Los Angeles Clubs
When you think of clubs in LA, you think of LASFS, the first club in LA and one which is still active. But there were others — many others.
- 1 LASFS
- 2 LASFS Subgroups
- 3 Early Clubs (1930s–50s)
- 3.1 World Girdlers' Correspondence Club
- 3.2 Weird Tales Club
- 3.3 Futurian Society of Los Angeles
- 3.4 Harbor Fantasy League
- 3.5 Mañana Literary Society
- 3.6 Sorcerers, Rumrunners, and Paraihs, Ltd.
- 3.7 20th Century Fandom
- 4 Clubs of the 1960s–90s
- 4.1 The Petards
- 4.2 Southwest Association of Fans
- 4.3 Circle of the High Hallack
- 4.4 Central L. A. Club
- 4.5 Desolation of Smaug
- 4.6 Mydgard
- 4.7 Lothlorien
- 4.8 Nargothrond
- 4.9 Fantasy Artist Network
- 4.10 Long Beach Science Fiction Association
- 4.11 Tolkien Forever Fellowship of Southern California
- 4.12 Random Realities
- 5 Clubs of the 2000s and Present-day
- 6 Non-Local Clubs Headquartered in LA
- 7 College Clubs
- 8 Unsorted-out
LASFS (which was also the LA chapter of the Science Fiction League) is one of the longest-lived and most important clubs ever and rates its own article.
The Insurgents was a name given to a group of 1940s LA fans who fomented larger movement of Insurgents (which see).
Fl. early 40s
|From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944|
|Generally, the bad boys of the LASFS: Shroyer, Mooney, Hodgkins, Kuttner, and Barnes; Yerke may be considered as belonging to the same group. The Moonrakers are most famous for the super-sofisticated Sweetness and Light, in which they published such pieces as the following:
This is Diego Picasso Montenegro. He illustrates Fan Magazines And Privy Walls The Artistic Impulse Cannot be suppressed Neither can Fan Magazines Or Fans All is Illusion.
A group of Insurgents which organized around 1943 in opposition to other members of LASFS over a disputed Directorate election in what was called The War of the Knanves. (The name was given to them by T. Bruce Yerke from a typo in a fanzine. No, I don't know how to pronounce it.) Their fanzine was The Knanve and was edited by Yerke.
(Are you looking for some other lonely outcast?)
The Outsiders (not The Outlanders, see below, or the Outsider's Club) was a group that split off from LASFS briefly during the feuds of the early 40s. F. T. Laney wrote about the organization in Fandango 6 which appeared in FAPA in September 1944:
An Experiment in Local Fan Organization Out of the great mass of stupidities arising from the late fan feud in Los Angeles, there remains a slight residue of worthwhile experience. While of course the bulk of the actions on both sides were of a depth of stupidity not to be imagined by one not on the scene, the experiences of The Outsiders should be preserved in the archives of fandom for the benefit of ensuing local clubs. I should not take the space in FAPA for this purpose had it not been for the large amount of Futurian organizational material in the 28th mailing. As it is, I do not feel that this article is quite so out of place. When the group seceded from the LASFS, all twelve or thirteen of us wished to form some sort of fantasy society -- we did not know for certain what we did want, except that we wished to stress informality and accomplishment at the expense of formal business meetings and constitutional quibblings. Until late in the career of The Outsiders, the group did not even have a constitution, but it was finally found necessary -- so T. Bruce Yerke (author of at least two different constitutions for the LASFS) was delegated to draw up the one published later in this issue. Our first meetings were nothing more than discussion gatherings held either at the Carolina Pines or at Fran Shack. Much to my surprise, the individual members respected each other's rights quite well; the discussions were carried on very successfully without benefit of presiding officer or parliamentary law. As the group began to get under way, it was decided that it should function largely as a publishing organization; and the back room at Fran Shack was fitted up for this purpose. (Equipment consisted of two mimeographs (Bronson’s and Laney’s), stylii, stapler, trimming board, and slip sheets.) I decided to hold open house twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and for several months the group published vigorously. In actual practise, these sessions were no end of fun. There were usually two crews mimeographing (crank-turner and slipsheeter), and generally two or three idle hands, who variously read, played records, or otherwise lent moral support to the laborers. By default, I took charge of these sessions; deciding whose stencils would be run when, whip-cracking at delinquent stencil cutters, and in general strawbossing the deal. It worked beautifully, though I fear many of the kiddies decided that my mother must have been scared by Simon Legree. Other activities of the group (aside from the feuding) revolved largely around the weekly dinner meetings Saturday nights, and informal get-togethers on other occasions, while in the earlier days of The Outsiders, far too much attention was paid to bickering with the LASFS, or in holding hate sessions; after a month, most of the members had settled down to the pursuit of life, liberty, rosebud, and fan activity. The productivity of the group may be judged by the 106 pages of material in the 28th mailing. The casual reader may perhaps be wondering why The Outsiders failed as a club. The group had the seeds of its own early decease in its very nature, or rather, in the very nature of ite members, The majority of Outsiders were older fane who had largely lost