July 13 in Sci-Fi History: The Last Starfighter

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Sep 3, 2019, 7:12 AM EDT (Updated)

On this day in 1984, The Last Starfighter premiered.

Starring Lance Guest (who was in Halloween II and later Jaws the Revenge), Dan O’Herlihy (who also played Andrew Packard on Twin Peaks and The Old Man in RoboCop and the guy who made evil Halloween masks in Halloween III: Season of the Witch) and Catherine Mary Stewart (an often-cast '80s girlfriend and a tough-as-nails survivor in Night of the Comet), the movie gets its real charm from the antics of the Music Man himself, Robert Preston.

The Last Starfighter is pure '80s aspirational fantasy as a teenager who's good at video games learns he's being tested to lead a fleet of actual starfighters on a mission to save a planet. He's kidnapped by a huckster alien and … like, does it.

One of the most impressive things about the movie is that it was one of the first to use CGI. The spaceships are clearly generated by a machine here, and at the time, this was crazy impressive.

No kidding, spend the weekend watching this movie. Show it to any of the kids around you.

Meanwhile, we definitely went down a rabbit hole of watching Robert Preston clips:

Tomorrow: Le films Francais du science-fiction.