Monday, June 21, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #126, January 1988: Star Trek – How Believable?

Starlog’s magaging editor, Carr D’Angelo, is headed West, so this issue he says farewell. In his good-bye editorial, he notes the passing of a generation of favorite movie houses in New York. This is, after all, the late 1980s, when grand old movie palaces across the country were still being chopped into smaller boxes, making the movie-going experience ... less of an experience and more like seeing a film in your friend’s rec room.

My time in Manhattan was 12 years later, and I found many places to see movies. Some were classic and palace-like, others were crummy little shoeboxes. Still others were new, apparently built in the 1990s, eschewing the boxy multiplex looks for an update on the look of the large theaters of the past (including one on the Upper East Side where I finally escaped from my apartment three days after 9/11 because I was going crazy watching CNN, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this large theater basically tucked away inside an apartment building). I don’t know how lifelong New Yorkers felt about the new breed of cinemas, but I found quite a few places to catch any film I wanted to see. And that, to me, is a great thing about Manhattan: Unlike anywhere else in the United States, Manhattan hosts every film, and it hosts it first (and sometimes is the only domestic place besides Los Angeles for a film to unspool).

I’ll leave it to a writer more talented than I am to decide whether it’s overkill anyway to sit in a grand old plush movie palace ... and watch Superman IV.

Starlog #126
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50

This month we see the first ad for Starlog’s official licensed magazine for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes, I still remember seeing it on the magazine rack for the first time at the grocery store in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, I bought it.

Classified ad of the month: “STAR TREK: HOW BELIEVABLE? $10; Golding’s Star Trek Star Maps $7.50 ...”

The rundown: Three stars of Star Trek: The Next Generation are on the cover, albeit they’re posing with that robotic, emotionless look that exemplified the first season’s initial episodes, before the producers realized people liked seeing their heroes have some blood in their veins. In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O’Quinn goes to church and he likes it – at least the building; Communications letters include Peter Bloch-Hansen (I assume that’s the same Peter Bloch-Hansen who would one day be a regular contributor to the magazine’s pages) commenting on the recent article about Journey to the Center of the Earth, while another Starlog writer – novelist Lawrence Watt-Evans – responds to Michael Wolff’s recent article on “How the Earth Won the War of the Worlds,” plus lots of letters on Star Trek, one on ALF, and more; David McDonnell’s Medialog roundup of genre news tells us, among other things, that Kenneth Johnson will direct Short Circuit II.

Beverly M. Payton talks with star Robert Hays and producer James Hirsch about the future – or lack thereof – for their canceled series Starman; Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman profile actress Jan Chappell about her role in Blake’s 7; in the Fan Network pages, Eddie Bergana reports on opposition to CBS’ plans for airing an edited-for-television version of Ladyhawke, Vicki Hessel Werkley covers fan efforts to revive Starman, Mike Glyer continues his directory to SF and fantasy fan clubs, and more; K.M. Drennan interviews actor Bill Paxton about Aliens and Near Dark; Adam Pirani talks with writer J.G. Ballard, who covers everything from Empire of the Sun (Steven Spielberg’s film of his World War II experiences) to The Drowned World and more; Juanita Elefante-Gordon talks with actor Patrick Macnee about Avengers (“And The New Avengers was a complete failure,” he tells her); Edward Gross profiles Star Trek episode director Joseph Pevney (“Arena,” “The Immunity Syndrome,” and others).

Kim Howard Johnson interviews Running Man star Arnold Schwarzenegger; Robin J. Schwartz talks with author Lynn Abbey (The Guardians, Unicorn & Dragon); Marc Shapiro interviews Star Trek: The Next Generation actress Marina Sirtis (“I’m not the new Spock. ... She is a completely new character.”); Dan Scapperotti interviews actress Maureen O’Sullivan about her days in Tarzan films, working with Groucho Marx and Woody Allen (no, not at the same time), and more; David Hutchison’s Videolog, for some reason, focuses on Ape movies; actor Michael Praed (Robin of Sherwood, Nightflyer) is interviewed by Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman; Edward Gross previews TV’s Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman; in a two-page Tribute section of obituaries, Chris Steinbrunner does the honor for writer John Dann MacDonald, Lee Goldberg pens Richard Marqand’s obit, and Patrick Daniel O’Neill says good-bye to Robert Preston and James Tiptree Jr. (aka Alice Sheldon); and exiting managing editor Carr D’Angelo takes over the Liner Notes column this month to mourn the passing of Gotham’s cinema experience and to say so long and thanks for all the fish. (The staffbox in this issue also lists D'Angelo as co-editor with David McDonnell, a tribute to the departing staffer.)
“I liked the whole idea of the modern gladiator, the government being in control of the Network and fixing the contest, and the show being organized to prevent people from rioting and protesting by keeping them glued to the TV set. Many things exist in reality, but the story takes it beyond all of that.”
–Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor, interviewed by Kim Howard Johnson: “Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Very Model of a Modern Movie Gladiator”
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.

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