Saturday, January 27, 2007

the atlanta fantasy fair

Okay, so there was this convention in Atlanta called the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, and according to the internets it might as well not have existed. But exist it did, from 1975 until 1995.



AFF started in 1975; location unknown. "At the first Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1975, the guests were Stan Lee, Kenneth Smith, and me, with my Superman collection." M. Hirtes

1976 Atlanta Fantasy Fair II
Location? Guests?

1977 Atlanta Fantasy Fair III
Location? Guests?

1978 Atlanta Fantasy Fair IV.
Location? Guests?
1978, first convention: Atlanta Comics & Fantasy Fair. Stan Lee, Starlin, Chaykin, Steranko. For some weird reason, Robert Conrad was hanging around the lobby on Saturday night.

1979 Atlanta Fantasy Fair V.
Location? Guests? - "In 1979 Deni and I had the table next to John Byrne at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair and we made a fortune on back issues and sketches... " (Dave Sim) Visions #1 was published.

1980 Atlanta Fantasy Fair VI.
Location...? Guests? Visions #2 published.




1981 Atlanta Fantasy Fair VII
Castlegate. Guests Al Williamson, Michael Whelan, Bob Burden, Mike Jittlov? Visions #3 published.




1982 Atlanta Fantasy Fair VIII August 13-15
Omni Hotel & World Congress Center, Atlanta GA Guests Frank Miller, Ray Harryhausen, Will Eisner, Philip Jose Farmer, Forrest J. Ackerman, Bob Burden, Mike Barr, Dick Giordano, Brad Linaweaver, Somtow Sucharitkul, Len Wein, musical guests "Axis". 4000 copies of program book (Visions #4) published.



1983 Atlanta Fantasy Fair IX, August 5-7
Omni Hotel & Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta GA. Guests: Theodore & Jayne Sturgeon, Gerald Page, WSFAns Ted White & Forrest J Ackerman, Bob Burden, Forry Ackerman, Bob McLeod, Wendy and Richard Pini& more. Rooms were $44 a night, 3 day passes were $19.

1984 Atlanta Fantasy Fair X
Omni Hotel & World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. GOH: Larry Niven. With: Forrest J Ackerman, Robert Bloch, Sharon Webb, Richard Pini & others. Membership: $25. Write to: Atlanta Fantasy Fair. P.O. Box 566, Marietta, GA 30061

"Not only saw Buckaroo Banzai, but I have a real polyester Buckaroo Banzai headband given out as a freebie at the Atlanta Fantasy Fair in the summer of 1984. I wonder if anyone's insane enouW^W^W^^W what it would go for on Ebay? (jackd) "

1985 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XI
Omni/WCC. Newt Gingrich and Fredrick Pohl are guests.

1986 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XII
Omni/WCC.

1987 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XIII
Omni /WCC. Lamar Waldron displaced as con chair before the 1987 convention.



1988 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XVI, June 24-26
Atlanta Hilton & Towers in Atlanta, GA. Convention location displaced due to Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Steve Jackson is a guest.

1989 ATLANTA FANTASY FAIR XV.
Atlanta Hilton and Towers, Atlanta, GA.

1990 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XVI
Date? Location? Guests - Jack Kirby

1991 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XVII
Location? Guests?

1992 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XVIII June 20-21
Hyatt Atlanta Airport Guest: Peter David


1993 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XIX June 25-27
Hyatt Atlanta Airport, Atlanta GA. Guests David Prowse, Grace Lee Whitney, Caroline Munro, Monique Gabrielle, Jeff Rector, Gunnar Hanson, Irish McCalla. Memberships: $27 until 6/5, $30 at door.


1994 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XX June 17-19
Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, Atlanta GA. Guests: Sarah Douglas, Bruce Campbell, Jeff Rector, Geraint Wyn Davies, John Russo, Ted V. Mikels. Memb: $27 until June 5, $30 at door. Rooms $79 sngl/dbl, $99 tpl/quad.


1995 Atlanta Fantasy Fair XXI, June 23-25
Castlegate Hotel, Atlanta GA. Guests: Claudia Christian, Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz, Jeff Pittarelli, Don Hillsman II, Wayne VanSant, Joe Phillips. Memberships $35 for 3 days. Rooms $69.

So, as we can see, the convention went from being Atlanta's premier SF/Fantasy gathering with top-notch guests and venues (Stan Lee, Al Williamson, Jim Steranko, Ray Harryhausen, the Omni, the Hilton) to a confused mish-mash of scream queens, airbrush artists, and B-movie personalities, operating out of the Castlegate (!). More information about the Castlegate may be found here.

There are many gaps in my knowledge of the AFF, and I welcome those with the foresight to save their T-shirts and program books to bequeath their information unto me. Locations, dates, guests, anecdotes... they're all welcome. You can leave comments here or email me at davidrmerrill@yahoo.com .

7 comments:

Devlin Thompson said...

I definitely went in '82, '83, '84, and '90 (To see Kirby). I'm pretty sure that Jittlov was at one of those first two, because I have a memory of Jittlov making a point in his panel talk of noting that he was still single, in a way that he was playing in a jokey, Weird Al way, but which, even at my tender age, felt kind of sad and desperate in a Bill Dauterive sort of way.

davehellmerrill said...

I remember seeing Jittlov's WIZARD but if I saw the actual guy himself or not I can't recall. The full length movie is a revelation. What better way to tell the world that you're not gettin' any than showing your toy-stuffed single-bed bedroom in your feature film debut?

HARPER said...

oh i could give you comments.
locations:
76-Downtown Marriott, my first ever Con
77 and 78-At the Castlegate, or the Dunfey as it was called back then.
79-The Sheraton Downtown, the year I developed a kidney stone and still had a three hour train ride to look forward to.
80-Back at the Dunfey, now Castlegate
81-I draw a blank
82-The first Omni show
83-The Omni, it was my honeymoon.
all sorts of memories about that.
84-Couldnt tell you, married life and father hood took over.
80-the celebrity dinner, Gil Kane was a no show, I would up sharing a table with Robert Bloch. 79 at The Sheraton-with the multi floor atrium lay out watching someone on a lower floor run a Jonny Quest episode on a BIG screen situation on one one wall. I could go on and on. Thanks for the opportunity to share memories.

Tim Johnson said...

oh i could give you comments.
locations:
76-Downtown Marriott, my first ever Con
77 and 78-At the Castlegate, or the Dunfey as it was called back then.
79-The Sheraton Downtown, the year I developed a kidney stone and still had a three hour train ride to look forward to.
80-Back at the Dunfey, now Castlegate
81-I draw a blank
82-The first Omni show
83-The Omni, it was my honeymoon.
all sorts of memories about that.
84-Couldnt tell you, married life and father hood took over.
80-the celebrity dinner, Gil Kane was a no show, I would up sharing a table with Robert Bloch. 79 at The Sheraton-with the multi floor atrium lay out watching someone on a lower floor run a Jonny Quest episode on a BIG screen situation on one one wall. I could go on and on. Thanks for the opportunity to share memories.

Matthew said...

I was there at AFF in 1989. Among the guests were Marina Sirtis, James Doohan, and Michael Dorn, I believe.

Anonymous said...

AFF was the first con I attended. I saw Marc Singer and Marina Sirtis (I even got her autograph). I don't remember the other two guests though. I do believe it was in '89.

Anonymous said...

I have a shirt from the 1978 convention, and the program from the 1984. The '84 program is autographed by the cover model, Susan Barrow (aka Susie the Floozie).