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Rich Drushel's 2003 Science Fiction Marathon Photo Page
Friday-Sunday 17-19 January 2003

Last updated Thursday, 23 January 2003, 1:10 P.M., by RFD

Hovorka Atrium Waiting Area

Due to scheduling oversight, Strosacker Auditorium and lobby were booked for a Research Administration conference Friday morning until 12:30 PM. Thus, early arrivals needed to be redirected to Hovorka Atrium until Strosacker was available. Rich Drushel put up the redirect signage at 5:00 AM Friday.

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Sign on door to Schmitt Lecture Hall. Sign on door between Schmitt and Hovorka.
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Waiting area signage, reassuring everyone that arrival order would be maintained when we moved back to Strosacker at 12:30 PM. The first 2 arrivals (6:15 AM!).

Back In Strosacker Lobby

"Ordinary" people are starting to queue up for wristband sales, about 5:30 PM. Note that it's completely dark outside already...winter in Cleveland.

The Auditorium Awaits

Note the tape lines marking off traffic aisles...this is to keep campers from blocking access to the exits in case of emergency. Kudos to Alex Parker for the tape job!

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Staff Prep

Film Society Staff met on the 2nd-floor lobby at 4:30 PM for final instructions. Afterwards, everyone was just hanging out, waiting for wristband sales to begin at 6:00 PM.

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(L to R) Nate West, Libby Moore, Brandon Shroyer? (back turned), ??? (obscured), Erin Mays (next to door), Chrissy Uhlmansiek, Jodie "Tyger" Walker (behind Chrissy), Jim Eastman (white cap), Ben Karas (seated), Petrina Ee, Stephen Trier, Emily "M" Warren, Dave Kwartowitz, and Lindsey McGowen. Charley Knox, co-founder of the CWRU Film Society and Master Projectionist.
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(L to R) Patty Marvel, Stephen Trier, Lindsey McGowen, Petrina Ee, Nate West, Chrissy Uhlmansiek, Libby Moore, Jeff Archinal, Jodie Walker (arm sticking out), Jim Eastman (white cap), Toby Betts, and Irene Fung. The hot food concessions area. This was where to get yummy hot dogs, bagels, and coffee.

Wristband Sales

Instead of paper tickets (which can get lost) or hand stamps (which can get washed off--you are going to wash up periodically if you're going to stay for 30+ hours in a confined space, aren't you?), plastic hospital-type wristbands are issued to Marathon attendees. The wristbands are colored and printed with the number and year of the Marathon. Since similar wristbands have been used in the past, both the color and which wrist the band is put on (right or left) are kept secret, to prevent people sneaking in with an old wristband. This year, the wristbands were orange and placed on the left wrist.

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The waiting line just before wristbands went on sale at 6:00 PM. The lucky first patrons run for prime seating. Erin Mays (left) and Patty Marvel (right, behind the woman walking in) are inspecting bags for glass bottles and metal cans (both prohibited in the Auditorium).
Note: Next Marathon, and for all subsequent Marathons, all alcoholic beverages will be prohibited, no matter what kind of container they are in. If you're coming to Marathon in future, leave the booze behind.
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People start setting up couches, air mattresses, and sleeping bags on the stage. More wristband sales. Staffers include (L to R) Karen Shoebotham, Bryan Inderhees, "M" Warren, and Ben Karas.
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(L to R) Karen Shoebotham, Bryan Inderhees (at cash box), Jia Doughman (legs), Lindsey McGowen, and Ben Karas (at cash box, next to Jia's crutches). (L to R) Jia Doughman (seated), Ben Karas, and Lindsey McGowen.

Waiting For The Movies To Start

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Note the live webcast computer on stage at the left. (at right, backs turned) Alex Parker and Stephen Trier.
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(seated on stage, at left) Stephen Trier. The concessions crew gets ready. (L to R) Dan Gronsky, Romy Lee (in red), two guys totally obscured by the Pepsi machine, Chris Hesse, Libby Moore, Chrissy Uhlmansiek, and Jeff Archinal.
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(L to R) Evan Mencke, Marie Vibbert, and Cindy Chestek. Elanor Drushel gets a 13th birthday present (3 days early) by attending her first Science Fiction Marathon. She's talking to Stephen Trier.

The View From The Projection Booth

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The lens of one of the 35 mm projectors. Looking down toward the screen and stage. Note all the mattresses and couches already in place. Elanor Drushel and Stephen Trier are sitting in the center.
The two 35 mm projectors. The air ducts are to exhaust the ozone and heat generated by the 4 kilowatt xenon lamps. There is no good cold air source in the booth, so it gets very hot up there when the projectors are running.

