Friday, May 31, 2013

MAN FROM ATLANTIS (1977) Tie-In Paperbacks

As I've mentioned before, as an avid reader from age five, one of the few Space:1970-era collectibles I really made an effort to buy as a kid (and still do) were the film and TV tie-in paperbacks. In those pre-home video/pre-cable days, it was virtually the only way to re-experience the movies and TV shows you enjoyed (well, a lot of us made audio recordings on cassette, too). Fortunately, pretty much all of the major 70s TV sci-fi properties got tie-in novels: Star Trek, Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica - even Buck Rogers got two, and the Planet Of the Apes show got four.

In 1977, Dell Books commissioned veteran tie-in author Richard Woodley (The Bad News Bears, Slap Shot, Con Air) to pen four paperback novelizations of the NBC Man From Atlantis telefilms: Man From Atlantis, Death Scouts, Killer Spores and Ark Of Doom (The Disappearances). The first two of these books hit the racks just around the time the weekly series premiered in Autumn, and I remember saving up my Junior High allowance of 50¢ a week to buy them when they came out. Woodley was a solid wordsmith, so they're pretty decent adaptations - and good reads, too.

The second two volumes, Killer Spores & Ark Of Doom, didn't make their way to bookstores until 1978, and the show was already off the air. This probably explains why they were published without the MfA logo or numbering. The nicely painted cover artwork by Vincent DiFate (replacing the photo covers of Volumes 1 & 2) does portray the likeness of actor Patrick Duffy, but otherwise appear to be designed to attract the eye of general sci-fi readers rather than just fans of the recently-cancelled show.

I didn't pick up these last two books in '78 (I wonder if their distribution was less pervasive than the earlier books?), but have added them to my library recently, thanks - in part - to Star Kid "Caeric ArcLight," who kindly sent me a nice copy of #3.

THE STARLOST (1973) Rare TV Guide Ads

It's tough to find any vintage advertising or promotional material for 1973's The Starlost, the Canadian-produced, syndicated science fiction series created by Harlan "Cordwainer Bird" Ellison. Every once in a while, though, I stumble across something.... like this, for instance: This odd, Biblical-inspired, hand-drawn ad (presumably by someone at WMAQ) appeared in the Northern Indiana edition of TV Guide for the week of September 22-28, 1973.

And then, there's this one, featuring pen 'n ink portraits of lead Keir Dullea and his co-stars, Robin Ward and Gay Rowan. I'm not entirely certain of its provenance, but it clearly ran in a Canadian television listing magazine (did they have TV Guide in Canada in '73?).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Unused STAR WARS (1977) Poster Concept

When it comes to Star Wars (and Star Trek) items, I've resolved myself to the fact that I'm not likely to dig up anything that's new to the die hard fans. But every once in a while, I do come across stuff that's new to me - like this early Star Wars advertising campaign concept art.

The graphic design is strong, and from a marketing perspective, it's an interesting approach. There was a lot of pop culture nostalgia in the air in the mid-Seventies, so I can see why someone at Fox might propose that angle as a way to sell George Lucas' space opera to the masses. Of course, what's so ironic about this is that it was the spectacular success of Luke Skywalker that paved the way for both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon to return to the big screen over the next few years.

Posting here at Space: 1970 will probably be pretty light this week, as I will be concentrating on finishing up some comics writing work and some overdue DVD/Blu-ray reviews for my DVD Late Show website. Of course, if anything newsworthy should come up in the next few days, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Sybil Danning!

Today marks the birthday of Space: 1970 favorite Sybil Danning! Best known to Star Kids (probably) as the Valkyrie Warrior St. Exmin in Battle Beyond The Stars, the statuesque Sybil also had a prominent guest role on the original V television series.

For more of the stunning Sybil, check out this VHS intro for the Space: 1999 compilation film, Alien Attack. She was also our Space Babe for March, 2011.

News: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978) Blu-ray Wide Release in August

According to the TV Shows On DVD website today, Universal will be offering the "35th Anniversary Edition" Blu-ray edition of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica feature as a wide mainstream retail release on August 6th, 2013.

