Space-Con (Star Trek and Science Fiction convention)

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You may be looking for SpaceCon, a Space: 1999 convention or the Star Trek con Space Trek.

Convention
Name: Space-Con
Dates: 1975-1978
Frequency:
Location: California (plus one in Oregon)
Type: for-profit
Focus: Star Trek and general Science Fiction convention, later much emphasis on Star Wars
Organization: Space... the Final Frontier, Inc., a for-profit company sanctioned by Paramount
Founder: Terry Terman
Founding Date: 1975
URL:
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Space-Con (sometimes referred to as "Space... the Final Frontier" -- the latter a reference to the company that produced the cons) was a Star Trek, science, and science fiction convention. Later cons had an added emphasis of UFOs, esp, astral projection, and similar topics.

There were seven of these cons all together; all but one took place in California.

Space-Con conventions were really big events for the mid 1970's. Each show drew well over 10,000 people. So they were well equipped to entertain that many fans. Members of the original Star Trek series were there, they had huge dealers' rooms, pleanty of film rooms so that you could see rare science fiction films on the screen. These were the days before home video, so it was still very rare to see movies other than waiting for them to come on the TV. During these 2 to 3 convention events, there was more than enough to do. [1]

A documentary movie about this con was released in 2011 and called Back to Space-Con.

Similar to Other Cons

This series of cons was similar to the Schuster Cons on the east coast of the United States; both of these con series were a sort of precursor to Creation Con.

Equicon is similar to "Space-Con," but "Equicon" was not for-profit.

Space-Con, Star Trek, Star Wars and Licensing

Before Star Wars was a hit, Star Trek was just another television show, out of production. Even Paramount didn't have much interest in it, other than rentals from syndication markets. It made a small amount but nothing to get excited about. So when events like Space-con were held, they didn't get excited about them. But fans? They had always hoped for a Star Trek movie. They knew that the Final Frontier, as Roddenberry called it, had infinite potential waiting to be explored. Once box office returns [for Star Wars] for the summer of 1977 came in, studios looked for their own sci-fi bonanzas.

Of course, it didn't hurt that events like Space-Con were drawing big crowds. Over 10,000 fans attended the Space-Cons 2, 3, 4 and 6 - in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. And Paramount? Thanks to budget woes at Desilu (who first produced Star Trek), the series was not copyrighted in its first two seasons. It wasn't until the third season when Paramount stepped in that it took place. The result? Fans could have all of the Star Trek events they wanted, without worrying about licensing.

Star Wars? Well, it was copyrighted from the word go. 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm had licensing underway from the start. At Space-Con 4 in LA, they came prepared and told dealers that they could not sell unlicensed Star Wars merchandise.

That didn't stop fans of the film from making their own. They just couldn't sell it to each other. You name it, they had it. Homemade Wookie costumes and more. A Bay Area high school shop class even got into the act as students made their own Stormtrooper armor out of plastic just as the film crews had done. [2]

Space-Con 1

  • also called "Space... The Final Frontier No. 1"
front cover of the 1975 program book
back cover of the 1975 program book
  • October 5, 1975
  • location: Flint Center for the Performing Arts, California -- "located on the beautiful De Anza campus in Cupertino in the heart of the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Metropolitan Area," Foothill Community College, seating was available for more than 2500
  • guests of honor were George Takei, Arlene Martell, scientists: John Dobson, Dick Preston, Terry Terman
  • "Terry Terman (chair), Anita Corellli (vice Chair), Dick Preston (speaker & helper), Bob Wilkins (KTVU), Fred Pfost (PAS President, Ron Jones (Vice PAS President), John Dobson (speaker), Frank Miller (AANC President), Diane Schroder (PAS Board), Dick Mayfield (films), Marilyn Terman (Star Trek "widow"), Rita & Evelyn (Archives), and of course "George Takei & Arlene Martel."

Space-Con 1: Program Book

It contains 40 pages.

  • Acknowledgments and Star Trek Archives sign-up sheet (1)
  • Proceedings ad for WAA/ALPO/AANC (2)
  • Table of Contents and Program Schedule (3)
  • Bios of George Takei and John Dobson (4)
  • Pictures of George Takei and Arlene Martel (5)
  • Federation Trading Post ad (7)
  • Night All, short original science fiction by Robert Fogel (8)
  • Bios of Dick Preston, Terry Terman, and Arlene Martel (9)
  • Questions About Vulcan and Life Spreading Through Our Galaxy (11)
  • NASA/AMES-STANFORD ASEE 1975 summer study of space colonization (13)
  • Peninsula Astronomical Society application form (23)
  • The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, article by Bernard M. Oliver (reprinted with permission from the journal or magazine "Engineering & Science)" (25)

