Star Trek Lives! (convention)/1975

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Star Trek Lives! (convention) · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976

Star Trek Lives! 1975 was held February 14-17, 1975 at the Commodore Hotel in New York City.

cover of the 1975 program book

After three cons, The Committee went to work on their fourth effort without profits from the previous show to bolster them. Instead, members used their personal resources to get things rolling until membership fees arrived. Everyone from the executives on down to the helpers worked for little beyond pizza, soda, and camaraderie. By then, those helpers grew to include future publishing professionals Claire Eddy, Patrick Daniel O’Neill, and Diane Duane.

Following the 1974 show, Schuster had a falling out with The Committee and decided to run his own show in New York, one month before the usual convention. The bad blood was the talk of fandom as people wrote to the growing number of fanzines, taking sides. Schuster’s The International Star Trek Convention ran January 10–12, 1975, at the Statler Hilton with The Committee’s Star Trek Convention following February 14–17, 1975, once more at the Commodore. Schuster scooped his former partners by signing Shatner to make his first convention appearance even though the star had already signed to appear in February. In the end, both did good business, but the good will engendered by The Committee’s efforts won out in the end. The Roddenberrys returned to the convention as did Gerrold and Takei, along with first-timer William Ware Theiss, who of course brought along some of his costumes. A surprise guest was “Assignment: Earth” guest star Robert Lansing, who demonstrated to me he was quite adept at doing magic coin tricks despite being inebriated in the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately, that was the year the show was besieged with fans using counterfeit tickets, which crowded the show floor and confounded The Committee. It was here that Roddenberry told the fans that a feature film was on Paramount’s schedule and he was optimistic this would actually happen.

After Shatner’s appearance at the February show, Committee member Thom Anderson was asked the difference between Shatner and Nimoy’s interaction with the fans. Anderson explained that while the audience wanted a piece of Shatner, and there was a sexually charged atmosphere, they treated Nimoy more like an appearance by the Pope. Everyone hung on his every word in hushed silence. [1]

Guests of Honor

Con Staff

Tidbits and Anecdotes

A Filk!

A 1975 filk, "Battle Hymn of the 1975 ST Con" in Tetrumbriant #7, by "A Cast of Thousands" :

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the ending of The Con.
They were tramping out the carpet when the movies were not on.
They were pushing back the walls
the guests had rested hands upon.
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
Chorus:
Glory, Glory Roddenberry!
Glory, Glory Roddenberry!
Glory, Glory Roddenberry!
Praise GhuG, they are all Gone!!
They were lurking in the corridors
where Gene and Majel lived,
Our security arrangements were as leaky as a sieve,
Room numbers Committee didn't know
Trekkies would gladly give!
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
Chorus 3X.
Bill Shatner, owes his life,
to fen who's names he'll never know.
They are placing their fragile bodies,
where Trekkies want to go.
And all are deeply thankful
Leonard Nimoy did not show!
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
Chorus 3X.
Our Guests were wont to wander,
where Helpers fear to go.
Dear George once tried to roam around
and thought no one would know.
We picked up what was left of him
and put him in the show.
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
Chorus 3X.
Ike Asimov made speeches where he told
all he did know.
Jeff Maynard set up for six days,
to put on his Light Show!
Robert Lansing gave us extra work,
he knows where he can go!
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
Chorus 3X.
There wasn't much of Destiny,
her costume didn't show!
The Vulcan Hooker, Patia
matched her blow for blow!
But the Helpers didn't notice --
they were busy clearing rows!
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
[snipped]
Chorus 3X.
Bob Lansing, Gene and Majel were all
drinking in the suite.
The Committee and Assistants are all nursing blistered feet.
We'll discuss our plans for next year's con
BUT, NOT BEFORE WE EAT!!!!!
Praise GhuG, they are all gone!
Chorus 3X.
David Gerrold brought some fur with him,
A Tribble it was called.
Dick Hoagland gave us speeches on
the Space Program, now stalled.
And Bill Theiss showed us costumes
which we all thought would fall.
Praise GhuG, they are all gone! [2]

