Thursday, August 26, 2010

Selik Meets Russell Bates

 On the Saturday night of BabelCon I, there was an Ambassador's Banquet, as narrated previously.

I was there as the stuck-up Vulcan, Selik, in a costume my wonderful wife was nagged at, to finish in time.

This overexposed picture nevertheless shows the masking-tape-and-latex ears that were self-applied in the bathroom.  Also the Vulcanian eyebrows, the result of shaving off the outside ends of the brows and spirit-gumming the resultant shavings.

The Banquet had a yummy repast.  But, being Vulcan, ol' snooty Selik ate only vegetables.

It was also pretty darn hot in that big enclosed space,  which also contained the indoor pool.  However, Selik professed to find the heat (if not the humidity) refreshing.

What a doofus!

One of the guests at BabelCon 1 was Russell Bates, most famous to Trekkers as the author of the animated STAR TREK episode, "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth."

Somehow Bates was impressed enough to not only take this picture of a line-up of "Ambassadors," he also took my home address and mailed me the photo.  The white-lettered caption is made of peel-n-stick letters, pressed on by Bates.

Also in the Bates photo you can see the ol' Vulcan eyebrow-cock.  I may be the only person who will admit to practicing for hours in front of the bathroom mirror until they could raise his eyebrows independently, "just like Mr Spock."  In the 1960s, as a teenager, not in 1980!

Our next post will cover the road to BabelCon '81.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Scenes from BabelCon I

 More young types dressimg up for BabelCon I, summer, 1980.

Next time you can check out my wife's great sewing and I'll tell you a story about being a little too-much-in-character.

Friday, August 20, 2010

BabelCon - STAR's 1980 Con

"BabelCon I - and so it begins" was the slug line made up for STAR OKC's 1980 Convention.  It was help in the summer of 1980 at OKC's Southgate Inn, on I-35.

Here are the members of S.T.A.R. Oklahoma City in 1979 -- the group that started BabelCon:


... And at BabelCon I, my friends, your humble Chronicler makes his appearance.

I don't know how I found out about BabelCon, but I arrived on Friday night of the three-day-affair.  I walked through the small area of panels and dealers.

I came back on Saturday and spent the day.  I brought my STAR TREK scrapbook to show off -- oooh, how cute! -- and was scandalized when somebody offered to buy it off me.  Parenthetically, most of the stuff posted by me during last year's "STAR TREK month" on my Super Blog came from my scrapbooks.

the banquet

On Saturday evening there was an "Ambassador's Banquet."  This was a tie-in to the con's name, BabelCon.  As we all know, Babel was the site of a peace conference referred to several times in Star Trek.  So what better name for the Saturday-night feast?  All the people in costume could be ambassadors!

Ambassador from Landru's Planet
Salt Vampire and what-is-it

Dawn Adkins as an Alien Fleshpot
Paul Marek as Poochie; Maxine Franz as the
Pooch Keeper

Next time: more photos from BabelCon -- the con with no shame!  (oh, that's ME that has no shame, sorry)

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Images of S.T.A.R. and Central Oklahoma Fandom in the 1970s

Fellow STAR, and heap-big Smart Guy, Larry Nemecek was featured in 1973 in the Norman Transcript .  At least they called him a "student" and not a nerd or a bigbrain.  Although he qualifies as both.

Sorry not to have a better scan.  You can't really read it.

Here we have a 1976 article from the Oklahoma City Times, using commentary on "those crazy kids" as a tie-in to Starbase Oklahoma City's plans for a Star Trek convention here in OKC.  It features comments from Darryl Maxwell, then 16, who was a member of Starbase OKC (forerunner of STAR OKC). 

The image with the photo of the kid in the STAR-TREK-plastered room is the second half of the article.

Y'know what -- I didn't have those particular pictures on MY bedroom wall, but I DID have a "color in the lines" 4-piece STAR TREK  poster set.

Yes, OF COURSE I still have them.  They're framed on the wall.  Some time I'll pull 'em down for some scanning, and share them with the galaxy.

Our last newspaper image for now concerns a STAR TREK trivia contest that the Oklahoma City Journal ran in conjunction with the 1979 release of STAR TREK: The Motion Picture.

If you'll read the column on the right, which gives the names of the winners (including their home addresses ... how quaint), the names of several then-or-future members of STAR OKC may be read.

They are:

Larry Nemecek
Mark Alfred (yours truly)
Tammy Bothel

Say ... all three of us not only were members of STAR OKC, we all served as Presidents for varying amount of times.

NEXT TIME:  ST:TMP mania baby!

