St. Louiscon

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St. Louiscon, the 1969 Worldcon (which also served as Ozarkon IV), was held August 28–September 1, 1969, at the Chase-Park Plaza in St. Louis. GoH: Jack Gaughan, FGoH: Eddie Jones. Eddie Jones, the TAFF (Trans Atlantic Fan Fund) winner, replaced Ted White, who withdrew as Fan Guest to dramatize the TAFF winner. Harlan Ellison was Toastmaster. It was co-chaired by Ray Fisher and Joyce Fisher and was sponsored by the Ozark Science Fiction Association.

It was formed from the St. Louis in 69 bid at the 1969 Site Selection at Baycon.

St. Louiscon was the Worldcon at which site selection went from one year in advance to two years in advance, and, as a consequence, it selected both the 1970 Worldcon and the 1971 Worldcon. The bidders for 1970 were Bermuda in 1970, Tranquility Base in 70 (a hoax bid) and Heicon in 70 (which won and ran Heicon '70 in Heidelberg, Germany), see 1970 Worldcon Site Selection. For 1971 they were Washington in '71 and Boston in 71 (which won and ran Noreascon I), see 1971 Worldcon Site Selection.

Read Dave Kyle's St. Louiscon Reminiscence of the convention.

Movie Screen Affair[edit]

Rick Norwood as Good Ole Charlie Brown at St. Louiscon in 1969, shortly before the movie screen was torn.

During the masquerade at St. Louiscon, one contestant, Rick Norwood, fell against the big movie screen that was being used as a backdrop, ripping a seam. Someone estimated that there was $1,500 worth of damage to the screen, which was a very substantial chunk of the convention's budget. (Worldcons were a lot cheaper then!)

Harlan Ellison, the toastmaster, reprising the Midwestcon Door Incident, suggested that everyone each chip in a dollar — with 1,600 fans at the con, that would be enough. In fact, more money was contributed than needed (especially when it was discovered that the cost was far less than thought). That left the issue of disposing of the extra money.

At the Business Meeting (in those days the BM was a regular program item in the single track of program, and large numbers of members attended) Ellison suggested that the cash be donated to the very new Clarion Writers Workshop and was an eloquent advocate for this cause. Many people liked this, but many didn't. That was when Elliot Shorter, a huckster, a New Yorker, and a very, very tall, imposing man whose bulk rose more than a full foot over Harlan as he stood up, said, "Now, wait just one goll-darned minute, Harlan."

Shorter quite reasonably pointed out that fans had contributed their dollars to fix the screen, not to support Clarion, and it wouldn't be fair to simply take the excess for one pet project. After some debate, it was finally decided to use the extra money to establish a Worldcon Emergency Fund, with Honest Joe Hensley as custodian, for things like emergency screen repair and the like.

Peace was restored.

See Diamondvision for another big-screen Worldcon kerfuffle.



Baycon Worldcon Bidding,  Hugos Heicon '70
Ozarkon III Ozarkon Ozarkon V
Reasonator 1969
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