Starcon (US convention 3)

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Science Fiction Convention
Name: Starcon
Dates: 1973-1977
Location: the first four in Detroit, Michigan, and the last two in Dallas, Texas
Focus: Star Trek, comics, science fiction
Founder: David Lillard
Founding Date:
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Starcon 1973

Starcon October 31-Nov 2, 1973 was held in Detroit at the Cobo Hall.
a cartoon by Kelly Freas, one of the guests of honor -- it portrays another guest of honor, David Gerrold, and is signed by both men. "This is an Auction - You're really supposed to bid AGAINST each other!"

The celebrity guests were: James Doohan, Harlan Ellison, D.C. Fontana, Frank Kelly Freas, David Gerrold, Walter Koenig, Norman Spinrad, George Takei and Bjo Trimble.

Con Report: 1973

Keeping events in their proper perspective our arrival in Detroit in mid afternoon was followed immediately by a nap. Reviving a number of hours later, we walked over to Cobo Hall to register and present ourselves to Patti Helmer as gofers. We got our white registration tags quickly enough and employing subterfuge and direct questions, nearly tripped over Jimmy Doohan on our way to crash into the gofers burrow in the Pontchartrain. From there we were kidnapped in a '72 Javelin to Greek town, where our hostesses, knowing what we needed, recommended we eat some real, good Greek food. Little realizing this was to be our last real meal for the remainder of our stay in the big city.

The next morning we scurried over to Cobo to set up our table in the dealer's room. Soon after we were drafted as gofers began their various tasks as beasts of burden, and never again during the con, shook off the yoke. Gofer identification was achieved by the addition of a small drawing of a Vulcan gofer to the white badges we all wore Committee members at whose beck and call we slaved, wore green badges, Security wore red and the quests, whom all attending diligently chased, wore gold, though rarely.

Most oft-heard comments; in the cavernous highways and byways of Cobo Hall He s got a gold badge—-he must be somebody!!"

"David Auberman??"

(Over the PA;) "The movies are now in "

Choose one:"Where's Scotty?!?" "Where's Sulu?"

"Where's Chekov?!?"

"You mean Captain Kirk isn't here!!'"

"GOFER!!!!!" (At top of our lungs!)

The convention offered all-night movies, constantly shifting schedules, panel discussions, inspiring lectures, more movies, the dealer's room, the art show and auction and lots of just plain Strek-talk, all of which were placed two to three parsecs apart and little of which the diligent gofers could find time to attend or participate in.More often a gofer was assigned to stand outside a door to a particular room and its accompanying activity. Sharon's comments on the Shore Leave Party Friday Night: 'What a thrill to challenge David Gerrold and Harlan Ellison's identities, while misidentifying Walter Koenig, listening all the time with one ear to first a rock band and later a droning hypnotist that may have set a new record for putting audiences to sleep. Walter Koenig re-entering the ballroom from the safety of the hallway only to refill his constantly drained glass and Harlan Ellison relying instead on the Pepsi available at the counter.

Being partially incapacitated by a bum ankle, Sharon was assisgned Saturday night to watch the costume show and record it for posterity. This included hearing Jimmy Doohan sing (sigh!) and hearing George Takei tell about his recent election campaign. The winners of the contest were an ape from "Planet of the Apes" and four 24 hour viruses. Bjo, George and Jimmy took turns answering questions from the audience as the traditional delays took place backstage. George announced all the costumes and made comments, and arbitrated the short lived dispute between the Klingon Diplomatic Corps and a group of space traders immediately preceding them down the runway. Afterward most of our party adjourned to the door of the movie room to weed out the people trying to get in for free by demanding they show their badges.(How many times might one not recognize David Gerrold and retain hope of reaching heaven?)

