Help identify the science fiction legends in these thrift-scored pix of the 1956 Worldcon

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I almost couldn’t believe when I’ve seen the post photograph. I’ve just made a video of a modern version of the lighting device that the guy in the left is using with its camera. Loved to see that the ingenuity is still going strong.


I haven’t been to any sort of science fiction convention since TimeCon '86, but by god – if I go again – I am going to wear a suit and tie. Those gents look sharp.


Try a bowtie instead. Bowties are cool.


I don’t believe I have any pants that could be hiked up high enough to cover all but the top three buttons of my shirt, though. Pretty sure this dude would have to unzip his fly if he wanted to scratch his belly button.


Intriguing! Tell us more…


Do I really have to say more?

Edit: let’s The Telegraph say more:


I see a couple giant nerds. Does that help narrow it down? A few look like chronic wedgie sufferers.

The Dr is the exception.

Ascots are cool.


I was three years old in 1956, and didn’t meet any of these guys until twelve years later, but I think that the person on the left in the last photo might be John W. Campbell. The two on the right in that photo look tantalizingly familiar, but I can’t quite place them.

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A few of those faces look familiar (from various memoirs–I was only 11). Campbell is easily identifiable in #s 003, 008, and (I think) 006. I think I spotted Sprague de Camp in #021 (seated on the right side of the table, raising his hand), but I wouldn’t make a large bet on it.

For anyone who wants to take the time doing an eyeball image-comparison, has collections of photos, with some IDs, from old Worldcons, including 1955 and1956.

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No SF maven, but the only guy with a long tie in the post set of images reminds me of Gore Vidal. Not a positive match for web images, but shape of ear is the same.

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Rip Taylor and Phyllis Diller: the Mod Years…

You need to try the high waist band too.

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It couldn’t locate the image you’re referring to, but guessing from your video, mounting a bunch of light bulb sockets onto a plank and screwing in a bunch of floodlights was a very standard piece of equipment back in the day.

It’s pretty easy to tell when the cinematographer was using one, as all the subjects would be squinting and shielding their eyes.

You mean these guys? Fast Talking High Trousers

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Just in the photograph that appears first in the post there is a guy in the left. My wife just saw it and told me that someone retroactively stole my idea. I use primarily to record things, if I record myself I have to resist squinting too.

What buffoon that guy is. All the cool kids hike 'em up to two buttons.

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That was rather unfortunate!

I like bow ties, although I don’t presently have any of them. But I hate it when people say that ThingX “is back”! No, it’s not back, it hasn’t actually gone anywhere. I interpret it as somebody saying: “I didn’t have the guts to enjoy this before, but now people are telling me that it’s OK.”

The author only half-unpacked their cultural baggage with regards to bow ties. With such gems as: “They also spoke to a conservative rebellion against vulgarian culture: a refusal to be blandly egalitarian.” So, then, provisionally elitist without being truly elitist? This implies a rather large set of assumptions that I appear not to share.

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I have a theory. The higher the pants the happier the times.

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