The Labyrinth

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Aka The Lab, a series of Doc Smith namesake Los Angeles slan shacks inhabited by Jack Harness and Owen Hannifen.

The Labyrinth[edit]

A couple years after the Fan Hilton in LA broke up in 1961, Harness and Hannifen rented the two-bedroom, upstairs right apartment at 3056-1/2 Leeward Ave. It had a confusing layout, so they named it "the Labyrinth."

Jack and Owen lived there from September 1963 to August 1964, and the Lab became a LASFS hangout. Fred Patten wrote in Apa-L: “Fans wandered in & out at all hours of the day and night, playing cards, publishing fanzines and performing similar fan actions. Floor space and sleeping bags were available to any out-of-town fans visiting the L.A. area, and the LASFS held at least one Meeting there.”

After a year, the fanhabitants found a cheaper place of the same size and moved.

Labyrinth 3[edit]

Despite the name, this was the second slan shack inhabited by Harness and Hannifen: 2843 Sunset Place, downstairs right. It had a somewhat less confusing layout, but it still had a long, narrow hallway connecting the common area with the bedrooms. Harness named it "Labyrinth 3." (A play on E. E. Smith's Skylark Three; their former home, therefore, retroactively became the "Labyrinth of Space.")

However, it was infested with cockroaches, so they only stayed from August to October 1964.

Labyrinth of Valeron[edit]

The Labyrinth of Valeron was located at 619 South Hobart Street #3, the upstairs right again. Don Simpson joined Owens and Hannifen there. Skylark of Valeron was the sequel to Skylark Three.

LASFS met there after moving out of Silverland Playground Gymnasium in June of 1967 until the end of the month when the club moved on to The Hill. After about a year at The Hill, LASFS moved back briefly to The Lab in October 1968 before being pushed out by the end of the month due to noise complaints. It then moved to the Palms Playground Recreation Center in West Los Angeles.

After a campaign by the residents to get other fen into the quadruplex, Ted and Lin Johnstone moved in downstairs to an apartment they called the Hobbit Hole and stayed till 1969.

Labyrinth Duquesne[edit]

The fourth and last in the series, the Lab Duquesne was the upstairs right apartment at 330 S. Berendo, one in a standard four flat, with a living room, dining room, and kitchen in front, and a long, narrow hallway connecting those to the bathroom and bedrooms. Skylark Duquesne is the sequel to Skylark of Valeron.

Jack and Owen took residence in July 1965, and LASFS after-meeting card parties immediately moved there. “After the Meeting, you could go over to the Lab and play cards, make out, and/or just fangab until daybreak Friday if not later,” Patten recalled.


The Labyrinth Duquesne, the last of the Labyrinth slan shacks in Los Angeles, started out as home for Jack Harness and Owen Hannifen. Barry Gold moved in after his mother took his fanzine collection and threw it in the trash bin. (Barry rescued it and brought it to the Lab). That made three.

Owen married Hilda Hoffman and they moved to an apartment about 1/2 mile away. Barry moved from the bed in the living room to the smaller bedroom. About a year later, Jack Harness moved to a studio apartment to pursue his desire to become a clear, and Owen and Hilda moved into the larger bedroom.

Then Jim Schumacher left his family home in Pomona and moved in. That made four. Sometime in mid-May of 1967, The Booby Hatch was shut down by the landlord in hopes of erecting a larger building, so Don Simpson, Phil Castora, and one other "booby" moved in. That made eight people in a two bedroom apartment, with five of them sleeping in the living room.

That was a bit much, and Owen set about finding a larger place for these fans to live. He found The Hill, a mansion for rent at a price that the eight of them could jointly afford. They moved in June 26, 1967.

Next, Tom Digby moved in and held Fourth Saturday parties there until the building was torn down in 1971.

Venue 19631971
This is a venue page, covering buildings from 4-star hotels to slan shacks. Please include only structures of major fannish significance. See Standards for Venues.