Sunday, December 13, 2015

Crazy! Errors: "KNIGHT RIDER" Pilot Movie

The blockbuster Knight Rider 2-hour movie pilot, "Knight of the Phoenix" premiered on September 26, 1982 - yet the End Credits have a 1987 copyright date!  Those pesky Roman Numerals...!  :-)

The End Credits (copyright 1987!?!) for the Knight Rider
pilot movie (aired Sept. 26, 1982) 

Newspaper ad for the Sept. 26, 1982 premiere of the
 Knight Rider 2-hour pilot movie

Monday, November 30, 2015

FASHION DEJA VU: The Amazing Red Shirt guest stars on "The Fugitive" and "The Six Million Dollar Man"!

The Amazing Red Shirt (worn by Roy Thinnes)
Guest Stars on The Fugitive episode
"Wine is a Traitor" (aired on Nov. 1, 1966)

The Amazing Red Shirt (worn by James McEachin)
Guest Stars on The Six Million Dollar Man
episode "Killer Wind" (aired on Oct. 16, 1977)

What other TV shows or movies has The Amazing Red Shirt appeared in?  Where is it now?  :-)

The Fugitive is copyright (c) Quinn Martin Productions and CBS / Paramount.
The Six Million Dollar Man is copyright (c) NBC / Universal.

All photos are used for illustrative purposes only.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Steel Stomachs with Dirk Benedict" - 22 minute YouTube video!

Check out this extremely fun (if somewhat goofy!) 1980's video "Steel Stomachs with Dirk Benedict"! Dirk shows us all how to get in shape - watch this 22 minute video on YouTube HERE:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Universal Studios' Successful Marketing of Classic "Battlestar Galactica" (1978)

The cast of "Battlestar Galactica" (1978 - 79)
It's a sad fact that the vast majority of television series that last for only one season disappear without a trace, never to be seen again.  The television landscape is littered with "one season wonders" that have not been seen since their original network airings.  One TV series that bucked this trend was Battlestar Galactica (1978 - 79).  This reviewer considers Battlestar Galactica to be the best science fiction TV series of the 1970's by a wide margin.

In recent years, a number of diehard BSG fans have been very vocal with their dissatisfaction with Universal Studios' (alleged) mishandling of the Battlestar Galactica franchise.  Since 2001, Universal Studios has made numerous announcements that a Battlestar Galactica movie is in the works - yet after 15 years (and multiple announcements) a BSG film still has not been made.  Some fans have claimed that this is proof that Universal Studios actually hates (yes - hates!) Battlestar Galactica with an all consuming passion.  A BSG movie announcement from 2011 can be viewed on YouTube HERE:

Despite the (thus far) - and admittedly - complete lack of progress on a BSG feature film, let's look at the cold, hard facts - in reality, Universal Studios has been aggressively marketing Battlestar Galactica since Day One - with no end in sight!  It's no secret that Universal Studios spent a vast amount of money producing the series for the 1978 - 79 television season.  Each episode cost a reported $1,000,000 to produce - an unheard television budget at the time.  As a comparison - in a 1993 Sci-Fi Channel interview, television writer / producer Bruce Lansbury stated that his 1977 science fiction series The Fantastic Journey had a budget of $300,000 per episode.  So Battlestar Galactica cost roughly THREE AND 1/4 TIMES more per episode than The Fantastic Journey from only one year earlier!  With that context in mind, Universal Studios had no choice but to market Battlestar Galactica in every conceivable way in order to recoup the enormous production costs - an all but unprecedented marketing effort that continues to this day.

Universal Studios owns a number of classic science fiction properties - Quantum LeapSeaQuest DSV, Earth 2, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Knight Rider, Voyagers! - and quite a few others.  NONE of these other properties have been extensively marketed as Battlestar Galactica! Let's break it down...

