Star Trek Lives! (convention)/1974

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Star Trek Lives! (convention) · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976

Star Trek Lives! 1974 was held February 15-18 at the Americana Hotel in New York City.

front cover of the 1974 digest-sized convention program book. The back of the program book reads: "International Star Trek Convention 1974"

From Boldly Writing: "It was reported to have drawn an attendance of 15,000 (estimates would vary between a low of 9,000 and a high of 15,000, either of which was many times larger than an average science fiction convention of the time)."

For the third New York show in 1974, the guest roster grew to include Kelley, Nichols, and Koenig, along with returning visitors Fontana, Gerrold, and Takei. Makeup artist Fred Phillips rounded out the guest list; Al Schuster was turned into a Klingon on stage thanks to Phillips’s ministrations. Needing more room, The Committee moved the convention a little further uptown to the Americana Hotel. When Kelley, Nichols, and Takei arrived on the same plane, luck had it that “All Our Yesterdays” guest star Mariette Hartley was also on the flight. The Committee gave her a ride into Manhattan, which resulted in an impromptu invitation to speak at the con, and she became a well-received surprise guest. [1]

Guests of Honor

Con Staff

  • Al Schuster, chairman
  • Deborah Langsam, assistant chair at con, hotel liaison
  • Dana L.F. Anderson, costume call director, advance registration, fanzine display
  • Thom Anderson, treasurer, associate director of registration
  • Renee Bodner, registration director
  • Devra Langsam, executive secretary, pre-con assistant chair, art show director
  • Stuart C. Hellinger, press releases, advertising
  • Elyse S. Rosenstein, program director
  • Steven J. Rosenstein, operations director
  • David A. Simons, personnel coordinator
  • Barbara Wenk, art show assistant director
  • Joan Winston, publicity and press director, film liaison, program book
  • Ben Yalow, official con photographer
  • Joyce Yasner, displays, theatrical coordinator

Tidbits and Anecdotes

Connie Faddis in her award winning Romulan Praeter costume lounging on the full size model bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise, third Star Trek convention in New York. Photo has been uploaded with Connie's permission

A few comments about the convention were published in issue 12 of A Piece of the Action: There were 27 STWers in attendance and the newsletter listed them by name; one fan reports that David Gerrold was "his usual obnoxious, but likable self."

The con was dedicated to Gene L. Coon who had recently passed away.

A single act of a longer play by some University of Maryland students was performed. See One Cube or Two?.

Joan Winston summarized her experiences organizing the 1974 convention in her essay So you want to have a "Star Trek" convention: "The 1974 con was much too crowded, and everyone was hassled to some degree. We had between 10,000 to 14,000 attendees, including dealers. The exact total isn't known, as that was the year when the Chairman and the Committee parted company. The person who ran registration went with him, and so did the records."

The Program Book

a page from the program book, "excerpts from the soon to be published "STAR TREK Fan Phenomenon" (the book that was to become Star Trek Lives!) by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston" -- see the text of this at Star Trek Lives! (convention)/1973#Con Reports.

The program book was created by Joan Winston.

Digest-sized, it contains 22 pages.

Most of the content are black and white stills from the show and from the blooper reel. It also contains the programming schedule, a list of convention staff, a page by Joan Winston called "Flashes from Last Year's Convention" ("excerpts from the soon to be published "STAR TREK Fan Phenomenon" (the book that was to become Star Trek Lives!) by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston"), short bios of the guests of honor, an ad for Nova Enterprises, an ad for Al Schuster's "Star Trek Stuff," and four pages of "Star Truckin'" ("The Trouble with Beavers") comic by Howski Comix and Productions.

Badges, Flyers, Other Ephemera

Programming

Links to Photos and Videos

Articles and Further Reading

Con Reports

From the 1975 Star Trek Convention Program book, by Joan Winston:
"When DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and Fred Phillips arrived on the same flight we all heaved a sigh of relief. Now they were able to appear at the Press Party that evening.

Friday, the 13th of February will be burned in our memories forever. Instead of the usual hourly catastrophes, they were occurring every five minutes. Most of them had to do with the looooonng registration lines. One fan told us he was able to finish DUNE while waiting.

Saturday was more of the same. Much more. We had a new ingredient, though. Fire Marshals. One slightly hysterical parent called them when she was unable to find her son in the crowd. "He's being crushed or suffocating, I know it." He was later found on line, munching a Mounds bar and calmly reading STARBORNE. [2] Sigh. But the Fire Marshals were reasonable and intelligent. If we just kept the aisles and the exits clear and limited the daily attendance everything would be fine. That's what they thought; we still had problems. One ever present one was getting the guests in and out of the hotel. The one thing to remember was not to stop for any thing. Step right over the fainting bodies; it's the only way. For all the crowding, the fans were marvelous, as always.

