The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 18, 1995, Page 9, Image 9

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Arts ©Entertainment 1
Wednesday, October 18, 1995 Page 9 #
the glassy eye
Mark Baldridge
Irwin Allen
fuels sci-fi
• It’s Irwin Allen, of course.
Last week I made a sly reference to
an old sci-fi show “Lost in Space”
(you remember: “Danger, Will
Robinson!”) and that show’s producer,
Ethan Allen.
What a furniture maker who died in
1789 has to do with a TV series that
premiered in 1965 I’ll never know.
It’s Irwin Allen, of course.
Filmdirector (“Earthquake,” “The
Towering Inferno,” “The Poseidon
Adventure”) and TV mogul, Allen
represents a one-man-era in pop cul
ture history.
So, in a kind of agony of regret, I
decided to talk today about the TV
legacy of this master producer of me
diocre science fiction.
“Lost in Space” starred Guy Will
iams (famous from “Zoro” a few years
earlier) when it first aired, in black
and white, 30 years ago.
By the time the show folded three
years later, however, the real stars
were a boy, an old queen and a tin
The boy, Will Robinson (played
dexterously by Billy Mumy—whom
. Jimmy Stewart called “the only child
actor worth a damn”), later went on to
draw a successful comic book based
on the series and, still later, to play a
significant role on the weirdly cult
followed “Babylon 5.”
Jonathan Harris (the old queen)
played Dr. Zachary Smith, a primping
and cowardly villain, opposite Bob
May — whom no one has ever seen
and lived to tell about it — as the
Bearing a striking resemblance to
Robby the Robot from the film “For
bidden Planet,” the Robot served as
babysitter to Will, and foil to the ever
cringing Dr. Smith.
The show went from serious B& W
science fiction to zany space opera (in
lurid color) in its second season, when
director Ezra Stone took over.
Stone admits to never having liked
science fiction, and it shows. On his
watch, the series became a sort of
theatrical spoof.
Ah, well.
If “Lost in Space” was all he’d ever
done, Allen’s place in TV history
would still be secure for another 20
years or so.
But he will also be remembered for
two other series:
“Time Tunnel”—a very old show
about time travel that featured hyp
notic credits — and “Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea.”
This little gem starred Richard
Baseheart and inspired the modem
“ScaQuest DSV.”
“Voyage” took itself very seriously,
as only a Cold War vehicle can.
But early on, its writers ran out of
things to do with the premise and
started resurrecting WWII Nazis.
Whenever a show resurrects Na
zis, you know it’s on the way out.
The point of all this is not the
poverty of these shows, but their unut
terable wealth.
To those who craved alternate
worlds and strange, new worlds, Irwin
Allen offered something in the way of
fuel for the imagination. Television
has always had trouble with sci-fi, but
it’s always tried.
And that counts for something.
Jon Waller/DN
Michael Marks, “the Produce Man,” takes a bite out of an apple at Super Saver supermarket at Highway 2 and South 56th Street.
Marks is a nationally syndicated produce expert.
Lincolnites find Produce Man appealing
By Jeff Randall
Senior Reporter
Tuesday morning at Super Saver on 5460 S.
56 St., somewhere among the shining red heaps
of Jonathan and Top Red apples, television his
tory was being made.
Well, sort of.
“I’ve been on television quite a bit,” said
Michael Marks, television’s one and only Pro
duce Man. “But I’ve never done an advertisement
before. This is something new to me.”
“Your Produce Man,” the nationally syndi
cated expert on fruits and vegetables, was in
Lincoln Tuesday for the taping of a Super Saver
commercial. And he followed the taping with a
series of appearances at all three Super Saver
Since he started his television career six years
ago, Marks has steadily gained fans and attention
nationwide. In addition to his television seg
ments, Marks is a nationally syndicated radio
personality and a newspaper columnist.
And every one of these enterprises focuses on
“You know what Tommy
Osborne’s favorite fruit and
vegetable are? Tomatoes and
strawberries. Too bad I didn’t'
have the heart to tell him that
tomatoes are a fruit. ”
“The Produce Man"
—you guessed it — produce.
Richard Malousek, vice president for B&R
Stores, helped coordinate Marks’ Tuesday ap
pearances and the commercial taping.
“If you were to go out and pick people at
random, most probably wouldn’t know who he
was,” Malousek said. “But he’s gaining more and
more fans every day.”
Malousek said Super Saver’s sponsorship of
the “Your Produce Man” segments played a part
in Marks’ involvement with the grocery chain’s
newest advertising campaign.
The commercials featuring Marks will most
likely start their run in about eight weeks,
Malousek said.
“If they prove to be successful, people can
plan on seeing the Produce Man speaking for
Super Saver for the next year and a half to two
Not bad for one morning’s work.
But Marks said he didn’t like to think of what
he does as work in the usual sense.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a hard part of
this job,” Marks said.
Marks began his career in Sacramento, Calif.,
as a radio personality who managed to gain the
attention of a producer at a local television affili
“I was on the air, telling a funny story about
kiwi fruit. And there’s a million funny things to
say about kiwi fruit, right?
" See MARKS on 10
‘Indie’ band Fugazi industry’s secret gem
Courtesy of Dischord Records
Anti-coiporate and a true “indie” band, Fugazi plays Ag
Hall at the State Fair Park tonight.
• , V '
By Jeff Randall
Music Critic
As the qualifications for being
called “indie” continue to evolve in
the ever-changing world of rock ‘n’
-1 roll, there’s at
Concert least one band
Prpuipuif that has re~
r ■ cvicw mained consis
tently anti_-cor
porateand,at the
same time, con
sistently good.
Thai one band
is Fugazi.
Since its first
performance in
September 1987, Fugazi has made a
name for itsel f by not try ing to make
a name for itself.
Guitarist/vocalist Ian MacKaye’s
Dischord Records has released ev
ery one of the band’s recordings,
and the band has shied away from
radio airplay and MTV as though
they were deadly viruses. They
refuse to charge more than $5 for
their shows. They refuse toeven sell
or produce any T-shirts emblazoned
with their name.
And through it all, despite any
visible promotion techniques, they
have become one of America’s big
gest and best-kept secrets.
Their Omaha concert in early
summer 1993 sold out Peony Park’s
Royal Grove, a venue that held a
crowd roughly equivalent to that of
Omaha’s Civic Auditorium Music
Hall, which is normally limited to
big-name bands with promotional
departments to match.
And the way things,are looking,
See FUCaAZI on 10