Thursday, May 31, 2012

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978) TV Guide Art by Byrd

Look what I found! It's a scan of the original art for the September 16, 1978 edition of TV Guide magazine, painted by David Edward Byrd." I've made fun of this cover before for the artist's transparent attempt to pass off 2001: A Space Odyssey's iconic Discovery spacecraft as the mighty Colonial Battlestar Galactica -- but looking at it again, it's actually a pretty nifty painting (although the colors on this scan do differ considerably from those on the published cover).

And here's the art as it appeared on the actual magazine cover. This really brings back memories, and illustrates just what a big event Battlestar Galactica was for 70's network television.....

ADDENDUM: Thanks to Space: 1970 reader/Galactica blogger "aficionadofan," here's a link to the painting on artist David Byrd's own site.

STARSHIP INVASIONS (1977) International Theatrical Posters

Starship Invasions is another Space: 1970 oddball favorite - a Canadian tax shelter sci-fi mash-up of Star Wars space opera and Close Encounters UFOlogy from director Ed Hunt that has to be seen to be (dis)believed. That acknowledged, I absolutely ate it up when I saw it on TV as a fourteen year-old, and would still love for a cult DVD label to release it on disc. (It was released in the U.S. by Warner Brothers - I wonder if they still have the distribution rights? Maybe Warner Archive could dig it out of the vaults for a widescreen MOD release?)

Anyway, here are a couple of colorful movie posters for the flick from around the world - both of them more exciting and attractive than the bland, two-color U.S. one-sheet below.

ADDENDUM: Dammit. According to my contact at Warner Archive, the rights to the film no longer rest with Warners, so there's no chance of a disc - manufactured-on-demand or other wise - from the studio. Oh well. I know that there are illegal versions floating around the web, but I still hold out hope that an authorized edition will show up one of these days....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PLANET OF THE APES (1974) TV Tie-In Novels

I only recently became aware of these two Award Books novels based on the CBS Planet Of The Apes television series, written by George Alec Effinger. I am assuming that they were based on the scripts for the early episodes of the TV show.

As I said, I missed these when they were published and have never stumbled across them in my travels. Being a fan of Burke, Virdon and Galen's adventures, though, I'm definitely adding them to the ever-growing list of vintage paperbacks that I need to hunt down online whenever I've a few bucks to spare.

Captain's bLog: 0530.12

•  Once again, sorry that posting's been erratic over the last few months. I can't promise that I'll do better, but looking back over the blog history, it seems that I always slack off a bit in the Spring, only to rebound in the Summer with a flurry of activity. So, history's on my side. And I do have some cool stuff in the works. Specifically: a new Reader's Poll. A new "Fave Five." The long-promised DVD review of the Warner Archive edition of the 1975 sci-fi television pilot, Strange New World, the third and final installment of Warner Brothers' "PAX Trilogy." A look at the aborted Star Trek II television series from the point of view of this then-12-year old who was really disappointed when it didn't materialize. A review of the 1982  Antonio Margheriti genre mash-up, Yor, The Hunter From The Future, now available from Sony's manufactured-to-order DVD line. A Space Wars magazine cover gallery! Moonraker! Stay tuned, Star Kids!

I still haven't gotten my hands on the David McCallum Invisible Man DVD set, but it's high on my wish list. If anyone's picked it up already, I'd appreciate a report on the picture and sound quality. The company putting it out is unfamiliar to me, so I'm wary.

   Stats 'n Stuff: This site now has over 400 followers here on Blogger, and the Facebook Fan Page recently topped 900 "Likes." I genuinely appreciate the support! I also want to thank every person who has used the Amazon links on this site to make purchases of vintage sci-fi on DVD/Blu-ray (and the few who've made Paypal donations - if you'd like to contribute, there's a link in the right-hand sidebar).

  Shameless Self-Promotion: Anyone who enjoys my writing and reviews on this site should check out my DVD Late Show site, where I have been reviewing B-movies, cult films and genre television shows on DVD and Blu-ray disc since 2005. Among the over 700 reviews are plenty of Space: 1970-era favorites, like Battle Beyond The Stars, Damnation Alley, Starcrash, The Starlost, the Space: 1999 Blu-rays, and many more.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flight of the Valkyrie!

"Live fast, fight well and have a beautiful ending." The statuesque Sybil Danning - also known as St. Exmin of the Valkyrie in Roger Corman's 1980 space opera, Battle Beyond The Stars, celebrates her birthday today! Space: 1970 wishes the galactic goddess a very happy 60th!

A Space: 1970 favorite, the stunning Ms. Danning was our Space Babe for March, 2011.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Behind-The-Scenes Pix #18: UFO

SHADO Interceptors race across the surface of the Moon with the help of a special effects technician in Gerry Anderson's 1970 series, UFO. Still one of my favorite spaceship designs of the era - even if they only had one missile each!

