Saturday, January 31, 2015

31 January 2015

Lily Mo Sheen b. 1999 (Underworld: Evolution, Click)
Joel Courtney b. 1996 (Super 8)
Justin Timberlake b. 1981 (In Time, Shrek the Third, Southland Tales)
Bobby Moynihan b. 1978 (The Brass Teapot, The Invention of Lying)
Kerry Washington b. 1977 (Fantastic Four, Wonderfalls)
Kevin Christy b. 1977 (Race to Witch Mountain, Heroes, Knight Rider [2008], Neverland, Seven Days, Buffy, Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Paul Scheer b. 1976 (Piranha 3D)
Anna Silk b. 1974 (Lost Girl, Earth Storm, Anonymous Rex, Puppets Who Kill, Mutant X)
Portia de Rossi b. 1973 (Mockingbird Lane, Cursed)
Patricia Velasquez b. 1971 (Almighty Thor, Mindhunters, The Mummy, Beowulf)
Eric Walker b. 1970 (And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird, The Ewok Adventure)
Minnie Driver b. 1970 (Peter Pan Live!, The Deep [2010], Ella Enchanted, The X Files, Princess Mononoke)
Dexter Fletcher b. 1966 (The Coven [2015], Cockneys vs Zombies, Kick-Ass, Stardust, Doom)
Cindy Ambuehl b. 1965 (Meteor, Charmed, Dark Breed, Weird Science [TV], Strange Luck, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead)
Grant Morrison b. 1960 (writer, All Star Superman, Batman R.I.P., New X-Men)
Anthony LaPaglia b. 1959 (Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone [1986], Amazing Stories)
Robert Grubb b. 1950 (Salem’s Lot, Mad Max Beyond Thunder dome)
Carol Hawkins b. 1949 (Blakes 7, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, The Body Stealers)
Jonathan Banks b. 1947 (Millennium Man, Harvey [1996 TV], SeaQuest 2032, Tales from the Crypt, Highlander [TV], Deep Space Nine, Freejack, Otherworld, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The Invisible Woman)
Glynn Turman b. 1947 (Revolution, Super 8, FlashForward, Millennium, Freddy’s Nightmares, Gremlins, Manimal, The Twilight Zone [1985], The Greatest American Hero)
Connie Booth b. 1944 (The Tomorrow People, High Spirits, Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
Jessica Walter b. 1941 (Big Bang Theory, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Babylon 5, Vampire, Dr. Strange [1978], Wonder Woman, The Sixth Sense [1972 TV], The Immortal)
Stuart Margolin b. 1940 (Strange Frequency, I Was a Teenage Faust, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Futureworld, Land of the Giants, Bewitched, Women of the Prehistoric Planet)
Suzanne Pleshette b. 1937 died 19 January 2008 (Spirited Away, The Invaders, The Birds)
James Franciscus b. 1934 died 8 July 1991 (When Time Ran Out…, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Marooned, The Valley of Gwangi, Twilight Zone)
Jean Simmons b. 1929 died 22 January 2010 (Howl’s Moving Castle, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dark Shadows [1991])
Jean Speegle Howard b. 1927 died 2 September 2000 (Buffy, Meego, Lois & Clark, Homeboys in Outer Space, Apollo 13, Scrooged, Cocoon)
William R. Sylvester b. 1922 died 25 January 1995 (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Six Million Dollar Man, Gemini Man, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Devil Doll, Gorgo)
John Agar b. 1921 died 7 April 2002 (The Naked Monster, The Twilight Zone [1986], King Kong [1976], Zontar: The Thing from Venus, Women of the Prehistoric Planet, Journey to the Seventh Planet, Destination Space, Invisible Invaders, Attack of the Puppet People, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, The Brain from Planet Arous, The Mole People, Tarantula, Revenge of the Creature, The Rocket Man, The Magic Carpet)
Eddie Byrne b. 1911 died 21 August 1981 (Star Wars: Episode IV, The Mummy [1959], Island of Terror)
Percy Helton b. 1894 died 11 September 1971 (Land of the Giants, Batman [TV], The Green Hornet, Twilight Zone, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Adventures of Superman)

 Notes from the birthday list.
The Picture Spot the Canadian! In previous years, the Picture Slot was handed to Justin Timberlake and Percy Helton, a great Oh That Guy. I thought about having a picture of John Agar, star of many 1950s sci-fi films, but I decided instead to use a publicity still of Anna Silk, star of the Canadian genre show Lost Girl, who happens to be both a fabulous babe and the only native-born Canadian on our list today.

Wait... they're dead? and The Guy at the Door.  The oldest living person on today's list is Stuart Margolin, best known as Angel from The Rockford Files, and everyone younger than him is also alive, which makes him The Guy at the Door. I'm embarrassed to write it, but I hadn't quite processed that any of the next four oldest people on the list - Suzanne Pleshette, James Franciscus, Jean Simmons and Jean Speegle Howard - had died. While the first three were genuine TV and movie stars, Ms. Howard was the mom of Ron Howard and did most of her acting work in small roles after she turned 60. Her husband Rance is still alive.

MST3K. There are a lot of movies that got the Two Robots and a Janitor treatment on today's list, including Women of the Prehistoric Planet, The Mole People and Marooned. There may be others I that don't recall, but Zombie Rotten McDonald stepped up and we add Gorgo, Revenge of the Creature and Devil Doll.

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

Predictor: Junius Henri Browne (1833-1902), journalist, predicting what 1993 will look like in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.

Prediction: Socialism will grow in the United States in a modified form... There will be more equality in education, position and fortune... There will be no attempt to enforce total abstinence... Criminals will less severely punished and their number will have materially diminished... The law will be simplified... Religion will be little taught and have little influence... The principles of medicine will be much better understood... businesses will be conducted harmoniously, with employers and workers sharing in the profits... Women will win the right to vote... American literature will stand at the head of English literature.

Reality: Well, this guy wasn't asking for much, was he? I would say he was right about socialism (Social Security), medicine and women getting the vote. Depending on the year in question, there was more equality of position than they knew in the 1890s, but that's heading in the opposite direction right now. Is American literature is ahead of the Brits? I think that is a debatable point, it's certainly advanced from what it was in the 19th Century. He was wrong about forced abstinence, though we got over it, universal profit sharing and the lessened influence of religion.

This guy looks like a milquetoast, right? Browne's most famous achievement was escaping from a Confederate prisoner of war camp and traveling 400 miles to re-join the fight. Are you more impressed with him now? Yeah, me too. 

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

We interrupt our regular schedule for a prediction of some computer mogul trying to take over the Internet.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, January 30, 2015

30 January 2015

Danielle Campbell b. 1995 (The Originals)
Jake Thomas b. 1990 (Dinocroc, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Cell, 3rd Rock from the Sun)
Rob Pinkston b. 1988 (The Sasquatch Gang)
Ashley Bucille b. 1986 (Phenomenon)
Michael Barra b. 1986 (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Wilmer Valderrama b. 1980 (From Dusk Till Dawn [TV], Awake, Wizards of Waverly Place, Chadam, The Dead One)
Margot Finley b. 1980 (First Wave, The Odyssey [1994 TV], Power Pack)
Christian Bale b. 1974 (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Terminator Salvation, The Prestige, Equilibrium, Reign of Fire, Mio in the Land of Faraway)
Olivia Colman b. 1974 (Doctor Who)
Darren Boyd b. 1971 (The World’s End, ReGenesis)
Tony Maudsley b. 1968 (Day of the Triffids [TV], Being Human, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sleepy Hollow [1999])
Thomas McCarthy b. 1966 (2012)
Wayne Wilderson b. 1966 (A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Monkeybone, Crusade, Independence Day)
Julie McCullough b. 1965 (Sharknado, 2012: Ice Age, The Blob [1988], Black Scorpion. Relic Hunter, Harry and the Hendersons [TV], The Munsters Today, Superboy, The Blob, Max Headroom)
Alex Hyde-White b. 1959 (Mars, The Alien Within, Babylon 5, M.A.N.T.I.S., The Fantastic Four [1994], Voyagers!, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Captain America II: Death Too Soon, Battlestar Galactica [1978])
Ann Dowd b 1956 (The Leftovers, The X Files)
Rab Affleck b. 1953 (Doctor Who, Stardust)
Charles S. Dutton b. 1951 (Android Cop, Alien3, American Horror Story, Legion, Threshold, Gothika, Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, Mimic, Cat’s Eye)
Gregory Benford b. 1941 (won 1981 Nebula for Timescape)
George Barr b. 1937 (illustator)
Vanessa Redgrave b. 1937 (The Day of the Triffids [2009], Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story, Deep Impact, Faerie Tale Theatre)
Richard Brautigan b. 1935 died 14 September 1984 (author, In Watermelon Sugar, The Hawkline Monster)
Tammy Grimes b. 1934 (The Stuff, The Borrowers)
Gino Conforti b. 1932 (Harry and the Hendersons [TV], Small Wonder, Through the Magic Pyramid, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Time Express)
Read Morgan b. 1931 (Back to the Future, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Voyagers!, The Munsters’ Revenge, Meteor, Time After Time, The Car, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Sleeper, The Sixth Sense [1972 TV], Octaman, The Immortal, The Beach Girls and the Monster, The Outer Limits, Twilight Zone)
Gene Hackman b. 1930 (Superman I, II & IV, Young Frankenstein, Marooned, The Invaders)
Dorothy Malone b. 1925 (The Being, The Day Time Ended)
Michael Anderson b. 1920 (director, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [1997 TV], Millennium [1989], The Martian Chronicles, Logan’s Run, 1984 [1956])
David Opatoshu b. 1918 died 30 April 1996 (Alien Nation, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Salvage 1, The Bionic Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Invisible Man [1975 TV], Star Trek, Mr. Terrific, The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Outer Limits, Twilight Zone)
David Wayne b, 1914 died 9 February 1995 (It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman, The Andromeda Strain, Batman [TV], Twilight Zone)
John Ireland b. 1914 died 21 March 1992 (Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat, War of the Worlds [TV], Deadly Nightmares, Miami Golem, The Incubus, The Shape of Things to Come [1979], Planet of the Apes [TV])
Hugh Marlowe b. 1911 died 2 May 1982 (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, World Without End)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In earlier years, I went old school and used Hugh Marlowe, then went (relatively) new school and used Christian Bale. Why David Opatashu this year? Well, if I hadn't found him among the birthday boy and girls on, this would have been yet another "Hey,... No Star Trek!" day.

