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Ira Friedman tells us about
The Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine

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The Official Collector's Edition Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine is a great source of information and we hope you enjoy reading it on this site. Ira Friedman who published the magazine has been kind enough to tell how it all came about. (And don't miss the opportunity at the bottom of the page to get yourself one of the few remaining mint copies that he still has!)

Just prior to getting involved with the Blade Runner project, I was living in Los Angeles and working for Lucasfilm, George Lucas' entertainment company. While George was based in Northern California (Marin County) where ILM was located along with other key filmmaking talent, the corporate headquarters were in North Hollywood, just across the street from Universal Studios. It was in that brick building, known to the outside world as The Egg Company, a variety of departments were housed, including: senior management, legal, accounting/finance, marketing/ publicity, and licensing, which included all merchandising, publishing and the official Star Wars Fan Club.

I was involved in the publishing area and directly responsible for running the fan club operations. Needless to say, these were very exciting times. I joined the Company in 1980, prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars fever was at a considerable height. This was also a time when a project called Raiders of the Lost Ark was in the early pre-production planning stages. I will never forget the first time entering the Egg Company building. That particular day they were conducting screen tests for the female lead in a make shift area of the building's interior courtyard. None other than Steven Spielberg was behind the camera taking a variety of actresses through their lines. What a thrill that was. Spielberg and his key production partners, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (both of whom have since become hugely successful filmakers/producers in their own right) were "holed up" in that building for quite a few months, giving the otherwise fairly corporate environment a real sense of fun and excitement. Sure enough, if was just a matter of time before the work done in those couple of "Raiders" offices resulted in the creation of another mega-movie Lucasfilm franchise.

George Lucas himself was rarely present (or at least rarely visible) at The Egg Company facility. While the building itself was fairly innocuous on the outside, the interiors were absolutely gorgeous in a subtle and understated way. The design aesthetic had George's fingerprints all over the place (along with those of Marcia Lucas, his wife at the time). Yet, George himself had a certain disdain for the Hollywood scene and pretty much stayed away from the place, leaving the business matters to his key management executives located there.

Everything changed later that year on what became known as "Black Monday" or "Black Tuesday" (I can't remember now which day it was). Regardless of the day of the week, this was the day when the president of the company (not George) called all the department heads together for a meeting. At this meeting he read a press release aloud which essentially said that Lucasfilm was going to be leaving the S.California area entirely and that all divisions of the company would be consolidating into new offices in N.California. At this same moment, the company president read a statement of his resignation.

Shock waves ran through the place. People didn't know what to expect. Would they be asked to relocated "up North"? Would they even want to, if asked? As it turned out, a relatively few people were "invited" to make the move. I was among the chosen few and while I seriously considered this opportunity, for a variety of reasons, I elected to move back to my home, New York, and start a publishing company of my own. This was something I had always wanted to do, way earlier than the Lucasfilm experience.

So, what does all this have to do with Blade Runner? I guess I can say that, without the time spent at Lucasfilm, I would likely have never gotten the opportunity to publish the Blade Runner magazine. As it turned out, Lucasfilm's director of publishing (a woman named Deborah Call) was not going to leave Los Angeles. She was joining up with a fellow named Charlie Weber, Lucasfilm's newly departed president, who was forming a new movie business. Weber had partnered with a financier named Jerry Perenchio and, among other projects (and partners), were producing the Blade Runner movie.

Upon hearing about Blade Runner, I contacted Ms. Call and ultimately acquired the license agreement to publish that magazine. This was the first magazine I had ever published on my own and I put everything I had into ensuring that it turned out to be a prideful piece of work. I made sure it looked good, read well, was widely distributed and publicized. The publication was the result of much passion and hard work. And, given the "elements" behind the movie itself, I expected the movie was going to be a huge box office blockbuster and, as a result, was going to sell tons of magazines. As it turned out, I was wrong on both counts.

Even though Blade Runner had Harrison Ford, Ridley Scott, Doug Trumbell, Philip K. Dick, Vangelis, Alan Ladd Jr, Syd Mead, among many other enormously talented collaborators, the picture proved to be a big miss at the box office during it's initial run. Certainly, based on expectations, Blade Runner was a flop for Warner Bros., the film's distributor.

The magazine didn't enjoy huge sales either. I remember going to an early press screening in Manhattan. Lots of people there, lots of buzz and anticipation. I had arranged through Warner Bros. to distribute hot-off-the-press copies of the magazine to all attendees. During the screening I tried to get a read on the audience's reaction. It was awfully quiet throughout the show. There wasn't any applause when the final credits began rolling. I overheard a handful of comments and they didn't seem very positive. But the real proof of their reaction was the fact that many of those freshly minted copies of the Blade Runner magazine remained behind in the seats, destined for the trash can. That was a humbling moment for me and a precursor for what was to become of the many copies of the magazine that were at that same moment being shipped to newsstands all over America.

Well, I chalked up my Blade Runner publishing endeavor to "experience" and have no regrets. In spite of it all, the opportunity was fun and valuable to me. And, as you all know, Blade Runner has subsequently earned itself the status of a cinematic classic, having influenced a whole generation of filmmakers, pop culture and people everywhere.

For anyone out there who might want to get their hands on a copy of the original publication, I do have a few copies in my possession, in perfect, mint condition. (My Mom somehow didn't manage to throw these away!). You've viewed the pages of this magazine electronically, via this website. Now, here's a last chance opportunity to get hold of this hard-to-find collectible. It's the real thing -- published in 1982 -- and once these publisher copies are gone, they're gone forever.

Available on a first come, first-served basis. $25 gets you one mint copy, protected with cardboard and shipped first class. Canadian customers add $5 and foreign add $10 to total -- in U.S. Funds Only. Allow 2-4 weeks delivery. For anyone interested to have their copy autographed by Ira Friedman, please specify. Autographed copies are provided at no extra cost.

Send check or money order only, via mail, to:

1036 Channel
Hewlett, NY 11557

December 2002


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