Monday, March 29, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #39, October 1980: Improving Buck Rogers

In this fall TV season preview issue, we get a mixture of hope (for an improved Buck Rogers), great classic SF coverage, and an all-new knock-down, drag-out controversy. Fun! Also, the Starlog magazine family grows, with the model-making quarterly Fantasy Modeling, which would only last six issues but was a well-done publication nonetheless.

Starlog #39
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.25

Controversy and politics are on display this issue. Like the military draft? You won't like this issue's editorial. Like David Gerrold? Then you won't like the Fred Freiberger interview. Read on.

In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn lets his libertarian flag fly by telling a parable about (and against) the draft, registration for which has just been approved by President Carter; letters to the editors in Communications range from criticism of O'Quinn's anti-censorship editorial, praise for the Harrison Ford interview two issues ago, speculation about who "the other" is to whom Yoda refers (one of the letter writers gets it right), and more; Log Entries short news items include controversy over whether Alien has actually recorded a profit or whether it's just more funny accounting by Hollywood studies, an auction of SF memorabilia (with the headline "Auctions Speak Louder than Words"), a visit by Starlog staffers to a space art exhibit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and more.

David Gerrold's Rumblings features some spirited letters from readers; Karen E. Wilson outlines some of the big changes planned for the new season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century -- a revamping that would take the show in a more Star Trekish direction; David Hirsch writes Gerry Anderson's Space Report, featuring the second part of "The Space: 1999 Writer's Guide"; Sam Maronie previews various PBS science series, including Carl Sagan's great Cosmos; Alan Brender reports on the plans to rescue Mork & Mindy from slumping ratings; Brender also covers the new season of The Incredible Hulk; C.M. Stevenson previews the new year in Saturday morning entertainment; Mike Conroy, James Buck and David Hirsch collaborate to cover British science-fiction offerings; an un-bylined one-page article focuses on Boris Vallejo's small-scale figurine models, feeding you into the full-page ad on the next page featuring the new Fantasy Modeling magazine, which just happens to have Boris' model on the cover of the premiere issue; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., uncovers Venus; Tom Corbett himself -- i.e., actor Frankie Thomas -- pens a retrospective of his 1950s'-era science fiction television program, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet; David Hirsch previews the 12 TV movies made from repackaged episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and he includes an episode guide to the movies; in the opening salvo of what would become a pretty nasty intra-Starlog and external controversy, Mike Clark and Bill Cotter produce the first part of their interview with controversial television producer Fred Freiberger (Star Trek, Space: 1999), who shares some strong criticism of a certain David Gerrold and his writing; David Hutchison's SFX section profiles "The Brothers Skotak: Roger Corman's New Model Makers"; David Houston's Visions continues looking at SF and fantasy film music, this time taking on Star Wars; and Howard Zimmerman shares some -- can it be true? -- cautiously optimistic thoughts on the future of SF television; and on that note, the issue -- and maybe the universe -- ends.
"[David Gerrold] condemned the people on the show [Star Trek] as not being professional because he claims they knew the show was going to be canceled as production started for the third year. This is an outright misstatement of fact. If you don't like what was up on the screen, it didn't have anything to do with cancellation."
--Fred Freiberger, producer, interviewed by Mike Clark and Bill Cotter: "An Interview with Fred Freiberger"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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