Friday, August 21, 2009

Jon-Erik in oil

I'm not talking about Jon in those smothered, greased up, shake and bake photos Lennon had taken of him during his brown haired perm phase...

Nothing against Lennon the Photographer! He has taken some of the most beautiful shots of Jon-Erik, and has a special section for him on his website. You can also find all those images on the Jon-Erik Hexum Photo Archive. This series of me a slippery, ala mode feeling...

These 2 photos by Lennon are particular favorites of mine, I love how he gives Jon a seasonal air, brisk fall and late summer on the beach.

I'm talking about a gorgeous oil portrait of Jon-Erik, painted by a very talented woman named Charna. Charna is a true artist in every sense, put a paint brush in her hand and the impossible happens. I never met her in person, but she is a lovely and beautiful lady whose work is prominently featured on Flickr, where she is known as Walls Wear Art.

A few months ago I decided to do a massive overhaul of my website and I wanted a place to put every image and screencap of Jon and Voyagers I had made in one place. Flickr was my website of choice. One day I happened to see a series of comments on my pictures of Jon. It was Charna. She was captivated with him. I checked out her page and was flabbergasted at the quality of her art. I literally thought to myself that if anyone is going to paint Jon-Erik, I would love to see her try.

Wouldn't you know it? Not long after that, Charna and I had a few email discussions and she immediately went to work using one of Jon's Member's only Jacket portraits. She felt it captured Jon naturally, especially the color of his eyes. I also liked her choice, it is one of those pictures that haunts and soothes you. There is a deep calm upon his face and if you stare at the picture for a while, you can literally drown in the pools of his eyes.

Charna paints fast! Within days she had posted on Flickr with continuous photos of her progress. It was like seeing a master at work and the subject coming to life...almost akin to a male Pygmalion. Follow along with her progress here. It continues into the page before it.

Charna's strokes and the way she captured the lighting and highlights in his face and hair was amazing. I learned a new artist trick, work on the shadows at night, and the highlights during the day. I'm sure that's in no way 'new' but I never had a chance to do a real oil painting myself. Her work is inspiring to all artists.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jon-Erik's image in the mass media

An ancient Greek saying that has been passed down to our day is that a beautiful woman can have "The face that launches a thousand ships." Thus comparing her to Aphrodite or Helen of Troy. Late actor Jon-Erik Hexum is the male equivalent to the phrase. He has been described as regular 'Adonis' in both features and physique.

It is no small wonder then, that despite his very brief time in the Entertainment industry, Jon-Erik managed to inspire a few creative talents. And that his image, however masked/altered as you will see, has popped up in the mass and book covers, full novels, cartoons and even tidbits of his life have made it to the small screen. I and other fans have been doing careful searches and have come across some blatant references and some not so blatant, but I wanted to share them here.

1. Many months ago I had the pleasure of having an accomplished author, Yvonne Jocks, post comments on my fan fiction...and she actually liked them! She has published many romance novels of different genres. In one of her past novels, she created a hero by the name of Jon Erikson and posted on her website the following —

"I may have mentioned elsewhere, I rarely reuse character inspirations. However, there's one actor who shows up more than once in my work. He was in the first romance I ever completed, which still isn't published, as a medieval knight. He was the basis for Guy Poitiers in BENEATH THE SURFACE. I used him more obviously than ever before in GRACIE, because the actor is the late Jon-Erik Hexum, and I named my hero Jon Erikson!

I was even inspired by the relationship between his character and that of young Meeno Peluce in VOYAGERS! (one of my favorite shows ever) when I created the character of Gio, although Gio is younger than the character of Jeffrey in the TV show."

I can fully understand why she would be so inspired, even his name emotes strength, bravery and handsomeness. Plus, the relationship of Bogg and Jeff in Voyagers is so sweet.

2. In the mid 80's the popular Twilight Zone series got a reboot with, 'The new Twilight Zone. The writers very loosely based tidbits of Jon's life on a main character in the episode, "Night Song." His disc jockey days, subsequent fame and becoming overwhelmed by it all, perhaps a put-upon girlfriend?

