Star TreKon

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You may be looking for the cons called Trekon or Trekkon.

Star Trek Convention
Name: Star TreKon
Dates: 1975-1980
Frequency:
Location:
Type: celebrity guests
Focus: Star Trek TOS
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date: 1975?
URL:
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Star TreKon was a con held in Kansas City, MO.

No Booze

This con was unique in that no alcohol was allowed in any part of the convention for at least the first three cons. This also, assumably, meant hotel rooms in the con.

1975

  • August 30-September 1

1976

Star TreKcon '76 (Feb. 27-29, Kansas City, MO)

From the program book:

Throughout the history of the American Entertainment Industry, be it literary, artistic, musical, cinematic, theatrical, radio or television, there have always been teams of creators whose combined talents produced outstanding works; Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Burns and Allen, Lee and Kirby, Kubrick and Clarke, Roddenberry and Coon, to name a few.

Now, two substantially talented Star Trek fans have united their efforts to produce the first fan-written anthology of Star Trek fiction . . . the two are Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath.

Sondra is a phenomenon in herself, to say the least. Her many interests and talents are proof of that, but in a more personal way, Sondra was a determining factor of this convention. STAR TREK LIVES!, with Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Joan Winston.

Myrna Culbreath is best known for her excellent character analysis of Spock, "The Spock Premise", and her libratarian publication, The Firebringer. Now, with Sondra, she has helped produce another landmark in Star Trek fandom; the book STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES.

The two First Ladies of Fandom are currently working on several other Star Trek projects, and we are deeply graceful and honored to have them as our Special Guests. Marshak and Culbreath: what a team!
From the program book:

MRS. ANNA HASSAN:

Mrs. Anna Hassan is a very special guest of the convention. She has become a favorite at STAR TREK convention across the country. This is her eighth convention, and she is now greeted by all the stars of STAR TREK and by countless fans simply as Mama.

The custom was doubtless started by Sondra Marshak who is Mama's daughter, and perpetuated by Myrna Culbreath, who has practically been adopted, but Mama was an instant hit with stars and fans, and the hit of two television specials. Now Sondra and Myrna are heard to complain that Mama gets all the kisses. She even gets her own fan mail.

STAR TREK LIVES and STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES are dedicated to Mrs. Anna Hassan and she was a very real partner in making the books possible. More, she was an inspiration. Sondra and Myrna like to think that Mama was born just about the time the Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk. In her lifetime we have conquered the air, and reached the moon. In the lifetime of her four-year old grandson, Sondra's son Jerry, will we reach the stars?

Somehow something in Mama's indomitable spirit makes us think that we will, someday, She was born in Israel and saw wars and killing; she survived pogroms [sic] to become a STAR TREK fan.

Mama Lives!

Con Reports: 1976

A very nice con, those attending enjoyed the uncrowded (about 1500-1600), relaxed, unhurried, friendly atmosphere. The fans were very orderly and polite—eager to have a good time. The mayor-of Kansas City made the welcome address and was presented with a pair of Vulcan ears. There were the usual con mixups: things not starting on time, schedule changes, the film room had to be moved Saturday night. Bill Shatner (there only for a brief appearance on Saturday), De Kelley, and Nichelle Nichols were marvelous guests. The crowd convinced De Kelley to sing part of an old Southern spiritual, which is a first for Mr. Kelley so far as we know. During the STW meeting, he called to confirm Karolyn Popovich's new fan club for him. Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath were also guests. Joyce Thompson of STW and partner Brad Jones won the trivia contest, which used electronic equipment; they received Tribbons (tribbles with ribbons glued to them), plaques, and program books autographed by the stars. A stage production based on Jean Lorrah's "Visit to a Weird Planet" was both amusing and capably performed by an obviously enthusiastic cast. The costume parade was actually a party with dancing--"Babel Bash." (Highlights from con reports by Denny Arnold, KathE Donnelly, Randy Duncan, Karen Fleming, Karolyn Popovich, Joyce Thompson, and Josi Williams.) [1]

1977

front cover of the 1977 program book by Heather Firth
back cover of the 1977 program book, Jeff Richardson
From the 1977 program book:

MRS. ANNA TORNHEIM HASSAN. "Mama" to fans of STAR TREK all over the world and to the STAR TREK stars and celebrities, has become a celebrity in her own right.

