Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #163, February 1991: Harry & the Hendersons

Does anyone remember the short-lived TV series Harry & the Hendersons? Did you know that Scott Baio was one of the directors of this show’s episodes? Yes? No?

Doesn’t matter. The syndicated series, which was based on a 1987 movie of the same name starring John Lithgow, lasted 72 episodes before being shown the door. Whether you liked or disliked this show, it must still cause you alarm that ALF lasted a entire season longer than Harry & the Hendersons. Just pointing that out.

This issue 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 171,137 (up from the previous year's 160,739, continuing a slow multi-year increase), including the number of paid subscriptions of 9,567 (also up, from 8,978 last year).

Starlog #163
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.50

Correct me if I'm wrong: Technically, Kevin Peter Hall has a first-and-only record-setting achievement this month. As the actor-in-the-monster-suit for both Harry & the Hendersons and the Predator movie, he appears twice on this cover, as different characters. (Note the Predator's pretty face in the upper right-hand corner of the cover. No, not the left; Gates McFadden was in fact played by Gates McFadden.)

The rundown: Kevin Peter Hall, who for a while was the go-to guy for tall-creature acting, is featured on the cover in his harry Harry (sans Hendersons) guise; and a blast from the past – E.T. – is on the contents page; the Communications section is kicked off with a long letter urging science-fiction fans to take environmentalism seriously, while other readers show how seriously they take Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lost in Space, and even android definitions, while Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile features King Kong; and David McDonnell’s Medialog column recounts the many failed efforts to resurrect Alien Nation.

Kyle Counts interviews Lost in Space star Bill Mumy, who discusses that series as well as his efforts to create a reunion show; David Hutchison’s Videolog column notes the releases of Total Recall, Back to the Future Part III, and other genre titles; Duane S. Arnott contributes his first article to Starlog, an interview with actor Robert Brown, who portrayed Lazarus in the original Star Trek episode “The Alternative Factor”; Desire Gonzales talks with actor Ritch Brinkley, whose role as Beauty & the Beast’s William the Cook was a bit of a misnomer, because “you never saw me cook so much as a piece of bread” (he also discusses his role as Carl the cameraman on Murphy Brown); T.W. Knowles II contributes a Q&A with novelist Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, who uses themes in her books from her time as a nurse in the Vietnam War; and Ian Spelling checks in with actress Gates McFadden, who discusses returning to Star Trek: The Next Generation (and who appears to be as clueless to her exit-and-return as is the audience).

The Fan Network pages include Patrick Daniel O’Neill’s report on the BBC’s attempt to recover lost video of Doctor Who episodes, plus Lia Pelosi’s directory of Doctor Who fan clubs; Marc Shapiro interviews “The Man in the Monster Suits,” Kevin Peter Hall, who talks about Harry & the Hendersons and Predator 2; Jean Airey talks with director and producer Vere Lorrimer about his efforts to continue and then kill Blake’s 7; Industrial Light & Magic effects supervisor Dennis Muren talks to John Stanley about creating special effects for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Abyss, and others; in part two of Steve Swires’ interview with director Val Guest, the 79-year-old Guest talks about working with Woody Allen, among others; Dan Yakir speaks with director Adrian Lyne about Jacob’s Ladder; Kerry O’Quinn’s From the Bridge column sort-of reviews Michael Crichton’s book Travels; and in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell lists the winners of a number of recent give-away contests.
“William Shatner is a sweetheart. He loves to laugh. Not the stiff, forced Nimoy guffaw, but a man who sees the odd part of life. Humor is his friend. He seems to be poking fun at himself more than others. A very likable fellow. As the intellectual type, Leonard Nimoy was somewhat removed, much like his acting, although a decent man of conscience.”
–Robert Brown, actor, interviewed by Duane S. Arnott: “Lazarus Rises Again”
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