Probably none of you know Bruce Pelz's name, and you are the poorer for it. Bruce was a central, nay, _the_ central figure in Los Angeles science fiction fandom for more than forty years. He was the guy who got things done -- conventions, fanzines, buildings, meetings, parties -- everything. And he was genuinely interested in all facets of fantasy and science fiction literature (as well as mysteries and other genres).
In about 1960, "Los Angeles fen would discover one book after another and gush wildly about their greatness in [the LASFS house fanzine] and their [personal 'zines]. Enthusiasms of the time included Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED, John Myers Myers' SILVERLOCK, and Tolkien's LotR. There were probably others, but I don't remember them. Anyhow, it was because of this that I bought and read SILVERLOCK and Tolkien's five available books. The LASFen started a Tolkien club, "Fellowship of the Ring," with an Official Organ, I PALANTIR." -- Ed Meskys (past president of the Tolkien Society of America)
Bruce Pelz was, in fact, the publisher of what I believe to be the first Tolkien fanzine, I Palantir. I had hoped to interview him formally for an article on early Tolkien fandom this weekend. Damn, damn my procrastination. I have waited too long.
You can look at www.lasfs.org for more about Bruce, including a link to a page of memorial comments (you may recognize some names there).