Her spirit and her warmth have drawn people to her-not only the stars who call her "Mama" and welcome her with hugs and kisses - but countless fans. And newsmen, television reporters-those people have tracked her down from earliest days - even before her daughter Sondra Marshak's first book, STAR TREK LIVES!, and every book by Sondra and Myrna Culbreath since, acknowledged Mama as inspiration and indispensable help.

Newsmen wanted to know what this remarkable woman was doing at STAR TREK conventions - obviously as young at heart as any teenager, yet a grandmother many times over, a great-grandmother, and a STAR TREK fan to her bones.

Mrs. Anna Hassan was always glad to tell them-and to talk to any fan, warmly. Soon she had fans of her own.

She's appeared on television specials - where she stole the show — and on many television news programs, in newspaper articles. She's shared speaker platforms and head banquet tables with the STAR TREK Stars, and spoken herself. Fans line up for her autograph, write her fan letters, and ask her everything triey always wanted to know about STAR TREK. If they ask her about warp drive, she refers them to the engineer-Scotty-James Doohan.

She's attended more than two dozen STAR TREK conventions from coast to coast, and now is being invited to conventions as a guest of the convention.

Fans welcome her not only as a remarkable person, but as a symbol of the diversity and delight, and the kind of hope which is the spirit of STAR TREK.

Mama was born Anna Tornheim, in an Isreal which was not then Isreal, just about the time the Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk. In her lifetime man has conquered the sky and reached the moon. In her own life, she has seen war and terror, has married across a gulf of diversity. Her husband was born in Egypt. She has come to a new country, made a new life, raised five daughters to maturity and seen them all take University degrees, including several advanced degrees, achieve responsible positions and professional success, and give her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are growing up without fear.

In the lifetime of those grandchildren-of Sondra's son Jerry, now 5, will we conquer fear and hate decisively, defeat disease and death, and-reach for the stars?

STAR TREK has opened that hope, and more, for Mama, and for her husband. If there are other worlds, other people out there who may have solved the problem of war and death and fear - and who may even live very long and prosper - then why can't we? Or, as Mama says, "Maybe they could teach us and we could live."

Mama Lives!

1979

  • August 10-12, 1979
program book for 1979, front cover
program book for 1979, back cover
  • celebrity GOH were Jimmy Doohan, Grace Lee Whitney, Jesco von Puttkamer, fan GOH were Mary G. Buser, Teri Myer (editors of Interstat)
  • con chair was Denny Young, see image below for the entire concom
  • the con program book contains 18 pages: short essay, con com, short guest bios, film schedule

From the program book:

When a fan attempts to publish a fanzine, much thought, planning, and effort go into establishing a format. Whether to be loose and simple or complex and organized (or vice versa) is a problem many would-be publishers never solve until several issues have come off the press. So, when two enterprising (oops!) ladies from the Midwest decided that (A) they were going to put out the best news-zine in Fandom, (B) they were going to go with it from Issue No. 1, and (C) they were going to raise a little Hell along the way.. .well, the rest is history.

The newszine (or Letterzine, or any of a dozen other classifications) is, of course, INTERSTAT. And the two ladies we refer to are G. Buser and Teri Meyer. INTERSTAT first came upon the scene in November, 1977, and Fandom has never been the same. What we mean to say is: It's one thing to have relevant, meaningful, even heated (sometimes) discussions about STAR TREK; but to do it in front of all of Fandom?!? Who'da thought?!?

But that's what's been happening since Ish One.

Don't get us wrong, now. G. and Teri have done a super job, and it's their collective neck on the line every time a new issue is mailed out to subscribers. Saying that INTERSTAT is the pulse of Fandom would be putting it mildly. Perhaps referring to it as the soul would be closer to the Truth.

But beyond (and before) INTERSTAT, you find two dedicated, deserving and down-to-earth women who will do just about anything for Fandom. But be prepared. Stopping the Enterprise in its tracks at Warp Factor Eight would be easier than stopping G. and Teri once their minds are made up to do something.