2. Okay, how about Gene Hackman? Gene Hackman would have been an excellent choice, either as Lex Luthor or the blind monk from Young Frankenstein, one of my favorite cameo appearances of all time. He is also the reason we will have the MST3K label today, because he was in Marooned. I should also note that Hackman has not made a movie since 2004. Of course, it should be noted that was when he was 74. Some actors work until they die, but there is no unwritten rule that says they have to. I hope Mr. Hackman is relaxing and enjoying himself. Also, he's only the third oldest person alive on today's list at 85. Dorothy Malone turns 90 and director Michael Anderson turns 95 and both of them retired quite a while back as well, though neither was a star as big as Hackman. Best wishes to all three.

3. The strange case of Hugh Marlowe. Back in the day, actors were often either in the big budget movies or the small budget movies. Some started big then got trapped in small budget stuff, others started humbly and then hit the big time. Marlowe took work wherever he could get it. For a sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still was as prestigious as it got in the 1950s, but that isn't the case with World Without End or the Harryhausen movie Earth vs. Flying Saucers. He was also in big budget films like Twelve O'Clock High, All About Eve and Seven Days in May, some before his sci-fi work and some after. Hugh did the work and Hugh cashed the check. Good on ya, Mr. Marlowe.

4. Old and lazy Canadians. John Ireland was born in Canada and he gets a few roles late in his career in productions shot in his homeland, but they aren't the shows we've come to think of as telltale marks of Canadian citizenship. Margot Finley has just 11 credits on, which is not a very busy career, so it's hard to tell she's Canadian as well. 

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

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

Prediction: I imagine also the plea and proof that a grave criminal is also insane will be regarded by them [the citizens of the future] not as a reason for mercy, but as an added reason for death. I do not see how they can think otherwise on the principles they will profess.

They will naturally regard the modest suicide of incurably melancholy, or diseased or helpless persons as a high and courageous act of duty rather than a crime.

Reality: Over the next few weeks, I want to dispel the notion that Wells was even remotely like that nice guy Malcolm McDowell played in Time After Time. While he called himself a socialist, many of the the quotes from the last chapter of this book would put him on the reactionary and bigoted end of the political spectrum today. It should be noted that conservatives would gladly endorse killing criminals regardless of mental capacity, most would not be pro-suicide, at least not those who would want votes from evangelicals.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Back again to 1893, though people hoping for bold facial hair will be sorely disappointed.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

29 January 2015

Taylor McPherson b. 1993 (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries)
Drew Tyler Bell b. 1986 (The Middleman, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, Jake 2.0, Jeepers Creepers II)
Isabel Lucas b. 1985 (Immortals, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Daybreakers)
Jason James Richter b. 1980 (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Laserhawk, The Neverending Story III)
Andrew Keegan b. 1979 (Teenage Caveman, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Independence Day)
Justin Hartley b. 1977 (Smallville)
Sara Gilbert b. 1975 (The Big Bang Theory)
Sharif Atkins b. 1975 (Guardians of the Galaxy, The 4400)
Kelly Packard b. 1975 (Little Bigfoot, And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird)
Heather Graham b. 1970 (Horns, From Hell, Lost in Space [1998])
Sam Trammell b. 1969 (True Blood, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Anonymous Rex)
Bobbie Phillips b. 1968 (EvilBreed: The Legend of Samhain, Seven Days, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, Chameleon I and II, Carnival of Souls, Stargate SG-1, The X-Files, TC 2000, The Came from Outer Space)
Michael Ferris b. 1961 (writer, Terminator Salvation, Terminator 3, The Net, Catwoman) 
Judy Norton b. 1958 (Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, Stargate: SG-1, Millennium)
Terry Kinney b. 1954 (Being Human, Boyd Snatchers)
Paul Fusco b. 1953 (writer/actor, ALF)
Ann Jillian b. 1950 (Twilight Zone)
Marc Singer b. 1948 (Arrow, V [2011 and 1983], Honey, I Shrunk the Kids [TV], Highlander [TV], Beastmaster [2002, 1996 and 1982], Droid Gunner, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Dead Space, Twilight Zone [1988], Planet of the Apes [TV])
Tom Selleck b. 1945 (Runaway, Coma [1978])
Robert Random b. 1943 (Vampire at Midnight, Time Walker, Village of the Giants)
Katharine Ross b. 1940 (Donnie Darko, The Final Countdown, The Stepford Wives)
Paddy Chayefsky b. 1923 died 1 August 1981 (author, Altered States)
Donald Murphy b. 1918 died 19 May 2008 (Frankenstein’s Daughter)
Alan Marshal b. 1916 died 13 July 1961 (House on Haunted Hill)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. I often don't list voice work for actors, not because I don't think it's important but just to avoid typing all day with some folks. For actors in front of a camera, 300 credits is very rare, but that many credits is all too common for voice actors. This is not the case for Paul Fusco, the writer, puppeteer and voice behind ALF. Pretty much his whole career has revolved around this one character he created. In previous years, the Picture Slot was given to Marc Singer as The Beastmaster. This year, I also considered Sam Trammell from True Blood and Katherine Ross from The Stepford Wives.

2. Canadians that walk among us. We have a few actors who worked on Canadian sci-fi, Justin Hartley on Smallville and Bobbie Phillips on Stargate and The X-Files, but neither of them was born north of the border. No, today's Canadians are Marc Singer and Robert Random, at least a generation older than our typical Canucks and with credit lists that do not give their nationality away.

3. The Gal at the Door. Once again, we have a birthday list with a big gap between the oldest living person on the list, the lovely Katherine Ross and the most recently born person who is dead, the screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. Since I feel guilty about bringing up this fact in a morbid way, I also give special best wishes to Miss Ross, one of the prettiest actresses on film in her heyday.

4. Hey... no Star Trek! I came up with this label because I thought it was going to be a rare event. It has been very common this January. Go figure.

5. MST3K. Robert Random was one of the giant teenagers in Village of the Giants, one of many movies I saw even before the Best Brains guys gave it the treatment.

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

Predictor: Adolf Hitler

"The United States will not be a threat to us for decades – not in 1945 but at the earliest 1970 or 1980."
Hitler to Soviet President Molotov, 12 November 1940

"The Russians are finished. They have nothing left to throw against us."
Hitler, July 1941, one month in to the offensive against the Soviet Union

Reality: Some give Hitler great credit as a military strategist based on the early victories in WW II, but these two statements are the most famous examples of his arrogant underestimation of the forces allied against him. Americans are taught in school that "we" won WW II. If you look at the numbers, the United States does deserve the lion's share of the credit for the victory over imperial Japan, but in Europe, the Eastern Front was a much bloodier and more expensive undertaking than Hitler taking and subsequently losing France and the Low Countries. There is no overestimating how important D-Day was, but if the Russians really had been finished in 1941, the Western allies would have been much more hard pressed to defeat a German army fighting only on a single front.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Yet another prediction from H.G. Wells that Hitler would have agreed with.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

28 January 2015

Ariel Winter b. 1998 (Speed Racer, Jericho)
Will Poulter b. 1993 (The Maze Runner, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Calum Worthy b. 1991 (Caprica, Stormworld, Smallville, Supernatural, Kyle XY, Stargate: Atlantis, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Mysterious Ways)
Alexandra Krosney b. 1988 (iZombie, Lost)
Elijah Wood b. 1981 (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Sin City, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Spy Kids, The Faculty, Deep Impact, Back to the Future Part II)
Rosamund Pike b. 1979 (The World’s End, Wrath of the Titans, Surrogates, Doom)
Crystal Dawne b. 1977 (War of the Worlds)
Lee Ingleby b. 1976 (Sinbad [2012 TV], Being Human, First Men in the Moon [2010 TV], Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
Ty Olsson b. 1974 (Nerds and Monsters, Supernatural, Twilight, Arrow, Falling Skies, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Eureka, V, 2012, Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Flash Gordon [TV], Stargate SG-1, Andromeda, X-Men 2, Jeremiah, Dark Angel, Lake Placid, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids [TV], The X-Files)
Melody Perkins b. 1974 (Power Rangers, Planet of the Apes, Charmed, NightMan)
Gillian Vigman b. 1972 (Supernatural, Dragonfly)
Ashley Artus b. 1971 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Tales from the Crypt, Judge Dredd)
Kathryn Morris b. 1969 (Paycheck, Minority Report, A.I Artificial Intelligence, Hell Swarm, Xena: Warrior Princess, Poltergeist: The Legacy, W.E.I.R.D. World)
Lynda Boyd b. 1965 (Supernatural, Hot Tub Time Machine, Sanctuary, Smallville, Level 9, Mysterious Ways, Mission to Mars, So Weird, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, Millennium, The X Files, Highlander [TV])
Keith Hamilton Cobb b. 1962 (Andromeda, BeastMaster [2000 TV], Total Recall 2070)
Frank Darabont b. 1959 (writer/director, The Walking Dead, The Green Mile, The Mist, Frankenstein [1994], Tales from the Crypt, The Fly II, The Blob [1988], A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)
Harley Jane Kozak b. 1957 (Stargate SG-1, Dark Planet, The Android Affair, The Hidden Room, Arachnophobia)
Susan Howard b. 1944 (The Sixth Sense [1972 TV], The Immortal, Land of the Giants, I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek)
John Beck b. 1943 (Dark Planet, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Audrey Rose, Sleeper, Cyborg 2087, Rollerball, The Time Machine [1978])
Lewis Wilson b. 1920 died 9 August 2000 (Batman [1943])
John Banner b. 1919 died 28 January 1973 (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Adventures of Superman, Topper [1955], Rocky Jones, Space Ranger)

Notes on the birthday list. 
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, the Picture Slot was given to Elijah Wood, clearly iconic as Frodo, and John Beck, iconic to a geezer like me as Moonpie from Rollerball. (While his iconic status in genre may be debatable, Beck is undeniably in the 1970s Porn-stache Hall of Fame.) With those two off the list, the choice is not as easy. John Banner is likely the best known face other than Elijah Wood, but he is known as Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes, which isn't genre. Lewis Wilson was Batman in the 1943 serial, so he was a possibility, but I went with Susan Howard, best known for her role on Dallas, in her one appearance on the original Star Trek as a Klingon officer. I could also have gone with a poster of The Walking Dead to honor Frank Darabont, but this week has been short on fabulous babes.

