JBatman vs Superman by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

JBatman vs Superman by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
Batman vs Superman by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

Friday, September 4, 2015

4 September 2015

Birthdays
Ellie Darcey-Alden b. 1999 (Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
Peggy Nesbitt b. 197 (The Hobbitt)
Caitlin and Amanda Fein b. 1992 (The X Files, Deep Impact)
Carter Jenkins b. 1991 (Aliens in the Attic, The 4400, Surface)
Charlotte Frogner b. 1981 (Dead Snow 1 & 2)
Max Greenfield b. 1980 (American Horror Story, No Ordinary Family)
Wes Bentley b. 1978 (Interstellar, American Horror Story, The Hunger Games, Underworld: Awakening, Jonah Hex, Ghost Rider)
John Ruby b. 1977 (Touch, The Event)
Rasika Mathur b. 1976 (Rubberhead, Cloverfield)
Kai Owen b. 1975 (Torchwood, Being Human, Rocket Man)
Jason David Frank b. 1973 (Power Rangers, V.R. Troopers)
Francoise Yip b. 1972 (Sanctuary, Fringe, Caprica, Blood Ties, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Flash Gordon [TV], Andromeda, Blade: Trinity, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Smallville, Jeremiah, Mindstorm, RoboCop: Prime Directives, Earth: Final Conflict, Futuresport)
Ione Skye b. 1970 (Haunt, The Dead Zone)
Richard Speight Jr. b. 1970 (Supernatural, Jericho, Big Monster on Campus, Menno’s Mind, Hypernauts, Amanda & the Alien, Freddy’s Nightmares)
Noah Taylor b. 1969 (Edge of Tomorrow, Game of Thrones, Predestination, Pirates of the Caribbean: Secrets of the Dead Man’s Chest, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Simon Magus, Vanilla Sky)
Kristen Wilson b. 1969 (Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, Dr. Doolittle, Dungeons & Dragons)
Mo Brings Plenty b. 1969 (Cowboys & Aliens)
John DiMaggio b. 1968 (Futurama, Princess Mononoke, Adventure Time, among many others)
Phill Lewis b. 1968 (Wizards of Waverly Place, What Planet Are You From?, Buffy, Starman [TV])
Michael Bent b. 1965 (Threshold, Firefly)
Todd Sherry b. 1961 (Eastwick, Alien Autopsy, Charmed)
Annabel Schofield b. 1963 (Solar Crisis)
Damon Wayans b. 1960 (Blankman, Earth Girls Are Easy)
Domiziana Giordano b. 1959 (Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles)
Patricia Tallman b. 1957 (InAlienable, Babylon 5, Star Trek: Voyager, Dark Skies, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Army of Darkness, The Flash, Night of the Living Dead [1990], Hard Time on Planet Earth)
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs b. 1953 (Weird Science, Homeboys in Outer Space, Alien Nation)
Alan Blumenfeld b. 1952 (Touch, Heroes, Stargate: Atlantis, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, The Dark Side of the Moon, The Munsters Today, Beauty and the Beast [1988], Innerspace, Jason Lives, The Twilight Zone [1986], WarGames)
Judith Ivey b. 1951 (Rose Red, The Devil’s Advocate,Frogs!)
Michael Berryman b. 1948 (Apocalypse Kiss, Army of the Damned, Necrosis, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, Conan, The X-Files, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Wizards of the Demon Sword, Guyver, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Aftershock, ALF, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Barbarians, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, My Science Project, Weird Science, The Hills Have Eyes, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze)
David St. James b. 1947 (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Donnie Darko, My Favorite Martian [1999], Alien Avengers II, Alien: Resurrection, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Space: Above and Beyond, The Invaders [1995 TV movie], Lois & Clark, Monolith)
Cynthia Pepper b. 1940 (The Addams Family)
Bob May b. 1939 died 18 January 2009 (Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel)
Leonard Frey b. 1938 died 24 August 1988 (Earthlings)
Nicholas Worth b. 1937 died 7 May 2007 (Star Trek: Voyager, Starforce, The X Files, Sliders, Deep Space Nine, Timelock, Plughead Rewired: Circuitry Man II, Darkman, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, Swamp Thing, Coma, The Invisible Man [1975], The Six Million Dollar Man, Scream Blacula Scream)
Edward de Souza b. 1932 (The Golden Compass, She-Wolf of London, 1990, Doctor Who, The Kiss of the Vampire)
Dinsdale Landen b. 1932 died 29 December 2003 (Doctor Who, Morons from Outer Space, Out of This World)
Dick York b. 1928 died 20 February 1992 (Bewitched, Twilight Zone)
Howard Morris b. 1919 died 21 May 2005 (It Came from Outer Space II, Transylvania Twist, Splash, The Munsters’ Revenge, Space Academy, Twilight Zone)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. Did you ever wonder if Darren Stephens worked with Don Draper?  Okay... it's just me.