What does one do when 500 Trekkies, out for blood and autographs, attack the table at which one stands, heretofore peaceably stuffing programmes, and force one to the glass walls? Luckily, Mssrs. Doohan, Takei, and Koenig appeared shortly thereafter and appeased the mob by falling to with pen and ink, allowing yers truly to beat it, unfortunately sans their autographs. That was the only time I got to be near them, too. So geht das Leben.

Rottenest Movie Shown: The Three Stooges in Outer Space.

Special Citation to: Woody Wu, and all the other projectionists, for their patience in showing the blooper film all 32 times (each day!).

Good Guyhood Awards to: the Frank Kelly Freas's and Bjo Trimble.

Beleaguered Award to: Patti (Godzilla the Brat Eater) Helmer.

Not being followers of the Judaic Tradition ourselves, we nevertheless observed Yom Kippur on Saturday. This came about by being literally too busy to take the time to find something edible and glom it down our throats. None of our merry trio managed to get anything to eat until well after sundown- near midnight to be exact, although we know of some other conyentton attendees who did not observe the Day of Atonement. This day was perhaps the busiest and none of us were aware of developments on the international scene until someone mentioned it to Harlan Ellison during his lecture and he made up a short story about it on the spot. Speaking of the "Great One" I shall make a few modest comments. Harlan Ellison, despite what you have heard or read about him is not three feet tall and covered with coarse black hair that reaches his toes. His voice does not echo of its own accord but is clear and frank. He is however a very dynamic individual and disappointed with"Star Lost" (with good reason).

More oft-heard phrases:

He's signing autographs--he must be somebody!!"


"Where the heck did Gerrold go? He's on in two minutes."

"Who's the good looking guy wit' the beard?" "When's the next showing of the bloopers?"

"You mean Mr. Spock isn't here?"

"Where's your badge?"


"Ghod, its 3AM and I haven't eaten since yesterday morning?" (Later) "What is food?"

"Can I ride your cart mister?"


"I'm not signing autographs now, miss."

(With a Russian accent.)

"Where the hell is Lilliard?!?"

"You mean the men's room is on the other end of Cobo?"


"You're all out of buttons?"

"Mr. Doohan can you sign three dozen autographs on this pad for my son and his friends?"

"What's going on next?"

GOFER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [1]

Starcon 1974

Starcon 1974

Con Report: 1974

The two faces of this convention, at least for some attendees, were hard to reconcile. Like a schizoid's two personalities, both were difficult to understand at the same time.

The official program—a single half page backed by a full page ad, listed such events as the opening and closing of the Dealers' Room, Film Room, and Art Room, along with the pre-scheduled costume ball. I arrived Thursday evening and found nothing happening. Friday morning I stood in line for 20 minutes to get my name tag despite the fact that I had been registered since last January.

With the help of the several gofers (mostly the 713 contingent) I got my trunk down from my room and set up a table in a choice spot just inside the door. For nearly an hour after that there was nothing to do. The oon officially opened at noon with the simul taneous opening of the dealers' and film rooms. The episodes of Trek were poor prints and the blooper reel was in black and white. As usual for me at cons, I neither ate nor saw any films thruout the convention. The day wore on, the dealers' room being the most active spot all day. At about 6 pm it was announced that the five Ape movies scheduled for the evening had been waylaid in Cleveland and would not arrive until 1 am. Fortunately for the committee, Jimmy Doohan and George Takei had arrived and did a panel with Kelly Freas and the two apes Paula Kist and Bill Blake.

We arrived half an hour late, but the chairs were not yet set up, so we helped arrange them. Then waited. And waited. And waited. The platform, table, chairs and microphones were not ready for Messrs. Doohan, Takei, and Freas when they arrived. They were kind enough to sign autographs until the equipment was ready.

Mr. Doohan started by introducing his lovely fiancee, Wendy (currently, as of 12 October, his wife). The discussion went well, only five people allowed in the question line at a time. George recounted some moments on the set and everyone answered questions on their current activities. The apes gave a little insight into their makeup and popular reaction to it on the street. They put the makeup on for a convention and don't take it off for the whole con. Bill Blake said that it's pretty painful for a guy, as his beard grows right into the soft latex appliances, and taking it off after three or four days can be agony.

