My Favorite Magazines:
The Starlog Project
Starlog issues: 1-20 | 21-40 | 41-60 | 61-80 | 81-100 | 101-120 | 121-140 | 141-160 | 161-180 | 181-200 | 201-220 | 221-240 | 241-260 | 261-280 | 281-300 | 301-320 | 321-340 | 341-460 | 361-374
Other magazines: Starlog Project | Future Life
|Starlog magazine was published from 1976 through 2009, primarily by O'Quinn
Studios (eventually renamed Starlog Group), though it went through two sales in the last few years of its life, first to The Creative Group and then, upon that company's bankruptcy, to The Brooklyn Company, which continues to publish sister magazine Fangoria.
Starlog #121, August 1987: Dennis Quaid's Innerspace Journey
This issue gives you a good sense of the films dominating the science fiction and fantasy world in the late 1980s. Innerspace, Spaceballs, Superman IV, Robocop, Harry & the Hendersons. It seems as if every two or three years, a new batch of films and TV programs don't just come out but, for better or worse, define an era (well, I guess two or three years is too short to be called an era, but let's just go with it here). I'd be blowing hot air if I said that I knew what these movies tell us about the late 1980s. One could guess that Robocop had something to say about the militarization of Reagan-era (that's an era) America, but then what about the gentle Harry & the Hendersons? Spaceballs?
Sometimes, a movie is just a movie.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95
My favorite classified ad of the month: “How to become a movie critic: SASE for free information ...”
The rundown: The cover photo features the handsome mug of actor Dennis Quaid, star of Innerspace. Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column is a post-mortem dedication to a young man who was the unnamed subject of O'Quinn's "Dreaming" editorial in issue #120; Communications letters include an update from the owner of the shuttle Galileo (of the original Star Trek), reaction to O'Quinn's editorial about religious censorship of textbooks, a Belgian reader criticizing amateur movie critics (they should check out the classifieds ...), memories of Trek pilot "The Cage," and more; Medialog includes John A. Gallagher's report on Stuart Gordon's Robojox, plus David McDonnell's roundup of genre news (such as David Cronenberg being slated to write and direct a Scanners TV series).
Someone had to do it: Brian Lowry got the enviable job of interviewing Mel Brooks, who sounds like he's a hell of a lot of fun to talk with, a mixture of brains, talent, and humor; in his fourth Generations column, David Gerrold explains the new Enterprise bridge and gives the backgrounds of the behind-the-scenes leaders of Star Trek: The Next Generation; William Rabkin interviews actor John Lithgow (Harry & the Hendersons, Buckaroo Banzai, even Santa Claus); Edward Gross profiles Joseph Sargent, director of Trek classic’s “The Corbomite Maneuver,” The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Jaws: The Revenge, and more; Starman and Raiders of the Lost Ark star Karen Allen is interviewed by Irv Slifkin; Jessie Horsting interviews Joe Dante about Innerspace (with an entertaining sidebar on Amazon Women on the Moon); in a two-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Eric Niderost profiles Melvin and Caesar Belli (“And the Children Shall Lead”) and Mark Phillips profiles Roy Jensen (“The Omega Glory”); David Hutchison’s Videolog updates us on Solarbabies and the other genre video releases.
Kim Howard Johnson interviews Superman actor Christopher Reeve, who talks about the past couple Supes outings and notes that he’s preparing to direct; the Fan Network pages include some cartoons, a note on a writing workshop, and more; Eric Niderost talks to actor Peter Weller about Robocop; there are three obituaries for the Tribute pages, including John Sayer’s on Wizard of Oz actor Ray Bolger, Patrick Daniel O’Neill on Danny Kaye, and Will Murray on Gardner F. Fox; Jane Gael Rafferty interviews actor Lance Henriksen about Aliens, Near Dark, and more; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman talk with actress Jacqueline Pearce of Blake’s 7; Eddie Berganza previews the animated Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers; and editor David McDonnell’s Liner Notes shares some news on Starlog writers who make good.
"When I write a film, I audition it. I send it to a class at UCLA and I say, 'Mark it.' I sent a copy to my son, Nicky Brooks, who writes science fiction-horror things, and I say distribute this script among your friends and have them mark it. By 'mark it,' I mean if you like a joke, put a check. If you like a scene, write a note about it, and give me a one-page criticism of the whole script. You get 300 write-ins. Of course, you give away all your jokes, but you do get incredible input."
–Mel Brooks, writer/director, interviewed by Brian Lowry: Mel Brooks: Spaceballs – The Director"
Starlog #122, September 1987: Timothy Dalton Is 007 James Bond – Briefly
The first of Timothy Dalton’s two outings as James Bond, The Living Daylights, takes center stage. I rather liked Dalton’s Bond; it was more serious and realistic than the Roger Moore era’s Bond, and he’s a good actor. But the producers were obviously waiting to get Pierce Brosnan, so Dalton was soon shown the door. Oh, well, at least he lasted longer than George Lazenby.
Some details on this issue: I might be incorrect, but I think this might be the only issue of Starlog ever published that doesn’t have any roof text – the blurbs that appear above the magazine’s logo on the cover. Also, for the first time, Fangoria is listed in the subscription ad as being published 10 times a year, instead of the previous nine.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95
My favorite classified ad of the month: “COLLECT YOUR BACHELOR’S DEGREE from STAR FLEET ACADEMY! Laser printed with your name and choice of degree printed on Circa 1987 parchment. Embossed. Choose from: Interstellar History, Military Science, Business Administration, Command Disciplines, Computer Sciences, Parapsychology, Star Navigation, Humanoid Medicine, Propulsion Engineering, or Communications ...”
The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn shares some personal recent pain and urges readers not to waste their time when they could be living life; Communications letters include lots of reader feedback on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, praise for the most recent Starlog Scrapbook, and comments on two television programs, the cancelled Twilight Zone and the new Starman; Medialog includes David Hutchison on The Film Forum Summer Festival of Fantasy and Science Fiction, plus David McDonnell’s newswire of genre media news, such as noting the new CBS television series Beauty and the Best, starring Linda Hamilton.
Jessie Horsting and Carr D’Angelo interview actor/comedian Martin Short about Innerspace (this is actually representative of many Starlog articles with multiple authors; they are based on the writers’ separate interviews with somebody, and are put together either by the writers or by the editors; David Gerrold’s Generations column goes behind the scenes of the making of Star Trek: The Next Generation, here featuring photos and bios of the actors (including “Cheryl” McFadden, who portrays Dr. Beverly Crusher); Kim Howard Johnson interviews actress Mariel Hemingway about her role in Superman IV; David Hutchison’s Videolog reports on Fahrenheit 451 and other genre video and laserdisc releases; like the magazine’s overview of Star Wars coverage in #120, Starlog presents a six-page compilation of mini-excerpts of past Starlog articles on James Bond, in celebration of the super-spy’s 25th anniversary. It makes me certain that if Starlog had been published in the 1960s, it would probably have had an interview or three with the late Ian Fleming (whose final interview was published instead by Playboy).
Speaking of Bond, Lee Goldberg previews The Living Daylights; the Fan Network pages include Mike Glyer’s compilation of science-fiction and fantasy clubs, Jim McLernon’s report on Spider-Man’s wedding (is the the same Jim McLernon who's a future art director of the magazine?), and more; Eric Niderost talks to director Paul Verhoeven about his new film, Robocop; William Rabkin interviews actor Barnard Hughes (Tron, The Lost Boys); Patrick Daniel O’Neill pens the Comics Scene column, in which he examines The Incredible Hulk; Marc Shapiro looks at Masters of the Universe; William Rabkin profiles actor Duncan Regehr (V, The Monster Squad, Earth*Star Voyager); Brian Lowry interviews actress Daphne Zuniga about portraying the spoiled princess in Spaceballs; Cinefantastique’s Dan Scapperotti presents part one of this multi-part look at Disney’s Snow White; Lee Goldberg previews the John Updike adaptation The Witches of Eastwick; and editor David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column relates the sad but heroic tale of the lost-and-found issue of Starlog, #121.
“I really suffered on Robocop, but it was OK because I was doing something I had never done before. It was part of the challenge, part of the learning process. I like to explore different facets of the human condition. When I did Spetters, for example, I was saying something about Holland and teen sexuality there. But I’ve made my statement; I wouldn’t like to continue to do only sexually themed films.”
–Paul Verhoeven: director, interviewed by Eric Niderost: “Paul Verhoeven: War, Rememberance & Robocop”
Starlog #123, October 1987: Guys with Big Muscles
Sylvester Stallone, He-Man, Superman. Starlog is covering a lot of the musclebound hulks in 1987, because they’re the ones dominating the cinemas. Even Robocop, though metallic, is a part of this bulk-up-and-fight-the-bad-guys time period.
In the late 1980s, Starlog was the number-one publisher of licensed movie magazines in the country (probably the world, considering the genre), and the new titles came fast and furious. Sometimes they published movie magazines (Starlog-sized publications dedicated to the movie) and other times they published poster magazines, featuring 10 or 12 posters from the movie plus some pages of editorial content. Rarer is the deluxe magazine, published on better paper stock, featuring an upscale version of the regular magazine, sometimes with some posters added.
So, just to get caught up in 1987, I should note that Starlog published the official movie magazine for The Untouchables (a great movie, and a very nice magazine), Over the Top (a Sylvester Stallone film about – I kid you not – arm wrestling), The Living Daylights, Masters of the Universe, and Star Trek: The Voyage Home (with three publications for that film: poster mag, regular mag, and a deluxe magazine).
Also this month, editor David McDonnell announces the return of the loved-but-previously-dead sister title Comics Scene. It is brought back as a one-shot test issue, and it will perform well enough at the newsstand that the publishers will soon relaunch the title and produce it for eight or nine years, by far the longest of Comics Scene’s three runs.
And on the personnel side, Starlog has a new production director again. This time it’s William Gipp. Don’t get too attached to him, though; Starlog is changing production directors like the rest of us change our socks: often.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95
Odd classified ad of the month: “WITCHCRAFT harness its powers. Gavin and Yvonne teach you how ...”
The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O’Quinn gives a behind-the-scenes peek at George Lucas’ appearance at the Starlog convention honoring Star Wars’ 10th anniversary; Communications letters include a bunch of readers reacting to Star Trek’s 20th anniversary, actor Marc McClure (Jimmy Olson in the Superman films) responding to a recent Superman article in the magazine, reader interest in Starman, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Max Headroom, and more; Medialog includes a photo with extended caption on Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride, plus Edward Gross on Eddie Murphy’s interest in being in a Star Trek film, and David McDonnell with a roundup of the latest genre news (such as info on how a directors’ strike had affected science-fiction/fantasy TV productions).
Eric Niderost profiles actress Nancy Allen, who talks Robocop and – in a sidebar by Kim Howard Johnson – Poltergeist III; David Gerrold’s Generations column is his final one, as he announces he’s leaving the Star Trek: The Next Generation fold to go produce his own TV show; Bill Warren talks with producer Jon Davison about Robocop; Brian Lowry interviews screenwriter Jeffrey Boam, who talks The Lost Boys, Innerspace, and more, though it’s still too early for his best film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; the Fan Network section features responses to reader queries (including, “Are there soundtracks for Great Mouse Detective, The Secret of NIMH and Watership Down?”); in what must have been the ultimate Trek fan experience, Carr D’Angelo reports (and Eddie Berganza photographs) on the first Trekcruise (this is your chance to see Nichelle Nichols in a two-person sack race and George Takei posing with his mother); the 25th-anniversary look back at James Bond continues from last issue (featuring more mini-excerpts of past Starlog Bond coverage); speaking of which, Lee Goldberg talks with the new James Bond, Timothy Dalton, who admits, “If I cock this up, it’s going to put a full stop to my career for a year or two.”
