Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Young and Younger – The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: The Starlog Project, Starlog #183, October 1992

George Lucas’ The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles has to rank up there as one of the most ambitious TV series in American history. It was not only an expensive series, but it was kind of two series in one: There were the episodes featuring Sean Patrick Flanery as the young-adult Indy Jones, and then there were the episodes featuring the younger young Indy, played by Corey Carrier. Then there was the fact that it was a televised continuation of a wildly popular movie series starring some of the biggest names in filmdom, so there was no chance that it would be a low-profile sleeper hit. It either had to hit big or be considered a failure.

Running for three seasons and fewer than 30 episodes, the show was a mix of adventure, entertainment, and education, with each episode seeing one of the young future Dr. Jones dropped into a historical plot in the early 20th century. Lucas, who also founded the non-profit George Lucas Educational Foundation, clearly wanted to create something that was more than just a punch-em-up action series, and I think he succeeded. The show deserved to have a longer life than it had, but Lucas and his team still created something that was of rare quality, and they can be proud of that.

Starlog #183
84 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.95

I occasionally note some classified ads in these Starlog writeups, because they are kind of time capsules of the era. Before the internet, classified ads were how fans found each other, how small companies reached customers, how the occasional charlatan fooled customers. Here are two that caught my eye in this issue: “SCI-FI/FANT/HORROR STORE FOR SALE Books, games, gifts, comics. Great location in Buffalo. Profitable. Priced right …” Or how about: “GO BEYOND SCIENCE FICTION! TIME TRAVEL IS REAL. Read ‘The Montauk Project,’ a first hand account of electromagnetic bending of time. Find out what happened after the Philadelphia Experiment! Send SASE for free info or $15.95 + $3.00 S/H to …”

The rundown: Young Indiana Jones star Corey Carrier is interviewed inside this issue, and he does appear on the cover, but his co-star Sean Patrick Flanery – who’s not interviewed inside – gets the bigger treatment on the cover; meanwhile, it’s a Michelle Pfeiffer Ladyhawke photo featured on the contents page. In David McDonnell’s Medialog column, the then-new Sci Fi Channel announces its programming for its launch that autumn – the initial event will be something called Star Wars. You’ve heard of it? And in his Gamelog column, managing editor Michael McAvennie reviews some Simpsons games, plus a Star Wars game called The Abduction, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon from GURPS, and more.

In the Communications reader’s-letters section, people vent about the Alien3 movie (such as this opening sentence: “Never have I seen a more thoroughly offensive motion picture than Alien3.” Can’t really go anywhere from there, can you?), plus Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile features the Mole People; the Fan Network pages include the convention listings and Lia Pelosi’s directory of fan clubs and publications; David Hutchison’s Videolog announces a 60th-anniversary release of the original King Kong, among other new tapes; Booklog reviews Steel Beach, Wildfire, Solo, Chanur’s Legacy, Reaper Man (probably one of the few negative reviews Terry Pratchett’s ever received for a Discworld novel), The Memory of Earth: Homecoming, In the Wrong Hands, Lost Futures, and Songsmith; and Kerry O’Quinn tells us about a fan’s visit to Space Camp (including a surprise appearance by former astronaut and then-Senator John Glenn), in his From the Bridge column.

T.W. Knowles interviews author Chad Oliver (The Winds of Time, Shadows in the Sun, Mists of Dawn, etc.); li’l 12-year-old Corey Carrier, one of the stars of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, is interviewed by Ian Spelling, and he’s certainly not lacking for ambition (Carrier tells Spelling: “I would like to [make a career as an actor], yeah, but maybe I’ll even be a producer or possibly a director. I would like to do something in the business, definitely, because that’s where the money is.” Out of the mouths of babes!); and in the latest Batman Returns coverage, Marc Shapiro interviews Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer, while Ian Spelling talks with Christopher Walken.

Bradley H. Sinor interviews author Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates, Dinner at Deviant’s Palace, etc.); Kyle Counts talks to veteran actor (and symphony conductor!) David Ogden Stiers, who guest-starred in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and who is sick of hearing about M*A*S*H; Steve Swires contributes a profile of filmmaker Roy Ward Baker, who discusses the classic Brit-flick Five Million Years to Earth and other films; in the conclusion of his three-part series of articles looking at the writers of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Mark Phillips is told, “I can’t believe we would write something that bad, but it is possible”; and in his Liner Notes column, David McDonnell talks about a rare vacation from work.
“As to whether he’s most recognized for his role on M*A*S*H, Stiers issues a deadpan, ‘Unfortunately, yes,’ Why unfortunately? ‘Because it’s over, and it won't go away. I’m not ashamed of having done it; my God, some very good work got done on it, and [the show provided] some of the best working friendships I think I’ll ever enjoy. But it continues to be the first thing people talk about when they meet me. When I finish conducting a concert, it’s as though I haven’t knocked myself out for two hours, trying to get to people on some other level. They’ll still call me by the character name, or refer to a plot I don’t remember. It’s very defeating sometimes. I would love to declare a moratorium on those reruns.”
–David Ogden Stiers, actor, interviewed by Kyle Counts: “Character Music”
For more, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent site.
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