The Program Book

Badges, Flyers, and Other Ephemera

Programming

Progress Reports

Links to Photos and Videos

Articles and Further Reading

Con Reports

the first page of James Van Hise' con report in Trek

Most conventions have art shows, but like everything else at this con, this art show was larger than any I'd ever seen. There were a couple hundred pieces of art literally crammed into what would have otherwise been a good sized room. Most of it was only of about average quality, although there were some marvelous exceptions. There was a six foot long model of the Enterprise [see photo of this model in the scanned zine article] as well as a painting which was about seven feet tall by seven feet high of the Enterprise crew standing in the transporter room. It was very good and it was impossible to guess how it could have been transported without being damaged. [see photo of this painting in the scanned zine article] There were also paintings and drawings of virtually anything connected with Star Trek imaginable. One of the more striking displays was a set of paintings done in a mosaic style using just small squares of color for contrast, no lines, and what was amazing was that the paintings were perfect likenesses of the characters portrayed.

[...]

The guests all gave individual talks as well as appearing on the main panel. David Gerrold gave several talks and helped out the convention in other ways as well. Even before I saw David Gerrold at the convention I'd heard of his reputation for being egotistical. After listening to his discussions of writing and succeeding as a professional writer, I realized that he had to have a larger than average ego in order for him to have succeed as he has. The most important piece of advice he gave is "If you can possibly be discouraged, then don't be a writer, because you'll never make it." Thus it's not surprising to me that he's not meek and mild mannered, and that when somebody heckled him from the balcony behind him that he acted as if he wanted t climb up the wall and pull the guy over the railing. He also pointed out that his lack of good humor at that moment was also a combination of his tape recorder having been stolen at the con, and of two helpers who always stopped him when they saw him to check his badge, as if he wasn't recognizable to them after the first day (This was the last day.) [3]
1975 saw us with a new Chairperson, Devra Langsam, and a return to the Commodore. The guest roster was a goodie with a lot of people making return visits like the Roddenberrys, David Gerrold, George Takei, Isaac Asimov, Hal Clement, and a special guest (blare of trumpets, please!) William Shatner.

This was a crowded con, too. Crowded when it shouldn't have been, because we discovered that there were counterfeit tickets being sold by some unscrupulous kids in cahoots with an equally dishonest printer. So we closed registration with a count of 6,800 when it was

clear to all that there were at least 8,000 people in attendance. [4]
After finding my 8 year old self in possession of a homemade Star Trek uniform tunic with a houndstooth pattern on the material.... I knew the only way to go from there was up. I desperately wanted to look like my heroes from television and the only reliable resource at my disposal was the dealers’ room at the annual New York City Star Trek Convention. My family attended that con in ’75 but I cannot remember if there were uniforms available for sale. If there were, they must have been prohibitively expensive because I definitely recall not coming home with one! Fortunately, I did bag my second complete set of U.S.S. Enterprise insignia patches with a view toward getting one of them sewn on another shirt. [Read the entire series of convention memories at the source]. [5]
The Star Trek Convention, held at the Commodore Hotel February 14-17 was, by comparison, well worth attending. This convention was organized by a group of people who left Al Shuster's organization last year, headed by Devra Langstrom. Special guests included - Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, William Shatner, George Takei, William Ware Theiss, Robert Lansing, David Gerrold, Jeff Maynard, Isaac Asimov, and Hal Clement. From the start, this convention was more neatly run than Schuster's. There was less crowding, especially in the dealers' rooms and art rooms, although this convention, too, had a habit of scheduling only one interesting activity at a time. Again, there was no way to see the major guests, except on stage, along with 8,000 other fans (I happened to run into William Shatner outside the convention in New York, but he was unfortunately too busy to talk). The highlight of this convention was Gene Roddenberry's talk, and the panel discussion between Roddenberry Shatner, Barrett, Takei, Asimov, Gerrold, and Lansing... In closing, The Star Trek Convention stood out as a worthwhile experience, when compared to the 4th International Convention, but neither of them can compare to the excellence of Equicon 74. [6]
At the 1975 New York ST Con, we had a con suite party that lasted 12 hours! Honest! It started when the con closed at 6:00 pm and I got home at about 8:00 am the next morning. At this party was a filk composed the famous filksong 'Battle Hymn of the Convention'. [7]
I spent 11 hours a day in the dealers' room, boycotted the films, jostled the art room a bit and snuck around like a nlnja trying to scare up George or David- or the good Or. A. No such luck. Maybe I should mention the thrilling ride on the NYC subways and being urged by a Hare Krishnanik to trade in my old model diety on a still older model. Had some great Chinese burritos at the Peking Palace across from the Americana, however. We were alone in the place and after we ate the manager sent over 3 glasses of plum wine on the house. Spent unGhodly hours discussing everything from opera to Spock's fertility (or lack of it). Explained at least 50 times what a fanzine was and made up some fun filksongs about the wonders of Trekcons at the dead-dog party in the con suite. [8]

