Thursday 1 September 2016


From late 1997: a house ad for STARBURST VIDEO VOLUME 3, the last in the series of straight-to-tape 'editions' of the magazine released by publisher Visual Imagination.

I've never seen the first volume (fronted by Jon Pertwee and released to celebrate the 200th edition of the magazine) but I do have copies of the second and third (albeit long since dubbed onto DVD and the original VHS tapes dumped).

They both follow the same formula: various short (and not very candid) interviews with genre types (often snatched on location... presumably during conventions or promotional appearences) linked together by a celeb better known for acting than presenting. There's plenty of links that flow with all the confidence and spontaneity of someone reading from cue cards.

George Takai beamed in for the second tape, shooting his links at the STAR TREK exhibition staged at London's Science Museum (I went!) whilst - for this tape - BABYLON FIVE's Bruce Boxleiter wandered the halls of The Sci-Fi Channel's new London base. That location choice was clearly one that seemed better on paper than it looks on the screen. The sad fact is thst most TV stations, except for the studios (if they have any), galleries and (sometimes) edit suites, look just like any other pokey office building once you pass the fancy reception. And it's clear - in the case of this low-budget start-up, they didn't even have a fancy reception.

I have a strong suspicion that Visual Imaginatiin were simply taping the rushed interviews that turned up across their range of magazines (which was pretty much at their peak at this point) so a canny viewer with time on their hands would probably be able to spot where the print versions of all the content here appeared. Possibly several times as VI seemed to spread suspiciously similar content across the whole range.

Visual Imagination are now defunct (although STARBURST lives on) so these tapes are long unavailable. They were never issued on DVD and it's unclear what happened to both the finished masters and the original rushes once the company folded.

If anyone has a digital copy of the first volume, I'd be very interested in seeing it.

1 comment:

  1. I did actually have volume one on VHS back in the 90's but its long since lost.

    as I recall, Jon Pertwee toured the starburst office and even perused the back issue archive !

    other highlights include a feature on dr who interspersed with some well chosen clips of Tom Baker at his nuttiest.

    Plus Siggy Weaver at the ALIEN EXPERIENCE and a short teaser at the end for Claudia Christian's interview in volume 2.

    Sadly, I never did order the other two volumes.


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