Me: When I was a young one…
Peanut Gallery: That was a LONG time ago.
Me: Hush! That should remind me not to take dramatic pauses. As I was saying…(I glare at the Peanuts), a long time ago, when I was a young one, I attended a convention. It was the first time I ever did anything like that. To be truthful, my life long childhood friend was the one that told me about this. Somehow he arranged it with his parents and my parents for us to go.
I have some dull memories from this convention that need dusting. I have some bright ones I’ll never forget. I had to use the internet to piece together some of the facts. As a kid, who cares about details? That’s why you keep the adults around.
The Stardate was July 1977. Sol system, planet Earth. North American continent. More specifically, a Holiday Inn in Philadelphia PA, USA.
Peanut Gallery: (Uttered with distain) That was almost 40 years ago. Egad you are old. And a Holiday Inn? In Philly? Did you have to step over winos and crack heads?
Me: I said shush! This is before crack. Also it wasn’t in that part of town. Holiday Inn has had its ups and downs in the landscape of hotels. This was before the fall from grace and obviously before their rebranding. The point – no nefarious characters had to be avoid to attend this convention .
Remember, I’m not allegoric to you. Behave or the gallery will get smaller.
This was a Star Trek convention. It was a few years after the animated series ended; a few years before the first movie; and a decade before Next Generation.
This was a long time ago. The convention ran from Friday to Monday. How odd is that? The show ran from Friday July 15 to Monday July 18th. You never see a convention end on a Monday unless it’s a holiday. I’m not aware of a July 18th holiday.
This was just a few months after Star Wars had opened. I was slow to like Star Wars as I felt it stealing the limelight from Trek. This was also back when fans argued over (sometimes heatedly) about calling themselves ‘Trekkies’ and ‘Trekkers’.
You can barely see the pen on the bottom right.
A shame I didn't get his signature a second time.
All but the ‘big 3’ cast members were there: James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Grace Lee Whitney attended. I remember Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones from The Trouble with Tribbles episode) was scheduled but he had died a few months before the convention.
No doubt this 13 year old (days from his 14th birthday) fanboyed out. That was decades before the term ‘fanboy’ was invented.
Some random dusty memories:
Making a friend. Not sure how it happened but we hung out the whole weekend.
Breaking an elevator (Sorry mom and dad but the statute of limitations expired when I turned 21)
Peanut gallery: You were a thug. A waif.
Me: (Pauses to pantomime cracking open a shell and tossing back the nuts and I stare with anger.)
Standing at the back of the panel discussions when I could have easily sat. I just wanted to be seen.
Asking George Takei a couple of questions. One about the movie, Green Berets and one question was about how fast he ran the mile.
Seeing Jawa cosplay. This is 30 years before the term ‘cosplay’ was invented. Back then it was just ‘dressing up’.
An Orion Slave girl in the masquerade that just wore a shear top that did not hide her breasts. (Again statute of limitations). Back then, World Con and other shows did have some public nudity. While this was the late 70’s, the ‘flower power’ generation still had some petals left on their bloom and many of them were sci fi geeks. Nudity was not as shocking as it is now.
Seeing fans asking James Doohan very specific questions about phasers and warp speed and NOT liking his answers. They wanted him to be more scientifically accurate.
Seeing the legendary blooper reel. I was slightly underwhelmed after the buildup but still laughed a lot.
‘Jogging’ with George Takei. He left me in the dust within 5 seconds. He ran for several miles. One of the fans actually kept pace with him.
Getting a kiss on the cheek from Grace Lee Whiney because my birthday was coming up.
Back then, the autographs were free. If I’m wrong, I truly do not remember paying anything for them. Somewhere along the line I lost the photo from George Takei. It might be in some unopened box from the move.
As a kid, I stapled the signed 8x10’s to the walls in my bedroom wall. What else was I going to do with them? As expected, after 40 years, the signatures have faded. Back then, they used ballpoint pens and not Sharpies. Graced Lee Whitney used some kind of magic marker. The photos are worn: dog-eared, creased, and staple holed. As a kid, I spent hour gazing on them as I daydreamed about being an astronomer and writer.
Howard wrote an animated episode.
He chatted with me about writing after his panel.
He wasn't doing an autograph session
but somehow I got this from him.
I have picked up more recent signature from most of the cast. I regretfully passed on James Doohan when I was at DragonCon. I figured I had already met him once. While I didn’t ‘need’ another autograph, it would have been neat to see how his might have changed. Sadly, I never had another change to see Grace Lee Whitney.
It’s interesting to see how the actor’s signatures changed over the decades.
Just posting a few autographs in this post. The next post will have more scans.