A Trekkie or Trekker is a fan of the Star Trek franchise, or of specific television series or films within that franchise.
In 1967, science fiction editor Arthur W. Saha applied the term "trekkies" when he saw a few fans of the first season of Star Trek: The Original Series wearing pointy ears at the 25th World Science Fiction Convention, on the day series creator Gene Roddenberry showed a print of "Amok Time" to the convention. Saha used the term in an interview with Pete Hamill that Hamill was conducting for TV Guide concerning the phenomenon of science fiction.
The first Star Trek fanzine, Spockanalia, appeared in September 1967, including the first published fan fiction based on the show. Roddenberry, who was aware of and encouraged such activities, a year later estimated that 10,000 wrote or read fanzines. Many early Trekkies were also fans of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964–1968), another show with science fiction elements and a devoted, "cult"-like audience. Perhaps the first large gathering of fans occurred in January 1968 when more than 200 Caltech students marched to NBC's Burbank, California studio to support Star Trek's renewal. The first fan convention devoted to the show occurred on 1 March 1969 at the Newark Public Library. Organized by a librarian who was one of the creators of Spockanalia, the "Star Trek Con" did not have celebrity guests but did have "slide shows of ‘Trek’ aliens, skits and a fan panel to discuss ‘The Star Trek Phenomenon.’" Some fans were so devoted that they complained to a Canadian TV station when it preempted the show in July 1969 for coverage of Apollo 11.
The Trekkie phenomenon did not come to the attention of the general public, however, until after the show was cancelled in 1969 and rerun entered syndication. The first widely publicized fan convention occurred in January 1972 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, featuring Roddenberry, Isaac Asimov, and two tons of NASA memorabilia. The organizers expected 500 attendees at the "First International Star Trek Convention" but more than 3,000 came, making it the largest science-fiction convention in history. By then more than 100 fanzines about the show existed, its reruns were syndicated to 125 American TV stations and 60 other countries, and news reports on the convention caused other fans, who had believed themselves to be alone, to organize. Major and minor cast members soon began attending conventions around the United States, which so grew in popularity that the media cited Beatlemania and Trudeaumania as examples to describe the emerging "cultural phenomenon". 6,000 attended the 1973 New York convention and 15,000 attended in 1974, much larger figures than at older events like the 4,500 at the 32nd Worldcon in 1974. By then the demand from Trekkies was large enough that rival convention organizers began to sue each other.
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