Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #81, April 1984: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Flies

A fine issue, featuring a cover with Christopher Lambert from his new movie Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Alas, the cover also features one of the most tasteless blurbs in the magazine's history: "Veronica Cartwright: I Got Raped by the ALIEN!"

In staffing news, Robert Greenberger (who edited the short-lived Comics Scene during his tenure in the Starlog offices) is leaving for a job at DC Comics, and new associate editor Leslie Stackel comes aboard. Also, I think I neglected to mention the arrival some months back of Robert R. Rachoi as vice president and circulation director.

Starlog #81
70 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

I have no inside knowledge of this, but here's a thought: Starlog magazine was the cash cow of the Starlog family of periodicals. It had the highest or one of the highest circulations of any of its magazines (I could be wrong, but I think only Black Elegance and perhaps Country Rhythms would have higher circulations at some points), yet its cover price was higher than others. Consider, in this very issue of Starlog, we see the ad again for the new music magazine Rock Video, which has roughly the same number of pages as Starlog (though I think it even had more color pages than Starlog), yet its cover price was $2.25 versus Starlog's $2.95. A 12-issue subscription to Rock Video cost $21.98 (and you got a free t-shirt!), while a 12-issue subscription to Starlog cost $27.49 (with no t-shirt).

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn touts the upcoming Starlog Festival convention series; Communications letters throw more fire on the Starlog-hates-Lost-in-Space controversy (I would witness this firsthand in the year 2000, when I attended a small SF convention in New York City and one of the pro-Lost speakers took a swipe at Starlog for its alleged anti-Lost bias -- these people hold a grudge!), express surprise at Kirstie Alley's absence from the new Star Trek movie, offer corrections to recent special effects articles, grade Brainstorm (including a letter from Richard Gordon, who I believe is the veteran movie producer brother to Fangoria columnist Alex Gordon), and more; Log Entries short news items include a preview of the Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah film Splash, a photo preview of upcoming genre films, lots of short headlines (such as Harlan Ellison leaving the film adaptation of Bug Jack Barron), and more.

Lenny Kaye's Space Age Games gives a lot of attention to Coleco, and it also peers inside home computers; Robert Greenberger interviews Hugh Hudson, director of the new Tarzan film; Milburn Smith chronicles Tarzan's many book, film and television productions; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier preview Dreamscape; Milburn Smith lists the science fiction, fantasy and horror films that won Academy Awards from 1931 to 1982 (and, it should be noted, Starlog produced a one-shot special magazine in 1983 about the Academy Awards, though it never repeated the feat); David McDonnell highlights artist Mark E. Rogers' The Adventures of Samurai Cat book; Lee Goldberg looks at the "death duel" between a TV adaptation of Blue Thunder and the competing series Airwolf, which it cheekily calls an "original imitation"; Howard Zimmerman reports from the World Fantasy Convention in Chicago; Lee Goldberg visits the set of Buckaroo Banzai, a film destined for cult status (and a favorite of the Starlog staff); William B. Thompson interviews novelist Alan Dean Foster, who did the novelization for The Last Starfighter; David Gerrold reports on the status of the rough cut of Star Trek III -- The Search for Spock; Thomas McKelvey Cleaver interviews The Right Stuff's Fred Ward; Robert Greenberger interviews Veronica Cartwright (Alien, The Right Stuff); in his Lastword column, editor Howard Zimmerman says good-bye to Robert Greenberger and comments on plans for a space station.
"I know when I'm getting close to camp, ... and I have actors who, by virtue of their own talents, prevent me from going over that line. You could have cast this film in a certain way which would have made it impossible not to be campy."
--W.D. Richter, director, interviewed by Lee Goldberg: "On the Set of Buckaroo Banzai"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
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