Jack Harness

(1932 - July 13, 2001)

An LA fan, Harness was a long-time resident of the Fan Hilton, followed by several other slan shacks in the 1960s. After the Fan Hilton broke up, Harness and Owen Hannifen rented a two-bedroom apartment. It had a confusing layout, so they named it "the Labyrinth". They later moved to another apartment with a somewhat less confusing layout, but it still had a long, narrow hallway connecting the common area with the bedrooms. Harness named it "Labyrinth 3". The next apartment was "Labyrinth of Valeron" and was directly upstairs from the "Hobbit Hole" where Ted Johnstone lived at the time. After that came "Labyrinth Duquesne".

Harness was involved in Scientology and the Rosicrucians. As he got deeper into Scientology, he felt that his roommates, Hannifen and Barry Gold, were insufficiently respectful of Scientology and "enturbulating". He was particularly bothered by the song "We Shall All Be Clear." He left the Labyrinth Duquesne and moved to a solo apartment for some months while preparing to move to Saint Hill, England for advanced Scientology training. Harness returned to Los Angeles as a Scientology "clear" and rejoined Fandom, serving several more terms as LASFS "Scribe", but lived mostly by himself from then on.

He had the nickname "Scribe" in LASFS and was Secretary of the organization, but tended to be late to meetings. In May 1965, he was impeached and removed from his office as LASFS Secretary for "misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance". (The motion had been announced in advance, but he was late and it was over before he got to the meeting. I.e., he was late to his own impeachment.) Following his impeachment, he was reelected by a large majority.

He was a member of The Cult and published Kiddie Korner. He provided the captions and Jean Young and Bill Rotsler did the cartoons for ZIUQ.

Harness was also a fan artist, working mostly in watercolors, pen and ink, and on ditto masters and mimeo stencils. He was particularly noted for his cultoons, line drawings of fans wearing robes and hoods, with speech balloons showing his skewed sense of humor. He used these to illustrate his own FRs=Fantasy Rotator and also did them on request for other members of The Cult. Some of his cultoons can be found in the Yahoo Groups "cultoons1" and "cultoons2".

Harness was an avid player of card games, participating — and usually winning — in the Bourre games https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourr%C3%A9 at the weekly aftermeetings and at most parties held at the Labyrinth slan shacks. When he returned to LA in the 1970s, Bourre had been replaced by LASFS Poker as the card game of choice. These games were often played in the same room as an ongoing party, and Harness was irked by kibitzers, so he designed a board game to keep the other fans occupied and away from the poker game.

Revenge! was a very complicated game, with properties and rent (a la Monopoly), armies and duels (a la Risk), three different kinds of cards, and a variety of hazards, safe zones, and beneficial squares on the board. Two of the card types, Imperial Intelligence and Fate, were random events vaguely similar to the Monopoly "Community Chest" and "Chance" cards, except that many of them involved puns and in-jokes; the third type, "Momentum" allowed you to move yourself or other players in lieu of rolling the dice. ((Revenge! will be available on the web soon…))


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