Any attempt to describe the 1975 ST Con boggles my mind ... I keep getting involved in a vigorous imaginary argument with whomever decided to hold it at the Hotel Commodore! The hotel is really horrendous; the service was poor, prices outrageous (I heard reports of several ripoffs), and the staff just couldn't seem to take a ST con in stridel (Look, I KNOW we're a strain on tho nerves, but ... ) Hope they wise up and move back to the Americana next year, I had a single room of Lilliputian proportions- you walk in and fall over the bed! (maybe it was designed for Harlan Ellison!)

In spite of the hassles with staff and leek of space, there were many pleasant features. The three dealers' rooms were just great; lots of tempting merchandise (No,Leonard Nimoy was not on sale), and much variety. Many major fanzines were on sale, as well as film cilps, photos, posters, tapes, albums, etc. I didn't get around to visiting the art room until Sunday, but they had some beautiful work on display, including a huge painting of a popular poster showing the ST crew on the transporter platform, several cuddly stuffed sehlats, some nicely detailed communicators and phaser, and a FANTASTIC large model of the Enterprise. Perhaps the best feature in the Art Room, however, was cool air! (Unavailable in any other rooms!) Heat was one of the major problems throughout the convention; several people, including David Gerrold, became ill during the costume call due to extreme heat. (I heard someone say it uas "hot as Vulcan", and it was!)

The film schedule was accurate for one day, then deteriorated to an ad-lib situation. I was disgusted with the small film room; of the total crowd present, about one-fourth would pile in at 11 am or so when the room opened, and then the doors were closed to the rest of the people for the rest of the day! The films themselves were fine: Balance of Terror, Trouble With Tribbles, Enterprise Incident, City at the Edge of Forever (FINALLY got to see the end!), Mirror Mirror, where No Man Has Gone Before, and Devil in the Dark, along with the Cage and Gene Roddenberry's beautiful blooper reel! (The blooper was complete and gut-wrenching as usual!)

I was in the lobby when George Takei passed through on Saturday; he was actually being propelled along by an eager wave of fans. He looked beautiful, and was beaming (ouch!) like a Cheshire cat, and disturbed in the least by the pressing crowd. He signed autographs for a few minutes and endured an onslaught of popping flashcubes before the gofers herded him into the dealers' rooms where he sat at one of the tables to sign more autographs. Those who made it in (the guards wouldn't let any more people in after George passed through) were put through an elaborate hassle of lining up in twos; the fruit of which was, by the time we ware all nicely in line, George had to leave!

I didn't get to hear all of Gene's main speech: the one time I made it into the ballroom (guards limiting people again) I wound up sitting against the back hall under a speaker. I did hear him announce that the ST film IS on Paramount's 1975 shooting schedule, and stockholders have been informed, Next step is the mlni-serlee; Gene said thet if the movie goes over well, NBC may go for the series ... start praying!

My seat was equally bad when Bill Shatner spoke, but he sounded a lot more relaxed than he was at the January con. Now he's a SEASONED congoee! His puns were as atrocious- as usual!

One of the nicest features of the con uas a costume demonstration by Bill Theiss. He answered questions from the audience, and replicas of six ST costumes were modeled, much to the delight of all present. They were Sarek's dress uniform, Droxine's gown from Cloudminders. Sybo's from Wolf in the Fold, the Romulan Commander's from Enterprise Incident, Miranda Jones' from Is There In Truth To Beauty?,and Carolyn Palamas' from Who Mourns for Adonais?

