Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #151, February 1990: They Kill Security Officers, Don’t They?

The space-alien buddy cop story Alien Nation only lasted one year, 22 episodes, on FOX TV in 1989-90. But while it existed, it got this cover story boost from Starlog. Hey, it was this or yet another Back to the Future II cover.

This issue Starlog publishes its mandated annual postal statement of ownership and circulation. The total paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 160,739 (up a bit from the previous year's 156,109 ), including the number of paid subscriptions of 8,978 (down just a smidgen from 8,993 last year).

Starlog #151
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

Intriguing and/or odd classified ad of the month: “PLANET OF LOVE embroidered emblems of performance art event. Send SASE ...”

Photo caption of the month: “Just before the scene with the knife, Vincent [Price] was tickling me and I was laughing, and I couldn’t stop laughing after that,” recalls Kovack of her Diary of a Madman experience.

Or wait, here’s a rather good quip from Denise Crosby in a photo caption: “If someone seriously offered me a ticket to the Moon, ... I would have to go – because there would probably be a Star Trek convention there.”

And now, the rundown: Gary Graham and Eric Pierpoint are the Alien Nation cover boys this month; meanwhile, veteran actor James Coburn takes the featured spot on the contents page. Communications letters include thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (including one reader from Singapore who writes, “ suddenly struck me that this could well be the last time Harrison Ford will ever be featured on the cover of your magazine, since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the last in the series...” ah, wait until next issue, my friend), plus a number of readers comment on various aspects of Trek, including one who fears that Deanna Troi’s character might be killed off; and there’s going to be a Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, based on the syndicated TV series, according to David McDonnell’s Medialog roundup of genre news.

Marc Shapiro profiles TV’s Alien Nation star Gary Graham (he plays Matthew Sikes); in some non-Alien Nation alien news, Peter Bloch-Hansen interviews actor Denis Forest, who plays a Morthren on War of the Worlds, another short-lived SF TV series; Kyle Counts interviews Land of the Giants star Gary Conway, who says, “Our show was much more visual. Star Trek tended to be very corny. It was filmed on static sets, and the FX weren’t particularly good. And the acting – talk about wooden.”; Marc Shapiro checks in with Lt. Uhura herself, Ms. Nichelle Nichols, who talks about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and praises director William Shatner; hey, Klaatu! Laura Long interviews Billy Gray, who portrayed 13-year-old Bobby Bensen in the 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still; the Videolog section includes an unbylined look at the science-fiction TV pilots that didn’t make it to series, plus David Hutchison’s short report on the latest video releases, such as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Abbie Bernstein makes her first appearance in Starlog’s page, though today (2010) she’s a familiar name to readers of Fangoria, and here she talks with Robin of Sherwood creator Richard Carpenter; the Fan Network pages include Lia Pelosi’s directory of fan clubs and publications, while Robert Greenberger answers readers’ questions (such as, “Are there any soundtrack albums available for any Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan movies?”); March Shapiro talks with Back to the Future II star Michael J. Fox; in part two of Tom Waver and Michael Bruas’ interview with Richard Matheson, the legendary writer rates his Twilight Zone episodes; David McDonnell chats with actress Denise Crosby, who has bounced up since leaving Star Trek: The Next Generation, having landed a starring role in Pet Sematary; and there’s more Tom Weaver, who also provides a Q&A with Nancy Kovack, actress in such films as Jason and the Argonauts, Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, and others; Lowell Goldman profiles actor James Coburn; in an abridged edition of Kerry O’Quinn’s Bridge column, the former publisher goes flying; in part two of Steve Swires’ talk with Ray Harryhausen’s filmmaking partner Charles H. Schneer, the producer explains how Jack Lemmon almost led The 3 Worlds of Gulliver; in a two-page Tribute section, Edward Gross remembers the late Marc Daniels and Gerd Oswald, Mike Clark provides the obituary for Lost in Space star Guy Williams, and Anthony Timpone says good-bye to Merritt Butrick, who died of AIDS at the age of 29; and editor David McDonnell’s Liner Notes features all of his reasons to buy various Starlog Group publications.
“Identified as a Communist before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951, the South African-born [director Cy] Endfield was blacklisted in Hollywood and was forced to work anonymously or pseudonymously in England, until [Charles] Schneer became the first American producer to offer him major studio employment under his own name. ‘Other American producers wouldn’t hire Cy, ... I knew he had been blacklisted, but Columbia didn’t object and I certainly didn’t. Frankly, I’m not interested in a person’s political or private life. All I care about is whether or not he knows his job. I was oblivious to everything else. There wasn’t any social message in the movie, so Endfield wasn’t going to be able to convert anybody.”
–Steve Swires, writer, “Maestro of the Magicks”
To see more issues, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the permanent home of The Starlog Project.

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