After the panel ended, we retired to our room (713!) and pre pared for a party. Well, (cough!) Kelly and Polly Freas soon showed up, then George, and later Jimmy and Wendy. Kelly did caricatures of everyone, while we all had a grand time in a thoroly relaxed situation.

Morning was much too soon; and the day wasn't worth it. Evening, the costume show got going. The entire event ran smoothly, if not swiftly, where Jimmy, Wendy, George, Kelly and Gofer Head Sandy Tutro served as judges. Bob Asprin and Lee Stanley served as runners in the guise of Commander Kras and Krok of the Klingon Diplomatic Corps. There were several Vulcans, as usual, a few Klingons, and the same three Uhuras from Star Con I. The best costume, I think, was a young lady as Natira. In the non-Trek category, the drone from Silent ]unn,in9 won. We didn't stay for the dance, but went for dinner and drinks with a bunch of STAR/Central people and Jimmy-and-Wendy-and- Kelly-and-Polly.

Most of Sunday was spent at the art show biddinq fruitlessly on three excellent pieces . I must admit I have seen more impressive art shows before, and as usual, Kelly's works' stood out. Jimmy Doohan did most of the auctioneering and signed autographs for a good two hours afterward. He was still plugging away when I left at 5:30.

Doesn't sound like much of a con report, does it? It was not that much of a con. Go back and take out the two parties and there isn't much left for the average con attended who did not have the organization of the Hole in the Deck Gang behind them...and the Welcommittee! Take out the dealer's room and there is even less. I don't understand how people could be satisfied with as little as was offered without getting upset. There were less than 50 chairs set up for the Friday night panel, and the aforementioned lack of equipment. There was no bulletin board or chalk board to keep people informed of changes in schedule or special events, (alright, but four sheets of paper taped on a pillar is not what I had in mind.) The litter problem from last year at Cobo Hall seemed to still be haunting the convention also. The programming, outside of the episode and movie rooms, relied entirely on the celebrities; and the fan activity, outside of the gofers, was practically non-existant. And the most disconcerting part is the last line of the Program Sheet. "We hope you had a great time! See you next summer!" Not this Trekfan, kiddo. [2]

Starcon 1975

Starcon 1975 was held in Detroit. A fan in Warped Space #12 refers to it as "StarCon 4."

Guest of honor were Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Greg Theakston, Carl Lundrgen (all comic illustrators), and George Takei. DeForest Kelley and William Shatner were scheduled but did not appear.

The chairman was Dave Lillard.

The program book contains 12 pages.

Con Report: 1975

Starcon 4 was a combination comic book/Star Trek con. Unfortunately, the hotel where the con was to be held went bankrupt approximately three weeks prior to the con date. As a result the organizers of Starcon 4 were unable to have their advance payment refunded, had to find a new location and curtail some of the planned activities.

For the comic book fans there were several well-known illustrators who gave talks and displayed their work—Neal Adams, Greg Theakston and Carl Lundgren. For Star Trek fans there was GEORGE TAKEI!!! George was scheduled to speak three times during the con. He told fans about the progress of the Star Trek movie and then answered questions. Afterwards, he signed autographs and had his picture taken. In between these sessions George was in the dealers room or lobby area, available to talk with fans and sign pictures.

Star Trek films consisted of two blooper reels - both from the first two seasons and both containing almost identical shots, one color and the other black and white. There were also three Star Trek episodes: "Assignment Earth", "For The World Is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky" and "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".

The last day of the con, Sunday, the costume contest was held and George was one of the judges here. There were two unusal winners, a couple dressed as Oberon and Titania from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" won the top prize in the Star Trek costume category. When George presented them with the award he commented that he saw no reason why they might not have been possible Star Trek characters. Perhaps he was thinking of "Conscience of the King" or "Shore Leave". The best overall costume was a girl who came as a Chevy V-8 engine (what else for Detroit?). The final attraction was the appearance of "The Hulk" an eight foot, green, heavily muscled character. He was interviewed, commenting that he enjoyed Star Trek.

