How's your year shaping up thus far?
I won't go into any particulars, but I, for one, am incredible glad that we've left 2023 behind. It wasn't just one thing -- in fairness to all that befell our household in that ghastly, ghastly year -- but it was the sum total of a lot of small things. What's the saying? Death by a thousand cuts? That's kinda/sorta how last year went for us at the SciFiHistory.Net household. Again, it isn't worth going into in any great measure, but it's safe to say that all of us -- cats included -- were thrilled to leave 2023 in our dust. Better things are in store for 2024. Heck, I even had my first paid advertisement with the blog -- in our tenth year of web-based business -- so that feels like an improvement.
Now, I'm thinking about doing one of my 'Because You Asked' columns soon, and this is because -- ahem -- I keep receiving emails from folks trying to be helpful, encouraging me to spend some time adding extra features to SciFiHistory.Net. As a blogger, I've always been willing to take and consider feedback, but my bottom line -- when it comes to reader requests, in all honesty -- is that a great many folks who come here have very little idea of how long it takes to build something as vast and complex as SciFiHistory.Net (seriously, there's a TON of research in this pages, peeps) and then to maintain it. Naturally, I'd love for the place to grow exponentially overnight, but anyone in this business will tell you that rarely -- if ever -- happens. While I'm all for adding new pages and whatnot, some of the suggestions would ultimately turn this place more into IMDB.com ... and I've just no interest in that whatsoever.
As always, thank you for the suggestion. It's nice to know that you visit this place, and you care about it so much so that you expend a bit of thought about how it might tickle your fancy even a bit more. Still, I just don't have the kind of time some of these suggestions would require, and I'll have to leave it at that.
I've often said that I considered Pal the 'George Lucas' and 'Steven Spielberg' of an earlier generation. Some have taken issue with that characterization, saying that -- technically -- Pal never so much created or wrote anything, certainly not in the same way that Lucas and Spielberg may've crafted some of their original stories; and that's true. My point in making the association, however, was to draw emphasis to the man's prowess is seeing a great Science Fiction or Fantasy story and setting out to present the very best form of it up in the lights the way audiences would be thrilled to experience. In that regard, I think the comparison is valid, and I stand by it.
In the days of my youth, I'd regularly tune in to WGN (out of Chicago) to watch their Family Classics slot over the weekends. Frazier Thomas -- for those of you who remember the name -- would host this line-up; and the catalogue of flicks that made the rotation were a great many titles those of my generation came to know and love. Well, the films of George Pal were staples to Classics, and it was during this time that I was introduced to such epics as Destination Moon (1950), When Worlds Collide (1951), The War Of The Worlds (1953), The Time Machine (1960), and Atlantis: The Lost Continent (1961). Mind you, there are other titles in Pal's library, but it was these seminal pictures that truly introduced me along with countless others to the joys of the realms of the Fantastic ... and, quite frankly, filmdom as a whole owes a debt to the talented director and producer that can never be repaid.
So wherever you may be, Mr. Pal, let me be one of the first and loudest to say 'Happy Birthday!'
Now, of course, there's room for folks to like both of them. In fairness, they do have some storytelling similarities -- being that they were created and aired in similar cultural eras -- but they're vastly different programs in tone. Lost was always more of a monster show, in my mind, never really facing or addressing the complexities of space or Science Fiction but, instead, using them as a construct to weave a very family-friendly adventure. In contrast, Trek tried to deal with issues, painting them with a fairly broad brush against a scale of morality; and it was much more adult in tone. It's great that there's room in entertainment history for there to be shows of both types, but I rarely confuse the two other than to say they were programs I enjoyed in the days of true TV syndication way back when.
And much like Captain Kirk was the central perspective of Trek, young Will Robinson -- as played by actor Bill Mumy -- remained front-and-center in a great deal of the action and intrigue surrounding the entire Robinson family. (I know, I know, I know: there are folks who contend that the show really belonged to either Dr. Smith or the Robot, but I agree to disagree.) Will maintained this wide-eyed innocence, especially about always doing the right thing whenever faced with a conflict, and it was this beating heart that kept alive so much of the program's narrative. While I was a kid, it was downright grand to see these adventures played out through the eyes of a fellow youngster; and Irwin Allen's Lost In Space will always be a bit of sugary perfection for those reasons.
Happy birthday, Mr. Mumy! What a TV pioneer you remain!
Naturally, there's more. There's a lot more. Febuary 1st presently has up an astonishing 82 different trivia citations -- yes, for those of you wondering, I have a few dozen more I'm working to add in my personal archives -- and I dare you to find something in that space that doesn't tickle your brain just the way intended. Head on over to that space and check it out. Goodness awaits your arrival right here ...
As always, thanks for reading ... thanks for sharing ... thanks for being a fan ... and live long and prosper!