Len Moffatt Passes Away

Len Moffatt died around 3 a.m. on November 30 reports June, his wife. He was 87.

Dave Locke adds, “June had been keeping some folks informed on Len’s hospital adventures with emails having the subject ‘Len’s Progress Report.’  This one was entitled ‘Len’s Progress Report – FINAL.’”

Len went into the hospital on November 19 with extreme abdominal pain. He had been operated on for herniated colon.

It’s a huge loss for June and all of Len’s friends from the two fandoms where he’s been active since the beginning. Len discovered SF fandom in 1939 and joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in April 1946. Len and June Moffatt were Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegates in 1973. Fans in the mystery field will miss him too, as a participant in Bouchercons and as a writer (his most recent sales were to Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine).

1972 Westercon GoHs, Lloyd Biggle Jr. (pro) and Len Moffatt (fan)

LASFS Website Posts Moffatt Photos

Rick Sneary, Roy Tackett, Takumi Shibano, Sachiko Shibano 

Above: Rick Sneary, Roy Tackett, Takumi Shibano and Sachiko Shibano enjoying the 1968 Worldcon.

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society website now boasts dozens of fanhistorically important photos from the collection of Len and June Moffatt. What a trip in the Wayback Machine!

These photos from the end of the Sixties are a window into cons and events people were still talking about when I joined LASFS in 1970. Some are pictures of fans who made themselves unforgettable in ways good and bad but I only heard about because they vanished from the club before I arrived.

For example, they were still taking about the club’s  1965 Halloween Party. Not that you’d know it from the pictures, but this infamous party was interrupted by gunshots fired from outside into the building. Dian Pelz (later Crayne) was slightly hurt by flying wood splinters. One bullet passed between Dian and Bill Rotsler as they sat talking. A possible cause is that two crashers had been evicted from the party earlier in the evening. Police came and took down information, but no arrests ever made.

Here you can see the highlights of FunCon I in 1968 (which I recently mentioned in co-chair Chuck Crayne’s obituary.) They include a rare photo of Flieg Hollander, whose claim to fame includes mathematically proving Larry Niven’s Ringworld is unstable (the launching point for a sequel).

And there are a lot of interesting photos of well-known fans from back in the day. He’s a fannish legend, but have you ever seen a picture of the late Elmer Perdue? Or Locus’ Charles N. Brown, Marsha Elkin Brown and Elliott Shorter in their prime?

Here’s a photo of Ray Bradbury talking to Leigh Brackett.

And this is probably the fuzziest, pinkest photo ever taken of Fuzzy Pink Niven.

There are shots of fans paying tribute to Star Trek at the 1966 Worldcon (Tricon), and of William Shatner mingling.

There are photos from any number of Westercons: the 1965 Westercon, 1966 Westercon, 1967 Westercon, 1969 Westercon, 1970 Westercon, and 1972 Westercon. Why no pictures from a 1968 Westercon? Because after winning their 1968 Westercon bid the same group successfully bid for the Worldcon and held a single con to satisfy both, BayCon, the 1968 Worldcon. From that Worldcon: Void Boys Ted White and Greg Benford;  Bob Bloch, Betty Farmer, and John W. Campbell, Jr. having cocktails; and from the masquerade, Cory Seidman (later Panshin) as a Corflu Bottle

There are quite a few pictures documenting the LASFS’ efforts to buy its first clubhouse. Bruce Pelz led the LASFS to reorganize as a nonprofit corporation as a step in acquiring a clubhouse. These pictures were taken at the first LASFS Board of Directors Meeting in 1972, held in Milt Stevens’ apartment. (I was there!)

LASFS bought its first clubhouse the following year, a property on Ventura Boulevard. Most of these shots are of fans refurbishing it.

[Thanks to Lee Gold for the story.]

John Hertz Reports:
A Very Merry Unbirthday

By John Hertz: The birthday party for Forry Ackerman that Ray Bradbury hosted on Saturday, November 22nd, at Bookfellows (also called Mystery & Imagination bookshop) in Glendale was full of people, books, a cake, Ray, a theremin, and a giant card we all wrote good wishes on. Forry’s 92nd is Monday, November 24th.

We sang Happy Birthday to Forry by phone, for which he thanked us from his home, the mini-Ackermansion. He is physically weak but his mind is sharp.

The cake was chocolate. It had a big photo of Forry in a blazer with his First Fandom badge, and a big photo-montage of monsters. Ray spoke eloquently. So did George Clayton Johnson and other friends.

That night was a small unbirthday party for another member of First Fandom, Len Moffatt, who was only 85 on Thursday, November 20th. I asked Ray if he’d like to sign a card for Len, and he said certainly, so I went across the street and made one at a copy shop.

Len’s wife June had contributed a 1972 photo of Len for the cover of APA-L 2271 last Thursday, so I used that. APA-L has been published every week for only 44 years.

The photo was from Westercon XXV where Len was Fan Guest of Honor. It shows Horrible Old Roy Tackett, Len as the clown Pike Pickens, Stan Woolston, and in back Dan Alderson. After Ray, I went over to Forry’s so he could sign it. A nurse’s aide let me in.

Forry said “I’ve always enjoyed you over the years,” which I told him was mutual. I took the card to Len’s party and confessed it was another ruse to dodge the no-presents rule. At his 80th it had been a balloon.

Len Moffatt in EQMM

Len Moffat’s Sherlockian poem “What a Friend We Have in Sherlock” appeared in the November issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It’s about Holmes’s alleged relationship with Irene Adler.

The November issue is apparently off sale, but electronic texts are available from several online services, including ereader.com.

Len and his wife June are past TAFF delegates and long-time LASFSians, who helped organize several early Bouchercons.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the story.]

LASFS Cuts the Birthday Cake

The Los Angeles chapter of the Science Fiction League (No. 4) began meeting in 14-year-old Roy Test Jr.’s family garage in 1934. On October 28, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society celebrated 70 years of friendship and fanac. Founding member Forrest J Ackerman performed the duty of gaveling the 3,507th meeting to order with President Van Wagner’s pink plastic lobster.

For Ackerman, Len and June Moffatt, this was their second consecutive day of celebration. A group of eofans gathered on October 27, the real anniversary, at their old stomping grounds, Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown LA. Local TV news covered the get-together because it also included those teenaged fans who grew up to have stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen.

The October 28 club meeting drew around a hundred fans, about evenly divided between the usual crowd of active members and old-timers from bygone decades. The more widely-known regulars included John Hertz, Joe Minne (who introduced me to LASFS), Rick Foss, Matthew Tepper, Elayne Pelz, Drew Sanders, Charles Lee Jackson 2, Marc Schirmeister, Marty Massoglia, Christian McGuire (L.A.con IV chair), Francis Hamit, Leigh Strother-Vien, Ed Green, Liz Mortensen, John DeChancie, Marty Cantor, Tadao Tomomatsu (“Mr. Shake Hands Man”) and Mike Donahue. Some of the graybeards present were notables in national fandom back in the day, like Arthur J. Cox, and others remain well-known, like Fred Patten, John Trimble, William Ellern, Dwain Kaiser and Don Fitch.