Friday, January 18, 2019

"Terror From the Year 5000" released 1958

Another black & white cinematic masterpiece of horror, Terror From the Year 5000 was released January 18, 1958.  It's more like A Big Annoyance from the Year 5000 but I wasn't asked.  Mike and the bots from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 were also underwhelmed.

A scientist has managed to invent a machine that can capture objects from the future.  Of course, things don't go as planned and a mysterious woman comes through the machine with deadly consequences.

They try to build up suspense but it takes almost an hour into the movie before something exciting actually happens.

Lead actor Ward Costello appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation as Admiral Quinn.  The evil woman shapeshifter was played by Salome Jens, who also starred as a shapeshifter in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

It was released as a double bill with The Screaming Skull, another horror movie classic!  If you enjoy these low-budget C or D movies, you can't miss this one.

When comedy becomes reality

The other day, I watched an episode of Not Necessarily the News, an HBO comedy that poked fun at the government during the 1980s.  I enjoyed this series because of its satire, snarky attitude and political commentary disguised as comedy.  (Also Mitch Laurence was gorgeous!). This episode aired in April 1983 and I was expecting that although still funny, that it had not aged well either.

To my utter surprise, I realized how many things HAVE NOT changed.  Among the skits in this episode:
  1. A celebrity for president, who has trouble pronouncing words and reading teleprompters
  2. A vacuous first lady who though pretty, doesn't have much going on upstairs.
  3. Dioxin Dolly, a character formulated after then EPA Administrator Anne Gorusch who gutted the program in favor of corporate interests
  4. A news flash about Russian missiles heading to the US that turns out to be a false alarm.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.  And it's scary

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Happy birthday, Space Shuttle astronaut Daniel Brandenstein!

Daniel Brandenstein, born January 17, 1943 in Watertown, Wisconsin, is a veteran of four space shuttle flights.  After college, he went in the US Navy and became a naval aviator.

His first flight was on Challenger (STS-8) as pilot in August-September 1983.  One of the mission's objective was to test the use of the Canadarm remote manipulator system to do some testing on the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, which had been launched previously.

He served as commander on his second flight, Discovery (STS-51-G) in June 1985.  It was also the first flight for Shannon Lucid and Sultan Salman Al Saud of the Royal Saudi Air Force.

His third flight was aboard Columbia (STS-32) as commander in January 1990.  This mission deployed and captured satellites during its time in space.

Brandenstein's fourth and last flight was aboard Endeavour (STS-49) as commander in May 1992.  It took three astronauts in EVA to retrieve a communications satellite.

"Gone with the Wind" released 1940

Although Atlanta, New York City and Los Angeles got to see it in December 1939, the rest of the US saw the Civil War era pic Gone With the Wind in theaters January 17, 1940.  It won 8 (or 10, depending upon who you believe) Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming) and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Vivien Leigh.

Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to be nominated for and win an Academy Award, Best Supporting Actress.

Adjusted for inflation, Gone With the Wind is the highest-grossing movie of all time.  It is in the top 100 movies on about 8 different lists by American Film Institute. In 1989, Gone With the Wind was chosen for preservation by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Happy birthday, Space Shuttle astronaut Michael Coats!

Michael Coats, born January 16, 1946 in Sacramento, California, is a veteran of three space shuttle flights. 

His first mission was aboard Discovery (STS-41-B) as pilot in August-September 1984.  The  mission involved deploying three commercial communications satellites.

His second flight was again aboard Discovery (STS-29) as commander in March 1989.  The primary mission was the third and final component of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS).

His third and final flight was aboard, of course, Discovery (STS-38) as commander in April-May 1991.  This payload was for the Department of Defense, so not much info about this flight.

"Star Trek: Voyager" premieres 1995

Star Trek: Voyager, the fourth live-action Star Trek series, premiered January 16, 1995.  In the first episode, Caretaker, the star ship Voyager is thrown 70,000 light-years away into the Delta Quadrant along with a Maqui ship full of rebels, some of whom were in Star Fleet.  They have to join an uneasy alliance to make it back home.

It is the first series to have a female captain, Capt. Kathryn Janeway played by Kate Mulgrew.  Robert Beltran played Starfleet-turned-outlaw-turned-Starfleet Commander Chakotay.  I thought he was the coolest second-in-command of all the series and the most under-appreciated.  Voyager also introduced the first character that I really did not like: Neelix.  He was the most annoying of ALL Star Trek characters.

The rest were pretty awesome people.  Garret Wang (Ensign Kim), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine),  Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna Torres), Robert Duncan McNeill (Lt. Paris), Robert Picardo (the Doctor) and Tim Russ (Lt. Tuvok).

I stopped watching the show after the third season when it became The Janeway/Seven of Nine Show, but I did watch the last season.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Happy birthday, cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin!

Anatoli Ivanishin, born January 15, 1969, is a cosmonaut who has been into space twice. 

His first trip into space was aboard Soyuz TMA-22 to the International Space Station in November 2011.  He participated in Expeditions 29 and 30.  He spent 165 days in space, returning to Earth in April 2012.

His second mission was aboard Soyuz MS-01 to the ISS in July 2016.  He was a part of Expeditions 48 and 49.  He was commander of Expedition 49.  He returned to Earth in October. 

Ivanishin has spent 280 days total in space.