THE BLACK HOLE (1979) Disney News Cover Art

Disney News was an official studio magazine that was published exclusively for members of the company's "Magic Kingdom Club" for many years, beginning in 1965. In the 90s it became Disney Magazine. This 1979 issue sports yet another piece of dynamic promotional art for the studio's outer space epic, The Black Hole. Cool stuff, huh?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

LOGAN'S RUN TV Series (1977) - DVD Review

Growing up in the Seventies as a sci-fi loving Star Kid, I eagerly embraced pretty much any television show or movie with a futuristic setting. In 1977, CBS debuted a weekly television series called Logan's Run, based on the 1976 MGM feature film of the same name, and I was there in front of the Zenith every week... well, for the few weeks the show ran, anyway.

In the 22nd Century, most of the surface of the Earth is barren wasteland thanks to a nuclear war a hundred years previously. Still, the human race survives - in a variety of isolated communities. One of these is the City of Domes, whose inhabitants live a life of perfect leisure and hedonistic pleasure... until they turn 30. Then, they're required to participate in the ritual of Carousel, resulting in a fiery death and the false promise of "Renewal" - i.e. reincarnation. Some citizens don't believe in Renewal, and instead of reporting to Carousel when their time is up, they run... and attempt to leave the City in search of a legendary place of safety and freedom that they call "Sanctuary."

To hunt and eliminate these "Runners," the city maintains a police force known as Sandmen. One of these Sandmen, Logan 5 (Gregory Harrison), is persuaded by a female Runner named Jessica (Heather Menzies) to turn his back on the system he has always served, and go on the run with her. In the world beyond the City, Logan & Jessica search for Sanctuary, all the while pursued by Logan's former best friend and partner, Francis (Randy Powell) and a cadre of other Sandmen. With the companionship of an android named Rem (Donald Moffat) they picked up along the way, the Runners encounter various menaces and strange societies as they search the outside world for fabled Sanctuary.

I hadn't seen the show since I was a kid, so I wondered how well it held up. As it turns out, I discovered that Logan's Run generally held up better than I expected. Overall, the stories were pretty good (with "Man Out Of Time," "Crypt," "The Innocent," and "Carousel" being my favorites), and actually a bit smarter than I remembered. In fact, out of the 14 episodes produced, there were only two that I thought were complete clunkers (one of which being the bonkers "haunted house" story, "Night Visitors"). Hell, even the obligatory Most Dangerous Game rip-off, :Capture," was enjoyable, thanks to the casting and the scenes of Logan and Francis working together. Star Trek vet D.C. Fontana was the Story Editor, and series writers included genre pros like David Gerrold, John Meredyth Lucas and Harlan Ellison.

Being a "family hour" show aimed primarily at kids, there's very little violence (Logan's Sandman sidearm now being equipped with a blue, paralyzing ray that it didn't have in the movie), but there's plenty of other kinds of action. Production values are generally pretty high, with a number of costumes, props and special effects shots recycled from the feature film and lots of location shooting around Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park (& Observatory), Vasquez Rocks and other over-familiar Southern California locations.

Gregory Harrison's Logan is suitably square-jawed and heroic, but is otherwise pretty bland. To be fair, this is due in large part to the writers, who usually give the best dialogue and scenes to Jessica and Rem. Menzies is cute as hell with her Farrah hair and super-short minidress, and plays her role well. The best of the regulars, though, is veteran character actor Moffat, who plays his android character with an appealing mix of slightly smug cybernetic superiority and affection for his companions. Guest stars include Christopher Stone (The Bionic Woman), Mariette Hartley (Genesis II, Star Trek), Mary Woronov, Nicholas Hammond (Spider-Man), Melody Anderson (Flash Gordon), William Smith, Gerald McRaney and James Olsen (Moon Zero Two) among other familiar faces.

The 3-disc DVD set from Warner Home video includes all 14 episodes of the series, including the double-length premiere, presented in their original 1.33:1 TV aspect ratio. Picture quality is frankly a bit disappointing - there is considerable print damage evident in may episodes, and an overall softness to the image. I know the show is 35 years old, but it would have been nice if Warners had spent a little money on cleaning up and remastering the transfers. Audio is a satisfactory if flat Dolby Digital Mono. There are no bonus features provided.

BUYLogan's Run: Complete Series

FLASH GORDON (1980) German One-Sheet

With a slightly different take on the promotional artwork used to advertise the film elsewhere, here's the German one-sheet for Mike Hodges' Flash Gordon. Although I applaud the prominent placement of Ornelia Muti's Princess Aura, I do wonder at the absences of both Ming the Merciless and Dale Arden on the poster....

Monday, May 14, 2012

BUCK ROGERS (1981) "The Satyr" Network Promo

There's a lot of fun packed into this 20-second 1981 NBC promo for the second season Buck Rogers In The 25th Century episode "The Satyr" - not the least of which is the delightfully goofy monster make-up.

In fine Universal Television tradition*, the script for the episode was recycled from a previous Universal series.  Actually, the TV story - which already owed a huge debt to the 1953 George Stevens-directed Western, Shane - was also re-used, again, on a subsequent adventure series from the cost-conscious studio.

