Earlier this year I was on a panel on Klingon Fandom at MarsCon (the one in Minnesota) with several of my fellow KAG members. I was the proverbial dinosaur on the panel. No, not the oldest member, just the one who had been doing Klingon the longest, since the mid-70s. Dinosaur. Or, maybe Neanderthal?
After much reflection, I thought maybe it was time to write up a bit of history about Fandom, Klingon Fandom in particular, based on a host of experiences. This will be a periodic series of unknown length. And from my own observations, so it will be far from complete.
My first REAL introduction to organized SF fandom, which would quickly lead to Klingon Fandom took place because of a chance meeting at an event at Cal State Fresno. Ray Bradbury was speaking, and I was able to get excused from my classes (I was in high school at the time). Crickey, I even remember the jacket I was wearing – light-weight windbreaker that had a Star Trek insignia on it. Yes, I was a geek at an early age.
While there, and waiting to get an autograph, a guy flashed me the Vulcan salute, and we started chatting. Turns out he had heard about a Star Trek club that was forming. STAR Fresno. After some chit-chat and information exchange, I was well on my way to SF and, more importantly Klingon Fandom. You see, this guy was Chris Gudger. No, not an organizer of STAR Fresno, but he knew about it, and the guys forming it (turned out one of them was someone I knew from Junior High School, albeit a couple of years older than me).
Chris was one of the original Klingon fans, the first person I ever ran across who costumed as a Klingon, and one of the very few at that time on the West Coast who did Klingon. This is still the era of The Original Series. No latex headpieces required.
STAR Fresno was being formed by John (or is it Jon) Golding, Mark Hernandez (the guy I knew from Junior High School) and another guy whose name eludes me.
Things kind of blossomed from there. I started hanging out with Chris Gudger and a couple of other friends, can’t exactly remember names (Eric, Ron, and a couple of others). I developed an interest in film making, costuming and, well, Klingons. I also started reading Famous Monsters of Filmland (Forrest J. Ackerman’s famous magazine!). Also of note was a friend of Golding’s who would regularly show up, who had legally changed his name to James T. Kirk and drove the Shuttle Van, a van painted up to look like the shuttlecraft Galileo from Star Trek. To an impressionable young teen, this was cool stuff.
Over the next couple of years I would learn about Lincoln Enterprises (a business run by Majel Barrett that sold Trek and related memorabilia), the Star Trek Welcomittee (a group dedicated to promoting Trek Fandom and connecting fans with clubs) and SF Conventions.
I also joined my first Klingon Club, Friends of Klingon. For a buck I received a membership card, a certificate, and a couple of other items. Okay, it wasn’t a real club, and it was a buck that may have been better spent on a few comic books, or a Doc Savage novel, but, what the hey, I did it anyway. At least it made for a good memory.
Next time, San Diego and my first convention