Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SILENT RUNNING (1972) Lobby Cards

"Amazing companions on an incredible adventure..."

Here's a terrific set of promotional lobby cards for Douglas Trumbull's 1972 sci-fi parable, Silent Running, featuring an impressive selection of lesser-seen stills from the film, including some very nice effects shots that showcase the exquisite detailing on the Valley Forge spaceship. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) Newspaper Ad

This original newspaper ad "slick" for 20th Century Fox's other big sci-fi release of 1977, Damnation Alley, certainly promises a lot. "More than a movie," even. Of course, even if it hadn't come out the same year as Star Wars, I can't imagine it would have been much better received by audiences and critics than it was. As impressive as the "Landmaster" vehicle was, the overall production was just shoddy - even for the pre-Lucas 70s.

Sure, it has a talented cast, and even a premise with a certain amount of potential, but the only way it can truly be enjoyed today (and even in '77) is as "camp"... and I say that as a guy who is notoriously forgiving when it comes to the era's sci-fi efforts (and yes, who owns the movie on Blu-ray).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Star Trek (with a weird, hybrid U.S.S. Enterprise), Laserblast (represented by David Allen's stop-motion aliens) and the Universal sci-fi classic, This Island Earth, collide in this cool magazine poster from the late 1970s. I'm sure one of you Star Kids out there can identify where this poster originally appeared and the artist who painted it... because I have no idea!

The artist's signature is indecipherable, unfortunately, and the style isn't instantly familiar.

If I had to guess as to its origins, I'd say it looks like something from the UK's Starburst or maybe the short-lived Science Fantasy Film Classics, or maybe Fantastic Films.

UPDATED: I knew I could count on you folks! Star Kids Martin Kennedy and Glen Mullaly have both identified it as being the work of John Allison. It appeared in Science Fantasy Film Classics #3 from the Summer of '78 (the one issue I didn't have!). Looks like my guess wasn't that far off. Thanks, guys!

Friday, September 18, 2015


From the Miami Herald's TV section for the week of August 6-12, 1978, here's a fairly in-depth interview with the original Battlestar Galactica's art director Jack Chilberg, discussing the forthcoming space epic's impressive sets and production design. Hell, even today, the Galactica's bridge is still one of the most impressive sets from any science fiction series, with its vast, multi-leveled size and functioning details.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Batgirl "Equal Pay" PSA (1973)

I was deeply saddened to read of the passing of actress/dancer Yvonne Craig earlier this week. The delightful Ms. Craig was the Space: 1970 "Space Babe" in June of 2011, earning her place in that august assembly for her portrayal of mad Orion slave girl Marta in the Star Trek episode, "Whom Gods Destroy." But she was best known as the caped and cowled Batgirl on the 1966 television incarnation of Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

While Batman was definitely a 1960s show, and beyond the purview of this blog, I'm slipping this video in on a technicality. In 1973, she and Burt Ward reprised their roles as Gotham City defenders for a Public Service Announcement regarding the Equal Pay Act. Adam West declined to participate, so Dick Gautier (who played the robot "Hymie" on Get Smart), donned the cape and mimicked West's trademark deadpan delivery. The PSA aired well into the decade, and I remember seeing it once as a kid, late at night, and wondering why Batman seemed different.

Anyway, it's a nice showcase for Craig's charm - I love her graceful little spin toward the ticking time bomb. She's already missed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) TV Guide Ad

It took nearly a decade for Stanley Kubrick's mind-blowing 2001: A Space Odyssey to air on U.S. network television, finally making its broadcast premiere on February 13th, 1977, on NBC's "Big Event." I remember it clearly, because I begged my folks to let me stay up and watch it (spaceships), but they only agreed to let me watch until my regular bedtime, as I had school the next day. On the east coast, it started at 8 PM, and my bedtime was nine (hey, I was only twelve!).

So... I only got to see the whole "dawn of man" sequence and maybe the PanAm shuttle docking with the space station before being hustled off to bed.

