Explain THAT To TSA

Frequent File 770 contributor James H. Burns is included in a new feature at Scientific American about “The Ten Weirdest Things You’ve Taken Through Airport Security”. He told them —

In the late 1980s, I was involved with some of the STAR TREK and other pop culture conventions around the country. One Friday morning at LaGuardia airport, the security guard at check-in was going through my carry-on bag when, with some degree of alarm, he suddenly asked, “What’s this?” His cause for concern was a replica of a hand phaser from the original series. After an explanation, I was allowed to pass, either because I had an honest face, or because the phaser was, of course, non-operational!

Jim’s entry was ranked #5 behind such items as poison arrows (#3) and Mayan Burial Site Remains (#1).

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6 thoughts on “Explain THAT To TSA

  1. When Alexei and Cory Panshin’s book WORLD BEYOND THE HILL won the Hugo in 1990, in the Hague in Holland, the late Catherine Jackson accepted the award and brought it back to the US for them. The first Gulf War was just getting started at that time — we had the Army commandeer a commercial flight out from under us to transport troops — and Catherine’s story about taking the Hugo through “wartime” security at a couple of international airports at the peak of the hysteria was, well, hysterical. Sadly, she’s no longer with us to relate the tale, but I recall that there were several security people who found it hard to believe that the rocket wasn’t some kind of weapon of mass destruction. They’d never heard of the Hugo Award — hell, who would name an award Hugo? *sigh*

  2. Coming home from some Worldcon in the past decade, I was having my luggage hand-searched, and before reaching into my bag, the security person asked me if there was anything inside it which might injure him. I told him to watch out for the possibility of pointy pins on convention name badges, and he responded by asking me if I were carrying a Hugo.

  3. Seems Lucas was carrying a stormtroopers helmet into England – before any of the movies – and came to the customs officer. The officer inquired about the helmet. Lucas said it was for a Galactic Empire’s stormtrooper. The officer consulted a list, and announced “that is not on the list of prescribed Empires” and allowed it in.

  4. Morris’ story about an agent asking if he had a Hugo is better then my ’72 LACon story of Rob Solomon in L.A. Looking at my “David Stever Cochituate, MA’ name tag and telling me that the ConComm had misspelled Cochituate. He was from nearby Framingham, and might have been the only guy in town who would have known.

  5. David, you misspelled “L.A.con”, and I think it’s likely that you’ve also misspelled “Ron Salomon”.

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