Welcome to the middle of the movie

tron

I remember in the 80’s and 90’s it would be a rainy Saturday I’d turn on the tube without consulting the tv guide. I didn’t look at the clock either as it would probably be 1:40 or 3:52 which means plop I landed right in the middle of a film. Sometimes I was content with that and would just watch what I could. As I got older I would get more frustrated by realizing that what I just came might be good, but I missed so much of it that I was missing the total movie experience and parts of the plot. What’s more frustrating that turning into the middle of the movie once? That’s right doing it more than once. Yeah, we had video stores, but normally once that afternoon was done and moved and didn’t think that much about the missed film until maybe years later when I decided it was tim finally see the whole thing.

Here are some films that looked promising that I never saw before but I remember turning into the middle of…

Tron
Big trouble in little China
Commando
Wolfen
Hawk the slayer
The black hole
Reno Williams-The adventure begins
Funhouse
Marooned
The Gate

My early history with King Kong

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King-Kong

I am not sure at what point I saw the original King Kong, but I’m pretty sure that I was young and that it was before the 1976 version came out. However I do know that the original made a huge impact on me-the build-up to unveiling of Kong, his break out and the finale. It made a huge impression on my young monster loving mind. I was already into vampires, mummies and others, but Kong was interesting because he was a real creature only in a gigantic form. Not long after seeing the original ads for the 1976 re-make started popping up in all of the comic books and my six year old jaw hit the floor. The artwork was stunning, but of course back then my mind figured the film had to be as good as the poster which meant it would be spectacular. I’m certain that I begged my parents to take me to see it and that of course didn’t happen so soon I probably forgot about it. Seems like it was 1978 that this version was first shown on TV and my excitement wasn’t as high as it had been in 1976, but I still wanted to see it. I’m a little fuzzy on this but it seems like they showed it over two nights I guess to squeeze lots of commercials in. Anyways I do remember enjoying it particularly Kong’s romp through New York, but it didn’t impact me like the original did. However it did enough to get me interested in Kong again. Some time during 1977 or 1978 I was in Rite Aid drug store with my parents and we went past one of the quarter machines on the way out and asked my dad if I could get something. They didn’t normally give in, but they did that time. I was expecting a plastic ring or some tattoos. Instead I opened the container and there was something black and rubber crammed in there, I yanked it out and it was the Kong pictured below as he looks today residing on my desk at work. I played with him a lot back then building Lego buildings for him to climb up and he had battles with plastic planes and helicoptors too, but he’s lasted well enough. Anyways my love for giant monsters has continued over the years through the good, the bad and the really awful, but Kong had remained one of my favorites to this day. KONG,KONG,KONG,KONG!

IMG_2390kong

My history with Star Trek 1986-1991

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By 1986 I had finally seen Star Trek 2 on so I had seen all the films, all the episodes (except the animated ones) several times over and gone through  many novels both good and bad and comics both good and far from good. By this point I was into a lot of sci-fi in films and books, but Trek was still the old standard. I remember the summer being all about Aliens-the movie not just me waiting aliens to come and get me. By fall of 86 Star Trek 4 was not far off and my nose was back in the Starlogs finding out about what was coming. I didn’t have a car yet but the first Sunday it came out my mom asked me I wanted to go see the new Star trek film with her. My mom is gone now and she had a lot of health problems, but between about 1985 and 1990 she had hit break where things were and she was feel better. She had never showed any interest in Trek, but I wasn’t going to pass this up. We went and saw it an old theater in town that would close the next year but has since been remodeled and is now a very nice arts center that still shows occasional films. Star Trek 4 was funny, it had a strong story and the supporting character got more to do than usual. My mom and I both enjoyed it. My interest was peaked again in Trek and soon a new show was just months away. In the fall of 1987 I welcomed STTNG and was a fairly regular watcher over the years although it never impacted me like the original series did. The next big thing was that William Shatner was going to direct the next film. Nimoy did fine so why not Shatner? Uh, yeah. I went with a friend to see Star Trek 5 opening weekend and was highly letdown. What a mess. I still read some novels and watched STTNG when I could but this film was a low in the series for sure. By 1991 another film was due at the end of the year and I was excited once more. Unfortunately the Great bird of the galaxy Gene Roddenberry died a week before Halloween and that was sad news indeed. However I was still hopeful that Nicholas Meyer would get Trek back to the top again with the new movie. I went and saw it opening weekend in december of 1991 on a rainy and cold day with my hopes high. If anything the film exceeded my expectations. Sulu was a Captain, Kirk was not perfect and the crew had a major situation to deal with. The film was great, not quite as good The wrath of Khan but maybe a hair better than the forth film. The original crew was going out in this film and at least they went out in style. I left the theater with a smile on my face that day and my love for Trek has stayed solid since then. There you go.

