Remembering Allan Asherman

Allan Asherman

By Steve Vertlieb: Allan Asherman has passed away. He was a revered writer, journalist, Star Trek scholar … and cherished friend. My brother Erwin and I first encountered Allan at Forry Ackerman’s original “Famous Monsters Convention” at Loew’s Midtown Manhattan Motor Inn in the heart of New York City in September 1965. Along with fellow fans, collectors and writers such as George Stover, Wes Shank, and Gary Svehla, Erwin and I, along with Allan, were introduced to the expansive world of organized “Fandom.”

Erwin and I visited Allan many times over the ensuing years at his parent’s apartment in Brooklyn, New York. It was Allan who introduced us to Buster Crabbe when we three journeyed as star struck teenagers to The Concord Hotel in the Catskills in 1969, and sat in rapturous awe before the hero who had enchanted our childhoods as Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Red Barry, and Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion.

I can remember a young gentleman in his early teens, so many years ago, joining us for an afternoon at Allan’s home. This young fan, Scott MacQueen, went on to become one of America’s greatest film scholars and preservationists.

In 1969, after having shared a joyous day with Buster Crabbe in upstate New York, courtesy of Allan, I returned the favor when he visited Erwin and I at our own parent’s home in Philadelphia. I had arranged for, perhaps, the very first “fan” interview with William Shatner at “The Playhouse in the Park” near Philly where Captain Kirk was co-starring with Jill Hayworth in a theater in the round production of There’s A Girl In My Soup. I happily gathered together my brother Erwin, and Allan, to join me when I interviewed Shatner for a British fanzine that I was writing for called L’Incroyable Cinema Magazine.

My published interview with Bill Shatner was later re-published in the third issue of The Monster Times, the world’s first and only bi-weekly Monster tabloid. Still later, it was published yet again within the pages of Allan’s definitive, original study of the Star Trek phenomenon, the famed Star Trek Compendium.

Allan and I were among the original stable of staff writers for The Monster Times in 1972, while Allan journeyed to planets and galaxies “Where No Man Had Gone Before” as a revered, legendary figure in the vast world of all things Star Trek.

Allan visited my home, and my parents, many times over the ensuing years and, when I married my then wife, Maria, visited us for a memorable weekend where I proudly gifted my dear friend with some treasured soundtrack albums by composers such as Miklos Rozsa and Bernard Herrmann.

As we grew older, our paths diverged. Allan married his sweetheart, Arlene Lo, and settled on Long Island. We met once more for a couples weekend with fellow fans Bill and Mary Burns, Bruce and Flo Newrock, Maria and I.

Every year during the holidays Allan would telephone me, or I would telephone him, and we’d catch up on each other’s lives.

In recent years our communications became fewer, and I always regretted not having just one more opportunity to meet with Allan, and talk endlessly into “the wee small hours of the morning.”

Despite the absence of regular telephone calls, however, I always cherished Allan’s friendship. Then, on the evening of September 23, 2023, I received a somber phone call from my brother Erwin in Los Angeles. He’d heard from Allan’s devoted wife, Arlene, that Allan had passed away suddenly at age seventy-six in a freak accident.

Allan Asherman and I were friends for very nearly sixty years. Despite the physical distance between us, I always cherished Allan, both as a dear friend, and as a brother. I remain numbed by his passing, and by his terrible loss from my life, yet shall forever hold dear my memories, recollections, conversations, associations, and friendship with this dear man.

My sense of loss and utter desolation, however, is palpable. May God Rest His Sweet Soul, sailing the galaxy eternally upon the gallant bridge of the “U.S.S. Enterprise.”

Until we meet amongst the stars once more, dear friend, I shall ever love and cherish both your memory and friendship.

19 thoughts on “Remembering Allan Asherman

  1. Allan was also one of the organizers of our first NYC Star Trek Convention and remained involved in the four following convention we ran.

    I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch with him in the later years. Every time I tried to get contact info, it was out of date.

  2. I lost touch with Allan years ago, but he introduced me to restorations of Things to Come, when collectors were doing their damnedest to find any “lost” footage they could.

  3. A very moving tribute, Steve. I’ve been away from mainstream fandom for decades, but I was saddened to learn of Allan’s passing.

  4. Allan was a treasured friend and colleague during my time as a SF/comics journalist. He was a terrific source of valuable knowledge and always willing to share. Like many others, I lost touch with him.over the past few decades and I regret that.

  5. I did know Allan personally, only that he authored 3 books on Star Trek (one about the making of my favorite movie of all time, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). However I recently learned from a Facebook Group I belong to that Allan was considered an expert on “The Adventures of Superman” starring George Reeves, another favorite TV show from my youth. While Allan did not write any books about this show, I’m sure there must have been many magazine articles, interviews, etc, that he did over the years to gain that reputation. May he rest in peace.

  6. @Michael Matarazzo: If anyone has any links to Allan’s work on George Reeves’ Superman, I’d love to see them.

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