The suggested retail price is $19.99. It is now available for pre-order at Amazon via the following link: Battlestar Galactica [Blu-ray]

As regular readers of this site know, the disc is already available as a Best Buy exclusive, and I reviewed it - and my Best Buy experience - HERE at Space: 1970 few days ago.

As I said in my review: the disc looks very good, and it's great that fans will be able to find it and purchase it this Summer without having to deal with the corporate incompetence and related hassles of dealing with the Best Buy chain.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coming Attractions: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND SPECIAL EDITION (1980) Theatrical Trailer

Today we've got the theatrical trailer for the controversial (at least, among some Star Kids) 1980 "Special Edition" theatrical presentation of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Now that I have the Blu-ray with all three of Spielberg's different CE3K cuts, it's fun to watch the different versions and compare them. In particular, I love watching Richard Dreyfuss' hair inexplicably change length - and style - when he boards the Mothership in this alternate version!

"Now there is more..." Indeed.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


As I've mentioned before, the scariest sci-fi film I saw as a 70s Star Kid was Phillip Kaufman's 1978 remake of Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, starring Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum and Brooke Adams. I'm still not quite sure how I ended up in the theater without adult supervision for that afternoon matinee screening of Body Snatchers, but I do remember being utterly certain that I was somehow going to get in trouble for watching Brooke Adams walk around naked.

I really need to pick up the Blu-ray of this movie soon.

Anyway, today I've got a selection of lobby cards from this classic of pod-paranoia for you. Remember: they're here already!

Monday, May 20, 2013

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978) Capsule Blu-ray Review

So... I pre-ordered the Best Buy Exclusive Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray from the Best Buy website two weeks before its release date of May 14th. That date came and went without any notification that my disc had been sent until yesterday, when I received an e-mail telling me that my order had been delayed, and was not expected to be sent until mid-June. It also stated that if I didn't wish to wait, I could "cancel my order at anytime."

So today I drove over to my local Best Buy brick & mortar location, and after some searching, I finally found their one and only copy. When I got home, I called the telephone number provided in their e-mail and attempted to cancel the order. I won't detail that heinous experience except to say that I still don't know if the order was cancelled or not. Best Buy keeps blaming Amazon and other online retailers for their financial woes, when the truth is, they simply suck. In the 90s, they were okay. Now? Not so much.

Their own online ordering is - as evidenced by this screw up - a bad joke, their in-store
employees are - without exception - lazy and uninformed, and their customer service overall is half-assed. I wouldn't shop there at all if not for their Exclusives and clearance DVD/Blu-ray bins.

Enough of that particular rant. So, Chris, how was Battlestar Galactica's Blu-ray presentation? 

Very good. The 1080p HD remaster is framed at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio approximating the original, matted, theatrical format, and Galactica has never looked this good. Colors are strong, vibrant and obviously re-timed/corrected, looking much better than the previous home video releases on VHS and DVD. While the effects work shows its age and the limitations of the 1970s process work (the image degrades with each additional element in the composite shots), it still looks surprisingly good - much better than I anticipated. Some shots are truly spectacular - especially on my big-screen monitor - and there is no evidence of extensive DNR or other digital tweaking. The audio has been remastered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.1 with Sensurround! There are no bonus fetaures included on this edition, but there is a trailer for the recent Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome release.

Overall, it's a really solid HD upgrade. It doesn't look like a modern digital special effects film - it can't - but it is a fine presentation of the 1978 feature. At a SRP of $14.99, it comes highly recommended for all Star Kids - too bad it's only available from the Best Buy chain.

NOTE: What a difference a typo makes! I intended to type "and there is no evidence of extensive DNR," not "there is now evidence of extensive DNR." Sorry for the confusion. To repeat, I've been reviewing digital video formats professionally for nearly a decade, and I saw no evidence that this Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray transfer was anything but a straight 1080p HD remaster from a clean 1978 source print, aside from some welcome and appropriate color correction.

NOTE #2: I never, never, never noticed this before, but every time they show the Imperious Leader from above in the movie, the improved resolution reveals that he/it appears to have a small green lizard perched on his/its left shoulder! What the frak?!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

#1 Movie In America!

