In the “Before Time” in the “Long, long ago,” nerds and nerd culture did not rule the world like they do now. Superheroes were relegated to comics and Saturday morning cartoons—not blockbuster movies. (And not that many people had tattoos in Elvish or Klingon.) Also unlike today, geek culture conventions like Comic-Con in San Diego didn’t attract over 130,000 people annually, and they were not held in giant convention centers. Nope, they were held in your local mall, and the attendees were just your average nerdy kid who spent his lunch money on an issue of Starlog Magazine.
Now a time capsule of geek culture from back in the day has surfaced, as a Trek fan and YouTube user going by the name Ultimessence has uploaded a Super-8 film he took of a Star Trek convention held at Denver, Colorado’s Northglenn Mall way back in 1976—a totally different time to be a geek. At the time, Star Trek was just a series that had been cancelled some seven years prior, and didn’t look to ever return. There were barely any sci-fi or fantasy shows that weren’t for very young kids on the air, and sci-fi films didn’t rule the box office. Good cosplay was just a homemade Starfleet uniform (although that guy in the furry alien cat costume? Wherever you are dude, you were ahead of your time).
Obviously, the following year this would all change, as 1977 saw the double whammy of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind get released and become cultural touchstones, marking it as the unofficial “zero year” of modern geek culture, ultimately leading to everything we have now. But back in 1976, a legend like Leonard Nimoy was signing autographs just a stone’s throw away from the Orange Julius and Hot Dog on a Stick. My, how times have changed.
You can watch the video in its entirety above, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And be nice…you know it took a long time for that guy to make his alien cat costume.
IMAGE: Jim Steranko