Friday, August 13, 2010

STAR OKC 1978-1979: Years of Portent





 
1978

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.


1979

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

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