Section of artist's rendering of a computer screen

Section of artist's rendering of a computer screen
Section of artist's rendering of a computer screen

Sunday, March 1, 2015

1 March 2015

Birthdays
Harry Eden b. 1990 (Peter Pan [2003])
Dominic Rains b. 1982 (Captain America; The Winter Soldier, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, FlashForward)
Alicia Leigh Willis b. 1978 (National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Chronicle)
Jensen Ackles b. 1978 (Supernatural, Smallville, Dark Angel)
Luke Mably b. 1976 (28 Days Later…)
Mark-Paul Gosselar b. 1975 (Atomic Twister, Dead Man on Campus, Specimen, Twilight Zone [1986])
Jack Davenport b. 1973 (Pirates of the Caribbean, FlashForward, Ultraviolet, Immortality, Tale of the Mummy)
Cara Buono b. 1971 (Let Me In, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Cthulhu, From Other Worlds, Hulk)
Javier Bardem b. 1969 (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Joshua Milrad b. 1968 (The Beastmaster)
Steve Marshall b. 1968 (Night of the Creeps)
Zach Snyder b. 1966 (director, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, Sucker Punch, Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead)
JD Cullum b. 1966 (Wizards of Waverly Place, Charmed, Sliders, Lois & Clark, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Manhattan Project)
Tim Daly b. 1956 (From the Earth to the Moon, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde)
Ron Howard b. 1954 (actor, Land of the Giants, Village of the Giants, Twilight Zone; director, Apollo 13, Willow, Splash)
Dougal Dixon b. 1947 (author, After Man)
Lana Wood b. 1946 (Tales from the Dark Fall, Captain America II: Death Too Soon)
Dirk Benedict b. 1945 (Earthstorm, Demon Keeper, Amazing Stories, Battlestar Galactica, Ssssss)
Roger Daltrey b. 1944 (Strange Frequency 2, Witchblade, The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns, Highlander [TV], Sliders, Lois & Clark, Tales from the Crypt[TV])
Dennis Lipscomb b. 1942 died 30 July 2014 (Roswell, The Invisible Man, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Apollo 11, Lois & Clark, The X Files, SeaQuest 2032Amazing Stories, WarGames, The Day After, The Powers of Matthew Star, The Greatest American Hero)
David Weatherly b. 1939 (Lord of the Rings, Legend of the Seeker, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Hercules, Xena, My Grandpa Is a Vampire)
Joan Hackett b. 1934 died 8 October 1983 (The Terminal Man, Twilight Zone)
Raymond St. Jacques b. 1930 died 27 August 1990 (Voodoo Dawn, They Live, Starman [TV], The Powers of Matthew Star, Voyagers!, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Gemini Man, The Invaders, The Green Hornet)
Robert Clary b. 1926 (The Munsters Today)
Roger Delgado b. 1918 died 18 June 1973 (Doctor Who, The Champions, The Mummy’s Shroud, First Men Into Space, Quatermass II)
David Niven b. 1910 died 29 July 1983 (The Canterville Ghost)
Lionel Atwill b. 1885 died 22 April 1946 (House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Night Monster, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Man Made Monster, The Son of Frankenstein, Mark of the Vampire, The Vampire Bat, Doctor X)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In earlier years, the slot was filled by Zach Synder and an illustration by Dougal Dixon from his book After Man. Top choices for this year are Jensen Ackles, one of the two stars of Supernatural, Dirk Benedict from the original Battlestar Galactica, Roger Delgado, the first actor to play the role of The Master on Doctor Who, but instead I went extremely old school with Lionel Atwill, a British actor who did a boatload of Universal horror films in the 1930s and 1940s, though he was not in any of the four films that started the genre, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and The Mummy. He is pictured here as Inspector Krogh from Son of Frankenstein, a man who lost an arm as a child when the original monster ripped it out of its socket. Mel Brooks parodied this role with Kenneth Mars playing a one-armed inspector in Young Frankenstein.

2. Nepotism and not. Let's start from the top. Alicia Leigh Willis is no kin to Bruce Willis; her dad David Willis has done a few films, but she is likely better known than he is. JD Cullum is the son of John Cullum, a Broadway actor best known for Northern Exposure. Ron Howard's dad is Rance Howard, but the younger Howard is by far the more famous and is more a source of nepotism rather the recipient. Lana Wood was the sister of Natalie Wood, not quite as pretty a face but a much more va-va-voom figure. Her best known role is as Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds are Forever.

3. Wait... He's dead? I hadn't realized the African-American actor Raymond St. Jacques had died so young. Also, Dennis Lipscomb is a great Oh That Guy actor who died last year. He should definitely have earned a Never to be Forgotten post, but news of his death did not get to me.

4. Not the Canadian? Jensen Ackles has the one-two punch of Supernatural and Smallville, but he was born in the States. Given that Supernatural is now in its eleventh season, I wouldn't be surprised if he now lives in Canada, but he is not native born, nor is anyone on the list today.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.

