The 1981 El Cortez “Cocktail Party”

February 14, 2011

From my previous epistle, you are aware that the Comic-Con committee was allowed to return to the El Cortez for the 1981 convention. However, due to the fact that the hotel had been taken over by a religious organization, there were several stipulations regarding the usage of the site. The big “no-no” was the use of alcohol at any events.

For those early timers out there, you are aware that one of the things that made the Con memorable was the annual cocktail party, where the pros would hang out and mingle with fans and committee members. Since the cocktail party was not allowed to serve alcohol, this put a major damper on the event. Richard Butner, was particularly concerned about the pros not being happy and leaving early.

However, Barry Short, my programming partner, and I had several bottles of Jack Daniels hidden in our room. We raced back to our room with several empty Coca Cola cans and filled them with the forbidden item. Returning to the party, we “spiked” the drinks with some “Coke-Helper”. This improved the event greatly and all were said to have a good time. Not sure what the maid thought the next day when she had to dispose of several bottles of Jack Daniels.

Mike Pasqua
Former Programs Coordinator and Con Executive Vice President.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Pasqua November 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm

The Thorne story was absolutely true! I also believe that Wendy Pini was wearing her Red Sonja garb as well.


Jack Kusler November 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

That year there was story going around at the con that Frank Thorne got on the elevator dressed as the Wizard…some non-con folks got on the elevator. They asked him about his costume and the others, and Frank said that he part of the “new management” at the hotel.

I think that was also the year the little restaurant outside the hotel was being run by a Chinese family. I remember sitting there having my breakfast and Harlan Ellison was getting testy with the cashier about them not taking credit cards. I wasn’t too surprised…they used an abacus instead of a cash register. I loved the old El Cortez!


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