This is abit of a tribute to Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who passed away this week. Yet another star of the Original Star Trek who has left us. This and all the talk about the new Star Trek movie coming up in May, had me dig out my first "Star Trek Convention" Program Book.
These conventions, were done at the time by the now-long defunct "Tristar Industries"(it wasn't an "industry" as much as it was a few people who organized things) of Staten Island, which essentially picked up the baton left by Joan Winston's bunch, in 1976. They cost a whopping $15 for the weekend to get into and a staggering $39.00 a night in the mid-town Hotel, at the time called The Statler Hilton(It's now The New York Hotel Pennyslvania, it's original name). I went to this particular con ona very cold Feburary 1978 weekend,with friends Jack Eaton and the now-late Andy Hastings(he passed away about five years ago from a long neurological illness which he suffered from, which he had at the time we went to the convention).
The size was about 8 x11 inches. I think this was the last program book they did. Next time we got handed a sheet of paper and a color promo thing for STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE.
It was seeing this artshow that I realized conventions had art displays and, I decided in the future it was a good way to attend a con, displaying some of my early scratchings.
Sadly Isaac Asimov and Joan Winston have both left us. Bruce Hyde, long having abandoned acting, is a Doctor of education-some kind of Dept Head, at a college in the northern mid-west of the US. Dick Preston is still around, in his 70's long retired from NASA-and fandom. He was a fixture at alot of Sci Fi and Star Trek conventions from the 70's into the early 90's-I thought at one point there were at least two of him as he was constantly on the road. Steven "Heash"-not his real name-is some kind of therapist in New Jersey!
Here's some of the program items. Wow. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in glorious 16mm on the big screen. This was the day when all movies and TV episodes were loaded up on 16mm reel-to-reel projectors. Jack Eaton reminded me of us both seeing the sign announcing 2001 would be shown and, after viewing my previous blog entries for the Arthur C. Clarke painting I was commissioned to do this month, it reminded me of from wence we came, when I saw this program book sitting in a pile of stuff here.
Click on any image if you want to read it up close!!! Never got to see "Inside a Klingon Battle Cruiser"
I dare you to take the trivia test!!
It was a great time. We went to New York City, with virtually no money,a questionable transportation to and from the city, and while we winged it and lived on hot dogs and fast food, it was a grand time. How 30 years can make a difference.
Amazing. Thank you, Star Trek.
Addendum 12/24: The "Tristar Cons" as they were called then, lasted until about 1981, when a few things happened. The price of hotel space skyrocketed to the point many organizers couldn't afford "big city" hotels space anymore. Also, after 1979 and STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, Trek became "hot" property again and Paramount Pictures, wanted a piece of the action in terms of licensing the very name "Star Trek" to a convention-which became an expensive proposition. Also, major "A" list guests started wanting astronomical fees for their appearances at such events, and many also declined going to them. The last "Tristar Con" I believe took place someplace out on Staten Island at a low-rent Holiday Inn and the last guests, I believe, may have been Roger C. Carmel(Harry Mudd, who lived around New York at the time) and Howard Weinstein. Weinstein, btw, was the writer of the Trek animated "The Pirates of Orion". I never attended that one. But it was around 1982, that Creation Conventions actually made a somewhat exclusive deal with Paramount to hold "Star Trek" conventions, much to the chargrin of the smaller local conventions which were being told by lawyers to no longer use "Star Trek" in their promotions or convention names. Creation went onto well into the 80's and 90's securing many if not all of the biggest names in all of the varying "Star Trek" series.
My most "Majel Barrett" moment was in 1989, at a benefit event at Caltech, during the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune, I was to attend a party that had guests Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig and Buzz Aldrin at it. As I was coming up to the stucco-walled back garden of some Spanish-looking villa on the Campus of Caltech, a limo pulls up out of nowhere. It was one of those Twilight Zone moments. Out steps Majel in a formal gown(this was about 3pm) and beckons to me "Hello? Hi! Do you know where this party is? No one told the driver where he had to go". Holding my invite, I go "You mean this? Yeah, I think it's this way" motioning through the arch and into the garden. Majel goes "Come on Gene! We'll go with him" and she pulls Gene Roddenberry-in a tuxedo-out of the stretch limo. Wow moment. Both introduce themselves as if I didn't know them. So the three of us, proceeded across a rather well-manicured lawn to this rather opulent villa where there seemed to be activity(and food-I was starving!). I can remember talking about the heat of the day, how nice the garden looked, etc, as I strolled with them into the back of the place. We walked up some stairs and come to a huge reception party with cameras,musicians and a red carpet-waiting for a limo that would never come. A woman turns and looks at me, then Gene and Majel and goes "Oh my God. Where did you come from?" And Majel pipes up and goes "Oh, this wonderful young man was waiting to show us how to get in here!" to which I realize the MAJOR faux paux that has occurred. The woman goes "But he doesn't work for us! Who are you!!??" she demanded from me, and I said smiling "A guy who was in the right place at the right time!" and told Gene and Majel what a joy it was to help and, meet them and I sauntered off to get my fill of hors d'oeuvres and in the process meet Buzz Aldrin.
I got into some fun stuff in those days.