Previous Picture Slotters were Patricia Tallman from Babylon 5 and Michael Berryman from The Hills Have Eyes. Two other actors I considered were John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender, and Bob May, who was the actor inside the robot on Lost in Space, though Dick Tufield did the voice.

2. Wait... they're dead? We have a bunch of actors born in the 1930s who are already dead. The two whose deaths I had quite processed are Leonard Frey and Nicholas Worth.

3. Spot the Canadian! Today we have Francoise Yip.

4. Nepotism FTW. Ione Ske is the daughter of Donovan Leitch.

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


Predictor: H.G. Wells in the 1901 book Anticipations

Prediction: The Japanese are a people quite abnormal and incalculable, with a touch of romance, a conception of honour, a quality of imagination, and a clearness of intelligence that renders possible for them things inconceivable of any other existing nation. I may be the slave of perspective effects, but when I turn my mind from the pettifogging muddle of the English House of Commons, for example, that magnified vestry that is so proud of itself as a club--when I turn from that to this race of brave and smiling people, abruptly destiny begins drawing with a bolder hand. Suppose the Japanese were to make up their minds to accelerate whatever process of synthesis were possible in China! Suppose, after all, I am not the victim of atmospheric refraction, and they are, indeed, as gallant and bold and intelligent as my baseless conception of them would have them be! They would almost certainly find co-operative elements among the educated Chinese...

Reality: This is about as complimentary as an Englishman of Wells' time can be about another nationality, and it's still incredibly condescending, most notably to the Chinese. We also have the history lesson of the Japanese making up their minds to "improve" the Chinese, and it wasn't quite the wonderful thing Wells had hoped for.
 
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another Saturday, another Weekly Soapbox.
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

3 September 2015

Birthdays
Ashley Boettcher b. 2000 (Aliens in the House, Aliens in the Attic)
Victoria Jones b. 1991 (Men in Black II)
Garrett Hedlund b. 1984 (Pan, TRON: Legacy, Eragon)
Paz de la Huerta b. 1984 (4:44 Last Day on Earth)
Christine Woods b. 1983 (The Walking Dead, FlashForward)
Nichole Hiltz b. 1978 (Alien Autopsy, Smallville, Buffy, Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Nick Weschsler b. 1978 (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Roswell, Team Knight Rider)
Ashley Jones b. 1976 (FlashForward, True Blood)
Clare Kramer b. 1974 (Tales of Halloween, Big Ass Spider!, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Buffy)
Noah Baumbach b. 1969 (writer, The Fantastic Mr. Fox)
Charlie Sheen b. 1965 (Big Bang Theory, The Arrival, The Wraith, Amazing Stories)
Costas Mandylor b. 1965 (Saw, Hyenas, Immortally Yours, Beowulf, Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York, Dinocroc, Charmed, Andromeda, Last Exit to Earth)
Daniel Myrick b. 1963 (writer, The Objective, Solstice, The Blair Witch Project)
Holt McCallany b. 1963 (Heroes, Alien³)
Merritt Butrick b. 1959 died 17 March 1989 (Fright Night Part 2, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Beauty and the Beast, Why on Earth?, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Zapped!, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
Kevin McCorkle b. 1958 (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Island, The X Files, Star Trek: Voyager)
Jean-Pierre Jeunet b. 1953 (director, Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children)
Lou Richards b. 1951 (Growth, Charmed, Hulk, The X Files, Project U.F.O., Logan’s Run [TV])
Valerie Perrine b. 1943 (Faerie Tale Theatre, Superman, Slaughterhouse Five)
Pauline Collins b. 1940 (Doctor Who, Merlin)
Eileen Brennan b, 1932 died 28 July 2013 (Tales from the Crypt, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Babes in Toyland [TV])
Nora ‘Dodo’ Denney b. 1927 died 20 November 2005 (Splash, Tucker’s Witch, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian)
Anne Jackson b. 1926 (The Shining)
Terry Wilson b. 1923 died 30 March 1999 (Escape to Witch Mountain, Westworld)
Cecil Parker b. 1897 died 20 April 1971 (Psycho-Circus, The Brain, The Man in the White Suit)
Pat O’Malley b. 1890 died 21 May 1966 (Twilight Zone, Invasion of the Body Snatchers)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, the Picture Slot went to Clare Kramer from Buffy and Merritt Butrick from the Star Trek movies. This year, it's Nora 'Dodo' Denny as Mrs. Teavee from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

2. Nepotism FTW. Charlie Sheen is a star in his own right now, but being Martin Sheen's son was definitely a boost to his early career.

3. Living Canadian free.  Did not find any Canadian actors on the list today.

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


Predictor: Morris L. Ernst in the 1955 book Utopia 1976

Prediction: By 1976, trucks may be propelled on special highways without drivers.

Reality: Ernst is very early with this one, assuming automatically driven cars were only twenty years away when he wrote this. The technology is possible today and will likely be accepted practice within ten years or so, though truck drivers may not just roll over and accept obsolescence so easily.
 