Predictor: Robert A. Heinlein in the 1956 novel The Door Into Summer

Prediction: I wanted a gadget that could do anything inside the home – cleaning and cooking, of course, but also really hard jobs, like changing a baby’s diaper, or replacing a typewriter ribbon… I wanted a man and wife to be able to buy one machine for, oh, say about the price of a good automobile, which would be the equal of the Chinese servant you read about but no one in my generation had ever seen.

Reality: Bob's male privilege is seeping in here a little with this dig at "women's work" being something a single machine could easily master. And just because insulting one half the human population isn't quite enough for a good Heinlein paragraph, he also takes a slap at the Chinese.

Suffice it to say, Sensible Bob got the idea of CAD right, but Computer Aided Housework comes from Ridiculous Bob. 
 
This month's splash illustration. I was trying to think of what futuristic gizmo I hadn't featured at the top of the page in the many months this blog has been around. I had cars, flying cars, kid's toys, great illustrations by Syd Mead and others and then I thought... computers! We take them for granted in our lives, but the handy little gadget on which I'm typing this nonsense is so much more powerful than most sci-fi predicted it would be by now. So this month's splash illustration is the upper third of this computer screen design I found online, though I couldn't find the name of the artist. It's everything computers were expected to be: busy, flashy and almost completely incomprehensible without hours if not weeks of training. I think it screams "FUTURE!" or at least someone's idea of what it would be, which of course is the underlying concept of this blog, isn't it?

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Three little words. OMNI Future Almanac. 

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

28 February 2015

Birthdays (28 February)
Quinn Shephard b. 1995 (Believe, From Other Worlds)
Sarah Bolger b. 1991 (Once Upon a Time, The Lazarus Effect, The Spiderwick Chronicles)
Georgina Leonidas b. 1990 (Harry Potter, Wizards vs. Aliens)
Alex Arsenault b. 1985 (Caprica, Supernatural, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil)
Karolina Kurkova b. 1984 (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Natalia Vodianova b. 1982 (Clash of the Titans)
Lena Carwell b. 1982 (Jeepers Creepers II, The Nightmare Room, Power Rangers Wild Force)
Ali Larter b. 1976 (Heroes, Resident Evil, Final Destination I and II, House on Haunted Hill [1999])
Amanda Abbington b. 1974 (Being Human)
Rory Cochrane b. 1972 (Oculus, A Scanner Darkly)
Lemony Snicket b. 1970 (author, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events)
Robert Sean Leonard b. 1969 (Falling Skies, My Friend Is a Vampire, The Manhattan Project)
Cecelia Specht b. 1967 (No Ordinary Family, Star Trek: Enterprise)
Rae Dawn Chong b. 1961 (Pegasus vs. Chimera, Deadly Skies, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Highland [TV], Time Runner, Deadly Nightmares, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, Quest for Fire)
Mark Ferguson b. 1961 (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Xena, Hercules, Cleopatra 2525)
Dorothy Stratten b. 1960 died 14 August 1980 (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Galaxina, Americathon)
John Turturro b. 1957 (Transformers)
Gilbert Gottfried b. 1955 (Jack and the Beanstalk [2010], Funky Monkey, Superboy)
Bernadette Peters b. 1948 (Cinderella [1997 TV], The Odyssey, Into the Woods [1991 TV], Faerie Tale Theatre, Heartbeeps, The Martian Chronicles)
Mercedes Ruehl b. 1948 (Last Action Hero, Big)
Bubba Smith b. 1945 died 3 August 2011 (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Escape from DS-3, Wonder Woman)
Gil Peterson b. 1936 (The Brain Machine)
Don Franks b. 1932 (Hemlock Grove, Puppets Who Kill, Zixx Level One, Earth: Final Conflict, Relic Hunter, Johnny Mnemonic, The Hidden Room, 984: Prisoner of the Future, The Star Wars Holiday Special. Mr. Scrooge)
Gavin MacLeod b. 1931 (Time Changer, Wonder Woman, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, Men Into Space, World of Giants)
Walter Tevis b. 1928 died 8 August 1984 (author, The Man Who Fell to Earth)
Tom Aldredge b. 1928 died 22 July 2011 (The American Astronaut, *batteries not included, Into the Woods [1991 TV], The Mouse on the Moon)
John Carson b. 1927 (Doomsday, Doctor Who, 1990, Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, Taste the Blood of Dracula, The Plague of the Zombies, Blood Beast from Outer Space)
Harry H. Corbett b. 1925 died 21 March 1982 (Jabberwocky)
Jean Carson b. 1923 died 2 November 2005 (Twilight Zone, I Married a Monster from Outer Space)
Charles Durning b. 1922 died 24 December 2012 (Fatal Sky, Solarbabies, Amazing Stories, The Fury, Twilight’s Last Gleaming)
Alfred Burke b. 1918 died 16 February 2011 (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Blood Beast from Outer Space, Children of the Damned)
Billie Bird b. 1908 died 27 November 2002 (Werewolf, The Charmings, Max Headroom, Starman [TV])
Sir John Tenniel b. 1820 died 1914 (illustrator, Alice in Wonderland)

