Monday, December 21, 2009

Charlon Heston Talks About Sci-Fi

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From the February 1980 edition of "Fantastic Films" magazine, comes this interview with Heston about his science fiction film roles and the genre in general. I've mined this issue for several other articles on my other blog "My Star Trek Scrapbook" since it partially focused on that movie, and I thought this article would be a treat for readers of "Fantastic Flashbacks."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Planet of the Apes teaching aid booklet

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Back around 1971, I was in the 5th grade and living near Parkersburg WV at the time. The English class of the school I was in (one of over 20 I attended while growing up, thanks to my itenerant construction worked stepdad) had these booklets which they handed out to the class for study, and it was the earliest exposure to the Apes phenomenon I had up to that time. It intrigued me greatly, and I was fan for many years before I ever saw any of the movies.

We weren't allowed to keep the booklet after class; I suppose they re-used them for the other students. Well, I hope they ordered some extra copies, 'cause when I left the class that day, the booklet I had went out the door with me, hidden in my binder notebook. I still have it to this day, in the same condition. I have scanned it in its entirety for your education and enjoyment. Bet you didn't know the Apes could teach you something!

And, to counteract the dry academic tone of this post, a hot image of a young Dr. Zira, posing au naturale during one of her and boyfriend Cornelius' archeological expeditions. Everyone does crazy stuff when they're younger.

"Now, Zira... you're getting that look in your eyes again. Remember, the last time you kissed a human the freakin' planet blew up!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Superboy TV show

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Above, a full-page ad for "Superboy" in a cable-TV trade magazine.

In 1988, the "Superboy" series premiered, to my enthusiastic welcome. Although low-budget, it was an enjoyable show, which is in my opinion more enjoyable than the current "Smallville" series. John Haymes Newton, who, although a bit wooden, carried himself well in the suit and made a both a good Clark and Superboy. The flying wirework was equal to the movies, but the greenscreen flying effects were less convincing. Still, it was good to see a live-action Super-series of any kind, and was the next best thing to a Superman series.

Below, another cable trade magazine ad for the show.

And lastly, an article from Electronic Media magazine about the movie from the Disney studio to Universal. Sadly, I don't have the rest of the article.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

1989 Family Channel Batman ad

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This full-page ad, published in a fall 1989 cable trade magazine, is a very nice rendition of Adam West's campy Caped Crusader.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1978 "The Time Machine" TV remake

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Clipped from the November 4-10 1978 TV Guide. I was always a fan of George Pal's "The Time Machine," so it was with a skeptical eye that I watched this new made-for-tv version that Sunday. I even taped the audio, which I still have in a drawer somewhere with hundreds of old cassettes I can't bring myself to throw away. I shouldn't have bothered taping it, though, because it lived down to my low expectations and more.
These clippings still made it into my scrapbook, however, and they exist as proof that this telefilm did indeed exist. Did you ever see it, and if so, what memories do you have of it? My love for the Pal version probably colored my perception of this movie. For those that saw it when young, not influenced by the earlier film, it could have been something they really liked, I'm sure.

Wiki entry on the 1978 TV movie:
A low-quality TV version was made in 1978, with very unconvincing time-lapse images of building walls being de-constructed, and inexplicable geographic shifting from Los Angeles to Plymouth, Mass., and inland California. John Beck starred as Neil Perry, with Whit Bissell (from the original 1960 movie and also one of the stars of the 1966 television series The Time Tunnel) appearing as one of Perry's superiors. Though only going a few thousand years into the future, Perry finds the world of the Eloi and Morlocks, and learns the world he left will be destroyed by another of his own inventions. The character Weena was played by Priscilla Barnes of Three's Company fame.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fantastic Films article on Outer Limits

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Scanned from my copy of the 5th issue of "Fantastic Films," published in December of 1978, is an indepth look at one of the most memorable science fiction series to come out of the 60's... which isn't Star Trek. The Outer Limits had a different monster every week, and at my tender age of six, when it first came out, it was too scary for me. Even the commercials would almost make me wet my pants, they were so terrifying! It was a few years later, when it was in rereuns, that I began to appreciate the show, and the delicious chills it brought to my spine. Even today when watching it, it takes me back to when I was 10 years old, watching it at my Grandma's house late at night. It had the best monsters anywhere, even counting the movies. I hope you enjoy this 30-year-old retrospective on this awesome 44-year-old series!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Logan's Run TV show article

Clipped the day before Halloween in 1977, from the Macon Telegraph's local TV guide. Despite having a pretty cool intro theme, and the involvement of veteran Trek writers David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana, the series never got up to running at full speed and was pretty forgettable. Tooling around in an fugly car --one of the worst-designed sci-fi vehicles ever-- and saddled with a boring robot that would have made Data look like the life of the party, they hit too many potholes in a series that really should have been renamed "Logan's Drive" to be accurate.

Basically a retread of Roddenberry's failed "Genesis II" pilot (survivors travelling around a post-apocalyptic U.S. encountering splinter groups), rather than a real sequel to the theatrical movie, the viewer was left asking "are we there yet?"

Their wheels would have made Buck Rogers lower his thumb and let them drive on by.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

1978 Buck Rogers TV show clipping

Clipped from the Miami Herald on Oct. 15th, 1978.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

60's Space On The Brain

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I'm still wondering what a "drogue" chute is.

