Thursday, June 27, 2013

Heidi Saha: Addendum

Forry may have some really cool monster pins on his suit, but 11-year-old Heidi is cute as a button!  Here she's displaying a copy of Forry's FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #62 (February 1970).  This photo, taken at LunaCon 13, held April 10th, 11th and 12th, 1970 at New York's Hotel McAlpin, was later used in an issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS.

The following is presented as a companion piece to an earlier post, An Illustrated History of Heidi Saha, consisting mostly of images and information excluded from that article for lack of relevance.

It's unlikely that there's anyone out there who collects Heidi Saha "memorabilia", but if you are that person, and you want your Heidi collection to be completely completed to its completest completion...then you've come to the wrong place.

By the 1960s and '70s, when Heidi was actively involved in science fiction and comic book conventions, countless thousands of fanzines (over a hundred devoted to STAR TREK alone) were being produced.  Some were of a high quality; others were printed on spirit duplicators, the purple ink having faded into oblivion long ago.  Unless you're omniscient, it's impossible to ascertain how many of these rare, lost or forgotten treasures included a photo of Heidi taken at one of the conventions, or any amount of info regarding her appearance, be it a passing reference, an anecdote, a quote, a detailed report on a costume contest, or just a list of who was in attendance.

Let these few items, then -- some popular, some obscure -- be a start.

FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #65 (May 1970).  Heidi appears with Forrest Ackerman (see photo at top) in the Professor Gruebeard ("The World's Oldest Answer Man") section, which debuted this issue.


Heidi looks like she's ready to shoot her rivals.  FANTASTIC FANZINE SPECIAL #2 (1972) devoted a page to the costume contest at the 1971 New York Comic Art Convention, held July 2-4 at the Statler-Hilton Hotel.  12-year-old Heidi won 3rd prize for her en-deer-ing Wilma Deering costume.  Future comics artist Mike Zeck won top prize with his Black Bolt leotard.  So you defeated a little girl, Mike.  Are you proud?  (Actually, the blame goes to the three judges: Jim Steranko, Gardner Fox and Kirk "Superman" Alyn.)

Heidi (as Sheena) in one of two photos of her used in RAGNAROK #2 (1972), for an article covering the New York Comic Art Convention, held at the Statler-Hilton Hotel July 1 to July 5, 1972.  According to the report, Mark Collins (publisher and editor of RAGNAROK) won 1st place in the costume contest as Mister Miracle, Heidi took 2nd, and Harvey Sobel 3rd as the Green Arrow.  Jim Steranko, Denny O'Neil and Tom Watkins were the judges.

The first issue of the fanzine, REBIRTH (April 1973), covered the 2nd annual International Star Trek Convention, held at the Commodore Hotel February 16-19.  It also featured a Heidi Saha centrefold.  This time the 14-year-old was dressed as Shahna, from the STAR TREK episode The Gamesters of Triskelion.  (Angelique Pettyjohn originally played the spear-wielding warrior woman.)

This photo appeared in the 100th issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND (August 1973), though it was obviously taken at some convention or other years earlier.  Heidi was also acknowledged in this issue as one of "a number of individuals who thru the years have extended services to FM above & beyond the Call of Duty."

The 1973 New York Comic Art Convention programme was a hundred pages thick and sported a cover by Russell Meyers, with Broom Hilda dressed as Vampirella.  (The immeasurably prettier Miss Saha had nothing to worry about from this contestant.)  Also shown is the cover of the previous year's programme, produced by the staff at Warren (as the cover attests), and, contrary to the credits, it's possible this book was also produced by Warren, which contained a number of plugs for them.  Notably, there was a special place in the book for Heidi's autograph.

Heidi made the "news" in the New York Sunday News (July 15, 1973), following her appearance as Vampirella at the New York Comic Art Convention, organised by Phil Seuling.

AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF HEIDI SAHA (discussed at length elsewhere on this blog) was assembled by Forry Ackerman and sent off to the printer prior to Heidi's summer 1973 appearances as Vampirella at the New York Comic Art Convention and TorCon 2.  In a moment of whimsy Ackerman wrote, "Wouldn't she be a wow as Vampirella?"  How much is this scarce item worth today?  Well, every day you'd have to crawl through a mile-long tunnel past the ragged orphans pushing cartloads of coal and swing a pickaxe in a mine; and, in a few months, maybe -- just maybe -- the paymaster will give you enough to afford a copy.

Warren also offered this fabulous 2-foot by 3-foot black and white poster of 13-year-old Heidi dressed as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, as she appeared at the 1972 New York Comic Art Convention.  Six square feet of Heidi is large enough tapestry to insulate the cold stone walls of your castle.

This 1-page article originally appeared in VAMPIRELLA #29 (November 1973), to coincide with the ads for the Heidi book and poster, which ran for over half a year.  The article subsequently appeared in CREEPY #58 (December 1973) and EERIE #53 (January 1974), and can be seen again in the hefty VAMPIRELLA ARCHIVES Vol. 5 (2012).

Yet another article covering the two Vampirellas at the 1973 Comic Art Convention, this one from THE MONSTER TIMES (September 1973), an absolutely fun (and funny) tabloid devoted to horror, fantasy, science fiction and comics.

ROCKET'S BLAST / COMICOLLECTOR #103 (October 1973) featured a report on the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention.

RUNE #33 (November 1973), another fanzine, contained lots of pics from TorCon 2 (WorldCon 31), held at Toronto's gigantic Royal York Hotel.  On the inside front cover is a photo of Heidi sicking her pet bat on Robert Bloch.

The Creation Convention 1974 programme contained the notorious poem attacking Heidi and her mom.  To make matters worse, the text was accompanied by a photo of a young model from a skin mag.  Understandably, Art Saha blew his top.

CHRONICLE #4 (February 1974); includes a page of photos from the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention, with Heidi in her Vampirella costume, scaring a kitten.


In an interview in the Warren fanzine, SPOOKY #2 (2005), writer Nick Cuti confirmed that he based a character named "Heidi" on Heidi Saha in E-MAN #5 (November 1974): "Yes, the female character in 'The City Swallower' was based on Heidi Saha.  I met the Sahas early in my career and found them to be charming people and great comic book fans.  So, as a thank you for their kindness I made Heidi and her father into characters in an issue of E-MAN."

E-Man meets Heidi in "The City Swallower", page 2 (art by Joe Staton).  That caption could almost have been written by Forry Ackerman.

Unidentified Heidi article from 1974.

Heidi, this time shown with yet another Vampirella costumer, Charlene Brinkman (later, Brinke Stevens), in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #115 (April 1975).  It's the same pic from VAMPIRELLA #29 a year and a half earlier, except this time the accompanying caption proclaims her "the best live Vampirella ever seen!"  No argument here.

The elusive fanzine, MINUS 273 DEGREES CELSIUS #11 (1976), a special Star Trek issue, had an article titled The Rise and Fall of Heidi Saha.

GLAMOUR INTERNATIONAL #16 (2nd series, 1991), an Italian fantasy and erotica magazine, was an all-vampire issue, and contained a photo of Heidi as Vampirella.

LOCUS, a science fiction news journal, ran a piece by Heidi Saha called Art Saha, My Father in their obituary section, in the January 2000 issue.  Art Saha had just passed away in November of 1999.

THE WARREN COMPANION (2001), reprinted an interview with James Warren originally published in COMIC BOOK ARTIST #4 (Spring 1999), including a segment where he talks about Heidi Saha (pgs. 132 and 133), not used in the original.  In COMIC BOOK ARTIST, the Heidi segment would have appeared on page 41 between Warren's answer "I wish they had called Steven Spielberg..." and the CBA question "While he had been absent at times..."

FAMOUS FORRY FOTOS (2001) featured photos of Forrest Ackerman with family, friends, fiends, fans, and famous folk, as well as the legendary Ackermansion.  Heidi is included, and can also be seen on the back cover with Forry, who's leafing through an issue of VAMPIRELLA #1.

SPOOKY, a fanzine dedicated to Warren magazines, ran an article titled Who Was Heidi Saha? in their first issue (2004).

