Welcome back, friends. To a new installment for Retro Records featuring 1975’s Star Trek: The Logistics of Stampede. Another one of those fantastic Power Records offerings – which of course allowed all manner of famous writers to tell abridged tales. Case in point with The Logistics of Stampede which so happens to have been penned by Alan Dean Foster.
Foster is pretty well known for writing numerous novelizations for films. Alien, Star Wars, Alien Nation, The Thing, Star Trek and many more. As well as his own standalone novels like Cat-a-lyst, Cyberway, and Slipt to name a few.
Power Records was of course a spinoff label so to speak of Peter Pan Records. One that was geared towards an older audience. Moreover this is why we saw Power Records book and records fare featuring Kojak, Planet of the Apes and Star Trek.
Which brings us to this offering for Retro Records. The Logistics of Stampede finds Kirk, Bones, and Spock beaming down to Ribol II. An agricultural planet that is in fact facing destruction of their precious crops by Dranzers. A cow-like beast that every six years becomes overpopulated and then stampedes across the plains. Destroying seventy to ninety percent of the grain crops!
Can our trio of heroes come up with a solution to halt the Dranzers? Can they protect the grain on Ribol II – which in addition helps to feed other planets in the Federation? Let’s find out as we listen to The Logistics of Stampede on Retro Records!
Having listened to The Logistics of Stampede perhaps you now need more Star Trek goodness?
Well, in this case how about the great and late Leonard Nimoy’s cover of Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town? Which might be better known from Kenny Roger’s take back in 1969 – written by Mel Tillis of all people.
Hello, soundtrack enthusiasts. I’ve been toiling away on a special feature that I’ll be rolling out in small chunks in future editions of this column, only to discover that it wouldn’t be needed this week by a long shot. Why? Because there is a heap of new music to talk about this week. Ears open!
Intrada has released an unexpected gem, the complete remastered Kenyon Hopkins score from 1961’s The Hustler, which starred Paul Newman and George C. Scott. An unlikely collision of mid-20th-century jazz and orchestral drama, The Hustler was released on LP at the time of the movie’s release, and while this CD duplicates the original LP track order, it also adds enough material from the restored original session recordings to double the album’s length.
Intrada promises this title will be around “while quantities and interest remain”…which is a gentle way of saying it’ll be around until the typical specialty soundtrack print run of 3,000 copies sells out. (Why 3,000? It’s a number that the American Federation of Musicians, a union representing Hollywood session players, arrived at in negotiations with the Film Score Monthly label in the 1990s, and has since become the industry standard for the soundtrack specialty labels.)
From Kritzerland Records this week comes a very limited edition – only 1,000 copies worldwide – release of the score from 1957’s Monster from Green Hell, composed by B-movie maestro extraordinaire Albert “big blasts o’ brass” Glasser (Last Of The Wild Horses, Invasion U.S.A., The Cisco Kid, The Beginning Of The End, The Amazing Colossal Man, War Of The Colossal Beast…well, basically every third movie that ever showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, okay?). Kritzerland brought the score up to modern digital specs from Glasser’s original session tapes, and they’re taking orders now with the CD due to ship by the end of March, if not sooner.
Varese Sarabande has dropped three very limited editions – each limited to 1,000 copies – all from current and upcoming films. The standout in this batch would seem to be Before I Wake, with a score from the Newton Brothers and Danny Elfman; also released are Laurent Eyquem‘s USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage and the soundtrack from Bitter Harvest, scored by Benjamin Wallfisch. None of these titles are, strictly speaking, “retro”, but with the low production numbers, like it or not, they’re tomorrow’s rarities. (Welcome to the soundtrack collector’s eternal game of Russian roulette: there’s no guarantee that all 1,000 copies will disappear either, though if even one of these titles sold out, I’d put my money on the one with Danny Elfman’s name on the cover.)
Going out of print at the end of this month at Intrada is Observations, a CD featuring an original composition by Arthur B. Rubenstein (Blue Thunder, WarGames), composed for a 2009 Griffith Park Observatory presentation. Rubenstein also conducts a selection of other astronomically-themed classical pieces from that show, but the highlight is “Observations”, presented both in instrumental form and, as it was heard by the planetarium audience, with narration by the late, great Leonard Nimoy. Perhaps not necessarily a film soundtrack, but somewhere at the intersection of Nimoy and Rubenstein (whose WarGames score is an all-time favorite of this writer) is one good reason, if not two of them, to pick this up before it goes out of print.
