In case you haven’t gotten the subspace message, today is the Fiftieth Anniversary of Star Trek. I can say without hesitation that without Star Trek there would be no Supercon. I grew up watching Star Trek in the 1970’s with my mother… the same mother who helped me make costumes for my Star Trek mego dolls, so that they would have different clothes to wear on landing party missions. I probably saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Con in the theatre 20 times over the summer of 1982, and it was the first movie we bought on VHS back when VHS movies were ridiculously expensive (bought in tandem with Beverly Hills Cop). I played the Star Trek roleplaying game (i’m looking at you John Brown and remembering you Chris Dorego). I played all the early video games and computer games. I got all the toys possible… the 12” Star Trek: The Motion Picture mego dolls (not to be confused with the 8” original series dolls), the tiny Star Trek: The Motion Picture action figures (the really stiff ones with the crappy paint jobs), and the Star Trek III action figures with the fingers that broke easily. In case you haven’t figured it out, I loved Star Trek.
I was first introduced to “fandom” in the early 1980’s when my mom took me to a Creation Entertainment convention in NYC… back then Creation did mixed comic book / sci-fi conventions, and the big Star Trek guest at this one was DeForest Kelly (Dr. McCoy). I don’t remember much… I know it seemed big to me, there were a bunch of cool comic book creators, and DeForest Kelly read poetry in his Q&A. It was awesome!
After we moved to South Florida in 1986 I soon found out about Vulkon and Trekon, the two Star Trek conventions in the area. Vulkon was run by Joe Motes and Ruthanne Devlin, and always had the better guests and vendors. Trekon was run by Joe’s old partner Vince Mennella, and was the smaller show, and never quite had the headliners Vulkon did. I wasn’t aware of the politics of competing shows, or that Joe and Vince had once been partners… I just went as a fan to have a good time… and any Star Trek was better than no Star Trek. My mom took me to my first Vulkon when I was 12 years old, and Walter Koenig was the big guest. As I got older, I kept going to those shows and met a lot of great people… In those pre-internet, pre-social media days, I joined a Star Trek fan group and felt like I belonged to something. Sean White, Deborah Maestu, Betsy Matteis, Diane, Liana, and others tolerated me thru my awkward teens… and Nick Roche runs that group now, and runs game show events at my conventions.
I remember spending the summer of 1987 getting excited with my friend Jason Currie about the brand new Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series that was going to start in September. We devoured all the news we could get from magazines like Starlog (again… long before the internet).
It took awhile for me to start bringing in Star Trek guests to Supercon. Vulkon was still chugging along (under new ownership) until 2008, and some of the other Star Trek centric events in the area didn’t do very well. I had a few small Trek names over the years, but it wasn’t until 2013 that we took the plunge and brought George Takei to the show. He did really well, and since then I’ve been making up for lost time, bringing in Nichelle Nichols and Deep Roy in 2014, Walter Koening, Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, and Robin Curtis in 2015, Brent Spiner in January 2016, and most recently William Shatner, Walter Koenig, David Warner, Rene Aberjonois, Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn, Bruce Logan, Robert Duncan McNeil, Robert Picardo, and Chase Masterson for Supercon 2016. William Shatner at my show was one of the things on my bucket list… being able to have Captain Kirk in my “house” is something I will be forever grateful.
Star Trek is about the future. About hope. About being better to your fellow man, woman, and alien. I think those ideas are as important now as they ever were.
Oh, on last thing… the 12 year old bottled up inside who can’t wait for the new Star Trek: Discovery series in January! New Star Trek on TV… I love it!