Growing up in the 1970’s part 2-Science fiction or what the frack was I thinking?

Since I shared a little about how my fascination with monsters the other day I should probably tell a little about how I first got into sci-fi as well so you know where I’m coming from once I get into some reviews and more stories. My brother is six years older and me and was a huge comic book fan and to far lesser extent liked some sci-fi growing up. So I have probably have him to than for some of my early influences. I have the slightest of memories of seeing the oh too short lived 1974 Planet of the apes TV series. After that I definely remember my brother was a fairly regular watcher of the Six Million Dollar man and the Bionic Woman as well as the super hero TV adaption of the Hulk and Wonder Woman. I know that I watched all of those with him and enjoyed them well enough. There also some Saturday morning memories of the live action shows Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, Shazam and Isis. Somehow I missed out on Ark II back then. I liked those shows but about as much as I liked all the other cartoons and shows I took in. As I said in my previous post we didn’t go the movies back then. So in 1977 when a lot of other kids my ages were exposed to sci-fi via Star Wars the best I could do was look at the Star Wars trading cards the other kids in second grade had. I wouldn’t see Star Wars until it came on TV some six years later and by that point I was in full-on Trekkie mode. However it still had impact on me in 77-78 by other routes. My brother bought the comic book adaption and have memories of a day in the winter when school was closed where made a tend out of blanets in our room, got potato chips and hot chocolate into the tent and my brother read the comic book adaption of Star Wars to me. While he’d already instilled a love of super hero comics into me these comics had me even more excited. I never had any toys of Star Wars back then because I think my parents thought they were too expensive and maybe they were. However I remember on my birthday in the Spring of 1978 my neighbor ( a co-worker of my dad’s) bought me a Star Wars shirt with R2-D2 and C-3PO on it. Even though I only knew them from comics and brief glimpses on commercials I was still in awe of that shirt and probably wore it until it fell apart or I could no longer squeeze into it. Those were probably the early sparks that had me revved up to eb a sci-fi/space fan, but my interest would grow even stronger during the the 1978-1979. If you are guessing that the Star Wars Holiday special from 1978 was a factor then you are right. Forget about the fact that almost no one thinks this was any good and that everyone involved with it wants to forget about it. I was 8 and didn’t get to Star Wars in the theater, but here were these characters coming to the small screen. I’ m sure I loved it back then despite it’s problems. I remember very little about it now and have not seen it since, but I know I was thrilled to see it then. However the show that would make an even greater impact that television season was Battlestar Gallactica. Yes, I know some Staw Wars fans sneer and dismiss it as a copy. To me that year Gallactica was the show that opened my mind to sci-fi. Later I would know it to be a flawed show, but a show with real potential that really deserved another year on the air. Back then it was the ships, the uniforms and the characters that had me glued to the screen every week. I am sure that I had to beg my dad to let me see it because he was no fan of space shows, but he let me watch it. I have memories of begging for Battlestar toys, but they were too expensive. I do remember my parents giving in and letting me get a Battlestar photostory book from one of those Scholastic order forms through school. I remember looking at it feverishly on the bus with any other kids who were interested. Battlestar still holds a special to me even now because it sparked that interest that I have had ever since. I’ll stop rattling on for now because other tales of my early interests and more involved thoughts and views on Battlestar may pop up in other upcoming posts.