Star Trek Conventions
Star Trek Lives! was one of the earliest and most influential Star Trek conventions. It was fan-run, with many members of the committee also active in the Lunarians and working on Lunacon. The convention was also known as the Star Trek Con, the Committee Con and as the International Star Trek Convention.
The first convention by this group was held January 21–23, 1972, at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Manhattan and included as guests Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, Isaac Asimov, Hal Clement and D. C. Fontana. The organizers expected 500 people, but 3,000 showed up leaving the committee alive, but overwhelmed.
The committee was:
- Al Schuster, Co-ordinator
- Elyse Pines, Program
- Joan Winston, Dealers Room, NASA Display, Signs
- Eileen Becker, Registration
- Allan Asherman, Art Show
- Deborah Langsam, Costume Call
- Joyce Yasner, Displays
- Devra Langsam, Slide Shows, Program Asst.
- Regina Gottesman, Hospitality
- Steve Rosenstein, Auctioneer, MC
- Stu Hellinger, Program Assistant
- Chris Steinbrunner/Chester Grabowski, Visuals
In 1973, the convention moved to the Commodore Hotel and attracted approximately 10,000 people to its convention on February 16–19.
Members of the committee for the 1973 convention were: Joan Winston, Elyse Rosenstein, Allen Asherman, Eileen Becker, Steve Rosenstein, Dana Anderson, Thom Anderson, Renee Bodner, Stu Hellinger, Devra Langsam, Deborah Langsam, Eileen Becker, Maureen Wilson, Joyce Yasner and Al Schuster. In later years, Barbara Wenk, Wendy Lindboe, Louise Sachter, Stuart Grossman, Claire Eddy, Diane Duane and David Simmons joined the committee.
International Star Trek Convention On February 15–18, 1974, the convention attracted between 10,000 and 14,000 people (Locus reports 8,000-12,000) to the Americana Hotel, and and had to turn people away each day due to Fire Marshall concerns — causing at least one small riot in front of the hotel. There were complaints about the crush and the bad attitude of some committee members (a walk-out from the costume ball was triggered by a committee member cursing at one of the invited guests).
The problems in New York caused Equicon in Los Angeles to impose a membership cap.
The committee fissioned, leaving records in disarray. Shortly after the convention, the committee announced that they no longer had any connection with Al Schuster and "and and all future debts he may incur in the name of the Convention will not be paid or honored, and he no longer has any authority to incur expenses, arrange contracts or conduct business in the name of the convention." They also distinguished themselves as __The__ Star Trek Convention as opposed to Schuster's __International__ Star Trek Convention. They also reported that they had "misplaced" their list of non-attending members in the 1974 convention and pre-registered members of the 1975 convention.
The 1975 convention at the Commodore Hotel was held February 14–17 and was chaired by Devra Langsam and was now called the Star Trek Convention. (Former chairman Al Schuster had started a rival convention running a month earlier which kept the name International Star Trek Convention.)
In 1976, the giant Star Trek conventions seemed to hit a wall: The Chicago Star Trek/Space Spectacular, "The Greatest Show Since Earth" was held in June. The committee did heavy advertising including TV spots, and had rented the Chicago Amphitheater, which seats 13,000. The got 200 people on Friday and 800 on Saturday and then cancelled the convention. They did not pay the stars who came and the convention was reported to have lost multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Other Star Trek conventions that failed in 1976 included the Boston Star Trek convention in April, a Tampa convention in June, and a Toledo Star Trek convention. The Toronto Star Trek convention lost money and the New York Star Trek Roast was cancelled "for lack of interest".
|New York Star Trek '76||January 23-25, 1976||New York Hilton||20,000-50,000||aka Riotcon|
|Al Schuster's International Star Trek Convention 1976||January 15-18, 1976||4000|
|Star Trek Lives 1976||February 12-16||Commodore Hotel||5000 -- it had a reported membership limit of 6000||chaired this year by Thom Anderson|
New York Star Trek '76
New York Star Trek '76 attracted between 20,000 and 50,000 people according to the New York Times with many ticket holders being turned away when the facilities were completely swamped. (Its committee seems to have been entirely unprepared and quite disorganized.) The New York Attorney General investigated and both fan-run conventions ended.
This had a fortunate side-effect in that it probably helped to kill the SF Expo, a convention planned for June of that year at the New York Hilton which was an attempt to create a regular SF convention on the scale of the Star Trek conventions.
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