Friday, January 21, 2011

1989 Newspaper Article On Star Trek Fans

When you have such dedicated fans like Star Trek has inspired, sometimes the media focus goes from the show to the followers; after all, they are fun to write about. This time I'm bringing out an old article from the Friday, June 23, 1989 edition of the Charleston Gazette about the members of the local fan club in nearby Huntington, West Virginia, which I lived near at the time. This one had to be scanned in three sections then photoshopped back together. I hope you appreciate the work. :)

These fans had a lot more guts than I would have, to appear in a newspaper photo in costume. I was more of a closet Trekker, having been forced there of necessity by my step-dad while I was living at home. Even after getting married and out on my own in 1981, very few co-workers or casual acqaintances knew of my interests. But that's not to say I was any less interested than these fans; I simply kept my enjoyment to myself. I did, however, attend a couple of meetings of their club, and a convention in Charleston where Walter Koenig and Marina Sirtis were the guest stars. Star Trek: The Next Generation had premiered in 1987 and public interest was high.

There are actually two articles on the front page, and they are continued on separate pages which are posted under it; one focused on the franchise, and the other on the fans.

It would be so easy to poke fun at these un-self-conscious fans, but we're all in the same boat. If they were Star Wars fans, now, that would be different. We could laugh then.

I bet getting the lady in the wheelchair in place for the photo at the local strip mining site was difficult. If you are one of the fans in the photo, or were a part of the Huntington or Charleston fan club, and merely even lived in the area and remember the activity, leave a comment, I'd like to hear from you!

I can certainly relate to the quoted fan Jonathan Jones, who, according to the article, moved to WV from Florida, which was also my case exactly. I strongly echoed his sentiment that "West Virginia is Star Trek hell." Which meant that finding material there was a real challenge. Fans had to stick together, because collectable items were almost impossible to find.

Below, one of the movie ads that ran in the same edition of the newspaper; from them we can see that the article above was probably ran to coincide with the release of the fifth movie. Also out that week were "Batman," and "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids." The ads for those can be seen along with many others from my collection at the blog "Held Over!" at

Bonus: Below, cover art by one of my favorite genre artists, Bob Larkin. This was the cover for the 1982 Marvel comics paperback collection of issues from their monthly comic series. His covers were not only faithful to the characters, costumes and settings, but were always dynamic and colorful.

An alien, having determined the human's weaknesses, used the music of historical villain Britney Spears to incapacitate the crew.


david_b said...

I actually like that illustration.. I LOVE ST-TMP, so any decent rendering of action from that period's pretty cool to me!! I'm still actively trying to get the on-line Mego Forum folks to indulge in making some custom TMP uniforms for the Mego Trek figures.. I had the MIB 12" ST-TMP Spock for a while a few years back, but I sold him for some reason. Regrets.

Warren Zoell said...

Love your website! Great stuff!!

Frederick said...


Thanks for the comment, hope you enjoy the blog for a long time!

Rob Bignell said...

Fun article to read. On TMP illustration, given the time dilation factor, I think the aliens were broadcasting Yoko Ono rather than Britney.

pat said...

Great post!
The Bob Larkin art is beautiful, right up there with his Bama inspired cover for the TMP comic.
Any chance of seeing more great comic book Trek art, Fred?
My all time favorite Trek comic is Debt of Honor by Adam Hughes