« Afterthoughts »
hat are my most vivid memories of the Cinvention?
Oh Brother! What you're asking!
So much happened in such a short time, and I met so many people and talked to so many that in some cases I'm not even sure which day it occurred. Of course the two nights before the Cinvention were used up completing mimeo work and bus riding, which might have a little bit to do with the confusion that exists as to the chronological order of events. Anyway, reached the hotel and room 100 around 6:00 AM Saturday morning.
Found Don Ford and Bok already sacked in. Don grunted. Bok stated something in doubletalk. I prowled through rooms 100 and 100A, stepping carefully around the glassware and looking things over generally. Bed looked best. Sacked in. Blackout.
Up at 8:00. Went out to Don Ford's with Don and Bok after the last load of the thousand and one things he had stored until Cinvention time. Don talked faster than Winchell all the way out to bring me up to date on the doings of the previous evening in room 100. That evening will go down in legend. I'm still picking up little details.
Bok sketched some of his friendlier little characters on Terry Anne Ford's little blackboard, thereby winning himself a new fan among the younger set.
Back at the hotel we became involved in erecting the backdrop. We were rescued by the hotel engineer and two able assistants. It went up in short order then. Nothing like professional work. Don took off to round up some of the Cinci Fantasy Group to get registration started and I did what I could to help put up the auction exhibit. Doc Barrett and son Jerry had it pretty well in hand by that time, so mainly I just hung up pictures. Was quite impressed with the velocity of Jerry. He scoured the downtown dimestores in a remarkably short time, coming back with about a bushel of large size paper clips. More help than others twice his age.
Don had his record player at the hall, and I put on a few jazz records while we were putting up the exhibit. Some of the long hairs gave dirty looks, but kindred souls recognized them for the collectors' items that they were and wandered over. Led to some interesting contacts with fellow collectors (and of course more help with the exhibit).
Finally we got the exhibit up and the PA system turned on. I said a few kind words meaning, "Shut up and sit down," and got out of the way for Charlie Tanner to officially start the show. Milled around for the rest of the afternoon being generally useful (in my opinion, at least). Don was involved in lining up speakers for the vacant spots in the program left by those who couldn't make it. Had a few minutes talk with Rog Phillips. Noted that if you stood in one place for more than a couple of minutes, Bok would pass.
Ate with Ray Palmer, Rog Phillips, Stan Skirvin. We discussed a good share of the known and the guessed at universe, all of which led to Rog getting an idea for a story plot. Hurry up Rog, I'm anxious to see how it turns out. Both Stan and I are members of the Fortean Society, but we were on our good behavior.
Listened to most of the evening program. Talked a bit with Vince Hamlin, Rog again, Bok again, Lois Miles. Found that she was a most appropriate choice for "Miss Science Fiction", even if only by chance. She really does read s-f and can talk it with the most rabid of the fans. Need I add that only the most rabid fans would? Our best to her. She did her job well.
After hours, just about everyone dropped in at room 100 at some time during the evening. Remember talking to Lou Garner and wife and perhaps ten more, but there were many, many more. Evening rather confused.
Sometime later, Stan Skirvin, Frankie Robinson and I went to the Purple Cow for a late snack. Found Poul Anderson, Judy Merrill, Fritz Leiber and Doc Winters had had the same idea shortly before us. Wordplay much too sharp for anyone as sleepy as I. Listened.
Back at the hotel. Sometime around 6:00. Don took the last ones by the hand and led them to the door. We sacked in.
8:00 again. Foo. Very foggy until noon. Bok and I had lunch. At don's. It was Terry Anne's birthday.
Back at the hotel again, rushed madly about with last minute details of the auction. Auction all afternoon. Made like an easel, holding up pictures. (On looking up the spelling, I found the word has another meaning which might also apply.)
Was again impressed with the velocity of Jerry Barrett when he made half the length of the hall in time to make off with a prize right under the nose of Harry (Bid-a-quarter) Moore.
Watched the telecast in the evening. Was rather disappointed, with the camera work, but with such a roundup of notables to represent the field, it was a good publicity break. Their well thought out replies did a great deal to help promote the field of science fiction. To me, at least, it seemed that the guests were much more at ease than the announcer.
Heard the sound of a cork being pulled, so hurried back to room 100 to find some of the Cinci group standing around getting used to the feel of a glass in the hand in preparation for the Shasta party later. A little later we went up to that affair. Not more than sixty people in the two rooms, so had one sociable drink and kept moving. Talked to numerous people briefly on each floor of the hotel on my way back down to room 100. Arrived just in time to be drawn back to the Shasta affair again to hear Dave Kyle give a reading from an anonymous publication. Dave had the last laugh when he recited another (clean) version from memory while reading the printed version to himself.