Continuing with the look back at the period in American history when visiting the moon was still an unrealised goal... above, a space-themed cartoon from the pages of The Saturday Evening Post, Jan 29, 1966. UPDATE: thanks to a comment about the "drogue" chute, I looked it up, and the cartoonist had his terms right! Here's the Wiki entry on it.

Below: Space was all the rage in the 60's, as this far-out, spacey ad from the same Post issue for a new refrigerator shows. Mod for the "now" generation, baby!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

1962: Astronaut In A Can: Updated!

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To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing in 1969, here is a scan of a Life magazine from April 27, 1962. Although it might look like a fanciful (and comically off-base) painting of an imagined future, it's actually a photo of a man testing out an early prototype of a moon suit. One can only imagine how heavy that thing must be at 300 lbs, and it would have been difficult to get out of the capsule in something so bulky! And if you fell over, forget getting up by yourself. No, this was one that thankfully never made it past the testing stage. I thought that the science fiction nature of this stage of preparation would be a good way for the blog to salute all the hard work and effort that went into making the dream happen.

Update: Reader Michael Craft left a comment below that identified the moonsuit design as being adapted for the Major Matt Mason moon exploration set. So I found an image online of the toy to post here for comparison. It's a perfect match, even the suit number is the same. Thanks for the heads-up!

Monday, July 13, 2009

1978 This Island Earth article

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The article this time comes from the June 1978 issue of Science Fantasy Film Classics, the cover to which you can view here. I have just posted several articles from it over on one of my other blogs, "My Star Trek Scrapbook."

Admittedly a somewhat minor classic, "Island" still rightfully deserves classic status, and occupies a place close to the heart of many kids that grew up in the 50's, and those that knew of it from "Famous Monsters" and such magazines, like me. Chock full of aliens, space ships (the saucer resembles the main hull of the later U.S.S. Enterprise, no coincidence I'm sure), bug-eyed, exposed-brain mutants, battles in space and more, it is quintessential 50's sci-fi.

One thing that always struck me as odd about the "Mu-tant" costume was... "why pants?" I mean, really... would a bipedal insectoid/crusteacean creature need trousers? Why not just design more of the crab-like armor over his loins and thighs? But what's worse is, the pants don't just come down and end with a hem at the ankle, it seems to run into his bug suit and to plainly become part of the carapace again! So, is he wearing the pants, or are they part of his own body?

If the Creature From the Black Lagoon had come out of the water wearing swimming trunks it wouldn't have been more ridiculous... unless the trunks also had scales and blended with his body, yet had a belt in it! This seems to have just been laziness or perhaps they ran out of money when building the suit. "Can't afford monster legs? Just stick him in some baggy pants, then! The kids will never notice!"

If I had one major criticism of the movie, it would be the short amount of time devoted to the actual visit to Metaluna. The film is mostly taken up with the mystery of who these high-foreheaded people are and what they are doing, but the trip to their planet, brief adventure and trip back seems rushed and inconsequential. "Well, we're here! Oops, too late, we've lost the war... let's get you back home." Devoting more of the film to their time on the alien planet, and contributing to the solution to (or winning of) the space war would have been more fulfilling... as opposed to getting there just in time to see it destroyed. The entire setting of the Earth-bound think-tank could have been jettisoned in favor of starting the trip to space at that point in the film.

But, all in all, the movie is fun and full of effects, and certainly not bad enough to be chosen to spoof in "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie." Although I admit I was amused by the passing resemblence and mannerisms of the main alien Exeter (Jeff Morrow) to Robin Williams, and I was half-way expecting him to break out with "Nanu-nanu!" any time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

1974's Shazam TV Show

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(Note: This is a post I already made some time ago on another of my blogs, "Held Over!" but since creating this one it seemed to fit here better. So, I'm reposting it here in case you missed it over there, and just to put it where it belonged.)

The scan above is from TV Guide around 1974, while the "Shazam" Saturday morning series was in early production. (Sorry about the faded Scotch tape in the middle.) Jackson Bostwick, the first (and my favorite) Captain Marvel on the show, is shown doing the flying stunts. If it seemed that the Big Red Cheese was flying roughly 10 feet above the highway most of the time, this truck-based flying rig explains why. They could have taken a cue from the effects done in the 1940's Captain Marvel serial, which were far superior to anything else done at the time and were the best seen in movies or TV for over three decades later, including this show.

The article above I clipped from "The Star" tabloid about the same time. I really liked the show and seldom missed it Saturday mornings. I still get a chill watching it when he changes into Captain Marvel! The musical buildup, the animated effects of the transformation, and the subsequent leap into the air, were all done very well. They handled the drama and power of the change better than any other medium has, including his appearance on the Justice League episode "Clash." Sure, this Cap was more involved in lifting fallen trees and stopping runaway cars than fighting super-villains, but for a kid's show it was well done and exciting, and I have great nostalgic memories of it. I hope how soon the first season is released on DVD! As it is, I have my episodes taped off of TV Land latenight showings from a few years back.

Below, an article from a local TV guide supplement published in the Macon Telegraph (GA) on Oct. 6, 1974.

And what teen boy could NOT have a crush on Isis as portrayed by JoAnna Cameron? The article above came from a local TV guide newspaper supplement that I clipped while living in Ft. Lauderdale FL in 1975 when she joined the lineup with her own show.

Let's hope that the still-in-development Shazam movie gets made soon, and that it fulfills the possibilities of the character. It could really rock! And wouldn't it be nice if they gave Jackson a cameo role in it also? And the second actor to fill the red tights, John Davey, did a good job, but you always like best the actor you saw first in a role.