Pittsburgh Star Trektacular

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Pittsburgh Star Trektacular (also known as "Pittsburgh Star Strektacular")
Dates: December 12-14, 1975
Frequency:
Location: Pittsburg, PA
Type:
Focus:
Organization:
Founder: Nansi Hoy
Founding Date:
URL:
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cover of the 1975 program guide. Artist: John Johns: "President of Art Institute of Pittsburgh"

The Pittsburgh Star Trektacular convention was a Star Trek convention held in Pittsburgh on December 12-14, 1975.

Leonard Nimoy's 1977 Comments

I had an unpleasant experience in Pittsburgh about fifteen or sixteen months ago. There was a quote Pittsburgh Star 'STAR TREK convention' in Pittsburgh that I was invited to appear at and was offered a fee. I happened to be working in Pittsburgh at that time. I accepted the fee. It was negotiated through an agent in Los Angeles. The night before I was to appear, they didn't have the money to pay my fee, and called me and said, 'Don't come,' and I said, well what about all those people who you told I was going to be there and I have been in this town in Pittsburgh announcing to the press for weeks that I would be there, and therefore you have taken money from people on the assumption, who are coming on the assumption, that I'm going to be there. 'Don't come.' — So I didn't. And in my absence, one of the demi-goddesses of STAR TREK fandom [1] stood up and said, 'Leonard Nimoy does this — he makes promises and doesn't show up.' And one of those demi-goddesses was involved in running those two conventions in New York about four or five or six years ago. That I appeared at free without expenses. [2] OK. I'm trying to give you a little bit of a history of where the pain has begun.

Now, shortly after I arrived here, it was announced that there was some difficulty between myself and Paramount, which there is. Major difficulty. It has been going on for some time, and it's one of those difficulties that I can't discuss in detail because it is a legal case. However, as a result of that, I got a letter which I will read to you, and which is indicative of a certain train, a certain train of attitudes that I have been picking up words like 'traitor,' 'doesn't really like STAR TREK,' 'hates Spock,' 'hates the character,' 'hates the fans,' blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Now I'm going to bleep this letter where it's appropriate because there are young people in the room.

'Dear Nimoy. Good for you. Do not return to STAR TREK. I heartily approve your pretensions to stardom. I look forward to your wrecking the greatest show of all time with your (bleep) tactics. Big man, big money, big book I AM NOT SPOCK. Really fantastic. We all will cheer when you and your fellow star, William Shatner, (I don't know why he's attacking Bill. He's negotiating in good faith with the studio, and I think it's going to work out.) 'We will all cheer when you and your fellow star, Willliam Shatner gut the Enterprise of her Captain and Executive Officer next season. You (bleep).'
Why the hell should the (bleep) series go on now, if you are going to kick it in the groin before production even starts. You and career can take two running leaps straight into hell. We made you, and we will unmake. So you're not Spock, uh? The one slimy character of the 60's to be in the hall of fame along with Matt Dillon and Lucy Ricardo when everything else about television is lost to memory fifty years from now. The one bloody character that became an icon to a generation. Well creep, I've got news for you. As long as you live, you will only be known as Spock, Vulcan hero to a planet of youth, and that will be OK with me.'
I hereby put a curse on your miserable future career. May 100 million hands turn dials when you appear on the television screen, the great bird of paradise drop turds upon your head daily. May you be banished back to the twilight zone of Kid Monk Baroni, Maloney, Baloney, whatever the hell you were... until the night of Sept. 8, 1966. Do not live long, do not prosper. Shatner can join you in actor's purgatory. You Benedict Vulcan. It is so sad we loved you madly---an entire federation gone with the wind. Your bosom fan and present life-long enemy.'
And it's signed. [3]

