Westercon 19

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Westercon 19 was held 1-4 July, 1966 at the Stardust Motor Hotel and Country Club in San Diego, CA. GoH: Harlan Ellison; FGoH: John Trimble & Bjo Trimble. The MC was Theodore Sturgeon. Chaired by Dennis N. Smith.

This was the Westercon whose hotel inspired Poul Anderson to write the immortal filk Bouncing Potatoes. The hotel was underwhelming. Fans were overcharged on rooms, the motel failed to block the convention rooms, resulting in noise complaints from other guests at the motel, the coffee shop had bad prices, food, and service, the banquet food was bad, and the hotel manager seemed disgruntled that fans provided their own entertainment, rather than utilizing the services of the young ladies who appeared around the pool every evening (see Bouncing Potatoes.) The same food was responsible for the Harlan Ellison & Bill Rotsler Egg Adventure.

For second year in a row, fans from the New York Fanoclasts club drove out (via the Midwestcon the weekend earlier) for the convention to support their New York in '67 Worldcon bid. The group of seven fen included Ted White, Arnie Katz, Mike McInerney, Andy Porter, and Dave Van Arnam

All of the concom had gafiated before the convention, except the Treasurer. The concom was inexperienced and had scheduled only Opening Ceremonies, the Banquet, Ellison's "Dangerous Visions" panel, and the masquerade (which was totally unplanned in manner of judges & categories). They had also arranged a room for the Art Show (run by Bjo Trimble under the auspices of Project Art Show). The art show room could not be properly locked, but luckily nothing was stolen.

Ed Wood, assisted by a few fans from Los Angeles, organized some panels to help fill out the program. This may have been the origin of the Permanent Floating Worldcon Committee. The masquerade featured a seven-fan "Wizard of Id" group, with Tom Gilbert as Rodney, Jerry Jacks as the Wizard, Fred Patten as Bung, and Len Bailes as the King.

In the first fan showing, a preview of the Star Trek pilot was shown by Harlan Ellison to rave reviews.

At the business meeting, Los Angeles/LASFS won rights to run Westercon 20 by defeating bids by Burlingame, CA and Berkeley, CA.

A fairly damning convention report was published by Bruce Pelz in Ratatosk #36 p1 .

The hotel management called the San Diego Police with a noise complaint, apparently on their own initiative. Harlan Ellison spotted the police arriving and walked into the LA in '67 bid party to warn the fans. Most of the fans slipped across the hall into the then-nearly-empty Burlingame bidding party and sat there quietly while a couple of young women who were supporting the Burlingame in '67 bid gave back rubs. The cops came into the LA party and found three fans sitting around a table talking quietly. Some fans claimed that the police went back to the front desk and gave them a talking to for wasting the cops' time.

The fans who moved over the Burlingame party included Ted Johnstone, chairman of the LA bid. After the cops had left, he got his guitar out and a group of fans started contributing verses to a filksong, "What Shall We Do With the Hotel Manager" (to the tune of "What Can You Do With a Drunken Sailer"). Flieg Hollander wrote them down on a scrap of paper and later published them in APA-L.


Westercon 18 Westercon Bidding Westercon 20
Reasonator 1966
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