From the summer of 1990... the first issue of a long-running magazine the could ONLY exist in the pre-internet world: EPI-LOG: the magazine of TV episode guides.
Each issue (initially black & white newsprint interiors behind a glossy colour cover) just contained... episode guides. At first these were fairly superficial but later became far more detailed recaps of each show. Quite how the writers managed this for shows that had been AWOL for decades (remember: this is all pre-DVD, streaming, You Tube and even - I think - the launch of the Sci-Fi Channel) is a little unclear and I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few howlers hidden in the text somewhere.
Although the line-up for this first issue was clearly SF shows (feel free to debate the contributions KNIGHT RIDER, STREETHAWK and AUTOMAN made to the genre) Epi-log later expanded to include a much wider remit of action/ adventure and horror shows. Even SLEDGE HAMMER! (yay!) was featured in one issue.
Most issues had some sort of genre or theme to link together the disparate shows featured.
One thing I didn't like about these early issues is that there was no behind-the-scenes information. That's the stuff I love as much as (or more so) than the finished product on the screen. That was amended in later issues as a 'Notes' section was appended to each episode summary. And the format switched to better interior printing (still b&w) and squarebound binding.
It also spun off EPI-LOG JOURNAL which featured articles and assessments of various shows. We'll get to that.
this mag was produced by an american chap called bill anchors who also ran a mail order operation called STARTECH which i used many times in the pre-amazon and ebay days....his catalogs would be crammed with all the latest sci-fi merchandise such as mags, books, toys etc...a real feast for the eyes even if all the pages were black and white....I still have and treasure those catalogs he sent me...EPILOG is another relic from a golden era for genre magsReplyDelete
bill anchors also had a seperate catalog for tv shows on VHS video...apparently he had recorded all or most of these shows off tv so that would explain how he had such detailed episode guides..then again he may have been sourcing the information from a book...ReplyDelete
The episode summaries seemed pretty extensive (especially later when EPI-LOG devoted more space to each show), not to mention obscure, so I doubt he could have cribbed them from existing books (except for the usual suspects that might have already been covered in-depth elsewhere). He must have recorded EVERYTHING as I doubt many of the short-lived shows had much of a syndicated afterlife. They probably stood more chance of turning-up in international markets when studios bundled in some duffers amongst packages of more successful shows or film deals.Delete
actually i had another look at that catalog and it turns out he didnt record himself but TRADED videos with other collectors so he didnt actually sell or buy just trade..and somehow amassed a huge collection of shows...it must have taken ages just to compile the info for those episode guides...looking forward to your blog on epi-log journalReplyDelete