But you know.. .we wouldn't want 'em any other way.

Con Reports: 1979

Who said that pure Trek conventions are extinct? I know they are scarce as hair on a Deltan's head, but there is one annual con that is still pure Trek. I'm speaking of course about the Star Trekon held in Kansas City, Missouri. The one held in '79 was steeped in the essence of Trek, with Grace Lee, Jimmy, Jesco v. P. and his slides, and of course Teri Meyer and Mary G. Buser. Sure there were elements present that had been influenced by other SF themes, but basically it was a solid celebration of STAR TREK. [2]

1980

  • July 25-27, 1980
front cover of the 1980 program book, Heather Firth
back cover of the 1980 program book, a quote by Gene Roddenberry
  • guests of honor were DeForest Kelley, Grace Lee Whitney, Andy Probert
  • this was the last TreKon presented
  • the program book contains 18 pages, including a long essay by John Tibbets about his visit to the set in 1979 of the just-released Star Trek: The Motion Picture, as well as his thoughts on the film; the thrust of this essay is how cheap and gimmicky the set looked, how distracted and mundane the celebrities were...
Except from the essay by John Tibbets:

When I visited the Star Trek set at Paramount in August of 1978, I was not a pilgrim finding his Sanctuary; I was merely a friend of the film's casting director responding to an invitation to "come on over". I felt a little guilty at the opportunity, for I knew enough of the Star Trek fandom phenomenon to realize that millions Out There would cheerfully have sold their souls for such an opportunity. Yet I was happy it was I and not they when, after breasting a number of formidable security guards (it was a very closed set) and having to produce innumerable badges, amulets and the like, I finally came upon the central set of the Enterprise's Bridge. What can I say about this and the other sets that vere scattered about in fragments like discarded dinosaur bones? They seemed. . well, tacky. . . and cramped. . . I kept looking about for the real sets, the ones that glittered and filled the eye. Instead, I found false perspective corridors with paintings of crewmembers in miniature on the rear flats, fragments of other chambers of the Enterprise small enough for tight medium-shot canera setups, and vast amounts of what looked like junk snaking and coiling across the intertwined series of stages. Worse, all the Enterprise crew (with the exception of Spock, who was absent that day) were lounging about sweating and drinking coffee, for God's sake! I could see lint on their uniforms; and Walter Koenig (with whom I spoke at length) was more interested in his writing career than the work at hand. But worst of all was the scene that was being shot that day, the moment when the Enterprise enters an alien force field. It was a sight calculated to wilt the most ardent Trek Adherent. . . There they were, the crew assembled on the Bridge, Kirk barking out his staccato orders (and flubbing them every time); and all the while they all were shaking. Yes, that's what I said. As they spoke their lines, they all trembled and quaked while at the back of the set 3 blue-jeaned prop man waved a long pole at the tip of which was affixed an orange disc. The moving disc, apparently, was to fix their eye movements so that when the special effects were later inserted, there would be continuity.

The shaking was occasioned by the fact that in the script the Enterprise was supposed to be caught in the grip of the alien force. In the harsh light of the set, hovever, it looked merely ludicrous. It was hardly a sight for anyone believing in Star Trek, science fiction movies, or magic. But then, who really wants to be let in on the secret behind the illusion? It was Steve Allen who said once that "some things are beautiful only at a distance; don't complain, keep your distance."

Because I am not infected with the Star Trek fever, I survived the moment in relatively good shape. I have been on soundstages before and was able to adjust to the smallness of it all. The fact is, things grow and enlarge somewhere between the initial shooting on the set & the subsequent viewing in the movie theater. Somewhere in the route of passage a sea change occurs and results that are "rich and strange" emerge. That is the magic of movies and I'll be darned if I can figure out just where it happens.