He-Man, in the form of actor Dolph Lundgren, is interviewed by Carr D’Angelo; Edward Gross talks with Superman IV director Sidney J. Furie; David Hutchison’s Videolog reports on Superman serials and other video releases; it was a busy month for the managing editor, for Carr D’Angelo is also writing the Comics Scene column, with a roundtable discussion with the creators of the 45th issue of the Star Trek comic book (including Trek comics editor Robert Greenberger, the founding editor of Comics Scene and a former Starlog editor); Faryl M.S. Reingold visits the remote set of the aptly named film Stranded; part two of Dan Scapperotti’s look at Disney animators includes Frank Thomas (no, not the White Sox slugger) and Ollie Johnson; in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell announces the resurrection of the late, great Comics Scene magazine.
“[Timothy] Dalton would have us believe that The Living Daylights is pure [Ian] Fleming, and that Timothy Dalton isn’t a new James Bond, he’s the old James Bond. It’s a pretty nifty strategy, and best of all, it works. Just when it seemed like the Bond series had finally become tired, The Living Daylights takes the character back to his roots, back to the wild espionage stories and the ruthless spy who takes his job very seriously.”
–Lee Goldberg, writer, “Timothy Dalton: The Knight of The Living Daylights”
Starlog #124, November 1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation Arrives
Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted when I was working at my university newspaper, The Badger Herald. We had a separate lounge/TV room, and most of us filled the little room to watch the premiere. As I watched subsequent episodes that first year, I thought: That captain sure abandons ship a lot; doesn’t he like it? I stopped watching it regularly for a year or two, until a group of us were at the apartment of a friend who watched the show religiously, and when it came to airtime, she made us all view it. The episode was “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and I was hooked at last. Intelligent, daring, exciting – it was good TV drama and it was good science fiction. The political correctness overkill of the first year had matured into a more realistic series. And Picard showed the best, wisest leadership of any of the Trek series.
But it all started back in the fall of 1987 when the show premiered in syndication, and it would soon grow into a phenomenon even before I rejoined the party. Starlog was there from the beginning – before the beginning, really, considering various articles and David Gerrold’s mini-series of a column, Generations. It would soon begin publishing the official Star Trek: The Next Generation licensed magazine (first as a quarterly and then as a bimonthly). And this issue, #124, is only one of numerous 100-page, super-sized editions that would feature ST:TNG on the cover. Like I’ve said in the past: Starlog and Star Trek: The Next Generation was a match made in heaven.
Staffing news: Remember William Gipp, the production director announced last issue? Not to be found this issue.
100 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95
Everybody watched or knew about the new Star Trek series. But this issue is also noteworthy to absolutely no one else except me – but since I’m the one writing this, I’ll include the reason here: The letters section features the third letter the magazine has published from me. (Well, possibly kind of the fourth, if you accepted my reasoning about the editorial section of issue #100.) I was responding to Kerry O'Quinn's editorial in #113 about fundamentalist parents trying to censor their children’s textbooks, and I wrote, in part, “[T]o be truthful, those religious groups do have reason to be worried. When O’Quinn writes about humanism, of belief in man’s ability to make his world as he wants, he can change minds. What O’Quinn is doing is not harmless – to them – so they will not even try tolerating his opinion. Just move right on to trying to shut him up.” Ah, yes, wild, youthful ideals and ideas ... which I still believe 23 years later. (BTW, they misspelled my last name, which really just makes it all that much more valuable on eBay, in my calculation.)
Classified ad of the month: “JOIN THE UGSS! news service for all, liason [sic] service for member organizations ...” No, I don’t know what they’re talking about, either.
The rundown: The cast of the new Star Trek: The Next Generation are featured on the cover, along with what I think might be the first photo of the new Enterprise in the magazine. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn discusses the new Star Trek series and its chances for success; though the Communications section is an instant valuable collectible because of my letter, some folks might be more impressed by the letter from James Randi, the famous debunker of parapsychological claims, who takes issue with recent interviewee Martin Caidin’s claim to be telekinetic – he challenges Caidin to prove it and be paid $120,000: “Put up or shut up.” Caidin declined. In the Medialog section, Daniel Dickholtz gets comics writer Alan Moore’s thoughts on his new Fashion Beast, plus David McDonnell rounds up the latest genre news (such as the terrible reception given to Superman IV, which led to 30 minutes being shaved off its running time and pretty much deep-sixing any plans for a Superman V).
L. Sprague de Camp is back with a remembrance of his early years in the worlds of science fiction and fantasy; the six-page Fan Network section includes an extensive directory of SF and fantasy clubs compiled by Mike Glyer, Richard Gilbert on the fictional Vulcan T’Pau from Star Trek and a real-life T’Pau from the music world, and more; Mike Clark explores Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks puppet series; Edward Gross interviews Lee Sholem, director of old George Reeves-era Superman tales; Kyle Counts contributes to Starlog for the first time, here with a look at the Kirk Cameron film Like Father, Like Son; Edward Gross talks with writer Samuel A. Peeples; Gross also profiles director James Goldstone, who talks about the Star Trek pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before” plus Earth*Star Voyager; wait – there’s still more Edward Gross, who interviews actor Gary Lockwood about 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek; Marc Shapiro gives Gross a break and writes the next article, a behind-the-scenes preview of The Next Generation; long before she starred in Friends, Courtney Cox appeared in Misfits of Science and Masters of the Universe, and here she’s interviewed by Marc Shapiro; Steve Swires talks with actor Burt Ward, who recalls his fun by poorly paid days as Bruce Wayne’s sidekick, Dick Grayson, in the 1960s’ Batman series; William Rabkin profiles actress Jami Gertz about her roles in Solarbabies (about which she has mostly bad memories) and The Lost Boys.
Jessie Horsting talks with Australian actor Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior, Innerspace), with a sidebar from Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier on Innerspace co-star Kevin McCarthy; Lee Goldberg checks in with an interview with Jeroen Krabbe, who discusses the James Bond film The Living Daylights; in his Videolog column, David Hutchison notes new video releases from Star Trek and others; Bill Warren previews the film World Gone Wild (don't worry, it's nothing like Girls Gone Wild or Guys Gone Wild, though there is a beefcake shirtless shot of co-star Michael Pare to kick off the article); Marc Shapiro profiles Robert Jaffe about Motel Hell (subject of one of the all-time-classic Fangoria magazine covers, BTW) and Nightflyers; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman interview actor Ian Marter about his time portraying one of Doctor Who’s companions (which, I realize with A.D. 2010 hindsight, sounds a bit more alternative-lifestyle than it was); Splatter Movies author John McCarty contributes an article and episode guide for the old TV series One Step Beyond; and in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell writes about being fooled by Superman IV.
“The irrepressible Ward especially enjoyed poking fun at the implications of the relationship between millionaire Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson. ‘It was like a game for me,’ [Ward] states. ‘I would just get in there and take each scene to the nth degree. Naturally, the censors were always on my back. Adam would have to calm me down, by saying,”‘No, Burt, you can’t go that far.” For example, in one scene Bruce and Dick were about to retire for the evening. As we walked up the staircase with our backs to the camera, Adam said: “Well, Dick, it’s time to go to bed.” I said: “You’re right, Bruce” – and I put my arm around him. Geez, did that create an uproar!’”
–Steve Swires, writer: “Holy Sidekick! Burt Ward”
Starlog #125, December 1987: James Cameron Strikes Back
Yep, that’s my governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, there on the cover of Starlog #125. It’s funny, really; when he ran for the governor’s office, I knew he wasn’t the muscle-bound idiot that some people wanted to portray him as, and the reason I knew that was all of the interviews with him I’d read in Starlog magazine over the years. It came through in those articles that he knew about business and politics. One can disagree with what he’s done in office, but I don’t think you can seriously pretend he’s ignorant.
This issue, Starlog raises its cover price from $2.95 to $3.50. This follows the longest period of no increases thus far in the magazine’s history. It rose from $2.50 to $2.95 way back in June 1983 with issue #71. Unlike in some past eras of price increases, there’s no immediate increase in the number of pages or the quality of paper. The paper quality was improved a number of issues ago, and the page count will increase steadily over the next decade or so, as will the amount of color pages in the magazine. But for now, the magazine just seems to be getting caught up with inflation. Or the publishers wanted to buy another racehorse.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover Price: $3.50
Classified ad of the month: “MUTILATION GRAPHICS – T-SHIRTS Splat movies, Manson, Ann Landers, Two-Headed Baby, Marilyn Monroe in the Morgue ... Dead. Send $1 ...” Ann Landers?!?
The rundown: The future chief executive of the state of California is on the cover of this issue, in a pose from his latest movie, The Running Man. Kerry O’Quinn’s editorial is practically a meditation on dealing with pain and failure, and how to overcome them; Communications letters include a call for more attention to be paid to science-fiction books instead of films, praise for John Carpenter, memories of Blake’s 7, reaction to the articles on the women of Star Trek, and more; in Medialog, Adam Pirani previews Dinosaur – The Film, and David McDonnell reports the latest genre headlines, such as Dorothy Fontana’s scheduled departure from the team behind Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Steve Swires talks with director John Carpenter again (or continues to talk with him since their last chat in issue #115); David Hutchison announces some classic and modern genre video releases in Videolog; Brian Lowry interviews Amazon Women on the Moon co-producer Robert K. Weiss about the SF spoof he and John Landis made; Bill Warren profiles actor Bruce Dern, who discusses World Gone Wild, Silent Running, The Outer Limits, and acting with John Wayne; William Rabkin previews the great Rob Reiner film The Princess Bride; in response to various letters to the editor questioning aspects of Aliens, writer/director James Cameron wrote his own lengthy letter – here printed as an Other Voices guest column – with a forceful and detailed defense of his movie; Edward Gross interviews Steven de Souza, screenwriter of The Running Man and The Return of Captain Invincible, among others; Gross also talks with writer Margaret Armen about her Star Trek episodes (live action and animated), including her rewrite of David Gerrold’s third-season episode “The Cloud Minders”; and Daniel Dickholtz checks in with novelist J.M. Dillard.
Designer Andy Probert holds a special friend-of-the-blog status for me, because he has for years sent visitors from his web site to an interview of mine with David Gerrold about the abortive Starhunt project, so it’s nice to see him – along with illustrator Rick Sternbach – profiled by Marc Shapiro for their work on designing Star Trek: The Next Generation; the Fan Network pages include information about saving the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers TV show, R.S. Sean O’Halloran on some fans who salvage prop vehicles from science-fiction productions, Mike Glyer’s directory to fantasy fan clubs, answers to reader queries (such as, “What has happened to the Robotech movie?”), an item on the persistence of Star Wars fandom, and more; Mike Clark looks at Gerry Anderson’s Space Police live-action program; Irv Slifkin interviews the legendary Joseph Barbera (of animated “Hanna-” fame); Eric Niderost previews Date with an Angel; in the Tribute page, Kerry O’Quinn writes Polly Freas’ obituary, and Tom Weaver says good-bye to the similarly named but unrelated Paul Frees; and editor David McDonnell, writing in his Liner Notes column, passes along some praise for the magazine from John Carpenter – almost enough to make me feel sorry for dissing Carpenter’s films in that letter to Fangoria years later ...
“I’ll tell you a little story. On Sundays, since I was a little kid in knee-highs, I remember the Sunday paper had the comic strips on the outside, the first thing everybody read when they got the paper. Seven out of 10 people still read the comics first. This need has not gone away. Animation is a relief from what’s going on in the world. You get up in the morning and turn on the radio and you hear a bridge goes out in Albany, a bomb has exploded here and there’s a flood on the East Coast. Then, you turn on the TV and see it all visualized. In living color, no less. Where’s the relief? That’s what we do: Provide relief in fantasy product. It’s important to make people forget what’s really happening.”
