Balcony Insurgents

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The Balcony Insurgents, a group of hecklers at NyCon II, the 1956 Worldcon, were the reason behind the fannish catchphrase, "Dave Kyle says you can't sit here!" Unwilling to pay $7 for rubber chicken at the banquet (a decade before $1.39 could purchase a T-bone steak meal at a chain of NYC restaurants) the insurgents nonetheless wanted to hear cartoonist Al Capp's after-dinner speech and see the ceremonies which followed.

The Balcony Insurgents included Bob Tucker, Boyd Raeburn, Jean & Andy Young, Dick Eney, Ron Ellik, Ted White, Larry Stark and Richalex Kirs, some quite prominent fans of the period, not all of whom were impecunious but who objected to paying such a high price for indifferent food.

It had been traditional at Worldcons that, after the meal, those who hadn't bought tickets could come in to hear the speakers. But convention chairman Dave Kyle had the doors closed when they gathered in the hall outside the banquet room, saying that since they hadn't paid for the meal, they shouldn't get to hear the speech. They moved to the balcony and began to jeer the business meeting, after which a gofer was sent to move them along. He proclaimed, "Dave says you can't sit here!"

Most of them subsequently wrote up the incident, dubbed the Balcony Exclusion Act, in the con reports they published in their fanzines, which gave rise to the catchphrase that continues to be used.

Fans assumed that Kyle was motivated by pique, since he'd over-guaranteed the banquet, which put the convention in the red. Immediately after the convention, it was reported in Fantasy Times #255, p. 2, that Nycon had fallen significantly short of the guaranteed number of banquet tickets and would have to make a $650 payment to the hotel as a consequence. This was a huge amount of money in Worldcon budgets of the time.

Kyle remained silent on the matter for close to 40 years, but in 1990 in the pages of the Hugo-winning fanzine Mimosa, he claimed he'd been told by a fire warden that the balcony was off limits and his helper should have made it clear that Kyle was only passing on that message. Several of the Balcony Insurgents pointed out that, even if true, for some reason this was only enforced immediately after the banquet when these other festivities were going on.

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
A bunch of hecklers at the NYCon II, ex their exclusion from the balcony during the banquet with its speeches and the location from which they later jeered the business session. Included Tucker, Raeburn, J&AYoung, Dick Eney, Ron Ellik, Ted White, Larry Stark, and Richalex Kirs, most of whom wrote conreports later in which the banquet-exclusion act was denounced as wicked barbarous and against ghod.

See Insurgents.

Fanhistory 1956
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