Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #127, February 1988: Pretty in Pink

A magazine that lives or dies by newsstand sales will do anything to attract attention from potential buyers. I once worked for a technology magazine whose publisher decreed that the color green could not be prominent on any of his magazine covers, because he’d concluded that magazines didn’t sell if they had green covers. Why this rule pertained to his magazines, I’ll never know; most of them weren’t newsstand magazines at all. But you own the company, you can make cover color edicts.

I wonder what he would think of pink. Electric pink. Shocking pink. Almost obscene pink. Even now, 22 years after Starlog #127 hit the stands, its cover is almost disturbingly bright, shiny pink as it sits on my desk while I write this. It’s a cover that would have jumped up and down on the magazine racks, elbowing the other mags out of the way, shouting rude and provocative things to get the attention of browsers. And if the pink first grabbed their attention, then what made them grab the magazine and buy it is probably the interview with George Lucas.

Also this month, Starlog publishes its annual postal statement of ownership and circulation. The total paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 141,616 (down more than 25 percent from last year's 212,664 ), including the number of paid subscriptions of 18,000 (up a surprisingly amount from 8,747 last time).

Starlog #127
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50

In staffing news, there’s no one yet who assumes the title of managing editor following Carr D’Angelo’s exit last issue, but Eddie Berganza and Daniel Dickholtz jointly share the associate editor mantle, which takes a prominent place on the staff listing.

Classified ad of the month: “POTLATCH NETWORK Ancestral and popular folk culture touch the future ...” No, I have no idea what it means, either.

The rundown: Dodging the Pepto Bismol on the cover to take the feature spot is the new film from Steven Spielberg’s production company, Batteries not Included. In his From the Bridge editorial, publisher Kerry O’Quinn continues his exploration of the inspiration he sees in a beautiful Milan cathedral, extrapolating the meaning in atheist terms; Communications letters include lots of reactions to Star Trek: The Next Generation, a reader raises questions about Starlog’s coverage of films for which it also publishes licensed official movie magazines, readers promote the quirky Max Headroom TV series, and more; and David McDonnell’s Medialog wraps up all of the latest blurbs on genre happenings, including a note that “The Blob will ooze again.” You’ve been warned.

Kathleen Kennedy, producer of Spielberg films such as Empire of the Sun, talks to writer Kathryn M. Drennan about that film, plus E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, and others; Lee Goldberg examines the newly syndicated Twilight Zone revival; the Fan Network pages include Mike Glyer’s continuing fan club directory, plus photos from the past year of notable genre happenings (such as Dorothy Fontana at the Academy Awards); Juanita Elefante-Gordon profiles former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison; Lee Goldberg interviews RoboCop screenwriters Michael Miner and Edward Neumeier (plus a sidebar looking at Miner’s Deadly Weapon); superheroes and He-Man take the lead in David Hutchison’s Videolog; Marc Shapiro interviews Gates McFadden about her role as Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation; Harcourt Fenton Mudd! The late Roger C. Carmel, who portrayed the roguish salesman on two episodes of the original Star Trek series, was interviewed by Dan Madsen.

Carr D’Angelo interviews Matthew Robbins, director of Batteries Not Included; Bill Warren writes up a question-and-answer session that George Lucas had with audience members and reporters at the Starlog convention celebrating Star Wars’ 10th anniversary (including the audience question: “Why didn’t you give Luke a girl?” and Lucas’ answer: “You haven’t seen the last three yet.” Still haven’t.); Kerry O’Quinn gives more behind-the-scenes details on the creation and staging of the big Star Wars convention, which included Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry on stage together with George Lucas for the first time; O’Quinn also bylines a collection of fan reaction to the Wars convention, including a sidebar with notes from celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Howard Kazanjian; in non-Star Wars articles, Eric Niderost interviews Date with an Angel director Tom McLoughlin; Steve Swires interviews Ray Harryhausen, who explains his retirement from filmmaking and discusses his storied career; the Tribute page includes three obituaries: Eric Niderost on Lorne Greene, Lee Goldberg on Quinn Martin, and Patrick Daniel O’Neill on Terry Carr; and David McDonnell resumes writing his Liner Notes column, with more well-wishes to recently departed Carr D’Angelo, an announcement that the recent test issue of Comics Scene proved successful enough to spawn a continuing magazine, and news that CinemagicStarlog’s 10-year-old magazine edited by David Hutchison for amateur filmmakers – is ceasing publication.
“Hopefully, I will someday be doing the next three Star Wars, but I’m not sure when. The next three would take place 20 or 30 years before the films they’re celebrating here today. I’ll do the first trilogy first. There are nine [films] floating around there somewhere. I’ll guarantee that the first three are pretty much organized in my head, but the other three are kind of out there somewhere.”
–George Lucas, writer/director/producer/education-booster, reported by Bill Warren: “George Lucas: Father of the Force”
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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