Space-Con 2

front cover of the 1976 Program Guide
ad for the Federation Earth Band on the back of the 1976 Program Guide
  • August 7 & 8, 1976
  • location: the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, California
  • also called "Space... The Final Frontier No. 2"
  • a sing-a-long to What Do You Do With a Drunken Vulcan?
  • a performance by the Federation Earth Band
  • Guests and prominent attendees: William Shatner, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Mark Lenard, Arlene Martell, and Bruce Hyde were all scheduled speakers; Majel Barrett was also there -- a great number of space and NASA scientists—Gerald A. Soffen (Project Scientist of NASA's Viking Project); Jesco Von Puttkamer (Senior Staff Specialist in the Advanced Program Office of Space Flight), Dr. Kerry Mark Joels (NASA/Ames Research Center), Andrew Fraknoi (an instructor of astronomy and physics at Canada College, Redwood City, CA), Col. Alfred Worden (astronaut, Commander of Apollo XV)
  • The Writer's Workshop on Saturday evening speakers were: Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, Eric Burgess, Frank Catalano, and Shirley Maiewski
  • writers also scheduled to attend: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Michael Kurland, Richard Lupoff, Ray Faraday Nelson, and Marta Randall
  • the master of ceremonies was Bob Wilkins

Space-Con 2: Program Book

  • contains 68 pages
  • was printed by "Enterprise Convention Services"
  • it was edited by Jerry L. Reynolds, assistant editors were Terry C. Herman, Patricia Kaspar and Jonesy Parrinello
  • it contains ads, bios of the guests, an article "Space Science... The Reality -- Quest for Life: Viking on Mars" by Kerry Mark Joels

Space-Con 2: Con Reports

A unique convention, SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER, was held on October 5, 1975 at DeAnza College in Cupertino. Both George Takei and Arlene Martell were there to speak and. sign, autographs in what the Archives' Log Committee found to be a very relaxing atmosphere. George and Arlene took the time to talk and pose for pictures with individual fans both during the convention and after 6 o'clock, the official close-up time. The hucksters were missing, but instead attendees got a peek at what is going on in the galaxy right now. John Dobson spoke on "Structure of the Universe" and Dick Preston on "NASA Plan for Space Cities [3]
The next year, in August of 1976, Space-Con 2 was held in Oakland at the Kaiser Auditorium. This was a similar event to that of the previous year, but on a much larger scale. And this time, there would be a larger number of actors from Star Trek attending. Most notably, Deforest Kelley; who played Dr. McCoy; Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock; and William Shatner who played Captain Kirk. With more episodes show on the big screen, other sci-fi movie classics, an even larger dealers room and more, this was a big thing for Star Trek fans. Here were thousands of us, in a place that could hold us all, having a great time, sharing our interest in the show and what it promised for our futures. What was not to be excited about? [4]
It lived up to its billing as the 'largest Star Trek Convention on the West Coast' -- there were well over 10,000 attendees. The arena of the auditorium was filled several times, and alternate programming of films and science talks and writers' workshops were also well attended. Most of the ST cast members were there: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Mark Lenard, Arlene Martel, and Bruch Hyde were all scheduled speakers; Majel Barrett was also there. Also there were a great number of space and NASA scientists—Gerald A. Soffen, Project Scientist of NASA's Viking Project; Jesco Von Puttkamer, Senior Staff Specialist in the Advanced Program Office of Space Flight; Dr. Kerry Mark Joels, with NASA/Ames Research Center; Andrew Fraknoi, an instructor of astronomy and physics at Canada College, Redwood City, CA, who spoke on "Can the Enterprise fly?;" not to mention Col. Alfred Worden, astronaut, Commander of Apollo XV. I was very pleased to see the interest and respect all of these men were accorded by the ST fen attending the con. Great interest was shown in what they had to say, belying the thought that Trekfen are only interested in Trekkie ideas! The Writer's Workshop on Saturday evening was well attended—speakers were: Theodore Sturgeon, who wrote 2 ST episodes; Robert Silverberg, Hugo and Nebula award winner; Eric Burgess, freelance author, lecturer, and journalist, who writes technical articles for NASA and many other astronautical societies; Frank Catalano, a freelance SF writer and radio personality in California; and myself, of STW, publisher of the fanzine "Alternate Universe 4" and author of the New Voyages story, "Mindsifter." The workshop was set up to help writers with questions about writing and publishing. Most attending were SF oriented, and many helpful suggestions were given by the experienced authors attending. I was able to help with questions about fan writing and fanzine publishing. While the con was very large, most people seemed pleased with what they "got" for their money. As always, there were a few who did not know what to expect, and were upset because they couldn't get the autographs of WS and LN—who were NOT giving ANY—and with good reason. They'd be there yet!! The other stars did have long autograph sessions, under difficult circumstances. Besides the writers at the Workshop, many others gave autographs and talked with the fen: Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Richard Lupoff, Ray Faraday Nelson, and others. This was my first con in an auditorium; it was a bit difficult for people to get back and forth from hotels, etc. The guests were housed in a distant hotel, and therefore were not bothered by Trekkies and over-enthusiastic fans. There was an excellent transportation system set up for them, and they were able to move about their hotel freely. Several mentioned how nice that was. When a con is held in the same hotel, they are trapped in their rooms for most of the time. There were problems--after all, it WAS a convention! The Dealers' Room was isolated on the 3rd floor, with almost no ventilation--IT WAS HOT!! A long line of would-be customers wound up several flights of stairs, and security had to let one in when one left. There was a small fire in an airduct one afternoon, when the room had to be closed for an hour and a half. The Art Show was hard to find, but worth the search. Some beautiful art was displayed—there is great talent in Trekdom! But a word of warning—your writer paid quite a lot for an excellent painting, only to have it stolen from what should have been a very safe place shortly afterwards! Keep your foot on what you buy! A word of praise should be given to the co-chairmen, Jonesy Parrinello and Patricia Lindl. They did yeoman work under difficult circumstances. Jim Parrinello, Commander of the Starfleet Shore Patrol (security) is another who should be mentioned. The San Francisco Bay Area has a lot of ST fen--they had a good con! Footnotes sent in by Bob Whatford: Special thanks should go to Bob Wilkins, who served Master of Ceremonies, and through his weekly TV show, "Creature Features," has consist ently been the source of much ST information over the past year. I found the combine: of a ST con and presentation by NASA scientists a very informative and unique experience. [5]
Now, these forms had a small box at the bottom which said, "Would you like to be a volunteer worker?" It went or to explain that if you worked eight hours, your ticket money would be refunded. Being the cheapskate I am, I checked the box with a flourish. If I'd only known...

