by Joe Coluccio, Parsec President
A schism in my fantasy life swells up and bites me in my consciousness from time to time. It is the kind of knot tangled only by a fan of popular literature and film. In my case, stuffed in the skin called science fiction. I identified with such fervor to the genre that, in the fifth grade, I was convinced, spawned by too many movies and a predilection for SF mags, I was a Martian. Green skin. Tentacles. A large bulbous head with superior intelligence shining from my nictitating membrane. It was glorious.
Round about the fourth time I saw the movie “Forbidden Planet,” imaginary seat belt holding me, while United Planets Cruiser C57D made the transition to normal space, in my favorite seat at the Oaks Theater, Oakmont, Pa., my dilemma became as dizzying as the rotating spheres in Robbie’s see-through head.
Was I Commander J.J. Adams, played by Leslie Nielsen. Stalwart, square-jawed, long before all the comedy mayhem he would bring to the world? Or “Doc” Ostrow, played by Warren Stevens who earned my affection for the rest of his career, a who, in character, got to boost his already formidable intelligence with a temple burning application of the Krell Machine? On the one hand, J.J. got the girl, and what a girl she was. She could tame a Bengal Tiger and wore mini skirts ten years before Twiggy and Carnaby Street. On the other hand “Doc” rushed to apply the Krell intelligence enhancement, provided the missing piece for the denouement of the story, and a had a magnificent death scene.
You’ve got Doc Savage and Captain Future and even James Bond all of whom have tremendous skills, advanced knowledge, physical prowess and dynamic social skills rolled up into one terrific package, but those titans of human potential are far too much for my fevered imagination. They are invincible. They are supermen without the Kryptonite. I like a character, closer to my home, who has significant gaps in the continuum of superhuman traits, and must move forward to grapple with weakness with sacrifice apply strengths. For the record, although I longed for the embrace of Anne Francis, I was always “Doc” Ostrow.
A request. I beg those who may have Forbidden Planet as a remake in their astrogation screen, please do not land your inadequate imagination on my planet. I say this with all humility. You may unleash our monsters from the id. Beware, lest you suffer the fate of the Krell.
-Joe Coluccio February 28, 2016