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Tag Archive: Guy Williams


Review by C.J. Bunce

We’ve seen the unique retro artwork of Juan Ortiz before, first in his episode-by-episode feast of posters in 2013 for the original Star Trek series (reviewed here at borg.com) and then in 2015 he attacked Star Trek: The Next Generation (reviewed here).   With Ortiz’s original series posters, they all rang with a similar nostalgia vibe, applying mid-century retro imagery from advertising, movies, cartoons, and TV shows.  Some of his Next Generation posters followed the rules he created with his first series, but they also veered in more symbolic and subtle representations than for his look at the original series.  Juan Ortiz is back with his next homage to episodes of classic TV in the new oversized, hardcover, full-color artbook from Titan Books, Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Art of Juan Ortiz.

Ortiz’s posters for Lost in Space are likely to appeal to fans of his original Star Trek poster art.  This is likely because Ortiz has commented that he watched both the original Star Trek and Lost in Space before taking on his poster project, but much of Next Generation was new material he needed to watch for the first time.  That passion and familiarity with the material follows through in each of his Lost in Space works–each one pulling something from the episode it honors.  And the animated introduction to each episode (that was backed by John (“Johnny”) Williams classic theme) was tailor-made for Ortiz to incorporate those details, like the ship and the spacesuits, into several of his images.  Better yet, you’ll find many images that feature the Robot.

Definitely among Ortiz’s best work, for fans of the series or not. You may want to cut some pages out of the book and frame a few for your wall.  Who knows what is next for Juan Ortiz, but The Twilight Zone had 156 episodes–less than the 178 Next Generation episodes but more than the 83 episodes of Lost in Space, so maybe someone should talk him into giving those a try next?  Especially because each episode was so vastly different, it would seem perfect for Ortiz’s imagination.  Until then, you’ll want to see how the artist interpreted this great classic science fiction series that starred Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, and Jonathan Harris.  Here is a look at four more posters from the book:

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Last night the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films held the 44th annual Saturn Awards, honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genres, held in Burbank, California.  Coming into last night’s presentation, Black Panther was nominated in 14 categories, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was nominated in 13 categories, and Blade Runner 2049 and The Shape of Water were each nominated in nine categories.  In television, The Walking Dead led the nominations with seven, followed by Star Trek: Discovery with five.  You can never predict who and what will win at the Saturn Awards, but you can be sure they will be very fandom-centric picks.

Black Panther led the night with four wins, for Best Comic-to-Motion Picture Release, Best Director (Ryan Coogler), Best Supporting Actress (Danai Gurira), and Best Make-up.  Star Wars: The Last Jedi followed with three wins, for Best Actor (Mark Hamill), Best Writing, and Best Editing.  In television, because of the Awards’ split between traditional TV shows and streaming shows, the expected suspects came out on top: The Flash and Marvel’s The Punisher as best superhero shows, and The Orville and Star Trek: Discovery each winning awards.  But the most wins was a tie, with three awards each for Better Call Saul and Twin Peaks: The Return.

Here are all the winners and nominees:

Movie Awards

Best Comic-to-Motion Picture Release
Winner:  Black Panther
Nominees:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Logan
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder Woman

Best Science Fiction Film Release
Winner:  Blade Runner 2049
Nominees:
Alien: Covenant
Life
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Fantasy Film Release
Winner:  The Shape of Water
Nominees:
Beauty and the Beast
Downsizing
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Kong: Skull Island
Paddington 2

Best Horror Film Release
Winner: Get Out
Nominees:
47 Meters Down
Annabelle: Creation
Better Watch Out
It
Mother!

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lost-in-space-cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

It takes a unique brand of personality to pull together the required components to make a hit television series.  It took a bit of a showman to convince Hollywood in 1965 to produce a science fiction series aimed at kids, and before Star Trek, someone had to lay the groundwork for a series taking place in another world.  That someone was the P.T. Barnum of his day, Irwin Allen.  Classic television researcher Marc Cushman has delved into his favorite show from his youth to deliver a full picture of Allen and the first season of the hit series Lost in Space in his latest work, volume one of Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series.

What do all these TV series have in common?  Lassie, Bonanza, Zorro, The Danny Thomas Show, The Twilight Zone, Leave it to Beaver, The Sound of Music, Psycho, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents/Hour?  An assemblage of hundreds of TV people in front and behind the camera came together to make an unlikely idea into a success.  At nearly 700 pages, Cushman’s book leaves no rock left unturned, interconnecting a Who’s Who of Hollywood.  He investigates oddball directors like Irwin Allen, who built up his office desk so visitors would be left to look up to him and had his own “yes man” who would repeat conversations to him as he discussed business with people, and Sobey Martin, viewed by the cast as a bad director who would fall asleep during filming, yet he was the only one who seemed to be able to get an episode filmed on time.  The production never seemed to get an episode filmed with the allotted budget.

lost-in-space

Just as Cushman revealed in his similarly-formatted, award-winning three volume chronicle of Star Trek (These are the Voyages, reviewed previously here at borg.com) that Lucille Ball was the mastermind producer behind Star Trek, here we see the influence of movie and TV stars Groucho Marx and Red Buttons on Irwin Allen as he pushed forward to create the first season of Lost in Space.   Where the coming new sci-fi series Star Trek would be a “Wagon Train to the stars,” Allen was orchestrating a “Swiss Family Robinson in space” an idea that would encounter its own breed of intellectual property legal issues along the way.

