Thursday, December 24, 2015

News: Patrick Duffy's MAN FROM ATLANTIS Novel Due 2016

Patrick Duffy, star of the short-lived 1976-77 Man From Atlantis television series, has long talked about writing a novel based on the series, exploring the origins of his character, Mark Harris. Now it appears that he's finally done so, with the book scheduled for release in June of 2016.
Dive deeper than ever before and discover the origins of The Man from Atlantis.

When TV unveiled the series Man from Atlantis no one knew the how, where and why of Mark Harris.  Over time the show’s star Patrick Duffy formulated his own version of the history of Mark and his people.  Here at last is the book that gives every reader and fan of the show the life and mythology of Atlantis, who they were and where they came from. Patrick Duffy’s close connection to his fictional character makes this a behind the scenes fantasy story.

Mark Harris, the Man from Atlantis, has been quietly living under the protection of Dr. Elizabeth Merrill who saved his life in 1976. By studying his abilities the two have contributed countless advances for mankind’s development. Only a select few know his true identity.

Jason the whiz kid of the science lab.

Stacy the bright young intern–who is constantly flustered by Mark’s presence.

Dr. Nagashima, a master of oceanic knowledge who Elizabeth lured from Japan to join her inner circle.

Then their California ocean side laboratory is shaken when several attempts are made upon Mark’s life. He discovers the assailants have powers similar to his and he is lead into the uncharted depths of the oceans. As he discovers his past Mark’s origins and genealogy finally come to the surface

The novel, simply titled Man From Atlantis, is already available for pre-order through online booksellers like Amazon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cracked STAR WARS Art by John Severin

This original 1980 Cracked magazine cover art by the legendary John Severin seems even more appropriate today, with the new Star Wars film poised to set box office and merchandising records in the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

THE IMMORTAL (1970) Coming To DVD In 2016

According to TV Shows On DVD, the short-lived, 1970 science fiction adventure series, The Immortal, starring Christopher George, will be coming to DVD in 2016 from Canadian company, VEI.  The great Christopher George played Ben Richards, a race car driver with a unique blood type containing immunity to all known diseases... and even old age. When an elderly billionaire discovers Richard's secret, he decides to abduct Richards, and keep him captive as a personal blood bank. In tried-and-true genre TV fashion, Richards goes on the run, pursued by the billionaire's hired mercenaries.

Details on the DVD release are sparse at this point, as it was one of about a dozen titles announced last week by VEI (which also released the David McCallum Invisible Man on disc a few years back). Among those other titles, one that might be of some interest to Star Kids is the 1973 series, The Magician, starring Bill Bixby, of The Incredible Hulk.

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.

Monday, February 23, 2015

PLANET OF THE APES (1968) Door Posters

Among the plethora of promotional material created by 20th Century Fox for the original 1968 Planet Of The Apes were these two-color "door panel" posters for theaters, introducing various characters from the film. This kind of giant poster was fairly prevalent in the 60s (I've seen similar ones for the Bond films and other flicks), but became less common in the 70s as studios continued to cut costs on this kind of promotion. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Behind-The-Scenes Pix #51: STARCRASH

Star Caroline Munro and director Luigi Cozzi pose with the miniature of Count Zarth Arn's unique and menacing claw-shaped flagship during the shooting of the enjoyably goofy Starcrash in 1977-78.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

News: SILENT RUNNING (1972) Coming to Blu-ray

Universal's on a roll. Along with Gerry Anderson's Journey To The Far Side Of the Sun, the studio is releasing Douglas Trumbull's 1972 sci-fi parable, Silent Running, for the first time in HD in the United States on April 7th. It's about time!

From the Press Release:
Academy Award nominee* Bruce Dern stars in Silent Running, a sci-fi classic that journeys beyond the imagination. Botanist Freeman Lowell (Dern) has spent eight years aboard the space freighter Valley Forge preserving the only botanical specimens left from Earth under huge geodesic domes. When he receives orders to destroy the project and return home, Lowell rebels and hijacks the freighter, while plunging the craft into the gaseous rings of Saturn. From that moment on, he has only the trees, the gardens and two “Drone” robots, Huey and Dewey, to keep him company on his greatest adventure of all.
Extras appear to be the same as on the previously-released DVD:

The Making of Silent Running
Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull
A Conversation with Bruce Dern
Douglas Trumbull: Then and Now
Theatrical Trailer
Optional Feature Commentary with Director Douglas Trumbull and Star Bruce Dern

I'm pretty excited about this - Trumbull's effects deserve to be viewed in hi-def - but I still hate that cover art, recycled from the DVD release. The original poster artwork is so much better. Anyway, the Silent Running Blu-ray is available now for pre-order from Amazon ('natch).

