Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Echoes at the ballpark

How great were our seats at last night’s Indians/Nationals game? We sat next to this guy. I remember going to games at Old Municipal Stadium as a kid, seeing John Adams out in the bleachers – so far off that the sound of his drumbeats reaching our ears was out of sync with his rising and falling mallets.

So not only were our seats amazing, but we got a flat-out gorgeous Ohio summer night, one dollar hot dogs, and a bottom-of-the-ninth beat-the-throw-to-the-plate Indians win.

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June 15, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Sports | , , , , | Leave a comment

Plastic Galaxy preview footage

Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys SNEAK PEEK TEASER FOOTAGE! from Plastic Galaxy on Vimeo.

Not too sure about that goofy guy at the beginning, but I know several of those other people, and this looks like a fun, seriously nostalgia-inducing movie.

Brian and Karl visited me – gosh, a couple summers back, already? – and talked Star Wars toys and 1980s kidhood for a couple hours, and it was a blast. They were talented and professional, and I’m really excited to have played even a small part in this project.

May 23, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Film, geek, science fiction | , , , | 1 Comment

Via Plaid Stallions: Multipack Time Travel

I would like to thank Plaid Stallions for posting this –

– because without a doubt, I had that bagged Whitman three-pack of Marvel Star Wars comics, and although I had forgotten what the bag looked like (Pointy W!), seeing this image brings back to mind the weight and texture of the plastic, as well as memories of the stories within.

From Collect All 21!  – 

I was never a comics kid except for Star Wars, and even that didn’t last very long. I had the next six issues, I think, that continued the heroes’ stories beyond the original movie, but I really wasn’t in for the long haul.

I do remember an issue starring Han and Chewbacca and a rabbit-alien and a guy named Don Wan Kihotay (imagine my astonishment in high school at realizing this had been a literary reference). And there were others with a red-bearded space pirate and a girl pirate named Jolli, who lives in my brain in a flashback sequence showing her as a little girl watching her father leave his family behind, and then in her death scene, when Han plants a kiss on her cold lips.

I took these comics on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach, I think, and read them in the back seat of the car during the drive down.

Back in 2010, I went to the Pittsburgh Comicon and actually got to meet Roy Thomas, the original writer and editor of Marvel’s Star Wars comics – and creator of that green rabbit, Jaxxon. (We not only talked about that character, but what it was like being among the first writers to expand upon the original Lucas stories. Roy was incredibly nice and interesting to talk to.)

IMG_20130225_211451

February 25, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, John Williams!

It’s John Williams‘ birthday today.

He was the first composer whose name and work I recognized – and who wasn’t dead. He benefited, of course, from having his name attached to Star Wars, which, when I was a kid, made just about anything interesting.

Back in 2010, Rob Wainfur of The Bearded Trio website asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post, so I contributed a piece exploring some of John Williams’ lesser-known musical creations. Here’s an excerpt:

It turns out, for instance, that Williams’ music was tucked into corners of my brain long before I knew it, thanks to three classic 1970s disaster movies: The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, and Earthquake. I really have only the vaguest recollections of these – I think I had an ear infection or something when my parents went to see Earthquake (in Sensurround!), and I don’t know if I saw the other two in the theatre or on television, though both left impressions on me. That Towering Inferno scene where Jennifer Jones’ character falls from the elevator on the outside of the building scared the bejeezus outta me, and come on: what little kid wouldn’t love a movie where a giant ship turns upside-down?

A few years later, Star Wars had turned me into a space-adventure nut, and for a time, one of our local TV stations aired Lost In Space reruns every weekday in the after-school hours. I wouldn’t learn until decades later that the show’s theme was another creation of John (then credited as “Johnny”) Williams. Of the two versions he composed during the show’s run, I prefer the original since it’s the one I most associate with sitting on the floor with a snack and looking up at the television, though the fuller composition for Season 3 in 1968 sounds much more like the John Williams signature works to come in the next decade.

I had a lot of fun writing this. check out the whole thing – which also goes on to reveal my all-time favorite piece of Star Wars music – at The Bearded Trio.

February 8, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, geek, Music, science fiction | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Monster from the Land of no return – or, “An Ebor-what?”

Looking through some stuff for my This is Me in ’83 series, I found this:

MonsterFromLandNoReturn1978

Scanner cut off the bottom – it’s 9×12 paper – but it’s labeled “Monster from the Land of no return.” My mom wrote “March 1978” on the back in ballpoint pen.