1).  Universal Studios released the epic TV pilot "Saga of a Star World" as a theatrical film that played in Canada and parts of the United States about 6 months prior to the series premiere in the Fall of 1978.  The movie did very well at the box office, considering its "TV origins" and earned about $9,000,000 (roughly $33,000,000 in 2015 dollars, adjusted for inflation).

2).  Toys and Merchandise - a HUGE amount of Battlestar Galactica toys and merchandise appeared on the market from 1978 thru the mid-1980's.  Everything from trading cards, action figures, video games and even bedsheets featured the Battlestar Galactica Logo and characters!  New toys and action figures appeared on store shelves in the mid-1990's and again in the early 2000's.  Even the famous Battlestar Galactica lunchbox was re-issued in 2013!  :-)

The Battlestar Galactica pillowcase!  :-)
The 2013 retro re-issue of the famous
Battlestar Galactica lunchbox!  :-)

3).  The Battle of Galactica at Universal Studios!  In 1979 (while the series was still in production), Universal Studios opened its popular theme park attraction, The Battle of Galactica.  Theme park visitors were entertained by an elaborate attraction featuring actors dressed as Colonial Warriors battling an army of animatronic Cylons!  The Battle of Galactica was hugely popular and lasted for 13 years (1979 to 1992). View footage from The Battle of Galactica on YouTube HERE:

4).  The Syndicated Battlestar Galactica Compilation TV Movies!  When Battlestar Galactica entered syndication in the Fall of 1981, all 24 episodes (plus bits and pieces of the sequel series Galactica: 1980) were re-edited into 14 Compilation Movies that were syndicated worldwide and also shown theatrically in many foreign markets.  Most of these movies (often unfairly maligned) feature a vast number of expanded and never-before-seen scenes as well as many alternate Special F/X shots.

5).  Syndication (in episodic form).  Toward the late '80's the Battlestar Galactica Compilation Movies were removed from syndication and the series was once again shown in its original one hour format (usually once a week) on TV stations across the U.S.  In some markets, Battlestar Galactica was often paired with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century with both series airing five days a week in a continuous rotation.  The series was then shown **exclusively** on the Sci-Fi Channel - literally from Day One in the Fall of 1992 airing in a coveted prime time slot.  Sci-Fi aired the series on and off (as well as the spin-off series Galactica: 1980) for about ten years.  I have no idea if Sci-Fi - now SyFy -  has aired the series in recent years.

6).  VHS and LaserDisc releases!  The Battlestar Galactica pilot movie as well as the Compilation movie Mission: Galactica - The Cylon Attack were released on both VHS tape and Laserdisc in the early 1980's.  Circa 1985, Universal Studios Home Video released a number of the one-hour episodes on VHS tape (with one episode per tape!) and sold for approximately $14.99.  In the mid-1990's several of the two-part episodes were released on VHS tape as well.  All of these tapes are long since sold out / out of print.

Several of the Battlestar Galactica VHS tapes
released by MCA / Universal circa 1985.
7).  DVD and Blu-Ray!  Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Battlestar Galactica on DVD in 2003 (on double-sided discs) and re-issued the series again in 2014 (on single-sided discs).  In 2015 the series was released on Blu-Ray in both the original Full Screen Format and a remastered Widescreen Format (take your choice).  Both the DVD and the Blu-Ray are loaded with special features; including Deleted Scenes for virtually every episode.  The 2003 two-sided DVD release with the 3-D Cylon packaging did (unfortunately) suffer from production defects - several of the discs would occasionially "freeze" or "skip" at random.  These defects were corrected for the 2014 single-sided DVD release.

The 2014 DVD, 10 disc re-release of
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic Series
8).  Novels!  Fourteen Battlestar Galactica novels were published from 1978 to 1988 - the first eleven novels adapted most of the episodes, while the last three were original adventures.  These novels were published around the world in many languages!  In the 1990's, series star Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo) co-wrote several original BSG novels.

