Back in 1982 the "Ultimate Fantasy" convention in Houston was going to bring together all the original Star Trek stars into one place for a historic event, but it turned into a disaster that took the stars themselves to save the show. Star Trek historian Larry Nemecek has just announced a new documentary about the event called "The Con of Wrath" and you can help out too. Find out more below.
Cameras roll on a bit of Star Trek history:
THE CON OF WRATH: From meltdown to miracle!
LARRY NEMECEK and MYSTAR MEDIA, in association with SWORD & CIRCUITRY STUDIOS and BAMBOOSHED PRODUCTIONS, announces the production of “THE CON OF WRATH”: the story of the first rock-star Star Trek convention-turned-disaster—and how L.A. stars, local staff and simple fans alike saved the show. And survived anyway.
Back when there was only one STAR TREK…just one storied cast…and a fandom yet to write the book on pop culture juggernauts…came the ULTIMATE FANTASY.
Star Trek author-historian Larry Nemecek takes on the role of producer for the first time to spotlight how this early-day “dream convention” instead turned into THE CON OF WRATH— and now lends its nickname to the title of a documentary that re-examines the saga of that 1982 Houston weekend, in the voices of those who had front-row seats—including Hollywood star trekkers like Walter “Chekov” Koenig and producer Harve Bennett, among the L.A. heroes.
It was supposed to be the granddaddy of all Star Trek conventions, a glitzy rock concert of an event planned to truly go where none had gone before—complete with laser shows, orchestral oomph and a revolving stage in Houston’s NBA-sized arena. Instead, fans got the mother of all meltdowns—and, numbering in the hundreds, rather than thousands, gave it the nickname that itself was a takeoff on “The Wrath of Khan,” the hit Star Trek movie sequel released only days before.
“It’s a universal ‘riches to rags to riches’ story,” Nemecek says. “There have been big fan conventions, and big convention failures, but never anything like it before or since. When turnout numbered in the hundreds, not thousands… well, like a train wreck, it was almost impossible to look away. “
The legendary Star Trek cast proved to be heroes off the screen as well, after they all decided to stay and make a stand—joining staff, vendors, and fans from all over in making sure this show must go on, too.
“These circles within circles each reacted and dealt with the fiasco in their own way, not only surviving but salvaging the experience for those who were on hand,” Nemecek says. “And along the way are a lot of great stories.”
Archival film footage, artifacts and stills will help tell the story, along with visits to the scene today and the memories of everyone involved on all sides. Cameras are already rolling on the first memory sessions, including the actor celebs.
Fans can also add to THE CON OF WRATH in two ways:
— “Survivors” from the 1982 debacle now scattered all around the country will be able to submit their own memories of the weekend via home video for possible use on-screen. “If you have a great story from that weekend, we want to hear from you!” Nemecek adds.
–AND: All fans who would like to help, can now support the film with grass-roots fundraising can donate online now at levels from $10 to $1,000 and take home one or more souvenir premiums. See the short introductory video and the donation link up NOW at www.conofwrath.com!
Con of Wrath introductory video
These and more details will be rolled out in coming weeks online at www.conofwrath.com , as well as The Con of Wrath on Facebook page and Nemecek’s Treklandblog.com.
About Larry Nemecek
Larry Nemecek, author of The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, Star Trek Magazine columnist and longtime editor of Star Trek Communicator, most recently appeared in Biography Channel’s The Captains of the Final Frontier two-hour special. Larry shares his years as Star Trek author, historian, project consultant and insider at fan conventions and on larrynemecek.com. Check out his commentary and his original video chats with all your favorite Treklanders at his own Treklandblog.com, plus @larrynemecek on Twitter and Larry Nemecek’s Trekland on Facebook. As a performer, he can be seen June 1 in the new LA Comedy Awards-nominated British online series, “Divine White’s Introduction to Hollywood.”
I’ve never heard of this “Con” before. I wasn’t even alive in 1982. What was the bid deal? All the thing says is not as many people showed up as they expected.
It was not that not as many people showed up but the producers of the show disappeared with the funds..or some such ?… the show threatened to not take place…I recall the story from Deforest Kelley’s , Nichelle Nichols and Walter koenig’s fan pages back then…
I actually attended the “Ultimate Fantasy” con in Houston. One of the biggest problems in promoting the event was that Paramount would not allow the organizers to use the words “Star Trek” in any advertising or in the name of the event. That really hurt its chances of success. I drove four hours to attend the con and while many of the things promoted never happened the Star Trek stars that were there made the trip and ticket worthwhile. Fans today who have been saturated with Star Trek television series and films can’t really understand the importance of these cons back in the early days of the Trek revivial.
A bigger debacle than the one held by that idiot from Trek United that Billingsley had to save.
Maybe Tim Brazeal and his made up character “Al Vinci” stole a time ship and went back to the past and ruined the 1982 con as well.
