A Dialog In Verse And Prose
Tonight we celebrate with prideful propriety
The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society!
Founded by a few fans in days of yore —
In October of Nineteen Thirty Four
For meeting places they had no criteria,
First in a garage and then a cafeteria
Eventually they found a place to meet
In a rented room on Bixel Street
That's where I found the club in all its glory
That I had read about in song and story
In fanzines where I got my fannish fix
The year was Nineteen Forty Six
In Nineteen Forty-Seven I got a treat
And was taken to the LASFS on Bixel Street.
I met Forry Ackerman, van Vogt and more
Science-fiction fans by the score.
The club moved around — oh, how it did roam!
Buildings or playgrounds or some fannish home...
For more on its venues you might take a look
At my contribution to the Memory Book
But what made the LASFS worthwhile is clear
It Is not where we met but the friends we hold dear
From our very first meetings right up to the present
So many to thank for making life pleasant
So many to thank — yes, that is quite true
But we only have time to mention a few
There was Ackerman, Daugherty, Evans and Hart,
My best friend Rick Sneary — and that's just a start...
Hold on there a minute — now don't you suppose
We should cease all this rhyming and go into prose?
Well, I could keep rhyming the rest of the night
But for brevity's sake I suppose you are right!
So why don't you mention some of the folks you met and liked over the years...
"Uncle" Forry, whose parties were wonderful no matter which Ackermansion they
happened in. To people who asked him "Have you read all these books?" he would
reply "Every last word." (When he got a new book, he would open it to the last
page and read the last word thereon.)
Walt Daugherty, who was famous for ballroom dancing and his
spaghetti-and-meatballs, as well as chairing the 4th World Science Fiction
Convention aka Pacificon I in 1946.
Ed Clinton comes to mind—for the book reviews he gave at the club. He held up a
copy of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. He then tore out a bunch of pages
from the front of the book, and said "Now, you have a good book."
Dave Fox, for his hospitality and his stories of Khorlia.
Bjo and John Trimble, A Force To Be Reckoned With!
Bruce Pelz, who said that a true leader finds in which direction his army is
going, and then runs around and gets ahead of it.
Charles E. Burbee, Jr. who was the editor of Shangri L'affairs when I joined
the club. He wrote very entertaining editorials about club meetings.
Francis Towner Laney who published Acolyte, a Lovecraftian fanzine but lost my
respect when he published his polemical memoir Ah! Sweet Idiocy! He was a
farce to be reckoned with!
Wait a minute! We are supposed to be talking about pleasant memories of friends...
Sorry about that! But Burbee and Laney were good friends for many years before
they went their separate ways. I liked Burb, not only for his humor but
because, like me, he was an old time jass fan. He had an old player piano
with lots of rolls. He also discovered that he liked baroque music and
collected phonograph records which he played at parties. We used to kid him
about going for baroque... And both of his wives were excellent cooks,
appealing to my Mexican stomach...
Another jass fan was Cyrus Banning Condra who attended his first LASFS meeting
in 1946. I wasn't there the night he showed up but he liked to tell why he
decided to join. It seems that Elmer Perdue stood up in the middle of the
meeting and asked if anyone there could tell him where to find a book entitled
How to Test Your Urine At Home. Director Russ Hodgkins banged the gavel and
said "Elmer, you are out of order!" "I know," said Elmer, "That is why I
want the book!" Cy decided then and there that this was the club for him!
I remember a special meeting — it might have been the club's 25th Anniversary—
when we were meeting in the basement room at the Prince Rupert Arms on Witmer
Street. The room wasn't quite underground as the there were windows that opened
onto the side street. We could see the feet and legs of people walking by on
It must have been a warm night as the windows were cranked open. Len was up
front doing a Pike Pickens, Tramp-Clown of the Spaceways number. A little old
lady — probably not from Pasadena — peered down into the club room and in a very
demanding voice asked "What's going on down there?"
Ray Bradbury was there that night. He might have been wearing his wonderful ice
cream suit. He strode to the window and declaimed "These are Science Fiction
People and I AM MOBY DICK!" The little old lady scurried out of sight.
Yes, I was grateful to Ray for that. That club room, sublet to LASFS and to
the Pacific Rocket Society by Walt Daugherty, was one of our better meeting
places. We had the use of the room on Thursday nights and could use it on
weekends to publish the LASFS official organ Shangri L'Affairs
It became Shangri LA when Burbee quit editing it but was changed back to
Shangri L'Affairs when Djinn Faine and Bjo took it over. They even got Burbee
— long away from LASFS — to write a guest editorial for their first issue.
The Pacific Rocket Society and the Outlander Society also published their
official organs there. As I recall most of the PRS members and all of the OS
members were also members of LASFS. Several of the Outlanders like Alan and
Freddie Hershey, Rick Sneary and I were among those who kept the club alive by
working as officers and encouraging new members to do more than simply attend
meetings and pay dues.
Eventually, we got some new members who needed little or no encouragement.
Besides the Trimbles, there were young fans like Ron Ellik, Paul Turner, Al
Lewis, Ted Johnstone , Bill Ellern and Ernie Wheatley in the Nineteen-Fifties —
to name a few. By the Nineteen-Sixties we had Bruce Pelz settling in to gouge
money for the building fund from sources where no fan had gouged before.
I married Eph Konigsberg in 1949, and as a result, I attended very few LASFS
meetings in the 50s, being as I soon became the mother of three children and
babysitters were Expensive. One of the few meetings I did attend was where Bill
Rotsler showed his stop-motion animation movie "Rock Fight".
I managed to attend South Gate in ‘58 for part of one day. Len greeted me with
enthusiasm, which I later found out was because he knew I was the one person who
wasn't going to bring up the WSFS hassle! (At that time, I had only a faint
idea of what the WSFS was.)
In 1960, I got to see a screening of The Musquite Kid Rides Again, which was
based on fan fiction by Lee Jacobs and produced by Unicorn Productions. Al
Lewis was the camera man and featured such fannish thespians as John and Bjo
Trimble, Karen Anderson, Ron Ellik, Terry Carr and Charles Burbee.
In 1963, Eph's work had him in the Bay Area, and he decided to bring me up there
to attend the Burlingame WesterCon (much to my surprise). It was a wonderful
con. The Costume contest featured Bruce Pelz as a Heavy Trooper in his
remarkable armor (made by his first wife Dian) and with a broadsword that I
could barely lift with both hands. And F. M. Busby (a short man with a mustache
and bald head) fooled everyone by shaving off his mustache and donning a bushy
Len was there without his first wife Anna, so Jessie Clinton and I tried to
cheer him up. Karen Anderson declared it the best WesterCon ever.
I think at that point in time all of us at that dead dog party felt the same way.
In 1964, Eph and I finally divorced, and I returned to LASFS meetings. APA-L
was new then, and I got involved in contributing. We met at Silverlake
Playground, but the attendant there spied on us because we weren't suppose to
charge dues and we had to find another venue. There were meetings at Tom
Digby's apartment, which was a wee bit crowded, but Very Faanish! After Len and
I married in 1966, we got involved with the LASFS Board of Directors and their
meetings. There were several years where one Moffatt or the other was on the
Board (we took turns).
I wish we had time to describe the variety
The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society
Provided in the way of lifetime friends
And happy events — no, it never ends!
You are so right there — and we are back in rhyme!
I guess we have used our allotted time...
JUNE AND LEN:
There is so much more we could recall...
Meanwhile, we thank you — one and all!