2. Canuck Swarm! Oh so many Canadians, though one, Crystal Dawne, has done so little work her resume does not give her nationality away. As for the others, just appearing on Supernatural is not enough, and Gillian Vigman is in fact born in New Jersey. But showing up on both Smallville and Supernatural is usually a dead giveaway, and in fact all the actors here with those credits - Lynda Boyd, Ty Olsson and Calum Worthy - were born in The Great White North.

3. The Guy at the Door. Every birthday list has its quirks, and today's demographic oddness is the long stretch between the late Lewis Wilson, born in 1920, and the next youngest person, John Beck born in 1943. Moonpie is the oldest person on today's list who is still alive, which makes him The Guy at the Door at the tender age of 72. I always feel a little morbid pointing this out, and I always give a special best birthday wish to anyone who has this odd distinction.

4. MST3K, thanks to ZRMcD for spotting it. The TV series Rocky Jones, Space Ranger had a few episodes lumped together into Crash of the Moons, which got the Best Brains treatment, so John Banner's participation means we use the label, and thanks to Zombie Rotten McDonald for pointing it out.

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

Predictor: George Sutherland in the 1901 book Twentieth Century Inventions: A Forecast

Prediction: The petroleum engine, as applied to the automobile, does its work in a series of jerks which provide for the unequal degrees of power required to cope with the unevenness of a road. As against this, however, there are certain grave defects, due mainly to the use of highly inflammable oils vaporized at high temperatures; and these have impressed a large proportion of engineers with a belief that, in the long run, either electricity or steam will win the day.

Reality: Longtime readers will know that I form strong opinions about our regular predictors. Some I love, most notably my man crush John Elfreth Watkins, and others I dislike, including Ray Kurzweil and the unlamented FM-2030, a.k.a. FroMo, short for Frozen Moron.

About some things Sutherland will be very prescient and on other occasions, such as today, he will be dead wrong. I will never make fun of Sutherland. He was a serious, well informed engineer and understood what was the state of the art in 1901. He thinks in terms of evolutionary steps and his errors in prediction stem from an inability or possibly an unwillingness to see many revolutionary developments that are just a few years away.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another clunker from The Experts Speak.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

27 January 2015

Connor Widdows b. 1992 (Smallville, X-Men: The Last Stand, Battlestar Galactica, Taken, Dark Angel, Harsh Realm, So Weird, Millennium)
Chris Gauthier b. 1976 (Once Upon a Time, Eureka, Smallville, Watchmen, Supernatural, Reaper, Bionic Woman, The Butterfly Effect 2, Kyle XY, Zixx: Level Two, Stargate: Atlantis, Earthsea, Dead Like Me, Freddy vs. Jason, Dark Angel)
Amy Hargreaves b. 1970 (Brainscan)
Cindy Cheung b. 1970 (Futurestates, Lady in the Water, Spider-Man 2, Robot Stories)
Patton Oswalt b. 1969 (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Caprica, Dollhouse, The Venture Brothers, Reaper)
Tamlyn Tomita b. 1966 (Resurrection, Teen Wolf, True Blood, Touch, Tekken, Heroes, Eureka, Stargate, The Day After Tomorrow, Robot Stories, FreakyLinks, Seven Days, The Burning Zone, The Last Man on Planet Earth, Highlander [TV], Time Trax, Babylon 5: The Gathering, Quantum Leap)
Alan Cumming b. 1965 (Riverworld, Tin Man, Son of the Mask, Spy Kids, X-Men 2, 3rd Rock from the Sun)
Bridget Fonda b. 1964 (Snow Queen, Monkeybone, Lake Placid, Army of Darkness, Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound)
Julie Caitlin Brown b. 1961 (Sliders, Babylon 5, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine)
Roy Fegan b. 1961 (The Meteor Man, Misfits of Science)
Susanna Thompson b. 1958 (Arrow, Dragonfly, Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, The X Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Frank Miller b. 1957 (writer/artist, Gotham, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, Elektra, RoboCop 2 and 3)
Mimi Rogers b. 1956 (Ginger Snaps, The X-Files, Lost in Space [1998], Tales from the Crypt)
Peter Laird b. 1954 (writer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Richard Bremmer b. 1953 (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
Steve Leialoha b. 1952 (illustrator, Peter & Max)
Stewart Raffill b. 1942 (Tammy and the T-Rex, Mannequin: On the Move, Mac and Me, The Philadelphia Experiment, The Ice Pirates)
James Cromwell b. 1940 (American Horror Story, Surrogates, Impact, Spider-Man 3, I, Robot, Salem’s Lot, A Carol Christmas, Star Trek: Enterprise, Space Cowboys, The Green Mile, Deep Impact, Species II, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Twilight Zone [1985], Knight Rider, Earthlings)
Troy Donohue b. 1936 died 2 September 2001 (Omega Cop, Dr. Alien, Monster on the Campus, The Monolith Monsters)
Michael Craig b. 1928 (Doctor Who, Escape 2000, Mysterious Island [1961])
Sabu b. 1924 died 2 December 1963 (The Jungle Book, The Thief of Bagdad)
Mark Daniels b. 1912 died 23 April 1989 (director, The Wizard, Man from Atlantis, Planet Earth, Star Trek, Way Out)
Howard McNear b. 1905 died 3 January 1969 (Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Topper)
Lewis Carroll b. 1832 died 14 January 1898 (Alice in Wonderland, The Hunting of the Snark)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, the picture slot has gone to Frank Miller and Alan Cumming, and I was debating with myself about who would go in this time. I wanted to acknowledge James Cromwell on his 75th birthday, but I wasn't sure his portrayal of Zephram Cochrane was quite iconic enough. I consider a few others as well, but in the end as you see, I decided on Lewis Carroll, both because he is an important writer in the history of fantasy and he was a mathematician as well, which scores many points in my book.

2. Where did all the young people go?  More sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV shows are being made now than any other time, so it's very common our birthday lists have a bunch of actors born in the 1980s and 1990s portraying young people in the productions. Today we only have Connor Widdows, who also happens to be our only natural born Canadian. The next youngest person is Chris Gauthier, born in the U.K. but moved to Canada, so his resume is full of credits from the usual Canuck sci-fi fare.

3. Where did Bridget Fonda go?  The Fonda family are several generations of well-known American actors and most of them keep acting as long as they could. Bridget Fonda's last role was in 2002, when she wasn't yet 40. Not unlike Phoebe Cates, Ms. Fonda decided to opt out of the business and be a wife and mother full time. I respect their decisions, but it is unusual.

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: Hollings-Gray, the only megacorp that invested heavily in agriculture, cheerfully adopted the self-deprecating acronym of HoG. The company’s specialty was “franchise farming”, buying the land, supplying standardized equipment and training and contracting with agribusinessmen at a guaranteed minimum price, sharing the profits with franchise holders. Their sheer size and capital resources allowed them to survive and prosper and eventually bankrupt many of their smaller rivals in the private sector.

Reality: "Franchise farming" sounds like a modern version of share-cropping. The real agri-business "megacorp" Monsanto has much stranger and more futuristic ways of dominating their industry by patenting genetically modified seeds and suing customers who want to save them for a later crop. Some left-leaning folk make Monsanto into a boogeyman and I'm not sure they are exaggerating that much.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another prediction from George Sutherland's 1901 book 20th Century Inventions. 

