Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Watch the Sprayman at work

A year or so ago I interviewed a Slovenian artist who creates space paintings using spray paint. He's got lots of videos at Goodle videos, and they are a treat to watch.

Now he's got a webcam at his website, and streaming video, and you can see it at:

Every day from 19:00 to 21:0 GMT (right now)

So now you can order a painting from him (he speaks several language including English!) and watch him paint it before your very eyes, on his website!

Here's the link to the interview at The Thunder Child:

Viewmaster, and Pirates of the Caribbean electronics!

I went into a Toys R Us yesterday. I like doing that, checking out all the toys that are available to kids these days... some of which I'd buy if I only had room to put them!

And I came across a very small section devoted to the Viewmaster, and picked up Wall-E, Dinosaurs and Atomic Betty.

Wall-E was okay - except the adventure on the rocketship with the tubby humans was not shown at all, it was just the robots.

Dinosaurs - drawings in 3D, rather than what they've used in the past, actual models

Haven't looked at Atomic Betty yet - I bought it because it's based on a cartoon in which the girl is the hero, something you verrrrrrrrrrrry rarely see in cartoons for children. It's always the boy that's the hero and the girl that's the sidekick. (Yeah, there's Kim Possible, dressed in the latest fashion with her belly-button showing, and she's got a male sidekick, but that's the exception that proves the rule.... well, her and the Powerpuff Girls.)

Anyway, I can remember 20 years ago when I used to buy Viewmaster reels. (And unfortunately my collection is long gone...). You bought a package and each disc would be in its own folder, and all three folders fit into a larger folder with a picture of the movie on it...

Today all you get are the discs, and that's it. OF course, they do make Holders for the discs, and you can get quite a few of them in there... but still..

I did some research on Viewmaster at Wikipedia, and learned that the Viewmaster has been around since 1919, albeit in a slightly different form, and it was even used during WWII to teach soldiers how to recognize different kinds of planes.

On the other side of the store, I came across some stuff that I'd really like to have if I hadn't already recently bought a new TV and CD walkman.

The Pirates of the Caribbean has a TV out, and a portable DVD player, and a CD player. The CD player case looks like the compass that Captain Jack is always using. I really coveted that, but I just couldn't justify spending the $30 on it.

But on the off-chance that my readers here would like these items, and they are sold out of your local Toys R Us - you can pick a few of them up from Amazon. (The TV doesn't seem to be available - too heavy to ship, I suppose.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

You have one year to live. What would you do?

Randy Pausch has died....

Here is the video of his speech:

Here's his story:

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon computer science professor whose last lecture became an Internet sensation and bestselling book, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

Dr. Pausch, whose proudest professional achievement was creating a free computer programming tool for children called Alice, was an improbable celebrity. A self-professed nerd, he pushed his students to create virtual reality projects, celebrated the joy of amusement parks and even spent a brief stint as a Disney “Imagineer.'’
Last September, Dr. Pausch unexpectedly stepped on an international stage when he addressed a crowd of about 400 faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon as part of the school’s “Last Lecture” series. In the talks, professors typically talk about issues that matter most to them. Dr. Pausch opened his talk with the news that he had terminal cancer and proceeded to deliver an uplifting, funny talk about his own childhood dreams and how to help his children and others achieve their own goals in life. He learned he had pancreatic cancer in September, 2006.
See the complete article at: 'Last Lecture’ Professor Randy Pausch, 47, Dies

Thursday, July 24, 2008

OT - a bald cardinal

In my back yard for the last two weeks there's been a bald cardinal.... which apparently is not uncommon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Avengers screencap gallery

The Avengers is a classic TV show from the 1960s.

Although male and female characters as equal partners are rather commonplace today (Mulder and Scully in the X Files, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Remington Steele, Bones, etc.) it was The Avengers that paved the way with that groundbreaking partnership.

Cathy Gale (the original Avengers "girl") and Emma Peel remain excellent role models to this day.

To that end, The Thunder Child is now the host to the Avengers Screencap Gallery.

and for kicks, check out:

Emma Keeps Her Kools

and a Quiz Pic (identify the scene):

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boris Karloff

In honor of just uploading Steve Vertlieb's retrospective on Boris Karloff to The Thunder Child, I thought I'd share here some clips from YouTube of the TV shows Steve mentions in his article:

Carol Burnett and Boris Karloff

You'll Find Out

Karloff on Rosemary Clooney Show

The Raven - Karloff, Price, Lorre

Saturday, July 12, 2008

SF & Fantasy events July 13

Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1945... and Frank Maher (stuntman, The Prisoner and Blakes 7) died on July 13, 2007.