Thirty years ago, anyway. That's right - Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone (in 3-D), starring Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald and Michael Ironside, ruled the boxoffice on this weekend in 1983! Just thought that was worth noting. Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Behind-The Scenes Pix #41: STAR WARS

I missed it, but yesterday was George Lucas' 69th birthday. Like every first-generation Star Wars fan, I have my issues with Lucas' choices and handling of the franchise he's created over the years... but I cannot forget that it's ultimately his vision, and we're all just very lucky to have had a chance to share in it. Star Wars changed the world - and the lives of plenty of Star Kids - in a lot of ways, and it all started with Lucas.

Here's the man himself, directing Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford on the set, way back in 1976...

An Out Of This World Triple Feature!

This is a drive-in trip I'd have loved to take in '78! A triple bill re-release of John Dark/Kevin Connor science fiction adventures from American-International Pictures: The Land That Time Forgot (1975), The People That Time Forgot (1977) and At The Earth's Core (1976) - all starring the indomitable Doug McClure!

Sorry posting has been so light the last few days, but I've been fighting the flu, and the battle's been wiping me out. I think I've got the bug on the ropes now, so, with a little luck, I'll be back up to form - and posting regularly - again soon. Stay tuned, Star Kids!

Friday, May 10, 2013

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978) Action Figures Commercial

Today we've got a 1978-vintage kid's TV ad for Mattel's new Battlestar Galactica "Colonial Warrior" and "Cylon Centurion" action figures. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


About two years ago, I wrote about the fairly obscure fan magazine, All About Star Trek Fan Clubs (yeah, that was its official title). As I mentioned in that post, AASTFC was published in 1976-1977, ran six (I think) quarterly issues, and received national newsstand distribution.

The rather amateurish - though earnest and enthusiastic - magazine covered Star Trek fandom in all its pre-Internet/home video Seventies forms, with fannish articles on conventions, collectibles, episode trivia, pull-out posters, lots of fan art, interviews with the Trek cast (and prominent "Trekkers!"), fanzine reviews, and, as its clumsy title promised, extensive fan club listings.

It was an interesting magazine, and for a rural science fiction fan without access to conventions or fan clubs, it was a window onto a larger world of Trek (and sci-fi)  fandom. Anyway, I included scans of the covers of the three issues I owned with that previous post. I've since snagged scans of the other three issue covers, and thought I'd share them here. Enjoy!

News: Final SPACE: 1999 New Release DVD Art

Above is the final key art for A&E Home Video's May 5th re-issue of the Gerry Anderson series Space: 1999 on DVD. Although released twice before in the U.S. by the company in a couple of different configurations/packaging options, this marks the first time the series has been offered in individual season sets on DVD in America. Note: these are standard-def DVD releases... the long-awaited Season Two Blu-rays still do not have an officially announced release date.

If you don't already have the show on DVD, you can pre-order the Space: 1999 Season One and Season Two set through Amazon and other online retailers.

SPACE 1999 Season 1

SPACE 1999 Season 2

Monday, May 6, 2013

STAR MAIDENS (1976) Paperback Novelization

"On Medusa, the laws of nature had decreed that the female of the species should reign supreme - leaving the lesser able males to take care of domestic chores, nursery duties and other menial tasks.

For eons, the Medusan women ruled their world. But then Medusa entered the orbit of Earth, and rumour got out that here was a planet controlled almost entirely by men... a paradise planet to which two of the most rebellious manservants managed to escape, so beginning the feud between Earth and the incredible Star Maidens..." 

Yes, I still intend to review the Star Maidens (1976) German-British television series here at Space: 1970. I have the DVDs on hand, and just need to carve out some time to sit down and watch the whole series from beginning to end. I've enjoyed the episodes I've seen so far, and want to watch the rest... I just haven't gotten to it yet.

Here's the cover to the Corgi UK paperback tie-in novel by Ian Evans. I do not own a copy. Wouldn't mind having one, though...