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, January 26, 2015

26 January 2015

Cameron Bright b. 1993 (Twilight Saga, Earth’s Final Hours, The 4400, X-Men: Last Stand, Ultraviolet, Stargate-SG1, The Butterfly Effect, Night Visions, Shadow Realm, Dark Angel)
Jacob Blair b. 1984 (Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds, Beauty and the Beast [2014], Underworld: Awakening, SGU Stargate Universe, V [2011], Hot Tub Time Machine, Fringe, 2012, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Andromeda Strain [2008], Battlestar Galactica: Razor, Bionic Woman)
Colin O’Donoghue b. 1981 (Once Upon a Time, The Rite)
Sara Rue b. 1979 (My Future Boyfriend, Eastwick, The Big Bang Theory, Idiocracy, The Ring)
Kelly Stables b. 1978 (Dragon Hunter, The Ring Two)
Hae-il Park b. 1977 (The Host)
Michael Power b. 1965 (Skookum: The Hunt for Bigfoot, The Dark Knight Rises)
Paul Johansson b. 1964 (Beauty and the Beast [2013], Berserker: Hell’s Warrior, Andromeda, First Wave, Highlander: The Raven, Carnival of Souls, Earth: Final Conflict)
Cathy Podewell b. 1964 (Night of the Demons)
Ellen DeGeneres b. 1958 (Coneheads)
Mimi Leder b. 1952 (director,The Leftovers, Almost Human, Deep Impact)
David Straithairn b. 1949 (Godzilla [2014], Alphas, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Brother From Another Planet, Iceman)
Michael McManus b. 1946 (Free Spirit, Knight Rider, Poltergeist, The Munsters’ Revenge, Captain America [1979], The Six Million Dollar Man, Monster Squad)
Kathryn Leigh Scott b. 1943 (Doctor Mabuse, Dark Shadows [2012 and 1966], Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hammer House of Horror, The Incredible Hulk, Space: 1999)
Scott Glenn b. 1941 (Daredevil [2015], Sucker Punch, Tall Tale, The Right Stuff, The Keep, The Sixth Sense [1972 TV])
Roger Vadim b. 1928 died 11 February 2000 (director, Barbarella)
William Redfield b. 1927 died 17 August 1976 (Fantastic Voyage, Bewitched)
Joan Leslie b. 1925 (The Incredible Hulk)
Paul Newman b. 1925 died 26 September 2008 (Quintet, Tales of Tomorrow)
Anne Jeffreys b. 1923 (Mr. Merlin, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Battlestar Galactica [1979], Topper [1955], Zombies on Broadway)
Philip José Farmer b. 1918 died 25 February 2009 (won 1972 Hugo for To Your Scattered Bodies Go)
Vito Scotti b. 1918 died 5 June 1996 (Faerie Tale Theatre, Small & Frye, The Ghosts of Buxley Hall, Halloween with the New Addams Family, Ark II, Monster Squad, The Bionic Woman, The Lost Saucer, The Six Million Dollar man: Solid Gold Kidnapping, Batman, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian, Twilight Zone, Conquest of Space)
William Hopper b. 1915 died 6 March 1970 (20 Million Miles to Earth, The Deadly Mantis)
Dorothy Neumann b. 1914 died 20 May 1994 (Bewitched, The Terror, Twilight Zone, The Day the Earth Stood Still)
William Prince b. 1913 died 8 October 1996 (Monsters, The Greatest American Hero, The Cat from Outer Space, The Invisible Man [1975], The Stepford Wives, Inner Sanctum)
Charles Lane b. 1905 died 9 July 2009 (The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes [1995], Dark Shadows [1991], Otherworld, Strange Invaders, Bewitched, Twilight Zone, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, Mighty Joe Young)

Notes on the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. The list today has one bona fide movie superstar, Paul Newman, but his work in genre wasn't iconic. Previously, I went with Oh That Guy Charles Lane (a very idiosyncratic choice, I'll admit) and the cover of Philip José Farmer's Hugo winning book, a much more easily defensible choice. This year, my main question was whether to go old school with Scott Glenn or really old school with William Hopper from on of his two 1950s monster movies. You can see the answer, with Glenn as Alan Shepard, sitting and waiting (and peeing) in the capsule while it is being prepped for launch. This is the scene where he gets his best line "Why don't you solve your little problems and light this candle!"

2. Spot the Canadians! There are three today, all born after 1960. Two are fairly obvious and the third is a little tricky. See what you can do.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories.
Predictor: TheOMNI Future Almanac, published in 1982

Prediction: The wedding of cars and computers with increased driving efficiency under normal driving conditions of 60 miles an hour or less. By 2000, computer-assisted fuel flow and engine control will produce cars that average 100 miles per gallon.

The use of computer-controlled cars in urban centers will produce further savings by lessening traffic jams, reducing stopping to a minimum, dramatically decreasing accidents and increasing the life expectancy of a car to nearly twenty years. A reduction in pollution levels and a smoother flow in urban traffic patterns will restore quiet and order to the city.

Reality: All right, two separate predictions here. I don't know of any hybrid claiming 100 mpg even today in 2015. Also, "normal driving conditions of 60 miles per hour or less" is kind of quaint now.

As for what life will be like when computer controlled cars are the norm, we will likely have a better idea in ten years or so. The decreasing accidents look like a safe bet, but the decrease on pollution and noise and the increase in car life expectancy are in "wait and see" mode.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another visit with W. Warren Wagar and his predictions about the New World Order in the early 21st Century.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

25 January 2015

Tayler Marshall b. 2000 (Jack the Giant Slayer)
Poppy Rogers b. 1992 (Five Children and It, From Hell, The Tenth Kingdom)
Rupert Simonian b. 1991 (Peter Pan [2003])
Dustin Ingram b. 1990 (True Blood, Paranormal Activity 3, Sky High)
Tom Hopper b. 1985 (Knights of Badassdom, Merlin, Doctor Who)
Michael Trevino b. 1985 (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Charmed)
Charlie Bewley b. 1981 (Extant, The Vampire Diaries, The Twilight Saga)
Christine Lakin b. 1979 (The Frankenstein Theory, Race to Witch Mountain, Seven Days, Big Monster on Campus, 3rd Rock from the Sun)
Mia Kirshner b. 1975 (Lost Girl, Defiance, The Vampire Diaries, The Crow: City of Angels, My Secret Identity, Dracula: The Series, War of the Worlds)
Kurt Evans 1974 (Arrow, Fringe, Watchmen, The Andromeda Strain [2008], Supernatural, The 4400, Stargate SG-1, Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Dead Like Me, Tru Calling, Andromeda, The X-Files)
Carlos Antonio b. 1972 (American Horror Story, Lost Tapes)
Johnny Green b. 1972 (Monster Man, Buffy, Twilight Zone [1986], Back to the Future)
Alex Nevil b. 1965 (Star Trek [2009], Star Trek: Enterprise, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Lois & Clark, Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero)
Don Mancini b. 1963 (screenwriter, Child’s Play, Tale’s from the Crypt)
Eugene Osment b. 1959 (Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence)
Dinah Manoff b. 1958 (Child’s Play, Mork & Mindy)
Jenifer Lewis b. 1957 (Mystery Men, Meteor Man)
Lynn Hancock b. 1951 (Evilspeak)
Diane Salinger b. 1951 (Salem, Carnivale, Charmed, Deep Space Nine, Mann & Machine, Batman Returns, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Creature)
John Terry b. 1950 (Lost, Hawk the Slayer)
Richard Poe b. 1946 (Gotham, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Leigh Taylor-Young b. 1945 (Deep Space Nine, Looker, Soylent Green)
Anita Pallenberg b. 1944 (4:44 Last Day on Earth, Barbarella)
Tobe Hooper b. 1943 (director, Djinn, Taken, The Others, Perversions of Science, Dark Skies, Tales from the Crypt, Freddy’s Nightmares, Amazing Stories, Invaders From Mars, Lifeforce, Poltergeist, Salem’s Lot)
John Owens b. 1942 (The Wolfman [2010], Dinotopia, Alice in Wonderland [1999], An American Werewolf in London, Doctor Who, Scrooge [1970])
Gregory Sierra b. 1941 (Vampires, Deep Space Nine, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, The X-Files, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Something Is Out There, The Munsters Today, The Greatest American Hero, The Clones, Beneath the Planet of the Apes)
Diana Hyland b. 1936 died 27 March 1977 (The Invaders, The Green Hornet, Hercules and the Princess of Troy, Twilight Zone)
Dean Jones b. 1931 (Once Upon a Brothers Grimm, The Love Bug, Mr. Superinvisible)
King Donovan b. 1918 died 30 June 1987 (Invasion of the Body Snatchers [1956], The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The Magnetic Monster)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. No disrespect intended, but today's list is low on star power. The best known names are probably are probably Dean Jones and Gregory Sierra, but the closest either of them gets to iconic is Jones in The Love Bug, a movie I include somewhat grudgingly. The person who is most important to the genre is likely Tobe Hooper, but I couldn't decide on which of his film posters to use. Last year, the Picture Slot was Richard Poe, not a well known actor but iconic as Gul Evek, one of the first Cardassians shown on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the spirit of that choice, the Picture Slot this year is given to King Donovan, the guy with the pitchfork in front in this production still from the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Apropos of the minimal star power on today's list, Donovan may be the least known actor in the picture. The women are the lovely Dana Wynter and Carolyn Jones and of course, the other guy is Kevin McCarthy, the star of the film.

2. Spot the Canadians! Our two Canadians are fairly easy to spot. The only hint I'll give is that they were both born after 1970. Good luck.

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 1956 book The Door into Summer

Predictions: I finally settled on the year 2000, a nice round number and only thirty years away. I was afraid that if I made it any longer I would be completely out of touch. The changes in the last thirty years (my own lifetime) had been enough to make a man’s eyes bug out – two big wars and a dozen little ones, the downfall of communism, the Great Panic, the artificial satellites, the change to atomic power – my when I was a kid they didn’t even have mulitmorphs.”

Reality: Okay, this paragraph kind of lands us in the middle of the story. Our hero is alive in 1970 and he is going to sleep in suspended animation until 2000. That means the past 30 years are 1940 to 1970. His predictions are another big war to rival World War II (wrong), communism's fall (a few decades too early), the Great Panic (no big economic downturn in that era), the artificial satellites (true and the book was written before Sputnik), the change to atomic power (at least partial credit here) and "multimorphs" on most sci-fi refer to shapeshifters (crazy wrong). With as many as he got right and the ones that have become true in the past sixty years, I'll say this one is more Sensible Bob than Ridiculous Bob. 

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Another prediction from the Old Faithful of all my sources, The OMNI Future Almanac. 

