Monday, December 19, 2016

German SPACE: 1999 Comics

These terrific Space: 1999 ("Mondbasis Alpha 1") comics covers from Germany were sent to me over two years ago (!) by reader Kessler Tobias, but got lost in my e-mail. In any case, better late than never! Kessler didn't include any publication info, or identification of the artists, but damn, look at these! 50's pulp-styled robots! Giant ants! Enjoy!


Friday, November 4, 2016

THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1977)

On this day in 1977, CBS aired Kenneth Johnson's first Incredible Hulk television movie, which led to a five year, 82 episode weekly series. My thirteen year-old mind was blown... and I've never been quite right since.

Friday, October 21, 2016

BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980) NBC Television Intro


Here's the NBC television intro for their early-80s presentation (the video says 1983, but I'm pretty sure it actually aired in '82) of Roger Corman's space war epic, Battle Beyond The Stars. This was the first time I saw the film, and I remember that I had some friends over that evening and we had a great time watching it. I always thought it amusing that NBC blurred out St. Exmin's (Sybil Danning) cleavage, especially since the network was well known for its T&A-centric programming.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rare PLANET OF DINOSAURS (1977) Poster

 A variety of Star Wars spacecraft meet prehistoric beasties in this rare poster for 1977's Planet Of Dinosaurs. This image was recently posted on a Facebook stop-motion animation fan group, and identified by Dinosaurs effects artist Jim Aupperle as being of Lebanese origin.

Regardless of its origins, it's delightful example of International hucksterism, 70's sci-fi pop art... and shameless copyright infringement! Enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2016

BUCK ROGERS on CD

A couple years ago, Intrada released two multi-disc CD collections of incidental music from both seasons of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. The two volumes represent pretty much all of the original musical cues composed by Stu Phillips, Johnny Harris, Les Baxter, Bruce Broughton and several others for the 1979-80 NBC space opera series.

They've gotten a bit hard to find, and are expensive when you do, but they come highly recommended, as they transport you back to Buck's 25th century and provide hours of nostalgic listening.

Today's post, though, is primarily to showcase the gorgeous cover art by Paul Shipper. They're great illustrations.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

STAR TREK (1966)


I’m one year older than Star Trek. Of course, as memories of my early years are lost to the fog of infancy and toddlerhood, I don’t recall really becoming aware of its existence until I was about nine years old, when, in 1974, the Star Trek animated series became a staple of my Saturday morning cartoon viewing. Around the same time, I received a Mego Captain Kirk action figure for Christmas. Other random Trek toys – and a few James Blish paperback novelizations – followed, and for Christmas of 1976, my favorite cousin gifted me with a copy of Bjo Trimble’s seminal Star Trek Concordance.

You’ll have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the original series as yet, and that’s because, in the early Seventies, Trek rarely appeared on any of the four television channels our rooftop aerial was capable of snagging out of the ether. So my love for Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al, was first nurtured via the cartoon and Blish paperbacks. When I got the Concordance, with its encyclopedic coverage of the classic series, I was able to familiarize myself with the episodes I had not yet seen, whetting my appetite to the point of nigh-insatiability.

Of course, eventually, I saw the entire series (although a few of those episodes eluded me until my sojourn to art school in Jersey in the early 80s, where I finally received a TV channel that aired the show nightly), and, already well-indoctrinated in the mythos, found my passion for the 23rd century and the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise continuing to grow and thrive. Then came The Motion Picture, The Wrath and The Search. There was a Voyage Home, a somewhat disappointing detour into The Final Frontier, and an emotional denouement on the shores of an Undiscovered Country.

Other treks followed, with next generations, lost voyagers and denizens on the edge of deep space, but it was always the (sadly truncated) original Five-Year-Mission that inspired and informed the person I became.

I learned the value of reason and logic from an alien with pointed ears and a Satanic visage. I learned the nobility of humanity and compassion toward all life, regardless of shape, color or form, from an anachronistic Southern medic. And, most importantly, I learned about the worth of boldness, courage, and tempered wisdom from a charming leader with a confident swagger sporting a gold tunic. Kirk was a fighter, a diplomat, a philosopher - and a libidinous wolf – but in my eyes, he was the best of us as a species. He wasn’t perfect – and to his credit, usually admitted his flaws and acknowledged his mistakes – but he was also a man of intelligence and action, who sought out brave new worlds and always had his eye on the future.