And now look at this ToyNerd.com picture of the Eborsisk from Willow (1988):

Image: ToyNerd.com

I’m just saying.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, geek | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Collect All 21! – Special Bonus Packs

All sold – thanks, readers!

Dec. 7 update: Three of the four copies have been sold! The remaining unused Hasbro cardback is the General Grievous version.

 

I’ve got one four paperback copy copies of Collect All 21! leftover from the Akron Comicon, so I thought I’d package a few extras with them for the holidays. Details below the photo.

Collect All 21 - Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek - John Booth

But wait! There’s more!

So, each paperback copy (signed/personalized/whatever – heck, I’ll put some of my Lego minifig stickers and googly eyes on the title page if you want) will come with:

  • One unused cardback from Hasbro’s current vintage-style line. The fronts are done in the style of the old Kenner packaging – which is very cool – and the backs have a little bit of Kenner figure history on them. These have never had actual action figures attached. (Note: Three of these are Boba Fetts, and one is General Grievous.)
  • TWO vintage Topps cards from the “Giant Full Color Photocards” set. Yes: These are the actual cards from 1980. (Genuine Nostalgia!) No, there is no giant stale gum.
  • A digital version (not pictured – of course) of the extra chapter’s worth of material which was added to the Expanded Edition of Collect All 21! This will be delivered by email and can be sent as a Word document, PDF or in ebook form. It’s only the new interviews and added content – not a digital edition of the entire book.

And I’ll knock 10% off the cover price, so you’ll get the book plus those extras for $13.50 + shipping.

If you’re interested, leave a comment or send me an email at booth (at) fieldsedge.com

December 2, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, geek, Ohio, science fiction | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Things About My Grandma

My grandmother Joan (pronounced “Jo-Ann”)  passed away yesterday. This is one of the earliest pictures I can find of the two of us, and I realize today that in this photograph, she is only a few years older than I am right now.

Here are some things to know about my grandma, Joan (Engle) (Booth) Schoenberger, who was always kind of quietly amazing:

She was from Massillon, Ohio and counted Paul Brown among her high school teachers. (For the record, she always told me he wasn’t a particularly good teacher, because he was constantly focused on something else.)

Her first husband – my paternal grandfather – died when he was only 34 years old, so my grandma raised my dad and my uncle on her own, a single mom in small-town Ohio. Only as an adult and parent did I begin to grasp how difficult that must have been.

She moved with her boys from Massillon to Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and became a librarian.

She loved to read. And while my parents and Sesame Street encouraged my reading habit early on, it was visits to grandma and the unfettered access to the shelves of Upper Sandusky’s Carnegie Public Library that fed my addiction. Even though we lived across the state, grandma would let me check out stacks and stacks of books, and I still remember some of them, like The Gollywhopper Egg and all the Bobbsey Twins mysteries. There was an old painting of a man hanging on one of the walls, and I remember grandma pointing out that his eyes followed you creepily. Grandma was also responsible for unknowingly introducing me to Blue Snaggletooth. (This library connection stayed strong: When I was in college and obsessively seeking All Things Ray Bradbury, I went to the Upper Sandusky library on a search for “The October Game,” and found it in a collection there. The librarians didn’t know me, but they let me check out the book despite having no library card and having a home address some 110 miles away, because I was Joan’s grandson. And she had already been retired for awhile.)

Grandma always laughed and said that she wasn’t very sharp, but get her in a game of Oh, Hell and she would begin every hand with a woe-is-me reminder that she had no idea what to bid or to play, and then she’d rack up the points while simultaneously thwarting your bids and insisting the entire time that it was all luck.

She was fun to hang out with.

I was at her wedding: My mom’s father had been a widower since the early 1970s. He and my grandma Joan were married in the 1980s, throwing our family tree into giddy chaos.

Her house was always a special place to visit, whether it was for a holiday, or the Wyandot County Fair, or just because we were going over for the weekend because Mom and Dad needed to take care of something in Upper.

This chair belonged to her.

When I attended Bowling Green, my friends and I would stop in and visit her from time to time on the way to Columbus. She usually offered to buy us dinner at the local bar – The Pour House – which served excellent wet burritos.

I am so very glad that Kelsey knew her great-grandma well, and that the two of them got to share each other’s company for 15 years.

When I read my copy of Giant John – which I’m pretty sure is a library discard my grandma gave me – I will always hear her voice.

November 15, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Family history, Ohio | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Veterans Day, 2012

I am thinking of my Dad today.