Birthdays (29 February)
Peter Scanavino b. 1980 (The Leftovers)
Antonio Sabato Jr. b. 1972 (Charmed, Lois & Clark, Earth 2)
Eamonn Roche b. 1968 (The Event, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Babylon 5, The Mask)
Dallas Barnett b. 1964 (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
Ken Foree b. 1948 (Zone of the Dead, Halloween [2007], Dawn of the Dead [2004 and 1978], The Nightmare Room, The X-Files, Babylon 5, M.A.N.T.I.S., The Flash, Quantum leap, Beauty and the Beast [1989], From Beyond, Knight Rider)
Harvey Jason b. 1940 (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Alien Nation [TV], Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Wizard, Knight Rider, Wonder Woman, Man From Atlantis, Genesis II, Necromancy)
Alex Rocco b. 1936 (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Small & Frye, The Entity, Slither, Batman)
Joss Ackland b. 1928 (Pinocchio [2010 TV], A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, The Little Prince)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, I used an illustration by Sir John Tenniel in the Picture Slot - certainly iconic, and a still from Transformers with John Turturro, not so iconic. This year I go with Ali Larter from Heroes, arguably the most iconic person on the list other than Tenniel, and unarguably a fabulous babe. Funny how often that works out.

2. Leap day babies. Let me address the elephant in the room. Hello. Mr. Elephant, how are you? For me, the short resource in keeping this blog alive is predictions with dates assigned to them. I'm going to do everything I can to keep going until at least the end of 2015, but I can't be sure about stretching it into 2016, which is a leap year. Given that situation, I decided to list the folks born on leap day since I might not get the chance 366 days from now.

3. The Canadians and Nepotism. Looking at resumes, you might be able to suss out that Alex Arsenault and Don Franks were born in Canada. Poor Dorothy Stratten was killed before the Canadian sci-fi boom began. For me, the surprise was Rae Dawn Chong is Canadian, as well as being the daughter of Tommy Chong, who was also born in Canada.  I did not know their places of birth until this morning.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.


 
Predictor: William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), Democratic politician and Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, predicting the future of the United States in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.

Prediction: The government may grow larger in scope, but it will grow more simple in purpose. Changed conditions will compel the government to guard the weak from the aggressions of the strong.

Much of the increasing inequality in wealth is due to laws absolutely unjust and to the absence of necessary restraining laws. We may not be able to destroy the natural disparity between men, but we must avoid exaggerating it by legislation.

General education among the masses and improved facilities for spreading information have prepared the people for more complete participation in the work of self-government. We have outgrown the present method of electing senators by legislatures.

Reality: Okay. Wow.

The Bryan we know today is best characterized by his Cross of Gold speech when he ran for president in 1896. (He was 36! The Constitution says he has to be at least 35, so he was definitely in a big damned hurry.) We also have his late in life defense of the state in the Scopes Monkey Trial, not his finest hour. But the "simpler government" line is often the preamble to libertarian principles that translate to Fuck the Poor, and he's 180 degrees away from that. For a while, the government did what it could to stem the tide of inequality with progressive taxation, but that's been taking a beating for a couple generations now. And he's completely on the money about direct election of senators. Good on ya, Mr. Bryan.


Never to be Forgotten: Maurice Hurley 1939-2015 The big news in Star Trek obits is of course Leonard Nimoy, but earlier this week writer and producer Maurice Hurley of the Next Generation era passed away. He is given credit for several story lines, including re-introducing the Romulans and having the general idea of an unbeatable foe which became the Borg. Moreover, he added the personal touches of Riker playing the trombone, Picard's favorite holodeck program being the private detective Dixon Hill and the introduction of Data's "brother" Lore. He is also given the blame for Gates McFadden leaving the show and her return when he left the show himself in season three.

Best wishes to the family and friends of Maurice Hurley, from a fan. He is never to be forgotten.


Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

More guesses from Heinlein about what gadgets will be made in the future, which for him is 1970 or 2000.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Never to be Forgotten:
Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

My Twitter and Facebook feeds have been full of this all day, so I'm going to assume that my readers are already aware that Leonard Nimoy, the celebrated actor, director, author and photographer, died today at the age of 83 from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which was the result of his decades of heavy smoking. On his Twitter feed, he often reminded his followers not to smoke. Good on ya, Mr. Nimoy.

Name a show like Star Trek, I dare you. Other TV shows made the jump to the big screen like Batman, but for a TV show to become a franchise that lasts through six decades with hits on regular TV, syndicated TV, Saturday morning TV, the big screen and the web, that list begins and ends with Star Trek. I was a young man when Nimoy wrote I Am Not Spock, and from that I surmised that being typecast really stunk. But Nimoy and Shatner broke that cast, Nimoy most successfully as the director of a Night Gallery episode, one good Star Trek movie (number IV) and one bad one (Number III) and a big box office hit completely outside of genre, Three Men and a Baby. He also wrote a book entitled I Am Spock. I will admit to being confused.

