Los Angeles Fandom in the 60s


Here, for review and (hopefully) some comments is the section from my 1960s Fan History Outline that covers Los Angeles fan organizations. It's pretty inadequate -- whole blocks of information are missing -- and it's very likely that major topics as well as important details have been so far omitted.
I know that the Loscon is taking up most of your time for the moment, but when that ends, could you ask (at a LASFS meeting) for people who were active in the 1960s to look at this section? I'm hoping that more references can be found, not only from memories but also hard copy source material.
Also, I am still trying to find out the derivation of the name "Starspinkle" that Ron Ellik used for his newszine of the early 1960s. I'm hoping someone at LASFS will know that, too.

Best, RWL



* Los Angeles
- LASFS
> at the start of the decade, fandom in Los Angeles centered around LASFS
-- club was formed in October 1934; one of primary early movers was Forry Ackerman
-- by late 1950s, things had changed, with Ackerman moving on to prodom with his FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and related projects
>> Bjo Trimble had inherited the role as the lifeforce of the club
-- at start of decade, many of LASFS lived in so-called Fan Hilton
>> according to Ted Johnstone, it was "a big old house on Eighth Street. It had once been a rooming house, and sported seven bedrooms upstairs, two huge gathering rooms, a studio, a back workroom, a large kitchen, and miscellaneous closets downstairs. It was more or less love at first sight."
>> full-time residents included Bruce Pelz, Ted Johnstone, Bjo and John Trimble, Jack Harness, and Ernie Wheatley
>> there were many part-time and transient residents, including the improbable Karu Beltran
--- Karu was a magician by trade, and an accomplished sleight-of-hand artist
--- Karu was also an accomplished cook, which made him invaluable to the residents of the Fan Hilton
>>> was once sketched by Bjo standing at the stove over a huge pot, with a tentacle writhing over the edge
--- Karu had an old car parked behind Fan Hilton, which was said to contain at least one of everything in the world
>>> once, Bjo needed a mortar and pestle for a spice recipe she was working on, and Karu had one in the car's glove compartment
>>> another time, the fans in the Hilton wanted to watch a special TV program that had been advertised, but they didn't have a TV set. Karu excused himself, and returned from his car with one.
>>> "Just a minute, I think I've got one in my car" became a catchphrase in L.A. fandom
>> was site of much fan activity, from fanzines to convention planning to parties
--- many fanzines were produced in the former dining room, and duplicated by mimeograph in an area of the house that used to be a back hallway
>> LASFS met in the large downstairs living room
--- (could use a reprinted quote of some kind here, about the Fan Hilton as a LASFS meeting site)
>> in 1961, fans were forced to move out, as the building was torn down for redevelopment.
--- Ted Johnstone later wrote, "The night we finished moving out, I came back with Bruce Pelz for a last look around. The electricity had been turned off for the last time, and we went in the wide open front door with a flashlight. I stood in the hall downstairs and looked around, and thought about what a lot of fun we had had in this house, and all the wonderful things that had gone on in there in the last year and a half. Fandom was poorer for its loss."
> LASFS held its meetings every Thursday night
-- (locations of meeting sites?)
-- in April 1965, amendment to LASFS constitution was presented that moved meeting night to Fridays
>> was supported by many active members
--- Thursday night meetings were inconvenient
>> voting on amendment took place in November
--- 44 votes cast, 25 in favor, 19 against
--- was defeated; did not get necessary 3/4 needed to pass
--- Bruce Pelz laconically reported in RATATOSK: "And the status... ...remains quo."
--- LASFS continued to meet on Thursday nights for decades

> LASFS building fund
-- intention was to buy a clubhouse as a meeting spot
-- LASFS Clubhouse Fund debuted the summer of 1964, as an amendment to the LASFS constitution
>> first manager of the fund was Paul Turner
-- collected revenues from auctions, donations, grants from Westercons
>> initial pledges got the fund off to a good start, with over $700
>> one year later, money in the fund totaled over $2,000
> in May 1965, club voted to impeach LASFS secretary Jack Harness for non-feasance
-- had been late for 7 of previous 8 meetings
-- at meeting where impeachment was voted on, was so late that both the debate and final voting were over by the time he arrived
-- he was thrown out of office
>> was first successful impeachment of LASFS officer in the decade
-- following impeachment, election was held for a new secretary
>> Harness elected by a good majority

> Fanquet
-- event held yearly to honor the club member who during the past year had achieved the greatest income as a beginning professional
-- 1961: Chuck Neutzel
-- 1965: Larry Niven (event held in July)
-- 1966: Bill Ellern and Ted Johnstone (April 29)
>> 29 in attendance
>> Guest Speaker was Larry Niven

