Vul-Con

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You may be looking for the 1986-2007 convention called Vulkon.

Star Trek Convention
Name: Vul-Con
Dates: 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978
Frequency:
Location: varies
Type:
Focus: Star Trek, science fiction, media science fiction
Organization:
Founder: James Mule
Founding Date: 1973
URL:
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Vul-Con began as a Star Trek: TOS convention, but branched off into general science fiction after the second con. By the last one, Star Trek was barely mentioned.

Aside from Star Trek Con (1969 convention), which was a fan gathering at a public library, the "Vul-Con" in 1973 was the second or third all-Star Trek programming convention presented. [1] [2]

1: 1973

Vul-Con 1973 was held in June 21-24, 1973 in New Orleans at the Jung Hotel.

The concom was James G. Mule', Mrs. Lynne Norwood, Peter Bezbak, Dean and Mary Sweatman, Robert Taggert, Mary Beth Schrieb, Dany and Mary Frolich, Nancy Mayberry, Rick Norwood, and Dennis Dolbear.

The Guests of Honor (confirmed) were Gene Roddenberry, Majel Roddenberry, Dorothy Fontana (toastmistress), Ruth Berman, David Gerrold. Possible guest were Gene Coon and George Takei. From a con report below, it sounds as if Myrna Culbreath was also there.

The raffle plan was to sell 600 tickets at a dollar a piece. Concom members were limited to buying three tickets, but everyone else could buy as many as they wanted. From the second progress report:
Our big announcement is the Gene and Male Transport Fund: a raffel [sic] we are holding in order to pay the cost of transportation for the Roddenberrys. The prize in this contest is a complete set of first season scripts, worth over $150.
From the second progress report:

It is the custom at S.F. Conventions to not only honor a great professional for some accomplishment, but to also honor an individual fan for his/her accomplishments in the field. We are continuing this custom at our convention, and have chosen Miss Ruth Berman as out Fan GOH.

Miss Berman lives in Minnesota, and is a teacher at a local college there. And it is from here that the excellent fanzine T-Negative is sent out about every other month. But Miss Berman is not content to simply publish other people's attempts at writing; she herself has done some writing and has been published in such S.F. magazines as Worlds of Fantasy, and, most recently, Analog.

T-Negative is now in it's 19th issue,and has had such professionals as Harry C. Stubbs, otherwise known as Hal Clement, and Larry Niven appear in it's pages.

Miss Berman has also visited the sets a number of times, and had the and had the opportunity to interview a number of behind-the-scenes people, as well as the regular and guest cast members.

Her experiences and viewpoints of what happened on the sets should be of interest to every member, and we are happy that she will be able to attend our con.
From the second progress report:

Our toastmistress will be the eminent writer, scripter, and editer—Dorothy C. Fontana, Miss Fontana is no doubt well known to those older fans of Star Trek, but for those younger fans who may not recognise her name we will explain who she is.

In every television series, there is one person who has the job of seeing that from one week to the next, all the characters, places, and names remain the same. In other words, this person Is responsible for the continuity of the series. In Star Trek's case, this responsibility was Miss Fontana's.

But this is not all of her job, not only must she keep the program continuity, but it is also her job to read each and every new script which is submitted to the producer in order to determine which ones can be used in the series and which ones can't, and of those which can—which need to be rewritten.

Miss Fontana was well qualified for the job she held. She not only knew Science Fiction, she has written scripts for many TV shows including most recently--Ghost Story, but having worked with Gene Boddenberry for a while she knew what he was looking for in the program.

Miss Fontana also wrote a large number of Star Trek's scripts herself and those she didn't write-herself she helped rewrite to fit them to Star Trek's format.

