( W ) – CONTENTS:
WARDROBE / “WAW WITH THE CREW IN 52” / WEIRDROBE / WESTERN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION / WHO SAWED COURTNEY’S BOAT? / WINDSOR SF SOCIETY / WINNIPEG SF SOCIETY / WIRE RECORDINGS / WOLLHEIMISTS / WOLLHEIM STOOGES / / THE WORLD FEDERATION OF CANADIAN FANS /
— A Drobe is a person who wears a costume at a convention. A WARDROBE is of course A) a silly, mindless pun, but then aren’t they all? And B) a Drobe wearing a military costume, from any era presumably, including the future. Sadly, meant to be a derogatory term. Hardly fair, in my opinion.
I strongly suspect Wardrobe was confined to the fannish lexicon of Alberta fans circa 1970s. Doesn’t seem to have caught on anywhere else. (RR)
[ See DROBE, WEIRDROBE ]
“WAW WITH THE CREW IN 52”
– A very successful campaign slogan thought up by Shelby Vick to raise funds to bring northern Irish fan Walt Willis, famous for his “The Harp That Once Or Twice…” column in “Quandry,” to the 1952 World Convention in Chicago. Willis later wrote up his experience in a vastly entertaining con report titled “The Harp Stateside”. This campaign marked the true beginning of TAFF, the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, which is still going strong today.
— A Drobe is a person wearing a costume at a convention. A Weirdrobe is a drobe wearing a fantasy costume of some kind, role-playing or otherwise. This is meant to be a derogatory term. Fans are put down enough by non-fans, I hate to see fans putting each other down. Room enough for all I say!
I strongly suspect Weirdrobe was confined to the fannish lexicon of Alberta fans circa 1970s. Doesn’t seem to have caught on anywhere else. (RR)
[ See DROBE, WARDROBE ]
THE WESTERN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION
— The first Sf club to be organized in Calgary, Alberta. Founded 1952. I know only two things about it. First, it refused to affiliate with the Canadian Science Fiction Association, the national organization. Second, as if setting itself up in competition with the CSFA, it accepted members from anywhere in Western Canada. How successful it was, or how long it lasted, I have no idea. (JBR) (Info wanted!)
Jack Bowie-Reed in his THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION: A HISTORY, a propaganda piece strenuously advocating all Canadian fandom affiliate with CSFA, seems rather choked about WSFA’s very existence, but attempts to put his best light on the matter. His entry on WSFA in its entirety reads:
“Early 1952…saw the formation of a club in Calgary, and of clubs and fanzines in Toronto and Windsor. None of these latter organizations have affiliated with the CSFA as yet…The existence of one club, the Western Science Fiction Association in Calgary, which so far has refused to affiliate with the CSFA, should serve as a prod to CSFA and keep it from falling back into complacency. Nothing helps better than competition and the WSFA’s policy of taking members from anywhere in Western Canada should stimulate the CSFA’s activities not only in the West but also in the East concurrently. Although affiliation has been sought by the CSFA, it perhaps might be better in the long run if the WSFA never affiliated, or at least remained independent for some time to come.”
Contemporary Calgary fans listed in the 1952 CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY may possibly have been members of the WSFA. They include: Saul Berman, W. Robert Gibson, Fred Haldow, Fred Hobolow, Donald C. MacKechnie, Thelma Nadler, Edith A. Taylor, & Martin Thompson.
WHO SAWED COURTNEY’S BOAT?
