Site Designed by Brandon Hunsinger

A Playpen of Publications

We started with a monthly magazine covering the 14 network soap operas, mostly produced in New York – TV dramas that captivated a Monday-thru-Friday audience of millions. Yet, there was no quality magazine that did real interviews and behind-the-scenes articles on this field. DAILY TV SERIALS included slick paper (not just newsprint) and color photos, and because we approached the field with respect and fascination, we were welcomed at all the shows.

Our magazine was an instant hit, and we soon added DAILY TV NEWSLETTER, mailed First Class to subscribers each week, for all those who could not wait for news of their favorite stories in a monthly publication. We sold photos of soap stars, T-shirts and other mail-order merchandise, and we crusaded to bring attention to a field that had long been brushed aside, not taken seriously. We became a force that helped to launch the Daytime Emmy Awards – first staged outdoors at Rockefeller Center Plaza and covered exclusively by DAILY TV SERIALS.

In those days, soap operas were gaining a growing audience and serious appreciation, and Barbara Walters devoted an entire week to the phenomenon on her “Not for Women Only” TV show. I was invited, along with Agnes Nixon (creator of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live”) to be a guest for the entire week, and though I was not an expert on story lines (unable to watch the shows, too busy building a business), I had come to appreciate the talent and dedication required to produce these captivating daily dramas. I was thrilled to add my two-cents to Barbara’s salute to soaps -- while promoting our publications.

After 4 years of success with soap opera activities, we could afford to launch a publication that would celebrate a realm I knew much better, a universe dear to my soul – the future, space exploration, other worlds, science fiction. America’s Bicentennial was also the Big Bang of STARLOG magazine.

Our distributor warned us there was no newsstand market for a glossy science fiction monthly. “You found an audience in need with DAILY TV SERIALS. There is no such audience for science fiction. STAR TREK is off the air. Sci-Fi is dead.”

We started publishing STARLOG quarterly. But the premiere issue sold better than anyone expected, and we quickly went bi-monthly. By the time STAR WARS created a science fiction explosion on the cover of TIME and STARLOG (issue #7), we were monthly, and from that moment on, we were the voice of science fiction, for fans and professionals – before the Internet connected kindred spirits, and answered all our curiosities.

I was dedicated to bringing the same kind of professional respect and artistic appreciation to the world of science fiction that we had encouraged in the world of soaps. Both fields demand impressive and admirable work, but it is generally brushed aside and not taken seriously – just like comic books, horror movies, and even space exploration – all considered childish “kid stuff” that should be left behind as we mature.

Science fiction was blossoming, and we were deluged with enthusiastic reactions from readers. There was an audience for SF, and we decided STARLOG should be exclusively science fiction, not mixed with horror and fantasy and comic book superheroes. So, during the next few years, as our reputation for “doing it right” spread among fans (who seemed to be coming out of “nerd closets” by the thousands), we launched a family of genre publications, targeting all those serious about the unusual, the fascinating, the inspiring.

First, there was FANGORIA, a magazine that was not possible until red printers ink was invented – lol! I received “hate mail” from mothers and teachers who condemned me personally for corrupting the youth of America with such a bloody publication, whose only purpose was “to make a profit.” FANGORIA became our most evil, and successful, child, and it is the only one of two-dozen titles Norm and I created, still being published today.

CINEMAGIC was our magazine for young filmmakers, teaching them backyard techniques of production and special effects, providing contacts and information, encouraging future filmmakers with our annual CINEMAGIC Short Film Search (co-sponsored by the NYC School of Visual Arts). Each year we rented a theatre in Manhattan, invited the public and a celebrity presenter to hand trophies to the winners. CINEMAGIC was the magazine I needed when I was an 8mm filmmaker in high school.

FUTURE LIFE was science fact – celebrating achievements in space, laboratories, the arts and all areas of Human exploration.

COMICS SCENE was our celebration of the bizarre and amazing superheroes that inspire us, and the bizarre and amazing creators who bring our caped heroes to life.

GOREZONE was the Eli Roth of our horror magazines – more uncensored, blatant, gritty and tortured.

Norm and I built a playpen of publications that included a series of glossy Photo Guidebooks: SPACE ART, ALIENS, OTHER WORLDS, ROBOTS, SPACESHIPS, SPECIAL EFFECTS, FANTASTIC 3-D, ROLLER COASTER FEVER, and THE BOY WHO SAVED THE STARS, a children’s book illustrated by Boris Vallejo, written by his wife Doris -- plus trade paperbacks, posters and space art prints.

(Photo Guidebooks and publication covers)

We were building a happy little empire, and I was having more fun than ought to be legal.

 

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