Friday, March 26, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #29, December 1979: Meteor and Other Disasters

This issue of Starlog is sobering, and not just because of the crap disaster movie on the cover. Kerry O'Quinn shares a tragic story of an SF fan's needless death -- not his usual optimistic-overload. On a lighter note, we see the first ad for Starlog's Official Communications Handbook, which I continue to argue was a unique and smart publication by Starlog.

Starlog #29
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

I should really read the small print more often. For years, I had thought the cover art on Starlog #29 was studio-provided promotional art for the movie Meteor. But on page 4, the "About the cover" note informs us that it is in fact a painting by space artist (and Starlog's own space art advisor) Ron Miller.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column tells about a teenage boy who was so wrapped up in his favorite TV show, Battlestar Galactica, that he jumped to his death when the show was canceled; Communications letters include a Canadian complaining about the inclusion of articles about rock and disco in Starlog and Future Life, conflicting opinions on Alien, convention reflections, and more; short news items in Log Entries include the return of Duck (that's Duck not Buck) Dodgers, the apparent kibosh on a Galactica TV special, first news of Carl Sagan's upcoming incredible Cosmos series on public television, photos of David Prowse arm-wrestling various Starlog staffers (he wins, except against Susan Sackett), Kerry O'Quinn is attacked by an Alien face-hugger, and more.

David Houston kicks off the Meteor coverage with a report from his visit to the movie's set; Jeff Szalay interviews Ted Parvin, Meteor's producer; Alan Brender interviews Erin Gray, who played Wilma Deering on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report explains what the movie's cast has been doing since they finished shooting the film (Grace Lee Whitney recorded some of her original music, for example); David Hirsch writes a Space Report Extra profiling Space: 1999 miniature maker Martin Bower; the Third Annual Science-Fiction Merchandise Guide fills eight yellow pages inserted in the middle of the magazine; Doug Crepeau writes about Dean Jeffries, who makes futuristic vehicles for science-fiction movies and television programs; David Gerrold's Rumblings column covers "Making Your Own Movie -- or -- The Impossible Dream"; David Houston gives a behind-the-scenes look at the "Mork in Wonderland" episode of Mork and Mindy; Tom McDonough is back with "Unidentified Talking Objects," so you better hope the readers who didn't get his previous satirical article have smartened up since then; Alan Brender interviews Buster Crabbe, the original Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon (and guest star on an episode of the new Buck Rogers in the 25th Century); Al Taylor and David Hutchison continue their extensive SFX profile of British special effects master Les Bowie (complete with an extensive filmography listing); for the first time in recorded history, Starlog features a poem, editor Howard Zimmerman's "Starlust" (illustrated by the great Jack Katz) on page 70; David Houston's Visions column looks at "Artificial Intelligence: Before the First Generation"; and Howard Zimmerman wraps it up with his Firstword column explanation of the magazine's forays into poetry and satire.
"[Buster] Crabbe almost had a small part in Star Wars, and regrets not getting it. 'Lucas,' he explains, 'suggested to the production department, "Why don't you fly Crabbe over? We'll set him in with all the characters from the bar." But they didn't buy the idea. I would have done it for nothing -- just the transportation -- to be in the film."
--Alan Brender, writer, "The New, Original Anthony Rogers -- or -- Two Bucks in the 25th Century
To view previous Starlog Archive issues, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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