Battlestar Galactica: #14 - "Surrender the Galactica!"
written by Robert Thurston

9).  Comic Books!  There have been nearly one hundred Battlestar Galactica comic books over the decades published by several different publishers.  Most of these comic book adventures were later collected into graphic novel paperback compilations that were sold in book stores world wide.

Marvel Comics published 23 issues of
Battlestar Galactica from 1979 to 1981.

Many more BSG comics would follow!
10).  The 2003 - 2010 SyFi Channel Re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica!  I have to admit that my knowledge about the "re-imagined" BSG is limited.  I watched the initial 2003 mini-series and a few episodes from the first season - I bailed out when it was revealed that the Cylon Fighter Ships were living beings...a plot device ripped off either from the alien Chigs from Space: Above and Beyond (1995 - 96) or the Doctor Who story "The Claws of Axos" (1971).  I was also completely turned off (totally weirded-out being a more accurate description) by the "gender-bending" of most of the main characters - Starbuck, Boomer, Cain - and heaven knows who else - "re-imagined" as women.  I have no idea where the "re-imagined" BSG series went after I called it quits.

The above list are just 10 examples of Universal Studios' ongoing commitment to continuing the Battlestar Galactica franchise.  Would they go to so much trouble (and expense!) promoting a TV series that they "hated"?  I'm sorry, but I just don't see it.  If anything, they have maintained an **extreme interest** in marketing the property worldwide over the past 37 years - whether that continuing interest will eventually become the long-promised BSG feature film is anyone's guess.

I would love to see a well-made Battlestar Galactica feature film as much as anyone, but if it never happens, I'm content watching (and re-watching) those magical 24 episodes of the Original Battlestar Galactica (plus "The Return of Starbuck" episode from the otherwise forgettable Galactica: 1980).

Universal Studios' most recent Battlestar Galactica promotion is the "Science Fiction Day" Promo from January of this year that was produced for the NBC Classics YouTube Channel.  This is absolutely superb!  View this **instant classic** promo on YouTube HERE:

Battlestar Galactica is copyright (c) NBC / Universal; created by Glen A. Larson.  All photos are used for illustrative purposes only.

The 100th Planet blogspot is copyright (c) by Fred deBoom; please do not quote or reproduce this copyrighted work without my permission.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Robin Williams and "Battlestar Galactica" :-)

In a word...WOW!  My mind is officially blown!  :-)

Who knew that prior to being cast in his star-making role as Mork from Ork on "Mork and Mindy", the late, great Robin Williams auditioned for the role of Lt. Starbuck on "Battlestar Galactica" (1978 - 79)?!?  This surely must be one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood!  :-)

It's fun to imagine how vastly different "Battlestar Galactica" would have been if Robin Williams had gotten the part! Can you picture Williams piloting a Viper...destroying Cylons left and right...gambling...smoking fumerellos...romancing Athena and Cassiopeia...not to mention Aurora and Miri (and maybe even the singing alien Tucana Sisters!) and becoming stranded on a lost planet with a Cylon as his only companion?  I can see it...I honestly can!  :-)

Robin Williams as Mork from Ork
- "Mork and Mindy" (1978 - 82)
**If** Robin Williams had played Starbuck, would "Battlestar Galactica" have been a 4 season hit for ABC like "Mork and Mindy" was?  Check out this great vintage video clip (above) featuring Williams outfitted as a Colonial Warrior from "Battlestar Galactica" and decide for yourself!  [All kidding aside - and in the the interest of full disclosure, this fun video clip - is NOT "Battlestar Galactica" audition footage - it's actually from a 1982 TV special called "E.T. and Friends" that Robin Williams hosted].

Can we call him Lt. Morkbuck?  Lt. Starmork?  :-)

Dirk Benedict as Lt. Starbuck
- "Battlestar Galactica" (1978 - 79)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Amazing L.B. Rayne!