Sandra arrived, and on August 6th, 1976, we found ourselves in Oakland. After checking into the hotel, we walked to the Oakland Municipal Auditorium for the pre-convention meeting. Empty, the place is huge. There seemed no way that they could fill it. At the volunteer center, we were given our assignments for the next day. We were told that from then on, we would be referred to as "gofers". With visions of furry little creatures dancing in my head, I experienced my first second thoughts.

My first job was outside crowd control, and at 7am the next morning, that is exactly what I was doing. The line outside the auditorium at that point was only a half a block long. As time wore on, the line lengthened to wrap all around the huge building. Many people were in costumes and I'm afraid I stared as I herded Vulcans, Andorians, Klingons, and everything else imaginable, into an orderly line.

By 11am, I felt I had earned a break, and hoping to escape the growing heat, trudged into the main arena to see what was happening. There was a section reserved for gofers, and I sat down with a sigh. I had not been there ten minutes when a rather disheveled young lady grabbed me by the arm. "De Kelley's coming out and I need you to help in front of the stage!" With that she was gone.

Sigh... Well, it had to be better than crowd control. I walked up to the front of the stage and crouched with half a dozen other gofers. About five minutes later, the lady was back. Looking us over for a moment, she finally pointed to me and told me to keep an eye on the "mike". Glancing around, I spied a microphone, set up below and slightly away from the stage. Shrugging, I stood up and and walked over to stand guard. Not really sure what was expected of me, I stood beside the mike and stared at the enormous crowd.

DeForest Kelley was introduced and walked out to thunderous applause. Turning sideways for a moment, I studied the man. Tall and lithe, De is a very good looking gentleman. Television just doesn't do him justice, I remember thinking.

"Well, what have we got here?" Curious, I turned to find out what was going on and was startled to find that he was talking to me! I tried to explain that this was the question line, but I was interrupted. "No, speak into the microphone so we all can hear you. Now, what's your name?"

The next five minutes were spent answering De's questions: Who was I; where did I live; did I like the convention so far; etc. He then motioned me over to the foot of the stage. Squatting down, he put his hand over his mike and told me that the speakers were creating a terrible echo, which made it difficult to understand what was being said. Would I help him out? How could I refuse?

Over the next hour we established a routine It was alot of fun, even though I was a bit nervous about speaking with all those people looking on. De thought it was hilarious and gently teased me until I was comfortable doing it. The man is an absolute darling to work with and can charm the birds out of the trees. I was putty in his hands.

As De left stage, I sighed with relief, heartfelt. That was, until the Gofer Captain walked by. "That was great, ah, Terri! The mike is yours, keep up the good work."

Now, John McLaughlin is a really terrific guy, but at the time I could have easily strangled him; Besides, it would not have been nice to cry in front of all those people. So on I went, somewhat reluctantly. As time went on, I found myself loosing much of my nervousness and enjoying the experience more and more. Everyone who followed De turned out to be very nice and pleasant to work with: Jimmy Doohan, George Takei, Bruce Hyde, and Hark Lenard. George turned out to be a special treat, he's as nutty as I am!

It was now almost 6pm and I was famished. I had not been able to leave the microphone for more than five minutes since that morning. De Kelley was due on again in 15 minutes, so I ran out to grab a hotdog and go to the bathroom. I instructed one of the other gofers to watch the microphone and off 1 went.

My hunger and other problems taken care of, I walked back into the main arena and straight into bedlam. De had come out early, and sent half of the squad out looking for me!

"Here I am, Mr. Kelley. I, uh, had to, uh..."

Laughing, "I get the picture, and the name is De."

Always the gentleman! The hour passed more quickly than we wanted. Leonard Nimoy was up next. He was, and is, very nice, very cordial, and gifted with a sly sense of humor. This I learned the hard way. He pulled not one, but two fast ones on me in front of an estimated 12,000 people. The worst thing about it was that I didn't even realize what was going on until it was all over! Let me put it this way: it was funnier than hell to the audience, and very embarrassing to me. Mr. Nimoy did send a message back, though, he said that ours was one of the best stage crews he'd ever worked with. Quite a compliment from such a veteran stage actor!

By then it was after 8pm, and I was tired. The costume contest was next and being the novice I was, I wandered around for a while and then went back to the motel. I was in bed by 11pm and laid watching the news. KTVU, the local Oakland station, was broadcasting a segment on the convention. Suddenly, I shot out of bed. There I was, in living color, mike in hand as I chatted with De Kelley and then George Takei. Somehow, I knew my mother would never believe this.