People In Costume

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Erica Talbot in her Ghostbusters! garb. A super-detailed proton pack, with real blinkenlights! Film Society Faculty Advisor Dr. Rich Drushel as Captain James T. Kirk from Star Trek.

Strosacker Auditorium Fills Up

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The balcony is full. Note the roped-off area (the first 2 rows), reserved for staff. If you have to work the Marathon, you ought to get good seating! Elanor Drushel.

8:00 PM Friday: Introducing The Marathon

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Paul "Froggy" Schneider welcomes everyone to the 28th Science Fiction Marathon. (far right, next to the webcam computer) Film Society Director Dave Kwartowitz watches the announcements.
Restless natives await the traditional rush to the stage.

Planet of The Apes (2001)

Joel Scheuer told me that, when the credit "A Tim Burton Film" came up, someone sitting near him called out, "So this is The Nightmare Before Creationism, right?" I wish I'd heard that!

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A test photo in the ambient light. I wanted to get the actual movie title logo, but it turned out way too dim, so I deleted it from the camera. Later, I would learn to keep the dim shots and try to rescue them in Photoshop (with variable results, to be sure). The NASA chimp who became Simos, founder of ape civilization.

Flight Of The Navigator (1986)

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The time-travel kid (right) talks to his younger-but-now-older-due-to-timewarp brother. He looks like Bobby Brady!

Trailer For Revenge of The Jedi (1983)

George Lucas wishes he had this rare bit of film back...but we're not gonna let him have it :-) Yes, George was afraid that REVENGE would make Luke Skywalker look he changed it to RETURN at the last minute.

Surprise I: Howard The Duck (1986)

George Lucas probably also wishes he had this bit of film back, but not because it's rare :-) The photo quality is so bad because the bulb on our 16 mm projector is getting old, and the image is much dimmer than that of our 35 mm projectors (which just got brand-new lamps and glass reflector mirrors a week before Marathon).

Camera Woes

Due to battery problems with my digital camera, I wasn't able to get any photos of Solaris (1972) or Thunderbirds Are GO! (1966). Elanor and I slept through Heavy Metal (1981) and Firestarter (1984), so I don't have any photos of those films, either.

Concessions Break

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The concessions area, sometime around noon on Saturday. (L to R) Nate West, ???, and Stephen Trier. Hot food menu. In the background, Chris Hesse. Chris Hesse (seated) and Chuck Sceiford (making coffee).

They Live (1988)

At least I think that this is from They Live...but it's so dim, I can't tell for sure. I think it's the hero trying to shoot at a possessed human while wearing those alien-detector Foster Grants. Another bad photo courtesy of the dim 16 mm projector. We'll put a replacement bulb into next year's Media Board budget.

Red Planet (2000)

This film had the two most egregious bits of bad biology in the entire Marathon. First, the supposed biologist on the mission said that the four bases of DNA are A, G, T, and P!!!! It's C for cytosine, you idiots! The audience was howling...someone (Greg or Damon Sutton, I think) yelled out "That's it, stop the film right now." Second, the algae-eating-but-blood-sucking Martian grasshoppers were referred to as nematodes!!! A nematode is a worm, not an insect! Arrrgghhhh!!!

We won't ask how a football field-sized patch of algae a few kilometers away can make enough oxygen for these guys to breathe without pressure suits and helmets, especially when there are 200 km/hr windstorms later in the movie...but it kept the movie from ending with everyone suffocated. (It let them survive to die in other nasty ways.)

Popeye The Sailor In The Ace Of Space (1953)

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Popeye, about to have his Adam's apple crushed by a Martian "Atom Apple Smasher", reaches for his can of spinach, the "weed" that is the source of his super powers (quoth the Martians). Popeye pilots a flying saucer back to Earth, after escaping from Martians who mumble like Red Skelton and look like Shrek.

Earth Versus The Flying Saucers (1956)

The new bulbs and reflectors for the 35 mm projectors are shown off to brilliant effect with this pristine black-and-white print. Very clear, very bright, a full range of greys.

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A gleaming American Airlines passenger plane, about to fall victim to a flying saucer from outer space!
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A scientist dictates flying saucer observations into his portable reel-to-reel tape recorder while his secretary/bride acts as chauffer. Gotta love the big-iron computing power, with plenty of blinkenlights! What is it, an IBM 701, ferrite core memory, and a FORTRAN I compiler? Wonder if it has transistors yet...
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I didn't quite snap the picture in time, but the scientist was holding his pipe in a very J.R. "BOB" Dobbs pose. A flying saucer (animated by Ray Harryhausen) attacks an oil refinery.