Fortunately, it did happen in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. I watched in vain for a telltale sign of those gimcrack sets. Instead, my eyes were greeted with scenes of surpassing grandeur. Now, at the outset, let me explain that because I have resisted the various fevers going around - from Star Trek to Star Wars - that, presumably, I could approach the film with a relatively clear gaae. And yes, I will grant you that some of the film's sequences are just plain routine and fatiguing. Take the long sequence where Ilia has just returned from V'ger (please) and reacquainted with Decker. . . The dialogue is flat, the characters uninteresting, the camera setups head on, the direction listless. Well - and the sequence where the crewmen stand around at the end regarding the returned Voyager and offer their homilies about Life and New Worlds and all that. The dialogue in both instances must bear the burden of the film's message and it sags badly under the strain. That was a problem that has flawed films from Things to Come to Forbidden Planet. Such sequences remind me of a sneaking fear that has been growing in my gut for years now. Science fiction films of the past ten years have been lamentable short of that illusive element called "wonder". There has been hardware and razzle dazzle aplenty. . . but not much else. ST:TMP did what Close Encounters, with all its evasiveness and Star Wars, with all its snappy pace, couldn't do. . . it presented us with such a vast canvas of space that we were reminded of our true relation to the cosmos; we all felt small, a little lost, a little intimidated, even a little sad about it all. And here was where Star Trek made its giant leap off the gimcrack launching pad of the Paramount soundstages. Never has a film conveyed such a sense of the limitless fields of space: the entry into the alien cloud, a sequence that, in the opinion of many, lasts far too long, gave me, for the first time since 2001: A Space Odyssey, that incredible sense of the vastness of space - which is to say that it suggested something of the proportions of imagination itself.

Some critics complain that ST:TMP is unemotional and cold. Granted, some of the scenes of human interaction, such as the reunion of the Enterprise crewmembers, seen to come off rather uncertainly. (These are the sequences that my Trek friends seem to enjoy the most) And the long scene between Decker and Ilia after her return from V'ger has all the intensity and conviction of a wet dishrag. But consider other scenes. One is for me the finest thing in the film, the reunion of Kirk with - not a human friend - but with his beloved Starship Enterprise. Ths long sequence of Kirk's return (with Goldsmith's Olympian music taking the measure of the events) brought tears to my eyes. Certainly, it's a visual marvel, with the orbiting Enterprise being penetrated by Kirk's shuttle as it goes in, around, and through the vast machine. But, more importantly, it is a majestic scene, grand and measured and profound. And all the while, Kirk's stunned gaze dominates the scene: slightly moist, slightly transfixed, it is the gaze of one who loves and who has Come Home.

[snipped]

