Friday, May 31, 2013

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?).


  1. We did have TV Guide in BC in the 70's. And cable TV before most Americans, too!
    BCTV was the local Vancouver CTV network affiliate.
    I remember catching a couple episodes of The Starlost during it's original run. It had some good ideas, some creative sets and writing, and tailed off with some very poor "WTF" episodes. Unfortunately it looked "cheap" because it was shot on video and few people liked it.
    When you compare it to a 1973 episode of Doctor Who it doesn't look so bad....

    1. Yep, you are right about video being the main reason for it looking cheap. If the show were given a "film look" process (24fps) -- and perhaps even a slight letter-boxing -- The Starlost would be held in higher regard in certain corners.

      You are right about the 'good ideas, set, and writing' points, too.

      Canada had TV Guide. It was a great publication in the day; when we were kids, and before the Internet.

  2. I really loved The Starlost. I re-watched it again on DVD last year, and it was really apparent what the show _could_ have been if it had been given the budget originally planned. The production values are cheap, to be sure, but the writing holds up well, I think.

    I've run more than one game of the Metamorphosis Alpha RPG on a ship that looks suspiciously like the Ark...

  3. These ads are beautiful. I love the etched ink style. You find it a lot in the RPGs of the '70s as well.

  4. Really great finds there especially the Biblicaly inspired one, it's a trip.
    First learned of the show through Starlog's Photo Guidebook to Spaceships. I learned about a lot of interesting programs and movies I never saw through those old Guidebooks.
    In 2006 I made a point to pick up the series (plus The Fantastic Journey and Gerry Anderson's The Day After Tomorrow) at DragonCon. I really enjoyed the show especially with John Colicos, Simon Oakland, Walter Koenig and more.

    -Rory O'Toole
    Highly recommended to all. Need to pick up the authorized DVDs now that they are out there. Glad to see some show's aren't totally forgotten yet.

    1. I have a bit of affection for the show, and first read about it in Starlog's Spaceships Guidebook, myself.

      If you search the archives under The Starlost, you'll find that I reviewed the DVD set as one of the very first posts on this blog.

  5. My cousin told me about this show, and for years I thought he had imagined it. Then I found this awesome Star Lost Site.