By that time some of the publicity group had departed, leaving a corner clear. Stan Skirvin and I managed to get Ted Carnell and Lois Miles to ourselves for at least two minutes. Asked him the usual questions comparing British and American fan groups. The subject must have been quite novel to him by that time.
On my way back to room 100 (once more) I stopped and chatted with two characters and a bottle who were setting up housekeeping in the hall. Have a feeling that the conversation made up in fluidity what it lacked in brilliance.
Back at the room again, found Jack Williamson, E.E. Smith, Lloyd Eshbach, Arthur J. Burks, Basil Wells, A.J. Donnell, the wives of several of them and a good share of the Cinci group.
Glanced up once to note a stranger following a glass around the room. Thought for a moment it was George O. The resemblance was remarkable. Only difference, the glass had water in it.
Found, to my great joy, that Lloyd Eshbach had plans afoot for a collection of the works of my favorite author, to be published in the not so far future. Happy day!
Some time later, Lester del Rey, Ted Carnell, Rog Phillips, Dave Kyle and Lois Miles walked in. A moment later some preposterious female smelled a cork out and tried to get in. The chain held, and with Don's help was able to get the door closed again.
Became involved in a conversation with del Rey, Stan Skirvin, Bea Mahaffey and Lois Miles. Subjects ranged from concealed weapons and their management to communication without words. With a mere glance, del Rey demonstrated how to convey such abstract ideas as "You look good to me," or "I appreciate your act". Lois did a fine job of demonstrating the subtle differences between the look meaning "Some other time", and the one meaning, "Some other time, but soon". Del Rey with, "You're not my type". Bea with the universal, "Brother, what a line!" In retaliation the entire male element joined in the equally universal, "Your zipper has slipped".
Out of all this came the del Rey formula for a successful "line". First, believe 95% of it yourself. Tell the girl 150%. She'll discount it a third, of course, and arrive at 100%, just the way you planned.
During the course of all this quiet conversation, Rog was demonstrating a few wrestling holds, which caused considerable amusement. Very professional, Rog.
After the crowd had thinned a bit (about daylight), George O. drifted in, glass in hand, and entertained us with incidents from his long career as a motorcycle enthusiast, a few limericks (which I must unfortunately leave out if this is to be published) and a few tantalizing hints at how a successful author may add sex interest to his stories. Remember particularly his droolful description of one "study in frustration". All this unfortunately led to some uncouth individual casting aspersions, whereupon Geo. 0. stood, glass in hand, and made a brilliant defense of his sterling character, which, I'm sure, left no doubts lingering in anyone's mind. We close this scene with George O. wending his lonely way to his room, glass in hand.
6:00 again. A last lucid moment of discussion with Bok.
8:00 again. Why did I get up at this unhappy hour? Ate breakfast with someone -- I think.
Back at room 100. Saw some beautiful artwork. I had missed them when they were passed around the previous evening. These were not the usual "scaley monsters", but landscapes, moonlight scenes that are really moonlit. All of his previous "scaley-monsters" were pale efforts indeed by comparison. Perhaps someday a photographer on the moon may take a fine bromoil print of an alien landscape with every detail perfectly balanced, but until then, I'll take Bok.
Sometime later ate chili with Rog Phillips, Bok and Stan Skirvin. Bok left a trail of his famous mice all the way back. On the top of the restaurant table, on steamy windows, street signs. Wonder if the waiter knew, as he wiped the table, that he was destroying a Bok original?
Got in on the wind up of the main auction and part of the fan auction. Somewhere along in here, Stan, Don and I managed to slip in and play "Head Rag Hop" for A.J. Donnell. More dirty looks from the longhairs. They just ain't livin'.
If all this isn't in chronological order, never mind. I'm happy in my ignorance.
Biggest thrill. Meeting Bok and his pictures.
Regrets. Not many. I didn't get to talk to everyone I'd have liked to, but on only 22 hours of waking time per day, I did what I could.
Sorry there wasn't time to wedge in a Fortean Society meeting.
Sorry Tucker wasn't prepared when Ted called on him for a speech. His reports are famous. I'd have liked to have heard that one.
I hereby make a formal motion that "Cocaine Lil", who has been inflicted upon three conventions, be restrained, preferably by force, from any future appearances.
See you in Portland. Yours, s\Roy Lavender