–Joseph Barbera, animation producer, interviewed by Irv Slifkin: “The Wonderful World of Joseph Barbera”
Starlog #126, January 1988: Star Trek – How Believable?
Starlog’s magaging editor, Carr D’Angelo, is headed West, so this issue he says farewell. In his good-bye editorial, he notes the passing of a generation of favorite movie houses in New York. This is, after all, the late 1980s, when grand old movie palaces across the country were still being chopped into smaller boxes, making the movie-going experience ... less of an experience and more like seeing a film in your friend’s rec room.
My time in Manhattan was 12 years later, and I found many places to see movies. Some were classic and palace-like, others were crummy little shoeboxes. Still others were new, apparently built in the 1990s, eschewing the boxy multiplex looks for an update on the look of the large theaters of the past (including one on the Upper East Side where I finally escaped from my apartment three days after 9/11 because I was going crazy watching CNN, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this large theater basically tucked away inside an apartment building). I don’t know how lifelong New Yorkers felt about the new breed of cinemas, but I found quite a few places to catch any film I wanted to see. And that, to me, is a great thing about Manhattan: Unlike anywhere else in the United States, Manhattan hosts every film, and it hosts it first (and sometimes is the only domestic place besides Los Angeles for a film to unspool).
I’ll leave it to a writer more talented than I am to decide whether it’s overkill anyway to sit in a grand old plush movie palace ... and watch Superman IV.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
This month we see the first ad for Starlog’s official licensed magazine for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes, I still remember seeing it on the magazine rack for the first time at the grocery store in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, I bought it.
Classified ad of the month: “STAR TREK: HOW BELIEVABLE? $10; Golding’s Star Trek Star Maps $7.50 ...”
The rundown: Three stars of Star Trek: The Next Generation are on the cover, albeit they’re posing with that robotic, emotionless look that exemplified the first season’s initial episodes, before the producers realized people liked seeing their heroes have some blood in their veins. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn goes to church and he likes it – at least the building; Communications letters include Peter Bloch-Hansen (I assume that’s the same Peter Bloch-Hansen who would one day be a regular contributor to the magazine’s pages) commenting on the recent article about Journey to the Center of the Earth, while another Starlog writer – novelist Lawrence Watt-Evans – responds to Michael Wolff’s recent article on “How the Earth Won the War of the Worlds,” plus lots of letters on Star Trek, one on ALF, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog roundup of genre news tells us, among other things, that Kenneth Johnson will direct Short Circuit II.
Beverly M. Payton talks with star Robert Hays and producer James Hirsch about the future – or lack thereof – for their canceled series Starman; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman profile actress Jan Chappell about her role in Blake’s 7; in the Fan Network pages, Eddie Bergana reports on opposition to CBS’ plans for airing an edited-for-television version of Ladyhawke, Vicki Hessel Werkley covers fan efforts to revive Starman, Mike Glyer continues his directory to SF and fantasy fan clubs, and more; K.M. Drennan interviews actor Bill Paxton about Aliens and Near Dark; Adam Pirani talks with writer J.G. Ballard, who covers everything from Empire of the Sun (Steven Spielberg’s film of his World War II experiences) to The Drowned World and more; Juanita Elefante-Gordon talks with actor Patrick Macnee about Avengers (“And The New Avengers was a complete failure,” he tells her); Edward Gross profiles Star Trek episode director Joseph Pevney (“Arena,” “The Immunity Syndrome,” and others).
Kim Howard Johnson interviews Running Man star Arnold Schwarzenegger; Robin J. Schwartz talks with author Lynn Abbey (The Guardians, Unicorn & Dragon); Marc Shapiro interviews Star Trek: The Next Generation actress Marina Sirtis (“I’m not the new Spock. ... She is a completely new character.”); Dan Scapperotti interviews actress Maureen O’Sullivan about her days in Tarzan films, working with Groucho Marx and Woody Allen (no, not at the same time), and more; David Hutchison’s Videolog, for some reason, focuses on Ape movies; actor Michael Praed (Robin of Sherwood, Nightflyer) is interviewed by Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman; Edward Gross previews TV’s Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman; in a two-page Tribute section of obituaries, Chris Steinbrunner does the honor for writer John Dann MacDonald, Lee Goldberg pens Richard Marqand’s obit, and Patrick Daniel O’Neill says good-bye to Robert Preston and James Tiptree Jr. (aka Alice Sheldon); and exiting managing editor Carr D’Angelo takes over the Liner Notes column this month to mourn the passing of Gotham’s cinema experience and to say so long and thanks for all the fish. (The staffbox in this issue also lists D'Angelo as co-editor with David McDonnell, a tribute to the departing staffer.)
“I liked the whole idea of the modern gladiator, the government being in control of the Network and fixing the contest, and the show being organized to prevent people from rioting and protesting by keeping them glued to the TV set. Many things exist in reality, but the story takes it beyond all of that.”
–Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor, interviewed by Kim Howard Johnson: “Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Very Model of a Modern Movie Gladiator”
Starlog #127, February 1988: Pretty in Pink
A magazine that lives or dies by newsstand sales will do anything to attract attention from potential buyers. I once worked for a technology magazine whose publisher decreed that the color green could not be prominent on any of his magazine covers, because he’d concluded that magazines didn’t sell if they had green covers. Why this rule pertained to his magazines, I’ll never know; most of them weren’t newsstand magazines at all. But you own the company, you can make cover color edicts.
I wonder what he would think of pink. Electric pink. Shocking pink. Almost obscene pink. Even now, 22 years after Starlog #127 hit the stands, its cover is almost disturbingly bright, shiny pink as it sits on my desk while I write this. It’s a cover that would have jumped up and down on the magazine racks, elbowing the other mags out of the way, shouting rude and provocative things to get the attention of browsers. And if the pink first grabbed their attention, then what made them grab the magazine and buy it is probably the interview with George Lucas.
Also this month, Starlog publishes its annual postal statement of ownership and circulation. The total paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 141,616 (down more than 25 percent from last year's 212,664 ), including the number of paid subscriptions of 18,000 (up a surprisingly amount from 8,747 last time).
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
In staffing news, there’s no one yet who assumes the title of managing editor following Carr D’Angelo’s exit last issue, but Eddie Berganza and Daniel Dickholtz jointly share the associate editor mantle, which takes a prominent place on the staff listing.
Classified ad of the month: “POTLATCH NETWORK Ancestral and popular folk culture touch the future ...” No, I have no idea what it means, either.
The rundown: Dodging the Pepto Bismol on the cover to take the feature spot is the new film from Steven Spielberg’s production company, Batteries not Included. In his From the Bridge editorial, publisher Kerry O’Quinn continues his exploration of the inspiration he sees in a beautiful Milan cathedral, extrapolating the meaning in atheist terms; Communications letters include lots of reactions to Star Trek: The Next Generation, a reader raises questions about Starlog’s coverage of films for which it also publishes licensed official movie magazines, readers promote the quirky Max Headroom TV series, and more; and David McDonnell’s Medialog wraps up all of the latest blurbs on genre happenings, including a note that “The Blob will ooze again.” You’ve been warned.
Kathleen Kennedy, producer of Spielberg films such as Empire of the Sun, talks to writer Kathryn M. Drennan about that film, plus E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, and others; Lee Goldberg examines the newly syndicated Twilight Zone revival; the Fan Network pages include Mike Glyer’s continuing fan club directory, plus photos from the past year of notable genre happenings (such as Dorothy Fontana at the Academy Awards); Juanita Elefante-Gordon profiles former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison; Lee Goldberg interviews RoboCop screenwriters Michael Miner and Edward Neumeier (plus a sidebar looking at Miner’s Deadly Weapon); superheroes and He-Man take the lead in David Hutchison’s Videolog; Marc Shapiro interviews Gates McFadden about her role as Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation; Harcourt Fenton Mudd! The late Roger C. Carmel, who portrayed the roguish salesman on two episodes of the original Star Trek series, was interviewed by Dan Madsen.
Carr D’Angelo interviews Matthew Robbins, director of Batteries Not Included; Bill Warren writes up a question-and-answer session that George Lucas had with audience members and reporters at the Starlog convention celebrating Star Wars’ 10th anniversary (including the audience question: “Why didn’t you give Luke a girl?” and Lucas’ answer: “You haven’t seen the last three yet.” Still haven’t.); Kerry O’Quinn gives more behind-the-scenes details on the creation and staging of the big Star Wars convention, which included Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry on stage together with George Lucas for the first time; O’Quinn also bylines a collection of fan reaction to the Wars convention, including a sidebar with notes from celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Howard Kazanjian; in non-Star Wars articles, Eric Niderost interviews Date with an Angel director Tom McLoughlin; Steve Swires interviews Ray Harryhausen, who explains his retirement from filmmaking and discusses his storied career; the Tribute page includes three obituaries: Eric Niderost on Lorne Greene, Lee Goldberg on Quinn Martin, and Patrick Daniel O’Neill on Terry Carr; and David McDonnell resumes writing his Liner Notes column, with more well-wishes to recently departed Carr D’Angelo, an announcement that the recent test issue of Comics Scene proved successful enough to spawn a continuing magazine, and news that Cinemagic – Starlog’s 10-year-old magazine edited by David Hutchison for amateur filmmakers – is ceasing publication.
“Hopefully, I will someday be doing the next three Star Wars, but I’m not sure when. The next three would take place 20 or 30 years before the films they’re celebrating here today. I’ll do the first trilogy first. There are nine [films] floating around there somewhere. I’ll guarantee that the first three are pretty much organized in my head, but the other three are kind of out there somewhere.”
–George Lucas, writer/director/producer/education-booster, reported by Bill Warren: “George Lucas: Father of the Force”
Starlog #128, March 1988: Loving the Beast
I have a confession to make (don’t tell Kerry O’Quinn): I rather liked Senator William Proxmire. Oh, I disagreed strongly with his Luddite opposition to the space program; that was short-sighted of him. I even once wrote a letter to the editor of the Green Bay News-Chronicle that criticized his anti-NASA views (which resulted in a responding letter to the editor from the senator taking issue with my views). But as a Wisconsinite, I was (and probably still am) a bit proud of the fact that this moderate Democrat took the Senate seat that had been disgraced by Joe McCarthy and served our state in Washington, D.C., as an honest, hardworking, principled legislator (as far as I know) .
He was wrong on space (be patient, Luke, you’ll see why I’m making all this fuss in a moment), but he was otherwise fairly praiseworthy. I recall learning that when he ran for re-election, he spent something like less than $300 – and all of that on the filing fee. He spent his campaign simply going to public places, introducing himself, and telling them he was running for re-election. I now live in San Francisco, where our state’s U.S. Senate seat will probably cost $100 million. And I think we’d be better off if Proxmire were our senator.
So, who cares about William Proxmire today? Aside from my homestate pride (hey, we also gave the world Russ Feingold – not to mention Fighting Bob LaFollette – so the state knows a thing or two about real mavericks, not the fakey kind), it’s because Starlog publisher Kerry O’Quinn knocks Proxmire in his From the Bridge column for his opposition to a U.S. space station. True to his principles, O’Quinn makes the libertarian argument that a free country should welcome the disagreements over such expenditures, and that he shouldn’t be able to force Proxmire to support space programs any more than Proxmire should be able to force O’Quinn to be against them. It’s actually quite a good editorial, ending with the note that a space station has to have a sound purpose to get support. That purpose might be military and/or private enterprise (and I think we’re seeing the latter, thank goodness), but O’Quinn says we shouldn’t sacrifice our freedom of thought just to get to what we consider a greater good: space.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
Classified ad of the month: “SCI-FI/MEDIA MAGAZINES! STARLOG, Starburst, Dr.Who Monthly, 007, UNCLE files and more! Send Large SASE for new updated list! Larry ...” I used to daydream over classified ads like this. I imagined saving up my allowance and ordering missed issues of my favorite magazines; perhaps I’d find magazines I’d never imagined before. I know, that makes me a geek of the highest order. But then again, who else do you think would try to chronicle 374 issues of Starlog on his blog?