Never to be Forgotten: Dean Jones 1931-2015 Dean Jones, the clean-cut star of many Disney films, most notably the movies featuring Herbie the Love Bug, has died at the age of 84. Besides making films for Disney, Jones also starred in many films for the Christian audience. (Note that "clean cut" is sometimes misleading, as in Bob Crane's example.) He also had many roles on Broadway, including the original actor to play the lead Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company. His roles in genre include Scrooge and Marley, Special Report: Journey to Mars, Once Upon a Brothers Grimm and the Italian production Mr. Superinvisible.

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

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

There are still a few weeks left of predictions from Anticipations and some of Wells' prophecies do not make him look like a scumbag.

Emphasis on some.
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2 September 2015

Birthdays
Gavin Casalegno b. 1999 (Teen Wolf)
Austin Abrams b. 1996 (The Walking Dead)
Kian Lawley b. 1995 (The Chosen [2015])
Allison Miller b. 1985 (Terra Nova, Blood: The Last Vampire)
Yani Gellman b. 1985 (Beauty and the Beast [2012], Monster Warriors, Jason X)
Tiffany Hines b. 1983 (Damien, Toxin, Meteor, Heroes)
Nicholas Pinnock b. 1973 (Monsters: The Dark Continent, Captain America: The First Avenger)
Shauna Sand b. 1971 (Dark Realm, Charmed)
Cynthia Watros b. 1968 (Video Game High School, Warehouse 13, Lost, Mars)
Kristen Cloke b. 1968 (Willard, The X Files, Millennium, Space: Above and Beyond, Quantum Leap, Megaville)
Salma Hayek b. 1966 (Tale of Tales, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Dogma, From Dusk Till Dawn)
Tuc Watkins b. 1966 (Warehouse 13, Infested, The Mummy, Harry and the Hendersons [TV])
Keanu Reeves b. 1964 (The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Scanner Darkly, Constantine, The Matrix, The Devil’s Advocate, Johnny Mnemonic, Dracula, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Babes in Toyland [1986 TV])
Linda Purl b. 1955 (True Blood, Mighty Joe Young, The Hidden Room, Time Travelers)
Mark Harmon b. 1951 (From the Earth to the Moon)
Mary Jo Catlett b. 1938 (Legend of the Mummy, ALF, Blood Beach)
Derek Fowlds b. 1937 (Frankenstein Created Woman)
Chuck McCann b. 1934 (Horrorween, They Call Him Sasquatch, Invasion, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, The Tick, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Sliders, Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, C.H.O.M.P.S., Far Out Space Nuts)
Mel Stuart b. 1928 died 9 August 2012 (director, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)
Francis Matthews b. 1927 died 14 June 2014 (Out of the Unknown, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, The Revenge of Frankenstein)
Samuel A. Peeples b. 1917 died 27 August 1997 (writer, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Flash Gordon [TV], Jason of Star Command, Space Academy, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek)
Penny Santon b. 1916 died 12 May 1999 (Quantum Leap, Starman, Short Circuit, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian)
Meinhardt Raabe b. 1915 died 9 April 2010 (The Wizard of Oz)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, the Picture Slot belonged to our two movie stars, Salma Hayek and Keanu Reeves. With them out of the running, my vote for most iconic is the late Meinhardt Raabe as the Munchkin coroner.

2. The Guy at the Door. On today's list, comic actor Chuck McCann is the oldest living person and everyone younger is still with us. Special birthday wishes to him.

3. Living Canadian free! No Canadians to spot today.

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


Predictors: Michael Mann, Michael Kozar and Sonya Miller

Prediction: The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will have between 5 to 10 named storms, with eight the most likely number.

Reality: We are halfway into the season and the sixth storm just got named. The only thing that can go wrong here is undershooting the mark, which is not impossible.
 
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Is our pal Morris Ernst likely to be wrong on the optimistic side? Well, his book is titled Utopia 1976, so the odds are good.
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