> Halloween parties
-- resembled small conventions without programming
>> always featured costume contests
-- held at member's homes
-- 1965 party (held October 30th) was interrupted by three gunshots being fired from outside into the building where party was being held
>> earlier in the evening, two party crashers had been evicted
>> Dian Pelz slightly hurt by flying wood splinters
--- one bullet had passed between Dian and Bill Rotsler as they sat talking
>> police took down information, but no arrests ever made
-- 1966 party had a theme of "come as some other LASFSian"
>> two people came as Jack Harness
>> prizes for Most Authentic (male) went to Len Bailes as Ted Johnstone and Most Authentic (female) to Helen Smith as Hilda Hoffman
--- latter, in spite of fact that Smith *hadn't* come as Hoffman; judges decided she *looked* like Hilda and awarded the prize anyway

see some of Helen Smith's memories of LA Fandom

>> prize for Most Humorous went to Hilda Hoffman as The LASFS Itself--The Snake Pit of Fandom
--- costume was complete with two live snakes
>> everyone was reported to have a good time, undoubtedly due in part because no brawls resulted because of the theme

> Anniversary Meetings
-- 28th Anniversary, in October 1962
>> featured Fritz Leiber, who read in his all-pervading voice, Chesterton's romantic poem "Lepanto"
--- was such a masterful performance, nobody thought to ask what it had to do with science fiction
>> 4th Annual Evans-Freehafer Award, for service to the club, went to Virginia Mill (reason??)
>> in attendance was Dr. C. L. Barrett, all the way from Ohio
-- 29th Anniversary, in October 1963, held at home of Jack Harness and Owen Hannifen on Halloween
>> 5th annual Evans-Freehafer Award presented to Leland Sapiro, with a certificate of recognition to Redd Boggs
>> Dale Hart spoke of the late F. T. Laney, said that Laney was "a man who embraced all that we hold dear"
--- other LASFS members present later stated that Hart spoke for no one but himself
-- 30th Anniversary, on November 5, 1964
>> Paul Turner presented with Evans-Freehafer Award for his work in setting up and administering the LASFS clubhouse fund
--- at the time of the meeting, fund totalled almost $1,000
-- 31st Anniversary meeting, October 28, 1965 (meeting no. 1472)
>> guest speaker was Robert Bloch
>> other notables included Forry Ackerman and Walt Daugherty
>> Evans-Freehafer Award, for Outstanding Service to LASFS over past year, given to Fred Patten for work as Official Collator of APA-L
-- 32nd Anniversary meeting, October
>> guest speaker was Ray Bradbury
--- spoke on the making of the movie FAHRENHEIT 451
>> 8th annual Evans-Freehafer Award given to Bruce Pelz
>> newly-created award, the Forry Award, given to Bradbury for his long service to the SF field
> publications

-- SHAGGY
>> begun in 1941 as a one-sheet page of news and publicity under the title of SHANGRI-L'AFFAIRES
>> during the 1940s, was edited by a series of very well-known fans, including Forry Ackerman, Walter Daugherty, Francis Towner Laney, and Charles Burbee
--- page count gradually increased, including material other than news, becoming a general interest fanzine
--- by end of 1940s, name had been shortened to SHANGRI-LA
>> during the 1950s, most fans had come to know the fanzine by a further shortened the name, SHAGGY
--- by mid 1950s, fanzine had started appearing sporadically, until influence of Bjo provided a revitalization
>> another factor in its late decade resurgence was that a group of L.A. fans pooled some money and bought a new Gestetner mimeograph, solving a continuing problem on how to get larger numbers of a substantially-sized fanzine published
--- last issue of 1950s, a Christmas 1959 issue, featured a large art supplement, and Bjo's fan fiction "The Littlest Fan"
>> by mid 1960s, SHAGGY was edited by Ted Johnstone
>> in 1965, new policies set up that restricted the fanzine's availability
--- no longer available for trade with other fanzines
--- contribution, subscription, LoC only way for outsiders to get an issue
--- still free to LASFS members, but only if they pick up issue within 2 meetings of publication

-- LASFS NEWSLETTER
>> begun by Bjo Trimble in 1960
--- she and a couple of co-ditors had control through issue 10 (April 1962)
>> Dian Girard soon assumed editorship, until issue 17 (June 1963)
>> Redd Boggs continued the NEWSLETTER, after a lapse, in 1963
--- published three issues, #18-20
>> Bill Blackbeard became editor in October 1963, followed by Ted Johnstone
>> ceased publication in 1965, after issue 27
--- replaced by a new LASFS newszine, DE PROFUNDIS

-- DE PROFUNDIS
>> begun in the summer of 1965 by Bjo and John Trimble
- The Blackguards
> a LASFS in-group
> members included Chuck Crayne, (others?)
> formed in January 1967
> in theory, independent of LASFS
-- had its own treasury
> planned a convention, Blackguardcon I, on Easter weekend, 1967