Monday, May 17, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #97, August 1985: The New Regime

The David McDonnell Era begins at Starlog, as he takes the captain's chair following the departure of long-time editor Howard Zimmerman. Carr D'Angelo assumes McDonnell's old post as managing editor. The magazine hires a new senior staffer, too: Robert M. Sacks is the new production director.

Starlog also releases its newest special publication: Science Fiction Trivia, a digest-sized one-shot magazine stuffed with more than 1,300 questions from the magazine's staff. In the not-too-distant future, Starlog would team up with a book publisher to release an expanded edition of the trivia book in paperback format.

Starlog #97
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: #2.95

A little design note: The Starlog logo on the cover is given a 3-D look, which it would largely retain in one form or another for the rest of its life. Also, the Next Month box no longer takes up half of the final page; it is now reduced to a small box on the bottom of that page, which now features an expanded editor's column.

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O'Quinn writes a belated farewell note to Howard Zimmerman; Communications letters include lots of 2010 feedback, fanciful ideas of the next Star Trek film, and more; short news items in Log Entries include David McDonnell on upcoming science-fiction television shows, Carr D'Angelo on a Star Trek comic book written by Walter Koenig, McDonnell with a roundup of genre news, and more.

Adam Pirani interviews Christopher Walker, who discusses his roles in The Dead Zone, Brainstorm, and A View to a Kill; Kim Howard Johnson interviews Ron Howard, director of Splash and Cocoon; the Fan Network section includes a Ghostbusters fan club, a contest to win a canister of The Stuff from the movie The Stuff, reader queries (such as "I ... would like to know what a person has to do to become an animator with Don Bluth Studios"), and more; Brian Lowry interviews actor Paul Smith, who discusses his roles in Dune and Red Sonja; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier interview Mad Max himself, Mel Gibson; the Lofficiers also profile young actor Barret Oliver (The Neverending Story, D.A.R.Y.L., Cocoon); Disney historian David R. Smith celebrates the 30th anniversary of Disneyland (this is the article to get if you want to see a photo of Ronald Reagan co-hosting the live broadcast of the opening day ceremonies); there's a two-page photo preview of Fright Night; Lee Goldberg continues his interview with Goonies director Richard Donner; Goldberg also previews the new Robert Zemeckis film Back to the Future and discusses all of the changes in the story and casting from the initial plans; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficer interview the young stars of Explorers: Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, Jason Presson, and Amanda Peterson; Marc Weinberg talks with Steve Railsback, who plays a vampire killer in Lifeforce; in the Future Life section, Scott Zachek interviews America's first female astronaut, Sally Ride, and Mark Shannon contributes a short item on the X-29 super-jet; Brian Lowry explores the animation in Disney's The Black Cauldron; Patrick Daniel O'Neill interviews actor Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff, Silverado); David Gerrold says goodbye to his friend, the late legend Ted Sturgeon; and David McDonnell wraps it all up in his first Liner Notes column, in which he introduces himself and gives background on some of the interviews in this issue.
"I really wanted to be a rock star because I play guitar and I sing with my sister. But, as it went along, I started getting into commercials and acting. I got a part in Seven Brides just by auditioning and I liked it a lot. I really like acting because you can create a character. You can make someone who has never existed before. That's neat."
–River Phoenix, actor, interviewed by Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier: "Joe Dante's Explorers"
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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