Friday, August 13, 2010

STAR OKC 1978-1979: Years of Portent


By March of this year, S.T.A.R.base OKC is meeting on Saturday mornings at 10 AM at the Bethany Library.

The April/May GG opens with a letter from fourth President Paul Marek, who writes, “Our Presidents have been changing over faster than tribbles multiply!” At the May 6 meeting at the Warr Acres Library, he says, “We will be discussing what we’ll be changing the Club’s name to.”

Sure enough, in the June/July GG, we’re back to S.T.A.R. OKC. President Marek writes, “It’s been great having about ten people at the meetings lately. ... The membership cards are ready.” A rank system is in place. “The rank you begin at depends upon how much you know about STAR TREK, which is determined by the STAR TREK quiz now being prepared by our technical advisor, Larry Nemecek.” S.T.A.R. is now meeting at the Belle Isle Library.

The August 10 edition of the Noble News and the August 27 Norman Transcript each have articles on Trekker and S.T.A.R. member Larry Nemecek — don’t call him a Trekkie! Says the Transcript, “He is a member of Starbase Oklahoma City, one of several hundred organizations across the country dedi¬cated to STAR TREK and its revival.”

In September, Nemecek is back to school at ECU in Ada, and there founds Star-base ECU. Members of this Ada club are later members of STAR OKC Cody Clark and Kevin Hopkins.

The Sept./Oct. GG still has Jennifer Reynolds as editor, and includes coverage of Okon ’78 and the first print mention of Dawn Atkins, who led the Phoenix movement that nearly split up S.T.A.R. in 1979.

You had to pass this 5-page test to determine your "rank" in S.T.A.R. OKC in 1978.
In November, S.T.A.R. has a seven-page constitution featuring such topics as a minimum age of 13; a rank system; and offices two years in length, elected in November to take office in January. In an eerie precedent to 1991’s extended wranglings on the same topic, Article V provides for the use of proxies in voting.
You had to pass this 5-page test to determine your "rank" in S.T.A.R. OKC in 1978.
The Nov./Dec. GG includes articles by President Marek, Larry Nemecek, and newcomer Zann Romero. (Zann later married S.T.A.R. member Larry Jones and figured in the 1983-4 near-split of S.T.A.R.) The GG lists these goals for S.T.A.R. OKC:
“— To promote interest in STAR TREK within the OKC area,
You had to pass this 5-page test to determine your "rank" in S.T.A.R. OKC in 1978.
“— To keep people informed of STAR TREK’s progress through monthly meetings and bimonthly newsletters,
“— To enjoy the fellowship of other science-fiction fans.”

You had to pass this 5-page test to determine your "rank" in S.T.A.R. OKC in 1978.


S.T.A.R. begins this fateful year with 24 members, including such folks as Dawn Atkins, Eddie Cunningham, Mike Hodge, Paul Marek, Jennifer Reynolds, Larry Nemecek (mainly through correspondence from Ada), and Zann Romero. Paul Marek is still serving his two-year term.

At the January meeting, the Big Debate erupts. The question is whether to keep the Club narrowly focused mainly on STAR TREK, or to broaden its official interests to become a general science-fiction club. Arguments fly back and forth. Some opinions expressed during the discussion are, to quote minutes: “S.T.A.R. attendance is low because of its narrow interests.” “Yes, but S.T.A.R. is a STAR TREK Club, not an SF Club.” But don’t forget that there’s a new STAR TREK movie coming out this year (I quote here) “O ye of little faith!” Finally, after a 6 to 5 vote, attendees to this Meeting of Doom vote to become a general SF club, and they select the name Phoenix. Dawn Atkins is the initiator of the whole shift in di¬rection.
The Jan. GG states that the Club has changed to include “Science Fiction, Fact, and Fantasy.” The old name is “cancelled” and the new name is officially Phoenix. Officers are President Paul Marek, Vice-President Dawn Atkins, and Business Manager Tony Frazier. Whether Dawn and Tony had been elected to the same two-year terms as President Marek cannot be determined now.

At the February 3 meeting of Phoenix née S.T.A.R., the identity controversy draws 15 attendees. After much debate, the S.T.A.R. name and orientation are reaffirmed, and “it was decided that PHOENIX and S.T.A.R./ OKC would go their separate ways.”

On February 24, the separate Phoenix club has its first meeting at 1:30 PM, drawing 11 attendees. Its officers are President Larry Jones, Vice-President Greg [Smith?], and Treasurer Dawn Atkins.

March brings the first and only issue of the Phoenician, which includes info on the amoebalike division, and a phone list of folks like Dawn Atkins, Mike Hodge, Paul Marek, and Jennifer Reynolds. This indicates that the Clubs are not competitors, but share common members.