I had a pleasant, leisurely time at my very first Star Trek con, but it's DEFINITELY not my last!! [3]

We arrived Friday afternoon to what we expected to be a fairly interesting con. Despite the fact it was a combined con - comic book and STAR TREK, the scheduled guests, Shatner, Kelley, and Takei, were a point in its favor. When we registered, we found that unfortunately De Kelley would not be appearing. Ok, so George and Bill were still (so we thought) going to appear, and we wouldn't scream too loudly. After finishing with the formalities, we went to inspect the Dealers' Room. For a comic collector, it was a Paradise, but to the average STAR TREK person, it offered little in the way of anything. We found no fanzines, very little in the way of clips, posters, or any other such memorabilia. We gave Friday night at StarCon up for dead and returned to the TraveLodge. As we approached the door, a TREK-tyoe person who had been standing in the shadows asked us if we'd seen George still standing around the corner. We replied that neither of us had noticed, only to turn around and see George's smile staring us in the face. Finding that all of us were going to the third floor, we rode together on the elevator.

Saturday morning removed any semblance of interest we right still have had as those who went in to get good seats to hear the speakers were met by a notice that Mr. Shatner would not be appearing. Feeling very sorry for poor George, we made an appearance in the Dealers' Room where we found sympathizers in the organizers of STAR TREKtacular (Dec. 12-14, Pittsburgh Hilton) who were able to tell people that they had confirmed De Kelley on Wednesday, and that Leonard Nimoy had also been confirmed. A bit happier, we then wandered over to the welcommittee table to find out just how things were going. From them we found out that the guest had wanted to be paid, but the StarCon committee had thought they were asking a bit much. Consequently --

We left Detroit Saturday shortly after noon, much disillusioned and much disappointed. Maybe someday (StarCon ... ) when there are competent concommittee members in charge, we'll return. [4]

Starcon 1976

Starcon 1976 was held March 11-14 in Dallas, Texas.

Guests of honor were George Takei and Nichelle Nichols.

The con program book contains 18 pages.

Con Report: 1976

I have to say that the Star Trek Convention in Dallas, Texas on March 11-15 was an experience I will never forget. It was my first Starcon. I didn't even know for sure that I was going 'til that Saturday morning at 6:A5. Boy, was I ever ready to see George Take! and Nichelle Niehole.

My Dad and I went to get tickets for a John Denver concert (Yeah? supposedly the main reason for going to Dallas) and then shopped for awhile. By 2;00 I was fidgetting, but first we ate lunch. Finally, at 3:00 we arrived at North Park Inn. When we got in, we found out that they had sold out of memberships and wouldn't register anyone 'til 6:30! Since we had travelled almost 200 miles and had already called ahead, we got temporary memberships (my Dad's was a press pass, if you're ever near Crockett, Tx., tune your radio to 1290 AM or 92.7 FM). It was really crowded and I was squashed going through the art exhibit (it was great anyway) and the dealers' room. Because it was a combination of Star Trek and Nostalgia, the dealers' room was wild! My Dad left, and I started spending money. There was a long line for autographs, but neither George nor Nichelle was there. When Nichelle got there, I got in line. I waited an hour and five minutes to get her autograph and when I looked for George, he was no longer there!

Well, I spent some more money (all on S.T. stuff) and waited for my Dad. He got there and said I could watch the Blooper Reel, so he left and I watched some crazy stuff. It was twenty minutes 'til George was to speak and I wanted to stay, but I resigned myself to go. Guess what! I sweet-talked by Dad into staying!1! WOW!!!! If you can remember the first time you ever saw George Takei, you know how I felt. I can't really describe it, except to say that he's sooooo cute!