Richard E. Booth, United States Air Force

Note: This post originally appeared here in 2009.

Despite the fact that my Dad served overseas during the Vietnam War, I never really thought of him as a “veteran.”

He’d been stationed on a base in Korea near the DMZ. He never told “war stories.” I don’t remember groups of old Air Force buddies visiting the house when I was growing up. No medals or mementos around, unless you count the tables and lamps he had shipped back home as gifts for mom.

TigerCoat

It also says “Tiger” over one pocket.

I was only two years old when his four-year service in the U.S. Air Force ended in 1972. He came back from South Korea to Lima, Ohio – I honestly don’t remember him being gone, though I do remember being small enough to wear the jacket in this picture – and he and mom and I went about our lives.

Among Dad’s pictures from overseas is a shot of him yelling across a crowded bar that always reminded me of a scene from M*A*S*H, and in the background is a sign reading, “Pardon me, sir, but you’ve obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a shit.” I always liked this picture because a) Dad looks like he’s having fun, and b) the sign said “shit,” and swearing was funny, especially when I was little.

Richard E. Booth, United States Air Force, Korea

After this recent post, my mom commented that she and Dad were supposed to get married in October of 1968, but they had moved the wedding up to early September after Dad was drafted.

This was news to me, and didn’t seem to make sense, since he’d been in the Air Force, so I visited mom yesterday morning to find out the story.

It goes like this, give or take:

Dad graduated from Upper Sandusky High School in 1965 and took a job at a manufacturing company, painting auto parts: one of the pieces that held the grill of a Pontiac Tempest in place, Mom thinks.

On the job, a piece of heavy equipment fell on his ankle and lopped off that bone that sticks out the side. He had it fixed with a pin, but the injury was enough to earn him a deferment when his number came up in the draft for the first time.

He spent a year at Bowling Green State University, but didn’t have the money to keep attending, so he returned to Upper Sandusky and got another job.

Mom, who went to nursing school right after high school, remembers the U.S.S. Pueblo’s capture in January 1968, and said suddenly it took a lot more than a pinned ankle to get a deferment, and when Dad’s number came up after that, he chose to enlist in the Air Force rather than be drafted into the Army.

He was barely six months past his 21st birthday.

When he was doing basic training at Sheppard AFB in Texas, Dad decided he wanted to be a medic.

This was an odd choice: All through her nursing school education, Mom said Dad never showed any interest in medicine.

In fact, he had apparently always planned on being an accountant. (This image of my Dad as a numbers-cruncher is so out-of-whack to me that I have trouble drawing even a remotely appropriate parallel.) Mom says Dad had even begun correspondence courses in accounting, and they bought an adding machine which she stuffed into his duffel bag so he could keep up with his schoolwork when he went into the service.

So now, here he is calling to let her know he checked the “medic” box, and her mind is immediately filled with images of Dad hauling injured guys from the battlefield under heavy fire, and she kind of freaks out.

After basic, they were transferred to Kincheloe AFB in Michigan’s upper peninsula, where Dad met a guy who told him about this thing called “anesthesia,” and about how being an anesthetist looked like a good career choice, and that’s where Dad decided what he’d do after finishing his Air Force service. (He also got papers to deploy to Turkey while he was at Kincheloe, but those were rescinded due to me arriving on the scene in November 1970.)

Not long after that, Dad wound up serving in South Korea, but I’m a little fuzzy on where, exactly. I always thought he was stationed at a place called Kojin – I have a baseball-style cap embroidered with “Kamp Kojin Korea” on the front, “Doc” along one side and “Commander USAF Hospital” on the back – but I can’t find any references to such a location online. Another cap I have says “USAF HOSP Osan ’71-’72” on it, and along the back edge, “Johnny”, “Rich” and “Pam.”

My Dad, Richard Earl Booth, returned home in 1972 and became an anesthetist and a tremendously awesome father of three, and

DadsTrenchcoat

This coat even made a goof like me feel cool: Thanks, Dad.

despite his pre-Air Force aspirations always referred me to Mom for math advice once I was past Algebra I.

When I was about 16, he gave me the heavy wool Air Force trenchcoat he got when he enlisted, which I absolutely loved.

Dad died of complications from kidney cancer on May 12, 1993, one week after his 46th birthday. I think of him regularly, though until this year, for some reason, never really in the context of Veterans Day.

He always gave the impression that his time in Korea was no big deal; that he never did anything “heroic”; that he only did what he needed to do to take care of his family in the long term.

