Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: sy sable

A brief history of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, America’s first anime fan club — by Sy Sable

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Courtesy of Changa Lion and the Confurence Archive, cover art by Ken Sample. 5 years after it was founded, the club newsletter covered news from 9 American club chapters and the 1982 release of Don Bluth’s Secret of NIMH.

Sy Sable co-founded the first furry con and helped grow a new worldwide furry fandom, with 1970’s roots in a small clubhouse in Los Angeles.

On 4/4/2020, Sy Sable (Mark Merlino) sent this brief history of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, founded in 1977. His story comes from recent message trading with someone interested in the C/FO and those involved. He couldn’t connect her to people out of contact for over 20 years, but he could tell how the club started. 

Today, there’s a worldwide network we could call capital-F Furry fandom, but some key founders were “proto-furries” who met at the C/FO. The club introduced new and unusual imported Japanese anime that was starting to reach America through rare home video tech. Club members loved anime for featuring adult, science fiction and action themes unlike 1970’s American animation aimed at kids (then dominated by studios like Hanna-Barbera.) There was a lot of “giant robot” anime, but certain fans preferred to combine adult themes plus traditional “funny animal” comics and animation that eventually spun off their own, new hybrid fandom.

Sy was a founder who went on with partner Rod O’Riley to host 1980’s science fiction convention room parties, then ConFurence in 1989, and longstanding monthly parties at The Prancing Skiltaire in Southern California (when not under quarantine in 2020). The C/FO had other chapters and there were other fan groups, but this is a major root. Another founder, Fred Patten, wrote about the C/FO in How Home Video Created Anime Fandom — or check Fred’s review of Joe Strike’s Furry Nation history book that covers this. (Fred was also a writer with Jerry Beck, East Coast C/FO chapter founder and animation historian, tying in much more history.) Sy says: “This is from my perspective and drops names something fierce… but it IS my personal take on things.” ( – Patch)

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40th anniversary of Animalympics: The “Rocky Horror Show” of furry fandom – by Sy Sable

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Here’s a guest article from Sy Sable, AKA Mark Merlino, a founder of furry fandom and its first convention ConFurence. Sy, Rod O’Riley and Changa Lion host monthly parties at their house (The Prancing Skiltaire) in Southern California. The parties screen animation like Animalympics. It became popular at 1980’s fan parties, where furries adopted it as their own cult favorite like Rocky Horror and kept it alive when it might be forgotten. Last week I hosted a furry movie party where the furry-made version (C/FO Cut with rare lost scenes) got a fresh look as an original fandom root. The Youtube video is at end of article. – Patch

To go with the story, Changa Lion provided his scans of a vintage TV Guide from when Animalympics first aired (Jan 26 – Feb 1, 1980). “NBC was at the time in the dumps in ratings and very desperate. It had been this way for some time. They would not dig themselves out until the Cosby Show.” (full issue on Archive.org.)

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Furry history gold – 25 years of conventions. Newsdump (2/5/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Story tips are always welcome. 

Nominate Dogpatch Press for an Ursa Major Award – get fuzzy hugs!  I love furries so much, blogging about them is it’s own reward.  But I love shinies too, so can the highly attractive readers of this site nominate it for an award?  Please submit a Best Magazine nomination at the Ursa Majors site.  These hugs are worth it.  OK, they’re worth nothing because I hug everyone for free. (They’re just priceless.)

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Fandom News

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25 Years of Furry Conventions, presented by Sable and Mink – furry history gold. 

In 1989, ConFurence Zero brought 65 original furries to Costa Mesa, California.  The organizers have lots to tell you.  Reddit has more comments, and there’s a good one about the “first iconic fursuits” in the video at 47:00.  It shows Hilda The Bambioid salaciously played in “leather lingerie” by Robert Hill.  In 1989, little did they know where this would lead… “There were TWO fur-suits there: Hilda in performance, as you see in the footage here, and the un-named bobcat who showed up later at the dance.”

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