Thursday, March 18, 2010

Starlog Internet Project: Starlog #20, March 1979: You Will Believe a Man Can Fly

The Starlog family is set to expand, as the company adds new titles and plans more issues of its most popular title. We're also teased with the possibility of an additional magazine and a movie -- both ultimately unrealized. And, for the completists among you, this is the first issue to feature an entire half-page Next Month section.

Starlog #20
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

There's photographic evidence right there, on the cover of the magazine, that men can fly, or at least that Superman can. Thus we have Starlog's self-proclaimed pull-out-all-the-stops coverage of the long-awaited Christopher Reeve Superman film, supplemented by an interview with the man who played Supes more than three decades earlier. The Mork and Mindy stuff is just there to remind us of how awkward the 1970s truly were.

Kerry O'Quinn drops a few bombs in his From the Bridge column, noting that Starlog will go monthly beginning with its next issue, the company might publish a fiction magazine (it never did), Starlog had formed a feature film company (it never did anything),  Future has changed its name to Future Life, Cinemagic will soon be published by Starlog, something called Fantastica will be published. As we'll see in the near future, Fantastica will go through a tortuous journey until it is ultimately renamed -- tadaa -- Fangoria. Letters in the Communications section cover thoughts on the Battlestar Galactica series (no, we don't know what a micron is), George Pal, special effects explosions, and more. Short news in Log Entries includes the film Arabian Adventure, new stop-motion from Europe, and a whole slew of Starlog self-promotion bits (more on Fantastica and Cinemagic, the formation of SF Film Productions, Inc., Starlog's monthly status, Starlog wins an award at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, the Starlog/Future Getaway Special, Starlog Records' third release -- It's Alive 2 -- the new name for Future, and a staffer who wins costume prizes; all in all, a page and a third of Starlog self-congratulation).

Next, George S. James and Frank H. Winter write a 50th anniversary celebratory article on Buck Rogers; David Gerrold's State of the Art column slams Capricorn One; David Hutchison looks at Jason of Star Command, the Saturday morning live-action SF kids' show; Gerry Anderson's Space Report gives us the goods on the Space: 1999 feature film, Destination Moonbase Alpha; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report follows the extras (including fellow columnist David Gerrold and future Starlog columnist Bjo Trimble) for the crew assembly scene in Star Trek -- The Motion Picture. Richard Meyers and Phil Edwards preview Alien. Jennie Lalume interviews Pam Dawber of Mork and Mindy; Richard Meyers writes the extensive cover story on Superman: The Movie; Jeff Elliot interviews a former Superman actor, Kirk Alyn; James R. Stuart gives us the facts on "Ion Drive Spacecraft: The First Interplanetary Electric Rockets"; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., goes to Venus' Beta; a three-page survey collects information for the forthcoming Starlog Yearbook, to be edited by David Gerrold (and never to be published again, alas); G. Harry Stine tells people how to "Build Your Own Spaceship"; David Houston profiles model-maker Brick Price in the SFX section; David Houston's Visions column looks at 20th-century examples of science fiction that have made it into the mainstream; and editor Howard Zimmerman ends it all with his Lastword column, which looks at the magazine's increase in frequency and revisits his Galactica criticism.
"Described appropriately as a science-fiction horro film, Alien may prove to be 1979's most unique offering. At this point, it's already proving to be a one-of-a-kind prospect for its cast and crew. "We're having a few problems with the censor over certain scenes,' [Dan] O'Bannon chuckles devilishly."
--Richard Meyers and Phil Edwards, writers, "Alien"
To view previous Starlog Archive issues, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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