BACK ISSUE #38 (February 2010) featured an article called Heidi Saha: Warren's Mystery In An Enigma.

Heidi, covering up her Sheena costume, appeared in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #258 (November/December 2011).  The inscription on the back of this photo reads "Uncle Forry, I'm looking at you with affection and love and I'm wondering when I can run up and give you a big hug and kiss.  Love, HEIDI".

Heidi also made a couple of minor film appearances.  Nobody seems to have noticed that she can be seen at the very beginning of a film covering the 1973 International Star Trek Convention (widely available online).  But look fast: she appears (as Shahna of Triskelion) for a grand total of three seconds!

Heidi also appears as Vampirella in this 29-minute film featuring highlights from the costume contest at the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention.  So as not to confuse her with the gorgeous Angelique Trouvere, also dressed as Vampirella, Heidi appears at 2:16-2:24 walking across the stage from left amidst Darkseid and his cronies; 2:39-2:47 she's seen standing at right (behind Darkseid) holding up her bat; 3:39 (glimpse); 3:46-3:51, which then cuts to a close-up from 3:51-3:55; 4:00-4:01, close-up, standing next to Two-Face; 13:43-14:10, takes stage and poses, then exits, with another pose.  (Thanks to the original poster of this film for the link.)

She also appeared in a segment of RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT, hosted by Jack Palance, at least according to this January 19, 1983 article from Oneonta, New York's DAILY STAR:

"COOPERSTOWN - The nationally-televised 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' show will feature a segment on the Cardiff Giant, filmed here with local actors recently at the Farmer's Museum, on Sunday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. on the ABC network.Carter Morris of Cooperstown, who acted in the segment and was a local producer for it, said he had been informed of the scheduled airing by a member of the show's staff.

"About 20 local residents appear in the Cardiff film, to be narrated by actor Jack Palance. It depicts the story of one of America's greatest deceptions.

"The giant stone man was buried during the 1800s on a farm near Cardiff, under the direction of George Hull, a Syracuse cigar maker, who then had it dug up and displayed as a gigantic man who once lived on the earth.

"Thousands of people paid to see the giant, unaware it was a hoax, and it has become a legend. The giant has only been on display here since 1948.

"James Dean, a Cooperstown carpenter, stars in the film as Hull. Morris plays his sidekick, Stubby Newell.

"Other area residents who will appear include: Morris' wife, Mary Jo, and their daughter, Amanda; David Morris, Hank Phillips, Mark Zeek, Steve Kaich, Bob Beebe, Gwen Ermlich, Heidi Saha, Orson Davis, George Cade, Albert Flint, Margaret Lavalle, Steve Oldick, Dan Morris, Jim Leslie, Bill Hayes and Jackie Manley.

"Artist Richard Fitzgerald of Middlefield created some artwork for the show and produced some oversized paper mache feet, which are purported to be those of the giant in the show. Jack Mitchell Moving and Storage provided an antique wagon, and Bob Sperry also made available his horse and carriage for the filming."

"Uncle Forry", as Heidi called him.


Anonymous said...

An interesting read - thank you.

Piers @ Spooky Fanzine.

Jim Ryan said...

I remember seeing that episode of RIPLEY'S when it first came out; looks like Mom did get her wish for her little girl to be seen far and wide, after all...

Mr.QuarX said...

I uploaded the footage from the Comic Art Convention '73 on Dailymotion


Richard Beland said...

Thanks, Mr Quarx. I downloaded a nice copy two years ago, but it only covered the costume contest portion, running 15 minutes and 5 seconds. For anyone about to watch it, stick around for the rest and gasp at the tons of 1960s Marvel comics selling for 50 cents each, and the Golden Age goodies you could get for just a few bucks.

Unknown said...

The other, more age-appropriate Vampirella model really looks the part, but Heidi is irresistible. I was at a comic show just today (even bought 3 issues of Vampi), so the footage of the '73 convention is fascinating. True, everything cost much less then, but the customers probably had much less cash on them, so still weren't spending as much as they would've liked.