Schuster Star Trek Conventions/1978 (February) New York City Schuster Star Trek Convention

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Star Trek World Expo con was held February 18-20, 1978 in New York City.

front cover of the program book

Guests of Honor

William Shatner | Issac Asimov | Bruce Hyde | Joan Winston | Sondra Marshak | Myrna Culbreath | Howard Weinstein | Richard K. Preston | Dan McHugh | Anna Tornheim Hassan (Sondra Marshak's mother) | Joyce Russell | Thomas Monson

Heash [1] was the Master of Ceremonies.

Convention Staff

Message from Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath

Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath's statement, and some product placement for Star Trek: The New Voyages #2
From a commemorative edition of the program book:

Dear Star Trek Fans:

Our Goal ... to Summon the Future!

Listen, we know of a little place on Rigel II with exotic Orion dancers ... or maybe you'd like to drop in on a 23rd Century Fashion Show! How about a Talent Contest? Catch the Andorian singer: "I'm So Blue!" Maybe you'd prefer songs in the key of Trek by the Omicron Ceti III group... or a surprise visit by a Vulcan! Or an outline of NASA's long-range plans for "where no man" by Jesco von Puttkamer, NASA's Program Manager for Space Industrialization. He takes Star Trek as NASA's longest goal. Maybe you can get him to autograph the introduction he wrote for "Star Trek: The New Voyages II. "Don't forget to have Nichelle Nichols autograph her story and epilogue in the book. Would you like a rap session with someone who bears a remarkable resemblance to a Starship Captain? Feast your eyes on his new album, "William Shatner - Live','or win a chance to talk with him.

All of these things are possible at the Star Trek conventions run by Tristar. More guest stars and speakers... more unusual and imaginative fan-oriented activities than we have ever seen at any other conventions — and we've seen some! This is why Tristar conventions have become a tradition for us — a tradition which we expect to maintain indefinitely.

Star Trek conventions as a whole have been at the heart of what has kept Star Trek alive these many years.. . and none more than, the fan-oriented conventions. Here we can share for a few days the sense of the reality of that future which each of us sets out to summon. In our daily lives many of us are alone or nearly alone. We do what we can in our own ways. But here we can share the vision of the goal, make friends, exchange notes along the way, enjoy, rejoice, see the beauty and value of some of the people who made us see a special vision of the future. It is fuel for the future!

That's another reason we've made Tristar conventions a special tradition of our own. At these conventions only we've scheduled special sessions to share our stage with some of the best fan talent we can find — writers, editors, artists, musicians, multi-talenl fan groups. We've been told that "Star Trek Lives" with its fan-fiction section and "Star Trek: The New Voyages" have touched off a tremendous flood of creativity. It is our hope that this chance to get together, exchange ideas with top fan creators, and sometimes enlist their help, will touch off another one.

One of the main reasons we're involved in Star Trek is the good which Star Trek does in the real world towards summoning the future. It is the reason we always try to be available to fans. And it is the reason we thank, especially, the management of Tristar for their vision, imagination and benevolent attitude towards their celebrity guests and fans alike. We have heard only the highest praise for all of them from the Star Trek stars, writers, NASA people ... and we couldn't agree more. Tristar makes what we do here possible and continues to create conventions that are a special experience for everyone.

Each time we attend a Tristar convention, we feel as if we have stepped into a branch office of Camelot. This is Cameiot outbound ... to the stars. Anyone for Rigel II?

The Program Book

Tidbits and Anecdotes

The program book had two full-page illos by Monica Miller, a full-page ad for William Shatner's new LP, William Shatner Live, a trivia contest, photos of Bruce Hyde, William Shatner, Joan Winston, Anna Tornheim Hassan, Issac Asimov, and Heash (Master of Ceremonies), a map of the hotel, and an ad for the Star Trek America that was to take place in September 1978 at the Statler Hilton Hotel.

The program book had sixteen pages. There were four different editions of it: one for Nimoy, Shatner, Kelley, and Doohan. They differed by having a full-page publicity still of the actor and a page with a short bio.

The first blood drive hosted at a Star Trek convention was at this con and was sponsored by the editor of Ambrov Zero, a Sime~Gen con. This con activity was inspired by the blood drives started by Robert Heinlein at science fiction cons.

