Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #130, May 1988: They’re Going to Kill off Tasha Yar?!?!?

If you step into the wayback machine with me to a time before the internet was widely commercialized and fan debates took place at conventions or in the pages of monthly magazines, you can understand how it was interesting to follow a drawn-out rumor of the killing off of a regular character on a leading TV series. That rumor, first reported in Starlog’s Medialog column last issue, is fleshed out in this issue and it becomes clear that the unnamed character is Tasha Yar. Actress Denise Crosby responds to the rumor in an interview and sounds shocked, yes shocked, that her character would be killed off. In a few issues, she’ll be back to talk about her character being killed off.

This issue’s cover is funny if you remember my comments in the writeup for issue #127. The electric pink cover? Remember? With this issue, they use a bright, somewhat jarring green on much of the cover, and it must work at the newsstands, because they would use it again on at least two more Star Trek covers, plus one for War of the Worlds and Darkman. So, despite what my former boss said in #127’s writeup about green being a bad color for newsstand sales, it clearly works for Starlog, which knows a thing or two about retail magazine sales.

Starlog #130
100 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

Readers of Starlog in the spring of 1988 were pleasantly surprised by a 100-page special issue. For years, Starlog’s extra-page, extra-color specials would only occur in the November issue (either a collection of reviews or some other special reason) and the July issue (for the magazine’s anniversary). But this is the May issue, and here is a 100-pager focused (the text on the magazine’s spine tells us) on “science-fiction comedy.” I think the comedy tag oversells it a bit, but nonetheless... Unlike magazines (such as GQ or Vogue) that expand or contract the number of pages depending on the amount of advertising for that month, Starlog never had much advertising, so its decisions about page count had more to do with a package they thought would sell well that month at a bit of a higher price. And so it is that they feature Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Tasha Yar on the cover of this big issue.

The rundown: Kerry O’Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to argue against people who complain about him sharing his viewpoints in his two-thirds of a page each month; Arthur C. Clarke writes in to the Communications section to comment on the Gary Lockwood interview in #124, and other letter writers include David J. Schow (a future Fangoria columnist) on a recent review of his book, plus numerous readers commenting on Star Trek: The Next Generation (showing that Starlog’s letters pages were truly the SF chat room or online forum of its day), James Bond, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog includes info on a special Hulk TV movie, a Micronauts TV pilot, and more.

Marc Shapiro talks with Ron Koslow about his creation, TV’s Beauty and the Beast; Jo Beth Taylor interviews former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee, who tells tales of some of the lighter escapades of his days on that show; in the first of a multi-part article, Steve Swires gets the inside scoop from actor Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen in the George Reeves-era Superman; Robert Greenberger previews Splash, Too, the sequel to the surprise hit Splash; in the Fan Network pages, Carr D’Angelo showcases the fan-made short film The Empire Strikes Quack (you can see more here, including a link to the video), Daniel Dickholtz on fan cartoonist Michael Goodwin, an answer to a reader query (about mixed-up signals over who’s third in command of the new Enterprise), and more.

Bill Warren interviews actor Billy Barty (including a quote from Kirk Douglas) about Willow and other films; Kim Howard Johnson goes behind the scenes of the Keanu Reeves-starring film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Reeves utters the immortal words, “What’s happening, dude?”; Marc Shapiro investigates what would become another landmark film of the time: Tim Burton’s Beetlejiuce; Sharpiro also pens the cover story on actress Denise Crosby, who tells the magazine, “I know I’ve been complaining about Tasha being more involved in what was going on, but I don’t think things have gotten heated enough to where they’ve decided to kill me off”; Kim Howard Johnson profiles actor Judge Reinhold about his newest film, Vice Versa (the third adaptation of a century-old novel), though he also talks Gremlins; last issue the fans of man-flesh got some nice beefcake photos of a Tarzan actor from the 1930s, so this issue fans of women get an interview with SF favorite Caroline Munro – who reveals that she turned down a potentially big role in Superman – in an article illustrated with a large number of photos of Munro in bathing suits; Carr D’Angelo previews Outer Heat, which soon would be renamed Alien Nation.

Bill Warren profiles actor Keye Luke (Dead Heat, Gremlins, Star Trek original series, etc.); in a six-page “The Guests of Trek” section, Diane Butler profiles Arnold Moss, Mark Phillips does the honors for Morgan Woodward and Phillip Pine, Edward Gross does Adrian Spies, Frank Garcia does Hagan Beggs and Elinor Donahue, and John McCarty does John Newland; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman profile actress Sally Knyvette about her work on Blake’s 7; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes the releases of The Princess Bride, Amazon Women on the Moon, (though he mistypes it of the Moon) and other genre programs; Patrick Daniel O’Neill interviews author Frederik Pohl, who talks about his novelizations based on themes from the real-life Chernobyl nuclear disaster; in the Tribute page, Kim Howard Johnson provides the obituary for 12-year-old actress Heather O’Rourke, who died following surgery, and David Hutchison notes the passing of Milt Kahl, a Disney animator for more than four decades; and editor David McDonnell uses his Liner Notes column to talk about Disney tours.
“When I was back in Hong Kong two years ago making a picture, there were three Charlie Chans [films] showing there. I thought those kids over on the mainland would be surprised at the ‘disloyalty,’ at the lack of comprehension of their so-called compatriots over here, who tend to like the character Charlie Chan. These violent complainers of yesterday have lost their steam, because how long can you keep yelling about a thing that’s not real? This protest always struck me as strange because here’s Charlie Chan, undoubtedly the smartest man in any of these films – number one man and a hero.”
–Keye Luke, actor, interviewed by Bill Warren: “The Many Mysteries of Keye Luke”
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
Post a Comment