The rundown: Finally, to the issue. Beauty and the Beast was one of those short-lived TV shows that enjoyed unprecedented success one year, and the next was forgotten; here, it takes the prime cover spot of Starlog #128. In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O’Quinn looks for ways to push humanity into space while being true to his beliefs in personal freedom; Communications letters include praise for Timothy Dalton’s James Bond, reaction to RoboCop, L. Sprague de Camp corrects some photo I.D.’s from his recent article, and more; Medialog includes Lee Goldberg’s brief report of some science-fiction TV series that didn’t see the light of day (such as a Remo Williams spinoff and even a Psycho series), Frank Garcia on Neuromancer author William Gibson being slated to write Alien III, and David McDonnell’s roundup of genre headlines (such as news of a Babar movie).
Lee Goldberg previews The Ray Bradbury Theater anthology series on USA Network; Edward Gross interviews actor John de Lancie (Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation), who quickly became a favorite of Starlog; Robert Greenberger profiles actor William Campbell, whose credits include Trelayne from the original Star Trek’s “The Squire of Gothos”; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes some new genre video releases, such as The Gate and Quest for Fire; Bill Warren interviews RoboCop and Buckaroo Banzai star Peter Weller; Howard Weinstein, himself a novelist, interviews Walter Koenig about the actor’s writing career, including his book Buck Alice and the Actor Robot (with a sidebar by Lee Goldberg, David J. Creek and Weinstein, in which Koenig talks Trek – including the nugget that he had pitched story ideas to the Next Generation team); Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman continue their look at Blake’s 7 with an interview of Paul Darrow; James Phillips sits down for a Q&A with writer Alfred Bester; Marc Shapiro talks with Beauty and the Beast star Ron Perlman (who was also in Quest for Fire, which I hadn’t known); the Fan Network section includes Mike Glyer’s continuing listing of fan clubs, some cartoons, and more; Steve Swires interviews James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader and CNN; then, Adam Pirani interviews the man who portrays Vader on the screen: David Prowse; Jessie Horsting profiles producer Keith Barish (The Monster Squad, Sophie’s Choice, etc.).
In the Tribute pages, Star Trek art director Mike Minor is remembered by David Hutchison and Bob Burns, while Eric Niderost notes the passing of actor Lloyd Haynes (Room 222, Star Trek original series); Juanita Elefante-Gordon interviews actor Mark Strickson about his time as Doctor Who companion Turlough; Marc Shapiro previews a TV show with a title that could only have been made up by a group of 13-year-olds after too much pizza and caffeine: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future; and editor David McDonnell wraps it all up in his Liner Notes column by relating a story about insulting Ron Perlman’s movie The Ice Pirates – in front of Perlman (it was unintentional, naturally). Perlman, luckily, does not hold a grudge.
“Sigmund Freud, when he first started the whole psychoanalysis bit, spent the first two years psychoanalyzing himself. Now, a good professional writer like myself spends most of his time analyizing himself and saying, ‘Why did I do that?’ Because if I know why I did that – I, me, ich, Alfie B. – then I will understand why other people do what they do. It’s a bit of self-analysis which enables you to understand and sympathize with other people.”
–Alfred Bester, author, interviewed by James Philiips: “Alfred Bester: The Stars 7 Other Destinations”
Starlog #129, April 1988: Wil Wheaton Conquers the Universe
Wil Wheaton never got a cover story in Starlog, but he gets his first big article in the magazine this issue, plus some prominent placement at the top of the cover. Oh, wait, he’s also co-starring (in a way) in Kerry O’Quinn’s editorial. Consider this the first step in young Wil Wheaton’s takeover of the social scene. Twenty-two years later, Wil Wheaton remains in the public eye as a popular blogger/tweeter.
Wheaton, of course, plays the 15-year-old Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a character that would divide the show’s fans for years; some appreciated having a young person on board the Enterprise with whom they could identify, while others considered Wesley to be the Ewoks or Jar Jar of the 23rd century. The government swiftly obliged these critics and created the Internet chat room to give them a place to complain about it.
Wheaton did, BTW, get the cover of Starlog’s official licensed magazine for Star Trek: The Next Generation (for issue #10, January 1990 of that magazine).
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
My favorite caption of this issue: “Mauled by a saber-tooth tiger and riddled by police bullets, Shayne, a Neanderthal Man no longer, dies in Doris Merrick’s arms.”
The rundown: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is the featured program on the cover of this issue; I figure that if Captain Power is the TV competition, it’s a bit more readily understandable that Star Trek: The Next Generation was able to establish itself as the number-one syndicated television program. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn shares two tales: first, Bjo Trimble fulfills Wil Wheaton’s wish for a real Star Trek phaser prop, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher slams Fangoria magazine for its gory movie photos; in the Communications section, designer Andrew Probert offers some corrections to the recent article about him, novelist Ann C. Crispin updates the magazine on the status of her new novel (Time for Yesterday), Ib J. Melchior thanks the magazine for Tom Weaver’s article on him – and for spelling his name correctly throughout the article, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog covers the latest genre news, including the rumor that a regular character of Star Trek: The Next Generation was going to be killed off.
Kim Howard Johnson previews one of a slew of adult/kid body-switch films, Vice Versa, starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage; Tom Weaver interviews actor Robert Shayne about co-starring in the George Reeves Superman programs; Beverly M. Payton and Vicki H. Werkley profile actor Michael Cavanaugh (Starman); Edward Gross talks with writer Norman Spinrad about his work on the original Star Trek series; Bill Warren talks with William Windom about his acting career, which includes guest starring in Star Trek’s “The Doomsday Machine”; Kathryn M. Drennan interviews Wil Wheaton, who reveals “why he may never save the Enterprise again”; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes new video releases such as The Lost Boys, The Monster Squad, and more; Marc Shapiro profiles Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future star Tim Dunigan; Carr D’Angelo interviews production designer Jack Collis (The Running Man, Splash, Outer Heat).
Okay, you’ve waded all this way through the magazine, and you’re saying to yourself, Can I have some beefcake photos of an athlete/actor from the 1930s? Writer Mike Chapman and the editors comply, with a profile of former Olympian Herman Brix (aka Bruce Bennett), who portrayed Tarzan in what some believe was the truest portrayal of the original character; Kris Gilpin interviews RoboCop co-star Ronny Cox (without beefcake shots); Frank Garcia meanwhile interviews another RoboCop actor, Miguel Ferrer; Eric Niderost comes in with the third RoboCop interview, talking with Kurtwood Smith; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier preview French animation filmmaker Rene Laloux’ Light Years; the Fan Network pages include an answer to a reader’s question (“Is there ever going to be a sequel to E.T.?”), a short item by Richard Gilbert on the stage play What the Morph Brothers Did, and more; and, in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell unveils Starlog’s newest sister magazine, the horror film title Gorezone – yep, if Maggie Thatcher didn’t like Fango, I think we can assume she didn’t send away for a charter subscription to Gorezone.
“We don’t have Klingons hiding under a cloaking device to just come out and whale us. I miss that, because that was so much fun. Unfortunately, we’ve matured past that, and now we’re very peaceful. They kicked more butt in the movies. We’re getting killed, and Captain Picard’s going, ‘Hmmm, I just want to see if we can lose a few more lives, then we’ll do something.’ This is the Enterprise. Fire the photons!”
–Wil Wheaton, actor, interviewed by Kathryn M. Drennan: “Wil Wheaton: Acting Ensign”
Starlog #130, May 1988: They’re Going to Kill off Tasha Yar?!?!?
If you step into the wayback machine with me to a time before the internet was widely commercialized and fan debates took place at conventions or in the pages of monthly magazines, you can understand how it was interesting to follow a drawn-out rumor of the killing off of a regular character on a leading TV series. That rumor, first reported in Starlog’s Medialog column last issue, is fleshed out in this issue and it becomes clear that the unnamed character is Tasha Yar. Actress Denise Crosby responds to the rumor in an interview and sounds shocked, yes shocked, that her character would be killed off. In a few issues, she’ll be back to talk about her character being killed off.
This issue’s cover is funny if you remember my comments in the writeup for issue #127. The electric pink cover? Remember? With this issue, they use a bright, somewhat jarring green on much of the cover, and it must work at the newsstands, because they would use it again on at least two more Star Trek covers, plus one for War of the Worlds and Darkman. So, despite what my former boss said in #127’s writeup about green being a bad color for newsstand sales, it clearly works for Starlog, which knows a thing or two about retail magazine sales.
100 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95
Readers of Starlog in the spring of 1988 were pleasantly surprised by a 100-page special issue. For years, Starlog’s extra-page, extra-color specials would only occur in the November issue (either a collection of reviews or some other special reason) and the July issue (for the magazine’s anniversary). But this is the May issue, and here is a 100-pager focused (the text on the magazine’s spine tells us) on “science-fiction comedy.” I think the comedy tag oversells it a bit, but nonetheless... Unlike magazines (such as GQ or Vogue) that expand or contract the number of pages depending on the amount of advertising for that month, Starlog never had much advertising, so its decisions about page count had more to do with a package they thought would sell well that month at a bit of a higher price. And so it is that they feature Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Tasha Yar on the cover of this big issue.
The rundown: Kerry O’Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to argue against people who complain about him sharing his viewpoints in his two-thirds of a page each month; Arthur C. Clarke writes in to the Communications section to comment on the Gary Lockwood interview in #124, and other letter writers include David J. Schow (a future Fangoria columnist) on a recent review of his book, plus numerous readers commenting on Star Trek: The Next Generation (showing that Starlog’s letters pages were truly the SF chat room or online forum of its day), James Bond, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog includes info on a special Hulk TV movie, a Micronauts TV pilot, and more.
Marc Shapiro talks with Ron Koslow about his creation, TV’s Beauty and the Beast; Jo Beth Taylor interviews former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee, who tells tales of some of the lighter escapades of his days on that show; in the first of a multi-part article, Steve Swires gets the inside scoop from actor Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen in the George Reeves-era Superman; Robert Greenberger previews Splash, Too, the sequel to the surprise hit Splash; in the Fan Network pages, Carr D’Angelo showcases the fan-made short film The Empire Strikes Quack (you can see more here, including a link to the video), Daniel Dickholtz on fan cartoonist Michael Goodwin, an answer to a reader query (about mixed-up signals over who’s third in command of the new Enterprise), and more.
Bill Warren interviews actor Billy Barty (including a quote from Kirk Douglas) about Willow and other films; Kim Howard Johnson goes behind the scenes of the Keanu Reeves-starring film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Reeves utters the immortal words, “What’s happening, dude?”; Marc Shapiro investigates what would become another landmark film of the time: Tim Burton’s Beetlejiuce; Sharpiro also pens the cover story on actress Denise Crosby, who tells the magazine, “I know I’ve been complaining about Tasha being more involved in what was going on, but I don’t think things have gotten heated enough to where they’ve decided to kill me off”; Kim Howard Johnson profiles actor Judge Reinhold about his newest film, Vice Versa (the third adaptation of a century-old novel), though he also talks Gremlins; last issue the fans of man-flesh got some nice beefcake photos of a Tarzan actor from the 1930s, so this issue fans of women get an interview with SF favorite Caroline Munro – who reveals that she turned down a potentially big role in Superman – in an article illustrated with a large number of photos of Munro in bathing suits; Carr D’Angelo previews Outer Heat, which soon would be renamed Alien Nation.
