Since the early-70s, fans have come together at organized events to share their passion and love for the Star Trek franchise in a communal situation with other fans. In a video posted by ultimessence on Youtube, we’re given a glimpse at one of the earliest Star Trek conventions — which took place in Denver, Colorado during the fall of 1976.
Emanating from the Northglenn Mall, the video is hosted by “Chad McCoy” and includes interviews with fans at the convention, a look at some Star Trek “paraphernalia” on display, a quaint costume contest, Leonard Nimoy signing autographs and James Doohan on stage.
You can check out the video embedded below.
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.
This year, several conventions are scheduled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, the largest of which is Creation Entertainment’s annual Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. That event, which takes place in August, has already sold several thousand tickets and will include more than 100 Star Trek guests. When contrasted with the video above, it’s fascinating to see just how much conventions have evolved and grown in the last 40 years.
According to DeadMalls.com, the Northglenn Mall ultimately met its demise and was demolished in 1998.
Do you have a favorite Star Trek convention memory? Share it with us in the comments section below.
March 15, 2016 at 10:30 am
The guy mispronounced ‘Caitian,’ but.. props. I didn’t realize Trek culture had already reached that level of geekery by ’76.
Also, those in-camera phaser and transporter effects… someone put a lot of extra effort into this. (Not the host, who apparently only got one take per bit).
Thanks- this was a ton of fun; a great time machine back to the way our modern fandom began.
March 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm
I’m not sure you could call the phaser and transporter effects “in-camera” — they were almost certainly Sharpie applied to the Super 8 film after processing. I’ve got a reel somewhere with me in a uniform holding a phaser where we tested several different “on-film” effects for the beam — Sharpie and scratching the film are the ones I remember.
March 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm
You’re right; direct-to-film? Not sure precisely what you’d call that (except that I used the wrong term); from the ol’ Flash Gordon school of sfx. I respect the heck out of those days, when effects were far more about mechanical innovation and physical manipulation than digital trickery. (Albeit, this represents the distinctly low-end of that field). 😉
March 31, 2016 at 11:25 pm
I think it had been bigger before — the first convention was — I believe — 1972 in New York. They were getting thousands of people attending by 1976. But this little show, with those appearances by Nimoy and Doohan, typifies the kind of innocent enjoyment — and love for the show — at those early conventions. The show was getting played every day in major markets to big ratings and merchandising was ramping up (MEGO). Have to say it — Star Trek hadn’t become “the franchise” yet. Thanks to whoever posted this film.
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