Phoenix and S.T.A.R. meet at the same place — the Belle Isle Library — and date, the new group at noon and S.T.A.R. at 2 PM, so the many common members may attend both. But trouble is brewing in Birdland. Notes from Phoenix’s June meeting show how the fledgling club is disintegrating: “Vote not taken, all members not present, [President] ‘Larry isn’t here.’ Officers not elected or appointed, but decisions being made by the ‘acting officers.’ No minutes taken. Procedures break down.” Or, as Yeats said, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

July’s S.T.A.R. newsletter bears the one-time-only title Infinite Diversity, also the name of a new “serious discussion group” begun by Zann Romero. A popular topic for this after-meeting group, mentioned several times, is “Has Kirk violated the Prime Directive?”

August sees the ignominious end of the misnamed Phoenix, with the en masse resignations of President Jones, Treasurer Atkins, and Vice-President Greg. We can only hope that the strait-and-narrow “Keep the TREK in S.T. A.R.” members don’t rub it in too much. However, when Mark Alfred joins S.T.A.R. a year later, Dawn Atkins is described to him in terms applicable to the Devil’s Daughter.

In 1979, Ace publishes a paperback titled A Star Trek Catalog, by Gerry Turnbull. On page 81, in the chapter “The Clubs and Organizations,” we find the following listing: “STAR — Oklahoma City, Daryl Maxwell, 2205 Markwell Place, Oklahoma City, OK 73127.” Turnbull credits the Star Trek Welcommittee for his listings, which, to judge by the mention of Daryl Maxwell as S.T.A.R.’s contact person, is a wee bit out of currency.

In November, new officers are elected.

For the December 7 release of STAR TREK: The Motion Picture, S.T.A.R. puts out flyers at theatres. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Journal runs a STAR TREK Trivia Contest in conjunction with STTMP. Among the winners of various prizes are S.T.A.R. OKCers Larry Nemecek, Theresa Wilson, Mike Fair, Tammy Bothel, and soon-to-be S.T.A.R. Mark Alfred.

NEXT:  more images from the S.T.A.R. 1970s bin

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

STAR OKC 1976-1977

At the January meeting it is decided that “kids under the age of 11 years old won’t be able to join. This is to help prevent chaotic meetings.” So, tell me: Since then, has STAR had any more chaotic meetings?
The March/April GG is Vol. 2, #5. “The new Co-Editors are Paul Smith and Kevin Acers,” and plans are discussed for S.T.A.R. to put on Galacti-Con ’76.

By the Aug./Sept. GG, Renee Upton can be identified as the second President of S.T.A.R. Editor Jennifer Reynolds (no, not the same as the Channel 9 newscaster) says, “We have tentatively set the date of the Con for Sept. 18, 1976.” But President (and Chairman) Upton also weighs in with a plea for member involvement, stating that S.T.A.R. has only two choices: “officially dissolve the Club, or get it back in shape.” She correctly predicts that lack of member involvement will scuttle the chances of Galacti-Con ’76’s success.

Other officers are Secretary Joan Carter and Membership Secretary Jill Kornfeld. Treasurer and Vice-President slots are open.
On September 6, the Oklahoma City Times prints a feature article on founding S.T.A.R. member Daryl Maxwell, titled “Trekkies never eat, they just live on reruns.” According to this article, Maxwell and Renee Upton “say the members number between 100 and 150, mostly of high school age, some college, even some 40s and 50s.” (It’s likely that the 100¬150 number came from attendance at S.T.A. R.’s Galacti-Cons, not from a list of actual members of S.T.A.R. Oklahoma City.) The article continues, “The club meets every month or so at the Bethany Library.”

The Spring issue of the GG includes a trivia contest; a plug for a STAR TREK postage stamp; and a wordsearch game. Third President Jennifer Reynolds identifies herself as “Chief Helmsman of S.T.A.R.Base,” a new Club name. Other helpers on this GG are Ian Shepard, David Moore, and David Morgan. Plans for a Con have been put off for the time being.
In a letter dated May 20, President Reynolds writes to Larry Nemecek of Lexington, OK: “I am delighted that you have chosen to join S.T.A.R.base Ok.C.” You may have heard of this Nemecek fellow as the founder of ThunderCon.