Many fans of Star Trek also love Galaxy Quest and consider Alan Rickman's portrayal of Alexander Dane was supposed to be somewhere between Sir Patrick Stewart and Leonard Nimoy. But if these actors had qualms about their never dying connection to their particular roles on Star Trek, in the long run their defenses were broken down because WE FUCKING LOVE THEM! We are nerds and dweebs and geeks and poindexters, but we loved them then, we love them now and we will continue to love them as long as we draw breath. As time went on, they accepted our love and that made us even more grateful. We may be odd people, but the vast majority of us are not bad people, and we returned their acceptance many million fold over.

Ever wonder how many Mission: Impossible conventions Nimoy attended or I, Claudius fanfests Stewart was asked to do? Yeah, me neither.

I could mention his roles on dozens of other genre productions, including The Big Bang Theory, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Them!, Zombies of the Stratosphere and the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Okay I mentioned some, but we know the score. Spock is dead and if he could be excited when he found out Kirk was still alive, we can grieve knowing is is gone.


Best wishes to the family and friends of Leonard Nimoy, from a currently crying fan. He is never to be forgotten.

27 February 2015

 Birthdays
Kate Mara b. 1983 (The Fantastic Four [2015], The Martian, Transcendence, American Horror Story, Iron Man 2, Zoom)
Juan Riedinger b. 1981 (Continuum, Sanctuary, Collision Earth, Fringe, Supernatural, Jennifer’s Body, Smallville, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Bionic Woman [2007], Fallen)
Nikki Amuka-Bird b. 1976 (Jupiter Ascending, Sinbad [2012], Torchwood, The Omen [2006])
Bingbing Li b. 1973 (Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Resident Evil: Retribution)
Richard Coyle b. 1972 (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Ultra)
Julia Parker b. 1970 (A Girl, a Guy, a Space Helmet, Alien Armageddon)
Donal Logue b. 1966 (Gotham, Shark Night 3D, Blade, The X-Files, Night Rider, Robotrix)
Gregg Rainwater b. 1966 (Street Fighter)
Noah Emmerich b. 1965 (Super 8, The Walking Dead, The Truman Show, Last Action Hero)
Adam Baldwin b. 1962 (Day Break, The Thirst, Serenity, Firefly, Angel, Stargate SG-1, The X-Files, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Gargantua, From the Earth to the Moon, Independence Day, VR.5, Predator 2)
Grant Shaud b. 1961 (From the Earth to the Moon, Lois & Clark)
Timothy Spall b. 1957 (The Enfield Haunting, Upside Down, Harry Potter, Enchanted, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Vanilla Sky, The Hunger [TV], Red Dwarf, Gothic)
Angela Aames b. 1956 died 27 November 1988 (Automan, Likely Stories Vol. 4, Mork & Mindy)
Stephen Leigh b. 1951 (author, Dinosaur World, The Omega Egg, Wild Cards)
Mark Harrison b. 1951 (illustrator)
Debra Monk b. 1949 (The Brass Teapot, Devil’s Advocate)
Hajime Sorayama b. 1947 (illustrator)
Alan Fudge b. 1944 died 10 October 2011 (Dark Skies, Galaxis, M.A.N.T.I.S., Quantum Leap, Alien Nation, My Demon Lover, Twilight Zone [1986], Space, Knight Rider, Man from Atlantis, Capricorn One, Wonder Woman, Bug [1975])
Mary Frann b. 1943 died 23 September 1998 (Lois & Clark, Deadly Nightmares, The Incredible Hulk)
Charlotte Stewart b. 1941 (Tremors, Journey to the Center of the Earth [1990], UFOria, Eraserhead)
Howard Hesseman b. 1940 (Halloween II [2009], Level 9, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Faerie Tale Theatre, Likely Stories Vol. 4, Americathon)
Bill Hunter b. 1940 died 21 May 2011 (On the Beach, Space: Above and Beyond, The Return of Captain Invincible, Doctor Who)
Barbara Babcock b. 1937 (Space Cowboys, Salem’s Lot, Logan’s Run [TV], The Sixth Sense [1972], Star Trek, The Green Hornet, The Munsters)
Van Williams b. 1937 (The Green Hornet, Batman)
Lynn Cartwright b. 1927 died 2 January 2004 (Far Out Space Nuts, The Wasp Woman, Queen of Outer Space)
William Demarest b. 1892 died 28 December 1983 (Twilight Zone, Son of Flubber)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years the Picture Slot used Adam Baldwin from Firefly and Timothy Spall from Harry Potter. There were several choices this year, including Donal Logue from Gotham or a Sorayama robot, but instead I went with Barbara Babcock from the Plato's Stepchildren episode of the original Star Trek. The general public might remember her better from her recurring role on Hill Street Blues. Kate Mara might become iconic as Sue Storm, but that has yet to be proven.

2. Spot the Canadians! If it was just Juan Reidinger, I would have made it a competition and put the answer in the comments later. He's easy to spot. But we also have Donal Logue, who has only a smattering of Canadian productions on his impressive resume.

