Where This Meets That
An Old Hero
The Six Million Dollar Man’s Steve Austin might have been my first hero as a boy.
I had his action figure, and I can still remember rolling up that fake skin sleeve on his arm to find a hidden plate of circuits and looking through a hole in the back of his head to see out of his “bionic” eye.
I had his toy rocket ship and repair station, with its cool, glow-in-the-dark X-ray pictures.
I also had the corresponding Bigfoot action figure, with the pop-off chest. Now, if Steve Austin was my hero, then Bigfoot wasn’t far behind, so when I first saw Bigfoot on my bionic hero’s show, my fanaticism only grew.
The memories are deep. Once, when I was probably only three or four years old (armed with my own toy bionic arm band), I dashed away from my mother out the back door of a store where we were shopping and into the rear parking lot just as a big rig delivery truck roared by. My distressed mother thought I’d been run over, until the truck passed, and she saw me standing on the other side. “It’s okay, Mom,” I said, “I had my bionic arm on!”
I was nervous before the first time I ever had to get “goofy gas” at the dentist, and my sister explained the procedure to me in terms I could relate to. She said the dentist would be putting a mask over my face that was just like the one Steve Austin breathed through as a pilot. Enough said.
To this day, my mom says one of the most special gifts I ever gave her was when I cut out The Six Million Dollar Man‘s picture and logo from my action figure’s packaging and gave it to her for Mothers Day. It remains today in one of her photo albums.
So, what brings this up now?
An Old Discovery
I recently helped my sister clean out her storage shed and came across a sizable collection of old Starlog magazines. Starlog was a science-fiction magazine that began publication in 1976. It began with a focus on the Star Trek craze but quickly expanded to cover other sci-fi movies and TV shows.
The result today is a neat wave of nostalgia. I haven’t yet had the time to go through every issue, but the ones I have reveal a trove of the “good old days” of my childhood. There are previews and reviews of the original Star Wars films, ongoing overage of old-school Trekkie conventions and even hype about a rumored Star Trek movie! The magazines have taken me back in time with articles about Steven Spielberg’s blossoming skills as a young filmmaker and old TV shows like Space: 1999 and, yes, The Six Million Dollar Man. And then, what good is any old magazine without its dated advertisements?
In short, these magazines were a great find! Here is a selection of scans from the eight issues I’ve looked through so far.
First, a few covers.
Then there’s the indepth reporting of subjects like my bionic hero.
Of course, back then, they could little imagine that our solar system’s planet count would actually go backwards three decades later.
How about letters to the editor like this one? Everything was so complicated before Google.
And the advertising. Do you remember when everyone just had to have their own Warrior’s Battlejacket? Yeah, me neither.
Remember this album cover from these guys?
And check out this young fella!
It was evident pretty early on that Spielberg had chops.
But not even Spielberg garnered the kind of devotion from his fans that Captain James T. Kirk did. But hey, it’s not like Shatner was a cult leader or anything like that.
Then again . . .
Ahhhh, Space: 1999, with its shape-shifting women and staple-gun phasers. Classic stuff. I always thought the main ship looked awesome, as a kid.
The magazine offers some pretty cool “backstage” photos, as well. Here’s my Bionic Woman with her BFF (Bigfoot friend). Did you know that this here Bigfoot was wrestler André the Giant’s first acting gig in the U.S..? Well, now you do.
Wouldn’t this have been an interesting twist on the War of the Worlds? What if the aliens had come here only to find that we were giants who could throttle their ships like you always wanted to do to those obnoxious geese who snap at you down by your local lake? Oh, perhaps I’ve said too much.
And last but not least, a little Star Wars humor.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as I have.