I'd like to introduce a new feature at The Thunder Child, called The Book of Days.

Births, deaths, movie debuts, book publications, etc. will be listed there from now on.

There's only one page so far...:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Atom Vision 6

I just got a delivery of some sf and fantasy magazines from someone who was getting rid of their collection (always sad when that happens), and I will share them and their table of contents here. I'll be using these as reference works for articles for my Thunder Child webzine.

First, here's the table of contents from a French Science Fiction magazine, Atom Vision, number 6. (1997)

"Le zine qui fait revivre le fantastique du passe"
The magazine that revives the classic fantasies - that's as good as my French gets!

Here's the table of contents:

1. Courrier des lecteurs (letter page)
2. Voyage dans la Prehistoire (1954) Journey to the Beginning of Time
3. La Main Rampante vous Parle: un entretien avec le producteur Joseph Robertson - interview with Joseph Robertson
4. Destination Altair IV: Planete Interdite (Forbidden Planet)
5. George Wallace: Commando Cody vous Parle (Interview with Commando Cody)
6. Cody et les hommes-fusee de la "Republic"
7. Prehistoric Hammer
8. Les roles fantastiques de Joseph Cotten: (The Portrait of Jennie, From the Earth to the Moon, The Abominable Dr. Phibes), Soylent Green
9. Zinoscope
10. Kiss Meets the Phantom
11. Annonces (Announcements - Ads)
12. Doctor X - with Lionel Atwill
13. A la recerche de las cassette perdue (Les nuits de L'epouvante), aka La Lama Nel Corpo (1966)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

SF & Fantasy July 8


Jeffrey Tambor was born on 8 July 1944, in San Francisco, California.

Appeared in both Hellboy and Hellboy II, as well as Superhero Movie - 2008, Slipstream - 2007 (with Anthony Hopkins), Muppets from Space (1999) - K. Edgar Singer,

The New Twilight Zone (Australia)
- The World Next Door (1986) TV episode - Milton
- Dead Woman's Shoes/Wong's Lost and Found Emporium (1985)


Ben Chapman was born on December 25, 1908, in Oak Park, Illinois, USA and died on July 8, 1991, in Orange, California.

He is most famous for playing the Creature from the Black Lagoon - on land - in the movie of the same name. (In the water, it was Ricou Browning.)

Gene L. Coon was born on January 7, 1924 and died of lung cancer at the age of 49 on July 8, 1973, in Los Angeles, California. He produced 34 episodes of Star Trek and came up with the idea for the Klingons.

SF & Fantasy Events July 7, 2008


Adam Byrne was born on July 7, 1977, Orange County, California. He is an illustrator on World of Warcraft and Spellbound.

Bill Campbell was born on July 7, 1959, Charlottesville, Virginia. He has not done a great of science fiction. He starred as Cliff Secord in The Rocketeer.

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" - Capt. Thadiun Okona (1 episode, 1988)in The Outrageous Okona.

Call from Space (1989) - Young Man
The Rocketeer (1991) - Cliff Secord
The Cold Equations (1996) (TV movie) - Lt. John Barton
Menno's Mind (1997) - Menno
Max Q (1998) (TV Movie) - Clay Jarvis

Robert Heinlein was born on July 7, 1907, in Butler, Missouri, USA and died on May 8, 1988 in Carmel, California.

He was one of the Big Three of science fiction writers.

Jon Pertwee was born on July 7, 1919, in Chelsea, London, England, and died
on May 20, 1996, in Timber Lake, Connecticut of a heart attack.

He was the third Doctor Who.


None known at this time.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

SF&Fantasy events July 6


Geoffrey Rush was born on July 6, 1951, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

No science fiction, but has created the iconic character Captain Barbosa in the fantasy films Pirates of the Caribbean I, last bit of II, and III.
He also played Casanova Frankenstein in Mystery Men (1999).

John Byrne is a comic book artist who was born on July 6, 1950, Walsall, England, UK. Wrote and drew the X-Men.


Buddy Ebsen was born on April 2, 1908, in Belleville, Illinois,and died on July 6, 2003, in Torrance, California. Most famous as Jed from The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones, he was the first choice for The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, but the aluminum paint that was used on him made him so ill he almost died, and he was replaced while in hospital by Ray Bolger.