All in all, Miss Fontana is an extremely interesting and talented person, and we are honored and pleased to have her as our toastmistress.
From the second progress report:

Costume Ball Rules:

Don't feel that you must have a prize winning costume. The ball will be a lot more fun if you come in costume, even if you don't compete. Your costume does not have to be from Star Trek, though Star Trek costumes are preferred. Anything from science fiction or fantasy is welcome. But, please, no old Mardi Gras pirate or cowgirl outfits. Nothing you can buy in a store. And don't wear the obvious standard Enterprise uniform. Be original. Costumes made professionally or obtained from the Star Trek cast or costume department may be worn, but can not enter the competition.

You can put on a skit, either original or from a Star Trek episode, but the skit must not be longer than three minutes. And be sure everyone can speak loudly enough to be heard by a large audience. We can not supply microphones for everybody. Almost everyone underestimates the volume you need to project your voice beyond the stage. There will be a chance for photographers to take pictures of the costumes either before or after the judging, but no flash pictures allowed while the entrees are crossing the stage!

Prizes will be given for the best costume, most authentic Star Trek costume, best group, best skit, most humorous costume, and best Mr. Spock.

2: 1975

Vul-Con 1975 was held in New Orleans. There was an ad for it in A Piece of the Action #13.

One of the Guests of Honor was Arlene Martel.

A con report by J. Butler appears in Star Trek Today #6.

One of the Guests of Honor was

Con Reports: 1975

A fan in 2015 commented:
Vul-Con II Was held in New Orleans in the early spring of 1975 (actual dates escape me). Being a native Louisianian of the northern La. region, I and a fellow ST and Sci-Fi fan both attended VC-II together. At the time we were both 15 YOA, and had grown up on Star Trek reruns after school. The Vul-Con was held at the New Orleans French Quarter Hilton hotel. The VC was put on by a local woman from N.O. and her boyfriend or husband, with the help of a few other local ST fans. There was a pre-convention attendance fee that was required and deposits had to be made to cover one's hotel room costs. (non-refundable both if you did not show for some reason as I recall). It was either 2-3 days long. I do recall the concention announcement noted that the legal drinking age (at that time in La.) was 18. Perhaps that was an additional draw for some.

There was a 'Trading Post" room where all manner of ST and other science fiction related books, magazines, comics, and various nick nacks could be purchased. There was a costume party night with judging, and ST-TOS episodes were screened one after another all day and late into the night. At one point, the ST Blooper Reel was shown to the great amusement of all. There were many shots of Kirk, Spock etc marching resolutely into doors that failed to open in the hairsplitting quickness that was so evident on the show. A home-made four foot mock-up of the Enterprise was also on display. Special guests at this convention, Nichelle Nichols, and Arlene Martel (T'Pring) were two of the actual ST-TOS actors that appeared that year. They were placed at a table and one could either purchase a pic to be made personally autographed, or if you took a Polaroid (as I did) they were still gracious enough to sign it. They also posed for pics with the occasional fan. (I want to say that perhaps George Takei was also there but I may have that confused with I or II, neither of which I attended)

Some of the guests were either asked to help out or pretty much pressed into service. My friend and I were asked to be security guards at one of the entrances to one of the rooms and then at an escalator. We were given the dreaded red-of-death shade security shirts to wear, complete with sleeve braid and Starfleet insignia on them. Of course they had to be returned once done. We 'stood guard' I think 6 hours one day in two or three different places and loved every minute of it.

For years after I kept and treasured my copy of the Vul-Con II announcement mailer, Polaroid pics I had taken there at the convention, of Nicholls & Martel (autographed) and the three different Starfleet chest patches I had purchased along with pics & other items. Sadly I lost them all in a storage fire in 1986.

Still, it was one of the few being held at the time around the nation. All part of an attempt to influence Paramount to resurrect the series or at least make a feature length motion picture. Happily that did come to pass in 1979. What's surprising about that to those of us at that time of VC II in spring of '75 though, was that while virtually every attendee wished wholeheartedly for just such a thing to happen, none of us ever held out much hope that it ever actually WOULD. In those days once a TV show went out of production it was DEAD. There were virtually no examples of such a re-union later movie. (Oh, well, The Muntsers did though it is all I can recall offhand. It was not completely impossible, just very RARE)

Thank the stars we were wrong. [3]

3: 1976

Vul-Con 1976 was held in New Orleans August 20-22, 1976 at the International American Hotel.

front cover of the program book
back cover of the program book

It was billed this year as a "Science Fiction, Star Trek, and Fantasy Convention."

