Books, Daily Lists

The Twelve Coolest Things in Starlog #006: More Rumors of Star Wars, Much Merch, and Who’s the Doctor?



The sixth issue of Starlog hit the stands on April 19, 1977, the third of the eight-times-a-year issues. Readers start getting more contentious, Star Trek: The Motion Picture continues to be a quagmire, and the Doctor makes his first appearance. Also, personal gripe: it’s never okay to use three exclamation points, especially on the cover of a print magazine. It’s just not!!! (See what I did there?)

Wanna see all the stuff I skipped? The full run of Starlog is available over at the Internet Archive, and here are the previous installments of this series.

1. The Editors Give in.


Jeez, are you people happy now? I love that they list the most pragmatic reason first, that it saves them a few millimeters of horizontal real estate, and also point out that the whole thing is very dumb and basically allows the bullies to win.

Then there’s the question of what the terminology even means…

2. Yeah, But Where Are the Ray Guns?

For starters, the teeth of his comb weren’t fine enough to notice the part on the very first page where they explicitly state that Rickard had done a different Star Trek parody for Mad. This letter is also an exercise in faint-praise damning, what with “Pretty close to being one of the most entertaining and satisfying” and finding an article to be “acceptable,” give or take the article’s writer having a definition of science fiction which is different from the letter writers’, and thus is obviously wrong.

The editors slapped him down gently but firmly.


Meanwhile, a Kiwi tells us what’s what in the rest of the world, including the first reference in Starlog to Doctor Who.


Remember, for as anathema as it is now, Dr. was an entirely appropriate spelling in 1977, as evidenced by that year’s Annual (and all the Annuals leading up to it). So you’re gonna see that spelling in a lot in the near future, at least in the near future of Starlog.


Indeed, they promise more to come.


And, of course, the epic complaint we’ve all been waiting for.


As a queer woman in 2013, all I have to say about this is, heh. “Fancy Gap.”


Well done, Starlog.

3. Almost There…Stay on Target…


So close! The release date was apparently believed to be June at that point, and a few of the details are sketchy, but no matter. It’s always great to see Ralph McQuarrie’s art, and Starlog is promising to go full Star Wars in their next issue.

4. No Mere Posters, These!


Or so insists the ad copy for these works by the great Kelly Freas. A few liberties are taken in the caricatures, of course, but I’m sure George Takei didn’t mind getting a six-pack, and it’s still more realistic / less creepy than Boris did the crew, and Sulu in particular.

5. The Enterprise Continues to Prepare to Not Fly in Space.


By this point, I think they hadn’t yet scrapped the idea of retrofitting it to go into orbit, and you gotta figure that replacing that huge duck’s ass seemed like a daunting challenge.

6. Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Welcome Your 1977 Kal-El.


Oh, Christopher. Henry Cavill was fine (and I consider Brandon Routh’s performance to be underrated), but since one of my earliest filmgoing memories is my family seeing Superman: The Movie when I was five and a half years old on Christmas Eve of 1978, Reeve will always be my Superman. It’s astonishing to think that he the 6’4″ Reeve was only 190 lbs when he got the role, though, and you can see his rail-skinniness in his screen test with Margo Kidder.

7. Cons in Spaaaaaace! Wait, No, That’s Not Right.


Coverage of the third annual Space-Con, the Bay Area’s own Star Trek convention. While this one was at the roomy San Francisco Civic Auditorium, the very first Space-Con in 1975 was held at Lincoln High School in the Sunset District. Being a longtime Sunset resident, I take great pride in my neighborhood for getting things rolling. (Granted, I was a year and a half old and living in Fresno in February of ’75, but still, 94116 FTW!) Local broadcasting legend Bob Wilkins produced a one-hour special for KTVU called The Star Trek Dream about Star Trek fandom at the first Space-Con in general. I wrote about it in 2011 for SF Weekly and it includes plenty of tasty clips of hardcore pre-Bicentennial nerdiness. Also, I can’t recommend the documentary Back to Space-Con highly enough.
As for the Space-Con covered in this issue, the great Fanlore site has the cover of the program…


…and the schedule.