He was also the telekinetic cook in the Twilight Zone episode, Prime Mover.

Cameron Mitchell was born on November 4, 1918, in Dallastown, Pennsylvania,and died on July 6, 1994.

In a long career, he made only a handful of SF appearances:

Space Mutiny (1988) - Cmdr. Alex Jansen
Frankenstein Island (1981) - Clay Jayson
Flight to Mars (1951) - Steve Abbott

Project U.F.O." - Donald Worth in The Pipeline Incident (1978)
(aka Project Blue Book)
Death in Space (1974) (TV)

Malcolm Hulke (Doctor Who and Avengers scriptwriter), born in 1924, died on July 6, 1979.

From Wikipedia:
His first major television work was a series of 1950s children's science fiction serials - Target Luna, Pathfinders in Space, Pathfinders to Mars, and Pathfinders to Venus - which he co-wrote with Eric Paice for the British ABC network. The producer of the series was Sydney Newman, who was later responsible for the creation of Doctor Who as Head of Drama at BBC Television.

In addition to the Pathfinders series and Doctor Who (which he started writing for in 1967) Hulke contributed scripts to The Avengers, The Protectors, Danger Man, Crossroads, football soap United! and Gideon's Way.

His scripts for Doctor Who were noted for avoiding black-and-white characterisation and simplistic plotting. Military figures are usually presented unfavourably - Invasion of the Dinosaurs and The Ambassadors of Death both have a general as the ultimate villain. One of his best-known contributions to the series is Doctor Who and the Silurians, which depicts an encounter between the human race and the remnants of a technological reptilian race that ruled Earth in prehistoric times in a way that avoids casting either side as heroes or monsters. Hulke's "Silurians" are the first non-human creatures to be presented as having individual personalities in Doctor Who since the un-named antagonists of his own The Faceless Ones more than three years before. Outside of Hulke's work they are the first since the Menoptra in 1965's The Web Planet.

He also contributed to Target Books' range of Doctor Who novelisations, adapting all but one of his scripts before his death, as well as 1973's The Green Death. Unlike many Target novelisations, which tended to offer little that wasn't in the camera script apart from the words "he said" and "she said" in the appropriate places, Hulke's novelisations were noted for providing a wealth of additional background detail and character depth.

He was a friend and mentor to Terrance Dicks, with whom he collaborated in 1962 on The Avengers episode "The Mauritius Penny", which was Dicks' first television credit; The War Games, Dicks' first Doctor Who script, and on the non-fiction book The Making of Doctor Who.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Twilight Zone episode checklist


A 9-page PDF featuring the 156 episodes, original air dates, main actors, and a column to check off which episodes you've seen/taped/own.

SF & Fantasy Events, July 5


Jean Cocteau was born on July 5, 1889, in Maisons-Lafitte, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France and died on October 11, 1963, Milly-la-Forêt, Essonne, France.

Director and producer of Beauty and the Beast starring Jean Marais.

Philson Ahn, the brother of Philip Ahnn, was born on July 5, 1912, in the USA and died on May 23, 2001, Los Angeles, California. Of Korean/American ancestry.

Only made a handful of films before retiring from the screen. Played Prince Tallen in Buck Rogers (1939), starring Buster Crabbe.


Kerwin Matthews was born on January 8, 1926, in Seattle, Washington, and died on July 5, 2007, in San Francisco, California.

Starred in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The 3 Worlds of Gulliver.

Also played Major Caldwell in one episode of Space Patrol, "The Escape of Mr. Proteus." in 1954.

July 4 Events


Carlton E. Morse, radio scriptwriter. Creator of I Love A Mystery.
Born on July 4 1901, in Jennings, Louisiana, USA and died on May 24, 1993

Marie Curie was born on November 7, 1867, in Warsaw, Poland and died ob July 4, 1934, in Sallanches, France of leukaemia. One of the iscoveriers of radioactivity.

July 3 SF and Fantasy Events


George Sanders was born on July 3, 1906, in St. Petersburg, Russia and died by suicide on April 25, 1972.