I have aspired to all of these things, and usually fallen woefully short. But Star Trek continues to fire my imagination, fuel my creative efforts, inform my social conscience and drive my personal ambitions. To me, it’s not just a television show, and apparently, many, many others feel the same way. If that wasn’t the case, then we wouldn’t be celebrating the anniversary of its debut fifty years ago today. The brand wouldn’t be gracing new movies and TV shows (regardless of their relative merits) on our screens, large and small(er). And Star Trek wouldn’t still be sparking imaginations and inspiring so many people, of all ages and backgrounds.

May Gene Roddenberry’s vision of humanity’s future live long and prosper... and the U.S.S. Enterprise and her valiant crew go boldly on forever.

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...?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Captain's bLog: 0718.16

Return Of The Blogger:  Wow. I haven't posted a "Captain's bLog" entry since November, 2014. Of course, I haven't posted to the blog much at all for the last couple of years, though I've never completely abandoned it. Working on this blog has always been a labor of love for me, but after six years of fairly regular posting, it eventually became a bit harder to justify the time I spent on the blog.

There are a number of reasons for this; most prominently, I've been spending more of my time on my comic book writing. Time and energy spent writing posts about Battlestar Galactica, Planet Of The Apes, Ark II and The Incredible Hulk was time I wasn't spending on writing comic book scripts, publisher pitches or short stories.

Additionally, a couple years back, my state lawmakers made it so that I could no longer earn money through Amazon referrals, and while I never made significant cubits that way, the payments that I did receive at least helped amortize the time spent on 70s sci-fi nostalgia. Every once in a while, generous readers made donations to the site, and I always tried to pay back their kindness with extra content, but such contributions were few and far between.

I also had some discouraging feedback that undercut my enthusiasm for retro blogging, such as a fairly vicious comment thread on Reddit where my passion for this subject matter was savaged and I was accused of being a sexist monster for the "Space Babes" feature. Perhaps I shouldn't have, but I took it personally.

Still, as I mentioned before, I never completely abandoned this blog, posting occasionally when the mood struck or I found something cool I really wanted to share, or had a relevant news item to post.

Ultimately, I'm still here... and I'm pondering ways to increase the frequency of updates here on the blog and ways to refresh and "reboot" the site. I'm considering opening the blog up to occasional "guest posts" from other Star Kids (if you're interested, drop me a line at atomicpulp@gmail.com), and will probably start posting capsule reviews of the few Space: 1970-era television shows that still are not commercially available in the U.S., like Project U.F.O. and The Fantastic Journey. Look for more "Fave Fives" and "Hall of Fame" posts, as well.

Justifying my time on the blog (and, thus, away from my other writing) is still a concern, but I received a very generous donation from a Space: 1970 fan this weekend, so I'll be making a sincere effort to publish more frequent blog updates throughout August and September.

Sometime soon, look for a review of a rarely-seen 1981 fantasy telefilm and a new "Fave fives" post.

Thanks to all of you who haven't given up on Space: 1970. Your patience and support is appreciated.

Shameless plug: Perils On Planet X in print!  Over the past few years, I've occasionally mentioned my comic, Perils On Planet X. Originally serialized online, the entire, three-issue pulp space opera miniseries was officially published earlier this year under my own Atomic Pulp imprint, and is now available in print via mail order from IndyPlanet.

Each issue is 32 full-color pages, printed on high-quality, heavy paper stock. All three issues are also available as digital downloads, for those who prefer to read comics electronically.

If you're a fan of stuff like John Carter of Mars, Flash Gordon or Blackstar, you might enjoy Perils.  It's got monsters, rayguns, jetpacks, swordplay, sexy lady sky pirates, and a beautiful space princess. I'd appreciate it if you checked it out.

Space: 1970 Wants You: I've always been open to - and grateful for - submissions from my readers. Now I want to outright encourage you folks to send me any cool Space: 1970-era stuff you might think would be interesting to your fellow Star Kids. Rare photos and production art, behind-the-scenes stills, nominations for "Space Babes" or Reader Polls, pretty much anything, really. Hell, even if you'd like to write a Guest Post, just e-mail me. I'll do my best to credit any contributions I use, of course.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS (1978) Press Stills

This weekend, we've got a handful of press photos from the 1978 John Dark-Kevin Connor adventure fantasy, Warlords Of Atlantis, starring stalwart Doug McClure and lovely Lea Brodie.

While it's not my favorite of the Dark/Connor/McClure epics, I do enjoy revisiting it once a year or so. It's not based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel this time, but the filmmakers follow the same basic formula, and have added some highly imaginative touches of their own. The creature effects are low-tech fun, and, the rapid pace and slightly tongue-in-cheek tone makes for another entertaining Saturday matinee adventure.