Bill Warren profiles actor Keye Luke (Dead Heat, Gremlins, Star Trek original series, etc.); in a six-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Diane Butler profiles Arnold Moss, Mark Phillips does the honors for Morgan Woodward and Phillip Pine, Edward Gross does Adrian Spies, Frank Garcia does Hagan Beggs and Elinor Donahue, and John McCarty does John Newland; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman profile actress Sally Knyvette about her work on Blake’s 7; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes the releases of The Princess Bride, Amazon Women on the Moon, (though he mistypes it of the Moon) and other genre programs; Patrick Daniel O’Neill interviews author Frederik Pohl, who talks about his novelizations based on themes from the real-life Chernobyl nuclear disaster; in the Tribute page, Kim Howard Johnson provides the obituary for 12-year-old actress Heather O’Rourke, who died following surgery, and David Hutchison notes the passing of Milt Kahl, a Disney animator for more than four decades; and editor David McDonnell uses his Liner Notes column to talk about Disney tours.
“When I was back in Hong Kong two years ago making a picture, there were three Charlie Chans [films] showing there. I thought those kids over on the mainland would be surprised at the ‘disloyalty,’ at the lack of comprehension of their so-called compatriots over here, who tend to like the character Charlie Chan. These violent complainers of yesterday have lost their steam, because how long can you keep yelling about a thing that’s not real? This protest always struck me as strange because here’s Charlie Chan, undoubtedly the smartest man in any of these films – number one man and a hero.”
–Keye Luke, actor, interviewed by Bill Warren: “The Many Mysteries of Keye Luke”
Starlog #131, June 1988: Weeping Willow
Sometimes magazine editors make something out of nothing – anything – if it’ll help highlight stuff in the magazine. Last issue, remember, was dubbed a “science-fiction comedy” special, even though you kind of had to search hard, maybe squint, to find much comedy-themed articles in the issue. This month, there are three people interviewed separately from the same family: actors Dan O’Herlihy and his son Gavan O’Herlihy, plus Dan’s brother director Michael O’Herlihy, so the interviews are run one after another with the same headline design. As editor David McDonnell notes in his editorial, “this may be the first time in 130-odd issues that we’ve profiled three members of the same family in the same Starlog.”
Not the most scintillating item, but you do what you can to create excitement where there is none. Kind of like me highlighting it at the top of this issue writeup as if it’s the most interesting thing about this issue. Life is funny like that.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
My favorite photo caption of the issue: “The main difference between this spirit story and Topper is that in Beetlejuice, the ghosts don’t change their clothes. Barbara Maitland (David) does don an old wedding gown, but it’s not a pretty sight.” Second favorite caption: “What Colin Wilson intended for Princess Aura (Omelia Muti) and the bore-worms in his uncredited rewrite of Flash Gordon was far more erotic than Kala’s (Mariangela Melato) S&M tactics.”
The rundown: The cover is taken over by General Kael (Patrick Roach), baddie from Willow; speaking of which, in his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O’Quinn is more bullish on the movie than audiences will turn out to be, and he relates a chat he had with George Lucas about Willow and why he wanted to make a film starring little people. The entire Communications letters is devoted to belated feedback on Superman IV detractors (they hated it), except for one lone letter writer who claims it “was a terrific movie.” In the Medialog section, Will Murray reports that Sylvester Stallone will be making a film based on The Punisher books, there are photos of upcoming movies Twins and Hot to Trot (both destined to be mysteriously overlooked by the Academy), and David McDonnell reports the latest genre media headlines, such as news that Cocoon II is on the way.
Mick Garris, previously a film publicist and a journalist (including a contributor to Starlog and Fangoria), graduated to filmmaking, so to preview his upcoming directorial effort Critters 2, the editors have him write humorous captions for a three-page photo spread on the film; Michael J. Wolff chimes in with a retrospective on the 1960s’ TV series The Invaders; Steve Swires completes his two-part interview with “Superman’s Pal: Jack Larson”; Howard Gordon, executive story consultant for Beauty and the Beast, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the writing chores on that series; Kathryn M. Drennan interviews Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes, who tells her that he was hired because Gene Roddenberry saw a “Machiavellian glint” in his eye that reminded him of himself; the Fan Network pages include a zillion convention listings, plus Kara Rothman on a Star Trek-supported charity bike ride, an unbylined item on Star Trek designers, and a reader’s query answered (“Whatever happened to the sequel to Godzilla 1985?”).
Adam Pirani interviews Willow actor and coverboy Patrick Roach; Sandy Robertson provides a Q&A with novelist Colin Wilson about The Space Vampires (aka Lifeforce), Flash Gordon, and more; Carr D’Angelo talks with actress Geena Davis about her work in The Fly and Beetlejuice; Christine Menefee checks in with Starman TV star Robert Hays; Mickie Singer-Werner interviews novelist Nancy Springer (The Sable Moon, Mindbond, etc.); David Hutchison’s Videolog notes video releases of shrunken men – specifically, The Incredible Shrinking Man and Innerspace – among others; Eric Niderost interviews Dan O’Herlihy, the “Old Man” of RoboCop; Edward Gross profiles Michael O’Herlihy, veteran TV director, who’s not too star-struck of the shows he worked on, such as the original Star Trek, Logan’s Run, and Man from Atlantis (“a bit silly”); Adam Pirani completes the O’Herlihy family album with an interview of Willow actor Gavan O’Herlihy; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column shares his deep inner pain over some humorous typos.
“[A.E. van Vogt] is one of the few [SF writers] I really do admire, and that’s because Van, like me, is always interested in the idea of the superman. His story “Asylum” was a big influence on Space Vampires, the interesting thing being that the hero in that story suddenly realized at the end that he isn’t who he thinks he is. His memory has been erased so that the telepathic vampires in the story won’t be able to read his mind and discover that he’s after them. It’s only at the climax, he realizes who he is and that he can destroy the vampires. This idea of people being supermen under the surface has always fascinated me. I’ve always felt that this is true of human beings – in our best moments, we do the most amazing things, yet we don’t realize we have these capacities within ourselves.”
–Colin Wilson, novelist, interviewed by Sandy Robertson: “Spinning the Writer’s Web: Colin Wilson”
Starlog #132, July 1988: Everything Old Is New Again
Once again, Starlog breaks its (unwritten?) rule and plasters the same movie on its cover for two consecutive issues. Willow, which last month was featured on the cover with an image of its villian, retains the cover spot this month by featuring its hero. (A different movie will camp out on the cover for the next two issues.)
This is the magazine’s 12th anniversary issue, though as an issue, it’s not really different from the 100-page issue two months earlier. The sole exception would seem to be Kerry O’Quinn’s extra-lengthy special anniversary editorial. It is, however, a nice mix of classic genre fare (with a number of articles recounting what it was like to work with the legendary producer George Pal) and the new (did we mention WILLOW is playing?).
This issue also includes the first ad for Starlog’s officially licensed movie publications for Willow: A movie magazine, a poster magazine, and a theater program. Order all three for $9.70 plus postage!
100 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95
Classified ad of the month: “HORSEMEN RIDING THROUGH THE CITY! Banshee crawling through the hills, shewolves dancing in the forest, Hellhounds baying to the moon! ‘Wulffangel,’ drama/music sound effects ... casette & booklet – Send $9.95 to ...”
My favorite photo caption this issue: “Thorburn and Young never really got to act alongside Russ Tamblyn. Instead, they played to his doll stand-in.”
The rundown: Val Kilmer, rumored to be one of the more difficult actors to work with, is on the cover as Willow’s Madmartigan. Kerry O’Quinn’s From the Bridge anniversary editorial is an extended defense of people who are into science fiction, illustrated with photographs of SF-themed signs (store names, etc.). Communications letters include J. Michael Straczynski, story editor of The Twilight Zone, complaining about an article on his series in issue #127 (with an also-lengthy response/defense from the editors), while other readers write in with further thoughts on Star Trek novels; David McDonnell’s Medialog roundup of news includes news that a TV series based on Invasion of the Body Snatchers is under development.
Tom Weaver interviews Psycho star Janet Leigh, who tells him about the death threats she received after the release of that landmark Hitchcock film; Bill Warren interviews George Pal pal Alan Young about thom thumb, The Time Machine, and even Mr. Ed; the George Pal remembrance-fest continues with Tim Ferrante and Tom Weaver’s interview with actor Les Tremayne (War of the Worlds, The Angry Red Planet); and Steve Swires talks with actor Russ Tamblyn, another veteran of Pal’s tom thumb.
The magazine’s British correspondent, Adam Pirani, interviews director Ron Howard about his new film Willow; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman talk with actor Colin Baker, “the shortest-lived Time Lord”; the Other Voices guest column is written by legendary author Jack Williamson, who explains “How not to Write a Novel”; David McDonnell previews Who Framed Roger Rabbit; David Hutchison looks at the special effects of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Kathryn M. Drennan profiles “Dr. Science”; and Marc Shapiro interviews Beetlejuice actor Jeffrey Jones.
In another exploration of the implications of a major movie, Michael Wolff (who writes in the tradition of Bruce Gordon's famous article on “The Other Marty McFly” in #108) examines the world of RoboCop, illustrated by cartoons by George Kochell; Evelyn Mayfield interviews veteran novelist Octavia Butler; the Fan Network pages answer reader questions (including “Could you please tell me what other movies besides Re-Animator, From Beyond and Chopping Mall the lovely actress Barbara Crampton has appeared in?”), feature a short item by Jean Airey on a touring Elvis Presley play starring actor Paul Darrow from Blake’s 7, and more; Brazil and Soap actress Katherine Helmond is interviewed by Kim Howard Johnson; David Hutchison’s Videolog reports on the latest genre releases, including the final 18 episodes of the original Star Trek; Eric Niderost looks at the special effects in Date with an Angel; in a two-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Bill Florence profiles Katherine Woodville, and Kathleen M. Gooch profiles Eddie Paskey; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column shares his Willow fascination.
“If I can’t pronounce [characters’ names], I don't write them. They’ve been up on my wall for a while. I make all sorts of notes I hang in front of myself to remind myself to do the right thing with this or that character or the story in general or with this part. If I don’t, I tend to stray. I wander off and find myself doing one page a day and it gets harder and harder and it’s impossible to work.”
–Octavia E. Butler, novelist, interviewed by Evelyn Mayfield: “Patterns of Her Mind”
Starlog #133, August 1988: Who Framed Roger Rabbit Anyway?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a landmark film of the late 1980s, wonderfully mixing live-action with animation. It also was eyebrow-raising because of the use of new and classic cartoon characters – an historic meeting of Warner Brothers and Disney characters, for example. No, I will never work with a duck with a speech impediment, either.
True fact: Bob Hoskins, the star of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, was the actor on whom German novelist Cornelia Funke based her detective in her great best-selling young adult novel The Thief Lord.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
If you were looking for a new vocation, you could do worse than follow this classified ad on page 71: “CRIME FIGHTERS AMERICA NEEDS PEOPLE, all areas. Receive certificate, procedures, ID, life enrollment, fight crime. Send $3 self-stamped envelope, (4x8) to ...”
Photo caption that isn’t appreciably less humorous when you see the photo: “Running into marauding Martians would drive anyone crazy, which may be why Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson) will be fighting the new War of the Worlds from an insane asylum.”