their interest in the field -- thus, the group obviously needed new blood. These same members were adamantly opposed to letting any newer, more enthusiastic fans associate with them. Thus, the group was foredoomed to failure. But our experiences with cooperative publishing, with informal meetings utterly without constitutional quibbling, with unorganized individuals acting in cooperative harmony without the stultification of formal laws and precedents -- all these things point along the lines that any permanently successful local fan club must follow. The members of fandom are, generally speaking, far more interested in fantasy-weird-stf, fan publishing, and intelligent discussion than in the squabbles which will invariably arise when they allow themselves to be yoked with constitution, by-laws, officers, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of the average DAR chapter. And the best fan club is the one which provides heavily of activity in which each member can participate personally. From experience, I would say that if the group has one or two members of an aggressive type as leaders, it can rise to great heights without once going through the misery of a formal meeting. We, at least, found this to be so. The Constitution of The Outsiders CONSTRUCTION: The Outsiders is a loosely knit body of persons professing an interest and inclination in that form of literature known as fantasy and/or science fiction, as represented in pulp news-stand magazines and/or better and lesser known literary books of this nature. In addition, there is a predominate interest on the part of the group in amateur printing, writing, and editing. For this purpose, various individual members maintain reproducing equipment, and from time to time issue amateur magazines. The OFFICERS of The Outsiders shall consist of a Regulator, whose duties differ from that of a constitutional president or chairman in that he functions according to neither Robert’s parliamentary procedure nor any similar local document, but regulates the order of business and discussion by the application of well known principles of common-sense logic. The Regulator shall be elected by a simple majority and serve until such time as a simple majority deems it desirable to replace him, or until such time as he himself desires to resign; and a Secretary-Treasurer, whose duties will be (a) to be the official correspondent for the group with other groups and parties and (b) to receive and account for whatsoever funds the group raises or receives. MEMBERSHIP: The Outsiders is a closed organization, membership being obtainable through invitation and acclaim. As this group is endeavouring to function on democratic principles, the great emphasis is laid on personal and individual integrity on the part of the members and their attitude towards the club, their own group behavior, and towards the consideration of new members as proposed by any member in good standing. All persons who are members shall pay one dollar per month to the Secretary-Treasurer, due at the beginning of each month. This money shall be established as a holding fund, disbursements to be controlled by a three-fourths majority vote. From this group such persons as are willing and able to contribute to Project M shall be recruited. Project M, though a project of The Outsiders, is not to be construed as the primary purpose of this group nor is participation in this project to be construed as requisite for membership in the group. MEETINGS AND PROCEDURES: It should be emphasized again that The Outsiders is not constructed along parliamentary or constitutional lines. The group is informal at all times. Meetings shall be called on any regular or irregular date. However, to assure fair-play, any meeting at which large amounts of money are to be disbursed or whereat major policy changes are to be considered, must be announced within ten days of the time of said meeting. Unusual situations shall be acted on by those present, and it is presumed intelligent consideration will be given to all aspects of any such situation. To facilitate the presentation of proposals to the group, those persons interested should meet in committee sessions at some date prior to the meeting and work out their proposal so as to clarify it among themselves before occupying the members' time with it. In consideration of the fact that the membership is to be selected with the utmost consideration, it is felt that further regulations will be more of a technical morass than an assistance; and it is further assumed that the intelligence of the individuals concerned will be sufficient and ample to overcome unusual situations, which no amount of written jurisprudence can completely foresee. It is hoped that this system of acclaim and consideration will prove successful; inasmuch as parliamentary procedure has in the past proven impractical with a group of this nature.
Los Angeles Futurian Society
Fl. May-September 1945
The feuding within LASFS in 1944-45 took a turn for the worse with the formation of the Los Angeles Futurian Society (the name harks back to Degler's ersatz 1944 club Futurian Society of Los Angeles) but was probably named after the New York Futurians as the members all imagined themselves to be communists. It was a quasi-formal club-within-a-club founded by Jimmy Kepner, Mel Brown, Art Saha and Alva Rogers. It was not separate from the LASFS but within it, with all the members retaining membership in the mother club. The Futurians would continue to be the biggest and strongest clique in the LASFS until its dissolution in September 1945.