— One of those fannish legends. It was a question in an ESQUIRE article of the 1950’s which American fan Lee Hoffman used as an interlineation in her fanzine QUANDRY. “Then Bob Tucker chose that particular line as an illustration for a point he made in an article on interlineations which he wrote for Joe Nydahl’s VEGA. Something about the four words, perhaps their basic rhythm combined with the grammatical ambiguity, captivated the mass soul of fandom. The line became the subject of every conceivable kind of pun. It formed the topic for learned articles. (Dean Grennell) even built a small boat, painted Courtney on it, and then wielded a saw on it.” – (HWJ)
But what was the ESQUIRE article all about? Taral Wayne came up with the full story in DNQ #31 (Aug 1980):
“‘Who Sawed Courtney’s Boat?’ Huh? Went hundreds of fans when they saw this line for the first time, probably in some forgotten fanzine. It was the perfect non sequitur. And yet it wasn’t a non sequitur at all, but had a substantial story behind it. Courtney was, in fact, one Charles Courtney, a shell racer, and..” (the American) …”national champion at that. Courtney was matched in a race..” (‘..on Chatauqua Lake, New York, on October 15, 1879…’ – HWJ) “..with the current Canadian champ, Ned Hanlan, and in rowing their shells to the spit of land now known as Hanlan’s Point, Courtney was soundly beaten. His backer raised hell and demanded a rematch, which was set for the next morning. Sometime during the night, however, Courtney’s boat, the Hop Bitters, was sawn through, and Hanlan rowed the course alone, setting a new record just to prove he could have beat him even if he had been in the race. Ned Hanlan today has a monument in the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. Charles Courtney, however, is forgotten except by fans. Sic gloria transit mundi. And no one ever did prove whether it was Hanlan or Courtney’s backer Asa T. Soule, who sawed Courtney’s boat.” – (TW)
According to a recent ( 2005 ) Canadian Government propaganda TV commercial, Ned Hanlan was Canada’s first international sports champion, ultimately (by 1886) becoming, not only the Canadian champion, but repeatedly the American Champion and the British Empire Champion. He was so good he was unbeatable, frequently toying with the competition by slowing down till they almost caught up, then picking up speed and pulling rapidly ahead. The crowds loved this. Canada’s first international sports hero. If you ask me, it was probably Courtney who sawed his own boat to avoid the humiliation of being beaten a second time.
WINDSOR SF SOCIETY
— Founded in 1949. Immediately affiliated with the Canadian SF Association at a time when the CSFA itself was slowly becoming moribund as the Hamilton club, which provided the CSFA executive, declined in membership and activity. Shortly after the Hamilton club ceased to exist in 1950, followed by the Halifax & Thames clubs as well. The Windsor SF Society found a unique method of survival, it “coalesced with the Michigan Science Fantasy Society” which was undoubtedly based in Detroit just across the river, (Bizarre factoid: Did you know Detroit is NORTH of Windsor?) (JBR)
Though the CSFA rebounded in 1951 with a new executive based in Winnipeg, I do not know if the former Windsor club members retained their CSFA memberships despite having joined the Michigan group. In any event, the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY published by the CSFA in 1952 lists a few fans who were probably still active in the contemporary Windsor SF Society and may have been members back when it was still affiliated with the CSFA. They are:
R.A. Bindner, George Chan, Mrs Richard Dimock, H.S. Evzovitch, Ronald Green, J. Hranka, Mark Johnston, Jack Kopstein, W. Mennie, C. Stewart Metchette (who lived in Detroit, but must have joined the WSFS to be counted by CSFA as a Canadian fan, or perhaps he was a Canadian who had moved to Detroit), E.G. Smith, & Kenneth M. Smockler.
[ See CANADIAN SF ASSOCIATION ]
WINNIPEG SF SOCIETY
— Founded in the fall of 1950 and immediately affiliated with the moribund Canadian Science Fiction Association. Indeed, the Winnipeg fans are credited with getting CSFA back on its feet again. They initiated a survey to find out the state of CSFA, & discovered that only the McGill/Montreal, Picton, & Winnipeg clubs were viable at the time. But their efforts brought about a new CSFA executive who in turn initiated a series of projects. “The circulating library project was picked up by the Winnipeg group and several thousand books were assembled throughout 1951 & 1952.” The WSFS lasted at least as long as the CSFA, which was still going strong at the beginning of 1953. (JBR)
In fall of 1952 the CSFA published the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY listing all known Canadian fans. It is likely most of those listed with a Winnipeg address belonged to the Winnipeg Science Fiction Society. They are:
Cecil Anderson, Edward Baranet, W.H. Belyea, Robert E. Campbell, C. Myrna Carrothers, John P. Dowling, Doris Evans, Donald Fedoruk, Barry J. Ginsburg, Ernest Grey, Miriam Halprin, Doug Harding, B.R. Holmes, R.J. Kuchta, Dennis Lethbridge, Bob Lougheed, Agnar R. Magnusson, Cyrus J. McBean, R.J. McBey, Douglas Mitchell, Harry James Mutcher, Peter Nicolas, William I. Parks, Don Paterson, Roman Pohorecky, Walton Quesnel, Richard C. Rudd, John M. Scott, Bill Searle, Albert E. Stechinsin, Richard Stillwater, Morris C. Taylor, Dr. J.R. Van Horne & Hugh Walker.
