Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Rest of 1981

More from The STAR OKC Chronicles, covering the rest of 1981 ...

March’s “Zannzine” explains that the $800+ earned by BabelCon 1 made “us” (the Club) a taxpayer, so investigations were underway “on perhaps applying for tax-exempt status, or incorporating.” There’s no further information in the records concerning this part of the question, but here’s the end result: BabelCon ’81, though staffed and planned by S.T.A.R. OKC, is run by and for Larry Jones.

Here’s the reasoning: Booking the Lincoln Plaza and Jimmy Doohan involve Big Bucks, a substantial part of that as up-front money. But S.T.A.R. has neither the cash nor the incentive/commitment to raise that cash in the time left before August.

Therefore, Con Chair Larry Jones uses his own funds to get the Con going. This makes the final step “only logical”: Since Larry’s money is at risk — he being personally responsible for all debts — then he should reap the profits (if any) from his risk. He would also send some of those prospective profits towards S.T.A.R., whose members were staffing the Con. Thus, 10 years before ThunderCon, it may be said that BabelCon ’81 is the Club’s first LMC, or “Larry’s Media Con.”

A final note from March is the announcement that Mike Hodge has taken over the role of Publications Officer from Larry Jones, who now has a Con to attend to.

BabelCon ’81 has its share of strikes against it. In 1980 or early 1981, Doohan had suffered a heart attack and cancelled his personal appearance schedule. However, as sum¬mer ’81 arrives, S.T.A.R. has very strong confirmation from Doohan that he will indeed attend the Con (his first appearance since the attack).

Still, as August approaches, some persons — identified by Mike Hodge as Bart Bush and Gary Burleson of the Oklahoma Alliance of Fandom — begin a “whispering campaign” to the effect that Doohan will not appear; that BabelCon ’81 planners know he will not appear; and that the planners are still advertising Doohan falsely, to rake in the bucks. This malicious, deliberate campaign of lies is intentionally undertaken to “sink” BabelCon ’81 before it can even launch.

Still, the  flyer for BabelCon ’81 goes out. Blazoned across the top is “hug a Trekker,” and it announces Doohan and co-Fan Guests of Honor Stan & Carol Nevins, as well as Special Guests C.J. Cherryh and Mike McQuay. The 3-day pre-reg price is $10, or $20 at the door. In the Dealers’ Room, wall tables are $20, aisle tables $15. Ah, those were the days!

Besides Chair Larry, other ConCom members include: Co-Vices Larry Nemecek, Paul Marek, Mike Hodge; Art Show Karla Jarrett; Video Rooms David Arnold; and a big list of Consultants and Slave Labor, the gofers and such of the Con.

Well, Doohan arrive in town on Thursday night, and S.T.A.R. takes him out for barbeque and presents him with a blue S.T.A.R. T-shirt, while getting him to sign many members’ T-shirts. (Ask Paul Marek to show you his.)

Snide whispering campaigns aside, the Con goes swimmingly for rank-and-file attendees, who remain in blissful ignorance that the Con never makes a cent, leaving Con Chair Larry Jones with a debt of about $2,000 to repay. Vice-President Tammy Bothel has decided that she and other Club officers will be Doohan’s “honor guard” and walk him from his room to his various scheduled Con appearances. She is very disappointed when Doohan instead chooses his own “escorts,” a couple of husky male types (Mark Alfred and Ed Porter) to guard him from drooling fans in the hotel halls.

An exciting feature of the Saturday night banquet is provided by a female fan who’d al-ready offended Doohan earlier. She pitches a fit when not allowed to sit at Doohan’s table, and he walks out in the middle of the banquet, to be seen the rest of the night only at various room parties, where he steadfastly refuses to reveal any plot secrets from the upcoming STAR TREK II: The Wrath of Khan. However, when autographing a fan’s bagpipe case (yes, a bagpipe case!), he does write, “a somber tone” — referring to Scotty’s playing “Amazing Grace” at Spock’s funeral, as figured out much later.

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