Sunday, August 7, 2016

Happy 40th Anniversary, STARLOG!

Ahh... this stunning cover painting of Star Trek's Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock by Jack Thurston graced the first issue of Starlog magazine, back in August, 1976. Which means that this month marks 40(!) years since the debut of the 70's greatest science fiction media periodical, a magazine that was literally my bible for two decades.

(Actually, as former Starlog honcho David McDonnell points out in the comments below, the first issue actually went on sale in June of that Bicentennial year. I stand corrected. Still... better late than never!)

Starlog not only kept me informed of new and upcoming genre films and television, but opened my mind to the classic (and not-so-classic) productions of the past. It was in the pages of Starlog that I first discovered the films of George Pal, the television series of Irwin Allen, and the original Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon movie serials. It fed my insatiable hunger for behind-the-scenes information on special effects and gave me countless cool photographs of miniature spaceships and alien monster to obsess over.

Yeah, Starlog was an important part of my formative years... in many ways, the biggest part.

In retrospect, maybe I should have called this site Starblog...?

21 comments:

  1. As a historian, I enjoy reading newspapers that were printed right before and during big events. For something like Starlog, Those issues pre-Star Wars are some of my favorites. I have this issue and I like how they're still figuring things out.

    And as for the title of your blog, "Space1970" is perfect. It's how I found you.

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  2. I love Starblog. Great idea! Are you going to do it?

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    1. After six years or so, it's too late to change it now. :)

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  3. STARLOG was an extremely important part of my '70s boyhood too. I remember seeing the Robby the Robot Starlog television commercial in the late '70s that I got the address from to subscribe. STARLOG was our generations "internet" with all the science-fiction film & television information a boy could want.

    SGB

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  4. Well, actually, Christopher, the anniversary has passed. As with the majority of magazines and comics of the day, STARLOG carried advance cover dates (usually the month listed was when the NEXT issue was due out and unsold copies of this one were to be REMOVED from newsstand shelves). So, STARLOG #1 was on sale in JUNE 1976, the issue itself thereby listed an August cover date. Later, when STARLOG went monthly, our yearly Anniversary Issues continued to go on sale in June (first week of the month) and then carry a JULY cover date. ---David McDonnell of STARLOG (1982-2009), Managing Editor (issues #66-#96), Editor (#97-#375).

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    1. Well, better late than never. And the sentiment remains unchanged.

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    2. David McDonnell thank you for being a part of creating and editing STARLOG. It was such an important publication to us all.

      SGB

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    3. Mr. McDonnell, thank you for your part in bringing us this wonderful magazine that I'm sure has been an integral part of the childhood of many readers of this blog, myself included. As I mentioned in my other comment I am thoroughly enjoying reading through electronic back-issues of Starlog, and doing so has made me want to physically hold the magazine in my hands. I don't have the money to buy nor room to store hundreds of back issues, but I would very much like to buy nice, hardbound (or trade-paperback) full-size compilations of Starlog in the mold of those Fantagraphics Complete ... Collections if they were made available. Would such a product be feasible?

      SatAMFan

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  5. David still writes about his STARLOG days on www.startrek.com

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  6. I have recently embarked upon a quest to read every issue of Starlog cover-to-cover on my tablet via the Internet Archive, and I am having a blast! I'm only up to issue 5, and I plan to read up to somewhere in the mid-1990s. As Scott Parker mentioned, the pre-Star Wars issues are fascinating and I can't wait to see what Starlog's initial reaction to that landmark film was. I didn't discover Starlog until sometime in 1978 (I think a Battlestar Galactica issue was my first) so all of these early issues are new to me. I didn't have a large allowance so I couldn't afford to buy many issues and had to be very selective; I had about 20 total spanning the late '70s to the mid '80s. I spent a lot of time at my local newsstand reading the articles of interest to me when I couldn't afford to buy an issue. I have most of the TV shows and movies covered in Starlog already sitting on my shelf, and reading articles about them sparks new interest and I find myself re-watching many of them. It's quite a little nostalgia trip, and it helps me appreciate those films & TV shows more. As an added bonus, I'm getting more use out of things I bought long ago.

    SatAMFan (I forgot my password, so I'm anonymous for now)

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  7. I don't have a complete run, but I have a big chunk of the issues from '76 through the early '90s. The earlier days were best, IMO, but it was always a fun read.

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  8. The first issue of Starlog I ever owned was number 34 (dated May 1980), which featured an interview with Irvin Kershner and lots of tantalizing photos from the about-to-be-released "Empire Strikes Back." I had to beg and pead with my mom at Waldenbooks over spending $2.25 for a magazine, which was no easy feat. It's a shame neither Starlog nor mall-based bookstores like Waldenbooks are around anymore.

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  9. Thanks for this, Christopher. I remember discovering issue #2 at the corner store, and after reading the entire issue cover-to-cover, started a personal subscription that lasted six years (alas, all those issues are long gone). Like others have already posted, Starlog was my definitive source all of all things related to science fiction in the media. The wait between issues seemed like an eternity.

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  10. Many, many fond memories of Starlog. Back before the internet, this was the only way for me to learn about upcoming movies and TV series, or about classics from before my time. I would take the current issue with me on choir tours and summer camps -- my best friend and I would be holed up in the back of the church bus, poring over the articles and pictures.

    Last year, for my friend's 40th birthday, I bought him an old issue of Starlog, circa 1989... because some memories are too good to fade.

    *nostalgic tear*

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  11. I loved Starlog in the day but started to go off it when the Space Opera boom died down; it became all Marty McFly rather than Luke Skywalker. I wanted more retro and Brit SF coverage. However, it's hardly Starlog's fault to concentrate on covering contemporary topics.

    What I really loved were the Starlog 'Scrapbooks' and 'Poster Magazines' that they started bringing out in the early eighties. Stuffed if I was going to grow out of that kind of stuff anytime soon. I intend to replenish my copies of the best of those one day in the not too distant future.

    Anyway, happy belated 40th anniversary, Starlog!

    Paul W.

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  12. I bought Starlog from the first issue. Who could resist that cover. I no longer have that first issue, but I still have #2 and perhaps the first two or three years of publication. I'll always remember in their pre-Star Wars reporting, they printed a McQuarrie painting upside-down. Of course, back in those early days, I'm not sure any of us knew what we were looking at. We'd soon figure it out, in spades.

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  13. I grew up in a small town (population approx. 500 at the time), so I only ever managed to get about three issues of Starlog in the early to mid 1980s. One had an image of Saturn 3 on the cover, and I read that issue in particular until it was in pieces. My few precious issues of Starlog and OMNI were treasures for me. Thank you!

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  14. Still have my 1st issue bought off the stand in July '76.

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  15. I fondly remember Starlog from my teens in the 80's.

    Red corpuscles.

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  16. I wish that Starlog was still around; it had respect for sci-fi fans, and never spoke down to us or called us insults like 'geek' or 'nerd' (all of which were forbidden by editorial fiat, IIRC.) I wonder why Starlog went out of business back in April of 2009? Can you answer that, Chris?

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  17. Bought every issue off the shelf to make sure they were mint. Have the entire run. Also have all the awesome PhotoGuidebooks. After 33 years, Starlog's demise was shocking.

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