The costume call and related activities (prejudging, photo session, etc.) took almost five hours! From 8 till 9 pm, a complicated system was in operation for those who wished to photograph the contestants. Two areas were set up in the East Ballroom (adjacent to the Main Ballroom where the contest itself was held): one for flash photos and one for non-flash. The contestants passed before the judges for prejudging, then to each of the photo areas. (It was reported that over 200 people entered the competition!) The costume call itself was hold at 9:30 or so, and proved to be quite a strain on the judges who eventually grew tired and overheated (David Gerrold, Majel Roddenberry, Hal Clement, Robert Lansing, and Bill Theiss were celebrity judges.) The skit category was vexing; my personal group is that all the people who enter as dancers CAN'T DANCE! The audience cheered the loudest when it was announced that the skit category was OVER! An exception was one pair of tribbles that entered the skit category. When they first came on stage, everyone grumbled to the general tun of "Oh no, not another tribble!" but these tribbles broke into a little routine of shuffling and dancing that was as funny as all hell and brought the house down! They didn't win, but it was a cute act nonetheless.

Showstoppers included a guy dressed in thigh-high black platform sole boots and a rather skimpy costume of questionable fashion, and a girl wearing practically nothing under an elaborate transparent gown (the audience and photographers went wild, and so did the judges!

I was disappointed in the choices of Most Beautiful ST. A lovely cape and caftan costume called "Vulcan on Pilgrimage, from the Kraith series" was my personal favorite, and I didn't think that the [eventual] winner was as beautiful. The prize was for Most Beautiful COSTUME, not the body wearing it! I did learn that the Kraith costume lost by only one vote.

So much for the ST Con, '75. It was a lot of fun (although quite a strain on the ol' pocketbook!) and all I want to add is: thanks to Gene, Majel, Hal, Bill S. Bill T., George, David, and Robert for making it great! [9]

So, this time we rented an Avis station wagon and crammed ten people into it and left at midnight and started to lose our luggage before even getting off the campus and had to stop every ten miles or so from then on until daybreak to tighten our luggage bindings until we got some rubber straps from a friendly gas station and drove and drove and drove (and rode and rode and rode) for some 20 hours or so until we at last reached the Big Bad City and drove and drove and drove (and rode and rode and rode) and finally reached the Hot L Commodore and stood in line for what seemed like hours to get the room keys (essential, you know) and took all our luggage to our respective rooms and wanted to collapse but being too excited and besides dealers were supposed to go on down and get set up, which we did and wandered around interestedly ... and thus passed the first Night ...

On the second day, which was the opening day of the con, we scattered widely and I womanned the booth and David Gerrold passed by some three times before I managed to get my T-shirt autographed (not the one I was wearing!) and met some old friends and some correspondents previously unmet and made new friends (and probably a few enemies) and tried to save my money and ESPECIALLY met Karen Klinck, who assured me that her name does have a "c" in it and would I please not spell it "Klink" anymore, so I won't, and there was a lot more but I can't find the schedule now so ...

On the third day it was party night and we partied ('nuff said?) and I think It was the day we rode down from the guest floor in the elevator with David Gerrold and I invited him to Ourcon more later) and reunited ourselves with Sharon Ferraro and Paula A. Smith and saw Robert Lansing (*sigh*) ...

On the fourth day pandemonium ensued and I saw all the panels and guest talks because I grabbed a seat in the third row right by the podium and didn't budge for lsaac's talk and Bill Shatner's talk and.. and we actually went out to eat! (Food? What's that?)

On the fifth day George couldn't be found all morning so I left a note for him inviting him to Ourcon and stuck my head around the corner of the guest suite when I heard Robert Lansing's incomparable voice (gark, shrink, sigh) and invited him to Ourcon and he signed my T-shirt (not the one I was wearing) and oh, yes, the day before (the fourth day) I got to briefly talk to Majel Barrett Toddenberry and was much impressed and thought she would make a good starshlp captain ... we finally and reluctantly began our preparations to leave (gawp) when it became patently obvious that Leonard Nimoy wouldn't show up and we almost left Mark behind because we couldn't find him and we was in the film room...

And on the sixth day we pulled into East Lansing (uk) and Candee and I early enrolled and I had to take mv two midterms and somehow everyone found out we were back and wanted know EVERYTHING.

... AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY, WE RESTED!