He is more famous for his detective movies (The Saint, The Falcon) than anything else, but he was in a bit of science fiction:

Doomwatch (1972) - The Admiral
Village of the Damned (1960) - Gordon Zellaby
From the Earth to the Moon (1958) - Stuyvesant Nicholl
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) - Miles Fairley (fantasy)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) - Lord Henry Wotton (fantasy)

1) Mr. Freeze in Batman, "Instant Freeze " and "Rats Like Cheese" (1966)
2) Fenton in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, "The Traitor" (1965)


Ross Martin
Born in Poland on March 22, 1920, in Grodek, Poland, died on July 3, 1981, in Ramona, California of a heart attack.
Most famous as Artemus West in Wild, Wild West.

Guest-starred in various sf shows including Mork and Mindy, The Invisible Man,
Sealab 2020 (1972) TV series (voice of Dr. Paul Williams ), two eps of The TWilight Zone: Death Ship (1963)as Lt. Ted Mason, and The Four of Us Are Dying (1960) as Johnny Foster, a musician.
Johnny Jupiter played Dexter Spiegelmacher in one episode in 1953: Duckweather and the Professor

The Colossus of New York (1958) as Dr. Jeremy 'Jerry' Spensser
Conquest of Space (1955) as Andre Fodor

Friday, July 04, 2008

The one thing cable has over satellite

I've been DVD-R-ing the Twilight Zone marathon all day yesterday and today... except now at 11:37 pm I can no longer do it because it is raining here in torrents...

And the rain is preventing the satellite signal from reaching my satellite receiver...

So all I have on my delightful TV is the blue box of the DirectTV logo bouncing up and down and around!

And some of my favorite episodes were coming up, too!

Not that it's a complete loss.

These programs, being shown on the Sci Fi Channel, have had bits and pieces cut out of them, in order to make room for all the extra commercials that are being shown.

If you've never seen the originals, you might not know what you're missing, except there'd be a little bit of a disappointment in each episode, a little resonance that is lost... but if you have seen the originals then you know you've been cheated!

ANother thing that annoys me about the Twilight Zone marathon is that, although it's done every year for the 4th of July, they never, ever show them in chronological order. And I'd love to see them in chronological order, with the progression in the types of stories done and in the sophisticatedness of the plots, which you miss when they jump all around like this.

Which is why if you've got the moolah, you should buy the complete set, from

28 discs, ....

Oh, it just came back... halfway through The Lonely, in which convicted murderer Jack Warden is presented with an android, played by Jean Marsh, with human feelings and emotions... whom they leave behind when he's picked up at the end of the episode...

The Rocket Man Returns

I received a demo DVD a few months ago, called Thirty Second Doom, which for various and sundry reasons, I haven't had a chance to do anything with until now.

So, let me do something with it - such as suggest that you all check it out!

Their website is:

A bit of the first chapter (of a four part serial) is available on Youtube right now:

The sci-fi serial, Thirty Second Doom, is scheduled to be screened at Wonderfest 2008. Wonderfest takes place on July 19th and 20th in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2008 Wonderfest Convention

Stay tuned for another chapter of this review tomorrow

Ancient City Convention

I just received the info for a new convention, and thought I'd share it here:

Ancient City Convention
A Northeast Florida convention for fans of Science Fiction, Fantasy. Anime, Comics, Collectibles, & Gaming.
The 2008 convention will take place on August 2nd & 3rd at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in downtown Jacksonville, FL.
Please direct all correspondence to the Convention Coordinator

Their website is

Their deadline for pre-registration is July 19, 2008.

July 2 SF & F events


Yancy Butler
was born on July 2, 1970, New York, New York, USA.
She starred as Sgt. Eve Edison, in Mann and Machine, as a female android, from 1992, a series that was cancelled after 9 episodes.
She also starred as Det. Sara 'Pez' Pezzini in 23 episodes, 2001-2002, of Witchblade.

Brock Peters
Born on July 2, 1927, New York, New York, USA and died on August 23 2005, in Los Angeles, California, USA of pancreatic cancer.
Perhaps most famous as Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird , he had a long television career, with his later outings in science fiction. He played:
Battlestar Galactica: Chief Opposer Solon in "Murder on the Rising Star" (1979)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) .... Admiral Cartwright
Joseph Sisko in 9 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996-98)
and a variety of voices for cartoons and audio, including Darth Vader in the radio adaption of Star Wars.


James Stewart was born on May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania and died on July 2 1997 in Los Angeles, California of cardiac arrest and pulmonary embolism following respiratory problems.

He made no science fiction films, but two favorite fantasy films, It's A Wonderful Life and Harvey.

