Pixel Scroll 3/30/24 What Do You Get When You Cross A Velociraptor With An Interociter

(1) JMS’ OFFERINGS AT THE TEMPLE. “Harlan Ellison’s Last Words: Sci-Fi Writer Makes Posthumous Comeback” in Los Angeles Magazine.

The Lost Aztec Temple of Mars has stood atop the hills of Sherman Oaks for decades, with a façade lovingly fashioned like the ruins of an ancient alien civilization. Carved into its faded orange exterior is an imagined history of flying ships and extraterrestrials, of tangled tendrils and tentacles, of creatures serpentlike and humanoid. This was the home of author Harlan Ellison, a sanctuary he also called Ellison Wonderland, where he wrote his popular scripts and short stories and kept its rooms filled with a museum-grade collection of science fiction and pop culture.

The house is largely as he left it in 2018, when he died there at age 84. For much of his life, Ellison was a leading writer of science fiction (he preferred the less restrictive label “speculative fiction”), a close friend to colleagues including Isaac Asimov and Neil Gaiman, but also notorious among his many enemies and comrades in Hollywood and the once-insular science fiction world.

Upstairs at the house, where Ellison’s manual typewriters, tobacco pipes and a row of rocket-shaped Hugo Awards remain, it is familiar and sacred ground to his old friend, the writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski….

…For Straczynski, 69, Ellison was not just a friend but a father figure of lasting impact. His real father, he says, “was complete shit.” Another executor would have simply liquidated Ellison’s assets, donated them to a favorite charity and moved on. But Straczynski has taken on a bigger mission — to return Ellison’s name to prominence.

“I would not be where I am right now if not for Harlan,” explains Straczynski, who was a 12-year-old in Newark, New Jersey, when he discovered the writer, and sought out his books for years. As his own career evolved from journalism to writing for animated TV, then a latter-day version of The Twilight Zone, show-running Babylon 5 and writing screenplays for Clint Eastwood (2008’s Changeling) and others, Ellison’s feisty example remained central. “His words kept me going. He was the only writer that I came across who made the notion of courage essential to the writing process, and being willing to fight for it.”…

(2) WANDERING EARTH II HUGO PROMO IMAGE. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] The official Weibo account of The Wandering Earth posted an image to celebrate becoming a Hugo finalist.  This in turn was reposted by director Frant Gwo.  This acknowledgement might be a hopeful indicator of whether there might be some representation at Glasgow?

(3) MOVIE MAGIC. The Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles is hosting “Larry Albright: A Great Magic Truth; March 29, 2024 through September 8, 2024”.

The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) is pleased to present Larry Albright: A Great Magic Truth, an exhibition celebrating the legacy of artist, inventor, and pop-culture force, Larry Albright. The exhibition contains plasma sculptures, consumer electronics, miniature neon set pieces, and film clips from Albright’s work in movies such as Close Encounters of the Third KindStar WarsStar TrekBlade Runner, The Goonies and more. Albright’s distinctive artistic style bridged the gap between the Light and Space Movement, assemblage, and pop culture in the 1970’s through 2000’s. A Great Magic Truth exemplifies the interconnectedness of art and science, and celebrates how humans can manipulate matter in a way that transcends time and space to create new realities. The exhibition will be on display March 29, 2024 through September 8, 2024.

(4) MONSTER RASSLIN. Matt Goldberg assures us “The World Is Big Enough for Two Godzillas” at Commentary Track.

Last year’s Godzilla Minus One took the character back to his roots with a human-driven story with the monster standing in for trauma and pain. Far from a heroic savior, the Godzilla of Godzilla Minus One was a return for the horrifying entity that our heroes would risk everything to defeat. It’s a great movie, but that’s not all Godzilla can be. Even if you want to argue it’s an American/Japanese divide (as this Polygon article does, although I think it kind of breezes past large chunks of Godzilla’s history), the fact remains that Godzilla is not just one kind of character, and hasn’t been for some time. That’s why I have no problem riding with his heroic iteration in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

If you’re familiar with the Showa Era Godzilla, you’ll see that’s where director Adam Wingard puts his allegiance—big, monster wrestling fights with lots of destruction and little concern towards plot details or character development. It’s been a strange journey for this “MonsterVerse” that Legendary (the series’ production company) put together where Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla feints at trying to the bridge the gap between a serious Godzilla and a monster-fighting Godzilla, but by the time you’ve reached this sequel, they’re fully in their monsters-rasslin’ mode. It’s nice to feature acclaimed actors like Rebecca HallDan Stevens, and Oscar-nominee Brian Tyree Henry, but they’re simply here to class up the joint (and doing a solid job of it). The characters with the two clearest arcs are Kong and Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the deaf girl from Godzilla vs. Kong who can communicate with Kong via sign language. They’re both looking for a place to belong, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s even deeper in The Hollow Earth (Hollower Earth?)….

(5) SMILE, YOU’RE ON ROBOT CAMERA. Science reports on research where a “Robot face mirrors human expressions.”

Humanoid robots are capable of mimicking human expressions by perceiving human emotions and responding after the human has finished their expression. However, a delayed smile can feel artificial and disingenuous compared with a smile occur-ring simultaneously with that of a companion. Hu et al. trained an anthropomorphic facial robot named Emo to display an anticipatory expression to match its human companion. Emo is equipped with 26 motors and a flexible silicone skin to provide precise control over its facial expressions. The robot was trained with a video dataset of humans making expressions. By observing subtle changes in a human face, the robot could predict an approaching smile 839 milliseconds before the human smiled and adjust its face to smile simultaneously.

Primary research here: “Human-robot facial coexpression”.

