Artists, unsung

My childhood science fiction education was very rich and thorough, thanks to my father.

His teaching methodology was simple enough. You probably have movie/book enthusiasts in your life who do something similar:

1) Ask me if I’ve seen/read something.

2) If I haven’t, put it in front of me ASAP.

He did this with books by Asimov, Clarke and Larry Niven. It was the same on movie front, mostly 80s to early 90s cyber punk ballads. ‘Blade Runner,’ the first two ‘Terminator’ movies, ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens.’

So basically anything Ridley Scott or James Cameron.

“You gotta read/watch this, Ry.”

It wasn’t just that he viewed these books films through a wide angle lens of fondness; he asserted their importance in the genre, the marks they made.

There were three films from a certain ‘Star Trek’ franchise – you may have heard of it – on this list, too, specifically the second, third and fourth movies in the original run of films: ‘The Wrath of Khan,’ ‘The Search For Spock,’ ‘The Voyage Home.’

It’s very difficult to discuss these films without dropping spoilers, so if you haven’t seen them, just know this “trilogy” of sorts starts with a major shakeup, that every other plot point revolves, in some way, around it.

My dad passed on his love of these films to me. (The sixth film in the original film series, ‘The Undiscovered Country,’ is also magnificent.)

So imagine my genuine surprise at learning one of the key figures behind the camera of those three ‘Star Trek’ films had been living in the Rogue Valley for several years and passed away two weeks ago.

Producer Harve Bennett, of Ashland and Jacksonville, was 84 years old when he died Feb. 25 at Providence Medford Medical Center. Bennett is credited as one in a handful of people who saved ‘Star Trek’ from fading away after the first film hit the silver screen. It did well financially, but didn’t wow a lot of the fans. Bennett changed the game up with ‘Wrath of Khan,’ and the series soldiered on, popular and acclaimed as ever.

This is the second time I wrote about a sci-fi film’s unsung hero passing away in Jackson County. Previously, I wrote such a story about Morgan Paull of ‘Blade Runner.’

Paull played Holden, a character tasked with zeroing in on artificial humans — or “replicants,” who were created and used for slave labor out in space but outlawed on Earth — and using oral tests before “retiring” them. (See also: ‘Kill.’)

Paull delivers a famous line from the movie – “You know what a turtle is?” – during such a test.

There’s something that’s made me a bit more pensive about the passings of Bennett and Paull, more than, say, the recent death of ‘Star Trek’s’ Leonard Nimoy or the recent near-death of ‘Blade Runner’s’ Harrison Ford. Maybe it’s because I think all four men deserve the same sort of recognition.

The masses remember Leonard Nimoy, send good thoughts to an injured Harrison Ford. The geeks and fanboys remember people like Bennett and Paull, and our appreciation runs much deeper, I think.

So rest in peace, Harve Bennett. My dad will never be at a loss of things to say about the art you helped create.

Me either, really.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Categories

  • Archives