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

24 January 2014

Mischa Barton b. 1986 (Phatasmagoria: The Movie, Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard, The Sixth Sense)
Karis Page Bryant b. 1985 (Charmed, Universal Soldier: The Return)
Justin Baldoni b. 1984 (Heroes, Charmed, The Helix… Loaded)
Remy Ryan b. 1984 (Opious, The Lost Room, RoboCop 3, The Flash [1990], Beauty and the Beast)
Craig Horner b. 1983 (Legend of the Seeker, Cyber Girl)
Carrie Coon b. 1981 (The Leftovers)
Kristen Schaal b. 1978 (Last Man on Earth)
Ed Helms b. 1974 (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian)
Matthew Lillard b. 1970 (Scooby-Doo, Area 57, Thir13n Ghosts, Wing Commander)
Stephanie Romanov b. 1969 (Angel, Seven Days)
Phil Lamarr b. 1967 (Futurama, Real Steel, Samurai Jack, Spider-Man 2, Evil Alien Conquerors, Invader ZIM)
Julie Dreyfus b. 1966 (The Crow: Stairway to Heaven)
Nastassja Kinski b. 1961 (Cat People, To the Devil a Daughter)
Peter Woodward b. 1956 (Dracula [2013 TV], Fringe, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Stargate: Atlantis, Charmed, Crusade, Babylon 5: A Call to Arms, Brimstone, )
William Allen Young b. 1954 (District 9, Babylon 5, The Twilight Zone [1985])
Michael Des Barres b. 1948 (Dead Like Me, Charmed, Sliders, Lois & Clark, Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Superboy, Super Force, ALF, Deadly Nightmares, Ghoulies, I, Monster)
Michael Ontkean b. 1946 (PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, The Stepford Husbands, Deadly Nightmares, Tales of the Unexpected, Necromancy)
David Gerrold b. 1944 (screenwriter, The Trouble With Tribbles)
Sharon Tate b. 1943 died 9 August 1969 (The Fearless Vampire Killers)
Barton Heyman b. 1937 died 15 May 1996 (The Exorcist, Twilight Zone)
John Hollis b. 1931 died 18 October 2005 (Superman I, II and IV, The Day of the Triffids [1981 TV], Flash Gordon, The Empire Strikes Back, Blakes 7, The Tomorrow People, Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, Doctor Who, Creatures the World Forgot, A for Andromeda)
Jerry Maren b. 1920 (Frankenstein Rising, Twilight Zone [1986], Wizards and Warriors, Something Wicked This Way Comes, TRON, The Amazing Captain Nemo, Lidsville, Bigfoot, Planet of the Apes [1968], Bewitched, Superman and the Mole People, The Wizard of Oz)
William Hudson b. 1919 died 5 April 1974 (The Reluctant Astronaut, Batman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Moon Pilot, Men Into Space, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Amazing Colossal Man, The She-Creature, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger)
John Hudson b. 1919 died 8 April 1996 (I Dream of Jeannie, Men Into Space, The Screaming Skull)
Ernest Borgnine b. 1917 died 8 July 2012 (Gattaca, Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, Laser Mission, Alice in Wonderland [1985], Escape From New York, The Black Hole, Future Cop, The Devil’s Rain, The Neptune Factor, Captain Video and his Video Rangers)
C. L. Moore b. 1911 died 4 April 1987 (author, Northwest Smith, Cthulhu Mythos)
Estelle Winwood b. 1883 died 20 June 1984 (Batman, Bewitched, The Cabinet of Caligari, Twilight Zone, Blithe Spirit)
E.T.A. Hoffmann b. 1776 died 25 June 1822 (author, The Sandman, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The surprising stuff. Usually I start with the Picture Slot decision when explaining stuff about our birthday boys and girls, and I will do so today as well, but the over-riding theme of today's list is how many things I didn't realize.

I did not realize there is someone still alive from the cast of The Wizard of Oz, a movie which celebrates its 76th anniversary this year. Jerry Maren, born in 1920, was the middle guy in The Lollipop Guild, is the last known survivor from the cast and good on ya, Mr. Maren.

I did not realize how many genre credits Ernest Borgnine had. I still think of him as Marty or Fatso or McHale, but showed up in a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, including Captain Video, a show that was well before my time.

I did not realize the actress Estelle Winwood lived to be 101.

I did not think Michael Ontkean was much older than I am and I did not know he was Canadian, the only one on today's list.

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

Predictor: Albert D. Shaw (1841-1901), politician, diplomat and president of the Canadian Niagara Power Company

One of the greatest cities in the United States will be found to occupy the area between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. I think that, early in the 20th Century, there will be a city of 1,000,000 inhabitants there. It will be one of the greatest manufacturing cities in the world. Nature has done everything to favor its locality.

Yes, it's true, nature has blessed Buffalo in every way, especially if you like the MIND-NUMBINGLY FUCKING COLD WINTERS!

Buffalo is still a city of about 250,000. Across the border, its sister city of Hamilton is closer to 500,000. I'm going to cut Mr. Shaw some slack, not just because of the awesome soup strainer on his top lip, but also because the technology of electrical transformers was in its infancy. Even our new predictor George Sutherland writing in 1901 makes predictions that places nearest electrical generating plants would be developed earlier than other locales. Nowadays, the wires can easily carry power many hundreds of miles away from the source.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Sundays mean a visit from our pal, (usually) Ridiculous Bob, looking into his crystal ball at 1970 or 2000 from a 1956 vantage point.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Friday, January 23, 2015

23 January 2015

David Knoll b. 2000 (The Strain)Jack Reynor b. 1992 (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Dollhouse)
Veronica Gomez b. 1982 (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Sonita Henry b. 1977 (Olympus, Young Dracula, Doctor Who, Star Trek [2009], The Fifth Element)
Ewen Bremner b. 1972 (Snowpiercer, Jack the Giant Slayer, The Lost Room, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Judge Dredd)
Ariadna Gil b. 1969 (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Mariska Hargitay b. 1964 (Lake Placid, Freddy’s Nightmares, Ghoulies)
Gail O’Grady b. 1963 (Time Trax, Superboy, Werewolf [TV])
Richard Roxburgh b. 1962 (Sanctum, Van Helsing, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
John H. Tobin b. 1955 (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, UFO: Target Earth)
David Patrick Kelly b. 1951 (K-PAX, The Crow, Tales from the Darkside, Dreamscape)
Richard Dean Anderson b. 1950 (Stargate, Legend [TV])
Richard Gilliland b. 1950 (Parts Per Billion, Torchwood, Vampire Clan, Star Kid, Dark Skies, Bug)
Rutger Hauer b. 1944 (True Blood, 2047 – Sights of Death, Dracula 3D, Metal Hurlant Chronicles, Meteor, Minotaur, Batman Begins, Salem’s Lot, Smallville, Flying Virus, The 10th Kingdom, Merlin, Lexx, Omega Doom, Buffy the Vampire Slayer [movie], Ladyhawke, Blade Runner)
Gil Gerard b, 1943 (Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II, Reptisaurus, E.A.R.T.H. Force, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)
Greg Hildebrandt b. 1939 (Illustrator)
Tim Hildebrandt b. 1939 died 11 June 2006 (Illustrator)
Arlene Golonka b. 1936 (Dr. Alien, The Girl with Something Extra)
Lou Antonio b. 1934 (director, Dark Skies, American Gothic; actor, Bewitched, Star Trek, I Dream of Jeannie)
Walter Michael Miller b. 1923 died 9 January 1996 (won 1961 Hugo for A Canticle for Leibowitz)
Florence Halop b. 1923 died 15 July 1986 (Gemini Man, Captain Nice)
Frances Bay b. 1919 died 15 September 2011 (Repo Chick, Charmed, Inspector Gadget, The X Files, Quantum Leap, Critters, Arachnophobia, ALF, Alien Nation, Amazing Stories, Fairy Tale Theatre, Topper [1979 TV movie])
Susan French b. 1912 died 6 April 2003 (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Flatliners, Quantum Leap, Somewhere in Time, Captain America II: Death Too Soon)
Dan Duryea b. 1907 died 7 June 1968 (The Bamboo Saucer, Twilight Zone)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. In previous years, I used the Star Wars poster done by the Hildebrandt twins and the cover art from A Canticle for Leibowitz as representatives for our birthday boys and girls, but this year I decided to choose an iconic role. There are several choices on from TV, notably Richard Dean Anderson, Gil Gerard and Lou Antonio from his role on Star Trek, but looking at movie roles, the best choice is Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner. I do feel like a geezer when I can only name people older than I am as candidates for The Picture Slot, as though I am not keeping up with current trends. In my defense, iconic isn't easy and there's a lot of randomness in it.

2. A fledgling Canadian. David Knoll, who turns 15 today, was born in Canada. The Strain is a Canadian sci-fi show, but it's quite a stretch to assume a person is Canadian from a single credit on one show. He's the only Canadian born actor on the list today.

Many happy returns to all the living on the list and to the dead, thanks for all the memories. 
Predictor: H.G. Wells in his 1902 book Anticipations

Prediction: The new ethics will hold life to be a privilege and a responsibility, not a sort of night refuge for base spirits out of the void; and the alternative in right conduct between living fully, beautifully, and efficiently will be to die. For a multitude of contemptible and silly creatures, fear-driven and helpless and useless, unhappy or hatefully happy in the midst of squalid dishonour, feeble, ugly, inefficient, born of unrestrained lusts, and increasing and multiplying through sheer incontinence and stupidity, the men of the New Republic will have little pity and less benevolence. To make life convenient for the breeding of such people will seem to them not the most virtuous and amiable thing in the world, as it is held to be now, but an exceedingly abominable proceeding. Procreation is an avoidable thing for sane persons of even the most furious passions, and the men of the New Republic will hold that the procreation of children who, by the circumstances of their parentage, _must_ be diseased bodily or mentally--I do not think it will be difficult for the medical science of the coming time to define such circumstances--is absolutely the most loathsome of all conceivable sins. They will hold, I anticipate, that a certain portion of the population--the small minority, for example, afflicted with indisputably transmissible diseases, with transmissible mental disorders, with such hideous incurable habits of mind as the craving for intoxication--exists only on sufferance, out of pity and patience, and on the understanding that they do not propagate; and I do not foresee any reason to suppose that they will hesitate to kill when that sufferance is abused.