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

News: Gerry Anderson's JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (1969) Coming To Blu-Ray

Space: 1999 creators Gerry & Sylvia Anderson's 1968 feature film, Journey To The Far Side Of the Sun (a/k/a Doppleganger), starring Roy Thinnes (The Invaders), is coming to Blu-ray disc in the U.S. on April 7th from Universal.

From the Press Release:
Classic sci-fi adventure and suspense has never been more exciting as when you Journey to the Far Side of the Sun! One hundred years in the future, two astronauts are sent to uncover the secrets of a “duplicate” Earth on the other side of the sun. When they crash land three weeks earlier than they had planned, they must embark on a life-or-death mission to determine whether they have arrived back home or on the strange mirror world. This imaginative space adventure offers a journey few will ever forget! 
It's an interesting movie, with a dark tone and overall aesthetic that is very similar to Anderson's subsequent TV series, UFO. In fact, a number of the props, costumes and musical cues from the film (most notably the "futuristic" automobiles) showed up on UFO a year or two later, along with a few cast members.

So far, no word on any extras, but I wouldn't really expect any from a Universal catalog title. The Journey To The Far Side Of the Sun Blu-ray is already available for pre-order at Amazon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Not The 70s: STAR TREK CONTINUES (2014-15)

There are numerous fan-made Star Trek series online. Some of these ambitious non-profit productions chronicle new adventures of the original U.S.S. Enterprise, others create their own starships and crews. The quality ranges from the embarrassingly amateur to remarkably slick and professional.  James Cawley's Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II is probably the best known of these, and over the years, his team have produced a number of reasonably enjoyable - if frustratingly uneven - Trek adventures . But, in my opinion, the very best at capturing the feel of the classic Gene Roddenberry series is Vic Mignogna's Star Trek Continues.

The talented cast includes James Doohan's son Chris Doohan as Scotty and Mythbuster's Grant Imahara as Sulu. The sets, costumes, photography, music and overall production values are uncannily accurate, and the visual effects are terrific! Vic Mignogna, an experienced actor with lots of voice work to his credit, personally plays James Kirk, and he does a remarkable job of channeling the great Bill Shatner, capturing the man's distinct delivery while somehow never lapsing into parody (something even Bill finds hard to do these days). It's uncanny how well he captures Shatner's swagger.

The first episode, "Pilgrim of Eternity," is a sequel to TOS' "Who Mourns For Adonais," with original guest actor Michael Forest reprising his role as Greek god Apollo (this one also includes a bit part by Battlestar Galactica Redux's Jamie "Apollo" Bamber.) The second episode, "Lolani," revolves around a fugitive Orion slave girl and her owner - played by Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno (in green body paint, of course)!

The third episode, "The Fairest Of Them All," is a very well written direct sequel to the classic TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror," and it's another winner. A fourth episode has just recently completed filming, and although the title hasn't been released yet, it has been revealed that it guest stars the Sixth Doctor Who, Colin Baker.

If, like me, you find the new Star Trek films by J.J. Abrams and company lacking the spirit and style of Gene Roddenberry's original show, I highly recommend that you check it out. In fact, the Star Trek Continues crew is midway through a "Kirkstarter" campaign to raise funding for additional episodes. They've already hit their initial production goal, but are now in the process of trying to raise enough money to build an authentic Engine Room set to complement their already astounding Enterprise sets.

Episodes can be found on the Star Trek Continues YouTube Channel, and you can check out their Kirkstarter funding campaign here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

SPACE: 1999 Raw Effects Footage

This is pretty cool: raw effects footage from Brian Johnson's Space: 1999 SFX team, of various Eagle transporter landings, on Moonbase Alpha pads and alien landscapes. I think it really demonstrates the care and precision that went into shooting the miniature effects in those pre-CGI days.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January's Space Babe: Tamara Dobson

The first Space Babe of 2015 is the sleek and striking Tamara Dobson, as the mysterious and amnesiac alien, Samantha, on Jason Of Star Command. Discovered in suspended animation within a derelict spaceship by the titular Jason (Craig Littler) at the beginning of Season Two, the stunning Samantha quickly became a valued partner-in-adventure for brash rogue Jason and his Star Command allies. With a variety of vaguely-defined powers, including superhuman strength and assorted psi abilities, Samantha may have been unable to remember where she came from - all she recalled was that her people were conquered by the armies of arch-fiend, Dragos (Sid Haig) - but she soon made a home for herself aboard the Space Academy, and figured prominently in Dragos' final defeat.

The 6' 2" Dobson was a popular magazine model - appearing in publications like Vogue and Ebony in the early 1970s - and actress, who is probably best known for her two turns as blaxploitation tigress "Cleopatra Jones," a kung fu kickin' government agent in two Warner Brothers action films: Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Cleopatra Jones And The Casino of Gold (1975). She also appeared in the Buck Rogers In The 25th Century episode, "Happy Birthday, Buck."

Ms. Dobson passed away in October, 2006.