The Outlanders (a.k.a. the Outlander Society or OS) was a Los Angeles-area fan club for members of LASFS who lived in the "outlands" of Los Angeles, and thus found it difficult to make it to every meeting of LASFS. The organization was founded in October 1948 and the original eight members were Len Moffatt, Rick Sneary, Stan Woolston, John Van Couvering, Con Pederson, Bill Elias, Alan Hershey and Freddie Hershey. It met monthly.
The club had the reputation of being one of the more intellectual groups in fandom, in large part because of the clubzine, The Outlander. (Art Rapp called it fandom's "most articulate and intellectual group".) Meetings were all-day sessions, but were not business meetings: there were no dues, officers, or bylaws. Members stayed connected between meetings by a continuing chain letter.
When the Outlanders were founded in 1948, some of them began using the slogan "South Gate in '58" as an interlineation or filler in their fanzines – South Gate being the town where their founder Rick Sneary, a.k.a. "the Hermit of South Gate," lived. The idea was initially to promote an after 10-year reunion of the Outlanders, but eventually it became a successful Worldcon bid. The Solacon was held in a Los Angeles hotel which was ceded for the Labor Day weekend to the Mayor of South Gate by the Mayor of Los Angeles, as South Gate did not have a hotel large enough to host the event which drew fans in the hundreds.
|From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959|
|A fanclub (formed October 1948) for people living outside the city limits of LA; Rick Sneary's group. It met approximately monthly till mid-52. Sneary, Moffatt, Woolston, Pederson, van Couvering, and Rory Faulkner were important members. Thirteen issues of OO The Outlander were published, and the Third Westercon was produced.|
An amateur movie-making group in Los Angeles formed by a group of LASFS members organized by Bjo Wells (later Trimble); it was a limited film company that made several films for showing at conventions:
- A fantasy/joke entitled The Genii (with Fritz Leiber, Forry Ackerman and Bjo). Produced by Al Lewis.
- The Musquite Kid, an adaptation of LeeJ's second Ballard Chronicle, which had (among others) Terry Carr, Miri Carr and Charles Burbee in featured roles.
- The Musquite Kid Rides Again Produced by Al Lewis.
The Blackguards was a LASFS in-group (self-proclaimed!) which was (in theory, anyway) independent of LASFS with its own treasury. It was formed in January 1967, and members included Chuck Crayne, Dian Pelz, Jane Ellern, Bill Ellern, Ken Rudolph and Bruce Pelz. It planned a convention, Blackguardcon I, on Easter weekend, 1967, though it is unclear if it occurred. Jane and Bill Ellern often hosted their parties.
The group sponsored tournaments of various kinds including miniature golf and bowling. On February 15, 1968. in the middle of a Blackguards-sponsored chess tournament, Lee Jacobs, a popular fan who was participating, died. He had been a frequent participant in Blackguard activities, and in the L.A. party circuit in general; his passing cast enough of a pall that cost the group some of its enthusiasm.
Additionally, many of the leaders of the Blackguards were also heavily involved in bidding for and then running a large Westercon, FUNcon II. The Blackguards had faded out by the end of the ’60s.
Early Clubs (1930s–50s)
World Girdlers' Correspondence Club
World Girdlers' International Science League Correspondence Club
The WGCC was a club which existed (briefly) around 1937. It was the brainchild of Vernon Harry in Los Angeles and was announced in the January 1937 issue of Fantasy Magazine. It never had more than a few members and folded when Harry went to work on a night shift.
It's unclear whether it was a bit of a scam from the beginning, or the product of teenage megalomania.
T. Bruce Yerke became a member just before it folded.
It was mentioned in Fancy 1 under WGCC:
|From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944|
|World Girdlers' Correspondence Club. One of the mushrooms of the First Transition. No other information available.|
Weird Tales Club
Fl late 30s-early 40s
In 1940, Forry Ackerman wrote a letter published in Weird Tales about the branch of the Weird Tales Club in LA that he was a member of. See Weird Tales Club for more.
Futurian Society of Los Angeles
Futurian Society of California
fl. June 1944
Under three different names, FuSLA was one of the many ersatz clubs started by Claude Degler. But see the (slightly) later Los Angeles Futurian Society.
James Kepner and some other neofans were members, along with Forrest J Ackerman as an honorary member. As soon as Degler left L.A., the others dropped off, leaving Ackerman the sole member and when Ackerman went into the Army, it was memberless.