3. Wait... they're dead? My first shock this morning on imdb.com was that Mary Frann, known best as Bob Newhart's wife on the show that took place in Vermont, died last century. I certainly paid attention to obits back then, but this had slipped my mind completely.We also have two other actors born in the 1940s who are already dead, the Australian Bill Hunter and the American TV character actor Alan Fudge. Youngest of all is Angela Aames, a busty starlet who died at the age of 32 over a quarter of a century ago. I know her best from the Cinemax show Likely Stories Vol. 4, which is of interest to My People and Our Agenda. I definitely didn't know she was gone.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.


 Predictor: H.G. Wells from his 1902 book Anticipations

Prediction: War is being drawn into the field of the exact sciences. Every additional weapon, every new complication of the art of war, intensifies the need of deliberate preparation, and darkens the outlook of a nation of amateurs. Warfare in the future, on sea or land alike, will be much more one-sided than it has ever been in the past, much more of a foregone conclusion. Save for national lunacy, it will be brought about by the side that will win, and because that side knows that it will win.

Reality: Umm, Herb... not so much. We have so many examples of wars in the 20th Century where the side that started it looked like they would win but failed to achieve their political ends, either because of underestimation of the other side's tenacity or overextending itself to fight several fronts at once.

Looking ahead one day... INTO THE FUTURE!

A prediction from 1893 from a name still known today.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!
 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

26 February 2015

Birthdays
Taylor Dooley b. 1993 (Monster Night, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D)
Max Lloyd-Jones b. 1991 (iZombie, Teen Wolf [2014], Supernatural)
Teresa Palmer b. 1986 (Parts Per Billion, Warm Bodies, I Am Number Four, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Grudge 2)
Shiloh Fernandez b. 1985 (Evil Dead, Red Riding Hood, Deadgirl, Jericho)
James Wan b. 1977 (director, Insidious, The Conjuring, Dead Silence, Saw)
Drew Goddard b. 1975 (writer, Daredevil [2015 TV], World War Z, The Cabin in the Woods, Cloverfield, Lost, Angel, Buffy)
Meeno Peluce b. 1970 (Manimal, Voyagers!, World War III, The Amityville Horror, The Incredible Hulk)
Ed Quinn b. 1968 (Eureka, Behemoth, True Blood, House of the Dead 2)
Ross Partridge b. 1968 (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Quantum Leap, The Flash [1991 TV])
Jennifer Grant b. 1966 (Time Trax)
Marc Dacascos b. 1964 (Mortal Kombat: Legacy [TV], Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight, Wolvesbayne, Stargate: Atlantis, Solar Attack, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven [TV], The Island of Dr, Moreau, Tales from the Crypt, The Flash [1990 TV])
Chase Masterson b. 1963 (The Flash [2015], Manticore, Creature Unknown, Terminal Invasion, Deep Space Nine, Digital Man, Sliders)
Greg Germann b. 1958 (Eureka, Child’s Play 2)
Jonathan Schmock b. 1956 (Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: Enterprise. They Came from Outer Space [TV], ALF)
Barbara Niven b. 1953 (Charmed, I Married a Monster, Humanoids from the Deep)
Marta Kristen b. 1945 (Lost in Space [1998 and 1965], Battle Beyond the Stars, Project U.F.O.)
Bill Duke b. 1943 (director, Twilight Zone [1987], Starman [TV]; actor, Battledogs, X-Men: The Last Stand, Battlestar Galactica, Predator)
Tony Selby b. 1938 (Cockneys vs Zombies, Doctor Who, Superman, Witchfinder General)
Cliff Osmond b. 1937 died 22 December 2012 (Knight Rider, The Invisible Man [1975], The Six Million Dollar Man, Invasion of the Bee Girls, Land of the Giants, Batman, My Living Doll, Twilight Zone)
Jane Wagner b. 1935 (writer, The Incredible Shrinking Woman)
Godfrey Cambridge b. 1933 died 29 November 1976 (Beware! The Blob)
Lawrence Montaigne b. 1931 (Escape to Witch Mountain, Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Batman, The Time Tunnel)
Tony Randall b. 1920 died 17 May 2004 (The Seven Faces of Dr, Lao, The Brass Bottle)
Mason Adams b. 1919 died 26 April 2005 (From the Earth to the Moon, Not of this Earth, Toy Soldiers, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Revenge of the Stepford Wives)
Theodore Sturgeon b 1918 died 8 may 1985 (writer, More Than Human, Amok Time)
Robert Alda b. 1914 died 3 May 1986 (Beyond Westworld, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, The Amazing Spider-Man [1978], The Invisible Man [1975])
Dane Clark b. 1912 died 11 February 1998 (The Twilight Zone)
Dub Taylor b. 1907 died 3 October 1994 (Back to the Future III, Starman [1987 TV], Creature from Black Lake, Mr. Terrific, My Favorite Martian, Twilight Zone, Them!)
William Frawley b. 1887 died 3 March 1966 (My Living Doll, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. A lot of well known names on today's list, especially in the crowd born before World War II, but for iconic in genre, my top three would be Marta Kristen from Lost in Space, who had the Picture Slot last year, Lawrence Montaigne as Stonn from Amok Time and Chase Masterson as the Bajoran dabo girl Leeta. And somehow I chose the fabulous babe. What an odd coincidence.