Cushman pulls archival interviews from the late series star Guy Williams (one of the top TV stars in the 1960s as he came off his successful run as Zorro and would portray astronaut John Robinson), everyone’s favorite TV mom June Lockhart (as pioneer female astronaut Maureen Robinson), Western and true crime TV star Mark Goddard (as scientist Don West), new starlet Marta Kristen (as John and Maureen’s eldest daughter Judy Robinson), Angela Cartwright fresh off her breakout role with Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (as Penny Robinson), young Billy Mumy, the versatile child guest star of The Twilight Zone, The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Fugitive, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (as Will Robinson), Bob May (as the guy in the Robot), and the last-minute addition, character actor Jonathan Harris (as the quirky villain Mr. Smith).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

My exposure to the Lone Ranger was via Saturday movie serials featuring Clayton Moore’s portrayal of the masked lawman and his partner Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels.  I watched these with my dad, and he had watched them in the theaters as a kid.  My exposure to Zorro was via Guy Williams’ portrayal in a similar series I watched with my dad.  Williams, of course, later played Will Robinson on Lost in Space.  Moore and Williams looked alike to me, and I’ll admit if you told me George Reeves (who portrayed Superman in the 1950s alongside these other shows) had starred as Zorro or the Lone Ranger I would not have been surprised.  I mention all three together here because they all could be the same forthright hero played by the same lead actor.  So from my view it is a no-brainer that you would hook up the two Old West characters from this period of classic TV.  (I also was familiar with the Antonio Banderas films The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro).

   

The Lone Ranger: The Death Of Zorro Issues #1-5, published last year, was released this week in a trade paperback edition and it’s one you’ll want to check out if you like Westerns, especially the old Lone Ranger and Zorro serials, or if you’re just looking for something different.

This is not a team-up–It is more like The Godfather, Part 2, in its structure with Don Diego/Zorro in the Don Corleone slot and John Reid/The Lone Ranger in the Michael Corleone slot.

A fully realized historical fiction novel is lurking somewhere between the pages of this book, held back only by the required page count for the comic book format.  Expect something much more complex than, say, the current All-Star Western series by DC Comics (which is brilliant in a different way).  Unlike the Jonah Hex story, this is a shoot ’em up only secondarily.  Like Jai Nitz’s work on Dynamite’s Kato Origins series, Ande Parks delves deeper into the characters we only know on the surface.  I have been getting the vibe reading Dynamite Comics titles in the past year that this rich writing of background and relationships is becoming a hallmark of the publisher’s writer choices.  This trade paperback edition features another stellar retro homage to Zorro and The Lone Ranger by cover artist Alex Ross.

Note that this is not a Zorro book as much as a Lone Ranger book, as the Spanish masked hero dies early on, which should be no surprise based on the title.  But his spirit and legacy fuels the actions of the Lone Ranger and the rest of the story.  The audacity of killing off one of the heroes so early was surprising, but in that good way just as Steven Seagal had shared billing in the trailers with Kurt Russell in Executive Decision, yet was eliminated within minutes of the opening credits.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see Parks and artist Esteve Polls branching off on some past Zorro stories down the road.  Polls’s artistic style for this book has a very classic Western look and feel.

Look for themes of honor, loyalty, racism, brutality, corruption, Civil War aftermath, Spanish influences in America, the legacy of Native Americans–all here.  There is plenty woven into this story.  Parks even works in a subplot involving bushwhackers who have a James brothers vibe.  Plenty of strong-willed characters can be found here, and villains who are not just the guys in the black hats but characters with their own rules and motivations, however clouded or deluded as seen through the eye of hindsight from the modern reader.

You need only have a passing interest in the Old West to get sucked in.  Those who wouldn’t think to give the genre a try are missing out on some good storytelling.  Place this story alongside DC Comics’ El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman as a good entry point for new readers (Parks served as inker on El Diablo) as Dynamite currently has several titles featuring The Lone Ranger available.

Ande Parks will be known here to fans of Green Arrow as inker for several years on the DC Comics title, along with artist Phil Hester.  He also has written several works, including Capote In Kansas, Union Station, and The Green Hornet: Blood Ties.

The Lone Ranger: The Death Of Zorro is now available at Amazon here.

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