Harbor Fantasy League
The HFL was an early club -- perhaps the earliest -- in the greater LA area outside LA itself. It was organized in early 1942 by five married couples (including Pogo (Director), Barbara Steedman (Secretary), Dan Lyons (Treasurer), and Russ Wood (Editor)). It tried to avoid being taken over by kids by limiting membership to married couples. It met bi-weekly.
The club rather quickly dissolved when the male members started being drafted for World War II and was dead by August 1942. But before it collapsed, it managed to outrage Forrest J Ackerman when one of the HFL's members suggested that he needed a psychiatrist!
|From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944|
|The Harbor Fantasy League, a group of married couples in the Los Angeles area, primarily the work of Rus Wood and Pogo. It came into existence in 1942 and shortly fell into inactivity because of members' departure for the wars.|
Mañana Literary Society
fl. late 1940s–50s
The Mañana Literary Society was a formal meeting of SF fiction writers in Los Angeles in the 40s and 50s. Hosted by Robert A. Heinlein, the membership included authors such as Anthony Boucher, Arthur K. Barnes, Edmond Hamilton, L. Ron Hubbard, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, L. Sprague de Camp, Cleve Cartmill, Leigh Brackett, and Jack Williamson.
The characters in the mystery Rocket to the Morgue by H. H. Holmes (Anthony Boucher) were based on members of the Society.
Sorcerers, Rumrunners, and Paraihs, Ltd.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 Supplement, ca. 1960|
|Sorcerers, Rumrunners, and Paraihs, Ltd. A group of Long Beach fans formed around a mutual interest in cards, stf, talk, LASFS and selves in late 1954; Ron Ellik, John Trimble, Brad Carlson, Russ Martin, Paul Turner, Alex Bratman, and some others. Trimble, Carlson and Jones joined the Air Force in spring 1955, while the others gafiated or moved. Eventually Trimble, Ellik, and Bratman were the only ones left active, and none of them lived in Long Beach any more. The club, when it was more than a group of cardplaying young fen, held itself famous for having more constitutions, and more liberal constitutions, than any other group.|
20th Century Fandom
20th Century Fandom, an LA-based fan club-cum-card party hosted by George W. Fields in the 1950s. Members included rich brown, Ted Johnstone, Milo Mason, Steve Tolliver. The Science Fiction Fan Award Association was a "division" of it.
Clubs of the 1960s–90s
Fl. 1966-late 80s
The Petards was an invitational fan group in LA formed in January 1966 to, as Bruce Pelz remembered, "actually talk about Science Fiction" since LASFS had become focused on conventions and socializing. John and Bjo Trimble oiginatede the idea and hosted the first meeting.
The group was only named after the group actually formed. Fred Patten had suggested it be called the "G. Peyton Wertenbacker Appreciation Society", a reference to the author of the only original story in the very first issue of Amazing, which, according to Patten, would be recognized by "only trufans who were s-f scholars."
Rick Sneary, who had been too ill to attend the first meeting, sent the Trimbles a letter with the suggestion that each meeting have a different host; however, he typoed 'host' as 'hoist' in several places in the letter. Sneary was known for such creative typos (called 'Snearyisms'), and immediately, the idea of being 'hoisted by one's petard' came to mind, so the group adopted the name 'Petards.'
Meetings were hosted by a different member each month, This arrangement was similar to what The Outlanders, an LA group of the 50s which some of the Petards had belonged to, had done. Hosts of the meetings could invite anybody they wanted, as long as all members received invites as well. New members could be suggested by two current members, but there was also a blackball provision -- it took a unanimous vote of membership before somebody could become a member.
Ironically, though the group had been formed for sercon interests, it soon became mostly a social gathering group, with some legendary parties. One of the traditions was that of the beer keg; it was passed from hoist to hoist and refilled for each meeting. Fred Patten, one of the founding members, soon dropped out because the Petards had become just another social organization. Yet it prospered and the group became widespread in the Southern California area, from Orange County all the way to the north end of the San Fernando Valley. As a result, there were not very many meetings where all members attended. The spread-out of membership may have been one factor in the group's eventual demise, though it continued to meet regularly into the 1980s.
June Moffatt later remember the group as "interesting people we might not have met otherwise" even though she didn't think it provided any lasting impact on fandom: "I think of it more as a series of tiny pebbles producing a ripple effect."
Members at various times included Bruce Pelz, Rick Sneary, Dave Hulan, Fred Patten, Dean Grennell, Jean Grennell, Roy Lavender, Len Moffatt, June Konigsberg (later June Moffatt), Ed Cox, Lenny Bailes, Don Fitch, Cy Condra, Dave Locke, John Trimble, Bjo Trimble, and others.