Just had this discussion on Facebook: the difference between Ultimate Fahntasy/”Con of Wrath” and the FedCon USA ’09 (and similar on-scene flops) is that the fans, staff, dealers, the Hollywood actors, and even the hotel and arena–eventually–pitched in to make the weekend go, amid the chaos. The great John B., wife Bonnie and others pitched in to at least give folks a taste of their money and experience for a few hours in Dallas in ’08, but that’s where the hotel drew the line.
1982 was a single fandom, a single cast, and a more innocent time, days after a triumphant reinvigoration –ST II.
Plus the sheer, audacious scope of the “rock concert” attempt of UF–three shows, in an NBA arena— has almost never been paralleled.
That’s why we’re aboard her… er, aboard the Con of Wrath project!
#1 Oh, and I didn’t have to make up the title–that’s from the fans THAT weekend.
Looking forward to this! I love docu’s about the fans and thought Trekkies 1 and 2 were great FUN! They do find the most extreme fans of course,but that’s half the fun,lol. Hope they do a Trekkers 3…..sorry,Trekkies 3. Yeah,I use Trekker,lol!
And did Trek Nation ever come out? Still waiting for that one.
Anyways,here’s hoping Con of Wrath will see the light of day sooner rather than later.
Have fun y’all! J-R!
Sounds like a fascinating story to tell—cant wait- hope it is as entertaining as trekies 1 n 2 were—best of luck larry n company-
this will be cool!! Good luck Larry!!
I read this article and have no idea what it it’s talking about.
When the cast was on “The Merv Griffin Show” in 1982 weeks before the premiere of “Star Trek II,” William Shatner stated he was getting ready to go to Texas for a convention where he was told “40,000 people” were already committed to the convention.
Wow. How could something so big become such a debacle.
I stuck with the local conventions in Baltimore (Shore Leave), and a couple in Laurel MD… Had a great time in those days.
I never heard of this event. I remember, in the early days of “Trek” conventions, a Chicago con in early 1976 that turned into a disaster, with terrible overcrowding, and people getting shut out of events that they paid for. Because of that, the “Committee”, who ran five “Trek” conventions in New York City from 1972 through ’76, was investigated. The investigation was soon dropped when they found out that the convention attendees had to pre-register. That limited attendance to the 6000 that they had planned for, and the “Committee” got just under 6000. They flirted with having attendees register at the door, to make it up, but decided against it. I went to conventions in NYC from 1973 through ’81, and the most fun were the four I went to that the “Committee” put on. I stopped going when they stopped being fun. Or, maybe I felt like Danny Glover’s Det. Murtaugh in the “Lethal Weapon” movies, “I’m too old for this s**t.”
I went to a few Creation Conventions here in Detroit back in the day, and the only negative experience I can remember from them is the dealer’s rooms. Honestly, they were, with no exceptions, overcrowded nightmares, filled with more crap than gems, and heaven forbid you were stuck in the crowds far from a bathroom! I finally stopped going when, as #14 said, they stopped being fun and started being blatant cash grabs.
OMG!!!! I was AT that con!!! Went to the Ultimate Fantasy too at the (then) Summit!!! Got expensive seats for CHEAP when my friends and I moved from the upper level down to the floor!! I’ll never forget it because I sat very close to where the actors came on stage. I met Nichelle Nichols and watched Kirstie Allie smoke. All the actors wore cheesy silver uniforms…lol!!!
This is going to be a fascinating documentary! If I remember correctly, the con organizers last name was Wilhite…Jerry or Larry…? Infamous dude…lol!! This one loser pretty much killed conventions in Houston for years!
Can’t wait to see this.
and lets not forget the big SLANTED FEDORA vs CREATION CON here in Las Vegas several years ago when SLANTED FEDORA owned by DAVE SCOTT at the time trying to undue Creation Ent. big Las Vegas show at the Alexis Park Hotel less than a month aftert he big August Conv
Forgot to say, I remember fans donating money and putting it in a big barrel to pay for the actors’ rooms and such — and I took a girlfriend to that one. It was the first tine she had been to a convention…lol!!
Ahhh memories! CURSE YOU JERRY WILHITE!!!!
As a sidenote, I think the infamous Wilhite web in to run The Dallas Fantasy Fair in Dallas afterward. Ironically, THAT convention was successful and became an annual event for many years.
Unfortunately, the convention scene in Houston was toast (with the exception of lame Creation shows and some by a local fan organization). Again — a plague upon you Wilhite!!!
Dear Lord I remember it well! I actually won the costume contest wearing a new Wrath of Kahn uniform that had an opening front flap. The best part was the next day Kirstie Alley wanted to meet the winner, so someone from the con found me (still had the costume on), took me to the autograph room where she was signing pictures with Merritt Buttrrck. She came out from behind the table, congradulated me and gave me a great big kiss right on the mouth!
I was the envy of my friends that day. Best Trek con moment for me ever! It just about made up for the rest of the con’s horrors.
#13– Well, then THIS is why we do it. :-)
20–Do you have any pics of that moment? Write me on the side. Sounds like it wasn’t a total disaster for you!
‘Twas Booty Killed the Feast!
My family and I called it the “Ultimate Rip-Off” Where your normal-everyday fan (aka the kids) could not afford to go. Needless to say few guests.