From the Program Book

Convention Reports/News Coverage

From A Piece of the Action #36

"Most readers and STW VWs who sent their comments on this con stressed the almost total lack of planning and organization (or to put it plainly, 'what a mess!'). A change of hotel at the eleventh hour....no info desk....no press arrangements....no central dealers room, just many small scattered rooms....too small a ballroom for guest appearances....Leonard Nimoy didn't appear....costume show held in 7th floor hallway.... a disappearing committee and Chairman....knowledgable fans tried to step in and help EVERYWHERE. (Comments sent by Becca Oroukin, Dorothy McPherson, Bjo Trimble, Arlene Boyer.)."
"Star Trektacular in Pittsburgh appears to have been no different as it was ripe with difficulties from the very beginning. The convention was originally scheduled for the Pittsburgh Hilton, for instance, but was relocated to the William Penn Hotel after a misunderstanding caused the Hilton to believe that the event had been cancelled. Souvenir programs for Star Trektacular were still being printed hours after the convention officially convened, meanwhile, and William Theiss, who served as costume designer on Star Trek, was stranded at the airport because no one was available to pick him up."[4]
".....estimates ranged from one-to-five thousand Star Trek fans attending the event—including Bjo Trimble herself, who is listed as “Honored Ambassador” in the program—with a confirmed 2,500 tickets sold beforehand. There was a full-slate of activities scheduled as well, including a breakfast with the actors that was limited to four hundred attendees, an art show, trivia contest and costume contest. Official hours for Star Trektacular ran from 11am to 4pm each of the three days that it was held, with episodes of the original series being shown during the evening hours and extending into the early morning".[5]
"Although it was only 1975, Star Trektacular was equipped with computer terminals courtesy of On-Line Systems Inc. that featured computer game simulations and trivia quizzes. John Johns, president of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh at the time, designed the souvenir program for the event, while an additional ten Steel City fans were listed as organizers of the convention along with Nancy Hoy. Then there was the Dealers Room, which featured a full-array of Star Trek themed items—from books to buttons, comics to posters, jewelry to T-shirts."[6]
"“It’s a good living because right now there’s not much competition,” one of the vendors explained to the Pittsburgh Press. His specialties were “Vulcan nickel” buttons that sold for 50 cents and a larger version that went for one dollar, each of which cost only 12 cents to produce. “I figure to sell one thousand buttons during the convention,” the dealer added. “You figure out what I’ll make.” At least one attendee, however, took exception to the hawking of Star Trek merchandise. “All the commercialism really is a shame,” Bjo Trimble told the Pittsburgh Press. “With the movies, trivia contests and fashion shows, these conventions can really be fun.”[7]
"The "Star Trektacular," a convention of devotees of television's "Star Trek" got off to a shaky start Friday with hundreds of fans walking around in a daze trying to find activities that didn't cost anything. "What's going on today? A lot of confusion that's all," said one of the convention workers. Programs for the three-day affair being held at the William Penn Hotel hadn't arrived yet so most of the visitors wandered through the exhibits aimlessly. The lack of programs didn't assuage the hucksters as they pushed Star Trek buttons (75 cents), comic books (one dollar), T-shirts ($2.25 depending on what you put on it), "phasers" (the weapons of Star Trek space adventurers) and slides and paintings of the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Organizers' of "Pittsburgh's first Trektacular said about 2,000 people had registered for the convention."[8]

Other Sources

The first Pittsburgh con was held at the William Penn Hotel, December 12th-14th, 1975 and organized by Nansi Hoy, who did a great job. It was her first attempt and we all know that conventions, whoever organises them, have their complications. The majority of the membership enjoyed the convention and ray personal thanks to Nansi Hoy for being so cooperative in letting us have George all Saturday afternoon and evening. Mae, Laurie and Dawn give her their thanks too.

On Friday night we took George to Tambellini's for an Italian dinner. It wasn't bad enough getting lost twice, but after we finally arrived- an Italian restaurant specializing in seafood? Now no Italian jokes please, but on our return back to the hotel our driver, and I won't mention any name, but his initials are Patrick McLaughlin, got us lost again, but George didn't mind and neither did we. We were treated to a beautiful view of Pittsburgh from what seemed to me the top of a mountain. Saturday morning George gave a speech and had an interview. Saturday afternoon Mae, Dawn, Laurie, John our photographer and myself took George to see "Twelfth Night", a Shakespearean comedy with Leonard Nimoy playing the character "Malvolio". We laughed through the whole play and George's laugh echoed. Our seats were right on the first row with me on the aisle and George next to me. It was about the middle of the play. Malvolio was walking alone and he picked up a love letter. It was a riddle and he was, with the help of the audience, trying to figure out that the letter was talking about him. He came into the audience and wound up right next to me and when I looked up at Leonard, I started to laugh. George was laughing and I could not take the letter that Leonard was giving me to hold for him, so finally he took my hand and shoved the letter into it. The audience applauded and all, especially me, went into a laughing fit. During the intermission I went to the ladies room to get away from the people and as soon as I walked in some people said, "How does it feel to be in a play with Leonard Nimoy"? Well, I felt honored, but stupid at the same time. Backstage Leonard said, "I didn't embarrass you did I"? I said, "Not at all, it was more like I embarrassed you". But he was holding my hand and I soon forgot my stupidity. After the play we had dinner at a seafood restaurant in Allegheny Square where the theatre was located. Now believe this, a seafood restaurant which served Italian food. Well, we accomplished Saturday what we set out to do Friday night. George is so sweet, he just goes along with whatever happens, but then we always have a good time when George i s around. Sunday morning was the brunch with the stars which was enjoyed by all. On Sunday after De gave a speech, the art auction was conducted by Al Schuster who always does a fantastic job.

We had a fabulous time, so come on Nansi, start organizing the second Pittsburgh con! [9]

References

  1. He is referring to Nansi Hoy.
  2. "Having secured a hall at a local college and notified all the Pittsburgh press, Mr. Nimoy did a free public appearance on the Saturday following the convention."
  3. Leonard Nimoy Addresses the Star Trek America Convention (1977)
  4. The 1975 Star Trektacular and Twelfth Night, Archived version
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. The Pocono Record - 13 Dec 1975.
  9. from At the Helm #1/2