Southwest Association of Fans
Fl. late 70s
SWAF was an organization started in the late 70s in Los Angeles. It cost nothing to join and promised to issue a bimonthly zine listing only "only honest fan organizations, individuals and businesses." Its goal was to prevent dishonest, non-fan speculators from ripping fans off, to keep fans up-to-date on the latest news in fandom, and to assist fans on fandom-related projects such as publishing fanzines, putting on conventions, and so forth.
Circle of the High Hallack
An Andre Norton Circle organized by Cynthia McQuillin in Long Beach, CA.
Central L. A. Club
A club in Los Angeles organized by Lee Gold and Barry Gold. It met monthly on Sunday for socializing and a dinner expedition.
Desolation of Smaug
A discussion group of the Mythopoeic Society located in the Pomona Valley region of Los Angeles, CA.
A Mythopoeic Society Discussion Group located in the Hollywood-Wilshire area of Los Angeles. It is headed by Lee Speth.
A Mythopoeic Society Discussion Group located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles. (N.b., Lothlorien was also a name of the Dartford Tolkien Society.)
A Mythopoeic Society Discussion Group located in the Orange County area of Los Angeles. (N.b., it was also the title of a Rick Brooks fanzine.)
Fantasy Artist Network
FAN was a club located in Los Angeles which was aimed at sf artists who illustrate fanzines, exhibit at convention art shows, and who aspire to pro careers in fantasy art. It met monthly and published the clubzine Fantasy Artist.
Long Beach Science Fiction Association
A club in Long Beach, CA. It sponsored A Mid-Winter Convention. (Is this different from the contemporaneous CSULB Science Fiction Club?)
Tolkien Forever Fellowship of Southern California
A smial of The Tolkien Society located LA.
Fl. 1984-90 Complicated: See Random Realities.
Clubs of the 2000s and Present-day
(There is also a Florida club with this name.)
SCIFI, the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in the 1980s by Bruce Pelz and others. It ran the last three LA Worldcons, L.A.con II, L.A.con III and L.A.con IV and it announced the Los Angeles in 2026 Worldcon bid at SMOFcon in 2020. Its name, pronounced "skiffy," is a play on the dreaded sci-fi and a nod to its coiner, beloved LA BNF Forry Ackerman.
The organization has an odd membership structure with a large board (25 members) which wields complete power within the organization. The Board is elected annually. Because the Board is so large, it functions more like a club than a more traditional board of directors. SCIFI is unrelated to LASFS, though the two organizations have many members in common.
After LACon II, it was criticized for keeping too much of its profits and putting them to local uses, such as air-conditioning the LASFS Clubhouse, and subsequently became more active at distributing money and publicizing the fact.
It has also run the 1989 Westercon - Conosaurus, the 1994 Westercon - Conozoic, the 1999 NASFiC - Conucopia and the 2002 Westercon - Conagerie and several World Fantasy Conventions.
It sponsors the Rotsler Award and the Fan Gallery.
SCIFI Press, its small press, published only one book, A Wealth of Fable by Harry Warner, Jr., in 1992.
- File 770 54, p. 9-11 (distribution of profits, etc.)
Orange County Science Fiction Club
OCSFC is a club located in Orange, CA. It meets the last Wednesday of every month except December. From 1986 to 1999 it published six issues a year of a clubzine, The Orange Pulp.
Los Angeles Filkers Anonymous
A filk club (also known as LAFA) which grew out of a filk mailing list maintained by Gary Anderson.
Members have included Lee Gold, Barry Gold, and Gary Anderson.
Time Meddlers of Los Angeles
The Time Meddlers of Los Angeles is one of America's largest and most visible Doctor Who fan clubs. Members gather each month to socialize and celebrate matters relating to the fictional Doctor Who time-traveling character.
Non-Local Clubs Headquartered in LA
The Fantasy Association
An international club devoted to fantasy headquartered in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1973 or earlier and published its main fanzine Fantasiae and the more occasional The Elidon Tree.
The Mythopoeic Society is old enough and large enough to have its own page, which see.
American Rocket Society
Fl. pre-War through 1950s
The ARS seems to have been centered in LA and included enough fans to warrant an entry in all editions of Fancyclopedia -- see American Rocket Society for more.
Cerritos College SF Organization
A club active in the late 70s at Cerritos College in Downey, CA.
CSULB Science Fiction Club
A club at California State University, Long Beach, in Long Beach, CA. (Is this different from the contemporaneous Long Beach Science Fiction Association?)
Bruin Science Fiction Club
A club at UCLA in Los Angeles.
Details needed: We've heard of these and they seem to be LA clubs, but are they really?