Star Trek: One Weekend on Earth - Huntsville, Alabama
On September 7 and 8, 1996, Huntsville hosted the now legendary Star Trek: One Weekend on Earth 30th Anniversary convention. This was a BFD, as our former vice president would say.
This was the summer of 1996, so sci-fi was at an all-time peak, First Contact was about to debut, Voyager and DS9 were on the air, and Star Trek was celebrating its 30th anniversary. Looking back, this was really a Peak Trek moment in time, the entire year 1996 one could say, and Trek fanaticism was at its absolute maximum. The two-day convention drew a lot of Trek actors -- the majority of the casts of the four series.
Huntsville was not the easiest or the most obvious choice, as opposed to Los Angeles or New York, so pretty much everyone had to fly to Alabama. The city itself had a big role in the early U.S. space program, so that was the thinking behind this choice of location.
Playmates had its Warp 10 store set up at this convention, of course, and it brought the two Sulu and Scotty exclusives to the convention. The collector response was absurdly high, as one would expect, because no one wanted to miss out on the next Red Data, so there were big lines to buy them. Of course, many people got multiples because they were with family members, and then bought a few more from other people in line. People were walking around and reselling them because there was a limit of 6 figures per person, as the marker on the case says. Of course, if you wanted 60 instead of 6, this was easy accomplished at the convention with a little bit of work.
The end result was that the vast bulk went to scalpers and collectors, who stuffed their cars full of these figures, and they immediately hit the secondary market for hundreds of dollars a pair.
To this day, I think, the vast majority remain in their boxes, just because so many scalpers and collectors got them as investments. In the years that followed the big collector shops around the country would have several of these on hand at any given them, and people posted classified ads various magazines asking like $150 for a pair. Still, demand was strong even at these prices, because Canada, UK and Australia did not get these at all.
In hindsight I think Pmates may have thought that it should have produced a greater variety of convention swag, like another 20,000 figures of some simple headswap variety like Tapestry Picard, (Spock in Wrath of Khan uniform, for example, using a head and body that already existed) because all 20,000 would have been bought in a matter of hours. This was very much a fish in a barrel opportunity to sell collectible stuff.
The 9-inch Target exclusives, among other items, were also shown at the convention.
A button from the Warp 10 store.