Chester D. Cuthbert, who is listed as living in St. Vital, Manitoba, in 1952, was undoubtedly a member of the Winnipeg club. He served as President of the CSFA from 1951 to 1953, & perhaps longer.
[ See CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION ]
— Wire recorders were something like tape recorders except instead of tape reels they had wire spools. They began appearing at roughly the same time as early tape recorders, circa 1947/48, and at less than half the price, around $135. In the opinion of some fans, hardly worth it as the wire had an annoying tendency to tangle. Still. some fans adopted the gizmo as the latest superduper high tech.
In 1949 Dave MacInnes recorded portions of the CinVention Worldcon on wire, making it the first con to be recorded on wire — but not the first recorded on an electronic medium, for that honour goes to TorCon 1 in 1948, whose proceedings were recorded on reel to reel tape.
In 1951 Philadelphia fan Milt Rothman showed up at the First International Con ( so-called ) in London, England and played two wire recordings LIFE CAN BE HORRIBLE and WHO GOES WHERE?, fannish parodies of contemporary soap operas. This is widely credited with stirring British fans in the direction of creating taperas a couple of years later.
In 1952 a fannish spoof REDD BOGGS — SUPERFAN, scripted by Lee Jacobs and recorded by Dave Ish was circulated among US fans. This was common. Charles Burbee, for instance, had distributed numerous wire recordings from 1949 through to 1952.
However, 1952 is thought to be the last year any fans made use of the cumbersome technology. By 1953, any fans interested in magnetic recording had switched to using tape recorders. Wire recordings are a splendid example of an advanced technology with a limited shelf life. (HWJ)
[ See BALLET ( FANNISH ), DRAMA, SONO-DISCS, TAPERA ]
— A neutral term for the quasi-political members of the clique centred around Donald Wollheim, the most prominent and active New York fan of the mid-to-late 1930s.
— A negative term for the leading supporters of Donald Wollheim back in the late 1930s. This group included Frederik Pohl (later a famous SF author), John B. Michel (the chief promoter of MICHELISM, the advocacy of turning fandom towards Stalinist Communism), Lowndes, plus a lesser bunch of fans many of whom belonged to the Young Communist League. Controversial group, to put it mildly.
[ See EXCLUSION ACT ]
THE WORLD FEDERATION OF CANADIAN FANS
— An idiotic title (implying what? An organization of Canadian fans scattered all over the world?) for a probably non-existent organization promoted by Donald Comstock of St. James, Manitoba circa 1952-1954 (Comstock is listed in the 1952 CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY). His ad for this appeared in COOL, an unpublished zine by G.M. (probably) of Winnipeg, Manitoba, two pages of which were printed in CANADIAN FANDOM #22 (Sep 1954). (CAN FAN thought COOL was American, but internal evidence suggests twas Canadian, alas.)
Comstock’s ad read in part: “WFCF – We want you!! Are you a fan — then join us in fandom and get our official organ. This club is being organized on sound business principles. Send your three dollars now for your: membership card, constitutions, letter & envelopes, stickers for ordinary envelopes, the club fanzine… So send that three dollars now!”
Three dollars is a lot of money in the early 1950s. Plus there is no information in the ad about what the WFCF actually does, or who its members are. I suspect Comstock got no takers.
[ See THE WORLD FEDERATION OF CANADIAN FANZINES, COOL & ALLEX ]