Recordings of the 1970 San Diego Comic-Con #1: Listen to them Here!

January 8, 2010

The following audio recordings were made at the first, full San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con (as it was known in those heroic days of yore). The convention dates were August 1st through 3rd, 1970. The site was the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. The audio segments are presented in the order they were recorded.

The recordings were made on seven-inch reel-to-reel tapes. The equipment may have been a used recorder that I (Mike Towry) had purchased from Bob Sourk, who had been Comic-Con Chairman at the time of San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Minicon in March 1970 but had stepped down afterwards. I’m not certain this was the recorder used, but the recordings did suffer from an incorrect speed, which was a problem I had with that old recorder. Fortunately, Eric Van der Wyk (of CustomAudioCDs.com), who does expert digitizations, was able to correct for this when he transferred the tape recordings to CD.

The tapes were given to me by Shel Dorf’s old friend Charlie Roberts who had in turn received them from Shel’s brother, Michael Dorf. So, a big thanks to Charlie and Michael!

And now, without further ado, here are the recordings:

[Please note: If you are reading this via email or a news reader, you may need to visit the web site at http://www.comicconmemories.com/2010/01/08/recordings-of-the-1970-san-diego-comic-con-1-listen-to-them-here in order to listen to the audio and view the video.]

Channel 39 Pre-Con Interview of Shel Dorf (00:01:52)
by reporter Natalie Best

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Opening Remarks (00:22:07)
by Comic-Con Chairman Ken Krueger, Founder and Advisor Shel Dorf, Secretary Barry Alfonso, and Committee Member Scott Shaw!.

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Ray Bradbury (00:54:57)
Introduction by Ken Krueger. As you’ll hear, Ray speaks as wonderfully as he writes.

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Ray Bradbury on Stan Freberg (00:02:04)
Here is an excerpt from the Bradbury talk where Ray speaks about legendary humorist (not to mention Comic-Con and Wondercon guest) Stan Freberg and the “Brave New Prune” television commercial he did with him. Following this audio clip is video of the commercial.

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Bradbury and Freberg “Brave New Prune” Commercial

Program updates from Ken Krueger (00:01:47)

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Shel Dorf reads and comments on a history of comic books and chats a bit (00:07:25)

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Mark Hanerfeld, officially representing D.C./National (00:43:15)
Introduction by Shel Dorf. Mark was a New York-based super-fan who became a professional comics writer and editor. (For more information about Mark, including the important role he played in encouraging East-Coast comics professionals to start attending the San Diego Comic-Con, see Mark Evanier’s article at http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2010_01_08.html#018332.)

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Jack “King” Kirby (00:48:53)
Introduced by Mark Hanerfeld.

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Science-fiction panel discussion led by Ken Krueger (01:36:02)
Ken was a member of science fiction’s “First Fandom,” an attendee at the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, and Chairman of Comic-Con #1. The panel included Ken’s good, young friends Scott Shaw! (since become an award-winning professional cartoonist), Roger Freedman (now astronomy and physics professor at UCSB and author of some of the most widely used astronomy and physics textbooks), and Greg Bear (who went on to become a Hugo and Nebula award winning professional science-fiction author). Audience participants included Comic-Con Founder Shel Dorf and John Hull. (John was a longtime science-fiction fan and illustrated children’s book collector who was Ken’s partner in the San Diego, Ocean Beach community bookstore that served as a frequent meeting place and hang-out spot for the early Comic-Con Committees.) Topics of discussion included author A.E. van Vogt, the superman in science fiction, and sex in science fiction. The recording was started soon after the panel had begun.

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More program and convention updates and info from Shel Dorf and Ken Krueger (00:06:09)
This clip begins with Ken talking about Philip Wylie’s science-fiction novel Gladiator. As Ken explains, a chapter from this novel was “adapted” for the 1938 comedy film The Gladiator starring Joe E. Brown, which was shown at the convention.

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Morrie Turner, creator and cartoonist of the “Wee Pals” comic strip (00:30:16)
Introduction by Shel Dorf.

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Still more updates from Shel Dorf and Ken Krueger (00:00:56)

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Earl Kemp, professional writer/publisher (00:12:50)
Introduction by Ken Krueger.
Earl Kemp is a Hugo-winning fan writer/publisher and convention organizer who has had an interesting and controversial professional publishing history that you can read about at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Kemp. Also, this audio clip begins with Shel informing the audience that the dealers room would continue to remain closed during guest appearances. As you can tell from the clip, this was rather unpopular with the attendees. In fact, Earl himself wanted to hurry up his own presentation so that he and everyone else could go to the “huckster room”. (This practice of shutting down the dealers room during talks, unpopular though understandable, was discontinued by Richard Alf when he was Chairman of the next year’s Comic-Con in 1971.)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack Bertram January 22, 2010 at 2:28 am

This is amazing! I was there at the 1970 Comic-Con. I was 15 and my mother drove me down there from L.A. It was a big thing for me, my first contact with fandom in the flesh. I mostly remember Jack Kirby and Ray Bradbury. They auctioned off some sketches that Kirby did, right there in person, and to my surprise my mom bid on it and won it. I still have it today. I didn’t know that they had recordings like this. Fantastic!

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Chris Duffy January 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for these!

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Jackie Estrada January 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm

This is the first I’ve heard that Morrie Turner appeared at the first Comic-Con. I was also unaware that Brad Anderson and Virgil Partch both did programs!

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Robert Beerbohm January 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

Just began listening to these recordings from a by-gone era when we were mostly starry eyed fans drinking it all in – thanks for posting these clips – are there more mayhaps out there to be found?

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GREG KOUDOULIAN January 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Thanks Mike, audio Time Machine Kool. Now I can mp3 all of it. I can have Shel, Ken and the rest of my brothers, to keep me company. THE EL CORTEZ ALUMNI VIPS FOREVER. It’s enjoyable and emotional.

The fellowship unyielding, the friendship forever, and the Alfship is volumes. Cortez years 72-78 best time of our lives.

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