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by Gideon Marcus

and


by Lorelei Marcus

Reading a recent Radio Television Daily, I see that Rod Serling is once again up for an award. I'm not surprised. While his latest achievement, The Twilight Zone has flagged a bit in quality this season, it has still been (for the most part) worthy TV. In fact, the last four episodes do a lot toward watering the "vast wasteland" that has chagrined our new FCC Chairman of late. Check these out:

ONE MORE PALLBEARER, by Rod Serling



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Gideon Marcus

Our effort at the Journey to curate every scrap of science fiction as it is released, in print and on film, leaves us little time for rest. Even in the normally sleepy month of December (unless you're battling Christmas shopping crowds, of course), this column's staff is hard at work, either consuming or writing about said consumption.

I try to write my annual Galactic Stars article as close to the end of the year as possible. Otherwise, I might miss a great story or movie that had the misfortune to come out in December.

Fortunately for that report, but unfortunately for us, neither of the films in the double feature we watched last weekend had any chance of winning a Galactic Star.

Both of them were low budget American International Pictures films. This is the studio best known for making B-movie schlock for the smaller Drive-Ins. However, they also brought us the surprisingly good Master of the World as well as the atmospheric Corman/Poe movies. So I'm not inclined to just write them off. This time, however, we should have.






(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Gideon Marcus

I feel badly, I really do. Earlier this year, I was given an award by Rod Serling's people. It's an honor I treasure tremendously. After all, Mr. Serling has given us some of the greatest television since the medium was invented.

But now the wheels are coming off The Twilight Zone, and I can't help but be candid about it. This half hour show that used to be the highlight of Fridays is now something of a chore, an event I might well skip if I hadn't committed to covering it in its entirety.



Serling himself confessed last Spring, "I've never felt quite so drained of ideas as I do at this moment. Stories used to bubble out of me so fast I couldn't set them down on paper quick enough – but in the last two years I've written forty-seven of the sixy-eight Twilight Zone scripts, and I've done thirteen of the first twenty-six for the next season. I've written so much I'm woozy. It's just more than you really should do. You can't retain quality. You start borrowing from yourself, making your own cliches. I notice that more and more."



The fact is, of this latest batch of four episodes, none of them are particularly worth watching.
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Now here's a special treat. Not long ago, the Junior Traveler began contributing as a co-author. This time around, she has decided to take center stage. My little girl is all growed up! Excuse me. I have something in my eye...


by Lorelei Marcus

Recently, me and my family thought we should take a break from time traveling (in fiction and movies) and do some real traveling! We decided to go to Japan! I was sad because we weren't going to be able to watch any Twilight Zone or new movies. Luckily, we were treated to a new Japanese movie called Mothra. Me and my father had the luxury to see it in theaters, in Japan! It was a very similar (but intriguingly different) experience to an American movie in various ways.



Mothra, similar to many of the American movies we've watched, is a monster movie – in this case, about a giant moth that attacks Tokyo. I noticed monster movies often start out the same, something or someone dear to the monster is taken from them to a big city, and the monster comes back to rescue it, destroying said city in the process. It happened in ; this movie did not break the mold.



(see the rest at
Galactic Journey!)
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by Gideon Marcus

and


by Lorelei Marcus

The house that Rod built was showing signs of decay, but, as happened last season, The Twilight Zone has gotten a little better a few episodes in. It's not perfect, mind you, but I'm still tuning in on Friday. In fact, Serling's show, Andy Griffith, and Route 66 are my strongest bulwark against the "vast wasteland" lying behind the screen of the one-eyed monster (sadly, Route 66 wasn't on this week, more's the pity).

Anyway, submitted for your approval are the next four episodes of the Third Season (descriptions followed by commentary by the Traveler and then the Young Traveler):



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Gideon Marcus


"Wake me when it's over, willya?"

In this month's Fantasy and Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov describes the dread he felt when his children suggested they all go see a "science fiction" film. The kids thought the mention of that term would sway him positively, seeing how sf is Asimov's bread and butter. Asimov knew better, though. Sci-fi films generally aren't very good, replete with scientific-sounding mumbo jumbo, giant monsters, and nonsensical plots.

Of course, in service to my readers, I make sure to see them all. Every so often, a gem slips through. Witness The Time Machine and The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. They may not be scientifically rigorous, but they are worth watching.

Galactic Journey's latest cinematic outing, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, is neither scientifically rigorous nor worth watching.


(Actual voyages to the bottom of the sea not included)

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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When Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone debuted in October 1959, it was a fresh breeze across "the vast wasteland" of television. Superior writing, brilliant cinematography, fine scoring, and, of course, consistently good acting earned its creator a deserved Emmy last year.

The show's sophomore season had a high expectation to meet, and it didn't quite. That said, it was still head and shoulders above its competitors (Roald Dahl's Way Out, Boris Karloff's Thriller, etc.) The last two episodes of this year's batch were par for the course: decent, but not outstanding:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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Nelson Minow, the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, offered the following challenge to the National Association of Broadcasters earlier this month (May 9, 1961).

"I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland...

...When television is good, nothing -- not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers -- nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse."

He is, of course, stating the obvious. If you park yourself in front of the idiot box all day, your mind will be turned to mush by the soap operas, game shows, inferior anthologies, and the endless commercials (sometimes as many as ten 30-second spots per hour!). But, for the more discriminating, there are about six hours of good TV on any given week. If you like Westerns (and you'd better!), there's Rawhide and Maverick, though the latter is much reduced in watchability since James Garner left the cast. You've got Route 66. Andy Griffith has got a fun show. Dobie Gillis is still amusing on occasion.

And then you've got Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. I'm shed much ink over the fact that this second season hasn't been as good as the first. The last three episodes, however, comprise a solid streak of goodness that I think you'll enjoy if you catch them during the summer reruns (and, as is now tradition, you'll get a one-two review punch with both me and the Young Traveler reporting our thoughts):

(see them at Galactic Journey!)
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Just a generation ago, King Kong introduced us to the spectacle of an oversized monster wrecking a modern metropolis. The Japanese have taken this torch and run with it, giving us first Godzilla, and its rather inferior sequel, Godzilla Raids Again. Not to be outdone, the British have unleashed a giant lizard on their own capital.



As my regular readers know (and I'm pleased to see that this number has grown since I began this endeavor just two-and-a-half years ago), my daughter and I are avid movie-goers. I daresay we've watched every science fiction and fantasy flick that has mounted reel in our town since 1959. That means we see a lot of dreck, but even the worst films often have something to recommend them, even if it is only their own awfulness. And, there are the occasional indisputably great shows.

Gorgo is not among them, but then it never claims to be. It delivers exactly what it promises: the gleeful destruction of London.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

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