Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #86, September 1984: Buck Up, Buckaroo Banzai

Buckaroo Banzai, an odd film boasting some pretty serious star power (Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Ellen Barkin, etc.), became a favorite of the Starlog staff. Considering that it bombed big-time at the box office, I can only assume they were the other four people in the theater when I went to see it. But they did their best to raise awareness of the flick, so it gets the cover treatment this issue.

Unfortunately, it's a rotten photo they chose for the cover. It's too busy, there's no obvious place to focus, and the right one-third of the cover basically features multicolored wires. Though it might have appealed to electricians, I'd assume this issue didn't exactly fly off the shelves of the bookstores.

Starlog #86
70 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

Here's an aside that you're completely free to ignore: The Next Month section on the last page is broken into three sections, each headed with a title from an old game show (To Tell the Truth, Celebrity Sweepstakes, and Password Plus). Which whimsy reminds me of a former colleague at a magazine who told me of someone he used to work with who worked the entire Lord's Prayer, phrase by phrase, into a long article as the subheads to the separate sections of the article.

The rundown: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is featured in the two-page foldout poster this issue. In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O'Quinn tries to guide young readers so they appreciate their uniqueness; Communications letters include a bunch of readers commenting on David Prowse and Darth Vader, the continuation of the does-Starlog-hate-Lost-in-Space controversy, feedback on the Chicago Starlog Festival, and more; short news items in Log Entries include a check-in with writer Harry Harrison, a new Henry Thomas movie (Cloak & Dagger), lots of short headlines, and more.

Lee Goldberg interviews Buckaroo Banzai star Peter Weller; David Gerrold recounts the good and the bad of the Chicago festival; Brian Lowry interviews Dan O'Herlihy, lizard star of The Last Starfighter; Patrick Daniel O'Neill interviews veteran Trek actor Mark Lenard; David Hutchison continues his multi-multi-part exploration of the special effects of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Steve Swires interviews writer/director John Sayles (The Brother from Another Planet); David McDonnell and John Sayers interview Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters); British correspondent Adam Pirani interviews David Tomblin, assistant director on the Indiana Jones films; Brian Lowry interviews Chris Columbus about Gremlins, for which he wrote the screenplay; Lenny Kaye's Space Age Games and Computers column reviews a lot of games, such as Buck Rogers Planet of Zoom; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier interview Noah Hathaway, the original Boxey from Battlestar Galactica and Bastian from The Neverending Story; Steve Swires interviews Tanya Roberts about her starring role in Sheena, Queen of the Jungle; and Howard Zimmerman wraps it all up in his Lastword column with a few words about Gremlins, Ghostbusers, and other recent films.
"We cracked the schedule again, ... But it was much more difficult, inasmuch as Harrison Ford had a bad back, so we had to shoot for three weeks without him."
–David Tomblin, Indiana Jones assistant director, interviewed by Adam Pirani: "David Tomblin: A.D. to Indy Jones"
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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