Monday, September 14, 2009

Why I Love Sci-Fi: The Lost Years

It was Luke Skywalker who hauntingly tells Leia "I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her."
Far less poignantly, but in a similar manner, I do not know what my first memories of sci-fi are. A computer-printout on my Uncle Cliff's wall depicting either Spock or Einstein, all done up in tiny ones and zeros? Watching Star Wars on 'CTV' and on grainy Beta videotapes thereafter? Not grainy originally, just from overuse.
My journals begin at age nine and are thoroughly, amazingly unhelpful. I loved the McDonald's Commandron Velocitor Happy Meal toy (couldn't find a pic online) and pleather E.T. doll as much as wildly more expensive toys like this one.

Playground jealousy reared its ugly head in a vague memory of Grade One (or kindergarten?) when AT-ATs like this one battled tauntauns at recess in snowdrifts (Canada is tailor-made to be planet Hoth). I saw Star Wars toys before I ever saw the movies. I thrilled at these war machines stomping around bigger than life in my imagination. My classmates told me wild, unlikely (and, as it happens, untrue) tales of what Star Wars was. I remember contemplating the concept that Darth Vader had ice cream under his helmet for most of a day- if you broke his helmet like a DQ dilly bar there would be vanilla ice cream underneath. Oh, the lies!
When the TV played Star Wars my brother and cousin and I had to rush right up the edge of the back porch as though it was a bottomless pit on the Death Star, not quite teetering over the edge... teetering... teetering... falling anyway and pretending we had grappeling hooks to swing away on.

Or did I see Star Trek first? I sure remember these little guys.
You couldn't be the nephew I was without hearing the purr of a tribble from the TV and hearing the 'dee-dee-Da-Dee Wah Wah deeDeedee' of a Star Trek comedy soundtrack unparallelled.
I cut the yellow pom-pom off the top of my toque to have a tribble of my very own.
I wasn't going to be left out of THAT craze, no sir.

I once saw a woman eat a rodent whole by distending her jaw like a lizard! And a prison camp where the moat was made of sand and whatever was under it could burrow really fast and eat you! THAT was a great one to keep you on the monkey bars and off the sand, boy howdy. Good old 'V'.

I raced breakfast cereal sprocket-wheel pull TRON lightcycles which, in retrospect, were NOTHING like the ones in the film.

V.I.N.Cent the robot HOVERED, dude! So did his smashed-up buddy B.O.B!That had R2-D2 beat right there. And Vin had a voice prissier than C-3PO's. Also Maximillian had whirling blades to cut you right to shreds! 'The Black Hole' is just NOT a kids movie! It's NOT! But I loved robots, man, and I loved robots HARD!

I have the creepiest feeling when I try to remember the first Doctor Who I ever saw. How old would I even have been? I cannot say. Five? The memory is SO nebulous. It was the fourth doctor in danger, I'm sure of that, but I knew no others then, so it was just the Doctor.
And there were several HORRIBLE monstrosities moving toward him down a corridor. Slowly, so slowly, creeping with menace... did they even have FEET? My scared little brain renders them as blobs, greenish brown, no faces, no limbs. Were they the Yeti? The Gel Guards? Neither of them menaced the fourth doctor. Probably the furry ones that crumbled into drug powder in 'The Nightmare of Eden'.
I was OFTEN scared watching Doctor Who, but I LOVED K-9. Any robot was the best robot as far as I was concerned. Seeing those classic episodes now I wonder why what scared me most wasn't Tom Baker himself. The monsters are nowhere near as strange as the lead actor.

So, who knows? In 1986 I was watching Back To the Future, the Battle For Endor, clamoring to get my parents to let me see Short Circuit. In 1990 I was secretly watching the 'lewd' Red Dwarf
series on YTV after I was supposed to be asleep. In 1991 I joined the Star Trek fan club.
Quantum Leap, Babylon 5, ALF, Starman, Gunbuster. I couldn't and can't get enough sci-fi. To this very day.
Whatever the FIRST images were, I bet they were furry like Ewoks, tribbles, yetis and Gremlins, hovering and making theremin noises, maybe even clanking and whirring like robots. Or possibly it was a duck facing off with a blank-faced little squirt in a skirt and sneakers trying to destroy the planet with an earth-shattering KA-BOOM because it obscured his view of Venus.
Long Live Sci-Fi!

1 comment:

Bookmonkey said...

I MUST SEE YOUR CREEPY IMAGE OF DOCTOR WHO!!!