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Our Adorable Past

Totally Rad Costumed Convention Photos From The 1980s


Thank you to the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society for posting a slew of pictures from the Westercon convention in 198o and showing dressing up in sci-fi, fantasy or comic costumes was always a lot of fun. Hit the jump for some of the most epic photos you’ll see this week. 

Westercon, or West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, was founded back in 1948 and changes locations each year.

So, I’m not even going to try and guess what half of these are. Some are obvious but others are completely foreign to me. Any help placing what characters they are cosplaying would be awesome! I’ll number them to make it easier, but first and foremost, look at this wonderful Ripley.

1. Ripley

2. ?

3. Generic Wizard & Dragon or something specific?

4. Not sure Supergirl ever wore this particular costume but hey, I’m all for personal style.

5. ? and perhaps a Planet of the Apes character?

6. Darth Vader keeping cool by the pool.

7. A Time Lord and Moses?

8. ?

9. Specific character or just something really, really well done?

10. Yes.

11. ?

12. Leia & Yoda

(via EPBOT)

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  • Chris Howard

    Could #5 be Harlock as a woman?

  • Anonymous

    Amazing!

  • Jason Arnett

    Pretty sure #5 is Wilma Deering full dress uniform from the Buck Rogers TV series.

  • http://twitter.com/bstiteler Bill Stiteler

    5. Looks like a dress uniform from the Buck Rogers TV series (80s) and the Mugato from Star Trek.

  • Blain Hefner

     My guess on #5 is a female version of Trelane and Mugato from Star Trek TOS.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_526QT6S7OCA73S5Q5E7J5QUV64 Marc

    #5 is Wilma Deering from Buck Rogers

  • http://www.DustBunnyMafia.com/wordpress/ Bret Juliano

    Too bad the Yoda looks really creepy.

  • http://twitter.com/mitaukano Kash Mitaukano

    I think 8 are several Harlock versions.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I was gonna say Char Anzable, but either may be right  and I thought the white ape might be a Mugato – I can see a horn.

    The thing to remember is that back in the day there was a LOT more original costuming than there is now, at comic-cons at least.  People would regularly create an unpronouncable alien planet, which led to the running joke masquerade category “Best ambassador from the planet Fred”.

    I’ll lay odds that filker and Master-level costumer Janet Wilson Anderson is in that crowd shot somewhere, but it’s been years since either of us were that age.

  • http://twitter.com/kalila kali

    Pretty sure #9 is a bride from Big Trouble in Little China. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=616408422 Mark Mitchell

    5 is definitely the Dress Uniform from Buck Rogers – Wilma would be so proud!

  • http://twitter.com/catepede Cate Pedersen

    These are amazing.

    The first pic (with all the medieval costumes, not numbered), is without a doubt a Chronicles of Amber (by Roger Zelazny) ensemble pic. I can name most of the characters:

    Back row: Llewella, Bleys, Gerard, Caine, Oberon, Eric, Corwin, Deidre
    Second row: Julian, a woman as Benedict (or possibly Vialle), Random, Flora, Dworkin, Fiona
    Third row: Brand or Rinaldo, ?, Dara, ?, Coral?
    And… two unicorns. :D

    Got to be the best Amber cosplay I’ve seen pics of. Incredible.

  • http://twitter.com/catepede Cate Pedersen

    These are amazing.

    The first pic (with all the medieval costumes, not numbered), is without a doubt a Chronicles of Amber (by Roger Zelazny) ensemble pic. I can name most of the characters:

    Back row: Llewella, Bleys, Gerard, Caine, Oberon, Eric, Corwin, Deidre
    Second row: Julian, a woman as Benedict (or possibly Vialle), Random, Flora, Dworkin, Fiona
    Third row: Brand or Rinaldo, ?, Dara, ?, Coral?
    And… two unicorns. :D

    Got to be the best Amber cosplay I’ve seen pics of. Incredible.

  • http://twitter.com/WhatKateDoes Kate Lorimer

    Pretty sure #5 is Buck Rogers dress uniform as mentioned by others, and seen with awesome tunage here: 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPl0u1nCEhw :)

  • Terence Ng

    It looks like a pretty standard lead actor costume for a warrior from a Beijing opera to me…

  • Frodo Baggins

    Dude with the wicked neck beard and red robe is the closest I’ve seen in real life to children stacked on top of each other under a big coat pretending to be an adult. That is clearly the face of an infant. And a collicky one at that.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Dude with the wicked neck beard and red robe is the closest I’ve seen in real life to children stacked on top of each other under a big coat pretending to be an adult. That is clearly the face of an infant. And a collicky one at that.

  • Amanda W

    10. “My dear, is that a galleon on your head or are you just glad to sea me?”

  • http://psychotronicvortex.tumblr.com/ Psychotronic (Michael F.)

    #5 is definitely a cross-gendered Harlock and a Mugato. I met her at Phantasmicon 1981.

  • http://psychotronicvortex.tumblr.com/ Psychotronic (Michael F.)

    One thing that would make this trip in the TARDIS fully complete is to once again taste Ringworld author Larry Niven’s Irish Coffee.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012489804 Karen Schnaubelt

    The large group is, indeed, the Royal Family of Amber. You see 21 of the 22 costumes in this pic (brother Benedict is cut off on the right side). I’m Deirdre (in the back row in black and silver). We had two “Pages” (in green) with oversized Tarot cards of each of the characters. Mr. Zelazny was kind enough to sign them for us (he was Guest of Honor at that con).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012489804 Karen Schnaubelt

    #10 is the incomparable Adrian Butterfield and Victoria Ridenour in their Beauty and the Beast. They received Best In Show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012489804 Karen Schnaubelt

    #9 is a Chinese Opera costume that entered out of competition.

    #2 is Karen Kuykendal in one of her original designs. She made amazing works of art out of paper mache and broken glass Christmas balls. You may know her for her Tarot of the Cat People.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012489804 Karen Schnaubelt

    None of these photos are of Janet Anderson. She was still on the East Coast at that time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012489804 Karen Schnaubelt

    Second row is Vialle
    Third row is Brand, Merlin, Dara, Martin, and Lorraine
    Fourth row is the two Pages that held the oversized Tarot Cards

    Benedict was there, but cut off on the right side of the picture.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C5LK6CZVGVHPBGXSGGTLNSEHMI J. Kriss

    #1 was the Royal Family of (Roger Zelazny’s) Amber series, in honor of Roger Zelazny being the guest of honor at 1980′s Westercon. All the costumes are characters from the series. I was Bleys, and am 2nd from left in the back row.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    This is, indeed, totally rad.

  • Larry Anderson

    #8 looks like they are dressed as Ice Pirates

  • Anonymous

    Nice.  Not as overwrought as contemporary costuming.   First time I’ve ever seen cosplaying of Amberites.  Greatest fantasy series of all time!

  • Anonymous

    1980 is too early for BTILC.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Snatic/1112583778 Paul Snatic

    #2 looks like Mrs. Howell (of Gilligan’s Island fame) got spaceshipwrecked.