The rundown: Cover boys Bob Hoskins and Roger Rabbit re-enact for the camera the origins of their friendship. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn gives career advice; Communications letters include an apology from the production company of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future about misidentified characters in some photos published in the magazine, plus readers comment on that TV series, they offer feedback on Beauty and the Beast, Richard Donner’s assistant passes along his thanks for an item in #126 about broadcasting an uncut version of Ladyhawke, and more; and David McDonnell’s Medialog reports the latest genre media news headlines, including a note that Len Wein and Berni Wrightson’s monster hero will make another big-screen appearance in The Return of the Swamp Thing.
War of the Worlds has been seen in print, on radio, on film, and now (that’s a circa 1988 “now”) it’s a weekly syndicated television series, and Marc Shapiro previews the new show; Carr D’Angelo interviews Outer Heat and Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd; film composer Jerry Goldsmith (Innerspace, Outer Heat, Runaway, Star Trek – The Motion Picture) is profiled by Marc Shapiro; editor David McDonnell interviews Next Generation actress Marina Sirtis; Michael Vane interviews science-fiction author C.J. Cherryh in the first half of a two-part article; Adam Pirani talks with actor Warwick Davis, the star of Willow; the Fan Network pages include an answer to a reader query about the history of Hammer Films, plus short items on a heavily edited Doctor Who episode on video, Star Trek engine designs, and some silly guesses about Star Trek V.
Veteran actor and Who Framed Roger Rabbit star Bob Hoskins is interviewed by Adam Pirani, telling him some great stories (see the block quote below); Kris Gilpin interviews Jane Badler, who talks about her work on V, Highwayman, and other projects; David Hutchison reports on discounted Disney videos and other releases in his Videolog column; Beverly M. Payton interviews Starman actor Patrick Culliton; Marc Shapiro profiles actor Roy Dotrice about Beauty and the Beast; in a three-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Mark Phillips profiles Stewart Moss (“The Naked Time”) and Phillips and Frank Garcia together profile Julie Cobb (“By Any Other Name” and other episodes); Peter Bloch-Hansen (the same gentleman who wrote a letter to the editor in issue #126) goes behind the scenes to preview Short Circuit 2: More Input; and editor David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column is a collection of bits, such as the two or three degrees of separation between actor Patrick Culliton and practically everyone McDonnell knows.
“I was in L.A., doing a bit of publicity, and got a phone call from [director] Brian De Palma: ‘Do you want to meet me at the Beverly Wilshire to have a drink?’ And he sent me The Untouchables script, and he said, look at Al Capone. I looked at it, and I thought, ‘Good part.’ I met him, and he said, ‘Now look, I really want Robert De Niro to do this; I don’t think he’s going to do it, but if he won't do it, will you do it?’ So I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ He said, ‘I’ll pay you well, I’ll do the business, and I’ll look after you, and it will be a real favor to me if I’m covered.’ I said yes, I’ll do it, a couple of week’s work, terrific. Anyway, I never heard anything else; next thing I see, De Niro’s going to play it. So, I said, ‘Oh, right, De Palma got him.’ But he [De Palma] had no contract with me, nothing was signed, there was no agreement, or anything, and here I got this check for $200,000 as a thank you! ... I wonder if there’s anything else De Niro’s thinking about doing ...”
–Bob Hoskins, actor, interviewed by Adam Pirani: “Bob Hoskins: Animated Investigator”
Starlog #134, September 1988: Rabbit Redux
For the second issue in a row, Starlog gives over its cover to the animation/live-action phenomenon Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This time, the titular bunny shares the cover with director Bob Zemeckis, one of only a handful of times that a non-fictional person is on the cover.
On the company’s merchandising side, it publishes four magazines for the very non-science-fiction Sylvester Stallone film Rambo III: a poster book, a poster magazine, a movie magazine, and a theater program.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
This issue also keeps the fires burning in the controversy over the exit of Denise Crosby from her role as security chief Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation. My how time flies: It was just issue #130 when Crosby told the magazine she didn’t think her character was going to be killed off, and now she’s back telling the magazine about how her character was killed off. But don’t worry – her character returns many times, so often that I assume she never even bothered to clear out her dressing room.
The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn tells the story of a teenage Dutch boy who’s a science-fiction fan (Once there was a Dutch boy, his name was ... oh, wait, wrong song); after a few letters about Starman, the remainder of the Communications section is taken up with reader comments about the controversy du jour: Tasha Yar’s death and exit from Star Trek: The Next Generation; and wait – there’s more Star Trek leavingness: David McDonnell reports in his Medialog section that Gates McFadden’s Dr. Beverly Crusher character will not return for the show’s second season.
Newly minted Canadian correspondent Peter Bloch-Hansen profiles Kenneth Johnson, the V veteran behind Short Circuit 2: More Input; the Fan Network pages include David Hutchison on the Film Forum's second annual SF and fantasy festival, and more; Eric Niderost goes behind the scenes of the Cyndi Lauper/Jeff Goldblum film Vibes; Marc Shapiro profiles comedians Rick Overton (a Starlog pal from years back) and Kevin Pollak about their role as the wee men of Willow; Kim Howard Johnson uncovers the “Curse of The Blob,” focusing on the remake of the B-movie; Marc Shapiro checks in with actress Denise Crosby for her Next Generation exit interview, in which she tells the magazine that she and Gene Roddenberry had a pleasant parting of the ways.
Patrick Daniel O’Neill profiles seventh Doctor Who actor Sylvester McCoy about the program’s upcoming 25th anniversary and criticism the show has received; Adam Pirani interviews Who Framed Roger Rabbit director Bob Zemeckis; in part two of Michael Vance’s interview with C.J. Cherryh, the SF author defines science fiction story-building; Outer Heat has finally been renamed AlienNation, and Carr D’Angelo profiles star James Caan, who also talks about his stint playing Rollerball; Scott Lobdell interviews Big director Penny Marshall and manages to get her to talk about Laverne and Shirley; David Hutchison’s Videolog reports the newest genre video releases (he themes them in terms of "distant tales," but it’s really just a roundup of videos); Kyle Counts previews Nightfall, the planned film adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s classic short story; Marian Sue Uram previews Moontrap, the new film starring veteran Walter Koenig and newcomer Bruce Campbell; Patrick Daniel O’Neill interviews actress Joanne Whalley about her role as Sorsha in Willow; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes responds to fears that Starlog “jumped the gun” with its cover to issue #130 by teasing readers about a possible exit from Next Generation by Denise Crosby and whether the magazine misled readers (answer is no to both – magazine lead-time is a tough master).
“Gene [Roddenberry] ... knew the dramatic impact would be tremendous because no regular character in the Star Trek series had ever been permanently killed [except David Marcus]. He really felt it would blow people’s minds. ... The script really went against the grain. I think people were expecting a last minute battle with Tasha going out with all phasers blazing. The intent was to make Tasha’s death more horrifying by having it appear sudden and indiscriminate.”
–Denise Crosby, actress, interviewed by Marc Shapiro: “Denise Crosby: Farewell to The Next Generation”
Starlog #135, October 1988: Here's Looking at You, Kid
Star Trek writers and producers like certain things besides science-fiction. Gene Roddenberry had a liking for Shakespeare, and it showed up in many storylines and allusions throughout the original series and movies. But mysteries were another favorite, and through the magic of the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation, they managed to build in a mystery series-within-a-series by creating a fictional detective holo-novel with which Captain Picard was infatuated.
I’m not sure why writers who create stories set in the far future would also have a soft spot for detective stories set in the 1940s, but they do. Dixon Hill is the character they created, and the role Picard assumes in the holodeck. And he assumes it on the cover of this issue, alongside the android Data.
As an aside, here’s a conundrum: Considering how effective and entrepreneurial Starlog’s publishing company was (as founding editor David Houston noted in his guest editorial in #100) in identifying and exploiting and dominating magazine market niches (science fiction, soap operas, horror, comics, wrestling, boxing, African-American women, astrology, automobiles, teenagers, country music, music videos, classic movies, etc.), it is a surprise that the company never to my knowledge attempted a mystery magazine. It has many of the same attributes as science fiction or horror: a devoted fan base, lots of books to cover, authors to interview, movies and television programs on which to report, columnists to entertain and intrigue. I mean, come on. Starlog Group published an entire special magazine devoted to spring break. But mysteries weren’t tempting enough?
That in itself is a mystery ...
92 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95
There’s no end-of-year 100-page special issue this year. Instead of a November 100-page issue, Starlog produces this 92-page October issue. It’s interesting that it’s priced at $3.95, the same price it’s been charging for years for its 100-page issues. Were they testing the $3.95 price point? The answer will come in half-a-year. (For the record, the company’s licensed official Star Trek: The Next Generation magazine was priced at an unusual $3.75. You rarely see any magazine priced between $3.50 and $3.95.) Interestingly, the letters pages start off with a reader complaining about the cover price and suggesting that “None of us will be able to afford to buy Starlog in the future.”
The rundown: Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner are the cover boys this month. In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O’Quinn draws on Ayn Rand to call out the positive aspects of science-fiction fandom; Communications letters include readers complaining about the loss of Next Generation's female cast members, reacting to recent films (Willow, Robin of Sherwood, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), exploring controversies spawned by RoboCop over graphic violence and censorship, and more; Medialog includes Edward Gross chatting up Walter Hill about the Alien III film, Gary L. Wood getting Louis Gossett, Jr.’s thoughts on Enemy Mine, Ian Spelling interviewing Meg Ryan about Innerspace, and David McDonnell announces the new syndicated TV series Superboy, along with other genre media news.
Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman continue their exploration of everything Blake’s 7, with an interview of actor Steven Pacey; Randall Larson checks in with film composer Alan Silvestri about his work in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future, Clan of the Cave Bear, and more; the Fan Network pages include Kevin Provost on some replicas of the Green Hornet’s car Black Beauty, Laurie Morris on more fan ideas about Star Trek model designs (apparently this was a raging controversy back in the day), an extensive conventions listing, and answers to reader queries (such as, “Whatever happened to Ethan Hawke, who pllayed Ben Crandall in Joe Dante’s Explorers? Will there be a sequel?”); Steve Swires interviews actress Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner, Who Framed Roger Rabbit).
Tim Soter explores the classic mind-games TV series The Prisoner, quoting many of the show’s creators, including Patrick McGoohan (who chimes in with this anti-intellectual nugget that would make the current Right happy: “There are people who know something about every subject under the sun, but they are just a reference library. Learning too much stuff, that is closing up your mind. You’ll find that all the great inventors – Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell – I can’t think of one who was highly educated. The explorations of their minds weren’t surrounded by too much education. The mind is set free. The innate power of creation was there.” Yep; that's our biggest problem today, we're just using our thinkers too much; that’s why all of our great inventions and new philosophies come from the Ozarks.) with a sidebar by Daniel Dickholtz looking at The Prisoner in comics; Edward Gross interviews Next Generation director Joe Scanlan, who talks about killing off Tasha Yar, and more; Adam Pirani profiles actress Jean Marsh (Willow); Bill Florence talks with 91-year-old actor Ian Wolfe about Star Trek’s “All Our Yesterdays” and George Lucas’ THX-1138.
Mike Clark interviews actress Marta Kristen about her role in Lost in Space; Will Murray interviews actor Van Williams about the Green Hornet TV show, and he learns that co-star Bruce Lee accidentally beat the crap out of a number of coworkers in their fight scenes; Ian Spelling talks with Willow co-star David Joseph Steinberg; Frank Garcia profiles actress Susan Oliver about her time as an alien on Star Trek (original series); in the first of a multi-part article, Edward Gross interviews TV writer Jerry Sohl about working with such legends as Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling, and Gene Roddenberry; Juanita Elefante-Gordon profiles Doctor Who actress Sophi Aldred in “Companion in Punk Leather”; new releases from Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton are noted in David Hutchison’s Videolog; and David McDonnell gives some background on Starlog interviews.
