Monday, April 5, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #54, January 1982: Comin' at You in 3-D

Starlog #54 might have been produced in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression (only to be outdone, of course, by the recent and ongoing economic crisis), but that doesn't mean Starlog's going to stop thinking big. The magazine announces plans for a feature film -- no, not the one it announced a couple years previously. That, as publisher O'Quinn explains, died a miserable death, the tale of which would probably be fascinating to hear. This new movie -- also ultimately unrealized -- is announced in this issue. And never heard from again. Oh, and they've finally renamed Comics World as Comics Scene, though it's still published by Comics World Corp. and would be for its entire run.

Starlog #54
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.50

Starlog looooooves 3-D. In its past six years, it has published several articles on the technique, and would eventually produce a photo guidebook trade paperback on the topic. This issue, 3-D takes the cover spot (with a painting by Walter Velez), and is also represented inside with several articles and lots of photos. Readers were told last month to order their free (with a self-addressed stamped envelope) pair of 3-D glasses, an offer repeated in this issue.

The rundown: Kerry O'Quinn tells readers that the recent survey he took (results of which appear in the Communications section) will help him inform Hollywood big-wigs about what types of movies fans actually want, and that he'll also use the survey feedback to launch the magazine's own movie; Communications letters include a cartoon by Don Goodman starring Howard Zimmerman, feedback on the William Shatner interview, praise for Bjo Trimble's recent columns, results of the SF Movie Survey (59 percent say lavish costumes and special makeup "sometimes" are essential to enjoying a movie), and more; Log Entries short news items include a preview of SF feature films for 1982 (Dark Crystal, Battletruck, E.T. and Me -- as it's called -- etc.), a computer SF adventure game created by author Michael Berlyn, a call for more support for the space program's exploration of other planets in our star system, Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back are auctioned for television, fans (over-)react to news that Spock will die in the new Star Trek film, some tantalizing news about Disney's upcoming Tron, and more.

Don McGregor interviews Robert Culp about his role in The Greatest American Hero and why he was reluctant to return to television series work after I Spy; Robert Greenberger interviews Connie Selleca, another Greatest American Hero star and the wife of Buck Rogers star Gil Gerard; Bjo Trimble explains "filk-singing" in Fan Scene; Steve Swires interviews Leslie Nielsen about Forbidden Planet and The Creature Wasn't Nice; David Everett, the Fangoria co-editor, writes "3-D: The Second Coming," which explains the different 3-D processes used in films; the centerfold describes three ways to view 3-D photos without using glasses -- something I was never able to accomplish, despite practically memorizing the descriptions and trying for quite some time; there's a page of red-blue 3-D photos; John Rupkalvis writes about the 3-D images of Mars sent back by the Viking lander; James H. Burns provides an episode guide to the first season of editor Howard Zimmerman's new favorite show, The Greatest American Hero; Steve Aubrey writes "Scale Control in Stereo Photography" (how-to information for photographers); four more pages of 3-D photos, including lots of behind-the-scenes Hollywood pix, a couple Starlog office photos, and an original cartoon by Howard Cruse; James H. Burns' conclusion of his two-part interview with producer Juanita Bartlett explores her non-Greatest American Hero work, including Gene Roddenberry's The Questor Tapes and Genesis II; James Van Hise gives us a look at the famous Star Trek blooper reel; David Gerrold uses his Soaring column to talk with Terry Gilliam about Time Bandits; David Hutchison looks at the special effects of Raiders of the Lost Ark (including Toht's melting head, shown in full color); Quest features Jan L. Margut's Star Trek Christmas poem; and Howard Zimmerman gets all moody during an airplane flight in Lastword.
"I am personally going to use this [reader survey] information in launching (TA-DAA!!!) Starlog's first major motion picture for theatrical release. ... Just to make certain that there is no confusion, this upcoming movie is not the Intergalactic Picture Show that was advertised over a year ago. Sad to say, that project died a miseable death in lawyers' offices and will never make it to the screen. So much for harsh and expensive lessons."
--Kerry O'Quinn, publisher, From the Bridge: "Here's What you Want ..."
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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