1 September 2015

Birthdays
Zendaya b. 1996 (Zapped [2014])
Michael Adamthwaite b. 1981 (The 100, Strange Empire, Nerds and Monsters, Arrow, Horns, Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, Fringe, Sucker Punch, Behemoth, Riverworld, Twilight: New Moon, Smallville, Reaper, Watchmen, Flash Gordon [TV], Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Dead Like Me, 10.5, Stargate SG-1, Jeremiah)
Lara Pulver b. 1980 (Edge of Tomorrow, True Blood)
Camille Chen b. 1979 (Grimm, American Horror Story, Touch, Meteor [TV], Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over)
Justice Leak b. 1979 (The Vampire Diaries, Powers, Insurgent, Supergirl)
Adrienne Wilkinson b. 1977 (Star Trek: Renegades, Nobility, Charmed, Angel, Xena)
Jenae Altschwager b. 1976 (Alien Ecstasy, She Alien, Alien Sex Files 3, Click, The Island)
Scott Speedman b. 1975 (Underworld: Evolution, Underworld)
Burn Gorman b. 1974 (The Man in the High Castle, Forever, Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim, The Dark Knight Rises, Torchwood)
Jhonen Vasquez b. 1974 (Invader ZIM)
Maury Sterling b. 1971 (Extant, Coherence, Dollhouse, Charmed, Star Trek: Enterprise, Angel, Dark Skies, Outbreak)
Ricardo Chavira b. 1971 (Warehouse 13, Piranha 3D)
Padma Lakshmi b. 1970 (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Zak Penn b. 1968 (writer, Pacific Rim 2, Alphas, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra, X-Men 2)
James Nguyen b. 1966 (writer, Birdemic 1 and 2)
Michelle Meyrink b. 1962 (Nice Girls Don’t Explode, Real Genius)
Joe Jusko b. 1959 (artist, Marvel Comics)
Sachi Parker b. 1956 (Eerie, Indiana, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alien Nation [TV], Scrooged, Back to the Future)
James Rebhorn b. 1948 died 21 March 2014 (Coma [2012], The Adventures of Pluto Nash, From the Earth to the Moon, Independence Day, Cat’s Eye)
Susan Backlinie b. 1946 (Quark)
Venita Wolf b. 1945 died 22 November 2014 (Star Trek)
Beau Starr b. 1944 (Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Final Days of Planet Earth, The 4400, Earth: Final Conflict, Relic Hunter, Total Recall 2070, Halloween 4 and 5, V, Knight Rider, The Powers of Matthew Star)
Zitto Kazann b. 1944 (The X Files, Angel, Charmed, Buffy, Sliders, Waterworld, The Flash, Werewolf [TV], Automan, Tucker’s Witch, Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, The Six Million Dollar Man)
Don Stroud b. 1943 (Little Bigfoot, Babylon 5, The Alien Within, Carnosaur 2, Cyber Seeker, Frogtown II, Quantum Leap, Super Force, Hyper Space, The Powers of Matthew Star, The Incredible Hulk, The Amityville Horror)
C. J. Cherryh b. 1942 (won 1982 Hugo for Downbelow Station and 1989 Hugo for Cyteen)
Judy Levitt b. 1940 (InAlienable, Babylon 5, Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Moontrap, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
Lily Tomlin b. 1939 (The X Files, The Incredible Shrinking Woman)
Ron O’Neal b. 1937 died 14 January 2004 (Hyper Space, Beauty and the Beast [1987], Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, The Final Countdown, Brave New World)
Anne Ramsey b. 1929 died 11 August 1988 (Scrooged, Doctor Hackenstein, ALF, Deadly Friend, Knight Rider, Wonder Woman)
George Maharis b. 1928 (Superboy, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Logan’s Run [TV], Bionic Woman, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, Death in Space, Journey to the Unknown, The Satan Bug)
Yvonne De Carlo b. 1922 died 8 January 2007 (American Gothic, The Munsters)
Vittorio Gassman b. 1922 died 29 June 2000 (Quintet)
Richard Farnsworth b. 1920 died 6 October 2000 (Space Rage, Resurrection, Strange New World, Mighty Joe Young)
Betty Blythe b. 1893 died 7 April 1972 (She [1925])
Edgar Rice Burroughs b. 1875 died 19 March 1950 (author, John Carter)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. The previous Picture Slotters were Yvonne De Carlo and Edgar Rice Burroughs. This year, it goes to Venita Wolf from the Star Trek episode The Squire of Gothos. I consider major guest roles on Star Trek to be iconic almost always and she's a fabulous babe as well, but the third reason she is getting a mention is that she died last year and it escaped my attention. She should have had a send-off.

Best wishes to the family and friends of Venita Wolf, from a fan. She is never to be forgotten.

2. Spot the Canadians! Did you know Yvonne De Carlo was from the Great White North? I didn't. We also have Michelle Meyrink, Scott Speedman and Michael Adamthwaite. Of all of these actors, only Adamthwaite's credit list gives away his nation of origin.

3. Nepotism FTW. Sachi Parker is Shirley MacLaine's daughter.

4. Okay... WTF? Justice Leak? This is a Washington scandal, not an actual person's name.

5. Stealth MST3K. Our Picture Slotter Venita Wolf was also in Catalina Caper, not genre but it did get the best Brains treatment.

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



Predictor: Robert A. Heinlein in his 1957 book The Door Into Summer

Prediction: I found that a helicopter bus was due to leave for the center of the city in twenty-five minutes.

Reality: Local public transit that flies... not so much. Heinlein thought it would be here by the year 2000.
 