Theatre: The Brain From Planet X

Bruce Kimmel (who used to produce movie soundtracks at Sarabande, then moved on to Fynsworth Alley and Broadway shows, and now has the label Kritzerland) co-wrote a 1950s sf movie spoof, the Brain from Planet X, that has been making the rounds of theatre festivals.

Here's the opening number. Lots of references to 1950s sci fi!

Lobby cards from Message From Space

What are lobby cards? you're asking yourself. (If you're younger than a certain age.) And what is Message From Space, you're probably asking yourself, regardless of how old you are.

Way back before the Internet, before the IMDB, before satellite or even cable TV, the only way that the movies could advertise their wares was via posters, stills and lobby cards, which theaters put in their lobbies for people to look at, so that they'd hopefully decide to see the film the next week, or whenever it was coming to town.

Now that the Internet can disseminate photos, trailers, etc., there's no need for movie companies to make lobby cards or stills, and they've fallen by the wayside.

For the collector of this ephemera...such as's sometimes interesting to see just what the "powers that be" at a movie company's publicity/marketing department thought were "good" stills - captured scenes from a film that would actually draw people in to see the movie.

As an example, here are 5 lobby cards from Message From Space, a film made in Japan with Vic Morrow (Combat) as the star. Pretty much a Star Wars ripoff, as was common at the time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Gene Roddenberry's Spectre

I've just added to my webzine, The Thunder Child, a page on Gene Roddenberry's Spectre, a TV-movie which debuted in 1977.

Check out all the photos at : TheThunderChild/TV/Spectre/Spectre.html

It starred:

Robert Culp ... William Sebastian
Gig Young ... Dr. Ham Hamilton
John Hurt ... Mitri Cyon
Gordon Jackson ... Inspector Cabell
Ann Bell ... Anitra Cyon
James Villiers ... Sir Geoffrey Cyon
Majel Barrett ... Lilith
Jenny Runacre ... Sydna
Angela Grant ... Butler
Penny Irving ... First Maid
Vicki Michelle ... Second Maid
Lindy Benson ... Third Maid
Sally Farmiloe ... Fourth Maid
Michael Latimer ... Co-pilot

The Hulk

I used to watch the original TV series, The Incredible Hulk, starring Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby. I liked it, even though it was pretty much a rehash of The Fugitive, except the pursuer was the reporter, and Dr. David Bannister had the capability to turn into a hulking green man whenever he got angry.

It was "believable," or at least one was willing to suspend one's disbelief, because the Hulk was played by a real person.

Then we got the movie a few years ago, in which the Hulk was not played by a man, but by a CGI entity.

Now, CGI entities can be made to look real. The dinosaurs in the first Jurassic Park, for'd be prepared to believe they were real...

Yet the commercials for the Hulk showed his as just this cartoon character...nothing real looking about him.

And nothing seems to have changed for the new Hulk movie. And now they've added another CGI character, The Abomination, and he looks just as unsubstantial.

So I'm undecided if I'm going to see it...

But, when I went to see Wall-E a few days ago, the theater was handing out Hulk posters, and I thought I'd share photos of them here.

There may yet be hope for London After Midnight

London After Midnight is a lost film, not the only lost film by any means, but a rather famous one amongst a certain subsection of fans - fans of Lon Chaney Sr, and of classic horror movies. Every April 1, there usually appears at least one story saying that footage of the movie has been found in some collector's vault.

Well, something of almost the same nature has now occurred for real - almost 27 missing minutes from the classic German science fiction movie Metropolis have been found - in the collection of a film museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Or, to be more accurate - a complete print of the film, with those 27 minutes still in it - has been found.

It remains to be seen when the new footage will undergo restoration - and apparently there are scratches on the film that will remain even after this is done - and once it has undergone restoration, how long it will take before the new version will be released on DVD.

Among the footage that has now been discovered, according to the unanimous opinion of the three experts that ZEITmagazin asked to appraise the pictures, there are several scenes which are essential in order to understand the film: The role played by the actor Fritz Rasp in the film for instance, can finally be understood. Other scenes, such as for instance the saving of the children from the worker's underworld, are considerably more dramatic. In brief: "Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s most famous film, can be seen through new eyes.", as stated by Rainer Rother, Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek Museum and head of the series of retrospectives at the Berlinale.

Read the articles at:

Key scenes rediscovered

Rediscovered"! Metropolis.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Will The Prisoner go the way as Kolchak?

