Monday, May 10, 2010

1976 Federation Trading Post Article

The fun stuff this time comes from the first issue of the short-lived, but memorable (and cumbersomely titled) "All About Star Trek Fan Clubs" magazine, published in December of 1976.
(Click on images to enlarge.)

I've posted an entry about this magazine before here, along with a cover gallery, so check that out too. The article I'm featuring this time is about the legendary (among Trek fans) specialty shop "Federation Trading Post," co-founded and operated in California by Charles Weiss and Ron Barlow, who was known to fans such as me from his work on the great newspaper "The Monster Times." The New York branch was manned by the also-legendary fan-turned-pro Doug Drexler. Although both were far from me (I had the "Starship Enterprises" stores in south Florida for my fan fixes), I was aware of them, and enjoyed reading about them in this in-depth article. Please contribute any memories or facts you may have in the comments section!

Poor "Fake Balok" only wishes the article writer had spelled his name right.

All I'm doing here is posting a magazine article from the past about it, but Doug Drexler himself is the one with the real treasures. To hear all about it from the source, read his blog entry with loads of info and awesome photos from the FTP East!

Update: Doug commented this on my Facebook post about the article: "Frederick! I'm astonished whenever I visit your site. It's like my ultimate 1976 magazine stand exploded! This article is amazing. That's back when Paramount couldn't care less about Trek. Creative and industrious fans kept it growing. Thanks for posting this!" -Doug Drexler

One of the things highlighted in the article is the hunger fans had for accurate replicas of the show's props, at a price affordable by most. We have a good number of that kind of thing today, with very nice prop replicas that have lights and sound, for a reasonable price, off the store shelves. But back then it was a dream, and only those fans with a good job or generous parents could get their hands on these kinds of things. For myself, I had the kid-sized "Exploration Set" model kit, and the water-gun phaser, and that was it until only a few years back when I bought the Playmates version of the "big three." Fans with more money than I can get the Diamond Select replicas, lucky people! But the fact is, having accurate and life-sized replicas are within the reach of the average fan now, and we are fortunate for that.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Great article--I have it, but hadn't read it in years and years. I wonder if Ron Barlow is still around, particularly, if he's still involved in Trek fandom?

Frederick said...


I'd like to know that too. Perhaps if Doug reads this and comments, he'll let us know!

david_b said...

LOVE this blog..! Yes, I'm always very fond of the 'grass-roots' innovation when it comes to fandom, without the aid, abetting and exploitation by corporate franchises.., which is why I liked the Galactica fandom a few years back (prior to the revised series). It was just fun, being in large hotel conference areas, where the stars get out from behind autograph tables and actually mingle with guests, pose for pics, etc.., very reminiscent of the 70s Trek. I remember asking George Takei back in '78 at a Wisconsin Trek Convention about his city council activities in LA.. "How did you know about that", he asked. I proudly said 'Starlog'..! Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

I went there in 75 or 76. I remember the barrel of Tribbles AND listening to the tapes of the show – which then gave my nine-year-old brain an idea. As soon as I got a chance, I took apart my dad’s 19″ Philco TV and wired an rca cable to the speaker, ran it into our stereo and recorded just about half the shows of of WPIX Channel 11 in NY. Those tapes are still at my dad’s house. 75 (or 76) was also the year there was a convention in the city. I remember going with my dad, but it was mobbed and we never got in. I still remember all the yelling. People were pissed! And, in later years, when I discovered that the show was in COLOR – Oh my god…. Now, the Blurays have knocked me out all over again.

Frederick said...

Thanks for sharing the memories! That sounds like me and all the things I went through to tape the show off of TV when it was in re-runs. I couldn't take apart the family TV, so I was limited to sticking the Radio Shack tape recorder mic up to the speaker, which was not good when other noises come in. I then bought a radio that could pick up the TV audio band, and plugged my tape recorder directly into it, for perfect sound! Boy, was I happy then!

ACS Shap said...

I have no idea what made me think of the STTP but I just Googled it and found this page. I had to be around 11 years old when my dad brought me there. I've been a rabid fan of ST for as long as I can remember. I too, remember the Tribble barrel. My dad bought me a Tribble, of course..... A poster of the crew.... ST Blueprints.... And a dollar bill with Kirks face on it. It was a fantastic time to be a kid. Thanks again for the great memories.