Friday, 26 October 2018

Screen Scene magazine - where Star Wars sat alongside Logan's Run and The Tomorrow People

The Star Wars poster in Screen Scene issue 5

The 1970s fashion for poster magazines encompassed pretty much every area of popular culture: pop stars, Kung Fu, horror films and, of course, Star Wars.

We've already examined some issues of the Star Wars Official Poster Monthly. Now here's a short look at a one-off edition of a British poster magazine which reminds us of some of the other entertainment that was around at the same time.

Screen Scene looks at Star Wars

The Star Wars cover of Screen Scene number 5

Screen Scene was a poster magazine from Rulebourne Ltd of North London, edited by Chris Holloway and costing 35p. The only issues I've come across online were dominated by that other big film phenomenon of 1977, John Travolta. 

For issue five, the subject switched to science fiction, with a poster split between two separate shots of C-3PO and R2-D2. The Threepio shot looks like it's from the laying of the droids' footprints in the cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The cover was dominated by a picture of R2-D2, with an inset of the Throne Room scene and the words "Inside Star Wars" and "Revealing full-length features".

In fact, the features were not all that revealing, and gave the sense of being rewritten from other sources.

A spread titled "Rebels from Star Wars" began: 
“A space world that is as used, dirty and battered as our own is created in the fabulous sci-fi film Star Wars by writer-director George Lucas.He wanted the scene and the props for the film to look real and, of course, real things are used and don’t stay shiny and new for long.”
The piece went on to say that the robots had become the "unintentional stars" of the film. It mentioned that 3'8" tall Kenny Baker was inside R2-D2.(Oddly, the article mentions Baker's role as half of a cabaret duet, the Minitones, but says the other half of it was "brother Jacky", rather than friend Jack Purvis.)

As for his companion: 
“In the shape of C-3PO was another English actor, 32-year-old Anthony Daniels who grew up in Harpenden.
He has appeared at the Young Vic and many other theatres but never disguised as  a machine!”
That's about all the material the writers seemed to be able to generate on Star Wars, so it was on to some other science fiction material that was around in the UK at the time.

Logan's Run on TV

Screen Scene's coverage of Logan's Run 

The TV spin-off from the 1976 film Logan's  Run was broadcast in the US from September 1977 to February 1978, but the sudden boom in science fiction was not enough to save it from cancellation.

At the time Screen Scene came out, it would have been a recent arrival on British TV, and the magazine greeted it enthusiastically:

"The year is 2319 and a Shattering [sic] atomic holocaust has destroyed all communication between survivors on Earth.This super sci-fi series was based on a film of the same name which was a big hit in 1976 with Michael York and Jenny Agutter."

There's some interesting material about the two stars. Heather Menzies had got into films through ballet, featuring in The Sound of Music. Gregory Harrison had been a struggling actor when he was spotted in a play by Jack Lemmon and Jason Robards. ”Jason Robards was so impressed by Greg’s performance that he came backstage to tell him so! Then followed TV and finally the big part as Logan," we were told. But like the series itself, the article could have gone on longer.

The Tomorrow People

Screen Scene's coverage of The Tomorrow People

The Tomorrow People was British commercial television's answer to Doctor Who, although its low production values often made the BBC show look expensive by comparison. It ran from 1973-79  on ITV and was revived in Britain in 1994 and the US in 2013-14.

The show was about to return to the screen at the time of this Screen Scene special: 
"When The Tomorrow People come back on the air in May you are going to see the arrival of a new member to the original crusading threesome," the article began.
Hsui Tai (played by Japanese actress Misako Koba is a Tibetan Goddess who is rescued by John and Mike form a terrible fate!”
The article then went on to outline was sounded like quite a chilling premise:

“Hitler and his henchmen had themselves frozen at the end of the war and in the late 1970s are due to come back to life. People who have had injections to keep them perpetual teenagers protect the frozen bodies.
By using flying bombs the Germans were also able to explode ECOLII bacteria into the air which was absorbed by the intestines of people living at that time. This bacteria affected the genetic pattern creating a pro-Hitler gene.”

The result was that Hitler and his fellow Nazis would be waking to a world full of devoted followers. Quite a disturbing story for afternoon children's television.

Neither the short-lived Logan's Run nor the return of the cheap Tomorrow People was going to replace Star Wars in the affections of its fans. But they both entertained plenty of people and helped sustain an enthusiasm for the genre among young fans. 

Seeing those shows put side by side with Star Wars in a cheap and cheerful magazine helps bring back memories of early 1978, when Star Wars mania was spreading around the world and any SF was eagerly lapped up. 

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