L.B. Rayne (Laurence Butler Rayne) has been producing genre-themed music videos for the past several years.  This talented singer / songwriter - clearly the ultimate fanboy - is a genius!  Don't miss his great videos on YouTube. Here are four of his all-time classics...!

View "Nightmare on L.B. Street" on YouTube HERE:

View "Terminate Our Love" on YouTube HERE:

View "Where No Man's Been Before" on YouTube HERE:

View "Skywalking" on YouTube HERE:

All videos and images are copyright (c) L.B. Rayne.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

("It's Halloween, right? Everybody has a BLAST tonight!") - GALACTICA: 1980 - "The Night the Cylons Landed"

Cy (Rex Cutter) and Andromus (Roger Davis)
- Galactica: 1980 ("The Night the Cylons Landed")
It's Halloween...the perfect time to view the famous (infamous?) Galactica: 1980 two part episode "The Night the Cylons Landed".  This is no doubt the only Halloween-themed TV story that premiered a solid six months before  Halloween (April 13 and 20, 1980)!  Both parts were written by series creator Glen A. Larson.  Part 1 was directed by Sigmund Neufeld; Part 2 was directed by Barry Crane.

In this story, an advanced Cylon ship crash lands on Earth on the outskirts of New York City.  The ship is destroyed in the crash.  The two surviving Cylons - one a "classic" model Cylon and the other an advanced humanoid model - make their way to New York City.  They intend to find a radio transmitter to contact the Cylon forces in space and direct them to Earth.  Due to an incredible coincidence the Cylons have arrived on Halloween - the one night of the entire year where they can move about (relatively) unnoticed!  Meanwhile, Troy and Dillon must stop the robotic duo by any means necessary...including dressing up in tops and tails and performing in a dance routine with Scooby Doo!  Yes, this episode is as bad as it sounds!  Every sci-fi fan should experience "The Night the Cylons Landed" at least once! This two-part episode was incorporated into the Battlestar Galactica "compilation" syndicated TV movie Conquest of the Earth (it's available on VHS).

Lara Parker and Wolfman Jack
- Galactica: 1980 ("The Night the Cylons Landed")
(1) Despite many glaring flaws, the Galactica: 1980 TV series had some great opening "teasers" - literally every one is interesting and exciting.  If only the episodes were as good as the "teasers"!  :-(
(2)  At one point, Troy and Dillon adopt the names "Smith" and "Jones" - this is presumably a nod to the Glen A. Larson TV series Alias Smith & Jones (which co-starred Roger Davis).
(3)  Roger Davis and Lara Parker both appeared in the cult-classic ABC-TV daytime drama Dark Shadows (1966 - 71).

"The Night the Cylons Landed" (part 1) can be viewed on YouTube HERE:

"The Night the Cylons Landed" (part 2) can be viewed on YouTube HERE:

The opening credits of "Conquest of the Earth" can be viewed on YouTube HERE:

Battlestar Galactica and Galactica: 1980 is copyright (c) NBC / Universal; created by Glen A. Larson.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Fatal Vision" (1984) NBC-TV Mini-Series starring Gary Cole

Who can forget Fatal Vision?  This blockbuster TV mini-series (based on the book by Joe McGinness) aired over two nights on NBC in 1984 and stars Gary Cole, Karl Malden and Andy Griffith.  The film tells the story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the Green Beret U.S. Army doctor who was eventually convicted of murdering his wife and family in February of 1970.  MacDonald claims that he is innocent - he maintains that the real murderers were a group of drug-crazed hippies (three men and a woman) who broke into their small apartment on the Fort Bragg army base and attacked him and slaughtered his family.  Fatal Vision was released on VHS in the 1980's but has yet to have an official DVD or Blu-Ray release.

Fans of The Fugitive - with Dr. Kimble's story of a One-Armed Man who really killed his wife - will enjoy this film.

Is Jeffrey MacDonald guilty - or innocent?  Watch Fatal Vision - and then watch the various interviews with MacDonald on YouTube - and decide for yourself.