Now, that feature that somehow managed not to start this week? Here’s a little taster: a little green friend of mine once urged me to pass on what I have learned. So, beginning with March’s Retroist Scoreboard columns, I’ll start including, piece by piece, a glossary of terms that any budding soundtrack collector will need if they’re planning on staying aboard for this hobby. They’ll be terms that I’ll probably use quite a bit going forward, so there’s a good reason for such a glossary to exist, and I’ve put quite a bit of work into it. Stick around, you might learn a thing or two.
But that starts in March. Next week, we’re going to talk about why my inner Trekkie is awash in music he never thought he’d get his hands on. Beam back here this time next week.
When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at the LogBook.com, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. You can catch him lining up carefully curated excerpts from TV, movie and game scores most months on the Log Book’s soundtrack mixtape podcast, In The Grand Theme Of Things.
Friends, you know what today is right? It is October 1st! That time of the year that we here at The Retroist do our best to embrace the Season. Like with The Halloween Tree illustration you see below by Glen Brogan, inspired by the 1972 Ray Bradbury story.
The month of October has always meant a great deal to me – my absolute favorite time of the year. It signals the arrival of Bradbury’s Autumn People. Which is why on The Retroist our posts for this month turn to things eerie and spooky. Also sharing though our memories of the fun of the past that so often return during this Season.
Image courtesy of Glen Brogan and Strange Kids Club,
Why start your first post of October with The Halloween Tree?
I chose that particular subject because the story itself sums up some of my feelings of the season the best. “The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”
Why not take a moment to listen to Ray Bradbury himself discuss on how he came up with the idea for The Halloween Tree. The novel as well as the 1993 animated film by Mario Pilusio and featuring the voice of the late great Leonard Nimoy!
Today across all manner of media you will be able to take part in the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek! It was fifty years ago today that NBC began airing Star Trek – a series that would run until June 3, 1969 for a total of 79 episode but thanks to syndication found itself earning renewed interest with new generations.
Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a “Wagon Train to the Stars” may not have ever become a Nielsen rating’s darling but it did manage to leave I think a very lasting and worthy legacy.
One that has helped influence our now everyday technology but continues to inspire countless people and helped to forge a franchise that has spawned six television series and thirteen feature films!
The Original Players
One of the reasons the original series has endured this long is of course thanks to the casting of its three main leads. While not the chosen Captain for the 1964 pilot The Cage, that honor going to Jeffrey Hunter (The Searchers) as Capt. Christopher Pike – I believe it’s safe to say that William Shatner certainly made the role of Capt. James Tiberius Kirk his own.
Leonard Nimoy as Spock along with Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) were the only two cast member who found themselves carried over from the pilot to the first sixteen episodes that NBC ordered for the 1966 and 1967 season. While much like Shatner – Nimoy crafted an iconic character with Mr. Spock and became probably the fan favorite member of the starship Enterprise.
For what little it might be worth I was in fact not a big fan of Spock in my youth, no, I have always been an emotional person so one of my favorite Star Trek characters early on was the sometimes overlooked Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy played to perfection by DeForest Kelley.
The coolly logical intellect and matter-of-fact demeanor of Mr. Spock would often hilariously rub Dr. McCoy the wrong way and cause the space faring country Doctor to rant about how inhuman his fellow crew member behaved. But the genius of the writing in the original Star Trek is the showrunners made sure to show how much these three people cared for one another and the rest of their crew.
Of course it wasn’t just Nimoy, Kelley, and Shatner that kept the Enterprise flying and the series popular – not by a long shot as we were lucky enough to have the likes of James Doohan as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott…who was and still is hands down my favorite character.
Walter Koenig as Ensign Pavel Chekov who was also seen in that clip was brought in during the second season to help connect with younger Star Trek fans…and the fact he bore a more than passing resemblance to The Monkees’ teen heartthrob Davy Jones.
Then there was the beautiful Nichelle Nichols as communications officer, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, an amazing and historic non-stereotypical role for the actress – a character that she almost stopped portraying until a chance encounter with Martin Luther King Jr. changed her mind.
It was during the 70s and 80s while acting as a recruiter for new candidates for the NASA astronaut program that Nichols learned just how very much of an inspiration her role in Star Trek truly was.
Rounding out the original cast of regulars is the incredible George Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, the skilled helmsman that managed to get the Enterprise out of almost as many jams as Mr. Scott has worked miracles in engineering.
Another non-sterotypical role which is just part of why I believe Roddenberry’s vision of a future where mankind can put aside it’s differences to make themselves better and reach the stars is still so very important today.
The Legacy and Importance of Star Trek
Hey, I absolutely love Star Wars and I will reluctantly admit there was a time when I thought I could only really be a loyal fan of one franchise…thankfully I wisened up. But how about we get the importance of Star Trek and it’s legacy straight from DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, and even Harlan Ellison on this 1976 episode of Tomorrow with Tom Synder?