The Eleven Coolest Things in Starlog #002: Gene Roddenberry Has a Big Pipe, and Bigfoot Is Just Big

Friday, June 21, 2013 at 6:00 am
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The second issue of Starlog was published in September of 1976, three months after the premiere issue. It would be quarterly for another issue before bumping up to eight times a year in January of 1977, not reaching coveted monthly status until the 20th issue in April of 1979, by which point the post-Star Wars boom was fully underway and there were more than enough new movies and shows to cover. But in the second issue, Starlog was still finding its way, mostly by looking back. So, let's look back at Starlog looking back! As always, if you'd like to read along at home, the full run of Starlog is available over at the Internet Archive, and here's the first installment of this series.

1. The Most Exciting Picture of the 1976.

From the inside cover. If you weren't there at the time, it's impossible to convey just what a big deal the whole "Bigfoot-on-The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman" was. So big that by the time I saw the episode in syndication in the early 1980s, it was still a very big deal.
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In a just world, this would have been an even more popular poster than the Farrah Fawcett one.

2. The Editor Is Contrary about 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In the "From the Bridge" column at the beginning, Editor-in-chief David Houston is worried about what he sees as a trend in sci-fi to emphasize flash over substance. (Again, this is before he or anyone else knew what a huge, game-changing deal Star Wars would be.) He calls out Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular for setting a standard of sloppy storytelling. It's an interesting perspective, and one that's in opposition to the current belief that the film's mysterious ending is now considered one of its greatest assets; that showing the aliens would have of robbed the movie of much of its power. I personally agree with the current belief that 2001 wouldn't have quite the same punch if we saw the aliens, and this almost feels like what we'd now consider troll-bait. (I've peeked ahead to the next couple issues, and if anyone strongly disagreed with him, they didn't bother to write - or Starlog didn't bother to print it.)
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3. Luke Starkiller Kisses His Sister, But We Don't Know That Yet.

From the "Log Entries" section, between tidbits on the never-to-be filmed When Worlds Collide remake and the still-filming King Kong remake, we find the very first mention in Starlog of what would eventually be known as Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. In the first paragraph, an uncredited critic is quoted as saying, "...everything in science fiction you've always wanted to see on the screen but knew no-one would ever put there." Funny how that sentence sounds like something George Lucas would write, huh?
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4. Gene Roddenberry's Pipe is Just a Pipe.

An astonishingly fawning (and page-filling) profile of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry shames us all for not being more like him.
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Gene loves tobacco almost as much as he loves adventure. Why aren't you a script-writin' pilot cop?
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5. The Star Trek Movie Is Almost Certainly Totally Going To Happen, Probably!

This densely-packed article assures us that the on-again off-again Star Trek movie project, which had been scheduled to start shooting in July of 1976 but fell through, is now expected to go before the cameras in January of 1977. It's still "untitled, unwritten, and uncast," but that's no reason not to be optimistic! Of course, the movie eventually would be scrapped in favor of a new television series called Star Trek: Phase II, which itself would be scrapped for a movie after Star Wars hit. See what you've done, Lucas? In any event, one of Roddenberry's ideas for the movie was to make it a prequel, showing how Kirk and crew got their start. That concept fell through, and as history has shown us, would never, ever become the basis for a successful Star Trek movie.
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