Late actor, Antony Hamilton, was cast in the lead role. Hamilton, also an acquaintance of Jon from acting classes, was Jon's replacement in his last series, 'Cover Up.

In the TZ episode, a pretty disc Jockey has been haunted by the sudden disappearance of her love, who was a popular up and coming rock singer. The truth is at once frightening, disarming, and heartbreaking. Rather than give away the plot, why don't you watch it here? — The New Twilight Zone: Night Song

3. This is the original 1986 movie poster for the teen comedy/horror film 'Night of the creeps.' with the tag, "The good news is, your dates are here, the bad news is...they're dead!" Take a look at the inspiration for this sorry zombie. It was brought to my attention by another Hexum fan. The artist may have saw an image of Jon and thought, "Wow, he looks like a hot prom date, let's make him look dead and disgusting!

Little did they realize that Jon had died so tragically from a blank bullet wound to the head less than two years earlier. Despite giving them the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn't be surprised if they knew very well the impact this cover would have on those who remembered Jon. Sometimes feelings are pushed into the dust for the sake of 'artistic freedom.' I say it was a very tacky thing to do.

4. One day as I was happily shelving books at my job in the local library, I happened upon a paperback novel. It was old, worn and about ready for 'deletion.' I would have barely looked if not for the striking cover.

I did an enormous double take. I checked the book out for myself scanned the cover. I am not a fan of the Romance genre so it wasn't my intention to read it, but I had to share my findings with other fans. The title of the book is 'The Conqueror's Kiss' with a publish date from 1991.

Jon-Erik fever was hitting a new high then. The Fan Club was getting back on its legs and people still recalled Jon fondly. When I saw the face of the hero I was immediately struck with an image of Jon from a Voyagers! Publicity shot. So, I leave it up to you, give or take a few features on the character (They can't be sued now!)I firmly believe that once again, good old Jack was the inspiration!

5. This was so fun for me! Anyone remember the cool cartoon of the 80's Jem and the Holograms? It was many little girl's fantasy to sing, dress and look like her with her wild pink hair and makeup. We wanted her special "Jem star" earrings that could project holograms and get her and the band out of danger. We wanted to be loved and admired the world over for our philanthropic deeds like running an orphanage for wayward girls and feeding starving children. And most of all, we wanted a boyfriend named Rio, a Latin hunk with a fiery temper and purple hair!

In season 1, there was a 3-episode arch that featured Jem as a movie star. Her co-star is the handsomest man in you want to take a guess who he looks exactly like?

Aside from the features and deep voice, the character is nothing like Jon in his personality.

The cartoon is arrogant, mean to fans, and dripping with conceit...although Jon has been noted to say that he's amazed at his own "confidence," he coupled that with hard work, humility and graciousness for his chance at stardom.

Watch the Jem scenes I posted on Youtube!

That's all the references I can come up with for now, but I'll keep searching! If you know of any more please feel free to comment on it. I'm not necessarily talking about where they use Jon's name as a celebrity or reference for 'What not to do' on a movie set. I'm talking about those gut basic instincts you get when you see a certain character or photo, etc. and just get the feeling that they are channeling Jon's image. Things that leave you with a 'hum?' notion and make you feel like you've seen this guy before!

This is VoyagerG leaving you with one of my most favorite pictures Jon ever took...before the glitz, before the hunk...there was Jack.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How I fell in love...with Voyagers!

It was a dark and stormy night, it was definitely summer of 1993 and at that time Cablevision was like a new invention to my family who still live in the dark ages. I was just 13 years old and eagerly awaiting the start of 8th grade. Sad, yes, but I for one couldn't wait for the cooler weather and I always liked starting school fresh over.

I was particularly drawn to the Sci-Fi channel because back was cool. They showed tons of old kooky/spooky favorites and it was just very different than it is today. One day being bored, I flicked it on before the 5:00 mark, because, lo! That was when they showed 'The Incredible Hulk' and I couldn't miss that! It's still dear to my heart, as is Bill Bixby, but that's a totally different story and blog!