It's too bad that it's still not readily available on home video in the U.S.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

News: MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978) Blu-ray Available For Pre-Order

Shout! Factory has announced that it will be releasing a high-definition Blu-ray edition of Kinji Fukasaku's 1978 epic Message From Space in September. This is a limited edition release - only 1,000 copies will be made - and it's available for pre-order now, exclusively through the Shout! website.

This is the U.S. English-language version, and the only bonus features are the trailer and a still gallery. It's a little pricey for my budget, but I've already pre-ordered my copy. I love this movie, space fireflies, magic walnuts and all.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

News: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1979) Blu-ray Details Announced

Proving that even movies that are generally considered to be bad ones can still get some high-def love, Blue Underground has announced details for its upcoming Blu-ray release of George McCowan's sci-fi adventure film The Shape of Things to Come (1979), starring Jack Palance, Carol Lynley, Barry Morse, John Ireland, Eddie Benton, and Nicholas Campbell. The release, originally scheduled for late August, has been slightly delayed (due to the adding of additional bonus features), and will now be available for purchase on September 27.

As I've stated here many times before, I rather enjoy this film, regardless of its weaknesses. All it takes are a few miniature spaceships and a robot or two to make this Star Kid happy.

So, I'm pleased that Blue Underground has put together such a cool release and am looking forward to having this Blu-ray on my shelf next to Battlestar Galactica, Battle Beyond The Stars and Starcrash!

Synopsis: Planet Earth is a devastated wasteland, and what's left of humanity has colonized the Moon in domed cities. Humanity's continued survival depends on an anti-radiation drug only available on planet Delta Three, which has been taken over by Omus, a brilliant but mad mechanic who places no value on human life. Omus wants to come to the Moon to rule and intends to attack it by ramming robot-controlled spaceships into the domes. Dr. John Caball, his son Jason, Jason's friend, Kim, and a robot named Sparks embark on Caball's space battlecruiser on an unauthorized mission to Delta Three to stop Omus.

Special Features:
  • Jason's Journey - New interview with Star Nicholas Campbell
  • Symphonies In Space - New interview with Composer Paul Hoffert
  • French Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Poster & Still Gallery
  • Pressbook Gallery
Tech Specs:
  • Audio Specs: English 5.1 DTS-HD & DTS-HD Mono
  • Optional Subtitles: English SDH, Français, Español
  • All Regions
The Shape of Things To Come Blu-ray is now available for pre-order through Amazon and other online retailers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Remembering QUESTAR Magazine

Another Starlog wannabe, MW Communications' Questar ran for 13 issues between the Spring of 1978 and October, 1981. Originally a semi-pro fanzine covering SF fandom with original fiction, the magazine received national newsstand distribution with its 7th issue, and shifted emphasis toward the sort of science fiction film and TV coverage seen in magazines like Starlog and Fantastic Films.

Though slickly produced and nicely art-directed, Questar was editorially inconsistent and uninspired, with considerable sub-par writing. Still, it did include some good interviews with noted SF authors (and personalities like Forrest J. Ackerman), and even a comic strip or two.

I rarely saw Questar on local newsstands, but I'm pretty sure that I do have a couple of issues stashed away somewhere....

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Official BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Scrapbook (1978)

One of several Galactica book tie-ins from 1978, James Neyland's Official Battlestar Galactica Scrapbook was a reasonably in-depth look at the making of the "Saga Of A Star World" pilot film, and featured tons of cool stills from the show (including an 8-page "cosmic color" photo insert).

The book includes interviews with Glen Larson, John Dykstra, costume designer Jean-Pierre Dorleac, and pilot director Richard Colla, as well as extensive background on all the major cast members and the characters they portrayed.

There's a lot of stuff crammed into its 104 pages, but the one note that always stuck in my head was the revelation that the much-derided Colonial motorcycles seen in the Galactica: 1980 spin-off were actually planned to be part of the heroes' land transportation "fleet" as early as the planning of the pilot!

I still have my copy of this book sitting on my film/TV reference shelves, although it is, admittedly, a bit scuffed and dented after all these years.

(Yes, I have mentioned this book here on the blog before, but thought it worth revisiting.)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

PROJECT U.F.O. (1978) TV Guide Ad

Here's NBC's TV Guide advertisement for the premiere episode of legendary producer Jack Webb's Project U.F.O. (and if you remember the program being called anything else, you're mistaken. Trust me, we've investigated it exhaustively.)

I'm thinking of maybe publishing episode-by-episode capsule reviews of the show (and, possibly, The Fantastic Journey, as well). Is there any interest in that?