Now, at the tender age of twelve, I probably would have struggled mightily with the deliberate pace of the film and lack of action, but I was already a spaceship special effects junkie (thanks to Star Trek and Space: 1999), and was deeply disappointed that I didn't get to see more of the actual "space odyssey."

I didn't actually see the entire movie until I was at art school in '83 or '84, watching it in pan & scan on my tiny portable B&W television set. I didn't see it widescreen until it came out on DVD.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rainier Beer "Fresh Gordon" TV Spot (1978)

This 1978 commercial for Rainier Beer manages to "homage" 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars (dig that oh-so-close background music in the cantina) and Flash Gordon... and stars the original Flash, Buster Crabbe, as "Fresh Gordon."

Only in the 1970s.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Bionic Dog!

When The Bionic Woman switched networks in its third year from ABC to NBC, it debuted with the surprisingly affecting tail - I mean, "tale" - of cyborg canine Maximillian, Dr. Rudy Wells' (Martin E. Brooks) first bionic test subject. The million-dollar dog (Max-a-million, get it?) was experiencing psychological difficulty adjusting to his bionic prosthesis, and only Jaimie Sommers' patience and compassion could save him from being put down by an uncharacteristically cold Dr. Wells.

While that week's TV Guide ad makes the episode look like kid-friendly fun and games with a super-powered pooch, the episode is surprisingly emotional, due, in large part, to Lindsay Wagner's usual fine, empathic acting. I really like this one, and was pleased by the addition of Max to the bionic brigade.

(Not coincidentally, my dog is named Max, too.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

STAR TREK Phaser Battle commercial

Here's a vintage commercial for Mego's Star Trek Phaser Battle electronic game, which the narrator assures us is "the most exciting game ever!" I never had this, but it looks, well, amazing.

Of course, from what I've read online, it appears that it was very difficult to play, took six (!) "D" batteries, and was not very well constructed, breaking easily. It also was very expensive, selling for around $70 in 1976 dollars! (According to an online inflation calculator, that would come to nearly $300 today!)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Very Bionic Birthday

Here's wishing a very fine 76th birthday (born April 1939) to the great Lee Majors, the original Six Million Dollar Man, and hero to millions of 70s Star Kids.


As with most popular television series of the Seventies, ABC's The Six Million Dollar Man was popular in the United Kingdom, and received the "annual" treatment for young viewers. There were at least four of these hardcover collections of fiction, games, articles and comic strips, published from 1977 through 1980. (If anyone know of others, please send scans - or if you have a better scan of the 1980 Annual, I'd like to replace the only one I was able to find online).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Obit: Leonard Nimoy R.I.P.

"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human."

Actor Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role of half human-half Vulcan Science Officer Spock on the original Star Trek television series, has passed away at age 83, due to end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Nimoy reprised the role of Spock in the 1973 animated Trek series, eight feature films, beginning with 1979's Star Ttrek - The Motion Picture, and a couple of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1991. (Not to mention countless cameos, videos and even some games.)  In 1973, he starred in the TV movie/pilot Baffled as a race car driver with ESP powers, and in '78 as Dr. David Kibner in Phillip Kaufman's remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. From 1977 to 1982, he was the host of the syndicated documentary series, In Search Of....

Obviously, I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Leonard Nimoy. Star Trek is not only my favorite television series of all time, but it has had a huge impact in how I think and perceive the world around me. The character of Spock, as delineated by the talented Mr. Nimoy, represented rationality and scientific curiosity. Logic - tempered with the best qualities of humanity. Loyalty... and sly, sharp wit. Qualities that I aspire to (and, admittedly, rarely achieve).

In the 1990s, I worked tangentially with Mr. Nimoy as the scripter of the comic book series Leonard Nimoy's Primortals. My direct interactions with the man were few - we spoke on the phone a couple of times and only met face-to-face on one occasion - but I have in my files a memo from him praising my writing on the series. Rarely have I been so honored by a compliment.

A fine actor, writer and artist, his legacy will live long... and prosper.