(6) ALICE IN MOVIELAND. [Item by Daniel Dern.] “Alice through the projector lens” at Den of Geek. For serious Alice/Carroll video (movie, TV, etc) fans, this list (the article’s nearly 15 years old, but I’m seeing many I was unaware of and want to find, e.g. “A Song Of Alice,” along with some I might have seen but would cheerfully rewatch). And others I’m familiar with, happily.

There’s some well-known/fabulous actors among the casts, including WC Fields, Clark Gable, Ringo Starr, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters, and Gene Wilder. I’m curious to see Mr. T as the Jabberwock!

(Did Robin Williams ever do any Alice? Can somebody do one starring Kate McKinnon?)

This isn’t a complete list; e.g. it appears to omit the phenomenal 1988 (but not for young kids) Czech stop-motion animation (plus one live actor, playing Alice), Alice (Original title: Neco z Alenky).

(7) RING TOUR. Tech Wizards is selling a line of ten Lord of the Rings Posters done travel ad-style. Two examples below. (Click for larger images.)

Experience the beauty and adventure of Middle-earth through a beautifully illustrated scene that captures the essence of Tolkien’s legendary universe.

(8) CHANCE PERDOMO (1996-2024). Actor Chance Perdomo, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Gen V star, died following a motorcycle accident says The Hollywood Reporter obituary notice. Perdomo was relatively young, his career was just beginning to take off, and he had already done quite a bit of genre work.

Perdomo played Ambrose Spellman and appeared in all episodes of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020) based on the Archie comics about Sabrina, the teenage witch.

Gen V (2023- ) is a spin-off of The Boys. He appeared in all 10 episodes of season 1. It has been renewed for a season 2, tentatively expected next calendar year. His character Andre Anderson was part of the cliffhanger at the end of S1, so his disappearance may take some explaining in S2, unless they recast the part.

Moominvalley (2019- ) is an English/Finnish production appearing originally on TV in the UK and Finland. Dubs for several other languages followed. It’s based on the Moomin series of books and comics. Perdomo‘s character Snork appeared in 4 episodes of the 3rd and currently final season. A 4th season is expected. 


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born March 29, 1930 John Astin. Now let’s talk about one of my favorite performers, John Astin. I know him best as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family series which was on the air shorter than I thought, lasting just two seasons and a little over sixty episodes. He played him again in Halloween with the New Addams Family (which I’ve not seen) and voiced him thirty years later in The Addams Family, a two-season animated series. I’ll admit I’m not interested in animated series based off live series. Any live series.

John Astin and Carolyn Jones in The Addams Family (1964).

Oh did you know he was in West Side Story? He played Glad Hand, well-meaning but ineffective social worker. No, you won’t find him in the credits as he wasn’t credited then but retroactively he got credited for it which was good as he was a lead dancer. Brilliant film and I’ve no intention of watching the new version, ever.

(Yes I’ve long since abandoned the idea that these Birthdays are solely about genre.)

I’d talk about him being in Teen Wolf Too but let’s take the advice of Rotten Tomatoes reviewers and steer way clear of it. Like in a different universe. Same for the two Killer Tomatoes films. I see he’s in Gremlins 2: The New Batch as janitor but I can’t say I remember him.

So series work… I was going to list all of his work but there’s way too much to do that so I’ll be very selective. So he’s The Riddler in two episodes of Batman and a most excellent Riddler he was. 

But that was nothing when compared to his role on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. as Prof. Albert Wickwire. He’s a charming, if somewhat absent minded inventor who assists Brisco with diving suits, motorcycles, and even grander creations such as rockets and airships. Dare I say that this was an element of steampunk in the series? It was a great role for him. 

Finally he has a recurring role as Mr. Radford (the real one) as opposed to Mr. Radford (the imposter) on Eerie, Indiana. A decidedly weird series that was cancelled before it completed.


  • Candorville tries to find a bright side to look on.
  • Macanudo knows the benefits of reading.
  • Rhymes with Orange reveals an unexpected complication of raising a child.
  • War and Peas asks “You Dare Call That… Thing– HUMAN?!?” – and is mostly about xenosex.

(11) CAN’T TELL GOGGINS WITHOUT A SCORECARD. “’I was freaking out’: Walton Goggins on fear, The White Lotus and being a 200-year-old mutant in Fallout” in the Guardian.

…Goggins is almost unrecognisable as the Ghoul, in part due to the full-face prosthetic work that essentially turns him into a bright red, noseless skull. Which, as you may imagine, was not a lot of fun to wear.

“I didn’t know how I would hold up, to be quite honest with you,” he says. “The very first day we were working, it was 106F [41C]. And all of a sudden, the sweat started building up. I couldn’t stop it. Jonathan Nolan asked me: ‘Are you crying?’ I said: ‘No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ And he touched my eye and water came pouring out of the piece, because there was a buildup of sweat inside. I’m not one to complain, but I sat down on a log and literally said to myself: ‘Man, you’re getting too old for this shit. I don’t know how I’m going to do nine months of this.’ I was freaking out.’…

(12) VERONICA CARLSON INTERVIEW. Steve Vertlieb invites you to look back at this 2013 YouTube video celebrating the life and career of beloved Hammer Films actress Veronica Carlson.

In an exclusive one-on-one sit-down recorded for the documentary, THE MAN WHO “SAVED” THE MOVIES, iconic Hammer Studios actress (and 60s era Mod “It Girl”) Veronica Carlson candidly discusses her days with Hammer, her near familial relationships with the legendary Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee, her close friendship with cinema journalist / archivist Steve Vertlieb, and what caused her to leave the film industry just as her star was rising.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ryan George takes us inside the “Divergent Pitch Meeting”.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Ersatz Culture, Steve Vertlieb, Kathy Sullivan, Lise Andreasen, Daniel Dern, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]