On Battlestar Galactica a couple of years prior, it was known as "The Lost Warrior," and featured the heroic Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch), marooned on an isolated, human colony world and protecting a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the amnesiac Cylon "gunfighter" that killed her husband.

On Buck Rogers, the titular space explorer (as portrayed by Gil Gerard) is marooned on an isolated, human colony world and finds himself protecting a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the marauding, satyr-like alien creature that was once her husband.

And, a year or so later, on the 1982 ABC adventure series, Tales Of The Gold Monkey, the script would be dusted off again, as "The Lady And the Tiger;" this time so that South Seas aviator Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins of Star Trek- The Motion Picture) could get marooned on an isolated, tropical island and protect a farm-dwelling widow and her hero-worshiping young son from the man-eating tiger that killed her husband!

Ahhh.... classic television.... you gotta love it.

* The most notorious example of Universal's story recycling is when they took the script from the Knight Rider episode, "Good Day At White Rock" and re-used it the following season on The A-Team, where it was titled, "Black Day At Bad Rock!"  Another choice example is the re-use of the Six Million Dollar Man script "Survival Of The Fittest" for The Bionic Woman episode, "Fly Jaime."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

SPACE: 1999 (1975-76) Charlton Magazine Cover Gallery

At the same time that Charlton Comics were publishing their monthly, four-color comic book series based on Gerry Anderson's Space: 1999, they also published a magazine-sized, black & white companion series. This series ran for 8 issues in 1975-76. The interior stories were produced by Neal Adams' Continuity Associates studio, and all of the cover paintings were executed by the amazing Gray Morrow.

I love Morrow's paintings on this series. They're very imaginative and reminiscent of some of the sci-fi paperback covers and B-movie posters he painted.

Sadly, I don't actually have any of these magazines. As far as I remember, I never saw them on any of the local newsstands when I was a kid, although the color comic wasn't hard to find. I've hunted for them in various back issue bins over the years, but never came across any copies. I've poked around online, too, but never found any that I felt were reasonably priced. Oh well....

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Fans of Filmation's Saturday morning sci-fi romp, Jason Of Star Command who haven't yet picked up or found a copy of the (rapidly becoming rarer) DVD set, might be interested to know that the series has just been added to Netflix's instant play service. There, it joins such other Space: 1970 favorites as Battlestar Galactica (the original), Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, The Incredible Hulk, Galactica: 1980 and Star Blazers for easy streaming on your computer or television. Hopefully, they'll add Space Academy and Ark II eventually (at the moment, they're both available only as DVD by mail rentals).

In tangentially-related news, Space: 1970 reader Tim Snider has informed me that the aforementioned Space Academy is currently airing on DISH Network's KTV channel as part of a block of vintage kid's television programming.

Filmation lives on....

Behind-The-Scenes Pix #17: PLANET OF THE APES

Screenwriter Rod Serling (best known as the creator of The Twilight Zone) on the set of the original Planet Of The Apes in 1967-8, where he appears to be discussing the finer points of Ape Law with Kim Hunter's Dr. Zira.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May The 4th Be With You

Thirty-five years ago, Star Wars was released, and changed this Star Kid's life in countless ways - for one thing, without George Lucas' space fantasy, I doubt this blog would exist. Sure, I was a Six Million Dollar Man, Planet of The Apes and Star Trek fan even before my trip to that far off galaxy, but without the Wars, there would have been so much less to celebrate from that era. No Galactica, no Quark. Probably no Logan's Run TV series or revived Buck Rogers, either.

Thanks, George.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May's Space Babe: Lindsay Wagner

May 2012's Space Babe is our favorite bionic beauty, Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers. Kinda mad at myself that I haven't posted a Space Babe since January - but, hey, it's been a rough couple of months here at Space: 1970 headquarters. In any case, I can't think of a better choice to kick off Spring than the lovely Lindsay.

The sexy cyborg's adventures may have been exclusively Earthbound, but as an agent of the Office of Scientific Intelligence, her missions led to several different extraterrestrial encounters. Each week, The Bionic Woman protected America's interests and saved the world with style, charm and humor. Introduced in a two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man in March, 1975, as the childhood sweetheart of astronaut Steve Austin (Lee Majors), Jaime Sommers was equipped with bionic replacement parts (an ear, an arm, and both legs) after a tragic skydiving accident. Unfortunately, her body rejected the bionic implants and, well, she died.

Apparently I wasn't the only kid who was crushed by her demise, because the network commanded the producers to bring her back to life, which they did the following season. The character was then spun off into her own weekly series, which lasted for three years (on two networks). Wagner was almost too good an actress for the show, but she treated the role - and the audience - with respect, and brought tremendous heart and warmth to her portrayal. No matter how absurd or far-fetched the plot, she always played it with conviction and a sly sense of humor.

Dancer, actress, activist, model and author, Lindsay Wagner was born in 1949 in Los Angeles. She appeared on many television shows and a few motion pictures throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, and became a regular fixture in made-for-television cable dramas. In the late 80s-early 90s, she reprised her role as Jaime Sommers in three "Bionic" TV reunion films. She still acts, and has a recurring role on SyFy's Warehouse 13.