The concom: James Mule', Jan Luke, Richard Majeste, Beverly Traub, Joseph Grillot.

The Guests of Honor were Frank Kelly Freas and Grace Lee Whitney.

The program book had 22 pages, five of which were photos from 1975's Costume Contest.

There is an ad in the program book for the New Orleans Science Fiction Association and a con they were hosting: No-Con. There was also an ad for the New Orleans chapter of Society for Creative Anachronism.

From the program book: "You may now order slides or photos of the famous Kathy Betterton Star Trek murals. VUL-CON is the ONLY official agent of Ms. Betterton, so if you buy from VUL-CON you will assure the artist of her commission. Come see the slides on display."

Con Reports: 1976

Vul-Con III was a fairly small convention (though it was never intended to be an extravaganza) drawing between 500 to 600 fans. The fans were very enthusiastic and many wore costumes during the entire con rather than just for the costume contest and ball. The con featured most of the unusual convention events; having something of interest to everyone and a buzz of continuous activities. The guests were Frank Kelly Freas (who held his audience spellbound with his slide show) and Grace Lee Whitney (whose enthusiasm, graciousness, and energy were boundless.) The costume contest ended in a tie for first place between the duo of Godzilla and Rodan and a trio consisting of two sinuous she-cat creatures and their sultry, whip-wielding mistress. There were 40 costumes entered In the contest.... ranging from Hortas, man-eating Tribble, Alphans, Various [ambassadress], to gallant knights and their ladies. And would you believe not even ONE Spock?!?! The ending of the costume contest was somewhat unusual in that one of the knights dashed on to the stage and boldly kidnapped Grace Lee Whitney, whisking her off the stage and down the aisle. All in all, it was a most enjoyable convention...well-planned and successful. Footnote by Helen Young: During the con, Grace Lee Whitney and her husband John Dale wore t-shirts with Yeoman Rand's photo on them...then after the Banquet (red beans and rice, a dish the local natives are fond of) the Dales offered the shirts at auction for the benefit of STW. Morrie Bennett served as the auctioneer and got the crowd going to fantastic heights of enthusiasm--the first shirt sold for $30. and the second for $17.!!! Ms. Whitney graciously posed for photos with the purchasers and autographed the shirts. [4]

4: 1977

5: 1978

The fifth Vul-Con was held August 11-13, 1978 at the Grand Hotel in New Orleans.

front cover of Vul-Con 5 (1978) program book
back cover of the 1978 program book

The concom: Jan Luke, Beverly Traub, Richard Majeste, Mike Swan, Gee Busar, Burt Carey, Joe Grillot, and Kay Johnson.

The Guests of Honor were Shawn Bishop (actor who portrayed the oldest child in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Wayne McAllister (employee of Boeing Aircraft who worked on the space shuttle), Dr. Jack Stocker (chemistry professor and expert on the history of science fiction), George Alec Effinger (went to the same high school as Andre Norton and Roger Zelazny, is a writer).

From the program book:

Welcome, folk, to ...hm..VUL-CON 5?? We made it that far??? Gee Whiz, Giz. I must really say that I am very proud and happy that we are around this year, for as of this year we become the OLDEST fan-run convention of our type (and I believe the OLDEST of any STAR TREK-SF conventions still running pro or am.) Some of the things going on this year will be a participation by you the member in the decisions for next year by the filling out and returning of a questionaire in your program book. (If you didn't find one go to the registration desk and ask for one.) Also this year we are repaying a bit of debt to a local leader, Mayor Moon Landrieu, by honoring him at an awards ceremony on Friday. Mr. Landrieu has been a great help in the past to our city, our con, and our future, through his unceasing crusade for the plight of our cities, the need for the continuence of the Space Program and the facilities at Michould, and by declaring a week in the city in '75 "Star Trek and Science Fiction Week" to help publicize the con and the worthiness of Star Trek and SF in general. As far as this year, we have tried many new things this year in the hopes of determining how we can inprove the convention and make it more enjoyable for you. Let us know how we have succeeded. FILL OUT THAT QUESTIONAIRE!!!