Watch Fatal Vision (3 hours) on YouTube HERE:

In late 1970 - only a few months after the murders - Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald was interviewed by Dick Cavett.  His "cheshire cat" grin and joking demeanor is positively chilling...  Watch a 2 minute excerpt from the interview on YouTube HERE:

Larry King interviewed Jeffrey MacDonald in 2003.  View this interview HERE:

The VHS release of Fatal Vision

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mark Hamill in "The City" (1977) - TV movie produced by Quinn Martin

Check out this great Quinn Martin NBC-TV movie from 1977 - "The City"; starring Mark Hamill, Don Johnson and Robert Forster.  Some fans believe that this 74 minute movie (which premiered on January 12, 1977) was the Original Pilot for Quinn Martin's "Tales of the Unexpected" which premiered a few weeks later on February 2, 1977.

Mark Hamill's teenage character is on a rampage - can two police officers (Don Johnson and Robert Forster) bring this troubled teen to justice?  A great movie from back in the day!  This movie was released on VHS tape in the 1980's but has yet to have an official DVD or Blu-Ray release.

View this movie on YouTube HERE:

The VHS release of "The City"
"The City" is copyright (c) Quinn Martin Productions and CBS / Paramount.

Quinn Martin's 'Tales of the Unexpected' - 3 episodes of this 'lost' 1977 TV series are on YouTube! :-)

In 1977, Quinn Martin produced "Tales of the Unexpected" for NBC-TV.  Eight episodes of this anthology series were produced (one episode "The Force of Evil" was movie-length) for a total of nine hours of science fiction, horror and suspense.  Popular guest stars on the series include Lloyd Bridges, Roy Thinnes, Bill Bixby, Dean Stockwell, Ned Beatty, Tim O'Connor, Robert Foxworth, Rick Nelson, David Birney, Van Williams, Ronny Cox, Carl Weathers, Gary Collins, Robert Pine, Eve Plumb and Christine Belford.

There weren't many VCRs in use in 1977 and the few that were around probably weren't taping "Tales of the Unexpected".  In the past 38 years, only three episodes have surfaced in the video trading community - "The Nomads", "No Way Out" (from a one time airing on TV Land of this episode only circa 2000 - no others were shown) and "The Force of Evil" (which was released on VHS tape in the 1980's).  The episode "The Nomads" is particularly interesting to fans of THE INVADERS - this episode is a remake / reboot of the pilot episode "Beachhead" - updated to the 1970's!

CBS / Paramount owns "Tales of the Unexpected".  It would be great if the entire series were released on DVD.  In the meantime, fans can enjoy these three classic episodes on YouTube.

Episode #4 - "The Nomads" (a remake / reboot of THE INVADERS pilot episode "Beachhead") - View this episode HERE:

Episode #9 - "No Way Out" - starring Bill Bixby and Dean Stockwell.  View this episode HERE:

Episode #6 / #7 - "The Force of Evil" (movie-length episode) - starring Lloyd Bridges, Patricia Crowley and Eve Plumb.  View this episode HERE:

The VHS release of "The Force of Evil"
Tales of the Unexpected is copyright (c) Quinn Martin Productions and CBS / Paramount.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Take a "Fantastic Journey" with "V"! :-)

Check out this cool vintage NBC promo for "V" - the announcer urges viewers to "...go on a FANTASTIC JOURNEY - with V"!  Is this a sideways acknowledgement that NBC erred in cancelling "The Fantastic Journey" back in 1977 after half a season?  Still, it could have been even more awkward...imagine if the announcer had urged viewers to "...go on a STAR TREK - with V"!  :-)

View this vintage promo on YouTube HERE:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Richard Hatch and Bruce Davison in "Deadman's Curve: The Story of Jan and Dean" (1978)