“It was 20 years ago this past summer that American television audiences first viewed Patrick McGoohan’s controversial, 17-part fantasy series, The Prisoner. It was a show that took paranoia seriously, and in the process inspired fan clubs and debates as well as adulation from followers as diverse as Isaac Asimov and Mick Jagger. It is a spy story and an allegory, Franz Kafka blended into John Le Carre, with just a dash of H.G. Wells. The Prisoner has been called brilliant and inspired, simple-minded and old hat. No one has dared call it dull.”
–Tom Soter, writer, “Uncaging The Prisoner”
Starlog #136, November 1988: Lost Star Treks
This issue has some great background – which I’d never seen anywhere else – about lost or abandoned plans for continuations of the Star Trek franchise. If you read some of these earlier writeups of Starlog from the late 1970s, before Star Trek – The Motion Picture debuted, you’ll see it was a yes-no-yes-no situation where they studio kept switching between producing a feature film or a new TV series. This issues features two articles from Edward Gross on the plans for the TV series – plans that heretofore had not been revealed as having been this extensive.
Frankly, this is Star Trek geek material par excellence. At its low ebb, Starlog did little more at times than publish articles on the current films and TV programs. But it was rare that it didn’t include something that had higher value (not to devalue the need to report on the current projects). This issue is a great example of that, with two articles (one of them an episode guide to the planned series that makes for very interesting reading) on the TV series. In a strange way, it’s even more interesting to read this now than if they’d published it in 1981, before Star Trek: The Next Generation showed that they could do the series (and the movies) again. All in all, a treat.
David McDonnell heralds the release of Starlog’s newest companion publication: the Starlog Science-Fiction Video Magazine, which is a special magazine chock full of reviews of tons of SF films. It was a great idea, and it was well-executed; the company would go on to produce a second edition of this within a year or so, as well as two Fangoria horror editions, all of which are well worth collecting and reading today.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
The rundown: AlienNation takes the cover spot, though the biggest call-out on the cover seems to be a Batman movie contest (whoever won that?). In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O’Quinn, the many who wrote multiple articles in the long-defunct sister magazine Future Life about the wonders of computers, comes out of the closet and announces that only now has he actually begun to use a computer; the Communications section includes letters from readers such as Harry Harrison on the U.S. roots of science fiction, many folks commenting on the attempted Starman TV revival, praise for the Ray Harryhausen article on his retirement from films, comments on the many Blake’s 7 articles the magazine has run, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog includes all kinds of news from the worlds of science fiction media, such as the announcement that the Star Trek: The Next Generation replacement for Dr. Beverly Crusher will be played by Diana Muldaur (who was awesome as the antagonist rain-maker lawyer on L.A. Law around the same time, BTW).
Marc Shapiro explores the new incarnation of The Twilight Zone with a talk with J. Michael Straczynski (who took the magazine to task in a recent letter to the editor); Catherine Hicks – the Earth woman who helped the Enterprise crew rescue whales in 20th century earth’s Star Trek IV film – is interviewed by Ian Spelling and Kim Howard Johnson about her Trek and about her film Child’s Play; the Fan Network pages include Steve Swires on a fan club for John Carpenter, answers to reader queries (such as, "Whatever happened to the Spider-Man movie?" – a question we're still asking today), short items on fan clubs for Beauty and the Beast, and more; Marc Shapiro interviews television director Rob Bowman; Eric Niderost previews Mac and Me; Carr D'Angelo profiles actor Many Patinkin about his role in AlienNation; Steve Swires checks in with director John Carpenter, who discusses his movie They Live; horror flicks take the lead in David Hutchison's Videolog column.
Edward Gross explores "Star Trek II: The Lost Generation," examining the aborted plans for a TV series before The Motion Picture; Tim Ferrante profiles actor Jock Mahoney (Tarzan, westerns); Michael J. Wolff is back with another theory-filled exploration of a film's world, this time diving into the Terminator lore; Edward Gross is back with an "episode guide" to the unfilmed first season of Star Trek II (which makes fascinating reading, because of how many of the storylines, characters, and situations would be recycled in the Trek movies and in the Next Generation series); Kim Howard Johnson previews Graham Chapman's CBS sitcom Jake's Journey; Edward Gross profiles science-fiction writer Jerry Sohl and his work on the original Star Trek series; and David McDonnell's Liner Notes column provides answers to frequently asked reader questions (such as, "How much are my back issues of Starlog worth?").
"For some time, Barry Diller, then the head of Paramount Pictures, had dreamed of starting a fourth television network to compete with the three majors (a dream Diller would eventually realize with Fox Broadcasting a decade later). To this end, they contacted independent stations throughout the United States and began offering product to fill one night a week, cornerstoned by Star Trek II."
–Edward Gross, writer, "Star Trek II: The Lost Generation"
Starlog #137, December 1988: War of the Worlds
With War of the Worlds being syndicated each week across the nation, 1988 was a year of highlights for that venerable H.G. Wells classic. Though I'm sure Wells would be pleased to see War on the cover of Starlog #137 (if they could stuff a copy of the magazine into his coffin, that is), the most famous War production was and remains the 1938 radio production by wunderkind Orson Welles, which reportedly panicked listeners, some of them (let's be frank: probably not the intellectual cream of the crop among them) believing the radio program was announcing a real invasion.
Starlog #137 has both productions: The TV series as well as writer a report on the controversial 1938 radio play. That mix of the brand new and the classic was always one of the things Starlog did best.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
Classified ad of the month: "FREE A new mailing list is being formed for distribution to hundreds of companies that give away free items in the mail: Free samples/Promotional items/Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy/Subscriptions! Anything & Everything Free. If you would like to be on this list, send $2 processing fee to ..." It's sort of the genius ad of the year: Have someone pay to be placed on a mailing list.
The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O'Quinn begins a multi-part editorial about how to find out what really interests you in life; Communications letters include a number of letters on the situation of BBC's Doctor Who program, which at this time was undergoing a rather tumultuous period in its long life, plus readers chime in with thoughts about Beauty and the Beast, the magazine's recent articles on the bodies and voices behind Star Wars' Darth Vader, the TV airing of David Lynch's Dune, and more; in the Medialog section, there's Kim Howard Johnson on a rather bizarre rumor that John Cleese is in the running to play Doctor Who (Cleese muses, "People reading newspapers often think there's no smoke without fire – my experience is that in many cases, there is"), Ian Spelling on a young Kiefer Sutherland (at this time, he was known mainly for Stand By Me and The Lost Boys), and David McDonnell's roundup of genre headlines (such as the news that the next James Cameron film is going to be called The Abyss – not that you asked, but in my opinion, it's the best Cameron film).
Adam Pirani previews director Neil Jordan's film High Spirits (starring a much-younger Liam Neeson, along with Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, and Peter O'Toole); Diana Whitaker Jackson interviews writer Jean Lorrah, author of The Vulcan Academy Murders, Empress Unborn, and more; Edward Gross profiles director Richard Colla about his tours of duty on Battlestar Galactica, The Questar Tapes, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and other shows; Theorist-in-Chief Michael J. Wolff turns his pen (keyboard?) to tackling the meanings of The Blob (the first time I wrote that sentence, I misspelled it as "The Blog," which would be about a different beast that takes over the world); because Cocoon was a success, 20th Century Fox decided the world needed a follow up, and Ian Spelling was dispatched to report on Cocoon: The Return.
Glen E. Swanson explains the making and the resulting controversy of Orson Welles' 1938 radio version of War of the Worlds, with a sidebar by Daniel Dickholtz on a new production of the story for National Public Radio; meanwhile, Peter Bloch-Hansen gets the behind-the-scenes story on the making of the syndicated TV series; in the Fan Network pages, there are answers to reader queries (such as, "Having seen The Boy Who Could Fly on cable, I have fallen for Lucy Deakins. Is she sticking with acting or has she gone on to be a marine biologist as she stated in the interview in Starlog #111?") and some short news bits on a Twin Cities Doctor Who convention and a James Bond art competition; producer Frank Marshall is interviewed by Edward Gross and David McDonnell, who get him to discuss Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the new Indy Jones film (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and more; Michael Mallory interviews stuntman Tom Steele; Desire Gonzales profiles the actor who played the Next Generation's Traveler character, Eric Menyuk; Peter Bloch-Hansen talks with screenwriters Brent Maddock and Steve Wilson about their creation, Short Circuit and its sequel, and they tell him "We've discovered that writers are basically powerless" in Hollywood; in an extra-lengthy Videolog column, David Hutchison gives background on Disney's The Three Caballeros and Cinderella; Carr D'Angelo interviews AlienNation director Graham Baker; and editor David McDonnell wraps it all up in his Liner Notes by listing all kinds of magazines not published by his company to which you should consider subscribing. I'm sure his bosses loved that column.
"Graham Baker is unique in Hollywood: He is the first director of a science-fiction film who is actually a visitor from space. (He's lying. While Baker is the director of AlienNation, a tale of extraterrestrial immigrants in Los Angeles, he is originally from England.) On his home planet, Baker was a prominent rocket scientist whose visionary ideas about space travel inspired a generation. (Actually, Baker spent 15 years in advertising as an award-winning commercials director before helming his first feature.) Prior to AlienNation, Baker had taken an extended vacation on Mars where he is an honorary colonial governor. (Not true. Before filming began, Baker kept busy directing the infamous Joe Isuzu ads that immediately became a pop culture staple – but you may have figured that out already.)
–Carr D'Angelo, writer, "Pride & Prejudice"
Starlog #138, January 1989: Klingonapalooza!
This issue is pretty much a Klingons-run-amok issue, with everything from interviews with Klingon actors to Klingon trivia, comics, and more.
This month also sees Starlog publish its annual postal statement of ownership and circulation. The total paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 156,109 (up a bit from last year's 141,616), including the number of paid subscriptions of 8,993 (down a surprising amount from 18,000 last time).
And since we’re getting into publishing minutiae here, we should note that for some reason, eight of the magazine’s black-and-white pages are printed on heavy coated (i.e., glossy) paper stock, which is generally reserved here for color pages. Printer error? Who knows?
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
Classified ad of the month: “SHATNER COLLECTION FOR SALE: ‘TRANS MAN’ album, autobio, more! Trek too! Legal SASE for list to ...”
And in an issue filled with melodramatic aliens, you just knew the photo captions would be fun, such as this one in an interview with actor John Larroquette, under a photo showing his Klingon character Maltz on the Bird of Prey set from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: “‘I wanted Chrstopher Lloyd [far left] to turn to me and say, “Bring me some chocolate, Maltz,”’ deadpans Larroquette [far right].”
The rundown: In an issue chock-fulla spiney-headed aliens, the most famous of them, Michael Dorn’s Worf, takes the prime cover spot. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn continues his “Digging for Gold” chasing-your-dream series; the Communications section kicks off with veteran TV writer D.C. Fontana responding to the interview in #136 with writer Jerry Sohl, who spoke about working on Trek, and other readers write in to comment on recent Lost in Space coverage, lots of comments on Beauty and the Beast (including pleas for the elusive Linda Hamilton interview), and more; in Medialog, Lee Goldberg continues something I’ve always enjoyed reading, which is reporting on the science-fiction TV pilots that failed to get picked up as a series, plus David McDonnell rounds up all the genre news that’s fit to print, such as the third – or is it fourth? – title change for Alien Nation (previously AlienNation, Outer Heat, and even Future Tense).