When Leonard Nimoy spoke on Monday, they were quiet and restrained. Perhaps that was because we told them in advance that he was coming and they were able to work off some of their excitement. The security guards with the whips and chairs didn't hurt, either.

By collapse time on Monday, we felt as if we had just gone through the Hundred Years War. Why do we go through this each year? If you know the answer, would you please tell us? No, not that we're crazy; we know that!"
In 1974, a local journalist wrote:

An out-of-town businessman who happened to be staying at the Hotel Commodore in New York last month might well have suspected the bartender of slipping him some LSD with his martini.

The elevators, lobby and. meeting rooms were filled for three days with people sporting pointed ears, green skins and other aberrations sufficient to convince an unwary guest that he was on a bad trip.

Even those without exotic attire had in common a wild-eyed look of fanatical enthusiasm and a strange language full of incomprehensible allusions. "Which general order is the noninterference prime directive?" "What type of currency was used by the gamesters on Triskelion?" "Is the Vulcan command for 'stop!' spelled 'Kroykah!' or 'Troykah!'?" "What is Yeoman Rand's room number, and on what deck?" "What did Kirk use against the spores of Omicron Ceti III?" "Was it saving Sarek's life or patching up the Horta that led McCoy to believe he could cure a rainy day?"

No ordinary conventioneers, these were the "Trekkies," fans of television's "Star Trek" series. Though it has not been seen on network TV in almost five years, its band of devotees seems to be multiplying in numbers and enthusiasm at least as fast as the tribbles (which are, of course, those lovable furry little creatures that helped the Federation defend Sherman's Planet against the Klingons, and which also happen to be born pregnant).

The 5,000 or so Trekkies who gathered in New York were an amiable lot, though they did mob actor Leonard Nimoy (beloved "Mr. Spock," the unemotional pointed-eared science officer of the series), who finally escaped with a trenchcoat over his head', shuddering from a sudden confrontation with a 3-foot-high living reproduction of himself, evidently an enterprising young Trekkie out to win the costume competition.

These conventions have been held annually since the death of "Star Trek" as a network series- (It is shown in syndicated reruns in many cities, including Baltimore and Washington.) A cult has grown up around the show, and its members are not just teeny-boppers.

When NBC first threatened to cancel the show in its second season, hundreds of thousands of protests poured in, many from college professors and other seemingly unlikely fans. In the heady network days, when each episode was new, and the fan.1? had not yet memorized every line of every show, notices appeared on the philosophy department bulletin boards at Princeton, Harvard and Yale, urging everyone not to miss that night's episode, entitled "Plato's Stepchildren."

"Star Trek" was no ordinary TV sci-fi show, nothing at all like "Lost in Space" or "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," shoot-'em up rocketship operas, variants on "Wagon Train" with warp drive. The show was praised for its relatively high degree of literacy, imaginative scripts and, of all things, its social conscience.

TV was determinedly noncontroversial in the mid-Sixties, but in those pre-"All in the Family" days, "Star Trek" was able to mount shows dealing with race relations, the dehumanization of society and even the Vietnam war, all safely set in the Twenty-Third Century, of course.

Today, Isaac Asimov and others of his stature can be seen attending the conventions, and an international string of clubs and organizations has grown up, not unlike the fraternal orders devoted to the Sherlock Holmes canon, endlessly quizzing each other on the most trivial details concerning the fictional characters they have become infatuated with. [3]
From Sharon Ferraro:

New York, Mecca of millions (as opposed to Ann Arbor, drawing card of dozens) was the locale for the third annual ISTConvention (also known at NYSTCon). By some never to be repeated chain of events, I wound up there under the name of Sharon Ferraro: Gofer Extraordinaire. Only out East they seem to call us Helpers instead. Anyway, I got into Fun City at 7.30 (am) after a 16 hour bus trip (and that was the express) and promptly got lost in the subway. Which was just as well; Greyhound had done the same with my suitcase containing all the stuff I was to hawk at the con. Finally, I came upon the Americana and crashed with the Misses B. for a few hours, till I could get to work stuffing program packets. The first day, Friday, was mostly spent in underground activities—registration desk, assembling giveaways, screaming imprecations at trespassers and being the end of the line of some one thousand people (the pre-registrants) for a while--as well as phoning the Port Authority Terminal to find out when bag-o-mine was coming from Washington, or wherever it was they'd sent it. All of which led me to ask why--why?!?--did I want to 1000 miles to be driven crazy. I mean, we've got facilities for that back home.

