Midwestcon 4

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Midwestcon 4 was a relaxacon held May 16–17, 1953, at Beatley's in Indian Lake, Ohio, organized by C. L. Barrett, Roy Lavender, Louis Tabakow, Stan Skirvin and Don Ford.

This was the last Midwestcon held at Beastley's on the Bayou for a number of reasons:

  1. The hotel turned away Bev Clark, an Indiana fan, due to their Jim Crow policy; Buck Coulson and Gene DeWeese left with her. Harlan Ellison expressed outrage, but remained.
  2. Ellison and a group of young cronies spent the weekend parading around with a bright red birdbath, proclaiming the rise of 7th Fandom and other rowdiness.
  3. An unrelated incident also no doubt contributed to Midwestcon’s move. In Mimosa 16 (December 1994), Roy Lavender and Bob Tucker tell the story:
Lavender: ...Beatley's was used to incidents -- they had the American Legion in there at times. But those incidents did cause a certain amount of uproar. One involved Randall Garrett and a lady from Cincinnati -- he was climbing on the dresser and leaping into bed, yelling 'Geronimo!' And then the bed gave out and collapsed. Mrs. Beatley's son, who was on night duty, came up to see what had happened, and in the ensuing discussion, the whole thing moved out into the hallway. The lady came out, wrapped in a blanket. Somebody stepped on the blanket, and when she ran down the hall, the blanket stayed behind. And in the ensuing discussion, Mrs. Beatley's son cold-cocked Randall, but he hurt his hand in doing so. So the next day, at the banquet, we presented him with a blackjack.

Tucker: I remember Randall Garrett and his lady well, because my room was right across the hall; I was in bed, but not asleep, if you follow me. So when I heard the noise, I got up, opened my door, walked out and watched the whole damn thing.

Tucker wrote more about the move in his Midwestcon 5 conrep; see Beatley's. He also published this in Science Fiction News Letter 29 (Summer 1953):

THE INDIAN LAKE CONFERENCE: came off on schedule again this year (May 16-17) at Beatley’s Hotel, Russells Point, Ohio. 117 persons registered at the lake resort hostlery, with perhaps a dozen more staying nearby; they came from the larger and smaller cities of the midwest, from England, Canada, Georgia and New York City. The rainy week-end stillness was often punctured by firecrackers, sinister cries in the night, and several young gentlemen calling themselves "Seventh Fandom," who marched-and-chowdered on the front sidewalks. As usual, Doc Barrett played host, assisted by Don Ford, Roy Lavender, and the central Ohio fan groups.

Principal speaker was Arthur C. Clarke, paying his second visit to the States. Clarke revealed he has ten books coming off the presses In the next two years (including a collection of short stories from Ballantine), and promises to stop writing for a while. He exhibited color slides taken on last year’s journey across the country, and also offered a tape recording for those who wished to listen in his room -- noise in the hall made it al­most impossible to hear there. Other brief speakers were Frank Robinson, Phillip Jose Farmer, Ned McKeown, Ted and Judy Dikty, and Harland Ellison, who presented a gold plaque to Arthur Clark for the meritous work done in the science fiction field.

Unscheduled entertainment was provided by Randy Garrett; and also by Ray Beam, who managed a next-to-imposslble feat with a Beatley table knife. Dr. Barrett repaired the damage with three stitches, the second time over the week-end that such needlework was necessary. Many slides were shown in addition to Clarke’s, including a hundred or more taken on an European trip by Shirley McKeown. "Old Woodchuck" Grant exhibited movies of previous Lake conferences and past national conventions. Serious constructive fans playing poker in the "sun rooms" at the end of each corridor were constantly annoyed by the sounds of weeping women, people discussing "very old ancient archaic languages," and the house dick merrily tossing bounders out of young ladies’ rooms.

Midwestcon 4 publications on fanac.org.

Midwestcon 3 Midwestcon Midwestcon 5
Reasonator 1953
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