 This month's splash illustration: This month, I took a section from the cover of one of Frank Miller's Dark Knight series, probably the most influential version of Batman to this day.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We take a look at the Atlantic hurricane season at the halfway mark in the season.
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, August 31, 2015

31 August 2015

Birthdays
Holly Earl b. 1992 (Dracula: The Dark Prince, Doctor Who, My Hero, Red Dwarf)
Ryan Kelley b. 1986 (Teen Wolf, Ben 10:Alien Swarm, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Smallville)
Leo Bill b. 1980 (Doctor Who, Alice in Wonderland, Jekyll, 28 Days Later…)
Shannon Richardson b. 1979 (The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries)
Mike Erwin b. 1978 (The Vampire Diaries, Hulk)
Sara Ramirez b. 1975 (Spider-Man, Star Patrol)
Marc Webb b. 1974 (director, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2)
Chris Tucker b. 1972 (The Fifth Element, The Meteor Man)
Jason Presson b. 1971 (Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Twilight Zone [1985], Explorers)
Zack Ward b. 1970 (Fallen Cards, Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys, Save the Supers, Warehouse 13, Dollhouse, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Transformers, Lost, Charmed, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Freddy vs. Jason, Sliders, Forever Knight, Maniac Mansion)
Jonathan LaPaglia b. 1969 (Seven Days)
Phina Oruche b. 1969 (Charmed, The Forsaken, FreakyLinks, Restless, Homeboys in Outer Space)
Daniel Bernhardt b. 1965 (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Creature, The Matrix Reloaded, Mortal Kombat: Conquest)
Todd Carty b. 1963 (Krull)
Julie Brown b. 1954 (Wizards of Waverly Place, Alien Avengers II, The Addams Family [1993], Quantum Leap, Earth Girls Are Easy, The Incredible Shrinking Woman)
Dawn Roddenberry b. 1953 (Star Trek)
Lowell Ganz b. 1948 (screenwriter, Robots, Splash)
Roger Dean b. 1944 (artist)
Larry Hankin b. 1940 (Weird Science, Star Trek: Voyager, Lois & Clark, Star Trek: The Next Generation, ALF, Amazing Stories, Faerie Tale Theatre, Doctor Dracula)
Jack Thompson b. 1940 (Man-Thing, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones)
Noble Willingham b. 1931 died 17 January 2004 (Quantum Leap, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Tucker’s Witch, The Howling, Man from Atlantis)
James Coburn b.1928 died 18 November 2002 (Faerie Tale Theatre, Looker, Twilight Zone)
Anthony Bate b. 1927 (Ghost Story, The Guardians, The Champions)
Buddy Hackett b. 1924 died 30 June 2003 (Space Patrol, Scrooged, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm)
Herbert Wise b. 1924 died 5 August 2015 (director, The 10th Kingdom, The Woman in Black)
Ed Grady b. 1923 died 10 December 2012 (Surface, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, The Handmaid’s Tale, D.A.R.Y.L., Wolfman)
G.D. Spradlin b. 1920 died 24 July 2011 (Dark Skies, Space, The Greatest American Hero)
Richard Basehart b. 1914 died 17 September 1984 (Mr. Merlin, The Island of Dr, Moreau, Time Travelers, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Satan Bug, Twilight Zone)
Frederic March b. 1897 died 14 April 1975(I Married a Witch, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, it was Richard Basehart - partly because I'm an MST3K freak and Gypsy loved him so - and the artist Roger Dean. The three finalists today were Frederic March from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Julie Brown from Earth Girls Are Easy and the winner, Chris Tucker from The Fifth Element, the only actor in the film who was as loud as the special effects.

2. Spot the Canadian! If I went to four finalists, I would go Whedonverse nerd and chose Zach Ward from the last episodes of Dollhouse. He is Canadian and likely best known from his role as a bully in A Christmas Story.

3. Nepotism FTW. Dawn Roddenberry. No more need be said.

4. The Guys at the Door. Director Herbert Wise died early this month, and if not for that, he would have been the oldest living person on the list but not the Guy at the Door. With him gone, suddenly 1940 is the cut-off year on this list between the living and the dead, and our two Guys at the Door are Australian actor Jack Thompson, whom I first noticed or his role in Breaker Morant, and Larry Hankin, the guy who played Kramer in the show-within-a-show version of Seinfeld. When this demographic oddity occurs, we wish the Guys at the Door a little extra.

5. The crazy extra. Shannon Richardson is a domestic terrorist who was caught by the FBI for sending letters laced with ricin to President Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. She also had minor roles in a few TV shows, but imdb.com gives her name and her picture but does not list her credits. This is odd.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list, especially Jack Thompson and Larry Hankin, and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.


Predictor: OMNI Future Almanac, published 1982

Prediction: In the early part of the 21st Century, am ultralight airplane will be developed to explore the surface of Mars. Based partly on the U2 spyplanes, it will be capable of flight in Mars' thin atmosphere and will film vast amounts of the red planet's surface.

Reality: Umm... no. No matter how ultralight this thing is, its useful lifetime would be measured in hours, maybe days at the most. If you are going to send something to Mars, more bang for the buck is required.
 