Break Time: About 4:30 PM

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Inside Strosacker Auditorium, the house lights stay low between films. You'd think it's night-time with everyone sacked out in the darkness.
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Outside in the lobby, however, the sun is still shining bright, and it's bitter cold outside. The Marathon, however, goes on!

Loaf (1991)

A parody of the alien-bursts-out-of-John-Hurt's-stomach scene from Alien (1979), Loaf was screened personally by the short's director, Kevin S. O'Brien. Kevin (reportedly) also brought his shorts Night of the Living Bread (1990) and Another Bread Film (199x). Thanks for sharing, Kevin!

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2002)

A very fun movie. A highlight was the audience clapping enthusiastically to The Chicken Dance.

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Horton Hatches The Egg (1942)

Warner Bros. cartoon director Bob Clampett's classic version of Dr. Seuss' 1940 story of a "one hundred percent" faithful elephant who sits on a lazy bird's egg through thick and thin for 51 weeks. And yes, this was the uncut version with the Peter Lorre fish's "Now I've seen everything!" blow-out-his-brains gag! I first heard The Hut-Sut Song when I saw this cartoon on TV as a little boy in the 1960s--and like Horton, I could never get the words right, either!

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Horton agrees to sit on the egg. Horton freezes in winter...but he's still hatching the egg.
"I meant what I said,
"And I said what I meant.
"An elephant's faithful,
"One hundred percent!"

Surprise III: TRON (1982)

We got it at last! TRON was booked for the 2002 Marathon, but when the film cans were opened, some of the reels were for a different film! Everyone was bitterly disappointed...but very surprised to see it as Surprise III. The print was beautiful...and we had to fly it out same-day on Monday to get it back to Disney in Florida for a showing Monday night! The shipping costs were as much as the film rental. But it was worth it.

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Audience call for Bruce Boxleitner (a.k.a. Captain John Sheridan from Babylon 5): "Everything went straight to hell."
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Notice the non-anti-aliased computer graphics during this long (4 frames = 167 msec) available-light exposure.
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David Warner stares at his "Death Star" display. Oops! I forgot to disable the flash!

Metropolis (1927/2001)

Fritz Lang's masterpiece, beautifully restored from all available footage and given an orchestral soundtrack. This movie is the progenitor of all utopian and dystopian science fiction in film. Metropolis may seem cliched to a modern audience, but you have to remember that it invented the cliches.

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Would that we could remember this today!
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The Great Machine, source of power for Metropolis. Freder Fredersen, privileged aristocrat in Metropolis.
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The Great Machine becomes Moloch, the Beast, enslaving the workers. Maria, the kind school teacher, who preaches compassion.
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Freder contemplates Maria, and becomes aware of the injustices of the Metropolis social order. Freder confesses his love for Maria.
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Poor Maria's life-force is sucked out... ...and transferred to Rotwang's robot.

Another Break: Saturday Evening

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(L to R) Jim Eastman, Ken Alverson, Graham Jonaitis, and Dave Monk (back in town from Seattle). (L to R) Stefanie Mellen, Dave Monk, Graham Jonaitis, Ken Alverson, and Jim Eastman.

Elanor Returns!

Elanor had left after They Live to attend a soccer clinic for Girl Scouts, hosted by the Cleveland Force at the CSU Convocation Center. The girls got to stay for a game (the Force lost, unfortunately). When it was over, Elanor came back to Strosacker to see the rest of the Marathon.

Stargate (1994)

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I fell asleep for the first part of the movie (which I've seen before, and like a lot). This was just after I woke up: the stargate travellers see the first signs of humanoid civilization. Sad to say, I fell asleep not too long after this and didn't wake up until the end of the movie :-( I did, however, make it to the point where the hero/linguist/"Chicken Man" samples a bit of roast alien slug and pronounces that "It tastes like chicken!"--the audience started doing The Chicken Dance from Jimmy Neutron then.

Daffy Duck In Duck Amuck (1953)

Another classic Warner Bros. cartoon, directed by Chuck Jones.

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Daffy is plopped into a Hawaiian movie. The animator turns Daffy into a monster. That's a rebus puzzle "screw ball" on his tail flag...
The animator at the drawing board is revealed to be Bugs Bunny. "Ain't I a stinker?"

The End Of The Marathon

I didn't take any photos during Impostor (2002), which was a real downer of a movie. Don't end Marathon on a downer! I also didn't take any photos of the approximately 1-hour clean-up afterwards. There were so many staff members around, and everyone had been so good about cleaning up as they went, that there wasn't all that much work to do. Everything was pretty much done when I went home, at 4:00 AM Sunday.

All in all, it was lots of fun! Make your plans to attend the 29th Science Fiction Marathon in January 2004!