St. Louiscon

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St. Louiscon, the 27th Worldcon and first in Missouri (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. Jones, the 1969 TAFF Race winner, replaced Ted White, who withdrew as Fan Guest to dramatize the Trans Atlantic Fan Fund winner. Harlan Ellison was Toastmaster. It was co-chaired by Ray and Joyce Fisher and 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 held both the 1970 Worldcon Site Selection and the 1971 Worldcon Site Selection.

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.

St. Louiscon, incidentally, was the first Worldcon to have all-night movies.

See Diamondvision for another big-screen Worldcon kerfuffle.

Baycon Worldcon - Bidding - Hugos Heicon '70
first Missouri Worldcons MidAmeriCon
Ozarkon III Ozarkon Ozarkon V
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