Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, November 2, 1966. Intended for Apa L, 107th Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1526, November 3, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 36321.
|New York in 1967!||Los Angeles - Tokyo in 1968!||Salamander Press #212.|
This year's Halloween Costume Party was a bit smaller than last year's, both in the number of people present and in the percentage of attendees costumes. It was very enjoyable as a small party, though; you don't really want large masses of close-packed people at a costume party, anyway.
I arrived at the Booby Hatch at about 8:00 p.m., after a successful afternoon of book-browsing in Hollywood; the final crepe decorations were just being hung up and the nibblements set out. Ten or fifteen people were already there, the majority of whom were either uncostumed or only desultorily so. (Contrariwise, most of the good costumes that were to appear during the evening were also already there.) Over the next hour and a half, more people drifted in, until we reached a total attendance of 30 or 35 people. The party remained relatively quiet, except for Bruce Pelz and Frank Coe, who came costumed as Gretchen Schwenn and Bruce Pelz, respectively, and were being very loudly in character. There was a small folk-singing group out on the front steps, but for the most part, people just drifted into and out of small conversational groups. We had a couple of inadvertent party crashers who mistook us for the local fraternity Halloween Party, but when they didn't recognize anybody, they asked for directions to the correct address and left quietly. About the only excitement was provided by Frank Coe, who had a couple of new idiotic schticks: collapsing on the floor with a thud that shook the house, and then pretending to be a robot and marching mechanically across the house through furniture, conversational groups, and anything else in his way. He repeated this throughout the evening at about ten-minute intervals. I'm not sure whether he was stinking drunk or just pretending to be stinking drunk; I didn't see him drinking anything beside the free soda pop. Hilda Hoffman made a hit in a more positive way, coming in costume as "New York's idea of L.A. as the snake pit of Fandom", with a couple of live baby boas (a South American constrictor and a local Californian rosy) which got petted and fondled until they became so nervous they had to be retired for the night.
There weren't more than ten really good costumes at the whole party. Most of these were based on a physical resemblance between the masquerader and the subject, though there were a couple of very imaginative exceptions. Len Bailes came as Ted Johnstone in his Honda outfit, duplicating the chin fuzz and clothes and allowing the motorcycle helmet and goggles to cover over the other less-corresponding facial features. Jay Freeman came as Jack Harness, with a red shirt that was loud to just the right degree, his blond hair combed over his forehead in the way Jack's gets, and a large foil-covered Scientological cross. Helen Smith wore an olive drab worksuit and beret; I thought she was supposed to be Hilda Hoffman until I saw the Datsun badge on her pocket and realized she was Jack Newkom. Bruce Pelz showed more ingenuity in not trying to copy someone exactly, but coming as a caricature of Gretchen Schwenn, with scraggly red-brown twine hear, a Fury-like screaming mask, an enormously padded breast-structure, and a pair of serving tongs which he kept clacking loudly in anticipation of the arrival of Jack Harness and his buttocks. Dian came as a caricature of Katya Hulan, in a yellow dress and showing more cleavage than is usually seen outside of a topless bar. Bill Rotsler capitalized on his resemblance to Paul Turner, and came in the white tennis outfit that Paul's been affecting since seeing "The Great Race", with an American shield "Captain Hero" badge on the front of it. Frank Coe, who has grown a Pelzian beard (and does look rather like a 100+-lb version of Bruce), came in basic black and armed to the teeth. Hilda arrived late, in an Oriental dancer's scanty costume with the two aforementioned snakes coiling over her. And, there were various minor costumes of varying complexity, though none spectacular enough to compete seriously for prizes.
Bruce, who had charge of the party, had earlier appointed me as one of the judges, along with Don Fitch and Dave Fox (since we weren't in costume for competition). We spent the first couple of hours of the party wandering about, observing everybody and getting helpful pointers from Bruce that somehow always managed to put all the other costumes in a much worse light than his own. ("Have you noticed that Coe's making several mistakes in his impersonation of me? I don't smoke, I never wear a gun, and when I do wear swords and knives I don't take them out and wave them about in a crowded room.") As we were about to retire to compare notes, Bruce suggested that we announce the fact that the judging was closing, for the benefit of anybody who wanted to get in any last-minute dramatic performances to count; we did so, and Bruce promptly peeled off his own Gretchen-costume to stand revealed in an Owen Hannifen-costume under it. There were no other dramatic performances.
