Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Very Short History of A Lost East Tennessee Fandom

My wife Jean and I became heavily involved in Nashville Fandom in 1972, working on the first two Kubla Khans among other activities. However, in 1975, the job market took us to Roane County, about 30 miles west of Knoxville. At first we attended a few club meetings in Knoxville, but found things a little dull after Nashville. So, thanks to Irvin Koch’s address book, we got in contact with some unorganized locals and started our own club in Kingston. Unfortunately, records are lost in storage, so this will be a very sketchy and incomplete record of that group.
We sent cards to several people on Irvin’s list and got our first response from Roger Caldwell. We also spoke with Janie Lamb who attended whenever her schedule allowed it. (Janie had been heavily involved with the National Fantasy Fan Federation for many years.) We started having meetings at the Kingston Community Center with about five people, most now forgotten, and dubbed the group The East Tennessee Science Fiction Association (ETSFA). At the same time I continued by activities with the N3F and published “Bar Stool” for the apa. Roger was also doing some publishing for comic apas and producing fan art.
By 1976 we had an active little group and planned a small con to be held in Harriman the following year, Harcon I (and, as it turned out) only. It was a small con held at the Harriman Holiday Inn with folks from Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and other points south attending; close to 80 people in all. Jeannie and I were co-chairs, Roger Caldwell, Janie Lamb, Ritchie Dean and a couple of others were the committee. We had a small film program, a few hucksters and a few panels. Our GoH was an aerospace instructor from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. We had a good time and planned another, but our date the next year was taken by CoastCon and the convention calendar was getting pretty heavy, so we just decided to be con attendees.
The club gained new members including Brad Clagg, Scott Young, Mary Ann Ennis and we wound up merging with a budding Trek group in Harriman started by Reese Bain. Interests expanded with the growing membership including film collecting (pre-video days) and war gaming. Meetings moved to a fine old building in Harriman and we drifted on a few more years.
Some members became regulars at the midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We had some fun Halloween parties, and a bunch of us would travel to Kubla Khan and Chattacon. We had about three very active years in all.
Early in 1978 Jeannie and I became heavily involved in community theatre and gradually gafiated, except for a brief fling at working on Xanadu during its run. The ETSFA quickly fell apart as interests changed among the other members and Roane County’s organized fandom slipped into oblivion.

Still, a few of us kept up a few fannish activities such as attending cons and publishing. Jeannie and I joined X-APA (devoted to X-Men), along with Roger. Roger and I also published zines for CAPRA, the movie apa. I was involved with DAPA-M (mystery apa) and Roger was in a couple of other comic related apas. Scott became involved with film collecting. And all of us travelled en masse to Sci Fi movie showing. We became involved with a bunch from Oak Ridge, including Wayne & Claudia Walls and were involved with gaming (board and role playing). Keith Tarpley, last heard of as living in Knoxville, also became involved in the group and contributed computer skills which were fairly new at that time.
Now Jeannie and I have again become involved in Nashville fandom, and Roger Caldwell was still publishing zines for apas not too long ago. We worked on the last two Xanadu conventions of 2004 and 2005. And here I am, trying my hand a writing again.
I hope this sparks some memories in other folks and the record can be completed and probably corrected.


Post a Comment