Schuster Star Trek Conventions/1976 (January) New York City Schuster Star Trek Convention
The 5th Annual International Star Trek Convention
The 5th Annual International Star Trek Convention was held on January 15-18, 1976 at the New York Hilton at the Rockefeller center.
That Al Schuster called it the "Fifth International Star Trek Convention" was a bit of chutzpah as it was the second 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.
It faced competition from Lisa Boyton's New York Star Trek '76 convention and 1976 The Committee Con all scheduled in New York within a two-month period. The conflict was featured in an article published by the Lakeland Ledger on Feb 22, 1976. The event attracted only 4000 attendees, and it lost money.
Guests of Honor
James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Jesco Von Puttkamer.
Gordon Dickson, Harry Harrison, Ben Bova, Hal Clement, Jesco von Puttkamer, James McDivitt, Kelly Freas, Jeff Maynard, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, J. Allen Hynek, and Mike McMasters.
- Al Schuster, chair
- Lynne Harris, assistant to the chair
- Carl Grasso, convention manager and treasurer
- Morgan Powell, press relations
- Linda Cappel, press relations assistant
- Renee Bodner, program coordinator
- Sharon Black, Barbara Iwanski, assistants to the program coordinator
- Tony Anello, dealer's room
- Mark Cook, art show
- Carl Grasso, Lynne Harris, Pat Lycopolus, registration
- Paul Deshaies, Pat McLaughlin, security
- John Moroney, Malcolm Worob, films
Other staff: Nancy Becker, Lynn Cohen, Jeff Etheridge, Chuck Frickel, Henry Frickel, Neil Harris, Charon Heuer, Steve Janosko, Larry Landsman, Colleen Lunney, Mary Lunney, Maureen Lunney, Joyce Menta, Randi Millstein, Kim Moran, Kenny Pisani, Thomas Quinn, Kitty Reade, Gita Sargrad, Walter Schuster, Dave Simmons, Kay Sullivan, Stasy Tecker, Bryan Toder, Angelquue Trouvere, Jan Wazeleski, Helen Wood.
Tidbits and Anecdotes
Flyers, Badges, and Other Ephemera
A Souvenir Book
A souvenir book was created, one with a front and back cover by F. Boichot (not credited in book, attribution is from the signature on the illo), see above.
The souvenir book contains 20 pages:
- bios and photos of the main guests of honor: Doohan, Takei, Nichols, Koenig, Dr. Jesco von Puttkamer), six pages of publicity stills from the show (plus the inside back and front covers), a list of the con staff, and two pages of zine and club info.
The Program Book
It's possible there was no formal program book, but simply a pocket guide, and that the souvenir book was the main booklet provided with membership.
- Writers' Panel: Gordon Dickson, Harry Harrison, Ben Bova, Hal Clement
- Jesco von Puttkamer: NASA, slides, lecture, discussion
- James McDivitt: astronaut, slides, lecture, discussion
- Science Fiction Panel: Kelly Freas, Gordon Dickson, Ben Bova
- "What is Science Fiction?": Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison
- J. Allen Hynek: UFO expert, film, slides, discussion
- "Works in Progress": David Gerrold reads from portions of his new novel
- "Inside a Klingon Battlecruiser": slide lecture and projection graphics, Commander Jeff Maynard and Lt. Commander Mike McMasters
- Kelly Freas, lecture with slides, "25 Years of Kelly Freas, God Help Us!," introduced by Gordon Dickson
- "A Startling Interlude with Harlan Ellison": Harlan Ellison reads portions of his new stories and general bad carryings-on
Links to Photos and Videos
- The Daily Scrapbook: 11/23/12 Star Trek Art and The rest of the program, Archived version a blog post by a fan whose mother had taken him to the 1976 Bicentennial Star Trek convention, complete with photos and receipts for the hotel stay
- "Cult of the Trekkies" clipping from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, February 29, 1976. The story ran in several newspapers under different bylines. The byline illustrates how most sci-fi and Star trek fans were considered fringe elements in society, weird and possibly dangerous.
The Tennessee newspaper article used portions of the same text from "Cult of the Trekkies" but with the byline "Trekkie Promoters Haven't Heard "Peaceful" Message. It is perhaps one of the more neutral bylines in the series, implying that while the TV show contained a positive message, that some fans had fallen short.
The San Bernardino article also used portions of the same text from "Cult of the Trekkies" but with the byline "Star Trek promoters fall short of brotherhood" By doing so, it focused on the conflict between Al Schuster and The Committee Con.
Attendance at the con was much lower than had been anticipated, so it was quiet and relaxed. A special separate area contained the tables for use of James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and STW, courtesy of Chairman Al Schuster. Many STWers on short notice helped set up and manage the table: Sharon Ferraro, Mary Ellen Flynn, Gee Moaven, and Allyson Whitfield. Assisting them were: Maria Amato, Nora Bock, Winston Howlett, Joyce Russell, and Jack Townsend (President of Walter Koenig Fan Club). Walter Koenig held two autograph sessions at the table. $187.00 were realized through sale of patches, Directories, and photos donated by Tony Anello.