-adolescent youth and have matured into marriage. There was the usual sprinkling of teenagers and greyheads, but the preponderance seemed to be in their twenties and their thirties — many with young families and babes-in-arms.

One thing about this age group disturbed me. . Among the young women were about a half-dozen who must have topped the scale around 250 to 300 pounds, even allowing for the tent-like SW costumes. I realize obesity is becoming endemic in this country and is right up there with heart failure and diabetes as a national health problem, but this is the first time I have seen it among the active younger set. It's frightening... [10]

References

  1. ^ Why George Takei is the Best Person Ever, Archived version (2014)
  2. ^ from Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Maggie Nowakowska
  3. ^ from Saurian Brandy/Dandelion Wine #4 by Margaret McEwen
  4. ^ from Margaret Anderson in Saurian Brandy/Dandelion Wine #4
  5. ^ It was 1977.
  6. ^ No, Walter Koenig was not there.
  7. ^ Fandom May Be A Way of Life, But is it THE Way of Life? - Amazing Stories, Archived version, Steve Fahnestalk, November 15, 2013
  8. ^ Why George Takei is the Best Person Ever, Archived version (2014)
  9. ^ Why George Takei is the Best Person Ever, Archived version (2014)
  10. ^ con report by G.M. Carr in Right of Statement #1