His personality just bubbles over, and that laugh! Anyway, he talked about S.T., Politics, and Sulu. Let me tell you, you don't know what heartbreaking is until you have to leave in the middle of a George Takei speech/Q. & A. session. We had to, 'cause we had two hundred miles to drive, and it was 8:30. Oh, woe was me!!!!! To sum it all up, I missed alot -- like 1 of George's talks, 2 of Nichelle's, Getting George autograph, etc. -- but from what I did see, it was a great success. [5]

Starcon 1977

Starcon 1977 was held April 14-17 in Dallas, Texas.

cover of the 1977 program book, Hal Crawford

The guest of honor were David Gerrold, George Takei, and Ted Cassidy.

The con chairs were Joe Bob Williams and Larry Herndon.

The movie Star Wars had yet to be released. As per the program book, representatives from "the Star Wars Corporation" and "Twentieth-Century Fox" were present at this con.

Con Report: 1977

There was a con report in Horta #7:

Horta takes a look at what may be the last con in Dallas for some time -- Starcon '77. The con brought us George Takei, Ted Cassidy and wife, and David Gerrold... with WAFSTS members [Debborah G] and [Marybeth H] flying up from New Orleans for the festivities. Ted Cassidy, better known for his roles as "Ruk" in "What Are Little Girls Made Of" and "Sasquatch" on The Six Million Dollar Man, turned out to have potentials far beyond these roles put together. One of the most mements was his rendition of: "Birds do it, bees do it, sasquatches lurking in the trees do it!... Let's do it, let's fall in love." All in all WAFSTS attendees found Mr. Cassidy and his beautiful wife one of the highlights of the con.

George Takei was his usual polished self, intellectually stimulating and politically motivated. He was of particular stimulation to members [Marybeth H] and [Debborah G]. During his question & answer session, George was entertained by a young lady dancing her way onto the stage as a birthday present, being the fact that his birthday was at hand. George contemplated unwrapping his present jokingly, but settled for a general survey of her biology - contemplating her navel and the jewel in it.

David Gerrold covered interesting ground, such as the problems of writers coping with narrow-minded TV execs. Gerrold should try to fall back on his own talent more than trying to be the bad boy of TV alla sans [6] Harlan Ellison, however, he works too hard at being an iconoclastic intellectual and he looses his personality in the process. Under all his act there is a nice, sincere guy-somewhere - and it's a shame we don't see it.

The costume contest was handled very poorly. In the lights-out ballroom awe fell over the fans as "the companion" floated out on to the stage, an intermittent blinking gaseous cloud. Fans cheered and gave a standing ovation while I peered from underneath my life-sized "Horta" in disbelief because it looked so real. Later, after a second appearance and another ovation, a square furr pillow case with tennis shoes wandered out onto the stage. Despite the booing, the judges gave the pillow case second place and "the companion" nothing. It helps to have your father on the judging staff. Other costumes are pictured above, [Lynn S] "Plato stepchild," [Debborah G] "the Princess of shara," [Rhonda S] - an alien, [Marybeth H]- a "she-cat" belonging to the Princess, and [Robert S]- a Klingonese bad-guy who stole Mother Horta's egg. (see cover) Also pictured are Ted Cassidy (top left), and [Rhonda S] with her friend, the charismatic Cassidy again.

Starcon 82

Starcon 82 was held in Dallas, Texas on February 26-28, 1982.


  1. ^ report by Margaret Basta in Menagerie #2 (December 1973)
  2. ^ a con report by Sharon Ferraro in A Piece of the Action #17 and reprinted with slight revisions in Menagerie #5
  3. ^ from At the Helm #1/2 (November 1975/January 1976)
  4. ^ report by Signe Jesson in Warped Space #12
  5. ^ from At the Helm #3
  6. ^ "alla sans" is what was printed. Perhaps the fan meant "a la sans," though that doesn't make much more sense.