I must admit however, that not everything worked out this year. Due to the disasters which struck in such quick succession at the beginning of the year—we had a very late and slow start on getting things organized. Thus many ideas we tried either died before we could complete them or because we ran out of time or .... Finally, you may find some areas where things do not go as smoothly this year as before, all I ask is that you please bear with us, let us know where the glitches are and give us a chance to correct them before you hit the rafters. We always have,and intend now, to do our best.

Well, that's it for now. We all hope you will enjoy the con,
 and until next year

EXCELSIOR!!!!!!

1978 Program Book

The disclaimer on the program book: "© 1978 by VULCON. All rights reserved, all over the place; this means you, do not pass go, do not collected $200. And remember, when the foo-bird sh-ts, wear it."

The program book is 46 pages. The art is by Jan Luke, Richard Majeste, Mike Swan, Dany Frolich, Beverly Traub, and Ken Hafer. There is also much art by Gerry Downes; it is unknown if it was printed with permission.

  • Welcome (3)
  • Guest of Honor: Shawn Bishop (13 year old actor who portrayed the oldest child in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind) bio and full-page photo (6)
  • Hotel Map (8)
  • Nasa Exhibit ("Through the conscientious efforts of Mrs. Lorraine Marthet, the Michoud Test Facility has once again loaned us a NASA model exhibit. Do you remember the thrill and awe you experienced as you gazed up at our moon and realized there were two men walking around up there? Well, we've got a model of the beast that got them there and back again — none other than Michoud's baby, the Saturn V. Besides other models, we've also gotten the shuttlecraft. 'Enterprise' (catchy name!?) Come take a look at our space exploration heritage and future, because some of you may one day be shuttlecraft pilots! (NASA is hiring, you know!) The NASA exhibit is open to the public.") (10)
  • Guest of Honor: Wayne McAllister (employee of Boeing Aircraft who worked on the space shuttle) (11)
  • Huckster Room (12)
  • Guest of Honor: Dr. Jack Stocker (chemistry professor and expert on the history of science fiction) (13)
  • Guest of Honor: George Alec Effinger (went to the same high school as Andre Norton and Roger Zelazny, is a writer) (14)
  • Art Show (15)
  • Banquet, Volunteers (16)
  • Laser Gun Raffle (17)
  • Star Wars: Book Vs. Movie, article by Bev Traub (18)
  • General and Movie Schedule (22)
  • ad for The Fourth World Fantasy Convention (24)
  • Costume Ball (25)
  • And Now For... (25)
  • Their Force Is With Us, article by , article by Jan and Greg Luke (26)
  • A Brief, Non-Techical Description of Special Effects in the Cinema, article by Joseph G. Grillot, Jr. (28)
  • Yes... There is Going to Be a Movie, about the Star Trek movie, article by Kay Johnson (36)
  • ad for New Orleans Science Fiction Association (42)
  • Film Reviews (43)
  • The Search, fanwork by R. Strother (44)

References

  1. A fan in 1993 called it the second one: "20 years ago, this October, the 1st STAR-CON was held at Cobo Hall, in Detroit, Michigan. This was, I believe, the 3rd Star Trek Convention *ever* held. (the 1st being Al Schuster's New York Star Trek Convention and the 2nd being James Mule's Vul-Con, in New Orleans)" -- David Lillard at History, September 26, 1993
  2. However, if this con happened after February, then the second Star Trek Lives! con was the second con.
  3. from comments by VulconII on Fanlore on 19 June 2015‎
  4. from A Piece of the Action #43