Reality: Meet H.G. Wells, vicious racist scumbag with a hankering for human blood. Looking back from the future, his writing career continues for decades but all his big hits have already been written by 1902. Two later books, Food of the Gods and Shape of Things to Come, will be turned into several films each, but they aren't as famous or interesting as his earlier works War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine or The Island of Dr. Moreau. If we can trust Wikipedia, Anticipations made a big splash in Edwardian England, and the last chapter - from which this quote is taken -  is a big reason why. His bright vision of the future is that the English and a few other white nations are the top of the genetic heap and anyone who can't keep up shouldn't be allowed to breed, much less survive.

Within a few years, he would walk away from his most grotesque ideas of the ideal future society but with this book, He became an important voice to the people who wanted to cling to the British Empire, a position of influence that wore away at his soul and imagination. He would still write over a hundred books after Anticipations, but only a handful are actually worth reading.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

A bit of local boosterism from a small town passes as a prediction of the future from 1893.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

22 January 2015

Sami Gayle b. 1996 (Vampire Academy)
Beverly Mitchell b. 1981 (Toxin, The Crow: City of Angels, White Dwarf, Quantum Leap)
Willa Ford b. 1981 (Friday the 13th [2009])
Christopher Masterson b. 1980 (Haven, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Strange Frequency, Millennium)
Matthew Newton b. 1977 (Queen of the Damned, Farscape, The Lost World [TV])
Jennifer Spence b. 1977 (Continuum, Supernatural, SGU Stargate Universe, Eureka, The 4400, The Core)
Balthazar Getty b. 1975 (Feast, Charmed, The Hunger [TV], Habitat, Judge Dredd)
Rebekah Elmalogou b. 1974 (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)
Gabriel Macht b. 1972 (The Spirit)
Karen Finneran b. 1971 (Bewitched [2005], Wonderfalls, Night of the Living Dead [1990])
Olivia d’Abo b. 1969 (Sleeping Beauty [2014], Nuclear Family, Eureka, Invader ZIM, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Conan the Destroyer)
Qing Xu b. 1969 (Looper)
Diane Lane b. 1965 (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, Jumper, Judge Dredd)
Linda Blair b. 1959 (The Green Fairy, Supernatural, Monster Makers, PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, Sorceress, Repossessed, The Exorcist)
Tyrone Power Jr. 1959 (Mansion of Blood, Lorelei: Witch of the Pacific Ocean, Cocoon)
Michael Kospa b. 1956 (Arrow, Supernatural, Fringe, Apollo 18, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Earth’s Final Hours, Stonehenge Apocalypse, Impact, Watchmen, Flash Gordon [2007 TV], Eureka, The 4400, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Final Days of Planet Earth, Fantastic Four [2005], Dead Like Me, Carrie [2002 TV], Smallville, Jeremiah, The Immortal [2001], Seven Days, Dark Angel, Stargate SG-1, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, The X-Files, Highlander [TV], Sliders)
John Wesley Shipp b. 1955 (The Flash [2015 and 1991], Teen Wolf [2012], The Neverending Story II)
Jim Jarmusch b. 1953 (director, Only Lovers Left Alive)
John Hurt b. 1940 (Hercules [2014], Doctor Who, Snowpiercer, Only Lovers Left Alive, Labyrinth [2012], Harry Potter, Melancholia, Outlander, Hellboy, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, V for Vendetta, Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound, The Story Teller, Spaceballs, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Alien, The Ghoul)
Seymour Cassel b. 1935 (Wicked Stepmother, Star Trek The Next Generation, Tales from the Darkside [TV], Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, Batman, Twilight Zone)
Bill Bixby b. 1934 died 21 November 1993 (The Incredible Hulk, My Favorite Martian, Twilight Zone)
Piper Laurie b. 1932 (Bad Blood, Dead Like Me, The Faculty, Beauty and the Beast, The Twilight Zone [1985], Return to Oz, Carrie)
Jon Cedar b. 1931 died 14 April 2001 (Asteroid, Tales from the Darkside, The Greatest American Hero, The Incredible Hulk, Capricorn One, The Manitou, Day of the Animals, Time Travelers, The Invisible Man [1975])
Robert Halmi Sr. b. 1922 died 30 July 2014 (producer, Riverworld, Flash Gordon [TV], Hogfather, Dinotopia, Jason and the Argonauts [TV], Alice in Wonderland [TV], Gulliver’s Travels [TV])
Ann Sothern b. 1909 died 15 March 2001 (The Manitou, My Mother the Car)
Robert E. Howard b. 1906 died 11 June 1936 (author, Conan, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane)
Conrad Veidt b. 1893 died 3 April 1943 (The Thief of Bagdad [1940], The Man who Laughs, The Hands of Orlac, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari)

Notes on the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. Previously, I had Robert E. Howard in the Picture Slot, the pulp writer from Texas who died very young but more or less started the sword and sorcery genre which would become popular in the 1960s when Frank Frazetta's paintings were used as the paperback covers. There are plenty of iconic choices here, with Bill Bixby, John Hurt and Linda Blair best-known to American audiences, but instead we have Conrad Veidt from the 1928 silent film The Man Who Laughs, taken from a story by Victor Hugo. Very few people today have seen this film, but writer Bill Finger did and it was his suggestion that this should be the look for The Joker, and that makes it iconic in genre. If Americans know Veidt at all, it's from Casablanca or The Thief of Bagdad or possibly the other silent horror films he made. For my money, no actor playing The Joker looks half as scary as Veidt does here.

2. Spot the Canadians, I dare you! There are three credit lists that have That Canadian Feeling, but only two are from the Great White North. Instead of giving the answer later, I will grade the work of anyone who puts up a guess. I'm back teaching classes and I have to get back into the swing of grading.

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

Predictor: Fulgencio Batistia, former dictator of Cuba, speaking from exile in Spain, 1960, quoted in The Experts Speak by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky

Prediction:“I give Castro a year. No longer.”

Reality: Well, here we are 55 years later, Castro is still alive and in power and more than that, the United States is finally getting around to re-establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba. I was thinking of saving this prediction until after Fidel died, but I'm not sure I'll be writing the blog that long.

Looking one day ahead...  INTO THE FUTURE!

It's time to get to the creepy stuff from Anticipations that made H.G. Wells an "important voice" in the politics of Edwardian England.

Join us then...  IN THE FUTURE!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

21 January 2015

Owen Best b. 1997 (TRON: Legacy, Smallville, Impact)
Jennifer Rae Daykin b. 1995 (Nanny McPhee)
Booboo Stewart b. 1994 (Dominion, Twilight Saga, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Space Warriors, Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, 666: The Child)
Chanelle Peloso b. 1994 (Zapped [2014])
Keely Purvis b. 1992 (The Time Tunnel [2006], X-Men 2, Taken)
Craig Roberts b. 1991 (Being Human, Becoming Human, Young Dracula)
Jacob Smith b. 1990 (Hansel & Gretel [2002], Evolution’s Child, Small Soldiers, Meego)
Jeff Ballard b. 1987 (Grave Halloween, Forever 16, Supernatural, Snowmageddon, Painkiller Jane, Kyle XY, Smallville, Zolar, A Wrinkle in Time, Dark Angel, Mission to Mars)
Luke Grimes b. 1984 (True Blood)
Izabella Miko b. 1981 (Supernatural, Clash of the Titans)
Svetlana Khodchenkova b. 1983 (The Wolverine)
Jerry Trainor b. 1977 (Angel, Evolution, Donnie Darko)
Paul Anthony b. 1975 (Tomorrowland, The Flash, The Returned, Suck, Painkiller Jane, Stargate: Atlantis, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Blade: Trinity, Dead Like Me, Jake 2.0, Stargate SG-1, Strange Frequency, Dark Angel)
Luigia Zucaro b. 1971 (Dawn of the Dead)
Ken Leung b. 1970 (Lost, X_Men: The Last Stand, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence)
Karina Lombard b. 1969 (The 4400, Kull the Conqueror)
Matthew Willig b. 1969 (Grimm, Abelar: Tales of an Ancient Empire)
Todd Caldecott b. 1969 (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)
John Ducey b. 1969 (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Deep Impact, Rumplestiltskin [1995])
Charlotte Ross b. 1968 (Arrow)
Patrick Weil b. 1963 (Touch, Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred, Eastwick)
Michael Wincott b. 1958 (Alien: Resurrection, Strange Days, The Crow, An American Christmas Carol)
Geena Davis b. 1956 (Coma [2012], Transylvania 6-5000, The Fly, Beetlejuice, Earth Girls Are Easy, Knight Rider)
Robby Benson b. 1956 (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Deadly Nightmares)
Trey Wilson b. 1948 died 16 January 1989 (Vampire Hookers)
Ann Wedgeworth b. 1934 (The Twilight Zone [1986], My Science Project)
Clive Donner b. 1926 died 7 September 2010 (director, A Christmas Carol [1984], The Thief of Baghdad [1978])
Steve Reeves b. 1926 died 1 May 2000 (Hercules, Hercules Unchained, The Thief of Baghdad, Goliath and the Barbarians, Topper [1953 TV])
Dean Fredericks b. 1924 died 30 June 1999 (The Phantom Planet, The Disembodied, Them!)
Telly Savalas b. 1922 died 22 January 1994 (Alice in Wonderland [1985], Capricorn One, The Twilight Zone)
John Doucette b. 1921 died 16 August 1994 (The Time Machine [1978 TV], Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Time Tunnel, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Sabu and the Magic Ring, Adventures of Superman, Batman and Robin [1949])
J. Carrol Naish b. 1896 died 24 January 1973 (Dracula vs. Frankenstein, I Dream of Jeannie, House of Frankenstein, The Monster Maker, Batman [1943])

Notes on the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. Last year, Geena Davis was in the Picture Slot with a still from The Fly, though Beetlejuice was probably more iconic. This year, it's Steve Reeves from Hercules. While I admit to geezerhood, I challenge anyone to find an actor younger than Ms. Davis who had an iconic genre role.