Friday, May 27, 2016

News: THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT (1977) on Blu-ray

The sequel to American-International's Doug McClure lost world epic, The Land That Time Forgot, 1977's equally epic The People That Time Forgot, is now available on Blu-ray in the U.S., courtesy of Kino-Lorber & Scorpion Releasing. It hit store shelves on Tuesday and I picked up mine yesterday.

The Blu-ray features a very colorful and detailed 16x9 widescreen transfer of the John Dark-produced fantasy film and it looks quite spectacular. Bonus features include an audio commentary by director Kevin Connor and filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, on-camera interviews with actresses Sarah Douglas and Dana Gillespie, and trailers for both this film and its precursor.

It's a very fine presentation all around and highly recommended for fans of the John Dark-Kevin Connor adventure series.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (1977) Bendable Alien

There wasn't a whole lot of Close Encounters merchandise released to tie-in with Steven Spielberg's UFO epic - a novelization, a Warren souvenir magazine, a few other odds and ends - at least, not compared to other sci-fi blockbusters of the era, and certainly not a lot merch aimed at kids.

One exception was this cheerful extraterrestrial "bendy" from rack toy specialists Imperial. All things considered, it's a pretty fair likeness of CE3K's featured alien, goofy smile and all.

Friday, April 29, 2016

News: THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (1979) Coming to Blu-ray this Summer

On August 30th, video label Blue Underground will be releasing director George McCowan's 1979 Canadian space opera, The Shape Of Things To Come on Blu-ray disc.

Although frequently cited as among the worst of the 70s Star Wars rip-offs, I have admitted here on this site more than once a certain fondness for the low budget interstellar "epic," and I am looking forward to having a high definition edition on my shelves next to Battle Beyond The Stars and Starcrash.

Yeah, it's a pretty dumb movie, but I find it kinda charming in its low budget ineptitude. I like the cast, which includes Space: 1999's Barry Morse, and Buck Rogers veterans Jack Palance and Eddie Benton (a/k/a Anne-Marie Martin) and I also enjoy the miniature effects, which are surprisingly decent for such a cheap production.

The Shape Of Things To Come Blu-ray can be pre-ordered now through online retailers such as Amazon.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Birthday, Colonel!

And speaking of bionics (as we were in the last post), today marks the 77th birthday of the original Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors! Colonel Steve Austin is still - and will forever be - our favorite cyborg secret agent!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BIONIC WOMAN U.K. Annuals


As with most popular television series of the Seventies, The Bionic Woman (along with its older sibling show, The Six Million Dollar Man) was popular in the United Kingdom, and received the uniquely British "annual" treatment for young viewers. There were two of these hardcover collections of fiction, games, articles and comic strips, published by Brown Watson and with artwork by Ian Gibson, released in 1977 and '78.

Special thanks to Star Kids Scott Weller (for much better cover scans) and Jeremy Briggs (for additional publication info)!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

News: FUTURE COP (1977) Now on DVD

Somehow I missed the announcement, but another short-lived 70s sci-fi series has come to DVD. Mill Creek Entertainment released the 1977 sci-fi police actioner, Future Cop - The Complete Series, last month.

Future Cop starred veterans Ernest Borgnine (The Black Hole) and John Amos as beat cops who are assigned to work with an android police officer named Haven, played by Michael Shannon.

The original pilot telefilm aired in 1976, and then in '77 ABC aired six episodes (including a two-part story, with both parts debuting back-to-back the same night) before cancelling the show. An eighth story was produced as a TV movie, airing on NBC in 1978 as a second "pilot" to try to get the show back on the air with a new network, but it didn't get picked up. The 2-disc DVD set contains all of the episodes, including the TV movies, and retails for around fifteen bucks, although Amazon currently has it for under $10.

I just ordered my copy!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Behind-The-Scenes Pix #52: THE BLACK HOLE

When the inevitable robot rebellion comes... will it look like this?

Some of the cybernetic stars of Gary Nelson's 1979 sci-fi epic for Disney, The Black Hole, pose for a group portrait, presumably during a UK publicity tour. The 'bots are on the Gateshead side of the River Tyne with the Tyne Bridge in the background.

Thanks to Star Kid Jeremy Briggs, who identified the location of the photo over on the Space: 1970 Facebook page.

Friday, April 1, 2016

BUCK ROGERS (1981) "The Golden Man" TV Guide Ad

Here's another TV Guide ad for the second season of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, specifically the episode, "The Golden Man," complete with misleading and titillating ad copy!