Just prior to his starring role as Captain Apollo on "Battlestar Galactica", Richard Hatch portrayed 1960's rock star Jan Berry (of Jan and Dean fame) in the CBS TV movie of the week "Deadman's Curve: The Story of Jan and Dean" (aired on Feb. 12, 1978).  In early 1966 Jan Berry was involved in a tragic car accident in Los Angeles that left him severely brain damaged.  Bruce Davison ("The Lathe of Heaven", "Lost") co-stars as Dean Torrence.  Watch for a brief appearance by Anne-Marie Martin (Dori Doreau on "Sledge Hammer!").  The movie was released on VHS tape decades ago but has yet to have an official DVD or Blu-Ray release.

Watch this fantastic movie on YouTube HERE:

It's Oct. 21, 2015 - Anyone up for a "joke fax"?

We've arrived.

Today is Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in the future via the time-traveling Delorean.  2015 has some amazing technology to be sure, but no flying cars powered by self-lacing Nike's...not even a Cafe 80's.

I'd give anything to for a good "joke fax" today (does anyone in 2015 still use fax machines?).

Back to the Future, Part II is copyright (c) and trademark Universal Studios; photos used for illustrative purposes only.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming" Trailer (1999) and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Trailer (2015)

In 1999, actor Richard Hatch (Captain Apollo on "Battlestar Galactica") created a very well-received Trailer called "Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming".  This Trailer picked up the story of the Colonial fleet some 20 years later with the Galactica being menaced by a new and more evolved Cylon threat.  This trailer is very well-put together (and remember this was created YEARS before YouTube made fan-made Trailers all the rage).  The classic BSG characters are reintroduced...and new "next generation" warriors are seen as well.  This Trailer is concise and to the point.  It tells a "story" in 4 minutes.  It works!

Watch this Trailer on YouTube HERE:

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (2015).  A bit of the classic characters....and the "next generation" characters as well.  This Trailer works!  December 18th can't come fast enough!  :-)

Battlestar Galactica - created by Glen A. Larson; copyright (c) NBC / Universal.
Star Wars - created by George Lucas; copyright Lucasfilm / Disney.

Monday, October 19, 2015

1976 - 1982: Hollywood's Haunted House Obsession

Hollywood was definitely on a "haunted house" kick for about 6 years, starting in 1976 with "Burnt Offerings", "The Amityville Horror" (1979), "The Shining" (1980) and "Poltergeist" (1982).  For a fun (sometimes totally surreal) viewing experience, I recommend watching all 4 of these classic horror films back-to-back - on the same day if you can manage it(!)

I won't go so far as to say that these movies are identical -  far from it - but they definitely all draw from the same general idea: a typical American family moves into an old house / hotel / new house built on an ancient Indian burial ground - one (or more) family members seemingly become "possessed" by unseen forces within the house - seemingly going crazy - and of course total chaos and carnage eventually ensues. It's a kick seeing these 'like' horror movies from the same era tackle similar plot points from different angles...

"Burnt Offerings" (1976); directed by Dan Curtis
"The Amityville Horror" (1979);
directed by Stuart Rosenberg

"The Shining" (1980); directed by Stanley Kubrick

"Poltergeist" (1982); directed by Tobe Hooper

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Time Travelers...on Trial! ("Voyagers!" and "Doctor Who")

Voyagers! - ("The Trial of Phineas Bogg") - 1983

Doctor Who - ("The Trial of a Time Lord") - 1986
For some fun, back-to-back viewing, don't miss Voyagers! ("The Trial of Phineas Bogg") and Doctor Who ("The Trial of a Time Lord").  The time-travelers in both productions are accused of violating the laws of time and put on trial for their (alleged) transgressions...!

Check out the Trailers for both of these epic adventures on YouTube HERE:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

One fan's quest to RECREATE the Cylon voices from "Battlestar Galactica"!