However, at next day's dawning, a few reasons presented themselves--like boarding the same elevator as Nichelle Nichols, who is, if possible, five times more beautiful in person than on the tube. I met a few dozen gofers, and others of sympathetic mein, as well as a girl from Florida with whom I reconstructed "Nick Danger, Third Eye" ("He walks again, by night!") about every half hour.

I went to register some jingle bells (Vulcan wind chimes; I still haven't been able to get rid of them) in the art show, and in looking about I wondered, "I didn't think Nimoy was supposed to be here." And he wasn't but it was the most fantastic realistic piece of waxwork I've ever seen--a life size Mister Spock, by Carol Swoboda. It later won the Most Popular Award. Also in the show was Pat Molnar's "Vulcan Nativity" tryptich, which was a--well, cosmic--put on. Done in the style of Renaissance religious paintings, the three oils depicted Chekhov, Uhura and Sulu "watching their tribbles by night" receiving tidings of great joy from an angel of mercy that resembled amazingly Nurse Chapel; the three Wise Men, Kirk, McCoy and Scotty (the latter in an elongated version of his full dress uniform with the tartan) in the court of King Hermudd following the starship they had seen in the Eastern quadrant; and in the main panel, the babe Spick wrapped in synthetic clothes, lying in a shuttlecraft because there was no room at the Star-base, with his mother Mandy and Sarek, as well as the tribbleherds and the Magi who offered their gifts of 3-D chess, tricorder and ditithium.

And on and on. Other high points of the art show were Aldo Spadoni's tempura works, and Dotson's velvets, which fetched good prices. The huckster's foom was packed continually, as ysual. A few of the guests, Koenig and Takei , would wander about in there, but as more and more people showed this became quite dangerous. Finally after three or so fainted from lack of oxygen there was a quota on entry for a while.

The good doctors (Asimov and McCoy) were there, and both had crowd pleasing talks. De Kelley won long and loud applause for--goshwow!--raising his right eyebrow, which gives you an idea of the intellectual content of the speeches. But then, what is there to say to 3,000 people?

Personal giggle department. I had gone with my newfound waterbrother to her fifth floor room and we noticed, a short way down the hall, lights, laughing, and clinking glasses, and so went to investigate. Yes, friends, it was the guest party. What a chance! What a deal!! what clods we'd be to crash!!! So we stayed, showing admirable restraint, in the room, ears glued to the door. The waiter was terribly friendly and gave us a piece of their dessert (angel foodcake with a plum/peach aauce, for the information of those who take notes on that sort of thing) as we encamped in the doorway. Well, they left one by one; Deb and I missed DeForrest, tho Kryila nabbed him, but we all got Dr. Asimov, Koenig and sweet George Takei, who held still long enough for us to talk a while. This was fine for me, since I seem to be one of five Sulu freaks in the continental US.

Sunday was notable for its masked balls and the blooper reel in the convention chairman's room with Lou Rawls. One of the preceding was not open to the public. I forgot who won the masqurade, but there were there a sehlat, a pair of Romulans, a kouple Klingons, an Andorian, and Alan Asherman. Asherman is a Scotty buff who bought Jimmy Doohan's dress shirt, plain uniform shirt, pants and boots from Carol Lee, Mr. Doohan's representative. Asherman is also a noted artist, who, if he has any class at all, should send us a couple nice illos after this plug we're giving him.

Also on Sunday, all the little helpers were whispering one unto another, "Don't say anything, but HE's coming tommorrow sometime." Naturally, the tone of voice let us know just who HE was. And sure enough! Monday about 1 pm He showed up. Nimoy spoke to the most orderly crowd of 5,000 people ever gathered at a Trekcon. Mind boggling. No rush, no crowd, no jamming the aisles. Simply good natured quiet and quick camera work. When he left, bo surge forward, but a Burnham wood of Vulcan high signs. Are we growing up? There may be hope for the world yet.

David Gerrold was, of course, there, but amazingly, he was a (relatively) good boy. There may be hope for him yet.

It was a good convention, for all of its size. 17,500 was a figure tossed about, but Joan Winston (Con chairperson), who ought to know, claimed Sunday a figure of 9,000 different people. More came Monday, so 10,000, a nice round number, is a likely bet. [4]

References

  1. The Early Days of Star Trek Conventions; archive link, Robert Greenberger, unknown date
  2. In her book, So you want to have a "Star Trek" convention, Winston tells the same story, but she recalls the boy was reading "Monster Times."
  3. see 'Star Trek' now an odyssey of the mind
  4. Menagerie #3