Friday, July 23, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #148, November 1989: Exit Interviews

Starlog’s kind of becoming the place you go to do your exit interview when your character is killed off in a science-fiction TV series. Denise Crosby had her pre-, post- and follow-up exit interviews with Starlog when her Tasha Yar character was murdered in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and she even got a cover story out of one of those interviews.

This month, it’s Richard Chaves’ time to pick up his final paycheck and his accumulated vacation balance, chat with the HR lady, and then carry his box of belongings out to the car. Chaves’ character, Lt. Colonel Ironhorse, was killed off for the second season of TV’s syndicated War of the Worlds program. He checks in this month – with a cover story – to talk about his character, the show, and his career. The magazine also interviews the program's producers, who explain why the changes were made.

Starlog #148
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

The letters to the editor this issue almost go meta on the whole Star Trek matter. Does Starlog cover too much Star Trek? Not enough? Readers battle back and forth, with this one having the final word: “OK, now that you have done it – a whole issue without any major Star Trek articles, bring Star Trek back to every issue. I’m sure [the reader who complained in a previous issue about too much Trek] will bronze this issue (#142), but, for me, it goes into the circular file.”

The rundown: War of the Worlds’ departing actor Richard Chaves is on the cover, along with the line, “Why they’re killing me!” Meanwhile, Tron’s David Warner is featured on the contents page. Communications letters tackle Trek, the state of non-Trek TV (apparently there is some), identify with Wil Wheaton, and more; and David McDonnell’s Medialog reports the latest genre news headlines, including John Haymes Newton’s replacement as the star of Superboy by Gerard Christopher.

Terminator and The Abyss star Michael Biehn is interviewed by Dan Yakir and Ian Spelling, and he tells them about whether or not James Camerons sees him as an alter ego; in the Fan Network pages, Robert Greenberger answers reader queries (such as, “Where could I get a new style captain’s uniform?”), and Steve Jacobs (who I believe is one of the magazine’s typesetters – and heir to the fortune?) reports on Universal Studios’ Earthquake ride; Bill Warren talks with actor David Warner about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, performing Shakespeare with Patrick Stewart, Time After Time, Time Bandits, and more; Edward Gross profiles actor Tony “Paracelsus” Jay from Beauty & the Beast; Kyle Counts interviews former Catwoman Julie Newmar, who discussses her long career; and Jami Bernard checks in with a very pre-Ally McBeal Peter MacNicol about his roles in Ghostbusters and Dragonslayer.

Dan Yakir interviews Robert Davi, James Bond baddie; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes the latest genre releases, including a number of classics; Peter Bloch-Hansen reports on the changes in the second season of War of the Worlds; Christopher Golden interviews writer Craig Shaw Gardner (A Difficulty with Dwarves, An Excess of Enchantents, etc.); in “Casualty of War,” Peter Bloch-Hansen talks with Richard Chaves about his honorable discharge from War of the Worlds; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman complete their episode guide to Blake’s 7 (the guide ends the same way the series ended: “A stunned Avon kills Blake, a real Federation officer is revealed, troops charge in, shots ring out and, of the Scorpio crew, only Avon is left standing. Encircled by black uniformed guards, Avon raises his gun, smiles eerily, and ...”); in the fifth installment of his Who Framed Roger Rabbit special effects report, David Hutchison reveals some of the scenes that did not make it into the final film; Kerry O’Quinn’s Bridge column recounts his visit to the Toronto Ad Astra 9 convention, where he was hearing very bad things about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Kim Howard Johnson talks to Terry Jones about The Saga of Erik the Viking; speaking of Python, David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column chats with Kim Howard Johnson about his new book, The First 200 Years of Monty Python. Read it for the George Harrison note.
“An actor prays for a kind of diplomatic immunity from outside prosecution: a director saying, ‘I want it to be this way. I don’t want you doing that.’ I want benign neglect. Ivan Reitman is a secure enough man that he let me do just about everything I wanted to, with one exception. I wanted to have a kind of an old Beatles wig and jeg-black hair, as if to say the ’60s had just now reached Carpathia, that it had taken a while, it had gone from village to village, and it was just now coming into fashion in this remote mountain area. They receive their culture like messages in a bottle. It looked like the wig was a go, and then, I’lll never know if it was a fellow cast member or what, it was cut. It was the lamest of reasons, which is why I suspect it was for another reason. Someone said, ‘Oh, everyone in this picture already has dark hair.”
–Peter MacNicol, actor, interviewed by Jami Bernard: “Who? Me a Villain?”
To see more issues, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the permanent home of The Starlog Project.
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