Flyers, Badges, and Other Ephemera

Programming

  • Masquerade Spectacular
  • Miss Galaxy Beauty Pageant
  • Phantasma Fantasy Fashion Show presented by The Asphalt Jungle
  • Inside a Klingon Battle Crusier by Mike McMasters
  • Art Auction
  • Amateur Film Contest
  • Fanzine Reading Room
  • Space Shuttle K-7 Lounge
  • Robert Heinlin's [sic] Blood Drive
  • Star Wars Exhibition Center by Factors Etc, Inc.
  • Fan Club Exhibits
  • Galaxy Art Exhibit
  • Space Traders Room
  • "Update on Space Colonization" by Dan McHugh
  • City on the Edge of Whatever, slideshow by Michigan State University Star Trek Club
  • "On the Set of Star Trek" by Joan Winston
  • Science Fiction Piano Concert by Bruce Hyde, perhaps others
  • a showing of the Star Trek Bloopers
  • "Selling Your Star Trek Book" by Joan Winston
  • "Starfleet: A New Era" by Richard K. Preston
  • "The Star Trek Connection" by Joyce Russell and Thomas Monson
  • Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath Present Excerpts from "Shatner: Where No Man" and "Mr. Spock's Guide to the Planet Vulcan" -- Anna Tornheim Hassan was involved in this presentation in some way
  • "The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey" by Richard K. Preston


Links to Photos and Videos

Articles and Further Reading

Con Reports

Once again the majority of East Coast fen gathered in New York City for a weekend of activities planned by the people who brought us Bi-Centennial 10, Star Trek America and other recent lavish convention. This time the setting was familiar, the atmosphere was the same, and the chief complaint seemed to be that a three-day can was not long enough to accomplish everything we intended to do.

It has been noted that anything should improve with practice. This particular breed of convention seems to have stagnated. The same mistakes are repeated. the same aggravations are experienced by con-goers. Granted, many of the problems are the fault of the hotel administration and staff rather than the convention promoters, but if that is true, isn't it time to switch hotels? Frankly, I'm tired of the hotel failing to block the convention (putting all attendees on one or two floors exclusively), closet-size rooms passed off as "quads", a stage with inadequate lighting, an M.C. who thinks ridicule is humorous, pre-teen cadets who haven't been properly informed, and more old science fiction films than Star Trek episodes.

Yet these are just a few drawbacks which are discreetly overlooked. Where else can one congregate with so many friends at one time, gasp at and chuckle with William Shatner, admire the stunning array of costumes, filksinging in the mezzanine until 3 a.m., donate blood in the name of Ambrov Zeor, or sit and watch Star Trek on the big screen with all the eagerness of a novice?

EXPO suffered from a pathetic lack of guests - we missed Jimmy, Nichelle, Walter and George, who have been such an integral part of past cons - but the promoters chose to fill the void with interesting and varied fan panels and activities. The result was a unique blend of pro con and fan con which, hopefully, gave everybody something which they could enjoy. We highly commend this trend toward fan involvement; it's a valuable asset which helps to promote the growth of fandom.

Part of the fun of conventions must necessarily come from yourself, and at the Expo, as with other recent New York cons, there is plenty of freedom for this self expression. The room parties, group outings to local restaurants or places of interest, the discussions and debates that go on all night until nothing makes any sense and hysteria sets in, are almost all spontaneous and form the lifeblood of any convention. If you attended and found yourself bored, perhaps it was because there was no effort on your part. Fandom is open to everyone and we're all bound together by that same love and interest. If you want to participate, you can strike up a conversation. Ask questions. Visit the fanzine room and get to know the editors, writers and artists. Reach out - and begin a correspondence, a collection or a friendship. It happens best at a convention! [2]

For a Star Trek fan, the first big convention can be an exciting, adventurous and rewarding experience. Where else can you see Enterprise crewmen, Darth Vader, and beauty queens from other galaxies walking through a hotel lobby in New York? Where else can you meet people who wear fifty buttons on their "Keep On Trekkin'!' t-shirts? Where else can you buy a frisbee with William Campbell's image imprinted on it? And where else can you meet a group of creative, talented people who translate their love for the show, and particularly the Kirk/Spock relationship into poetry, songs, and stories?

