Starburst Memories: Objects of Desire (Part One)

This week’s guest publication has been provided by Dom. Its a copy of FAMOUS MONSTERS (number 160) published January 1980.

Despite its title and its history of featuring monsters from the movies, the feature of the cover is METEOR, the science fiction disaster movie starring Sean Connery, which I haven’t seen but I read the tie-in novel one damp, school holiday while camping in Morecambe. Inside the magazine includes prescient stills of the titular rock striking the World Trade Centre.

The main picture article is ‘Tyrannosaurus Wrecks: The King of the dinosaurs in real life and reel life’ (see what they did there?) supported by stills from THE LOST WORLD (1925) and more hilarious puns about ‘ty-Ray-nosaurs’ Harryhausen and his contribution to the myth of the dinosaur with ONE MILLION YEAR BC (1966) and VALLEY OF THE GWANGI (1968).

By far the most interesting aspect of the magazine is the adverts. I have been pouring my eyes over them for hours and there is enough material in them to fill a month of STARBURST MEMORIES. They reflect a simpler time when we were not programmed consumer-bots that we are now. Adverts this magazine are supported by the most overly written guff imaginable, yet a few years later, a slashed piece of purple material would sell fags. .

There’s an advert for Star Wars action figures ‘For Action Packed Adventures’ that comes with some brilliant descriptions: “Darth Vader – the Dark lord of space in all his evil glory”, “Sand People – They exist on the fringes of Empire as a scavenger race and are not registered on any imperial census. Have Gaderfi stick (!)” and my favourite “See Threepio – Protesting his way thru the star lanes, he tried keeping his golden body out of cosmic battles.”

Featured in the advert is a figure that may explain how the on-going saga of the Moff memory was formed as there is the ‘Death Squad Commander’ who is not too different from Tarkin from the description: “A leader of the troopers, his grey and black uniform is a symbol of his authority.”

Is it the case that Star Wars has become so ingrained into our cultural DNA that these descriptions seem so redundant or have we become so semantically savvy that we need fewer clues? Or is it just the print got better?

There’s more adverts coming soon.

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