Worth mentioning for the record — Loncon 3 hit 8,518 total memberships at the end of June. That’s the most members any Worldcon has ever had — surpassing L.A.con II’s 30-year-old mark of 8,365.
At that time London had 5,457 attending and 2,768 supporting members. So it has a very good shot at setting a new attendance record for a Worldcon held outside North America. Glasgow’s 1995 Worldcon currently holds that title, where 4,173 were counted present.
L.A.con II has the overall record: 8,365 was also report as its attendance figure. You can wonder — like, what about no shows? — but it hasn’t been controversial because few Worldcons have come anywhere near drawing that number.
I’m not suprised. I read FORTEAN TIMES and SFX, and there always seems to be an advertisment for a media convention in each issue. And lots of guests stars, movie and TV related programming. And once in a while they mention a writer.
What I recall hearing during that L.A.con was that the large membership number was attributable to the large number of people who were showing up for the film program and not participating in the rest of the con. If this is true, and if there were some way of subtracting the people who were just, in effect, buying movie tickets, I wonder what the remaining membership figures for L.A.con II would be.
I don’t know how many came “only” to see the Star Wars marathon, but their daily memberships (I think there were dailies then) were probably a multiple of what movie tickets cost in those days. The internet says average movie ticket prices were a bit over $3 in 1984. But I remember paying $6 to see Annie in a Hollywood Blvd. theater in 1982. Either way…
An interesting note about attendance is in Evelyn Leeper’s 1984 Worldcon report — “There were over 9000 members registered, with over 7000 actually attending, making this the biggest Worldcon ever. In spite of this, it wasn’t crowded (except at the Dune presentation and the “Star Wars” marathon).”
I wonder what her source was for that?
With LACon II, I believe we had the large numbers because we had an excellent publicist working for us. Fred Harris was very good at doing what he did.
I’ve been told there was still room in the Star Wars marathon. It was suggested that so many people were standing in line for the marathon because they liked standing in line. For them, it was part of the Star Wars experience.
Maybe George Lucas’ museum venture will have a line you can stand in, pointlessly, for about an hour?
1984 was really early Internet days, so I suspect my source was the daily newszine. Someone with access to them could check if they wanted to. (Mine are in a box under two other boxes in a corner behind all our electronics hook-up, so I’m not going to!)
If L.A.con II had 8,365 total memberships, and also reported 8,365 as its attendance figure, that implies there were no supporting memberships. This just sounds wrong. (And out of curiosity, where did this number come from?)