Monday, September 17, 2012

Return to the Planet of the Jmo's

Since this is SciFi month, what better way to tell how Science Fiction warped my mind than by telling you about my first love in the genre? No, not Star Wars, though that is a good first guess. My love affair with Sci Fi started way before that May of 1977. It started with a Charlton Heston movie about some damn dirty apes. Yep, Planet of the Apes kick started my fascination with futures where apes talked, and spaceships could fly beyond time and space.

Way back then, I didn't consider all the social and political ramifications of Planet of the Apes. I just thought it was super cool that monkeys could talk. I didn't even like Charlton Heston. I was all about the apes. I can remember being six or seven and not wanting to eat all the food on my plate. It was liver or something similarly icky, not that it matters much to the flow of this flashback, but I can remember my dad saying that if I didn't eat all my supper, I wouldn't grow up to be a talking ape. Well, let me tell you that I ate every bite and developed a taste for icky food like you wouldn't believe. Years later I read the novel the movie was based on and felt kind of let down that it was nothing like the movie. Sure there were apes that talked but the similarities ended there.

That didn't stop me from eagerly devouring the sequels when they came on the movie of the week. For those of you born after the advent of VHS and DVD, to watch movies we had to either go see them at the theater or wait for one of the networks to broadcast edited and commercial filled versions of the movies we wanted to see. Sometimes it would take years!!! That within a year of seeing a movie in the theater we can sit in our own homes and enjoy our favorite films is a bit of Science Fiction that astounds me.

Way before Star Wars, I sat on my bedroom floor playing with my Mego PotA action figures and created worlds and stories that would later lay the foundation for my writing career. I can remember having gorilla apes chasing my Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk action figures across the universe with Spiderman thrown in just to make things interesting. If I could go back to those carefree days I would in a minute!

Planet of the Apes sparked my love of Sci Fi, but other movies came along to help fuel my addiction. Logan's Run fascinated me. Michael York's dash to freedom from a society that considered 30 old, well to my young mind 30 was old, seemed so weird. So out there. I ate it up. Of course what would a Sci Fi blog be without mentioning Flash Gordon. Oh man! That movie was so deliciously weird, I couldn't help but sing the Queen soundtrack everywhere I went. David Lynche's Dune to me is the standard all bizarre movie adaption of a book should be. Spice! Let's not forget Blade Runner in this mix or Alien. Good stuff!

My love affair didn't stop with movies. No, television had me all wrapped up and geeky. I rushed home from school to catch Star Trek when it came on at four o'clock. The Six Million Dollar Man must fit in here somewhere, because it had me running in slow motion in excess of 100 MPH. It seemed that in the late 70's and early 80's Sci Fi was everywhere. Gil Gerald in Buck Rodgers. The king daddy of them all Battlestar Galactica had me wanting to be Starbuck with a burning passion that overruled common sense. By now, my action figure collection had grown to outlandish proportions. Then! PBS started showing this cheesy little show that totally hooked me! You might know it. Doctor Who? If you don't, I'd advise you to crawl out from under that rock.

See, I've gone half a blog with barely mentioning a certain George Lucas franchise, but you knew it was coming. Planet of the Apes kick started my addiction, but the first time I was an Imperial Star Destroyer looming over a Rebel Blockage Runner, I was totally and forever lost! Most kids wanted to be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker, but not me. No, I wanted that black armor and flowing cape. Well, I did until Boba Fett showed up in The Empire Strikes Back. A bounty hunter's life is what I wanted. Yeah, I tend to give in to my dark side a lot.

I guess all this ramble is me trying to say that I LOVE SCIENCE FICTION! I want nothing more than to live in a world where unimaginable wonders are possible. The only limitations holding us back are the ones we set in place. Why should we settle for what we have, when the future is ours to shape? Who doesn't want a world free of disease, hate and violence? Sure it might be boring, but after all the human race has put itself through, don't we as a people deserve a little boring.

Y'all can draw your own conclusions on this. Me? I'm going to sit in my room and play Star Wars meets Planet of the Apes meets Battlestar Galactica with my circa 1976 giant Steve Austin action figure looming over them all going…. naaaaa….na….naaaaaa….naa….naaaaaaaaaaa.

And, that's all folks!


  1. You give obsession class, my friend!

  2. I had a bit of a crush on Steve Austin... and you know what? I had the action figure. With the fake skin on the arm so you could roll it back and see his bionics. :-) Forget Ken... my Barbie went out with Steve. :-) I still remember watching the Bionic Woman rip a phone book in half to impress a classroom of kids.

    You've pretty much listed all my favs. All the movies I watched growing up. We used to have this show on at 4:00 each day called The Great Money Movie. Each week was a theme. I loved when it was Planet of the Apes week. Each day the next film. :-)

    I think you and I would have had some great late night moviefests if we'd known each other then. :-)

  3. You know it. I still forgot a few. The really corny cheesy ones. The big one that slipped my mind was Escape from New York. Go Snake!

    1. Enemy Mine... loved that one.

      The Last Starfighter! Loved that one.

    2. We could go on all night. Krull.

  4. Great post you mentioned many of my favs! And yes, I too remember the days of waiting for favorite movies to be played on network TV.