Never to be Forgotten: Wes Craven 1939-2015

Horror director Wes Craven died yesterday at the age of 76. He came up making horror films when Hollywood's worst kept secret was that low budget horror films were enormously profitable. Several horror directors from his era, including John Carpenter, David Lynch, Tobe Hooper and of course Craven himself, were given "auteur" status. The film distributors made sure fans knew the name of the director, hoping that they could build a brand with loyal viewers who knew what they wanted, even if reviewers considered the films beneath contempt. It turns out the distributors were right. (Note: Having a successful film with many sequels is not enough to get this treatment. Sean S. Cunningham wrote and directed the first Friday the 13th, but isn't involved in the later big screen versions. His name is not nearly as well known as those of his contemporaries.)

Craven has three great successes attached to his name: The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Other directorial credits include Vampire in Brooklyn, New Nightmare, The People Under the Stairs, Shocker, The Serpent and the Rainbow, The Twilight Zone [1985-6], Deadly Friend and Swamp Thing.

The outpouring of affection for Craven on Twitter was not unlike the love shown for Roddy Piper. My favorite tweet was from John Hodgman, who wrote:


I met Wes Craven in Chicago in 2012 and he could not have been less terrifying. I miss him.

As Vincent Price said, the goal is not to be remembered, but instead to be missed. For Mr. Craven... achievement unlocked.

Best wishes to the family and friends of Wes Craven from a fan. He is never to be forgotten.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

A new month, a new splash illustration, birthdays and predictions galore.
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

30 August 2015

Birthdays
Jessica Henwick b. 1992 (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Game of Thrones)
Gaia Weiss b. 1991 (The Legend of Hercules)
Johanna Braddy b. 1987 (Video Game High School, Paranormal Activity 3, The Grudge 3)
Emily Montague b. 1984 (Fright Night)
Max Hoffman b. 1984 (Hook)
Angel Coulby b. 1980 (Merlin, Doctor Who)
Milan Kurspahic b. 1979 (Blubberella, BloodRayne: The Third Reich)
Elden Hanson b. 1977 (Daredevil [TV], The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Rise: Blood Hunter, The Butterfly Effect, Evil Alien Conquerors, Idle Hands, Amazing Stories)
Cameron Diaz b. 1972 (Shrek, The Green Hornet, Minority Report, Vanilla Sky, Being John Malkovich, The Mask)
Michael Chiklis b. 1963 (Gotham, American Horror Story, Fantastic Four, No Ordinary Family, Rise: Blood Hunter, Soldier)
Nelson Ascencio b. 1964 (The Hunger Games, Paul, Birds of Prey)
Ely Puget b. 1961 (Charmed, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Dark Shadows [1991])
Frank Conniff b. 1958 (Space Hospital, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Invader ZIM)
David Paymer b. 1954 (Drag Me to Hell, Mighty Joe Young, Night of the Creeps, Howard the Duck, The Powers of Matthew Star, The Greatest American Hero)
Timothy Bottoms b. 1951 (Realm of the Mole Men, Vampire Bats, The Boy with the X-Ray Eyes, Land of the Lost [1991-2], Freddy’s Nightmares, The Twilight Zone [1988], Mio in the Land of the Faraway, Deadly Nightmares, Invaders From Mars [1986])
Lewis Black b. 1948 (The Big Bang Theory, Jacob’s Ladder)
Peggy Lipton b. 1946 (The Postman, Deadly Nightmares, Purple People Eater, The Invaders, Bewitched)
Elizabeth Ashley b. 1939 (Vampire’s Kiss, Deadly Nightmares, A Fire in the Sky, Coma, The Six Million Dollar Man: Solid Gold Kidnapping)
Don Pedro Colley b. 1938 (Piranha, Space Academy, The Bionic Woman, THX 1138, Beneath the Planet of the Apes)
Peter Cartwright b. 1935 died 18 November 2013 (Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hammer House of Horror)
Bill Daily b. 1927 (Horrorween, Alligator II: The Mutation, The Munsters Today, ALF, Small & Frye, The Powers of Matthew Star, I Dream of Jeannie, My Mother the Car, Bewitched)
Jacqueline Wells b. 1914 died 30 August 2001 (The Black Cat)
Fred MacMurray b. 1908 died 5 November 1991 (The Swarm, Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, Son of Flubber, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Shaggy Dog)
Joan Blondell b. 1906 died 25 December 1979 (The Twilight Zone)
Mary Shelley b. 1797 died 1 February 1851 (author, Frankenstein)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. The previous Picture Slotters were TV's Frank Conniff and Mary Shelley. Going old school the two most iconic are likely Bill Daily from I Dream of Jeannie and Fred MacMurray from the Flubber movies, but instead I went to the young end of the list with Jessica Henwick as Nymeria Sand from Game of Thrones.

'Cos she's purdy.

From the middle of the list, I could have taken Michael Chiklis from Fantastic Four, though that would have been cruel or Cameron Diaz from The Mask. I like Game of Thrones better.

