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Not Much Has Changed At Conventions … Except Names

San Francisco reporter looks back at 1976 convention featuring William Shatner

Quark sometimes wandered his bar on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” talking about how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

And that’s apparently true with Star Trek conventions.

Peter Hartlaub, a pop culture critic with the San Francisco Chronicle, dug into the archives of the paper to jump back 40 years to see what conventions were like in the Bay area. The most surprising about that convention in 1976? It shares the same headliner of this week’s convention, one William Shatner.

This weekend is the Silicon Valley Comic Con at the San Jose Convention Center, featuring guests like Shatner, Christopher Lloyd from “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” and original “Star Trek” icon Nichelle Nichols. That’s different from the guest list Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak put together in 1976 when he re-dubbed the gathering a “Star Trek and Space Science Convention,” bringing together Shatner and co-stars Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei … and a bunch of scientists.

“The 1976 con featured several NASA scientists, real-life astronauts, and other seemingly random guests,” Hartlaub wrote. “Nimoy’s address to the crowd was (preceded) by an 8 a.m. speech from none other than acid guru Timothy Leary.”

If you don’t know Leary, he was a strong proponent of finding therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs, like LSD. He died in 1996.

Newspaper reports of the convention at the time were polite, Hartlaub said, since words like “geek” weren’t exactly around quite yet. Instead, reporter Kevin Wallace wrote that “the kids did look unusual, with generally short hair, few skin-tight jeans, no clog heels.

“Weird really.”

Weird indeed.

Read all of Hartlaub’s look into the past right here. And check out Silicon Valley Comic Con at SVComicCon.com.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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