For other Rogers TV Guide promos, check out these earlier posts:

BUCK ROGERS TV Guide Advertisements
BUCK ROGERS 2nd Season TV Guide Ad 
More BUCK ROGERS 2nd Season TV Guide Ads!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

RETURN FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN (1978) Poster Art

Yeah, I like me some Witch Mountain - what kid of the Seventies didn't? The original two-film series from Disney featured a couple of likable adolescent leads in Ike Eisenmann (who would go on to star on TV's The Fantastic Journey and a play small part in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) and Kim Richards, some genuine menace thanks to veteran heavies like Ray Milland and Christopher Lee (and Bette Davis!) and some all-too-brief glimpses of a cool flying saucer!

Here are some of the one sheets for the second film, released to U.S. cinemas in March of 1978, Return From Witch Mountain. Personally, I think it's the weaker of the two movies, but I always enjoy Chris Lee.

I really like the striking and atmospheric poster above. I don't know the identity of the artist, but I really dig the other-worldliness of the image, which is superior to the rather TV-like look of the actual film.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

PLANET OF THE APES Toy Guns by Mattel

These toy weapons definitely wouldn't fly today (can't give kids toy firearms anymore), but you have to admire Mattel's shameless repackaging/recycling of some leftover plastic Western & WWII rifles and revolvers as Planet Of The Apes playthings. Just add a couple of POTA logo stickers and a cheap, Ben Cooper-styled ape mask, and you're ready to go!

This ad appears to have originated from a retailer's sales brochure or industry trade magazine. Does anyone remember seeing these as a kid? Or have one?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kelly Freas STAR TREK Portfolio (1976)

In 1976, legendary science fiction illustrator, Frank Kelly Freas, published the Star Trek Portfolio, featuring gorgeous charcoal portraits of the officers of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Needless to say, it's a highly-desired collectible these days.

Beginning in 1950, Freas provided the covers to hundreds of science fiction and fantasy magazines, including Weird Tales, Planet Stories, Astounding Science Fiction (and Analog), among many others. In the field of genre paperbacks, he created cover illustrations for DAW, Signet, Ballantine Books, Avon, all 58 Laser Books (which are now collectors' items), and over 90 covers for Ace books alone. He provided many covers for MAD Magazine, artwork for NASA's Skylab program, and in the Eighties, for numerous gaming publications. He also painted the cover to Queen's classic LP, News of the World, and was the first person to win ten Hugo Awards.

He passed away in 2005.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

QUARK (1978) TV Guide Ad

Here's the original NBC TV Guide ad heralding the debut of the short-lived sci-fi spoof, Quark, on February 24th, 1978. This hour-long series premiere - "May the Source Be With You" - came almost nine months after the pilot episode, which had aired the previous May.

As I've opined on this blog before, I think the show had a lot of potential, even if the handful of episodes aired were decidedly uneven in quality. I sincerely believe that had it received a full season to work out the kinks, it could have become something a lot more memorable.

Friday, January 15, 2016

JASON OF STAR COMMAND (1978) Stop-Motion Monster

Stephen Czerkas with his monster.
Photo ©Mark Wolf. All rights Reserved. Used With Permission.
Back in 1978, producer and special effects artist Mark Wolf dropped by the studio where the team of Stephen Czerkas and Jim Aupperle - both veterans of Planet of Dinosaurs - were slaving away producing stop-motion animated sequences for Filmation's ambitious live-action Saturday morning space opera, Jason Of Star Command. During his visit, he snapped these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of the monster of the week - an insectoid alien with an electric tongue(!) featured in the first season episode, "Planet of the Lost!"

 The Jason monster designs and filming models were outstanding (as the photos show) and the animation always top-notch... even if the animators, due to the network's restrictions on violent action, found their work extra challenging at times.

According to Mark, "I recall Steve and his partner, DP/animator Jim Aupperle, both remarking about how the show went to extreme lengths not to do anything too violent, which put a crimp in delivering anything  too  dramatic for Saturday mornings.  I believe it was Jim who said, 'How are the humans supposed to fight-off the monsters?  Use harsh language?'"

Photo ©Mark Wolf. All rights Reserved. Used With Permission.
Photo ©Mark Wolf. All rights Reserved. Used With Permission.
Photo ©Mark Wolf. All rights Reserved. Used With Permission.
As fans of the series - which I'm guessing is pretty much every reader of this blog - knows, the effects work on Jason was truly exceptional, going far above and beyond anything else produced for Saturday morning kid shows of the time. Much of the work was of feature film quality. Even today, most of it still holds up, especially the imaginative (and plentiful) stop-motion alien monsters.

Special Star Kid thanks to Mark Wolf for sharing these photos with Space: 1970.