2. Nepotism FTW. Max Hoffman is Dustin's kid, played a role as a child in Hook. This is nepotism plain and simple.

3. What we are missing. No Canadians, no Star Trek.

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

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

OMNI Future Almanac, the Old Faithful of all my prediction sources, starts off another week.
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

29 August 2015

Birthdays
Nicole Gale Anderson b. 1990 (Beauty and the Beast)
Laura Ashley Samuels b. 1990 (April Apocalypse, In Time, Monster Heroes, Wizards of Waverly Place)
Jay Ryan b. 1981 (Beauty and the Beast, Terra Nova, Legend of the Seeker, Xena, Young Hercules)
Emily Hampshire b. 1981 (12 Monkeys [TV], The Returned, Earthsea, Mutant X, MythQuest, PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, Earth: Final Conflict)
Jovanna Huguet b. 1980 (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Alice, Fringe, Smallville, Blade: The Series, Supernatural)
Dan Harris b. 1979 (writer, Superman Returns, X-Men 2)
John Hensley b. 1977 (Teeth, Witchblade)
Dante Basco b. 1975 (The Chronicle, Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights, Alien Nation: Body and Soul, Hook)
Carla Gugino b. 1971 (San Andreas, Sucker Punch, Race to Witch Mountain, Watchmen, Night at the Museum, Threshold, Sin City, Spy Kids, The One, Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature, Quantum Leap, ALF)
Rebecca De Mornay b. 1959 (The Shining [1997 TV], Beauty and the Beast [1987], Testament)
Michael Jackson b. 1958 died 25 June 2009 (Men in Black II, The Wiz)
Lenny Henry b. 1958 (MirrorMask, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Bernard and the Genie)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh b. 1952 (The Messengers, Touch, The Event, Firestarter 2: Rekindled, Sorcerers, Deep Space Nine, Quantum Leap)
Gottfried John b. 1942 died 1 September 2014 (Millennium, Space Rangers)
Ellen Geer b. 1941 (Supernatural, Charmed, Carnivale, Practical Magic, Phenomenon, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Beauty and the Beast, Creator, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Bionic Woman)
Joel Schumacher b. 1939 (director, Batman & Robin, Batman Forever, Flatliners, The Lost Boys, The Incredible Shrinking Woman)
Elliot Gould b. 1938 (Contagion, The Shining [1997 TV], Lois & Clark, Frogs!, Frog, The Twilight Zone [1986], Faerie Tale Theatre, The Devil and Max Devlin)
William Friedkin b. 1935 (director, Bug, Twilight Zone [1985], The Exorcist)
Susan Shaw b. 1929 died 27 November 1978 (Fire Maidens from Outer Space)
Charles Gray b. 1928 died 7 March 2000 (Firestar: First Contact, Tall Tales & Legends, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Beast Must Die, H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man)
Dick O’Neill b. 1928 died 17 November 1998 (Timecop, The Incredible Hulk, Wolfen, Wonder Woman, The UFO Incident, Gammera the Invincible)
Richard Attenborough b. 1923 died 24 August 2014 (Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story, Jurassic Park, Doctor Doolittle)
Lane Bradford b. 1922 died 7 June 1973 (Land of the Giants, Batman, Lost in Space, My Favorite Martian, The Adventures of Superman, Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Zombies of the Stratosphere)
Isobel Sanford b. 1917 died 9 July 2004 (Lois & Clark, Love at First Bite, Bewitched)
Ingrid Bergman b. 1915 died 29 August 1982 (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Barry Sullivan b. 1912 died 6 June 1994 (The Bionic Woman, The Invisible Man [1975], The Sixth Sense, The Immortal, Planet of the Vampires, Pyro… The Thing Without a Face)Lurene Tuttle b. 1907 died 28 May 1986 (Amazing Stories, Testament, The Clonus Horror, I Dream of Jeannie, My Favorite Martian, My Living Doll, The Munsters, Twilight Zone)
George Macready b. 1899 died 2 July 1973 (The Return of Count Yorga, The Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, The Alligator People, The Monster and the Ape)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. The previous Picture Slot actors were Carla Gugino from Watchmen and Charles Gray from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This year it's Richard Attenborough from Jurassic Park. On a personal note, when Attenborough was this age and wore the beard, he looked incredibly like both my father and my father's brother.

2. Spot the Canadians. Only two today, Emily Hampshire and Jovanna Huguet.

3. Nepotism, not so much. Rebecca De Mornay is the biological daughter of talk radio host Wally George, but her parents divorced and she took the name of her step-father. I doubt the relationship opened any doors for her when she was young.

4. Stuff I didn't know. When I go on imdb.com, I'll sometimes click on the page of a very familiar name without knowing if they had any credits I would count. That's how I found that both Isobel Sanford and Ingrid Bergman had genre credits.

5. MST3K. There are a lot today. The ones I know for sure are The Clonus Horror, Rocky Jones, Gammera the Invincible and Fire Maidens from Outer Space.