The next morning, I was in the main arena setting up at 7am. I had been promoted to lieutenant and put in-charge of stage security. Everything went along smoothly. We had a space science panel, astronaut Al Worden, another space panel, and then a STAR TREK panel with Jimmy, Bruce, and George. De was back on stage at noon, followed by Arlene Martell, Mark Lenard, and Ted Sturgeon as a panel on Vulcan matters. Jimmy Doohan was out next, assuring me that NOTHING was worn under HIS kilt.

At three o'clock, it was George Takei's turn. Three came and went, and no George. By 3:15pm, we were getting a bit frantic and the audience a bit hostile. One of my gofers ran up, he'd just bumped into George in the restroom and he'd be right here. It seems George went out for a jog, and forgot the time. A moment later, a hot, sweaty, and slightly embarrassed George Takei bounded on to the stage. Apologizing, he sat down on the edge.

"Come here, Terri, and talk to me while I cool down."

Gulp! Up I went, as willing as Christians facing the lions. Me talked for about twenty minutes, and the audience, for some reason, loved it. Maybe it was my red face or the way the microphone shook in my hand, I don't know. It was like taking a course in public speaking, a crash course! I have to admit that it was a lot of fun, after I stopped shaking that is.

George departed and Bruce Hyde came on. Bruce has a fantastic voice and had brought his guitar along so that he could sing. It was about this time :hat we had a fire in the Dealer's Room upstairs. As the smoke filtered down into the arena and firemen could be seen running through the hallways, I received a message. It told me what was going on and to make an announcement about the smoke, but not to mention the word "FIRE". Terrific! I waited until Bruce was finished with his song and then interrupted to announce that the smoke visible in the air was simply dust from the air conditioner. I repeated this message about every fifteen minutes, until some-happened to mention that the auditorium did not have air conditioning. Oh God! Anyway, it turned out to be a small fire, but a terrible circulation problem. De followed Mark Lenard at 6pm for his final appearance. He mentioned that he'd like to see me backstage afterwards, but in the commotion of Bill Shatner coming out next, I kind of forgot. That is, until two security guards showed up and announced that they were to 'escort' me back. De Kelley is an absolute darling and that Oakland convention started a friendship with De and his wife, Carolyn, that I will always treasure.

William Shatner was the last to make an appearance. This was the first of many times I worked with him, and I was pleasantly surprised. I've heard some bad things about Bill, but he's always been warm, friendly, and polite with me. I have seen him go out of his way time after time to fulfill a request. A very dynamic speaker, he held the audience in the palm of his hand for an entire hour, and received a standing ovation when he left.

The fashion show was next and for me the day was over. Leaving the arena, I was grabbed by a film crew and interviewed about the convention and STAR TREK. The film was used as part of a documentary on STAR TREK fan activities in the San Francisco Bay area.

So ended SPACE CON #2. All in all, it was a very heady experience. Looking back now, and knowing all that followed, it doesn't seem like much in comparison. It was my first convention, and everything was such an unique experience, so strange and delightful. The atmosphere of togetherness, cooperation, brotherhood, and, yes, love. It's something that can't be described, it must be experienced. While it was an awfully tough way to learn how to speak in front of a crowd, I have never regretted. After all, I had some fine teachers!

With one con under my belt, I was hooked! So, it was on to SPACE CON #3! [6]

Space-Con 3

cover of 1977 con program, artist is "Cooper"
  • February 11-13, 1977
  • location: San Francisco Civic Auditorium, California
  • the guests of honor were DeForest Kelley, Arlene Martell, Nichelle Nichols, Bob Wilkins (Master of Ceremonies), Grace Lee Whitney (the only guest of honor that gets described in the program book as "bubbly and sexy") , James Doohan, Mark Lenard, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Larry Niven, William Tuning, Alan Dean Foster, Dick Lupoff, Robert Silverberg, Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Phil Kaufman, Allan Scott, Chris Bryant, Bruce Hyde, Susan Sackett, Dr. John Billingham, Andrew Fraknoi, Dr. Kerry Mark Joels, Eric Burgess,
  • con com members: Terry Terman (president of the sponsoring company, "Space... The Final Frontier"), And Shechter and Bob Roach (co-chairs), Alva Rogers (science fiction chair), Patricia Callander (dealer and costume contest chair), Sonni Cooper (Star Trek and Press chair), Frank Miller (science and registration chair), Judy Hudson (blood drive and autographs chair), Robert Sola (police chair), Jeri Bethel and Michael Short (gofer captains), Jim Buchanan (Star Fleet Shore Patrol), CTEIN (art show), Andrew Fraknoi (Space Science coordinator), John Fund (films), Gierak the Great (transporter designer), Richard Gierak (transporter engineer) (note: Dr. Richard Gierak and Gierak the Great are the same person), Ron LaPedis (communications), Pat Linda (photography), Doug S. Nelson (public relations), Sharon Short (gofer chief).
  • from the program book: "Grace Lee Whitney will play the part of Yeoman Rand in a playlet at 11 am Sunday, with three male fans taking turns in playing the role of Capt. Kirk in a torrid love scene. There will be sign-ups for reading the part, at the information desk on Saturday and early Sunday. The three selected get to keep their script, which will be autographed by Grace Lee Whitney."

