Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #50, September 1981: It's Boba Fett Time

Putting Boba Fett on the cover of the magazine was probably a genius move. I wasn't aware until this issue came along that Fett -- who was, after all, a secondary character in The Empire Strikes Back -- had a fan base. But I bet his fan base grew even bigger because of this issue of Starlog. I don't know individual sales figures for issues of Starlog, but I'd be surprised if this issue didn't sell well, both on the newsstand and in back issue sales for years to come. In ancillary Starlog news this month, volume two of The Best of Starlog is released. But, hey, if you've been reading my Starlog Project all this time, then you already know everything that's reprinted in that special edition. In the staffbox, we see that Starlog has finally hired a circulation director, Richard Browne.

Starlog #50
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.50

My "Year of Empire" slogan was supposed to have ended an issue or two ago, but this issue of Starlog wouldn't have existed if it weren't for the Star Wars sequel. We get interviews with the movie's screenwriter, creator/producer, and one of its breakout actors.

The rundown: Kerry O'Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to give feedback on two very different movies: a re-release of Fantasia (positive) and Ralph Bakshi's new American Pop (negative); letters in the Communications pages praise Harrison Ford, rate Outland and Raiders of the Lost Ark, cast more light on actor Wilfred Hyde-White (from letter-writer and producer Richard Gordon -- by the way, brother to Fangoria columnist Alex Gordon), congratulate columnist David Gerrold, and more; Log Entries short news items include a sneak peek at the Andy Kaufman- and Bernadette Peters-starring Heartbeeps, first word on Looker, preview of The Powers of David Star (soon to be renamed The Powers of Matthew Star), report on the Superman II premiere, news of An American Werewolf in London, the Starlog staff visits the new Manhattan SF bookstore Forbidden Planet, and more.

Alan Brender pens the cover story, an interview with Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch, who describes the before/during/after of appearing in The Empire Strikes Back; David Gerrold's Rumblings column has a debate with his own mind about the ways some people make use of their membership in the world of science-fiction fandom; Robert Greenberger describes "The Heavy Metal Story, or The Trials & Tribulations of Bringing Printed Fantasies to Life on Screen" (including a sidebar discussing the music in the film); in her Fan Scene column, Bjo Trimble gives tips for appearing in a science-fiction convention's masquerade contest; James H. Burns interviews Lawrence Kasden about his two recent screenplays, for The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, in part one of a two-part interview; David Hirsch's In Syndication column recounts Hirsch's involvement in ITC Entertainment's Super Space Theatre packaging of telefilms; David Hutchison interviews Steven Spielberg about making Raiders of the Lost Ark; Andrew Mayfair covers a Sean Connery press conference where the actor talks about his work in Outland (and incurs the criticism of Harlan Ellison, as we'll see in a couple issues); David Hirsch recounts the Six Doctors Who; the final chapter of Kerry O'Quinn's interview trilogy with George Lucas is entitled, "The Revenge of the Box Office"; Robert Greenberger interviews actor Ray Walston, who discusses Mind Warp, Popeye, My Favorite Martian, and The Incredible Hulk; part three of Starlog's Fifth Anniversary Contest requires contestants to write a movie scene that could be used for a computer game; and Howard Zimmerman wraps it all up with a Lastword column roundup of recent movies (he liked Outland and Raiders of the Lost Ark).
"Question: Did you have trouble with the banality of the dialogue?
Sean Connery: No, I don't think it was that banal. But ... how banal?
Q: It seemed that every line was a cliche.
SC: But -- if you really think that, then ... how much do you get paid?
Q: A lot.
SC: No, how much?
Q: I don't think that's a fair question in front of my colleagues.
SC: All right, I see. If you think that's banal, then you obviously presume you can write better so why don't you write the screenplays and you can make a fortune.
Q: Yes, that's right.
SC: Have you tried to write one?
Q: Yes.
SC: Have you sold any?
Q: There's one that someone is interested in.
SC: One? Well, I hope they don't think it's too banal, otherwise you might be in trouble."
--Journalist and Sean Connery question-and-answer during press conference, by Andrew Mayfair: "Sean Connery Meets the Press"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or see the Starlog Project's permanent home.

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