But what gets to me now, as a father coming all-too-rapidly to the end of my thirties, is thinking about the choices Dad made when was only 21, and then having to leave Mom and me an ocean and a continent away, and comparing that to where I was when I was that age, and wondering how in the world he ever did it.

I miss him. And I’m thinking of him today trying to truly appreciate what that choice meant.

November 11, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, Family history, Ohio | , , | 2 Comments

The Mouse and Mos Eisley

In no particular order, a few thoughts on Disney buying Lucasfilm, mostly composed in my head on the way home from work:

  • I started out thinking, “I’m OK with this.” This has since evolved into, “YES, I’m really, really freaking OK with this.”
  • I remain amused that this sentence – “Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.” – is at the end of the sixth paragraph.  Best. Buried Lede. EVER.
  • Disney’s overseen mostly amazing work in its ownership of the Pixar, Marvel, and Muppets properties, which makes me think the Star Wars universe will be in good hands.
  • Incredibly smart move on George Lucas’ part: If Disney messes up the Star Wars franchise, he has washed his hands of it. If Disney can pull an Avengers-esque success with Episode VII, then Lucas is the guy who turned over control of his empire in order to save it, and he regains Favor Among Nerds.
  • No idea where Episode VII will take the story. Original Jedi leads are out of the question. The droids? Han & Leia’s kids? A direct sequel recast with new actors in the leads? (Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy? I like it a lot, but I don’t think it will ever be positioned as big-screen canon.)
  • Star Wars Celebrations with actual movie build-up involved again? Sweet. I wonder if Disney ownership improves Orlando’s chances of landing future conventions.
  • Star Wars movies scripted and directed by someone other than George Lucas? History proves this is not an ungood idea. (Please see: The Empire Strikes Back.)
  • Yes, like every other dang geek on the planet, I thought, “JOSS! JOSSSSSS!”
  • I took my daughter to opening night of Episode III, thinking it would be the last chance for us to see an original Star Wars big screen premiere. She was eight years old. When I told her about Disney buying LFL and announcing Episode VII in 2015, and that it meant we’d be able to do another opening night Star Wars, her reaction was, “That rocks so hardcore.” I have to love that.

October 30, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, eighties, Fiction, geek, science fiction | , , | 4 Comments

An eight-pack of Star Wars interviews

Big surprise: I really like talking with people – especially first-generation fans – about their Star Wars memories, and about growing up loving the saga and then sharing it with a new generation of kids.

So in planning my GeekDad coverage of Star Wars Celebration VI back in August, I thought it would be fun to set up a series of short interviews with some notable geeks and Star Wars personalities, asking them about their favorite memories and toys and things like that.

Eight great people took some time during the four-day convention to hang out and answer the same five questions, and I had a blast conducting the interviews. (MAJOR thanks again to everyone who participated!) The series ran in August and September at GeekDad, and I thought it would be fun to round up all the links here, too.

Photo by Jim Carchidi

  • Gronk creator and Lucasfilm-licensed artist Katie Cook was the first person I asked what were later named the “Five Force-Full Questions.” Her interview is here, and it includes her “deep dark Star Wars secret.”
  • I was psyched to meet everyone I interviewed, but I’ll confess that when Fanboys and Ready Player One writer Ernie Cline accepted the invitation, I had a bit of a nerdsquee moment. I’ve identified very strongly with his writing, since he grew up not far from my home in Ohio, and at around the same time. We actually spent about a half hour talking about tons of other geek stuff before we even got to his Five Force-Full Question answers, and then, generous and patient guy that he is, Ernie was kind enough to repeat his answers over the phone a couple days later due to a digital recording error on my part.

Photo by Jim Carchidi

  • Marc Thompson is a voice actor and a narrator of several Star Wars audio books, and he was actually attending Celebration with his kids, so he gets bonus geeky dad points for that. His interview is here.

Photo courtesy of Kristen Rutherford

  • Kristen invited me to one of the Nerdist crew’s Star Wars Transmission tapings and introduced me to several other neat geek types, including Chris Hardwick, who, it turns out, also has an affinity for the second wave of Kenner’s original Star Wars figures (the grouping which brought the action figure total to that magic number of 21). Read which one was his favorite here.

Finally, I did a trio of interviews with three actors from Star Wars: The Clone Wars:

Photo by Jim Carchidi

Photo by Jim Carchidi

Photo by Jim Carchidi

Man, was that a fun trip.

October 23, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, eighties, Fiction, Film, geek, science fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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