Con Reports: 1980

Suzan Lovett writes: "1980, my very first con, Kansas City TreKon, where I saw my first fan Art Show and thought: Hmmm, I used to draw. I wonder...?" [3]
Nearly 1,000 people from all over the mid-west, Canada, Germany, and England attended Star Trekon I98O. They drove, flew or bussed, some 13-15 hours one way, to enjoy the world of Star Trek. They ranged in age from 6 through the 60's and job-wise they were students, secretaries, factory workers, housewives, nurses, lawyers and college professors. As this was my first Con, I was impressed with with the diversity of the group and their friendliness. The con badge was all the introduction needed. As Star Trek fans, we were all friends. Most people seemed to be there to see and hear DeForest Kelley. Both sessions at which he spoke were packed with fans armed with cameras to record the event. He told inside stories of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and answered fan questions. The group went wild when he repeated the "catch" phrases attributed to Dr. McCoy, "He's dead, Jim" and "I'm a doctor, not an engineer." Grace Lee Whitney (Lt. Rand) updated fans on the activities of other cast members and sang the latest songs she wrote. Andy Probert detailed how he created visual and special effects for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Battiestar Galactica. Over 70 people entered the costume contest with elaborate and detailed costumes from Star Trek and other Science Fiction films. Both the judges' and the Audiences' choice for first place was Miss Piggy (Pigs in Space, "The Muppet Show"). Second place went to V'Ger the Space vehicle, and third place to a spaceman who had a detailed uniform and weapons. Other activities were the showing of many original and cartoon episodes of Star Trek, a trivia contest, skit show, and art auction. The only disappointment of the weekend was the "all you can eat" breakfast with the stars. We were served only enough food to get us hungry for breakfast and the only star, Grace Lee Whitney, came when we had finished eating and some fans had already left. All in all it was an exciting weekend and convinced me that I would like to attend more cons. [4]
They're having another all Trek convention this year in Kansas City, They have confirmed DeForest Kelley, Grace Lee Whitney, Andrew Probert and Sat Nam Kaur Keahey as fan guest of honor. Some say that an all Trek convention is no longer viable, either commercially or in keeping with the times. Then how do you explain the good time everyone has? And how do you explain the wonderful things that happen at a REAL Trek con? Such as the beginnings of a NASA support group inspired by Jesco von Puttkamer at Star Trekon '79. This new non-profit group called World Space Federation has a solid core of Trekkers and is drawing upon paths of communication that only the Star Trek fan network can provide. [5]
I would like to comment on the recent ST con in Kansas City which was organized by Denny & Bonnie Young. I have nothing but praise for this con. It was my first KC con, but not the first one that the Youngs have held. From what I perceived of the hard work and effort that went into this particular con, I am sorry I missed the pre vious ones. I have been to fan organized and pro organized cons both and this one was very enjoyable. DeForest Kelley and Grace Lee Whitney were the principle guests along with Andy Probert, the special effects man from ST:TMP, also there to talk to the fans. These guests provided a lot of information on the picture and generated much discussion. This was my first opportunity to see Mr. Kelley and I was enthralled by his charm and wit during both his appearances. He is truly a Southern gentleman, always gracious in his answers to the many questions asked of him and always cooperative in reciting his famous lines from ST. "He's dead, Jim" and "I'm a doctor, not a..." elicited much applause and cheering from the audience. The lovely Mrs. Kelley was there as well. She very kindly allowed this writer to take her picture and chat personally for a moment or two. Grace Lee Whitney was as vivacious, energetic, entertaining, not to mention as beautiful, as ever. This lady never ceases to amaze me with her vitality and striving ambition to set and attain new goals. She in troduced a new love song that she and now estranged husband, Jack Dale, recently collaborated on writing. It is really a beautiful song and one that may be selected as the theme for an upcoming motion picture. This time. Jack wrote the music first and Grace Lee put the lyrics in after wards. She admitted that she has never done it this way before, but found she could do it. To quote Miss Whitney:" I found I can do anything I want." This dynamic lady has developed a more positive mental attitude about herself and her abilities and she spoke at great length during the last day of the con on how we can all achieve such a state of mind. Grace Lee participated in the opening night skit and also attended the brunch with the stars and helped judge the masquerade con test (64 contestants registered). Sporting her new Bo Derek hairstyle, she was unmistakable as she skooted throughout the hotel on her roller skates. Mr. Young chose the Hilton Plaza Inn for this con. A very good choice, in my opinion. The rooms were spacious and well equipped (mine even had an alarm clock provided). The rooms allocated to con attendees were adjacent to each other; the ballrooms were large enough to comfortably accommodate the audience. My only complaint in this regard was that smoking was permitted in the ballroom which I consider to be a fire hazard and an unpleasant distraction for those of us who do not smoke. The program was well set-up time-wise to at low everyone an opportunity to see and do and attend all that was a\. liable. There were many good films and ST episodes, Including everyone's favorite, "City". The dealers rooms were well supplied with a good selection of items. The fans, in general, conducted themselves in a courteous manner and security was maintained. There was also a Jeopardy-style trivia contest, not just on ST, but also SW & BG. The compilation of these questions alone took two months. There was a lot of research in the preparation of these questions, some of which could not be answered by even the best of the contestants. An announcement was made that this would be the last KC con; but upon speaking with Mr. Young the day after the con, I got the impression he was considering doing another one in the future. Let us all hope so. Cons such as these are rare indeed. I could see that a lot of TLC (tender loving care) was put into the organization of this con by people who know and love ST. On behalf of all of those who attended, may I extend my deepest appreciation and sincere thanks and highest commenda tions to the people who contributed so much of their time, effort and talents (not to mention financial expenses) to STAR TREKON '80. May you all 'live long and prosper'. [6]

References

  1. from A Piece of the Action #38
  2. from Interstat #31
  3. from an interview with Suzan in Legacy #1
  4. from A Piece of the Action #86
  5. from Interstat #31
  6. from Interstat #36