As a relative newcomer to active fandom, I was somewhat dubious about how I would fit into the world of total immersion in Star Trek. I wondered if this would be a convention of trivia experts or people who were most interested in wearing their Star Trek and Star Wars costumes, or of real, serious fans who could find meaning and significance in the ideas and characters created by the show. As it turned out, I discovered that all three of these groups were attracted by a big, glamorous pro-con. There was really something for everybody.

There were a few disappointments, or perhaps I should say surprises. I had expected the costume contest to be a spectacular show of real fans wearing their own home-made costumes which they and their friends designed. Instead I found a semi-professional show with sexy models and a great many Luke Skywalkers, Princess Leias and Chewies. The prevalence of Star Wars costumes really didn't bother me but these fans seemed much more concerned with imitating the actions of their favorite characters than sharing new ideas with their fellow fans. It seemed to me that their display of reproducing the originals lacked the creativity and real interest that I had hoped to see. The audience didn't seem too interested either, so I suppose I wasn't the only one who felt this way.

The rest of the convention, however, met and exceeded my expectations. The two appearances by William Shatner were very enjoyable. I was impressed by his sense of humor, his ability to speak on almost any subject, his interest in art and literature, and the intelligent and friendly questions asked by most of the fans there.

I was amazed by the excellent quality of the art work an display and the large number of fanzines available, many being sold by editors and writers who would discuss their work and exchange ideas with fans. I think that the creative efforts of these people are really what has kept the essence of Star Trek alive for all these years since the show began. They have made the show grow and change and infused their talents into it to create a greater entity. Most important of all, I found a great deal of fellowship and cooperation among the fans. Even the most exalted zine editor is glad to talk to an inexperienced fan about their ideas. I am already looking forward to the next con, when I can meet other fans and and hopefully introduce them to the things I discovered at the New York con.[3]

Star Trek America converted me to the ST fan movement. It was a real revelation for a person who had never even spoken face-to-face with a real fan before and who came to the Con with a great deal of trepidation. Instead of the expected unrestrained lunacy, I found calm, self-controlled people who were able to trust and be trusted.

A seat behind the Welcommittee table in the Space Traders' Room is a great vantage point for watching the Con pass in review. I ended up sitting there selling fanzines (for Jacqueline Lichtenberg) for something like eight hours, although I had come to the Con as an ordinary member. I spent the time matching faces with familiar names; watching bemused as Walter Koenig and other Guests slipped by me into the circle of tables; being stuck fast to my post while Leonard Nimoy made a surprise appearance elsewhere; becoming an instant Lichtenberg expert. Saturday seemed to be Star Wars day: hucksters pushing "Jedi light tubes", ubiquitous Brotherhood of Jedi Knights nametags, fervent wishes of "May the Force be with you" on buttons and T-shirts, three Princess Leias, two Darth Vaders, one herd of Jawas with twinkly eyes . . . and the Star Wars theme music being played every ten minutes. It's tiring but fun, as long as you don't mind subsisting on bagels and warm cherry soda!

Among the speakers, I most enjoyed Joan Winston and Isaac Asimov, both of whom are so funny in their own ways. The Anniversary Ball was also enjoyable. A pretty fair magician entertained the tables in our area. The orchestra and its MC were excellent; they played quite a few numbers which didn't require couples to dance-- a boon for us singles. On Sunday night, I only watched part of the lengthy Masquerade, but I did meet some of the participants afterward. They were still in costume and in character, and their dignity and feeling of integrity was overwhelming.

A word to anyone out there who hasn't dared go to a Con because they're afraid they'll get lost in the crowd. I found that a ST Con can be as personalized as you want it to be; it's easy to find yourself in a small friendly group if you make the effort. As for me, I went alone, lost five pounds and my heart to Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and gained some new friends and attitudes that are going to be very important to me. [4]

I am still recovering from the ordeal of the February Star Trek Con in New York... so while the con is still floating around in my mind, I'll make use of some of my feelings and experiences. This Con was very disappointing from the guest point of view. Because William Shatner was the chief guest, I presume that there was perhaps not enough room in the budget for other major stars. By way of a salve, Bruce Hyde was there to rap and sing with his devoted fans.