Cy and Starbuck -
Galactica: 1980 ("The Return of Starbuck")
One unforgettable aspect of Battlestar Galactica are the souless computerized voices of the Cylon Centurians.  Don't miss this fantastic 16 minute video featuring one fan's quest to recreate Gary Owens' Cylon voice-over from the Galactica: 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck" using 1970's audio equipment!

Things really start to happen at the 12:30 mark!  View this amazing video HERE:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"The Fugitive" - NuVentures VHS promo! ("It's a hard habit to break!")

Check out this absolutely amazing 5 minute promo for the 1990's NuVentures VHS release of The Fugitive ("It's a hard habit to break!").

View this promo on YouTube HERE:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My 3 all-time favorite "Muppet Show" musical moments! :-)

Ah...The Muppet Show - a classic TV series from a long-ago are my 3 all-time favorite musical segments from this wonderful series... 

Kenny Rogers sings "The Gambler"!

Crystal Gayle sings "We Must Believe in Magic"!

Crystal Gayle sings "River Road"!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Sci-Fi Worlds of...CHRISTINE BELFORD!

Christine Belford as Leda
- Battlestar Galactica ("The Gun on Ice Planet Zero")
Christine Belford is one of the truly great character actresses of the sci-fi genre.  This beautiful and talented actress was born on January 14, 1949 in Amityville, New York.  Some incredible but true trivia - for about 5 years (1960 - 65) - from age 11 to 16 - Ms. Belford and her family lived in the infamous Amityville Horror House on 112 Ocean Avenue.  About a decade after her family sold the house, it became infamous as the most well known "haunted house" in the world!  For full details, read her biography on IMDB.

Ms. Belford's many genre credits include a leading role as Sheriff's Deputy Maggie Randall on the time-travel / western TV series Outlaws (opposite Rod Taylor) and she played the mother in the classic Stephen King horror movie Christine.  She has guest-starred on many of the classic genre TV shows of all time including Battlestar Galactica (as Leda in "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero"), The Six Million Dollar Man, two episodes of The Greatest American Hero (don't miss her incredible performance as a vengeful spirit in classic episode "The Beast in the Black"), Freddy's Nightmares, Fantasy IslandQuinn Martin's 'Tales of the Unexpected'The Incredible Hulk, Beyond Westworld, Wonder Woman and The Sixth Sense (TV series).  In the 1990's, Ms. Belford played Ian Ziering's mom, Samantha Sanders (an actress!) on the long-running prime-time soap opera Beverly Hills, 90210.

The "horror house" in Amityville, New York
- the childhood home of actress Christine Belford

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Classic "Doctor Who" - 149 Stories on DVD! :-)

My complete collection of Doctor Who (the Classic Original Series) on Region 1 DVD.  All 149 existing stories were released on DVD from September 11, 2001 with "The Five Doctors" (Is it reasonable to assume that sales were fairly slow on that fateful day...?) through May 20, 2014, concluding with "Enemy of the World" via Warner Bros. and BBC Home Video.  I rate the 26 Seasons of Classic Doctor Who a solid "10".

I admit that I can't muster much enthusiasm for the reboot series or any of the various spin-offs (although I absolutely loved Christopher Eccleston's portrayal of The Doctor - but not enough to purchase the DVD set...).  I'll stick with "old school" Doctor Who.

Classic Doctor Who on DVD!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kirk Out! :-)

General Heywood Kirk (Whit Bissell)
in The Time Tunnel (1966 - 67)

Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner)
in Star Trek (1966 - 69)
General Kirk meets Captain Kirk!  :-)
  Whit Bissell guest stars on
  Star Trek ("The Trouble with Tribbles");
aired on Dec. 29, 1967

Time...the Final Frontier - The Best Episode of THE TIME TUNNEL...was the classic STAR TREK episode "The City on the Edge of Forever"!

