The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #308: Welcome Lance Guest to Discuss The Wizard of Loneliness Part 1
Today, I’m joined by actor Lance Guest (who you may know as the lead character, Alex Rogan, of one of my favorite films, The Last Starfighter) to talk about his favorite project, the 1988 film, The Wizard of Loneliness. It was a pleasure and an honor to talk with him about this bittersweet, slice-of-life film that I saw once as a child but didn’t quite understand at the time. I wanted to see what it was like viewing it as an adult and am really glad I gave it a second chance! This first part of the podcast will focus mostly on the film, and next week, we’ll talk about some aspects of the film’s enchanting score and some of Lance’s other projects as well as the book The Wizard of Loneliness was based on (after our conversation, I figured I should go and track down a copy of the novel to see if it answered some questions I still had about the film – the movie and the novel are really quite similar in some ways, though there are some key differences that we’ll talk about next week).
A few screencaps from the film (I don’t think this movie was ever released on DVD; I ended up finding a copy on eBay and digitizing it). Here is Lance’s character – auto mechanic John T Oler.
John T lives with his elderly parents and older sister in a large, rural Vermont home. He takes the main character, Wendall (played by Lukas Haas), under his wing and tries to help him discover some aspects of his childhood, like playing baseball and lighting fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Speaking of which, there’s a really fun little scene that ties in with Independence Day, which is why I tried to time this episode to the US’ birthday this week. It was really interesting to learn that this part of the film was actually filmed in the late fall!
As a former New Englander, this was one of my favorite scenes in the film, a motorcycle ride through the country throwing the beautiful Vermont countryside.
There is a video segment to this podcast which can be found here that gives you visuals for the video clips we’re watching together:
If you’d like to watch the film in full, there are not that many places you can find it, unfortunately. But if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can find it streaming there. Otherwise, you may want to look on eBay, as I did, to see if you can find an old VHS copy (though they tend to go for somewhat high prices). If you are lucky, you might be able to find one in your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for a fraction of the cost.
We’ll talk more about the characters in the novel next week, but in the book, John T was much more bitter and depressed. Lance played him in a less aggressive, angry way (in fact, he reminded me a little of what Alex Rogan might have been like a few years after The Last Starfighter).
If, by chance, you’re interested in what might have happened just prior to The Last Starfighter, should our hapless hero Cliff Secord (a.k.a. the Rocketeer) live to 1983, check out the shenanigans and misadventures that follow in the fanfic short story, “The Last Rocketeer”!
What would happen if The Rocketeer collided with The Last Starfighter? What would happen if Cliff Secord, our hapless hero from the 1991 film and the Dave Stevens comic from the 80s really did live in the 80s? Say, 1983? He’d be about 71. What if Centauri, the fast-talking game creator from the 1984 film, recruited Cliff for a special mission? What if, knowing Cliff’s luck, it all went bad? Will he reluctantly don his antiquated rocketpack and helmet for one last flight? Will his jodhpurs even fit after all these years? Read on and find out as world collide! Cliff’s back may not take the strain, but at least you can do so from the comfort of your favorite chair!
Stay tuned for more next week!
There are now Thirteenth Hour toys! If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.
If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:
Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.
Stay tuned. Follow along on Spotify! There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.
As always, thanks for listening!
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