Cosplay at a 1966 Science Fiction Convention

Originally published at:


Imagine my surprise when I clicked through some of those photos and saw a name I recognized: Anne McCaffrey. Wild!



Also, this is great research material! Book marked for later usage by me!


I wonder where the men were. I also noticed that most of the costumes seemed to be originals, not recreations of stuff from movies or TV. I miss that type of originality, where costume ideas aren’t either going for perfect accuracy or the clothing equivalent of music sampling.


I was wondering about that- are the two non-Trek outfits originals, or depictions of some obscure franchise?


They’re all…interesting, but #4 looks like the shirt Denise Huxtable made for her brother Theo.


I can’t look at all these because we’ve used up our internets for the the month, but from what I saw, we should bow down before these images for they portray the protonerds who blazed the trail so that many of us may exist today!


That’s something that always strikes me, in pictures of cons in the '60s and '70s, that there’s so few costumes based on visual media. Most of it is a split between characters from novels and original creations. I wonder how much of this is due to the fact that these days we’re almost overloaded with genre films and television shows (plus games, and comics and manga and anime are part of the mix in a way they weren’t then) and how much is a cultural shift. There’s a different between putting on costumes and “cosplay,” for example. “Cosplay” is very much about dressing as characters that have existing visual representations. Also, the consistent appearances of official costume contests at cons would have something of an influence, too - one of the common criteria is “accuracy” which privileges costumes that match existing visual designs.

My vague recollection of the couple cons I went to in the '80s is that they were more like the '70s cons (in having more original designs) than current ones. American con costume contests were influencing the creation of “cosplay” in Japan in the '80s, and it wasn’t until the '90s that cosplay started feeding back and influencing costuming in the US, and although the '80s had more genre film and television than the '60s and '70s, it still wasn’t anything like it is today. So, I’m not sure what had the impact. All of the above, I suppose…

Not so much in the '60s. The really early sci-fi convention costuming was going on in the late '30s and early '40s. It took a while to really get going, but was pretty well established by the late '60s.


Man your comment sent me down such a memory wormhole.
The earliest convention I can safely recall going to as a young kid was Space Con 3 in 1977, a few months before Star Wars came out. I was eleven years old at the time, and my mom dropped me and a friend off, with the understanding that she would pick us up 8 hours later. I don’t recall a lot of costumes then except maybe a few Star Trek ones, but that was so long ago, don’t really trust my memory. What I do remember was all the Star Wars outfits at Space Con 6 in 1978. In particular there was a pretty cool x-wing pilot outfit and (at the time), an impressive Muftak costume that both stuck in my memory. This was the convention that really made me aware of the whole idea of dressing up for such an event.
Jeez, I miss Bob Wilkins.


The male-gaze is strong in this one

The woman in the Star Trek uniform really looks like she is having a load of fun.

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“No 14-year old boy should have a $95 shirt unless he is on stage with his four brothers.”

That fellow was a genius but, sadly, a monster.

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Yeah, this all made me think about a con I went to in the late '70s, and how don’t remember any costumes, and the few costumes I remember from the ones in the '80s were from movies/tv, but I think the only reason I remember them is because I recognized them (and as being particularly accurate). There must have been a lot more costumes than I remember. Certainly, looking at pictures from con costumes of that era, there were a lot of original designs.

The boots for that lady in the middle’s costume are fabulous.

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