Monday, 30 April 2012

Space: 1999 (1975)

Space: 1999 was the last of the great Gerry and Sylvia Anderson collaborative series.  It came into being as a proposal for a restructured second series of Anderson’s UFO.  UFO: 1999 was to have moved nearly all the action to the moon as the front-line of Earth defence against the alien intruders as ratings had revealed the moon-centric stories were far more popular with audiences.  Unfortunately, as the UFO ratings took a slump towards the end of its run, the second series was shelved until Anderson perceived of it as something new and separate.
Several re-workings of the premise and few title changes down the line and Space: 1999 hit the ATV Midlands franchise of the ITV network on Thursday 4th September 1975.  And I remember sitting down to watch it.  And it was good.
Like all of Anderson’s productions it had style coming out of every airlock, with ships, guns, communicators, corridors, costumes and even soft furnishing looking as sleek and futuristic as possible.  And the space suits were pretty good as well.  Though not by any stretch a classic design, they are perhaps just a little too practical to ever be considered cool or sexy, they never the less stand out if only for their oranges and lemons colour scheme.  I suspect that lessons learnt about difficulty of movement, speed of dressing and overheating while filming for the moon scenes in UFO lead to a few of the more practical design and material choices being made here.  And that’s understandable really because no one should suffer for other people’s art.
A second series went into production early in 1976 and although there were a few cast changes and even further sexing up the sci-fi’ness of the show, I can’t see that the suits were ever improved upon in any way.
From a personal point of view I was always rather taken with the chest units and the space age font with which they were numbered.  I can see a Kubrick 2001 influence in their look which had passed me by until now.  But that’s not a bad place to draw inspiration from after all they’re still doing it to this day.
Enjoy the rest of the pictures and know that there’s some really good finds on the way for May.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Moon Zero Two (1969) Dead on the Moon

At some point we're going to have to talk about the suits used for this sequence of the film but not just yet.  For now lets add another image to the Skulls in Space label


Moon Zero Two (1969) Gallery

Time for a reminder of just how cool these are with a little gallery of goodness

I did actually used to be the manager of a comic book store in a past life which is why I'm allowed to say:

"Best Spacesuits Ever"


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Scooby-Doo Where Are You - Spooky Space Kook (1969)

Scooby-Doo was my favourite show as a youngster.  At least I remember saying that when I was asked at school, aged about 6.
I don't think it was actually true but I do remember watching it a lot.  I also remember wishing that just once, in one episode, that the monster would have been a real monster and not just some bloke in a mask.  Not sure that's ever actually happened though.
I could give you the plot breakdown for the episode but it's pretty much the usual.  The spacesuit its self is not especially noteworthy but there's a new tag now for 'Skulls in Space' and this is a fine and relatively early example of it.
What is there left to say except he most probably would have got away with it, too, if it hadn't have been for those meddling kids!


World Zero Minus (1971)

See we don't just bring you the best of Spacemen here on this blog, we'll bring you the worst as well. 

This photo cover for the 1971 anthology looks like it was knocked up in half an hour by somebody that had already had the money up front and wasn't planning on working as a cover artist ever again.

Some covers are so bad they're good but this isn't one of them.  Did make me laugh though.


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Mr Benn - The Spaceman (1971)

Originally created, written and illustrated by David McKee.  Mr Benn began life in book form before developing into a very popular children's TV series at the start of the 1970's.
Each week Mr Benn would go to a magical fancy dress shop to try on one of the costumes and then when he left the changing room  he would have a related adventure, returning to the shop thereafter with a souvenir from whichever land he had just been in

Caveman, Wizard, Clown and  Knight to name but 4 of them and Spaceman to name a 5th.
Much loved by a whole generation who watching this stuff endlessly repeated on British television.  The nostalgia attached is such that you can even sell a rather nice collectible range of ornaments to those very same children now that they've grown up to become middle aged with kids of there own.  As well as the books and the DVD's of course.
No I don't own this but it is a good way to appreciate the space suite in slightly more detail.



Thursday, 5 April 2012

Owl City - Alligator Sky (2011)

There are four versions of this song apparently.  This is the video for the first which featured rapper Shawn Chrystopher along with Mr Owl City himself; Adam Young.  It's a great song with a stunningly good video which you can go and enjoy on line in a number of places but I just love, love, love these space suits.