Moreover, Dr. Isaac Asimov was there and in his usual inimitable fashion helped to save the day. I never get tired of hearing him talk on his favourite subject, himself. Also, two of our club members added to the frivolity of Dr. Asimov's autograph session. Both of them -- and they shall remain anonymous -- arrived at the autograph table with several items to be signed by the good Doctor. Dr. Asimov usually makes "requests" of the young, attractive women who wish to obtain his autograph.

Our first member asked Dr. Asimov if he would sign her "Foundation." [5] The good Doctor, expecting to see a copy of his famous works, was surprised and delighted when a piece of feminine, intimate apparel was placed in front of him. He did, however, state that he regretted that the attractive young lady was not wearing it at the time. Our second member asked Dr. Asimov if he would autograph the "most valuable thing she possessed." When he agreed, (the good Doctor has rarely been known to refuse a pretty face), she lifted her T-shirt and presented her exposed mid-riff for signing. Dr. Asimov was overjoyed and licking his pen, set out to work with a will. The ultimate egotist, he insisted on kissing this signature upon completion.

Fanzine sales were aided through the efforts of several dedicated Club members. Barry Tremaine, who stayed for extra periods of time at our table, hand coloured advertising flyers to offer as a sales bonus. Melissa Thomas, who wouldn't let anyone leave the fanzine room until they'd examined everything on our table, Bob Quicke and David Wax, who put in a lot of extra effort, were all a tremendous asset to the fanzine sales staff. To everybody who disappeared on both days when William Shatner was speaking and left your Editor to man the fort by himself, I say, "May you run out of money when the new Star Trek movie comes to town." However, I really enjoyed doing it, so don't feel bad for too long. It gave me time to talk to Lori Chapek-Carleton, the editor of Warped Space, which I feel is one of the better zines to be available. [6]

These conventions, were done at the time by the now-long defunct "Tristar Industries" (it wasn't an "industry" as much as it was a few people who organized things) of Staten Island, which essentially picked up the baton left by Joan Winston's bunch, in 1976. They cost a whopping $15 for the weekend to get into and a staggering $39.00 a night in the mid-town Hotel, at the time called The Statler Hilton (It's now The New York Hotel Pennyslvania, it's original name). I went to this particular con on a very cold Feburary 1978 weekend, with friends Jack Eaton and the now-late Andy Hastings (he passed away about five years ago from a long neurological illness which he suffered from, which he had at the time we went to the convention).

[snipped]

Here's some of the program items. Wow. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in glorious 16mm on the big screen. This was the day when all movies and TV episodes were loaded up on 16mm reel-to-reel projectors. Jack Eaton reminded me of us both seeing the sign announcing 2001 would be shown and, after viewing my previous blog entries for the Arthur C. Clarke painting I was commissioned to do this month, it reminded me of from wence we came, when I saw this program book sitting in a pile of stuff here.

[snipped]

It was a great time. We went to New York City, with virtually no money,a questionable transportation to and from the city, and while we winged it and lived on hot dogs and fast food, it was a grand time. How 30 years can make a difference.

Amazing. Thank you, Star Trek. [7]

References

  1. ^ "My Legal name at the time was Steven L. (Lance) Hersh. Hersh got misspelled at college to "Heash" and hence the stage name. After hosting Star Trek Conventions for both Joan Winston's "Committee" and John Townsley's Tristar Industries I wrote the Pop Culture book, WRITTEN OUT OF TELEVISION and at that time "legally" shortened my name to "Steven Lance."" -- From the Mind of Steven Lance, January 14, 2012
  2. ^ by Nancy Kippax in Atavachron #1 (March 1978)
  3. ^ by Barbara N in Atavachron #1 (March 1978)
  4. ^ con report by Katie Filipowicz: HOW TO SURVIVE ON B & WCS -- OR -- "WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'NIMOY'S HERE'?"; archive link; WebCite, printed in A Companion in Zeor #1
  5. ^ This was likely a pun that relates to garment a corset type of apparel
  6. ^ a con report in M.T.L. Starbase #5
  7. ^ read a fan's recollection of this con; archive link, see the original post for some con programs that make some of this con report flow a bit better.