Space-Con 3: Con Reports

In 1977, the next Space-Con, 3, was to be held in San Francisco at the Civic Auditorium. Over the Presidents Day weekend. Having had so much fun before, I decided to expand my experience by volunteering to help with the event. As a gopher, I got my convention badge for free in return for working for 8 hours over the three days of the con. Traveling from home in Walnut Creek in the East Bay to San Francisco on the Friday before, I took a BART train to the City. Within minutes of boarding, I was chatting with a group of Star Trek fans wearing uniforms from the show. One of them is shown in the view above. On the left in the gold captains tunic is Michael Riley. He was somewhat the leader of this crew. But not only any crew. This was the onstage crew of the Transporter. A stage illusion that recreated the shows main form of access to all of those strange new worlds. Another member of this crew was a cute young blonde, wearing a gold woman’s uniform. Her name was Michele. Some 9 years and days later, I wound up marrying her and we celebrate our 25th anniversary later this month.

One of my Space-Con 3 duties was the checking of badges as folks came and went at the front doors of the Civic Auditorium. A rather amusing series of moments was provided by author Harlan Ellison (who wrote the original version of another fan favorite episode, “City On The Edge Of Forever). Over the course of the event, Harlan came and went with a series of different women, passing those doors.

Space-Con 3 was a great mixture of Star Trek, science fiction and science fact. Convention chairman Terry Terman deserves a great deal of thanks for exposing people to the reality of space. One guest was Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who had served as a consultant to Steven Spielberg for his film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. His panel on UFO’s was something that many people enjoyed.

But as much as “Close Encounters” would be a force at the box office that summer, attendees got a glimpse of another giant to be as they were shown a brief clip from another coming film, “Star Wars”. However, no one paid much attention to a kid in the audience who tried to convince them that he was up there on the screen in that clip. Who was he after all? Just another comic book fan, somone named Mark Hamill.

Eventually, I joined the Transporter crew along with Michael, Michele and others. In the documentary. you can spot me in my red Transporter technicians overalls as I “beam” in on stage. In the same shot, Michele is seen on the right. Over the next few years we attended a number of events for Space-Con and the smaller events that followed. Eventually, Terry Terman held 50 events all across the country. He set the bar for others who followed such as Creation conventions. [7]
Not that I want to make a habit out of articles of this type, but now that it's far enough behind to look at somewhat objectively, I find to my amazement that Space-Con 3 was actually as disappointing - no, disappointing is not quite what I mean; boring is what I mean - as I thought it was. It rates an unprecedented five star yawn from the massive ridiculousness of the transporter (nice try kiddies, but a life size transporter without the sparkle is as unimpressive as the one manufactured by Mego for their Barbie-with-pointed-ears doll) to the pomposity of an emcee who reminds me of the giant carrot creature from "Lost in Space." And I am still waiting for someone to tell me why they had to 'beam' this emcee in - a five minute process with the dramatic impact of a handi-wipes commercial - every half hour. Does he not have feet?

The guest stars did their usual speeches answering those questions we all know and love (What's your favorite episode Mr. Sulu,) and the film schedule was, as always, a major disaster area. Ho Hum. Still, mention must be made of Grace Lee Whitney and Bruce Hyde who as 'minor' Star Trek celebrities always put out a little something extra singing for their suppers. Ms. Whitney's acting with three unlikely Captain Kirk's in a scene which supposedly was to have taken place following the conclusion of "The Enemy Within" was something new and welcome, if a bit long. Three separate scenes would have been more enjoyable. Also worth mentioning was the appearance of the Script Writers - whatever their names are - who stood on the stage with their hearts on their sleeves looking quite embarrassed as they tried to satisfy rampant curiosities without revealing a damn thing about the plot of the film. I loved them. But the most non-existent energy level of Space-Con 3 was given its greatest boost by that Prophet of Doom, The Egomaniac of the Century, Harlan Ellison. The fact that Mr, Ellison can get up before a hall packed with hardcore trekkies (and I mean trekkies in the worst sense of the word) and rip the Roddenberry Universe to shreds is an unexcelled act of bravery. If you have the mental agility to keep up with his thought processes and mile-a-minute tongue, and look beyond whether or not you agree with what he's saying to hear what he is actually saying, there is a great deal of entertainment to be had from his particular madness. Ellison is more fun than the U.S. House of Representatives and is definitely more exciting than a Sunday evening spent with Rhoda and Phyllis. He is as cruel, honest and dastardly as everyone says he is. Bravo! One thing for certain is that Mr. Harlan "Gadfly" Ellison will not be the death of the Star Trek convention phenomenon, but poorly planned conventions in quick succession run for love of money rather than love of the love just might.

Judging from Space-Cons 2 and 3 and the general decline of convention quality, let's hope the movie gets here in a hurry. God Save the Enterprise! [8]

Space-Con 4

Space-Con 4 was held in June 18-19, 1977 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

1977 program book, front cover by Lela Dowling
1977 program book, back cover by Lela Dowling
flyer for Space-Con #4

Guests included William Shatner, Deforest Kelley, Harlan Ellison, Grace Lee Whitney, D.C. Fontana, William Campbell, Bjo Trimble, Susan Sackett, Sondra Marshak, Myrna Culbreath, Theodore Sturgeon, Alan Dean Foster, Andrew Franknoi, Eric Burgess, Kerry Joels and Terry Terman.

