Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Man from Atlantis!

Hey! Been a while since I traveled this road, huh?

For those of you who’ve joined our program already in progress, one of the “irregularly recurring features” I like to play around with here in the confines of this blog-type thing is something I like to call, “Tied Up With Tie-ins.” Basically, it’s when I decide to take a fond look back at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. Given my penchant for nostalgia and collecting old books, I figure this is a nice intersection for those two interests, which often means I’m revisiting something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood. That said, I’m certainly not above babbling about something newer if it tickles my fancy.

This time around, we’re heading back to the 1970s and taking a (not too) deep dive to pay a visit to Patrick Duffy, who before he was Bobby Ewing and the dad from Step By Step and Bobby Ewing again, was Mark Harris, the Man from Atlantis.

Continue reading “Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Man from Atlantis!”

Listen to the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast!

It’s Halloween Eve, everybody!

On this evening 83 years ago, Orson Welles and the cast of CBS radio seriesThe Mercury Theater on the Air set out to present a new episode of their weekly program. For this latest installment, the 17th of the still fairly new program, Welles and his company of actors performed an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ seminal science fiction novel from 1898, The War of the Worlds.

Perform they did…to such a successful degree that a whole bunch of people listening to the show that night apparently lost their minds, certain in the knowledge that Earth was being invaded by aliens from Mars.

Awkward.

Updating Wells’ story so that the action takes place the “present day” of that night in 1938, Welles along with writer Howard Koch also moved the events from Victorian London to Grover Mill, New Jersey. The adaptation presented The War of the Worlds as a series of radio news broadcasts pretending to interrupt other “regular” programming. Many of those who missed the announcement at the start of the show or Welles’ remarks at the end of the broadcast actually thought they were hearing real news interruptions reporting disturbances in and around Grovers Mill, along with frightening descriptions of the otherworldly machines and the destruction they were wreaking as they advanced across the countryside.

Accounts vary as the effectiveness of the unintended ruse as well as public reaction, but we know CBS received a number of phone calls both from private citizens as well as police asking what Welles and his group were smoking thinking to pull such a crazy stunt. There was also speculation that newspapers–dealing with drops in revenue as more people tuned into radio programs to get their news–may even have exaggerated the reports of panic as a means of “punching back” against radio as a credible news source, particularly if they allowed such irresponsible decisions as allowing fictional programs to “masquerade” as news.

The broadcast long ago earned its place in pop culture. It remains remains a staple of Halloween programming on radio stations to this day. Schools and radio stations often perform their own versions of the play, and it has been officially updated/remade on at least two separate occasions, including one performance by L.A. Theatre Works and featuring Leonard Nimoy, John DeLancie and a host of other actors from the different Star Trek series.The original broadcast has been referenced and parodied or provided story springboards in numerous films, television series, books and comics, and the events of the invasion at Grovers Mill even were included into the backstory of the War of the Worlds television series, itself a sequel to the 1953 film.

In 1988 as part of the the program’s 50th anniversary celebration, AT&T video newsmagazine Directions interviewed surviving telephone operators from across the United States who were working that evening, and dealt with the huge influx of calls from terrified listeners. Decades before cell phones or even 911, operators were the first point of contact for those seeking emergency assistance. Needless to say, those folks had an interesting evening. Check out an archived version of the video at the AT&T Archives: “Operators Help Save the World from Martians.”

Meanwhile, you can listen to the original broadcast available for free by visiting this link on YouTube:

Freedom Forum: “War of the Worlds 1938 Radio Broadcast”

Have a listen. Just remember….it’s not real.

At least, that’s what they want you to think.

It’s Jupiter 2 Launch Day!

October 16th, 1997:

“This is the beginning. This is the day. You are watching the unfolding of one of history’s greatest adventures–man’s colonization of space beyond the stars. The first of what may be as many as ten million families per year is setting out on its epic voyage into man’s newest frontier, deep space. Reaching out into other worlds from our desperately overcrowded planet, a series of deep thrust telescopic probes have conclusively established a planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri as the only one within range of our technology able to furnish ideal conditions for human existence.

Even now the family chosen for this incredible journey into space is preparing to take their final pre lift off physical tests. The Robinson family was selected from more than two million volunteers for its unique balance of scientific achievement, emotional stability, and pioneer resourcefulness. They will spend the next five and a half years of their voyage frozen in a state of suspended animation which will terminate automatically as the spacecraft enters the atmosphere of the new planet.”

Lost In Space, “The Reluctant Stowaway”

jupiter2-missionpatch

Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Dark Skies!

Yep. Feelin’ the need to babble about some tie-ins.