2. Oh Those Guys. We have some great character actors on the list. I don't count Telly Savalas because Kojak turned him into a household name. J. Carrol Naish has 222 credits on, and while I remember his role as the hunchback Daniel in House of Frankenstein very well even though it's been more than fifty years since I saw it, I think that's more about my memory than his being truly iconic. John Doucette was a stocky bald guy who usually played a villain. If you are old enough, his face should be familiar, he has 284 credits on

3. Wait... he's dead?  Another familiar face whose name might escape you is Trey Wilson, who died 26 years ago at the age of 40. His best known role is Nathan Arizona in Raising Arizona. I was completely unaware he was gone and it makes me sad.

4. Canadians, the bold and the furtive. There are a lot of Canadians today, some with very few credits of any kind, some born too early to be able to exploit the modern sci-fi gold rush in Vancouver and Toronto. Jeff Ballard and Paul Anthony have credit lists that are typically Canadian, but Chanelle Peloso, Keely Purvis, Luigia Zucaro, Todd Caldecott and Michael Wincott are less obviously from The Great White North.

5. Hey, no Star Trek! I started this label because Star Trek is far and away the most popular label. I figured days without folks from Star Trek would be few and far between, but it's been pretty common in January.

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

Prediction:The solar engine, if generally introduced, would be found more intermittent in its action than the windmill--excepting perhaps in a very few localities where there is a cloudless sky throughout the year. The windmill gathers up the power generated by the expansion of the air in passing over long stretches of heated ground, while a solar engine cannot command more of the sun's heat than that which falls upon the reflector or condenser of the engine itself. The latter machine may possibly have a place assigned to it in the industrial economy of the future, but the sum total of the power which it will furnish must always be an insignificant fraction.

Reality: According to Wikipedia, solar power accounts for about 0.85% of the world's energy as of 2015. This number is growing, but I would argue Sutherland is not incorrect so far with his "insignificant fraction" prediction.

Welcome our new pal George Sutherland to the fold. I found out about his book by reading H.G. Wells' Anticipations. I've just started reading his book and so far he seems very sensible, which likely means he will miss a lot of what gets invented in the 20th Century. The electron was discovered in 1897 and it took a while before it was completely accepted by the scientific community. When the Royal Society got around to celebrating J.J. Thomson's work, he gave the toast "Gentlemen, I give you the electron. May it be of no earthly use to anyone!"While this means Sutherland will have to make a huge leap to predict anything electronic, You can expect to read his predictions for the next couple months at least.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

Yet another incorrect prediction from The Experts Speak.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

20 January 2015

Ciara Hanna b. 1991 (Power Rangers MegaForce, Blood Lake: The Attack of the Killer Lampreys)
Evan Peters b. 1987 (X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Days of Future Past, American Horror Story, Kick-Ass, Invasion [TV], Phil of the Future)
Pete Ploszek b. 1987 (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [2014])
Olivia Hallinan b. 1985 (Torchwood, Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde)
Rukiya Bernard b. 1983 (Witches of East End, Primeval: New World, The Cabin in the Woods, Supernatural, SGU Stargate Universe, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Eureka, Supervolcano, Relic Hunter)
Daniel Cudmore b. 1981 (Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Fringe, Twilight, X-Men, Revolution [2009 TV movie], Merlin and the Book of Beasts, Stargate SG-1)
Crystal Lowe b. 1981 (Primeval: New World, Almost Human, A Little Bit Zombie, Smallville, Hot Tub Time Machine, Supernatural, Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon, Stargate: Atlantis, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Stargate: Sg-1)
Ray Panthaki b. 1979 (World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, 28 Days Later…)
Omar Sy b. 1978 (Jurassic World, X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Skeet Ulrich b. 1970 (Jericho, The Craft, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [1990])
Reno Wilson b. 1969 (The Chronicle, FreakyLinks, Good vs Evil, Sliders, Mighty Joe Young, Fallen)
Rainn Wilson b. 1966 (Robodog, Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen, The Last Mimzy, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Dominion, Dark Angel, Charmed, Galaxy Quest)
Francesca Buller b. 1964 (Farscape)
James Denton b. 1963 (The Good Witch, Undead or Alive: A Zombedy, Dark Skies, Sliders)
R. A. Salvatore b. 1959 (author, Forgotten Realms series)
Lorenzo Lamas b. 1958 ( Atomic Eden, Ghost Ghirls, Raptor Ranch, Sci-Fighter, Raptor Island, Deep Evil, The Immortal [2001 TV])
Ken Page b. 1954 (Charmed, Adventures in Wonderland)
Paul Stanley b. 1952 (Millennium, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park)
Daniel Benzali b. 1950 (Jericho, The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Beauty and the Beast [1989], Whoops Apocalypse, Star Cops)
David Lynch b. 1946 (director, Dune, Eraserhead)
Dorothy Provine b. 1935 died 25 April 2010 (The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock)
Tom Baker b. 1934 (Doctor Who, The Wind in the Willows [2006 TV], Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Dungeons and Dragons, The Mutations, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Frankenstein: The True Story)
Buzz Aldrin b. 1930 (astronaut)
Peter Donat b. 1928 (The X-Files, Time Trax, Earth Star Voyager, Voyagers, Salvage 1, Future Cop, The Invisible Man [1975 TV)
Patricia Neal b. 1926 died 8 August 2010 (Ghost Story, The Day the Earth Stood Still)
DeForest Kelley b. 1920, died 11 June 1999 (Star Trek, Night of the Lepus)
Federico Fellini b. 1920 died 31 October 1993 (director, The Temptation of Dr. Antonio)
Michael Higgins b. 1920 died 5 November 2008 (Death Becomes Her, Angel Heart, The Stepford Wives, The Outer Limits)
Leon Ames b, 1902 died 12 October 1993 (Testament, Bewitched, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, Son of Flubber, The Absent-Minded Professor)
Colin Clive b. 1900 died 25 June 1937 (Mad Love, Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein)
A. Merritt b. 1884 died 21 August 1943 (author, The Moon Pool, Burn Witch Burn!)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. I may be chided for being a geezer, but I am of the opinion that this list is chock full of truly iconic folk and all of them were born more than eighty years ago. In 2013, I used DeForest Kelley, in 2014 it was Buzz Aldrin. If they are out of contention, I'm happy to go to the other side of The Pond with Tom Baker, who wins the Favorite Doctor polls consistently if the competition is restricted to the 20th Century incarnations. If I were picking fourth place, I would go super geezer with Colin Clive, Dr. Frankenstein in the most famous 1930s versions of the story. If I was in a fabulous babe mood, Patricia Neal or (ahem) Dorothy Provine would get the Picture Slot, but even someone with my peculiar interests can't argue they are as iconic as the four guys mentioned first.

2. Spot the Canadians! Let's go opposite of geezer with our young Canuck friends. There are three of them, all born after 1980. Good luck! There is an older one, Peter Donat, who I thought of as American because he worked at ACT in San Francisco many decades ago. Thanks to James Marshall VI for pointing out Donat.

3. I love a good exact same day pair. Ignoring identical twins, I love to find out that two very famous people share a birthday on the exact same day and year. My personal favorite is 12 February 1809, when Lincoln and Darwin were both born. Our best pair today is DeForest Kelley and Federico Fellini, both born in 1920. A character actor named Michael Higgins was also born 95 years ago, but he's not quite an Oh That Guy for me. The role I know him in is as Doc Wilson in State and Main.

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

Movie released
Underworld Awakening released, 2012
Predictor: W. Warren Wagar in the 1991 edition of his book A Short History of the Future.

Prediction: By the turn of the millennium, everyone used the phrase “the world revolution of 1989”. Comparisons to the French Revolution of 1789 were commonplace.

Reality: Wagar's day job was as a history professor and the changes of 1989 really threw him for a loop. He published his first version just as communism fell and figured that he had to re-write the whole thing, so the predictions here are from his 1991 version, which has as its over-riding theme the complete victory of capitalism until a catastrophe in the 2040s. (The catastrophe itself is too far in the future to be a topic on this blog.) While it certainly made a difference in global politics, Americans don't generally lump together the Berlin Wall falling and the Tienanmen Square protests. I went online to find comparisons of 1989 to 1789 and found one paper by a Northeastern history professor named Patrick Manning. I would not call the comparisons "commonplace".

Looking one day ahead...  INTO THE FUTURE!

A new source of predictions joins the line-up tomorrow.

Join us then...  IN THE FUTURE!