Ed Ryba was the General Emcee. D.C. Fontana was the Star Trek Emcee. Frank Catalano was the Science Fiction Emcee. Andrew Fraknoi was the Space Science Emcee.

Star Wars had debuted less than four weeks earlier, and representatives from 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm were at this con: "At Space-Con 4 in LA, they came prepared and told dealers that they could not sell unlicensed Star Wars merchandise." [9]

[From the program book]: Welcome to Space-Con 4. The convention you're attending is something of a unique event. It attempts to combine three separate programs in the fields of Star Trek, Science Fiction and Space Science under one dome. It also seeks to establish the importance of each area to our daily lives, and how they are interrelated. Naturally, the convention is also designed to present you with a memorable, fun weekend.

Space-Con 4 is presented by Space. . . The Final Frontier, Inc., an organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of space and its role in Mans' future. This is the fourth convention of its kind to be held, and the first outside northern California. It's our hope it will prove as enjoyable for you as it was for the nearly 20,000 people who've attended the previous conventions. Each of the three program segments have their own unique importance. . .

The Star Trek that we all know has become part of American Folklore, a household word, and a mirror into a hopeful future for millions of young and young-minded people world-wide. Science Fiction, a universe unto itself, requires no less than thousands of words to begin to explain it's effect on our world, let alone do it justice. Suffice to say that the cultures of the world are in its debt, for not only has it provided us with innumerable hours of enjoyable and necessary fantasy, but also serves as one of the greatest intellectual stimulations in our age.

If Star Trek has shown us a hopeful, positive future (and it has), then Space Science is the star-ship we must book passage on to get us there. Ail the dreams and idealism of both Star Trek and Science Fiction are slowly translated into reality. They are the hand and the extended forefinger that point the way to the stars, and the space scientists, as well as you, will follow.

But first and foremost, Space-Con 4 is a place to kick back for a weekend with thousands of kindred spirits in an atmosphere of good will. Enjoy.
[A fan wrote]: Over 10,000 fans attended the Space-Cons 2, 3, 4 and 6 - in Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. And Paramount? Thanks to budget woes at Desilu (who first produced Star Trek), the series was not copyrighted in its first two seasons. It wasn't until the third season when Paramount stepped in that it took place. The result? Fans could have all of the Star Trek events they wanted, without worrying about licensing. Star Wars? Well, it was copyrighted from the word go. 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm had licensing underway from the start. At "Space-Con" 4 in LA, they came prepared and told dealers that they could not sell unlicensed Star Wars merchandise. That didn't stop fans of the film from making their own. They just couldn't sell it to each other. You name it, they had it. Homemade Wookie [sic] costumes and more. A Bay Area high school shop class even got into the act as students made their own Stormtrooper armor out of plastic just as the film crews had done. [10]

Space-Con 4: Program Book

The program book contains 50 pages. There are a number of illos; they are signed but not credited.

Space-Con 4: Con Reports

A maximum of 10,000 persons had been expected, but between 10,000 and 15,000 bought tickets on Saturday alone, according to the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, The event was SPACE-CON 4, a Star Trek-Science Fiction-Space Science Convention held in Los Angeles on June 18-19, 1977.

Guests included William Shatner, Deforest Kelley, Harlan Ellison, Grace Lee Whitney, D.C. Fontana, William Campbell, Bjo Trimble, Susan Sackett, Sondra Marshak, Myrna Culbreath, Theodore Sturgeon, Alan Dean Foster, Andrew Franknoi, Eric Burgess, Kerry Joels and Terry Terman. In the Main Arena (seating capacity nearly 6,000) attendees were treated to events ranging from William Shatner's delightful anecdotes and dramatized poetry to Kerry Joel's talk on the search for extra-terrestrial life. Meanwhile, in smaller Petree Hall, speakers included Sturgeon, Ellison, Whitney, Fontana, Marshak, Culbfeath, and others.

The biggest news to come out of the Con was that the STAR TREK movie had been cancelled, but that Paramount is planning a new ST television series instead, which they hope to air by Spring of 1978.

Two large dealers' rooms — and several efficient gofers who kept the number of persons in the room at a sane level -- were able to accommodate the fans. The newest sensation was STAR WARS material: buttons, bumper stickers, posters, etc. -- which sold out quickly.

In addition, there were films, slides, autograph sessions, computer games, a costume contest, and even a blood drive.

All in all, a "fascinating" combination of people and events which produced a thoroughly enjoyable convention. The sponsors of Space-Con, a group called Space.. The Final Frontier, Inc., did a fine job. [11]

Space-Con 5

Space-Con 5 was held in Eugene, Oregon in October 1, 1977.

front and back of the 5th Space-Con program book
programming for the 5th Space-Con

It is the only Space-Con held out of the state of California, and while under the umbrella of Terry Terman and his company, it had an entirely different crew and feel. The con was much less polished.