Note, in the following press release, the word "re-interpretation" in front of the title The Prisoner.

Caviezel and McKellen to Star in The Prisoner
Source: AMC June 30, 2008

AMC announced today that acclaimed film actors Jim Caviezel (The Passion of The Christ) and Ian McKellen ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "X-Men" films) have signed on to star in the network's reinterpretation of the highly influential 1960's cult classic, "The Prisoner." AMC is co-producing the six-part mini-series with ITV Productions and Granada International, with a worldwide premiere slated for 2009. "The Prisoner," AMC's second original mini-series, combines a wide range of genres, including espionage, thriller and Sci-Fi, into a unique and compelling drama, and expands upon the network's distinctive cinematic approach to creating high-quality programming.

Caviezel will play the title role of "Number Six," a part that was originally made famous when played by Patrick McGoohan. McGoohan also served as the creator, producer, writer and director of the 1960's series, which has become widely regarded as one of the most famous and intriguing cult TV series ever created, permanently altering the scope of the fantasy genre. Two-time Oscar nominee Ian McKellen will co-star playing the role of "Number Two."

"Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen bring an incredible level of talent to the project, and we're honored they are taking on these important roles. We look forward to this production revitalizing a classic and bringing Patrick McGoohan's brilliant and captivating story to an entirely new generation of viewers," stated Charlie Collier, AMC's general manager and executive vice president. "The caliber of Hollywood talent AMC is attracting further validates our programming vision and our successful strategy of producing quality cinematic originals that stand alongside our library of iconic movies."

"For those of us who were watching grown-up TV in the 60s, 'The Prisoner' was dangerous, exciting and challenging TV. For those of us who were too young to stay up to watch the series, it casts a long shadow. You don't embark on something this iconic without the best team around to do it justice for a whole new era. With Bill Gallagher as writer, Trevor Hopkins as Producer, Michele Buck, Damien Timmer and Rebecca Keane as the UK Execs, AMC as production partners, ITV as UK Commissioners, and Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen leading the cast, we have that team on board. I can't wait," said John Whiston, Director of ITV Productions.

"Bill Gallagher's new version of 'The Prisoner' is an enthralling commentary on modern culture. It is witty, intelligent and disturbing. I am very excited to be involved," said Ian McKellen.

While the original series, which debuted in 1967, was a riff on Cold War politics, AMC's reinterpretation will reflect 21st Century concerns and anxieties, such as liberty, security, and surveillance, yet also showcase the same key elements of paranoia, tense action and socio-political commentary seen in McGoohan's enigmatic original.

"'The Prisoner' spawned an enormous group of zealous fans who thrived on each week's psychological twists and turns. AMC's version brings 'The Prisoner' back to primetime, and we're tempted to discuss more details, but in the spirit of the series, what you DO know, may hurt you," said Christina Wayne, SVP of scripted original programming.

"The Prisoner" mini-series is a co-production of AMC and ITV Productions; the deal was brokered by Granada International, which holds international distribution rights. Bill Gallagher serves as writer and executive producer, along with Michele Buck, Damien Timmer, Rebecca Keane, and AMC's Charlie Collier, Christina Wayne and Vlad Wolynetz. It is produced by Trevor Hopkins, and directed by Jon Jones.

Media is failing girls - a rant

This is the 96th anniversary of the death of Harriet Quimby. She was the first woman in the United States to get a pilot's license, in 1911. Before that, she was a journalist.

She died in a plane crash only a year later, in 1912... while flying a new plane in which something technical went wrong... a common occurrence in those days.

Aviation was a new field, and hundreds of men and dozens of women went into it. Whenever a man died, it was just, "one of those things." Whenever a woman died, it proved they weren't fit to pilot a plane, and should stay home "where they belonged.

(And of course, it was also other women as well as men who'd say this.)

Point is, this type of media coverage didn't stop other women from becoming pilots themselves. As proof, when the US Army sent out a call for women at the beginning of WWII, to serve their country as transport pilots, thousands of women pilots answered the call. (The WASP, and before them the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS)).

So tonight would have been a nice night for a TV show to make its debut, which featured a couple of female teenage characters whose goal was to become pilots, or even astronauts, and the drama could be because their friends would tease them for having such ambitions, and their boyfriends would dump them because they wanted to spend time with their planes instead of with their boyfriends, and the girls, instead of abandoning their dreams to make sure they didn't lose their boyfriends, let their boyfriends go because they had ambition, and knew that doing what was important to them was better than submitting to someone just because they needed a boyfriend.