Monday, January 19, 2015

19 January 2015

Logan Lerman b. 1992 (Percy Jackson, The Butterfly Effect)
Erin Sanders b. 1991 (Carnivale)
Damien Chazelle b. 1985 (The Last Exorcism Part II)
Bitsie Tulloch b. 1981 (Grimm)
Benjamin Ayres b. 1977 (Bitten, Lost Girl, Dead Before Dawn 3D, The Vampire Diaries, Fantastic 4; Rise of the Silver Surfer, Smallville, Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Jeremiah)
Candice Hillebrand b. 1977 (Tekken)
Marsha Thomason b. 1976 (Lost, The Haunted Mansion, Black Knight)
Natassia Malthe b. 1974 (BloodRayne, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Fringe, Fallen, Skinwalkers, Bloodsuckers, Andromeda, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Halloween: Resurrection, Seven Days, Dark Angel, Lake Placid, First Wave, Millennium)
Rachel Luttrell b. 1971 (Stargate: Atlantis, Charmed, Maniac Mansion, Forever Knight)
Wendy Moniz b. 1969 (666 Park Avenue, The Others)
Matt Hill b. 1968 (Dead Like Me, Taken, Sleepwalkers, Bordello of Blood, The X Files)
Paul McCrane b. 1961 (From the Earth to the Moon, The X Files, Superboy, The Blob [1988], RoboCop)
William Ragsdale b. 1961 (Left Behind, Touch, Frankenstein: The College Years, Mannequin: On the Move, Fright Night 1 & 2 [1985 and 1988])
Allen Steele b. 1958 (author, Orbital Decay, The Death of Captain Future)
Roger Ashton-Griffiths b. 1957 (Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Mutant Chronicles, Torchwood, The Brothers Grimm, Merlin [1998], Tales from the Crypt, Haunted Honeymoon, Brazil)
Tracy Stratford b. 1955 (Twilight Zone, The Evil of Frankenstein)
Katey Sagal b. 1954 (Futurama, Lost, Jack and the Beanstalk [2010], Smart House, Tales from the Crypt)
Linda Hayden b. 1953 (The Boys from Brazil, Queen Kong, Old Drac, The Blood on Satan’s Claw, Taste the Blood of Dracula)
Desi Arnaz Jr, b 1953 (Automan)
Nadiuska b. 1952 (Conan the Barbarian)
Shelley Fabares b. 1944 (The Canterville Ghost [1985], Mork & Mindy, The Incredible Hulk, Twilight Zone, Captain Midnight)
Michael Crawford b. 1942 (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [1972])
Larry Clark b. 1943 (director, Teenage Caveman [2002])
Reiner Schone b. 1942 (Ice Planet, Sliders, Babylon 5, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Handmaid’s Tale, Amerika)
Tony Anholt b. 1941 died 26 July 2002 (Lexx, Relic Hunter, Space: 1999)
Bryan Pringle b. 1935 died 15 May 2002 (Haunted Honeymoon, Brazil, Jabberwocky)
John Richardson b. 1934 (Battle of the Stars, War of the Planets, Frankenstein ’80, One Million Years B.C., She)
Richard Lester b. 1932 (director, Superman II and III, The Mouse on the Moon)
Patsy Rowlands b. 1931 died 22 January 2005 (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
Tippi Hedren b. 1930 (The 4400, The Nightmare Room, Tales from the Darkside, The Bionic Woman, The Birds)
Lisa Lu b. 1927 (2012, The Tick, Demon Seed)
Fritz Weaver b. 1926 (The X Files, Deep Space Nine, Tales from the Darkside, The Twilight Zone [1985 & 1961], Creepshow, The Martian Chronicles, Wonder Woman, Demon Seed, The Invaders, ‘Way Out)
Nicholas Colasanto b. 1924 died 12 February 1985 (My Favorite Martian, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
Jean Stapleton b. 1923 died 31 May 2013 (The Ray Bradbury Theatre, Beakman’s World, Faerie Tale Theatre, Damn Yankees)
Guy Madison b. 1922 died 6 February 1996 (Superargo and the Faceless Giants, The Beast of Hollow Mountain, On the Threshold of Space)
Ken Hughes b. 1922 died 28 April 2001 (screenwriter, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Edgar Allan Poe b. 1809 died 7 October 1849 (author, The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher)

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. Previously, before I had done as much research, I had Edgar Allen Poe in the Picture Slot. In his book The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, Thomas M. Disch argues that Poe is the true father of sci-fi, not Verne or Wells. Whether we accept that or not, he is certainly iconic. This year, not wanting to repeat myself, my choices were Leela from Futurama, Fritz Weaver from The Obsolete Man episode of Twilight Zone or Tippi Hedren from The Birds.

Did the fabulous babe win? Why, gosh, I guess she did. To be fair, Leela is fabulous as well, if you like animated and one eyed.

If I weren't such a geezer, I might include Logan Lerman in the choices, since he plays Percy Jackson in those series of movies. While I am not the target for the YA novels or the movies made from them, I have read some of the books and seen some of the movies. As a consumer of pop culture, I would say young Mr. Lerman has not reached the level of fame experienced by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson.

2. Spot the Canadians! There are four, though some were born elsewhere and emigrated. All were born after 1960.

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

Predictors: The ESPN panel of pro football experts

Seahawks over Packers by a 13-1 consensus
Patriots over Colts by a 13-1 consensus

Reality: Back when I used to gamble, I had a friend, who when paying off after he deemed that I was ridiculously lucky would say "Tell them where you got it, but don't tell them how." The favored Seahawks did win yesterday, though they did it with five turnovers, a desperate trick play that worked and some very lucky bounces. That said, they won and all the people who said they would get the points.

This gives the experts a combined record of 92 correct and 48 incorrect, which rounds to 65.7% right. If this were a true-false test, that grade would probably count as a D by most standards, but if we assume even odds on all the games before they start, this result would be just a hair away from the 99.99th percentile when graded on the normal curve, and even if the Seahawks had lost, the experts would be in the 95th percentile. Of course, what this really says is that most of the favorites won and there were only a few games considered to be difficult to predict. In the baseball playoffs this year, two wild card teams played for the championship and the experts stunk the place out.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

 The Birthday List has a Star Trek regular and a guy who walked on the moon and neither of them will be in the Picture Slot. Take turns, guys, fair is fair.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

18 January 2015

Matt Kane b. 1991 (Once Upon a Time, The Dinosaur Project)
Zane Holtz b. 1987 (From Dusk Till Dawn [TV], Vampires Suck, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief)
Samantha Mumba b. 1983 (Boy Eats Girl, The Time Machine)
Antje Traue b. 1981 (Man of Steel, Pandorum)
Jason Segel b. 1980 (This is the End, Gulliver’s Travels)
Jay Chou b. 1979 (The Green Hornet)
Rebakah Jean Morgan b. 1979 (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Derek Richardson b. 1976 (American Horror Story, Reeker)
Dave Bautista b. 1969 (Guardians of the Galaxy, Riddick, Smallville)
Jesse L. Martin b. 1969 (The Flash, A Christmas Carol: The Musical [2005], The X Files)
Mark Collie b. 1956 (The Punisher)
Kevin Costner b. 1955 ( Man of Steel, Waterworld, The Postman, Testament)
M.C. Gainey (Revolution, Haunted High, Lost, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The X-Files, The Haunting, M.A.N.T.I.S., Knight Rider, Starman, Wizards and Warriors, Time After Time)
Paul Freeman b. 1943 (Tales from the Crypt [TV], Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark)
David Stollery b. 1941 (Jack and the Beanstalk, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court)
Basil Hoffman b. 1938 (Eerie, Indiana, Beauty and the Beast [1987 TV], Small Wonder, Love at First Bite, Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
John Boorman b. 1933 (director, Excalibur, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Zardoz)
Robert Anton Wilson b. 1932 died 11 January 2007 (author, The Illuminatus Trilogy, Schrodinger’s Cat)
Orville Sherman b. 1916 died 1 October 1984 (Westworld, The Twilight Zone, The Brain Eaters, The Adventures of Superman)
Danny Kaye b. 1911 died 3 March 1987 (The Twilight Zone [1985], Peter Pan [1976 TV], Pinocchio [1976 TV], Wonder Man)
Cary Grant b. 1904 died 29 November 1986 (Topper)
Oliver Hardy b. 1892 died 7 August 1957 (Babes in Toyland [1934])

Notes from the birthday list.
1. The Picture Slot. The geezer in me looks at the bottom three names on the list - Oliver Hardy, Cary Grant, Danny Kaye - and thinks "THOSE are movie stars." I could use Kevin Costner from Waterworld, but that feels cruel. Earlier Picture Slot folk were Jay Chou (the most recent Kato) and Antje Traue (the Kryptonian villainess from Man of Steel), and again I am going with an up-to-date choice, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy. While Bautista had genre roles before this year, this is the first one I consider iconic.

I am not the first to point this out, but making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie shows just how confident the people at Marvel Studios are. This was a book that almost no one read and they turn it into an enormous hit. The people who make movies from DC Comics are so timid, they are dithering as to whether they can make a Wonder Woman movie or not. To match the chutzpah of making Guardians, DC would have to make a movie about the Legion of Super-Heroes, Challengers from the Unknown or Doom Patrol. 
2. One unspottable Canadian. Zane Holtz is Canadian, but most of his credits are in movies instead of TV, so hard to spot.

3. The Guy at the Door. The folks born before John Boorman are dead, and he and everyone born after him are alive. I give him special best wishes on his 83rd birthday. He directed Excalibur and Zardoz, both movies I enjoyed but thought MST3K should have taken a shot at them. I don't see any movies on the list that got the Best Brains treatment today.

4. Hey... no Star Trek! This should be rare, but this is the fourth time in nine days our birthday list has nobody from any of the incarnations of Star Trek.

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

Predictor: Robert A. Heinlein in The Door Into Summer, published 1956

Prediction: Facing me through the window of the bar was a sign that kept changing. First it would read: WORK WHILE YOU SLEEP. Then it would say: AND DREAM YOUR TROUBLES AWAY. Then it would flash in letters twice as big:


Reality: Here, Heinlein is predicting suspended animation as a way to make money by putting it in an interest paying account that you will be able to access when you awake in the future. No one has made suspended animation work yet, and given that the brain loses function when it gets too cold for too long, the odds it will ever work are not good.

Again, I want to thank Lockwood DeWitt for pointing me in the direction of the valuable book.

Never to be forgotten: Greg Plitt 1977-2015

Greg Plitt, a fitness model and actor, died after being hit by a Metrolink train in Burbank yesterday. Reports say it looked like he was filming some video when he was hit. He was in Terminator Salvation and his body was the model for the CGI of Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen.

Best wishes to the family and friends of Greg Plitt, who died far too young. He is never to be forgotten.

Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!

The NFL experts at ESPN have strong consensus that both the home teams will win today in the conference championships. Tomorrow, we will check in and see how they did.

Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!