And I discovered, to my horror, that seemed to have left my entire duplicate film clip collection at the Hot L Commodore, which won't admit having them and so now I'm trading poor until I order a new batch from Lincoln Enterprises ... SNARF!) [10]

ST Con: Once More into the Breech, Dear Friends by Joel Davis

I arrived Thursday at the Commodore Hotel a day early. When I got there, Shirley Maiewski came running up to us, telling us that the hotel's recently installed computer system had erased half the hotel's confirmations. Ours, thankfully, were not anong those erased. Later that evening, I got our Boston ST Association table set up, and was immediately impressed with the smoothness with which the Dealer's Room was being run. Stu Grossman did a great job, and it led me to believe that this would be a well-run convention. I was wrong.

Friday the moment of truth had arrived. As I sat in the Dealer's Room all day, I became more and more impressed with the ease with which the dealers' problems were handled. With less competent people at the reins, an. one of these could have become a major catastrophe. The highlight of the day, for me, was the fan panel. There on the dais, all sitting together, were Devra Langsam, Shirley Maiewski, Margaret Basta, Joyce Yasner, and Jacqueline I.ichtenberg. The first program I say Saturday was Hal Clement with the "Peeling of the Apple." Hal's speech was magnificent, as always, as he explained away some of the scientific inaccuracies of the Apple episode. Then came Gene Roddenberry, and the hall was full. Everyone in STW expected him to make the announcement of a contract with Paramount, but Gene just said that the movie is listed in the stockholders report for 1976. This is, indeed, a major step, but it seems that we were a little premature in our expectations. He said that negotiations are proceeding smoothly, and that Paramount had told him that all the major hurdles were behind them. I did not hear another panel all day, unfortu-. nately, as had really wanted to hear Bill Shatner speak. Those who did, told me that he was very entertaining and delightful to hear. That night the parties started, and off we went, gallivanting around the hotel from one to another. It made up for the monotony of sitting behind the table in the Dealer's Room.

Sunday was the day Isaac Asimov gave his annual talk about himself. But Isaac can talk and captivate an audience, that even the most mundane things arc enjoyable. The costume ball was the usual madness that pervades a convention once a year. There seemed to be quite a few more tribbles than last year. Some of the costumes were remarkably good, and even a few skits were good.

But most bordered on fair to poor. Perhaps I'm just not an enthu siastic costume ball attandce. Later that night, Diane Marchant, who is STW in Australia, and I and others had spotted Majel Roddenberry outside the hotel's restaurant. We invited her to the party , and surprisingly, she said yes. We arranged for me to escort her from the costume ball, and said we'd see her later. Unfortunately, when it came time to get her, I ran into trouble with security, who said that she couldn't go, even though she had said she would. They told me it was not up to her; she couldn't take the risk. To their way of think, I'm sure they meant to do right, but I still think they should have let her do what she wanted, when she wanted. Finally, Diane persuaded security to escort Majel to our party, and as a bonus, Robert Lansing came. After a short time, Majel called for her husband, and Gene joined us as well.

In summation, the Dealer's Room was well-run, the art show was run incompetently, and I know more than one person who had some work ripped off. There were good points and bad points. But isn't that just like any con?

A note from one of the editors (ps). For all that THE ST Con this year had half the attendance of last year, I had a better time last year. The security was paranoid, and it spread to the rest of the crowd. As Elizabeth Pearse put it, this was not a happy con. There were too many, too obvious attempts to recoup, or at least not drop any more, cash, and it showed especially in the art and dealers' departments. Still the committee tried mightily. [11]

References

  1. The Early Days of Star Trek Conventions; archive link, Robert Greenberger, unknown date
  2. a filk, "Battle Hymn of the 1975 ST Con" in Tetrumbriant #7, by "A Cast of Thousands"
  3. James Van Hise wrote a convention report for his zine Trek #4. The three-page report can be read here (click each image twice to enlarge): My Star Trek Scrapbook: 1975 New York Trek Con article;archive link
  4. In 1977, organizer Joan Winston summarized her experiences working on the 1975 convention in her essay So you want to have a "Star Trek" convention
  5. in 2011, a fan reminisced about his 8 year old self and the 1975 convention at Captain's Blog; reference link
  6. by Rod March in Archives' Log v.2 n.4
  7. from a fan in Comlink #32 (October 1987)
  8. comments by Sharon Ferraro in Warped Space #4
  9. comments by Pat McCormack in Warped Space #4
  10. comments by Lori Chapek in Warped Space #4
  11. from a con report in Menagerie #6