Unless you’ve got access to Mr. Peabody’s Way Back Machine, it’s only videos like this one from 1976 that can shed light on the early days of Star Trek fandom. You’d expect that there would be a lot of changes since then and you’d be right, conventions have gotten much bigger, there are a lot more fans, a lot more merchandise, and Cosplayers continue to roam the convention halls, but some things never change, including those awkward convention interviewers.Here’s the Youtube description of the video:

One of the earliest Star Trek conventions occurred in 1976 at the Northgenn Mall in Denver Colorado in Fall of 1976. Only 7 years after the series ended, Star Trek already had a very strong cult following in the US and even abroad. There were small fan clubs popping up all over the world, so after a while it had such momentum that someone began organizing these gatherings into conventions… At homes, schools, malls, they eventually had to rent large convention halls to accommodate the throngs of devoted ‘trekkies’.

This one had Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and James Doohan (Scotty), so I had to bring my super 8 movie camera to the Mall to film it. I brought my old pal Terry McCoy as the on-camera reporter to interview the cults and play with the toys. The Northglenn Mall (The Mall of my adolescence) was only 8 years old at this point so it is fun to have this record of the old Mall before it got torn down 21 years later.

That is a fascinating look at the past. The amount of costumes at that event, all home-made because we’re pretty sure there weren’t any being sold yet, was incredible. Fans have not changed. They are still passionate about their fandom, ready to look silly and not worry about what others think. They just want to have some fun and share their fandom with others of like mind.

These are the roots of our present day Nerd Convention Culture. We love it and hope it never dies.

Category: Nerd Culture

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