I was hoping that a few more fans than just Len Bailes and myself would turn out for the Savoy-Artes' performance of "H.M.S. Pinafore" last Saturday, but I wasn't expecting enough to make a real fannish theater party. To my happy surprise, the complete roster of attendees included Chuck and Sally Crayne, John and Bĵo Trimble, Ma Zimmer, Ernie Wheatley, Dave Hulan and Tina Hensel, Don Fitch, and Len & myself. A larger attendance than we have when I try to set up a theater party in advance. Maybe I should stop trying to plan these things so thoroughly and let them happen spontaneously.
The performance was quite enjoyable. For once, the entire cast was composed of people who could sing loudly and enunciate clearly. The production was lively enough, though the choreography was a bit limp. The set was fine; the costumes presented a mixed appearance, Sir Joseph's and Capt. Corcoran's being superb (and obviously rented), and the rest being just thrown together out of available materials, with varying degrees of success. Still, in the important respects -- vocally, timing, spirit -- the production left little to be desired. I'd rather have seen "Iolanthe", but this was a good version of "Pinafore".
Afterwards, we all went over to a nearby comic shop, and spent an hour or so in conversation. It was a fun evening, just like fannish theater parties used to be. I hope we can repeat the experience when the Savoy-Artes do "The Pirates of Penzance" in another couple of months.
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The U.N.C.L.E. novel on which Ron Ellik and Steve Tolliver collaborated is out. It's The Cross of Gold Affair; #14 in the series, by "Fredric Davies".
It's neither the best nor the worst of the lot. It's a lot more sensible and better constructed than the bombs by Avallone and some others. But it doesn't have the real U.N.C.L.E. spirit that Johnstone, Coulson & DeWeese, and Leslie have captured, although it comes close at times, and does succeed at the very end. And while Johnstone can't maintain feminine interest, this book throws away the plot, using it only to get Napoleon & Illya up to Thrush's doorstep -- the book is really devoted to their experiences getting into & out of Thrush HQ, which makes an interesting story, but which I can't help feeling is a sub-plot gotten out of hand. As a first book, it's good, but not great.
Bruce Pelz -- When is the Blackguard's sudden death minigolf tournament going to be rescheduled? And how about a Blackguard Diplomacy tournament? ## I'm interested in trying out the Wilshire Walk, but I'm wondering how I'll get to the starting point? If I drive in to L.A. from Santa Ana and park anywhere around #1 Wilshire, how do I get back to my car from Santa Monica? By the time we reach there, and have the party at your place, it'll be late in the evening, to say the least, and I don't look forward to a long bus ride into L.A. at that prospective hour. Besides, it's expensive to park downtown all day. How are other people reaching the starting point? And what's the starting time? How long does it take to walk 16 miles, anyway?
Don Fitch -- I wonder if the science-fiction field is the only area of bibliophilic collecting that doesn't embrace the usual customs associated with the general field of book collecting? S-f collectors (a group not synonymous with fandom, but much smaller) usually want, at most, a complete copy of the text of those stories they desire. To find a real Heinlein collector, say, who wants not only a copy of everything Heinlein wrote but a copy of every edition of everything Heinlein ever wrote, is very rare. Given a choice, fans may take a hardback over a paperback, and a regular trade edition over a Doubleday SFBC edition, but if they get one, they won't go out of their way to replace it with another. Most of the terminology unique to bibliophiles -- first-state, boards, binding-cloth, lining-papers -- is meaningless to s-f collectors. Fans may be readers, and lovers of literature, but few are booklovers in that they care for the physical package in which the text appears, for itself. ## It's just occurred to me that another once-standard LASFS practice that's practically disappeared is bookstore browsing. We may do it individually, but when's the last time a group of fans decided to make the rounds of the second-hand bookstores together? I run into fans at the newsstands from time to time, checking for the latest magazines and paperbacks, but I can't recall when was the last time I met one in a bookstore, new or used. (Yes, I can; it was Blake Maxam, in a used-book store on Hollywood Blvd., a couple of months ago.) After the Wilshire Walk, a bookstore-browsing party might be nice. We could start on Hollywood Blvd., wandering between Highland and Vine; there's close to a dozen bookstores and magazine stands within those ten blocks. Then we might drive out to Pasadena, and cover that whole town. Even if we don't expect to buy much, the looking in convivial company is a lot of fun. ## When will the Rose Garden in Exposition Park be in full bloom? And when will the Arboretum be likewise?
Dian Pelz -- I've thought of getting a new typewriter from time to time, but as long as this old one I bought from Bruce is serviceable, I'll probably just keep on using it. It's developed a few annoying tricks, as various people who tried using it during the recent one-shot session discovered, but I'm familiar with them & can compensate for them. I like its European keyboard, too; the [ ]§ ç ¨ ˆ and ´ keys come in very handy, especially when writing to Belgium for comic books. I miss a few of the keys on the American keyboard, such as the fractional key and the cent sign, but they're easy to jury-rig. So 1/2 takes 3 spaces instead of only 1; so what? ## This typer is the one Bruce used for the first couple of years after he got into fandom and it's the one I've been using for the last five years. I guess it's one of the more venerable typers in fandom. It's probably one of the few to see major service under more than one fan, too. ## I think that I was the one being nostalgic with you about Wheeler and Woolsey movies. Or if there's another Wheeler & Woolsey fan around, I'd like to meet him/her. In some respects, I regret the fact that there's not enough old-time movie lovers around to make a regular program of old films practical. Even if we could eliminate the disadvantages that were inherent in the Booby Hatch's Friday-night film theater, though, which I don't think we can -- just now -- there still aren't enough of us to make the rental of old films financially practical. ## I can't figure out Madman's Drum.
Mac McCaughan -- I heard an identical conversation in Collectors over a year ago. I wonder how often Malcolm has to go through that routine?