Captain's bLog: 0506.13

Well, I did a slightly better job keeping up with this blog in April than I did in March. Still have a number of long-ish posts/reviews in the works, waiting for a spare hour or two to finish them up....

I've pre-ordered the Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray from Best Buy (at present, it is exclusive to that chain). As soon as I get my hands on it - which should be in just over two weeks, depending on how efficiently Best Buy fulfills their online orders - I'll let you all know how it looks.

I did pick up Shout! Factory's DVD of Kinji Fukasaku's Message From Space last week, and it looks very good, although I think Shout's source print is a little more beat up (more specks and pops) and the transfer a bit darker and less detailed than the Eastern Star import DVD. The Shout disc's English-only mono audio is crisper and clearer than the optional English language track on the Eastern Star disc, however.

Star Kid Tim Snider sent me a note a few days ago to let me know about a forthcoming role playing game from Spectrum Games called Retrostar. Why? Well, because apparently, it's designed to emulate exactly the sort of movies and TV shows this blog was created to celebrate. From the Spectrum website:
While most people associate the 1970s with disco, polyester, feathered hair and eight-track tapes, many of us were far too busy being enthralled by the unprecedented amount of sci-fi programming on television to even notice those things. The television landscape was rife with these shows, from all the primetime series to the Saturday morning kid-vid fare. And that was just fine by us.

Those days may be long gone, but the shows still live on in our hearts and memories -- shows about the doomed human race attempting to escape its robotic oppressors; shows about a time-tossed astronaut making his way in a future world; shows about the occupants of a moonbase on an unwitting journey when the moon itself gets knocked out of Earth's orbit; shows about an individual who was rebuilt into a bionic man to be better... stronger... faster; shows about scientists traveling across the post-apocalyptic wasteland in a futuristic RV to find remnants of civilization and to help rebuild it.

These are the shows that -- despite their campiness, hit-and-miss acting and limited budgets (or perhaps partly because of such factors) -- have stuck with us for decades. With
Retrostar, you'll relive all the magic and excitement of the sci-fi shows of yesteryear, right at your game table. 
I wonder if the folks at Spectrum are fans of this site?

•  Blatant Cross-Promotion: First, I want to remind you all again that my weekly sci-fantasy webcomic, Perils On Planet X, drawn by the talented Gene Gonazles, can be read for free at  This serialized interplanetary swashbuckler has a new page posted every Friday, and chronicles the adventures of modern-day Earth astronaut Donovan Hawke, stranded on the lost planet of Xylos, hundreds of millions of years in the past. The story is packed with monsters, beautiful women and lots of Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers-styled thrills. I hope you'll check it out, bookmark it, and follow the comic each week.

Anyone who enjoys my writing and the reviews on this blog 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 on the site 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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN (1976-1977) Charlton Magazine Cover Gallery

Neal Adams
As they did with the Space: 1999 property, Charlton Comics of Derby, Connecticut published both a series of color Six Million Dollar Man comic books and a black & white, magazine-format series. The magazine artwork was produced primarily by Neal Adams' Continuity Associates in New York, with scripts written primarily by Charlton staff writers Joe Gill and Nicola Cuti.

I've showcased a couple of these great pieces before; specifically, Jack Sparlings art for Issue #3 and Earl Norem's striking cover for Issue #5. I hope you enjoy this bionic art gallery!

Neal Adams
Jack Sparling
Earl Norem
Earl Norem
Earl Norem
Earl Norem

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

STAR TREK II (1982) Vintage TV Guide Ad

Here's a very nice TV Guide advertisement for an ABC Sunday Night Movie broadcast of 1982's Star Trek II - The Wrath Of Khan. The art is by legendary paperback illustrator Bob Larkin. I don't know for sure if this is from ABC's first airing of the movie or a subsequent repeat.

I do remember that the initial broadcast delighted me in those pre-DVD days with the inclusion of several previously deleted scenes, including a bit more screen time for Scotty's nephew, "Peter Preston" (portrayed by Escape To Witch Mountain/Fantastic Journey actor Ike Eisenmann), and Kirstie Alley's sexy Saavik.