Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A "Smooth" Bob Tucker


My friend, Wilson “Bob” Tucker, died in 2007 (see posting September 19, 2007) and I didn’t have a photograph to go with it. I was sure that I must have some, but I would have taken them back in the old days when you needed film for a camera and then had to pay for someone to develop it for you, which would explain why I didn’t have many. Not to mention that taking photographs inside without benefit of flash was sometimes dicey.
As I have gone through my files, I have stumbled over many things that were once lost but that are now found. These included some pictures taken at a UFO convention in Chicago in the 1980s, a long time ago.

Tucker, always popular, was hosting the costume contest, which now, I guess would be called Cosplay. While there were some elaborate costumes, most were inexpensive, though often clever but nowhere near as ornate as those today.

Wilson "Bob" Tucker and his bottle of Beam's Choice.
Anyway, Tucker was standing at the podium with his nearly ever present bottle of Beam’s Choice bourbon. Con committees always had a big supply of it, and Tucker always passed it around in a ritual that lasted for decades. Everyone, over 21 of course, would take a swig and hold his or her hand in the air, and when everyone had finished, all yelled, “Smooth,” as they swung their hands down in a bit of an arc.

You’d see same thing at panel discussions with the bottle being passed frequently from one to the next along the panel and then back again. Sometimes the panelists didn’t make it through the discussion without becoming a little tipsy… but there was always a “Smooth.”

In later years a new wrinkle was added when someone suggested that we use the American Sign Language symbol for love as part of the ritual. Tucker, of course approved, and the plan was adopted.

Bob Tucker in the plaid shirt (obviously) teaching a group of fans the ritual of "Smooth."
So here are my pictures, such as they are (taken inside the hotel without flash and in what would been less than a megapixel), of Tucker at the podium, and Tucker instructing some newcomers in the proper protocol of the “Smooth.” Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are memorable.

1 comment:

Tom Fritz said...

I have fond memories of "smoothing" with Bob at a convention in Kearney Nebraska in 1980 and 1981 called Contratemps. The driving force behind that convention and getting Bob to attend was Pat Kennedy. ED Bryant was another guest. It was my introduction to sci fi cons and has had a lasting impact because of Bob. Here is to Bob and... This shit is smmoooth.