Marc Shapiro gets in a little non-Klingon action with a report on the status of the syndicated program Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (including a sidebar on a possible second season); then the Klingon parade kicks off with Peter Bloch-Hansen’s interview of actor John Colicos, who portrayed Commander Kor on Trek (and the decidedly non-Klingon Baltar on the original Battlestar Galactica); Will Murray interviews John Larroquette, an actor best known at the time for his work as the DA on Night Court, about his work as Maltz in Star Trek III (“The possibility of being part of the Star Trek legend in any way – I would have done a bit role if they had wanted me”); meanwhile, Bill Warren interviews actor John Schuck, who portrayed the Klingon ambassador in Star Trek IV; Mark Phillips profiles Michael Ansara, a Klingon from the original Trek series (and the only married Klingon at that point); in a three-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Steve H. Wilson profiles William Campbell (Koloth in “The Trouble with Tribbles”), David McDonnell profiles Mark Lenard (a number of aliens in Trek, including the ill-fated Klingon commander in Star Trek: The Motion Picture), and Mark Phillips profiles Tige Andrews (Kras from “Friday’s Child”).
Kathryn Drennan interviews Next Generation’s Worf, Michael Dorn; David McDonnell profiles comedian Charles Fleischer about his work in (and as) Roger Rabbit; David Hutchison announces Willow and other new genre releases in his Videolog column; in the first of a multi-part article, Tom Weaver interviews Phyllis Coates, who portrayed Lois Lane to George Reeves’ Superman; Kris Gilpin talks with Jean-Claude Van Damme about his new film, Cyborg; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman profile Blake’s 7 actor Brian Croucher; Marc Shapiro interviews Splash and Cocoon special effects man Robert Short; the Fan Network pages include Eddie Berganza's Klingon trivia, reader questions are answered (such as, “Whatever happened to David Gerrold’s planned five-volume book series, The War Against the Chtorr? Also, isn’t it true that, at one time, a film was in the works based on Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, ostensibly with a soundtrack by Blue Oyster Cult? If so, what happened to that?”), there are short items on RoboCop’s awards wins at the Saturn ceremonies, and more; and editor David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column talks about two-part articles, among other things.
“Half the time when I was playing Baltar, the scene started when I would whirl around in the chair, and there I would be, the regal lord, sitting up on top of this pedestal. But, I thought, ‘I’m going crazy here. I’m climbing this Leaning Tower of Pisa, on this rickety ladder.’ The most dangerous part of the whole performance was getting up 30 feet on that ladder, with four stagehands hanging on. It was way the hell up in the top of the ceiling. They shot all my stuff on a crane. What with ‘By your command,’ and all this, I finally got to the point where I thought if I talked to any more bloody robots, I would go out of my mind.”
–John Colicos, actor, interviewed by Peter Bloch-Hansen: “John Colicos: The Quintessential Klingon”
Starlog #139, February 1989: Going Deep for Trek
He’s very public about it now, but back in the late 1980s, Starlog readers like myself were largely unaware that the magazine’s cofounder, Kerry O’Quinn, was gay. Oh, on that sixth-sense/gaydar-y sort of way, I figured something like that was possible, because he did seem to write a lot of editorials excoriating political and religious leaders who got in the way of people’s private sexual lives. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s that he very openly wrote on his (now-defunct) personal web site about his sexual orientation.
I don’t think he was necessarily trying to keep his life a secret; when I asked him about it, he said he was open about it at conventions, so fans knew. But I don’t think most of his readers attended conventions all that much, so the majority of us were left to read between the lines.
One of the articles between whose lines we read were the publisher’s column in this issue of Starlog, in which he praises the diversity and talent and tragedy represented by the mammoth AIDS quilt (technically, The NAMES Project Quilt). “Once in a while, ... I write about something which is unrelated to science fiction,” O’Quinn writes. “I do that because I believe that filling a mind only with arts and entertainment produces an unrealistic view of life – and because I believe that anyone who is truly concerned about the world of tomorrow must be aware of all components of that world. I believe that Starlog can help you to become more sensitive to the full human experience.”
I hope he feels that his mission was accomplished.
Oh, and you don’t need to read between any lines any longer to know the truth about Kerry O’Quinn today.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
Even Starlog’s editor David McDonnell occasionally chided his magazine for covering every last detail about Star Trek. Sometimes, I think it went too far (I’m not sure I needed to read an interview with every person who played a walk-on part in an episode of Star Trek’s original series). But other times, it really provided good, in-depth coverage that made for interesting reading as well as giving readers a better sense about how the movie and TV worlds work. The articles on the aborted Star Trek II TV series in #136 were good examples. This issue, those efforts continue.
The rundown: Star Trek: The Next Generation’s second-season cast (that’s minus Denise Crosby and Gates McFadden, but plus Diana Muldaur) is featured on the cover. Kerry O’Quinn’s From the Bridge relates his journey to Washington, D.C., to see the AIDS quilt; reader letters in Communications react to censorship debates, defend William Shatner, dissect Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor Who characterization, praise articles on The Green Hornet and The Prisoner, and more; Medialog includes Marc Shapiro on Rod Serling’s posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and David McDonnell’s roundup of genre news, such as the info that Gates McFadden, having left Star Trek: The Next Generation, has joined ABC’s daytime soap opera All My Children.
Edward Gross extends his coverage of the Star Trek II TV project with an interview of David Gautreaux, who had been signed to play a new Vulcan regular on the show but ended up with a bit part as a human on Star Trek: The Motion Picture; in the Fan Network pages, Jon E. Heitland reports on Riverside, Iowa, which is proud of its status as the “future birthplace of Captain James Kirk,” and short news items announce a new Phantom of the Opera fanzine, an attempt to connect Soviet and North American science-fiction fans, and more; speaking of Phantom, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier explore the work of Phantom’s creator, Gaston Leroux; and Lynne Stephens reports on Phantom on the stage.
Ian Spelling interviews Martin Landau, who talks about his role in the George Lucas/Francis Ford Coppola film Tucker, as well as Space: 1999; in the first of a multi-part article, Bill Warren chats with screenwriter Nigel Kneale about The Quatermass Experiment and other works; David McDonnell interviews actor Patrick Stewart, who was in his second year of his iconic role as Captain Picard; David Kyle explains the work of science-fiction writer E.E. “Doc” Smith; Tom Weaver completes his two-part interview with former Superman co-star Phyllis Coates; Fangoria editor Anthony Timpone previews the new TV show Superboy: The Series; Margaret A. Baroski profiles actor Gareth Thomas about his work in Blake’s 7; Michael Wolff, dubbed the magazine’s “interplanetary corespondent,” dissects Predator; Marc Shapiro interviews Willow screenwriter Bob Dolman; David Hutchison’s Videolog column lists the new genre releases; and in his Liner Notes column, David McDonnell gets a little silly explaining some recent things, but then he notes that Comics Scene magazine is moving from a quarterly to a bimonthly publishing schedule and will now be offering subscriptions, and he tells readers to use the subscription form on the next page – unfortunately, as these things go, the ad hasn’t been updated yet and still carries the note for Comics Scene that “No subscription available.”
“When I was first cast as Xon, a fair amount of the fans reacted very strangely. Somebody recently told me that actors in soap operas place themselves in serious jeopardy if [in the show] they antagonize the fans’ favorite character. They, the actors on the street, can become the object of the fans’ wrath. That does happen in this business. When Star Trek II was announced and I was essentially announced as the replacement for Spock, I received some really strange letters from people saying, ‘Don’t drink the water,’ or somebody was going to drop LSD in my Coca-Cola. It was like poison pen letters because Spock was God to these people.”
–David Gautreaux, actor, interviewed by Edward Gross: “Casualty of the Lost Generation”
Starlog #140, March 1989: End of an Era
Readers of the Starlog staff box noticed a big change this month: Kerry O’Quinn, the magazine’s co-founder and co-publisher (and very briefly, editor), is no longer listed as a publisher. He is now an “editorial consultant,” though his From the Bridge column continues to appear.
What happened? Well, on his former personal web site, O’Quinn explained a decade or so later that he had sold his interest in the company to his longtime business partner Norman Jacobs (who would continue to run the company until it ran out of money in the early part of the new century). O’Quinn’s column, renamed at some point simply “Bridge,” would eventually be severed from its front-of-the-book location next to the staff box and would float throughout the magazine, but he would also continue writing it into the new century. Meanwhile, he was embarking on a whole new stage of his life, preparing himself for producing film and television products. And that, folks, is what you’ll find him pursuing in Hollywood right now.
I should take this time to get caught up on some other staff changes. Jim McLernon, previously associate art director, takes over from Maggie Hollands as the magazine’s art director, a post he will hold longer than any predecessor; and last issue Maurice Woodson became listed as being in charge of “advertising design,” a somewhat ambiguous title.
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50
Select quote from a letter to the editor regarding Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Why is the doctor on the Bridge all the time? She should be in Sick Bay like any good doctor would be. ... She should visit the Bridge when needed or on occasion to say ‘hello’ to the captain.’”
The rundown: Actors Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga pose for the cover shot from The Fly II. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn responds forcefully to a teacher who tore to pieces a student’s copy of Gorezone magazine because she was so disgusted by it; Communications letters feature lots of readers responding to the exits from The Next Generation of Gates McFadden and Denise Crosby (and include the usual hysterical claims that this spells doom for the series – which of course would go on to be a record-breaking hit for Paramount), and more; Medialog includes Adam Pirani with a short check-in with director Robert Zemeckis (who discusses his three consecutive film hits – Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), plus David McDonnell’s roundup of genre news bits (such as, oh, which one to choose? How about: Jim Henson’s returning to TV with a weekly Jim Henson Hour on NBC).
Michael Vance interviews authors Janet and Chris Morris, who discuss, among other things, about the flack they caught for including sex in their novels in the 1970s; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman continue their talks with everyone from the British SF series Blake’s 7, this time chatting with actor David Jackson; the Fan Network pages include an article by Vicki Hessel Werkley on the continuing fan support for the cancelled Starman TV series, answers to reader questions (such as, “In the movie Beetlejuice, why is the name spelled ‘Betegeuse’ instead?”), and more; A Fish Called Wanda and other new genre releases are highlighted in David Hutchison’s Videolog column (and no, Wanda wasn’t even remotely science-fiction, but a very enjoyable movie nonetheless); Tom Weaver and Michael Brunas profile This Island Earth actor Rex Reason; Ian Spelling interviews actor Bill Murray, who discusses Ghostbusters and Scrooged; Marc Shapiro explains what when wrong with the attempted TV series Something Is Out There; Eric Niderost interviews The Fly II star Eric Stoltz.
Monty Python expert Kim Howard Johnson previews Terry Gilliam’s underrated The Adventures of Baron Munchausen with a talk with actor and writer Charles McKeown; Margaret A. Baroski profiles actor David Greenlee, who played Mouse in TV’s Beauty and the Beast; in part two of Bill Warren’s three-part interview with screenwriter Nigel Kneale, we learn how postwar paranoia fed the imaginations of Brits and possibly led to some of their greatest genre stories; in a four-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Edward Gross profiles formerly blacklisted writer Oliver Crawford ("The Galileo Seven” and others) and director James Komack (“A Piece of the Action”); Ian Spelling checks in with Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wil Wheaton, “Token Teenager”; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column talks Joe Dante.
“[The sequel] is not going to be called Ghostbusters II. We’ll burn in hell if we call it Ghostbusters II. I’ve suggested The Last of the Ghostbusters, to make sure there won’t be anything like a Ghostbusters III. But the script is nowhere near ready, and we start shooting soon. Jeez, more pressure. We’ll figure it out ... or we won’t.”
Yes, the sequel was called Ghostbusters II.
–Bill Murray, interviewed by Ian Spelling: “Bill Murray Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts!”
This is a work in progress. Check back regularly for the rest of my ongoing compendium of Starlog -- the complete run, nearly 400 issues of the science fiction film/TV/books/etc. magazine.
In the meantime, as I continue adding them on this site, you can see the up-to-date project on my blog.
Copyright © 2010 John Zipperer, except for Starlog images and text, which are the property of Starlog.