  • Eugene Coordinator was Charles A. Halbrook
  • Space Science Coordinator was Terence C. Herman
  • Dealer Liaison was Patricia Callander
  • Film Coordinator was John Fund
  • Box Office was Del Powell
  • Registration Coordinator was John Hedtke
  • Graphic Promotions was Paul M. Newitt
  • Cartoons in the program book were by Bill Jennings
  • the program book thanks Kit Canterbury and the Puget Sound Star Trekkers "for providing staff and security personnel"
  • the program book contains 16 pages, mostly ads
  • The guests of honor were Grace Lee Whitney (described in the program book as "bubbly and sexy), Bob Wilkins (Master of Ceremony), George Takei, Greg Bennett (President of the Northwest Science Fiction Society), Donald Harlow (former meteorologist and "sky watcher" for the U.S. Government), Dr. Yantis (director of the Goldendale Observatory)

Space-Con 6

  • location: Kaiser Auditorium in Oakland, California
front cover of the program book
back cover of the program book
  • February 4-5, 1978
  • the program book contains 33 pages; it contains many ads, no program schedule, a map of the area, the films and televisions episodes show, and each guest has a bio and photo
  • Master of Ceremonies was Bob Wilkins
  • guests of honor were William Shatner, George Takei, Alan Dean Foster, Joan Winston, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee, William Coleman, Thomas Gates, Eric Burgess, Paul Newitt, Wayne Anderson, Bruce Pierini, Terry Terman, Frank Miller, Don Harlow (most of the non-celebrity names are local professors, students, and scientists)
From the program book:

Welcome to Space-Con 6. The convention you're attending is something of a unique event. It attempts to combine three separate programs in the fields of Star Trek, Science Fiction, and UFO's in one building. At also seeks to establish the importance of each area in our daily lives, and how they are interrelated. Naturally, the convention is also designed to present you with a memorable, fun weekend.

Space-Con 6 is presented by Space...The Final Frontier, Inc., an organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of space and its role in Man's future. This is the sixth convention of its kind to be held, and the third in the Northern California area. It is our hope it will prove as enjoyable for you as it was for the nearly 45,000 people who've attended the previous events. Each of the three program segments have their own unique importance...

The Star Trek that we all know has become part of American Folklore, a household word, and a mirror into a hopeful future for millions of young and young-minded people world-wide. Science Fiction, a universe unto itself, requires no less than thousands of words to begin to explain its effect on our world, let alone do it justice. Suffice to say the cultures of the world are in its debt—for not only has it provided us with innumerable hours of enjoyable and necessary fantasy, but also serves as one of the great intellectual stimulations of our age.

Lastly, the UFO phenomenon which has fascinated and intrigued us for decades has caused much debate among believers and skeptics alike. The UFO experience has recently become a topic of major interest through the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, technical advisor for the film, has this to say on the phenomenon: "When the solution to the UFO puzzle comes, I think it will prove not to be just a step in the march of science but a mighty and unexpected quantum jump."

Space-Con 7

the cover art on this program book was done especially for Space-Con 7 by freelance artist Al Sirois. The scene was conceptualized by Paul M. Newitt and depicts an alien spaceship beaming aboard the Pioneer 10 as it passes Saturn.

Space-Con 7

  • May 28-29, 1978 at the Anaheim Convention Center, California
  • the program book is 33 pages long, it was edited by Patricia Callander
  • the con com staff: Terence C. Terman (Convention Chairman and President of Space ... the Final Frontier), Patricia Callander (Dealers' Liaison and Vice President of

Space . . . the Final Frontier), Brian Welton (Program Co-ordinator), Kathleen Vlahakos (Press Liaison), Paul M. Newitt (Design Consultant), Kimberlee Fulton (Celebrity Co-ordinator), Linda Bowers VIP (Room Hostess), Caroline Long (Convention Photographer), Del Powell Box ((Office Liaison), Charles Halbrook (Communications), Ruth Chin (Stage Manager), Kay Weaver (Assistant Stage Manager), John Hedtke (Convention Assistant), Bob Small (Convention Assistant)