Two straight hours of Harlan Ellison! Also, I wonder how well-attended the 2001: A Space Odyssey screenings were, considering the mixed feelings fans had at the time. And, “Solar Power from Space.” As opposed to where? The bottom of the ocean?

8. The Doctor’s Address.


The address guide from the previous issue continues, and it’s specifically for the mid-sixties Who movies starring the about-to-be Grand Moff Tarkin. I’m actually not sure if these movies were in circulation at all in the U.S. at the time, but good on Starlog for keeping it international.

Also, an artist’s representation of the average (American) Starlog reader.


9. I’m Just Going to Leave This Right Here.


So there you go.

10. Better Than My Drawings in My Notebooks in School, That’s for Sure.


From a feature article on the animated Star Trek, including a look at the history of animation as well the state of its art, and an episode guide. And, y’know, for all the animated Trek‘s flaws – and they are legion – I’ve always appreciated the attention to detail of the of ship designs. They were trying to do it right, and it shows.

9. Stuff!! Things!!


Remember what I said before about using three exclamation points? Turns out even two is too many. That said, I wonder how much these cost, considering they don’t even hint at it in the ads. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that these are not quite, how you say, legal. But they’re pretty, and I would have been thrilled to own them back in the day.

10. Finally, Official Misinformation about the Star Trek Movie.


Okay, that’s not strictly fair. Susan Sackett’s column was intended to provide the most accurate information as was available about the developing Star Trek movie as was possible – and, being Gene Roddenberry’s personal assistant as well as the eventual author of The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, she was as reliable a source as it got. The problem, of course, was that the facts changed faster than anyone could reasonably keep up with. Hence:


Well, the movie was totally called Star Trek: The Motion Picture, so that part panned out.

And, not to nitpick, but…


Okay, that’s not strictly true about TV shows being made into movies. Usually it doesn’t take quite so many years, but more than a few shows have spawned movies. There was a Dragnet movie in 1954 (the 1987 spoof doesn’t count), and the 1966 Batman movie. Again, in both of those cases the shows were still on the air, but what I’m saying is, it was not utterly inconceivable. Heck, Jerry Lewis’s first movie was based on a radio series, which the movie’s trailer plays up. But calling Star Trek: The Motion Picture a unique snowflake fed the Trek hype machine, and that’s most important.

11. Big Damn Miniatures.


Behind-the-scenes model porn, including plenty of shots from one of my favorite movies, the 1953 War of the Worlds.





Can you still see the wires in the movie? Sure you can. That’s part of its charm, but it doesn’t make them any less effective, particularly with the great sound effects.

To get a sense of just how effective good model can be on 35mm film, compare the above to the return of the ships in the 1988 TV sequel /spinoff series. (They appear at about 1:25:44.)

The producers tried to recycle as much footage as possible, but, nope. It just doesn’t work. The technology wasn’t ready. Noble effort, though.

12. Junk Mail, and Junk Through the Mail.


A couple of firsts here. This is the first time the Classifieds have included what is essentially spam, the name-collecting and envelope-addressing stuff. Further evidence that Starlog was hitting the big time, I suppose. Also, it appears that the Star Fleet Fabrications couldn’t afford quite as much ad space as Starfleet Command (!!) earlier in the issue. (Also, “Star Fleet” just looks wrong to me. In my opinion, it needs to be a compound word.)

Most important is the first ad to incorporates graphics, and even better, it’s for the Federation Trading Post! Here’s Bob Wilkins in The Star Trek Dream from ’75, interviewing the folks who run the joint.

Also, another cameo from the Doctor.


Coming Up in Starlog #007: Star Wars, and things that are not Star Wars.

Previously by Sherilyn Connelly:

The 9 Coolest Sci-Fi Read-Along Records from the 70s and 80s

15 Awesomely Nerdy Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries You Can Watch for Free Right Now

The Eight Funniest Recurring Themes in the Original Star Wars Trading Cards

The Six Coolest Things In Starlog #001: The Voyage in Retro-Nerdery Begins

Ten Amazingly Strange Celebrity Hotlines of the 1980s

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