Jerry Lapidus Remembered

[Editor’s Introduction: Fanzine fan Jerry Lapidus (1948-2023) died April 19 at home in Ormond Beach, Florida. Tim Marion and he were both members of the same amateur publishing association (apa) years ago, and Tim says the final version of this tribute will appear in another apa, FLAP.]

By Tim Marion: Jerry Lapidus began his fannish career in the late 1960s while still a student at Syracuse University.  There, he was part of a group of fans that included Lisa Tuttle, who became a fellow member of SLANAPA with him.  He published the most adventurously beautiful and graphic fanzine of its time, Tomorrow And…, which was probably the first place that ever published Dan Steffan art (who later became one of, if not the, best artists in SF fandom).  He was a multi-apan in the early 70s and a member of APA-45, FAPA, and The Cult, as well as a charter member of SLANAPA.  For all of these apas he did a “catch-all” apazine of personal material, as well as an individual mailing comments zine.

When Jerry went away to Amsterdam to study theatre, Bob Vardeman kindly typed up and reproduced his trip reports so that he did not miss a single monthly mailing of SLANAPA.  When he returned to the U.S. four months later, Jerry himself published a massive, 20pp zine of nothing but mailing comments to everyone.  Although pure text, it was a joy to look at and fun to read — again, 20pp of text; reproduced using blue mimeo ink on lime green paper.  (The blue text of this issue is inspired by Jerry’s catch-up apazine.)  I thought of Jerry as a “trublufan” for all of this.

Since it was blue ink that he used, us relatively unsophisticated Newport News fen, who mainly used ditto, were mystified, and assumed that he was using ditto to print on lime green paper.  So we tried it, with significantly inferior results.

Later, in the late 1970s, I was again in SLANAPA and got a kick out of using blue ink for text with my Rex Rotary M4 mimeo, and preferred lime green paper.  Along about this time I threw the Rex in the trunk of my car and decided to move from Newport News, Virginia, to New York City.  Jerry was one of the first people I contacted here. 

I recall going to The Cloisters (museum of medieval reliquaries) with him, his wife Anita, and Lisa Tuttle.  I wish I had thought to bring a camera.  Normally museums wear me out utterly, but I was fascinated by The Cloisters, as well as The Unicorn Tapestries which were on display.  Also glad to finally meet Jerry, as well as Lisa (who had dropped out of SLANAPA a few years before).  These were fun times, made only slightly vague now with the passage of (almost exactly) 45 years…

It would seem to me that in the Perfect World, Jerry would still be alive and publishing Tomorrow And… and once again electrifying fandom with his daring layouts and beautiful graphics.  That accomplishment is how I would like to remember Jerry.  I don’t care to remember the times that he was angry at me (I felt unfairly); no, I would rather remember that later he passed along his entire fanzine collection to me for what was really a pittance.  I got to read a lot of zines I had only ever heard of before, including his zines.  As pathetic as it must sound, this old fanzine fan actually had some of the best times of his life going through those boxes of fanzines.  Thank you, Jerry.

DisCon II 1974: Mike Wood, Jerry & Anita Lapidus, Mike Dobson, Unknown, George Beahm, Eddie Ferrell, Ned Brooks, Laurine White, Bob Roehm, Irvin Koch. Photo by George Beahm’s camera. Via Fana.org.

2 thoughts on “Jerry Lapidus Remembered

  1. Thanks so much for the photo! If I’d ever seen it, I’ve forgotten, and certainly didn’t have a copy. Coincidentally, just yesterday I came across a 1969 issue of my fanzine, and Jerry has a fanzine review column in it.

  2. Jerry was really the first fan I knew who was always full of enthusiasm for fandom, fanzines and the rules by which they functioned. His love for sf and fandom was only surpassed by his devotion to the theatre arts. His radical ideas about fanzine design and fannish community was a profound influence on my early fan life. We were friends while I was still in high school and then when I went to college at Syracuse I was immediately made a part of the SUSFClub and became art director of Jerry’s TOMORROW AND…

    Jerry was the first to publish my art in 1970, though Linda Bushyager was the first to accept some of my stuff for her fanzine. Despite my title, Jerry was always responsible for the layout experiments — both good and bad — and was one of the primary participants in the new debate about fanzines and their design. Quality mimeography, electrostencils and offset printing were becoming more affordable and accessible to fans and the quest for better design and repro went on to become a subject of serious discussion for most of the 1970s.

    When he and Anita graduated and went to Europe to continue their studies, the SUSFClub came to a halt and I was left to my own devices and published 4 unremarkable issues of LIZARD INN, which did its best to follow in TA…’s footprints.

    I knew his parents and spent a couple of nights in their distinctly modern Rochester NY home, as he did in my parent’s house outside of Syracuse. One of my favorite memories of those early days was a trip I took to the 1971 Lunacon in the company of Jerry, Lisa, and our driver — and legendary fannish photog — Jay Kay Klein (also a Syracuse resident). We sang Fifties pop songs and show tunes for the entire drive to NYC and back. Those were great innocent days, to be sure.

    RIP Jerry (and Anita). I’ll always remember you and miss you. And thanks to Tim for his recollections. (I don’t know why I’m not in that photo, I was at that con, too. I was probabl stoned somewhere. sigh So it goes…)

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