Every few years, I'll pull out the two volume DVD sets and watch all 30 episodes of The Time Tunnel.  It's a good show - no doubt about it.  The production values (extensive use of stock footage aside) are superb....even nearly 50 years later, The Time Tunnel is an impressive production.  However, every time I watch an episode - any episode - I'm left with the nagging feeling that the series could have - and should have been so much better than it was.  As I said, it's a good show - but not a great one and that's a shame.  None of the episodes seem to have that magical, vital "sparkle" to make them something truly special.  Creator Irwin Allen had little use for characterization or stories with an "emotional" angle to them.  This may or may not be a direct quote, but from all accounts Allen saw The Time Tunnel as a "running and jumping" show - high on action, low on emotion or characterization.  The Time Tunnel premiered on ABC-TV on September 9, 1966 - only 24 hours after the premiere of Star Trek on NBC-TV on September 8, 1966!  Nearly fifty years later, Star Trek is widely considered to be **the** Greatest sci-fi TV series of all time...while The Time Tunnel is merely a footnote.

The last episode of The Time Tunnel aired on April 7, 1967 - an over-the-top "alien" episode called "Town of Terror".  A mere 24 hours earlier on April 6, 1967, Star Trek aired the single best time-travel episode of ANY television series, the undeniable classic "The City on the Edge of Forever"; written by Harlan Ellison [I won't go into the well-known controversy that Gene Roddenberry - and other members of the Star Trek creative team - extensively re-wrote this episode over Harlan Ellison's objections] and directed by Joseph Pevney.  Watch this amazing episode of Star Trek....and any episode of The Time Tunnel will appear hopelessly outclassed!

How is it possible that the best episode of The Time Tunnel (which aired concurrently with Star Trek's first season) was produced as an episode of Star Trek instead?  It's weird to think that when Star Trek steps into Time Tunnel territory with a time travel story - the result is "The City on the Edge of Forever"...a Masterpiece for the Ages!  Conversely, when Time Tunnel steps into Star Trek territory with several infamous "alien" episodes ("Visitors from Beyond the Stars", "Chase Through Time", "Raiders from Outer Space", "Town of Terror")...the results are...far less than "stellar".  Most Time Tunnel fans absolutely cringe when the topic of the "alien" episodes comes up...!  These episodes - although certainly entertaining - are a challenge to take with any degree of seriousness.

Harlan Ellison worked for Irwin Allen in 1964, writing an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea called "The Price of Doom" which aired on ABC-TV on October 12, 1964.  Ellison's unhappy experience (to put it mildly!) with Irwin Allen regarding this episode has been well documented elsewhere, so I won't go into in here.  This may be a stretch, but maybe in some alternate reality somewhere, "The City on the Edge of Forever" **might** have been pitched to Irwin an episode of The Time Tunnel!  It's interesting to speculate for a moment, how a Time Tunnel version of "The City on the Edge of Forever" might have played.  Perhaps General Heywood Kirk could have been accidentally injected with an experimental drug and then jumped through the Time Tunnel in a madness induced frenzy that alters history.  Dr. Ann MacGregor could have shifted Tony and Doug in their time travels in order to follow the General....and all three might have ended up in 1930's Depression Era New York.  Tony or Doug (but probably Tony) might have met and fallen in love with Edith Keeler....and so on.  Could this classic scenario have worked in the stiff, rigid (let's face it - emotionally vacant) Time Tunnel format?  Who knows?  Quite frankly - I doubt it!  It's interesting to speculate though...!

The Guardian of Forever
 shows the Enterprise crew the distant past  
Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever
The time tunnel control room
The Time Tunnel

Spock and Kirk travel through
the time portal to Earth's past
Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever
 (NBC-TV, April 6, 1967)

Tony and Doug travel through the time tunnel
The Time Tunnel (ABC-TV, 1966 - 67)
The Time Tunnel is copyright (c) 20th Century Fox and Irwin Allen Productions; created by Irwin Allen.
Star Trek is copyright (c) CBS / Paramount; created by Gene Roddenberry.