“S.T.A.R.base Ok.C.” — as President Reynolds calls it — has 17 paid members, but only 3 show up for the July meeting. In a subsequent letter to Nemecek, Reynolds writes, “I have decided to resign” in the face of such apathy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

STAR OKC 1971-1975

The story of S.T.A.R. Oklahoma City begins with the national organization of which it was once a part. According to STAR TREK Lives! (Bantam, 1975) and The Best of TREK No. 1 (Signet, 1978), the STAR TREK Association for Revival (hence the acronym S.T.A.R.) was founded in 1971. The parent organization’s founders were Laura and Margaret Basta, twin sisters from Dearborn, Michigan. As of 1975, STAR TREK Lives! reported that S.T.A.R. “is reaching over 15,000 fans scattered across the nation with its newsletter Starborne. S.T.A.R. is still growing, forming new chapters on college campuses and elsewhere.”

One such “elsewhere” is Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where in March, 1973, the first meeting of “S.T.A.R. Oklahoma City” takes place at the Bethany Library. The founding members, all students of Putnam City Junior High, are Ken Moore, Frank Sund, Daryl Maxwell, and Bruce Hampton; their first recruit, Larry Jones, joins soon after.
S.T.A.R.’s first President is Ken Moore.
The first issue of S.T.A.R.’s newsletter, the Galactic Gazette, is cover-dated Nov./Dec. 1973. Its contents include an obituary for STAR TREK staffer Gene Coon; a STAR TREK TV schedule for OKC and Tulsa; trivia questions; and an ad for Bjo Trimble’s 2-volume STAR TREK Concordance of People, Places, and Things. Listed on the masthead are Ken Moore, Editor-in-Chief; Bruce Mullenix, Co-Editor; and contributors Greg Goetzinger and Frank Sund.

Some time in 1974, S.T.A.R. puts on Galacti-Con ’74 at the Kirkpatrick Science and Arts Foundation, located at this time in the OKC Fairgrounds. A later GG reports that its budget was “$45 and a lot of praying.”

In an item tentatively dated May of 1974, a newspaper photo shows 13 youngsters, many carrying picket signs, marching about in front of the studios of KOCO-TV. The complete caption reads: “Protesting removal of ‘STAR TREK’ from the KOCO-TV, Channel 5, afternoon lineup were members of the ‘STAR TREK Association for Revival (STAR).’ The group showed up one afternoon last month with a petition bearing 106 signa¬tures seeking reinstatement of the popular program, now in syndication across the country. After a brief demonstration, station officials assured the youngsters that ‘STAR TREK’ would be returned to the schedule this fall.”

At some point in 1975, Mike Hodge joins S.T.A.R. In later years Mike would serve in virtually every elective STAR office, and be Chair¬man of STAR’s first SoonerCon in 1986.
The July/Aug. GG is Volume 2, #3; its editor is still Ken Moore. It includes an inter¬view by S.T.A.R.’s Daryl Maxwell with George Takei, at Multi-Con ’75. The main topic of the discussion is the then supposedly imminent STAR TREK movie.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The STAR OKC Chronicles


To begin with, thanks are due to many STAR members, past and present, but especially to these: Larry Nemecek, Zann Romero Jones, Paul Marek, Mike Hodge and Tamara Baker Hodge, and Larry Jones. They provided written and oral information and reminiscences that helped immensely. Though — standard disclaimer time, folks — this Chronicle’s final form, and any errors herein, are mine own.

This compilation was assembled in fits, spurts, and starts, beginning in 1991, until this date. “S.T.A.R. Oklahoma City” was founded in 1973, over two decades ago. Early documentation is scant. There are folks still in active interaction with STAR — Paul “Blue Devil” Marek and Larry “ThunderChief” Nemecek, for example — who joined before I did. But I, who attended my first STAR meeting in April, 1980, and joined later that year, am the STAR member with the longest continuous tenure. That fact, plus my lifelong bent for nostalgia, are perhaps good enough qualifications for this job of assembling The STAR OKC Chronicles.

Sources for most of the entries have been either notes/minutes of Club meetings, or from STAR’s newsletters, in whatever incarnation. Note that, when the Club’s official newsletter was formally titled the Galactic Gazette, I’ve abbreviated it as “GG.”

Here’s what I chose for inclusion: 1) Whenever possible, Club size and finances. 2) First appearances, when known, of influential members, or topics that later influenced STAR developments. 3) Ironic items, such as the fact that ’way back in 1981 STAR was discussing incorporation. 4) Outside (but still SF/Fantasy related) honors, awards, etc., earned by Club members, when this information was available.

In the entries, I’ve referred to the Club by the name it used for itself at the time of the entry. The Club did not settle on “STAR OKC” until I began using it exclusively as Editor of the STAR News in 1982.

Thanks for reading, and join with me now in a quest for the Future, a quest born in decades past . . .
Mark Alfred