Such a show could have perhaps inspired other girls to seek the best in themselves, to have ambition to be pilots, explorers, etc., first, and once they've achieved their goals, then get the boyfriend or the husband who'd complement their dreams.

But what do we get instead?

The Secret Life of the American Teenager, starring Molly Ringwald, in which a young girl - apparently 15 years old, gets pregnant, and of course decides to keep the baby. Question is... will it be the old-fashioned type of show, in which the boy does the "right thing" and marries her, so he can provide for the child, or will it be the new fashioned type of show, where the girl probably doens't even know the father's name, and will of course raise it herself, and agitate for higher welfare payments so she can afford to stick the baby in daycare while she continues to get an education....or will she forget the idea of getting an education altogether?

There was a similar show on a week or so ago, Girl, Positive, about a girl - presumably a straight one, who tests HIV Positive. I didn't watch it and wont watch it, but one wonders if the filmmakers made the point that if she'd worn a condom she might have been able to prevent acquiring the disease?

Teenage pregnancy has been a growing problem in the USA for decades. (Well, it's not just a USA problem, of course, but I'm just making my point specific to the USA, where girls have the ability to do anything they want...and yet all they want is the boyfriend and the baby...) Why is poverty growing in America? Because teenage moms can't work and take care of their babies at the same time, so they go on welfare. And because they don't have good educations they can't get jobs. So their baby grows up in the welfare atmosphere, thinking it's the most normal thing in the world for her, or him, to sit on their butts watching TV and not working while the government pays for everything.

And the media which bombards citizens with these types of messages 24 hours a day, are just as much to blame.

The first Captain Janeway

Kate Mulgrew was not the first choice for Captain Janeway... it was Genevieve Bujold.

There's footage of it at Youtube.

and Behind the scenes, auditions, etc. of various actors:

July 1 Events in SF & Fantasy


Well...according to somebody at the IMDB, Robby the Robot was "born" on July 1, 1955.
Also according to the IMDB: Robby was the brainchild of, and designed by Robert Kinoshita, and built in mid-1955 by the MGM prop department, at a reported cost of $125,000.00 from blueprint plans provided by industrial designer, Japanese-American engineer Robert Kinoshita, to 'star' in the epic science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956) and its B-movie followup The Invisible Boy (1957) a year later. Robby the Robot has become one of the most popular robot icons in the history of movies and media, as recognizable as George Lucas' erstwhile comedy team of R2-D2 and C-3PO who 'co-starred' in his epic sci-fi fantasy Star Wars (1977).

Robby's voice in Forbidden Planet was supplied by Marvin Miller.

Dan Ackroyd
1 July 1952, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Most famous as a comedian from Saturday Night Live, he portrayed Beldar Conehead on Saturday Night Live and later in the movie of the same name. (1993).

He also played Dr. Raymond Stantz in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.

Genevieve Bujold
was born on July 1, 1942, Montréal, Québec, Canada. She actually has no science fiction credits, but I include her because she was to have been the original Captain Janeway. But she withdrew from the project after 1 day of filming and Kate Mulgrew accepted the role in Star Trek: Voyager (1995).

Jean Marsh
was born on July 1, 1934 in Stoke Newington, London, England, UK.
--The Twilight ZOne (1959) played Alicia (the robot) in "Only the Lonely" with Jack Warden
--Unearthly Stranger (1963) - Miss Ballard
--Adam Adamant Lives! - Lady Lydia in "Face in a Mirror" (1967)
--UFO - Janna Wade in "Exposed" (1970)
--Goliath Awaits (1981) (TV) - Dr. Goldman
--Return to Oz Nurse Wilson / Mombi - (1985)
--Doctor Who - played Sara Kingdom in Destruction of Time in 1966 (William Hartnell as the Doctor)
played Morgaine in Battlefield in 1986 (Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor)
--The Tomorrow People - Doctor Culex in "The Culex Experiment" (1994)
--Willow -- Queen Bavmorda (1988)
and, of course, the first wife of Jon Pertwee, from 1955-1960.

Thea Von Harbou
Born: 27 December 1888, Tauperlitz, Germany, Died July 1 1954, West Berlin, Germany

Married to Fritz Lang before he left Germany, screenwriter for Metropolis, and Frau im Mond, among many other films.