  • Frank Miller and Jimmy Madsen were the Master of Ceremonies
  • guests of honor were J. Allen Hynek, Betty Hill, Tom Gates, Eric Burgess, Harlan Ellison, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Francisco Lupica, Dr. Richard A. Geirak/Gierak the Great, Tom Gates, Eric Burgess, Bob Clampett, and William Shatner
  • exhibits: P&M Modelmakers, California Museum of Science and Industry/Space Science Media Group, One World Family (a commune/cult), Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America, Gierak the Great and his "Transporter"
From the program book:
Francisco Lupica has created a magical effect made of equal parts tuned vibrations, whimsy and skill. He calls it the "Cosmic Beam Experience." An accomplished musician, he also plays accoustic and electrical guitar, percussion, zither, piano, and of course, the Cosmic Beams. Francisco has a long list of musical references including traveling as drummer and percussionist with "Us", "Taj Mahal", "Lee Michaels", "West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band", "Travel Agency", "Shanti" and "King Harvest." He has appeared in concert with Paul Horn and provided sound track for the movie, "The Stone Killer" starring Charles Bronson. Now he is designing a "sound and color environment, involving music with orchestra and choir, accoustical electronics, laser lighting and pyramids." It is every bit as difficult to describe Lupica's music as it is to describe his music machine. His tunes are unhumable and there is no beat, but rather a powerful blend of tones and movement that flows from performer to audience, engulfing them in a rich, fluid body of sound. As one dreamy-eyed young lady puts it, "Francisco has invented the musical equivalent of a solar generator—He plays the sunlight."
From the program book:
The One World Family is a group of people who have lived together communally since 1967. When the first members organized the truth of the words coming through UFO contactee, Allen Michael, they joined together to fulfill the higher ideals of sharing all things in common, "giving according to ability and receiving according to need," and serving each other through Healing Services without thought of reward. They operate a natural foods restaurant and an air-brushed clothing shop, as well as "Starmast" publications—a communal "school of experience" of the Universal Industrial Church of the New World Comforter, founded by Allen Michael. They published the first of his "channelings" in 1973, To The Youth Of The World, followed by the Natural Foods Cookbook, Cosmic Cookery, and just published, volumes two and three of the Everlasting Gospel, UFO-ETI World Master Plan and ETI's Space Being Intercept Earthling. The One World Family will have an exhibit that includes books, pictures, and a slide show in the Costa Mesa Room 1.
From the program book:
AMALGAMATED FLYING SAUCER CLUBS OF AMERICA: "There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Shakespeare's words were never more appropriate than when describing the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America. They sincerely believe that flying saucers exist, and that their extraterrestial crews have been keeping a close watch on the earth for many centuries. They also believe that some of these aliens actually walk among us. AFSCA, as it's called, was founded in January, 1959, by Gabriel Green as a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the topic of flying\saucers—who and what they are, where they come from, and why they are here. They champion the ideaology of a "new age", a time when the people of earth will have daily encounters of the third kind with space beings, and we will all profit scientifically and spiritually from their teachings. AFSCA's exhibits in the Orange Room, complete with photos of UFO's are certainly one of the more unique offerings of Space-Con 7. Whether you agree or not, AFSCA provides a very special point of view on UFO's.
From the program book:
DR. RICHARD A. GIERAK: Dr. Gierak worked for many years as a Chemical Technician, then a professional chemist. He holds a degree in Biology and is currently a practicing Dr. of Chiropractry in Concord, California. He is also the Director of New Frontier Institute and a research pioneer in the fields of astral projection, telepathy, psychokinesis, and regression and progression through the use of altered states of conciousness. Richard Gierak, also known as "Gierak the Great" has performed magic and illusion shows for nine years. He is the designer of most of the illusions seen in his shows, and he also builds and sells customized illusions to other magicians. This year, his show is titled "Time Lapse," and is a "history of magic as performed in medieval, contemporary and future times." The show will feature a unique Laser presentation. He is planning to take this show on a multi-city tour this summer.
From the program book:
The Transporter is the brain-child of "Gierak the Great", a young magician who designed and built it when he was fifteen with the help of his father, Dr. Richard A. Gierak. Now a few years older, "Gierak the Great" is still proud to display this optical wonder, an impressive conglomerate of flashing lights and applied physics. It is a full-size simulation of the one used aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the TV series, "Star Trek," and boasts the exact same specifications: 9.5 feet high, 12 feet long, 12 feet wide with a 6-person capacity, a 35-90 second cycle time, and a reset time of 3 seconds. Located in the Anaheim Room, the Transporter is a unique 3-dimensional illusion that will delight both science fiction buffs and prestidigitation fans. As an added attraction, skits written especially to feature the Transporter will be presented as a part of the programming in the Anaheim Room.
From the program book:
BETTY HILL: A real-life adventure—or folie a deux? This was the question Betty and Barney Hill and psychiatrist Benjamin Simon of Boston had to answer after both Betty and Barney gave separate, unshakable testimony under deep hypnosis that they had not only seen an alien spaceship, but had actually been taken aboard and held there for two hours. Curiously, Mr. and Mrs. Hill did not exhibit any of the other classic symptoms of folie a deux, a rare mental illness in which two persons share the same, fixed delusions. Then there was the "star map", seen by Betty Hill and drawn by her while under hypnosis. She claimed it was a map of the star system her alien captors had come from. When it was discovered that Mrs. Hill's star map fit a map of the Zeta Reticuli star system, a system with fifteen inhabitable planets located in the southern hemisphere of our own star cluster, the argument seemd to swing dramatically in favor of the Hills, and lead to the unnerving buy very real possibility their experience actually happened. Since then, their story has been translated into a best-selling book, THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY, by John C. Fuller, and a TV movie, "The UFO Incident", starring Estelle Parsons as Betty and James Earl Jones as her husband, Barney. Mrs. Hill has resigned her position as Supervisor of Intake and Referrals for the New Hampshire Division of Welfare to devote herself to full-time research into UFO's, where she can keep in touch with other UFO investigators and contactees. She has appeared on numerous radio and TV talk shows as well as many sell-out speaking engagements. Her presentation includes a slide show and a reproduction of her famous "star map." Her clear, effective delivery, added to a genuine warmth and sense of humor make her an enthralling speaker.


References

  1. from the director of Back to Space-Con
  2. "Back to Space-Con" goes where no one has gone before, Archived version by Roger Colton, April 12, 2011 (you'll have to scroll down past the stupid ads)
  3. from Archives' Log v.2 n.8
  4. Back to Space Con, Archived version
  5. a con report by Shirley Maiewski from A Piece of the Action #43
  6. from a high-school senior, brand-new congoer, and gofer in Captain's Log: Supplemental
  7. Back to Space Con, Archived version
  8. from Bellerophon v.2 v.4/5
  9. "Back to Space-Con" goes where no one has gone before, Archived version by Roger Colton, April 12, 2011 (you'll have to scroll down past the stupid ads)
  10. "Back to Space-Con" goes where no one has gone before, Archived version
  11. from Star Trek Prospers #30