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.