From left, Donald A. Wollheim, Milton A. Rothman, me, John B. Michel, Will Sykora, 1936.

From left, Donald A. Wollheim, Milton A. Rothman, me, John B. Michel and Will Sykora in 1936.

A congratulations note from Mark Olson reminds me of what I didn’t think of on my own, namely that we just passed the 75th anniversary of that earth-shaking event, the very first science-fiction convention ever, held when a handful of us New Yorkers dared the rail trip to Philadelphia to join with a handful of Philly fans and convene.

Three-quarters of a century! My, how time flies when you’re having fun!


  1. David B. Williams says:

    But obviously, the standards of fannish dress have declined precipitously over the past three quarter-centuries.

  2. Jay Borcherding says:

    What a dapper group of young men. You might be G-Men, or Dillinger gang wannabes. The photo certainly illustrates the precipitous sartorial decline in American society generally, and comic-con/sci-fi-con attendees specifically.

  3. Susan Kaye Quinn says:

    I think if your younger self time-traveled to Comic Con, they would think you were straight out of a Marvel Comic. Which would be awesome. :)

  4. jess says:

    thats an epic picture, congrats on your 75th anniversary

  5. Michael Walsh says:

    Of the 10 people at this grand event, three remain with us: the esteemed proprietor of this site, Dave Kyle (who is on Facebook!), and Bob Madle … who is still selling books and mags.

  6. Baldguy says:

    (bowing in respect)

    may you celebrate anniversary #100, Mr. Pohl.

  7. JJ Brannon says:

    So there am I, sitting at a tiny table near the bar setup at the Meet the Pros party around 10 PM Friday night when a couple sit across from me. The gentleman, grey-hair but robust, appears a bit winded and I politely ask, “Are you all okay?”

    He assures me he’s fine. He’s accompanied by a beautiful woman who likewise inquires and he admits to being mildly indisposed. However, after a few minutes chatting, the fellow seems recovered and the three of us chat.

    He introduces his wife and himself as Lisette and Bob Madle, whereupon I — quite overcome by the honor — call over my cousins and our friend from a nearby table to shake his hand. Having arrived late for the Con, I had to rush through reg to moderate my panel on “Breakthroughs in Gene Therapy”, I explain, thereby missing the PSFS business meeting where Bob was to have given a talk on the First Philcon. I had been quite distressed to learn that I had missed the meeting.

    Bob, shared a look with Lisette and, laughing, told me they had been running late themselves and missed the business meeting as well. At my request, Bob holds up the Philcon 75 Program Guide with the
    uncropped version of the photo on the back that shows Bob standing to the far right and I snap a shot with my digital camera of Bob with Lisette.

    Alas, I later discover there was a write-problem to the card and no image was preserved. The moment is captured in my mind and I cherish it greatly, just as are the three occasion I’ve been privileged to meet out host here, Mr. Pohl.