2. Nepotism, definitely and maybe. The nepotism today is definitely old school, though one case is stronger than the others. Jennifer Grant is the daughter of Dyan Cannon and Cary Grant. Barbara Niven had a career as an actress when she married David Niven, Jr., so I don't know how much the name helped. Robert Alda is the dad of Alan Alda, but he had a career long before Alan did. The only dad I can think of who I would definitely count as a beneficiary of nepotism is Rance Howard.

3. Stuff you learn when you do research. On imdb.com, every blurb gives one production the actor/writer/director/whatever was associated with. Sometimes those productions are genre and I obviously put them on the list, unless it turns out to be direct to video. Other actors are familiar names to me and I check them just to make sure. For example, today I clicked on Jackie Gleason and he had no genre work I could find. On the other hand, I added William Frawley, Dub Taylor, Robert Alda, Mason Adams and Godfrey Cambridge without knowing for sure they did any genre when I clicked on their names.

4. Spot the British Canadian! Max Lloyd-Jones was born in England, but moved to Vancouver to find work. If I was a young actor today, I'd certainly consider that possibility.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
 
Predictor: Richard Nixon on 15 October 1965

Prediction: If the United States gives up in Vietnam, the Pacific Ocean will become a Red Sea.

Reality: There was a lot of doom and gloom predicted about what failure in Vietnam would mean, but much of it, like this Nixon quote, was remarkably overblown. We lost and the world didn't collapse. Maybe it wasn't as strategically important as we were lead to believe.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We hear again from H.G. Wells, though we'll leave the racist crap alone for a week.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

25 February 2015

Birthdays
Laura Ann Kesling b. 2000 (Bedtime Stories)
Tony Oller b. 1991 (The Purge)
Gerran Howell b. 1991 (Young Dracula)
Isabelle Fuhrman b. 1997 (The Hunger Games)
Natalie Dreyfuss b. 1987 (The Originals, True Blood, National Treasure: Book of Secrets)
James and Oliver Phelps b. 1986 (Harry Potter)
Justin Berfield b. 1986 (The Nightmare Room)
Tara Wilson b. 1982 (Almost Human, Lost Girl, Smallville, V, Stan Helsing, Tin Man, Supernatural, The Butterfly Effect, Eastwick)
Anson Mount b. 1973 (Dollhouse, Lost, Smallville)
Daniel Boileau b. 1973 (The Tomorrow People, Eve of Destruction, Supernatural, Fringe, Smallville, Eureka, Stargate: Atlantis, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Dead Like Me, Dark Angel)
Sean Astin b. 1971 (The Strain, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, Alphas, Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Hercules [2005 TV], Click, Jeremiah, Perversions of Science, Harrison Bergeron, Encino Man)
Christien Anholt b. 1971 (Ben 10: Race Against Time, Relic Hunter, Doctor Who)
Tea Leoni b. 1966 (Jurassic Park III, The X-Files, Deep Impact)
Alexis Denisof b. 1966 (Grimm, Guardians of the Galaxy, H+, The Avengers, Dollhouse, Angel, Buffy, Highlander [TV])
Samantha Phillips b. 1966 (Andromina: The Pleasure Planet, Phantasm II)
Lee Evans b. 1964 (Doctor Who, The Fifth Element)
James C. Burns b. 1959 (Dinocroc vs. Supergator, Transformers)
Barclay Hope b. 1958 (Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, Witches of East End, Final Destination 5, Eureka, Tooth Fairy, Fringe, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, Paycheck, Battlestar Galactica, Goosebumps, Forever Knight, War of the Worlds [TV], The Twilight Zone [1989])
John Doe b. 1954 (Zombex, The Wizards of Waverly Place, Carnivale, Roswell, The Rage: Carrie 2, Liquid Dreams)
Neil Jordan b. 1950 (director, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, High Spirits, The Company of Wolves)
Diane Baker b. 1938 (Mann & Machine, The Invaders, Journey to the Center of the Earth)
Tom Courtenay b. 1937 (The Golden Compass, Leonard Part 6, The Day the Fish Came Out)
Bernard Bresslaw b. 1934 died 11 June 1993 (Krull, Hawk the Slayer, Jabberwocky, Doctor Who, Blood of the Vampire)
Michael Fairman b. 1934 (Firefly, The X-Files, Quantum Leap, The Powers of Matthew Star, World War III)
Christopher George b. 1931 died 28 November 1983 (City of the Living Dead, Day of the Animals, Wonder Woman, Bewitched)
Larry Gelbart b. 1928 died 11 September 2009 (writer, Bedazzled [2000])
Bert Remsen b. 1925 died 22 April 1999 (Humanoids from the Deep, Deep Space Nine, Evil Spirits, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, TerrorVision, Space, Tucker’s Witch, Wonder Woman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Outer Limits, Moon Pilot)
Anthony Burgess b. 1917 died 22 November 1993 (Author, A Clockwork Orange)
Gert Frobe b. 1913 died 5 September 1988 (The Little Vampire, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Jim Backus b. 1913 died 3 July 1989 (Slapstick (Of Another Kind), C.H.O.M.P.S., Pete’s Dragon, The Ghost Busters [1975 TV], Kolchak the Night Stalker, I Dream of Jeannie, Damn Yankees! [1967 TV])