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


The Weekly Soapbox: Brave New World vs Nineteen Eighty-Four

Over the past few years, I've been reading fiction for pleasure more than I had through most of my adult life. Occasionally, I will pick up a book that is recognized as a classic that I haven't read. Some have been very pleasant discoveries - The Man in the High Castle is probably the best in a while - but more than a few have been bitter disappointments. I can't say I liked either A Wrinkle in Time or Frankenstein, and the most recent classic that does not live up to its reputation for me is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. I bought a trade paperback that had extra features at the end, including the reviews at the time - most of them pretty bad - and a letter from Huxley to Orwell congratulating the latter on publishing Nineteen Eighty-Four in a somewhat condescending way, finishing the letter with Huxley's opinion that his book's future was much more likely than Orwell's.

Here's a little spoiler for the rest of this essay: Aldous Huxley was not fit to change George Orwell's typewriter ribbon.

Contest #1: Which book is the better prediction? This is not a fair battle, because Orwell set his future in the 20th Century, while Huxley's is hundreds of years away. More than that, sci-fi sometimes predicts some particular invention or trend, but more often should be viewed as from a more general level, ignoring exact specifics.

Huxley's future: Sex is for recreation and not procreation, all civilized people are grown in jars, given nutrients that either help them grow or stunt their growth and development, producing different classes of workers. There is one part of this future that has come to pass a little bit and that is in vitro fertilization. After the egg is fertilized, it is implanted in a woman's uterus. There is no one grown from fertilized egg to newborn in a bottle and no one is working on the technology. If anything, motherhood is every bit as revered in today's culture as it has ever been and there is no movement to replace it with some other method.

Huxley seems to hate children, which is not uncommon among British writers. Children in Orwell's world are nasty snitches and John Wyndam's The Midwich Cuckoos also present children as a horrifying threat. Outside of genre, there is P.G. Wodehouse, from whom children only exist to be the bane of his protagonists' existence, most especially Bertie Wooster's.

There are sub-themes where Huxley did better: drugs to tranquilize, the glorification of youth culture, the complete triumph of consumerism, but the major underlying theme will only come true in a future I cannot foresee in any way.

Orwell's future: The government is spying on its own citizens incessantly, using technology that everyone is forced to use. Huxley got one tiny part of his prediction right, where Orwell got one detail wrong. We aren't forced to have computers and cell phones, we use them voluntarily.

Let's say that the contest is over here and Orwell has won in a rout. That said, we don't really have Newspeak, though it is a powerful metaphor, and Newspeak is as central to Orwell's story as the method of producing children is to Brave New World. Our governmental agencies aren't as horribly named as the Ministry of Love or the Ministry of Truth, though there are examples that make the Department of Justice, the Department of Education and the National Security Agency look sinister indeed.

Contest #2: Which book is better written? Of course, this is subjective, but I can't be swayed from my opinion that Huxley is a clumsy writer, both terrible as a story teller and pedantic as a user of the language. Brave New World is a slim volume and it should be much slimmer. The first fifth of the book is all exposition about the process from fertilization to "decanting", better known as birth. It's another fifth of the way through before we meet the actual protagonist, known as John or The Savage. There is a character who is supposed to be a talented writer, but when we see his work, it is presented as tired and completely inferior to Shakespeare. Huxley is one of those people that thinks using obscure words will make him look clever. For me, it was just another way I found him annoying.

Yet again, Orwell runs circles around Huxley as a writer. Nineteen Eighty-Four from the beginning is about Winston Smith and his struggle against his society, finding a little corner of his apartment where he can hide from the telescreen. Smith is said to be competent as a writer, and we see the fictional story of a war hero he concocts that is presented in the newspaper as fact.

Without question Nineteen Eighty-Four is grim, but I still found some humor in it. The idea that pop songs and pornography are produced entirely by machines is a clever little turn. As for exposition, Orwell does have his Newspeak expert Syme go on for pages and pages about the structure and future of Newspeak, but even here the long explanation becomes a plot point, as Winston sees Syme's name erased from the Chess Club list after he disappears, becoming an unperson, not for being unorthodox, but for being too intelligent and seeing through the methods used.

Contest #3: Which writer is given more honor in current culture? Is there another 20th Century writer whose name has become an adjective? It is possible I have just forgotten it, but Orwellian is as much a part of the language as Dickensian or Shakespearean. (EDIT: I did forget it. Kafkaesque.) In most ways, Huxley has faded from view, and I think he's earned the obscurity. Brave New World is still a phrase people use, but Huxley lifted that from Shakespeare. I would say the pop culture reference that is still Huxley's claim is that the rock group The Doors took the name from Huxley's drug book The Door of Perception.

In conclusion, if you find yourself hankering to read Brave New World, you are a free agent and have every right to do so. Bit don't say I didn't warn you.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

In previous years, the Picture Slot went to Mary Shelley and Frank Conniff. Who will be iconic enough to join them tomorrow?
  
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!