Friday, August 27, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #164, March 1991: Dan Aykroyd's Nothing But Trouble

Valkenvania, the Dan Aykroyd/Demi Moore/Chevy Chase fantasy comedy, has been renamed Nothing But Trouble and relaunched on the cover of this issue of Starlog. It’s not exactly the most pleasant cast of characters on the cover; you know it’s an odd collection when Edward Scissorhands (upper left corner) is the most normal “person” on your cover. But that’s genre publishing!

BTW, in an interview with the movie’s director, Aykroyd, inside this issue, the Saturday Night Live alum recalls giving the script to Warner Brothers. “They said, ‘Fine, we want to make this movie with you and John Candy.’ I said, ‘Fine. I want to play the judge and the banker.’ They said, ‘How about Chevy Chase as the banker?’ I said, ‘Great!’ He said ‘Great!' Everybody said, ‘Great!’ Then, we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘OK, who’s going to direct?’ And I thought to myself, ‘If I say I don't have a director at this point, it’s going to take months to find somebody,’ so I just blurted out, ‘I’ll do it.’”

Starlog #164
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.50

Reading through this issue, one notes that a number of Starlog family publications are chugging along. The licensed magazine Star Trek: The Next Generation is working on its fourth season, All-Star Action Heroes has its third edition, as does Comics Scene Spectacular (there would soon be a Starlog Spectacular and a Fangoria Horror Spectacular), etc. Of note (and editor David McDonnell does note it in his editorial) is the release of the 100th issue of Fangoria, the sister magazine that almost didn’t survive. It had a rough time (legally and in terms of sales) getting out of the gates in 1979, until the editors went with their guts and made it a full-fledged horror magazine and not a fantasy-horror-science-fiction hybrid. It was reportedly struggling again around issue #50, after both editors (“Uncle Bob” Martin and David Everitt) left and sales were soft, so Starlog editor David McDonnell took over editing chores (while he edited Starlog and numerous other titles; I really don’t know how he did it) for a little more than a year while he groomed future Fango editor Tony Timpone, who would go on to helm Fangoria for a quarter century – until early 2010, in fact.

All of that’s a long-winded way of saying that Fangoria reaching its 100th issue is a big deal. And it celebrates with a very good, special 100-page issue. As I write this (in 2010), Fangoria is nearing its 300th issue. It never would have gotten there if Starlog’s editor hadn’t stepped in and supported it when it was in danger of dying.

The rundown: Dan Aykroyd and John Daveikis are in fat-baby suits on the cover, while Jack Rickard’s illustration of the Creature from the Black Lagoon is on the contents page. In the Communications section, readers write about Beauty & the Beast, Land of the Giants, and Star Trek, plus Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile features the Creature from the Black Lagoon; and David McDonnell’s Medialog reports on a whole slew of sequels, including a planned sequel to The Punisher before the first movie has even been released.

Interplanetary correspondent Michael Wolff is back with another exploration of a popular genre concept, this time looking at Frankenstein throughout the years (as illustrated by George Kochell); Edward Gross hears Kenneth Johnson’s unrealized plans for the continuing adventures of Alien Nation; the Fan Network pages feature Lia Pelosi’s fan club directory and a convention calendar; David Hutchison reports the release of 42 episodes of Space: 1999, in his Videolog column; Tom Weaver interviews director Robert Day about his Tarzan films (in an article that is sadly undercut by a green patterned background on the pages that is printed too dark, making the article nearly unreadable); Dan Yakir talks with director Tim Burton about Edward Scissorhands; and Marc Shapiro interviews actor/director Dan Aykroyd about his new film Nothing But Trouble.

Pat Janiewicz talks with writer Jerome Bixby about Fantastic Voyage, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Star Trek’s “Mirror, Mirror” episode, and more; Tom Weaver and Michael Brunas interview actor Richard Denning (Unknown Island, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Day the World Ended, and more); Weaver solos with an interview of 1950s star John Agar, who talks about Tarantula!, Revenge of the Creature, and other films (with a sidebar on The Creature Walks Among Us); Kyle Counts checks in with director W.D. Richter, who wowed Starlog’s editors with The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and is back with Late for Dinner, a far less bizarre affair; in his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn discusses Aggiecon; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column notes Fangoria’s 100th issue and lists some more contest winners.
“[When I was a kid] there was this kid next door who we convinced that an alien spaceship had crashed in the park. We had set up a bunch of ruins of a ship and told him it was inhabited by these invisible aliens, so we put footprints – it was very elaborate. I think we also used the same poor kid when we staged a fake fight out in the front lawn. I was playing a masked killer or something, and I beat up my brother and stabbed him in front of this kid, and he screamed and his mother came out and started screaming and called the police. The kid also bought it when I took my clothes off and threw them into the pool and we said that they had acid in the pool to clean it and someone fell in and disintegrated. Oh God! We would go to any length to make this work.”
–Tim Burton, filmmaker, interviewed by Dan Yakir, “Director’s Cut”
To see more issues, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit The Starlog Project’s permanent home.
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