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Tag Archive: Gates McFadden


labyrinth-the-ultimate-visual-history

Fans of Jim Henson are always waiting for the next pebble of gold about the beloved creator of the Muppets and other fantastical creations on the big and small screen. Whether via a retrospective image or a story from someone who worked with him, it’s as if we need to make up for the time stolen from us by his untimely death by seeking out every snippet of his life we can find.  The latest treasure chest of Henson memorabilia is Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann’s beautiful hardcover, 30th anniversary celebration Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History, published by Insight Editions.  Labyrinth, the 1986 fantasy classic that starred rock star David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly decades before she’d be awarded an Oscar, is in a small class of cult classic fantasies that came out of the 1980s that included The Princess Bride, Willow, and Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. 

Like so many of those “vault” books published for big genre franchises, Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History is not simply a book of high quality photographs of behind-the-scenes views of the cast, creatures, and crew and images of concept art, it’s all that plus more. Like more than 20 inserts reproducing treasures from the Henson Archives, including a pull-out of the full-color, theatrical one-sheet movie poster created for the film by Ted CoConis.  You’ll find classic style tipped-in concept art, draft script pages, and memos from Henson, with many items showing his hand-written notes.  

bowie-connelly

I streamed the digital edition of Labyrinth (available here) to re-familiarize myself with the film before reading this new work, and was pleased to see every human character, every creature (all those goblins!), every scene, and every magical effect discussed in detail in this volume.  Three key images came to mind from viewing the film years ago: Bowie walking the M.C. Escher room in the show’s climax with a crazy upward, almost Michael Jackson-inspired move (turns out a stuntman worked the scene), Bowie’s flawless contact juggling of crystal balls (we learnit was a professional juggler’s arm actually doing the trick), and the masked ball (a pre-Star Trek Gates McFadden helped coordinate the scene).  Each of the scenes and production steps are described through contemporary or recent interviews with Jim Henson, Brian Henson and his siblings, Brian Froud (whose incredible concept art is sprinkled through the book and incorporated into its layout design), Toby (the striped baby) Froud, creature makers and players Kevin Clash and Dave Goelz, executive producer George Lucas, and actors Connelly and Bowie, among many others.

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Trektacular 2014

Planet Comicon 2014 wrapped today, bringing to close the region’s biggest and best comic book and pop culture convention ever.  The best was saved for last with the TREKtacular reunion of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members hosted by William Shatner, including a surprise visit by John deLancie.  Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner did not disappoint a sold out crowd in the giant ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.  For those attending this once-in-a-lifetime event that did not purchase one of the 100 limited edition exclusive artist signed TREKtacular prints, a few may still be available.  Contact Reinke Arts on Facebook for more information.

Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis

We talked with Michael Dorn about his real-life jet fighter flying experience and Marina Sirtis said she loved today’s borg.com editor’s cosplay choice (so did Return of the Jedi’s Femi Taylor!).

Lee Majors panel

Lee Majors was a superb storyteller, catching up panel attendees on his recent TV series work, and delving into his stunt work on The Fall Guy (where he performed 80% of his stunts) and The Big Valley. He also discussed the success and appeal of The Six Million Dollar Man to fans.

Bionic Man action figure

We resurrected last year’s Convention costume of The Six Million Dollar Man action figure, which we wore meeting The Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, at Planet Comicon 2013, complete with jumpsuit, patch, plastic hair, data chip arm tattoo, bionic eye, and trademark Adidas Dragons.

Meeting Lee Majors

A kid’s fantasy come true–meeting your childhood hero, Lee Majors, who called me his “double” and said he thought the outfit and plastic hair was cool.  He also autographed the photo that was sent out to kids in the original fan club set in 1974, signed then by “Col. Steve Austin.”

With Zoie Palmer at Planet Comicon 2014

With Zoie Palmer from the Toronto-based TV series Lost Girl, the great Syfy Channel series we have reviewed previously here at borg.com.

With Margot Kidder at Planet Comicon 2014

With Margot Kidder, Lois Lane from the 1970s Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve.

Aquaman and Mera

Aquaman and Mera, Queen of Atlantis.

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Choose Wisely

Planet Comicon 2014 got off to a great start Friday, with vendors filling the venue at Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, and many celebrities appearing on the first day.  Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who, The Hobbit), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl), and Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13) all were greeting fans with plenty of opportunities for everyone to get photos and autographs.

In my day one garb as the knight who guarded the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I and Elizabeth C. Bunce had a great time catching up with friends and having some fun with the celebrities from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher on the Enterprise-D, was a great sport, jumping right in to try to get me to drink from the wrong grail.

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“Choosing poorly”, but also good sports, were Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander Will Riker…

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… and a surprise, unannounced guest at the Con, John de Lancie, who played Q on the series, also “chose poorly,” but got it right on the second try.  Happily for all, we were using a prop grail and not dabbling in any face-withering magical elements.

Gene Flaharty

The first professional make-up artist workshop at Planet Comicon was held Friday afternoon, sponsored by borg.com, and dozens of attendees learned several pointers about how Hollywood applies prosthetics, and how to make life masks, negative casts, and how to use–and not use–latex, make-up and other materials for optimal cosplay creations.  Speaker Gene Flaharty drew several questions from the crowd and everyone had a great time learning more about this exciting art form.

Come back for more from Planet Comicon all weekend.  Or better yet, come on out and experience it in person!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Next Gen cast photo from Insurrection

Planet Comicon, the Midwest’s premiere pop culture and comic book convention, will host a 20-year reunion of members of the bridge crew of the Enterprise-D at The Star Trek: The Next Generation Reunion March 14-16, 2014 at the Kansas City Convention Center.  Commemorating 20 years since the seven-year series wrapped in May 1994, it will be a unique opportunity for the public to meet seven of the most beloved actors in sci-fi history, and they will all appear on stage together for an exclusive interactive cast panel Sunday, March 16.  It is the first time so many cast members will have appeared at one venue in the Kansas City area.  Three days of meeting fans, photo ops and signing autographs also presents the opportunity for the most access ever at one Con to all of these Star Trek icons.

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