Pacificon 1946

Alternate Names
4th World Science Fiction Convention
First Documented
Last Documented

Parkview Manor
5055 Novgorod St
Los Angeles, CA 90032
United States

World Science Fiction conventions, nowadays known as "Worldcon", started in July 1939 in New York. The event was themed "The World of Tomorrow", and gathered 200 participants. It was in that occasion that Forrest Ackerman and Myrtle Douglas (aka Morojo) came dressed in futuristic garb, thus setting the first example of "cosplay" in history. Both costumes were designed by Douglas, who gained the nickname "Mother of Cosplay" from this event (Culp). Later occurrences of the event took place in Chicago, then Denver, and in 1946, Los Angeles, in the Parkview Manor.

The 4th edition of the World Science Fiction Convention took place at Park View Manor, Los Angeles. It did not follow the usual naming convention of the previous Worldcons, where the name of the city holding the event was used in combination with "Con" (e.g. Nycon I for New York, Chicon for Chicago...). It was held from July 4th to 7th, and 120 attendees were registered as participating in the event. The guest of honor, A.E. van Vogt, delivered a speech called “Tomorrow on the March,” in which he explained the different capacities of the human brain. By doing so, he hoped to show the attendees that by using the right methods for memorization, one could greatly improve their own capacities: he proved it by making his entire speech without notes.

In Fantasy Review, Joe Kennedy gives a day-to-day account of the events that occurred during the Pacificon. Day 1 started with a welcome message by Chairman Walter Daugherty, followed by introductions, and what Kennedy calls “ego-boos”: a form of self-promotion of which he clearly disapproved. A.E. Van Vogt gave his speech, and Forrest Ackerman presented his idea for the Fantasy Foundation. Ackerman made an impression on that first day, as he collapsed after his presentation from a bad flu, and was unable to attend the rest of the con, which according to Kennedy, “put a damper on the convention for many attendees.” At night, auctions were made.

On Day 2, a message from the National Committee on Atomic Information was read, followed by a vote on opposing the uses of the words “fan” and “fandom,” which passed “without discussion.” Day 3’s highlight was the National Fantasy Fan Federation (NFFF), with arguments following accusations on the Directors of the organization. Kennedy reports that their side of the story was presented, and “several misunderstandings were cleared up, despite the opinions expressed by some attendees of the organization’s futility.” The day ended with a “traditional” masquerade ball. On the last day, there were talks in the afternoon, followed by a screening of One Million B.C.

One element that is usually pointed out about Pacificon is Myrtle Douglas’s costume as the Snake Mother, inspired from Abraham Merritt’s books. While there is no record or picture of her in that costume, it survives in posterity, and is usually mentioned when talking about Douglas’s relationship to cosplay .


Culp, Jennifer, “Meet the woman who invented cosplay”, Racked online, May 9, 2016.

Kennedy, Joe, Fantasy review 1946-47, p.15, ONE Archives, Jim Kepner Box 30, Folder 1.

Van Vogt, Alfred, Elton, “Tomorrow on the March”, ONE Archives, Jim Kepner Box 30, Folder 15.

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