Toronto makes The Making of the Trek Conventions

“This was a lovely con, well run and lots of fun.” — Joan Winston

The 1970s was the age of semi-professional Star Trek fan publications, including Franz Joseph’s Star Fleet Technical Manual and Star Trek Blueprints, Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual, Letters to Star Trek by Susan Sackett, and Star Trek Concordance by Bjo Trimble. 

And The Making of the Trek Conventions by Joan Winston. A guest at Toronto Star Trek ’76, she had previously written Star Trek Lives! with Sondra Marshak and Jacqueline Lichtenberg. Her first solo book included a brief yet glowing overview of the convention.

Author Joan Winston and Star Trek actor Grace Lee Whitney share the captain's chair at Toronto Star Trek '76
Joan Winston and Grace Lee Whitney. Photo by Frank Goodman

The following excerpt starts on page 195 of the book.

The cover of Joan Winston's book The Making of the Trek Conventions.

Toronto is one of my favourite cities and when chairperson Elizabeth Pearse asked me to be a guest, I was delighted. Jackie (Lichtenberg) was to be one too, and this doubled my pleasure. 

This was a lovely con, well run and lots of fun… 

[One of the MCs] told me he was going to introduce Nichelle Nichols because they were going to play a little joke on her. One of the papers had called her “staggeringly beautiful.” He wanted all the fans to stand up when he started to introduce her, and as she walked on stage he would announce the “staggeringly beautiful” Nichelle Nichols and everyone was to stagger back and collapse in their seats. The fans loved the idea and everything went according to plan, including Nichelle’s shock and then laughter.

This was also the con where I met Grace Lee Whitney. Talk about beautiful — a silvery blonde with a gorgeous tan and a figure to match. A really nice person. The fans adored her. She would sign autographs and pose for pictures by the hour. Well, it was one of her first cons!

By the way, the stage was fitted out with a beautiful replica of the Enterprise bridge. Elan “Lani” Litt had come up to Toronto with me. We were talking to Mark (pant, pant, pounce, pounce) Lenard in the con suite… Just then a Dorsai [the volunteer security staff] marched in and asked if anyone could weld. Lani’s eyes lit up, and she dashed out with him. That was the last I saw of her till eight-thirty the next morning. She had been helping the Dorsai put the bridge together the whole night!

It was a beauty. And the lights and buttons and stuff worked, too. That’s what took so long. Well… I got to know the bridge, too. No I didn’t weld, I unscrewed. (Watch it there, fellas.) I unscrewed a lot of screws, Phillips and otherwise, for about two hours before we had to go to the airport. Had a great time. Kill me, I like to unscrew screws! 

As I said, it was a lovely con. It’s a shame Elizabeth lost so much money. A lot of cons started going to the cleaner’s around this time, usually because of bad planning, or not realizing that their area will support a small con but not one set up for five thousand or more. Since Elizabeth had planned hers very well, it must have been because of the summer weekend when the Olympics were in Montreal or that Toronto just did not have more than the four-thousand-odd (and some were very odd) fans who came.

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