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. Previous Picture Slotters are Alexis Denisov from Angel and James and Oliver Phelps from Harry Potter. To be honest, Sean Astin is closer to the top of the bill in the The Lord of the Rings movies than the others were in their best known roles, so I don't have any qualms about whether he's iconic on not. There are some other well known names here, but for iconic in genre, I think the other solid choice would be Anthony Burgess for A Clockwork Orange.

2. Spot the Canadians! When you see the Supernatural/Smallville combo, your first guess is Canadian, and all three of today's birthday Canucks have that on their credit lists. Barclay Hope is a little older than the average Canadian in genre productions, but Daniel Boileau and Tara Wilson are of the usual demographic. Anson Mount was on Smallville, but he's not Canadian.

3. Nepotism or not? Sean Astin is now 44 and he has had a successful career on his own merits, but that doesn't change the fact his dad is John Astin and his mom is Patty Duke. His family connections may have helped open the door, but like Josh Brolin, Sean Astin has proven himself on his own and good on him.

4. The Guy at the Door or The Man Who Walked Away. Michael Fairman turns 71 today, not that old by today's standards, but he is the oldest alive on the list and everyone older is dead. More than that, he shares a birthday with the British actor Bernard Bresslaw. More interestingly and more to his credit in my book, Fairman used to be in Scientology and he quit. I remember when he was the actor in TV ads for the Dianetics book. I have a lot of respect for the people who can walk away from that organization.

5. Fun facts to know and tell. Punk rock fans will remember John Doe as the founder of the L.A. band X. What I didn't know is that he has become a working actor with over 70 credits on imdb.com. My other favorite tidbit from today's research is that Gert Frobe and Jim Backus were born on the exact same day. "No, Mister Howell, I expect you to die!" Okay, that's mixing genres too much I think.



Many happy returns to all the living on the list, especially Michael Fairman, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
 
Predictor: George Sutherland in the 1901 book Twentieth Century Inventions

Prediction: Hundreds of millions of the human race pass lives of a kind of dull monotonous toil which develops only the muscular, at the expense of the higher, faculties of the body; they are almost entirely cut off from social intercourse with their fellow-men, and they sink prematurely into decrepitude simply by reason of the lack of a cheap and abundant supply of mechanical power, ready at hand wherever it is wanted. Scores of "enterprises of great pith and moment" in the industrial advancement of the world have to be abandoned by reason of the same lack. In mining, in agriculture, in transport and in manufacture the thing that is needful to convert the "human machine" into a more or less intelligent brainworker is cheaper power. All the technical education in the world will not avail to raise the labourer in the intellectual scale if his daily work be only such as a horse or an engine might perform.

Reality: Sutherland hits the nail on the head here. A lot of manual labor, though certainly not all, has been made obsolete by 20th Century inventions, and generally other work can be found. Sometimes, work for good pay is replaced by work for less good pay, but that is not completely the blame of technology. Looking at the big picture, the population of the world has more than quadrupled since Sutherland wrote his book and standard of living has increased dramatically in nearly every corner of the world. It's easy to be worried about the future, but we have done amazing things in the past 100 years and if we grow wiser instead of just cleverer, we might be able to do even more.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Thursday belongs to the bold and incorrect, chronicled faithfully in the book The Experts Speak.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