4:00 comes and I suddenly hear this rousing theme music and see white stars...Then...the zooming title! Hey? It's not as spaced out/Lost in Space/Galactica as I thought...the font was rather old English to me. What gives? Two figures burst onto the screen, a young man and little boy, they are soaring through the cosmos...and straight into my heart.

P.S~If you are laughing now, I understand. These are my memories and I take complete Poetic license with them! :P

The credits continue to roll...action, excitement, danger and derring do abounds, and my 13-year old heart skips a beat...or 2...the deepest and most elegant male voice ever...a very clean cut pirate...and I see the camera zoom up to HIM...

My heart continued to soar throughout the entire episode, which by the way, wasn't the Pilot. My first episode of Voyagers! was 'Voyagers of the Titanic.' So I was a little thrown off when I noticed that the boy, Jeffrey Jones, was older, and Phineas Bogg looked even more clean cut, like this —

Young girl's hearts are fickle, but I wasn't really one of those. Loyalty is just something that I can't help. Jon-Erik Hexum's image and voice was indelibly stamped upon me that day. Like many of his original fans when he came on the scene in 1982, I was smitten beyond words...and when he was so quickly and tragically snuffed out in 1984, well, I did not find out that he had died until 1995! At 15 years old (In this stage in the game, I have no bones about giving away my age..hehe)

I mourned just the same as those early fans must have. I did not have personal internet access. I first found out that he died from a friend's father. I didn't want to believe it, so I made a trek to my local library. I was able to access a very early memorial page for Jon...does anyone remember it? I can recall it had a ton of stars on a black background and I believe it had this picture of him..correct me if I'm wrong, please!

I came home and just cried my eyes out and moped around the house with dark sunglasses on because my eyes were red and puffy. My dad didn't understand what was wrong and I never told him. I actually never told anyone how I felt or that I even liked the show really. I just asked around if people remembered the time travel series with a kid in a red and white striped shirt. They vaguely did. The show aired in reruns until about 1995. I remember racing home by 4:00pm just to see it, forgoing a lot of after-school activities...I wasn't much interested in those until my senior year of High School because I, like Jon-Erik said of himself, was a really late bloomer...In fact, at 29 years already, I'm still blooming!

Fast forward to 2003. Since you're reading this now, just omni back six years. Voyagers! and Jon-Erik have been pushed into a tiny recess of my mind as it was filled with so many other concerns since then, jobs, college, spirituality, friends, family...and all that jazz. I'm watching this other series called 'Firefly' and I am all impressed with the rugged character Jayne Cobb...Adam Baldwin, my other movie star love!

Something about that character, the way he grumbled and complained reminded me of a grouchy pirate I had seen on tv so long ago....

I told my sister, and vaguely tried to explain just how gorgeous this pirate was...and then it hit me..VOYAGERS!

That was when my quest really began, I got a computer and home internet access in 2004 and just took off! What a ride it's been! My journey for all things Voyagers! has not has only gotten more and more refined and fun...but never tedious. If it does get overwhelming, I just take a step back. I'm not a true 'collector.' I don't have wall to wall memorabilia plastered all over my room. I gather information and I am a picture lover. I am happily content with scans! Lots and lots of scans of articles and images as my friends who are also my 'suppliers' could tell you!

I have met and developed good bonds with many fans of the series and Jon-Erik Hexum. They have been an invaluable asset to keeping my site running and growing to titanic proportions. We have shared so many stories, jokes, life musings/happenings, and have become a real friendly circle. Nothing could have been fully accomplished without their help and support.

The series is not going anywhere, in fact, all the fan promotion has paid off, since it was officially released on DVD as of 2007. I still have to force myself to be inventive with my website, videos and art. The sad truth is that Voyagers! only ran for 20 episodes, that's 4 short of one full season! Oh the heights that series could have soared to if the public would have just gave it a chance...or the networks rather. Perhaps the world was not ready for time travel...but come 1985...the genre exploded with the 'Back to the Future' films.

In 1989, the TV watching public was finally ready, and another great TT series was born, it lasted 4 years on the same Network, NBC, and most definitely had a Voyagers! influence~

May all your landings be soft!

Bear with me!

Posts to come soon, I'm still getting the hang of all this!