For those new to this “irregularly recurring blog feature, “Tied Up With Tie-ins” happens when I get the itch to take a (usually) fond look back at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. This often means something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood, though I’m certainly not snobby about checking out something newer.

For this latest installment, though? We’re turning back the clock a bit…not too far, but just far enough to be reminded that “History as we know it is a lie” thanks to a little TV show called Dark Skies.

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70 years ago was The Day the Earth Stood Still.

“I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: Join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer; the decision rests with you.”

Klaatu, taking “F*ck Around and Find Out” interstellar.

Today, September 18th, 2021 (if you’re counting its New York City premiere; September 20th if you mean opening across the U.S.), marks the 70th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite films, The Day the Earth Stood Still from 1951. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. Though I’m of course too young to have seen it in theaters, I watched it numerous times when I was a kid, whenever it ran on my local TV station’s Saturday afternoon SF/horror movie double feature. When home video became accessible even to poor bastards like me, TDTESS was one of the first films I acquired on VHS, and later LaserDisc and eventually DVD and (finally?) Blu-ray. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve watched it, and thanks to a local theater owner here in Kansas City, I was finally able to watch a pristine print of the film on a big theater screen several years ago.

(We pause to recall fangasms…..everybody good? Okay. Moving on….)

Continue reading “70 years ago was The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

“Space…the final frontier….”

These are the voyages where the legend began, 55 years ago tonight!

I’ve mentioned this before (about a zillion times), but my earliest memories include Star Trek to some degree. I wasn’t old enough to watch the show during its original broadcast run, but I watched the reruns every day after school. Beyond that, I had the Mego figures and that crazy bridge set. I built the AMT models, and I read the occasional Gold Key comic book or poster book or collection of James Blish episode adaptations.

All of that was just filler of course. Anchoring all of that were the reruns. Always, the reruns.

Back in those far off days of Yesteryear which was the setting for my childhood, you had to wait for your favorite episodes to cycle back around in the rotation on one of your local TV stations. I watched the series on a little black and white television and its crappy little antenna as the show was broadcast on a low-power local UHF channel in Tampa. Depending on the time of day and prevailing weather conditions, I might not always get a decent picture. If I was out in the boonies somewhere–like my aunt’s house–I might have to fiddle with the antenna throughout the episode, and as often as not I might be forced to choose between having a picture or having sound.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that today also marks the 48th anniversary of the animated Star Trek series, which premiered on NBC on this date in 1973. I did catch (most of) those episodes during their initial run, and the show helped to spark a lot of the Trek-related toys and other merchandise which came out in the mid 1970s, like those aforementioned Mego action figures.

Today, of course, I have Star Trek literally at my fingertips: Blu-rays on the shelf or episodes streaming over the internet, and I even have my favorite episodes stored on my phone. Then there are the books (Fun fact: I’ve written a few of those, in case you were wondering), comics, role-playing games, computer games, toys, models, websites, and pretty much anything you’d care to name. Star Trek is everywhere. Hold up a picture of the original Enterprise or Kirk and Spock, and most people will know what you’re talking about.

Meanwhile, fate and circumstances have seen to it that I’m able to continue contributing — albeit in a very small way — to this vast, ever-expanding universe that Gene Roddenberry gave us back in 1966. It is the very definition of a “dream job.” I doubt I’ll ever have another job that’s as rewarding and just plain fun as what I’m currently privileged to do, and I never allow myself to take that for granted. Ever. My only regret is that I didn’t figure this out years and years ago.

Speaking of years? Star Trek looks pretty dapper for 55. Enjoy your cake, everybody.

Tied Up With Tie-ins: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea!

Has it really been *five months* since the last time I did one of these? Well, I suppose I’ve been busy, and besides…I warned you about this particular blog feature. I believe the words “irregularly recurring” were used.

So, there you go.

For those wondering what this is all about, “Tied Up With Tie-ins” is where I take a (usually) fond look back at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. This often means something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood. Examples include novels based on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic WomanPlanet of the Apes, and Space: 1999 among others. That said, I’m not snobby about newer stuff, as I’ve previously written about novels based on one of my favorite TV series of the 21st century, 24 and I’m curretnly eyeballing for future installments shows like Castle and (maybe) the JAG/NCIS franchise. We shall see.

Meanwhile, this latest installment, I’m returning to those thrilling days of yesteryear as we dive beneath the waves and down into the ocean’s murky depths, on a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea….

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Happy Judgment Day!

Roses are Red
Violets Are Blue
Humanity’s toast
Suck on my big fat CPU.

Love, Skynet.                                             

Celebrating the 24th anniversary of the fall of humanity and the rise of the machines.

Judgment Day: August 29th, 1997. Sunblock optional.

Here’s hoping you can get out, enjoy it, and maybe take advantage of all the sales!