24 February 2014

Birthdays
Winston Bethel b. 1984 (Astronaut Wives Club)
Bonnie Somerville b. 1974 (Spider-Man 2, Bedazzled [2000])
James Bachman b. 1972 (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Hyperdrive)
Ungela Brockman b. 1970 (Mystery Men, Starship Troopers, Babylon 5, From Dusk Till Dawn)
Will McLaughlin b. 1969 (Men in Black 3)
Billy Zane b. 1966 (Winter Dragon, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard, Ghosts of Goodnight Lane, The Ganzfield Haunting, Leprechaun’s Revenge, Journey to Promethea, Evil in the Time of Heroes, BloodRayne, Charmed, Vlad, The Phantom, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Back to the Future I and II, Critters)
Emilio Rivera b. 1961 (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Spider-Man 3, The X Files)
Beth Broderick b. 1959 (Under the Dome, Lost, Bionic Woman [2007], Supernatural, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Psycho Beach Party, Tales from the Darkside)
Mark Moses b. 1958 (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Race to Space, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Impact)
Helen Shaver b. 1951 (The 4400, Poltergeist: The Legacy, The Craft, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Amazing Stories, The Amityville Horror, Starship Invasions)
Debra Jo Rupp b. 1951 (From the Earth to the Moon, The Invaders [1995], Death Becomes Her, Big)
Dennis Waterman b. 1948 (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [1972], Scars of Dracula)
Edward James Olmos b. 1947 (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Eureka, The Green Hornet [2011], Battlestar Galactica, Faerie Tale Theatre, Wolfen, Blade Runner)
Barry Bostwick b. 1945 (Supernatural, Lexx, Project: Metalbeast, Aladdin, Deadly Nightmares, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Slither)
Robert A. Silverman b. 1943 (eXistenZ, Waterworld, 984: Prisoner of the Future, Scanners, The Brood)
James Sloyan b. 1940 (Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Quantum Leap, Misfits of Science, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Wonder Woman)
James Farentino b. 1938 died 24 January 2012 (Dead and Buried, The Final Countdown)
Jess Conrad b. 1936 (Space: 1999, Konga)
Leslie Carlson b. 1933 died 3 May 2014 (Lost Girl, Plague City: SARS in Toronto, Anonymous Rex, Tribulation Force, Odyssey 5, The X-Files, Highlander, The Girl from Mars, Twilight Zone [1988], War of the Words [TV series], The Fly [1986], The Dead Zone, Videodrome, The Neptune Factor)
John Vernon b. 1932 died 1 February 2005 (Tales from the Crypt, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, War of the Worlds [1988 TV], Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Knight Rider, Automan, Faerie Tale Theatre, The Powers of Matthew Star, The Greatest American Hero, The Invisible Man [1975 TV], The Questor Tapes, The Six Million Dollar Man: Solid Gold Kidnapping, 1984 [1956])
Richard B. Shull b. 1929 died 14 October 1999 (Tales from the Darkside, Splash, Heartbeeps, Holmes and Yo-Yo, Ssssssss, Slither)
Richard Powers b. 1921 died 9 March 1996 (illustrator)
Abe Vigoda b. 1921 (Weird Science [TV], Superboy, Tales from the Darkside, The Stuff, The Bionic Woman, Dark Shadows)
August Derleth b. 1909 died 4 July 1971 (author, The Trail of Cthulhu, the Solar Pons series)
Milton Frome b. 1909 died 21 March 1989 (Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Batman, My Mother the Car, The Addams Family, My Favorite Martian, Visit to a Small Planet, Twilight Zone, Adventures of Superman, The Atomic Kid)

Notes from the birthday list.
The Picture Slot. No disrespect to today's birthday boys and girls, but we have a lot more character actors than A-List movie stars here. Previous Picture Slotters were Edward James Olmos from Battlestar Galactica and an illustration from Richard Powers. I almost went with James Sloyan, an Oh That Guy who has played several different aliens on modern Star Trek series, but instead I went with heroic Barry Bostwick from Rocky Horror Picture Show because damn it, Janet, I still love that movie.  

Wait... he's dead AND Canadian? John Vernon is probably still best known as Dean Wormer from Animal House and he died about ten years ago. He was also born in Canada, though his credit list doesn't make that obvious. A more obvious credit list is that of the late Leslie Carlson. Our one living Canadian is Robert A. Silverman and his credit list has several films directed by David Cronenberg, which isn't quite as much of a giveaway as seeing a TV movie called SARS in Toronto.

Wait... Abe Vigoda's alive? And he was in genre productions? 25 years ago when I came back online to stay, I was part of a newsgroup called alt.obituaries. Early on, we would get about one visitor a week asking if Tom Lehrer was still alive. (Answer: Yes then, still yes now.) In more recent years, the most common person to be incorrectly assumed dead is Abe Vigoda, who turns 94 today and good on him. The big surprise for me was how many genre productions he was in.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.

 
Predictor: W. Warren Wagar in his 1991 book A Short History of the Future

Prediction: In the year 1995, two thirds of all the manufacturing assets in the United States were owned by just 140 companies. By 2015, after more corporate bloodletting, the number had dropped to 36 companies.

Reality: These numbers are hard to find, but according to the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. manufacturing base adds up to about two trillion dollars and looking at the latest Industry Week list of revenues, the top 36 companies' total revenue is about half that number. Moreover, several of those companies like Apple may be listed as American companies, but much of their manufacturing is actually done in China. Wagar predicted Russia would be allowed in as a full partner into the Club of Capitalist Countries, but missed that it would be China and not Russia to gain the most from the New World Order after the fall of communism.
 


Never to be Forgotten: Ben Woolf 1980(?)-2015

Ben Woolf, a little person actor who was a regular on American Horror Story, died of injuries sustained from being hit in the head by a passenger side mirror on a passing car. (I am by no means a little person, but as a bicyclist, I have had several scrapes with passenger side mirrors, so this story certainly spooks me.) His age at death is given as 34, but I couldn't find a date of birth online, so I am guessing he was born in 1980. His other credits in genre that weren't direct to video include Dead Kansas and Unlucky Charms.

Best wishes to the family and friends of Ben Woolf, who died much too young in a senseless accident. He is never to be forgotten.
 
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another visit from my favorite of the regular predictors in the current line-up, the sensible George Sutherland and his usually too modest predictions about 20th Century Inventions.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!