After postponing the judging a couple of times to wait for expected late arrivals, Don, Dave, & I finally walked out onto the sidewalk to pick the six winners. Bruce had set out six prize categories, for Most Authentic, Most Humorous, Most Insulting, and three Judges' Choices which we could either arrange into three more categories or just give as Judges' Choices #1, #2, #3. Fortunately, we didn't have too many more costumes than we had prizes, so the judging became mainly a matter of making the categories fit the costumes. We all agreed with little debate on Len Bailes for Most Authentic, Bruce for Most Insulting (for his Gretchen-costume), and Hilda for Most Humorous. For the other three prizes, we agreed that Dian should get one for Most Sexy, and then we got stuck for a moment, because the only other three costumes that were at all good all fell into the Most Authentic category, which had already been given. After a bit of thought, we decided that we should break the Most Authentic category down into Most Authentic - Male and Most Authentic - Female, which would allow us to get Helen Smith in -- and since we all also felt that she looked more like Hilda than Jack Newkom, no matter who she thought she was portraying, we gave her the award on that point. (Actually, aside from the Datsun badge, there was really no comparison with JG. Helen just does not resemble JG physically, whereas she is about Hilda's size; both JG and Hilda wear those Army clothes; and JG does not usually wear a military beret, while Hilda invariably does.) This left two contenders and one prize; Freeman's and Coe's costumes were about equally good, but we couldn't think of any category other than the already-awarded Most Authentic that Jay could qualify for, while the temptation to name Frank as the Most Disgusting person of the evening proved overpowering. (We also wondered if giving Coe any prize at all might be a Bad Thing in that it would encourage him to come back, but then we decided that since he's unlikely to stay away from any gathering that has girls and free food in any case, what the heck?) So we went in, and announced the winners, and almost got lynched by Helen and JG and Hilda, which made our Trick of the evening very worth while. (Such opportunities are rare, and should not be allowed to escape when they do present themselves.) John Trimble took colored Polaroid photos of the winners (which were their prizes), Jack Harness arrived Late As Usual in his costume, and I left as the party showed signs of running out of food and turning into the usual card/snogging session, and I decided I might as well go home to fall asleep since I was sure I was about to do so within the next half-hour anyhow.
Don Simpson -- Well, I asked for a Halloween cover, and I got one. I'll admit that I thought this red would show up a bit more brightly on the black, but all in all it's pretty impressive in its own right, as it turned out. We'll have to try more experimentations like this in the future.
Tom Digby -- SHAGGY should not be revived as a reprint fanzine! I state this as a general rule, not an absolute; SHAGGY has featured reprints before and will doubtlessly do so again. But it should not be published with the intent of featuring primarily reprint material from anywhere else. If you want to run a reprint zine, there're enough in existence that you can use without turning SHAGGY into one. I think Terry Carr has a couple that he doesn't seem to be doing anything with these days. At any rate, SHAGGY is supposed to "reflect the LASFS image" and all that, and there's no point in showing that we have nothing new to say. I don't see what the vital need is for bringing SHAGGY back, even at the point of changing it into something it never was before and shouldn't be now. While SHAGGY has to have an individual editor, it is still the club fanzine, and should not exist without club support, and right now it just doesn't seem to have that support. I say again: why doesn't Flieg prove his qualifications to publish SHAGGY by either bringing out a better-looking and more regular HIPPOCAMP, or putting out a few issues of SHANGRI-LA first? This will show what Flieg can really do, and it'll show how much the club really supports the idea of reviving SHAGGY. Why the insistence that we revive SHAGGY now, immediately, when nobody knows how it'll turn out? HIPPOCAMP or SHAGGY-LA would be Flieg's own, to do what he wants with, to turn into Apa L reprint zines if he wants, without having to worry about representing the whole club. ## Your monster Puppy waiting at the edge of the universe sounds more like William Hope Hodgson than HPL.
Bruce Pelz -- Considering that there is such mixed feeling about reviving SHAGGY at this time, it might be better to call for a vote on it, rather than deciding arbitrarily whether to bring it back or leave it dormant. The point again is that it isn't as much a matter of what Flieg does with his fanzine as it is what he does with the club's fanzine; and if you, personally, don't care what the result is, some of the rest of us do. If Fred's issue is good, then that will kill off the yammering about SHAGGY-Si or -No, true; on the other hand, if it isn't good, you'll have a lot more yammering to kill it off again, or give the editorship to somebody else. Again, I say let's see what Fred can do with something else first, or at least find out if the majority of the club supports the idea of his jumping right into SHAGGY without a trial first. It's true that the Director usually has appointed SHAGGY's editor without troubling to consult the club on the matter first, but that was at a time when everybody supported SHAGGY's continuation, and nobody had any doubts about the abilities of the Director's appointee; and things are a bit different at present. ## To pinpoint my entrance into Fandom, I discovered it when I attended my first LASFS Meeting, which was (I believe) the last Meeting in July, 1960, in about the last two months of the club's stay at Zeke Leppin's home. So I'm one of the older of your "recent" fans. (And I'm sure glad I discovered Fandom in time to be a part of the halcyon Fan Hillton group.)
Al Lewis -- Your s-f & fantasy course sounds odder and odder. The professor seems to be giving a good coverage of a lot of the fringe areas of the field, but I gather that so far he hasn't really concentrated on any of the hard-core aspects of the literary field. ## "you photographers" does not include me; I don't have a camera. I have to use what I can find in getting photos, which at present is Digby's Polaroid, and that's it. If someone will donate the services of a better camera, excellent; until then, it's a Polaroid or nothing.