The Baltimore Sun


'Star Trek' superfan

For the Star Trek faithful, it was a historic event. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series, showed up. So did the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, not to mention fans dressed as Klingons, Tribbles and Bele from the planet Cheron. NASA delivered a scaled-down lunar module and a spacesuit.

It was January 1972, and the first Star Trek convention was under way in a rented ballroom at the Statler Hilton in Manhattan. The organizers had expected a crowd of about 500. In the end, more than 3,000 fans turned up, so many that by the final day of the event registrars were issuing ID cards made from torn scraps of wrapping paper. For fans of the series, the convention marked the moment when a diaspora became a nation.

And it made a subculture celebrity of Joan Winston, who played a leading role in creating the event and went on to achieve a second-order fame as one of world's most avid Star Trek fans. She died of Alzheimer's disease Sept. 11 at age 77, her cousin Steven Rosenfeld said. She lived in Manhattan.

Ms. Winston earned the love of Star Trek fans everywhere by helping to orchestrate an afterlife for the series beyond the television set - initially by organizing conventions and persuading stars from the series to attend, later by appearing at the conventions as a star in her own right, a superfan whose undying devotion inspired awe among Star Trek devotees.


Noted session drummer

Earl Palmer, a New Orleans drummer who provided the distinctive backbeat for seminal rock 'n' roll songs by Fats Domino and Little Richard, then traveled west to become one of Hollywood's busiest session musicians, has died. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, Mr. Palmer died Friday at his home in Banning, Calif., after a long illness, his family announced.

Often called the most-recorded drummer in music history, Mr. Palmer played in thousands of rock 'n' roll, jazz and pop music sessions, as well as on countless movie, television and commercial scores.

He set the rhythm for Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'," Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally," Richie Valens' "La Bamba" and Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" in the 1950s. Producer Phil Spector used him to build his legendary Wall of Sound in the 1960s on such songs as "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers and "River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner. In more recent years he played with Randy Newman, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, among others.

Besides providing the driving backbeat on many rock 'n' roll tunes, Mr. Palmer can be heard on recordings by jazz and pop stars Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Doris Day as well as on the TV theme songs for Mission: Impossible, Green Acres and The Odd Couple, among others.

"When you're working in the studios, you're playing every genre of music," Hal Blaine, his friend and another prolific session drummer, said in an interview Saturday. "You might be playing classical music in the morning and hard rock in the afternoon and straight jazz at night. ... That's where they separate the men from the boys. If you're going to be a studio musician, it's the top of the ladder. You can't go any higher than that in the music business."

In 1999 he was the subject of a biography, Backbeat, written by Tony Scherman.

A year later, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Blaine were among the first class of previously unsung sidemen inducted into a new category of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which cited Mr. Palmer's "solid stickwork and feverish backbeat" in laying the foundation for rock 'n' roll drumming.

Mr. Palmer was married four times. In addition to his wife, Jeline, he is survived by seven children, Earl Cyril Palmer Jr., Donald Alfred Palmer, Ronald Raymond Palmer, Patricia Ann Palmer, Shelly Margaret Palmer, Pamela Teresa Palmer and Penny Yasuko Palmer; 20 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.


Democratic fundraiser

Johnny Hayes, a prominent Democratic fundraiser who managed finances for the two presidential campaigns of former Vice President Al Gore, died Saturday. His family issued a statement through Tennessee Deputy Gov. Stuart Brunson saying Mr. Hayes died of stomach cancer at his home in Sideview, about 30 miles northeast of Nashville.

Mr. Hayes first managed Mr. Gore's campaign finances when he was elected to the U.S. House in 1976 and for his subsequent Senate victories. As a fellow Tennessee native and longtime Gore confidant, Mr. Hayes was tapped to lead the finance effort for Mr. Gore's presidential bids in 1988 and 2000.

"He was a great friend and a wonderful ally," Mr. Gore said in a statement.

Mr. Hayes was prominent in other races. He led fundraising efforts for Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen's campaign in 2002 and again when Mr. Bredesen won re-election in a 2006 landslide.

"Many knew Johnny as a powerful business and political leader; Andrea and I knew him as a friend," Mr. Bredesen said in a statement, referring to his wife, Tennessee first lady Andrea Conte.

After being sworn in as vice president in 1993, Mr. Gore nominated Mr. Hayes as a director of the Tennessee Valley Authority. In 1999, Mr. Hayes left the country's largest public utility to become chief fundraiser for Mr. Gore's 2000 presidential race.

After Mr. Gore lost to George W. Bush, Mr. Hayes was hired to lobby Congress on behalf of troubled electric wholesaler Enron Corp., which collapsed in late 2001.

Mr. Hayes also was known for gathering an extensive collection of political memorabilia, including a copper button from George Washington's inauguration, a ticket to Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial and an Abraham Lincoln campaign banner.

Mr. Hayes graduated from Tennessee Technological University in 1961. He is survived by his wife, Mary Howard Reese Hayes, and three children.

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