Thursday, 29 December 2011

Doctor Who The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (2011)

Ah! the Doctor Who Christmas Special from but a few days past.  Fun for the whole family and best enjoyed, I feel, as a casual viewer rather than a hardcore Who fan.
But what a spacesuit!  Only seen for a minute or two at the start and never with the helmets on the right way round but still, this has to be the best looking bit of kit for years.
I highly anticipate its use in a future episode and will be gutted if it isn't.  Too nice not to be recycled I would love to see it in its full face-forward glory.
With the exception of the top image, these are all behind the scenes shots.  I'll  post more and better when I can find them.


Doctor Who The Wedding of River Song (2011)

The revelation of the Impossible Astronaut...


Doctor Who Day of the Moon (2011)

The return of the Impossible Astronaut...


Doctor Who The Impossible Astronaut (2011)

Reminiscent of the the cover on Charles Logan's 1977 Panther edition of Shipwreck, here is the emergence of the titular Impossible Astronaut in the premier episode of the 2011 season of Doctor Who.
And you just know that, revelation aside as to who and why the astronaut might be, why they then kill The Doctor and quite how the Timelord escapes his fate, this simple paradoxical image is going to imprint on a generation.
This is a copy of a late 60's style NASA spacesuit because that's the era the story is set in. The modifications to the design are all on the inside but that stuff for a Doctor Who blog.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

I really like 2010.  It's a good film and in some ways its a better, more accessible story than the original but then Kubrick's film was experimental and was and remains one of the finest examples of the cinematic art.  They're two different kinds of beast I guess and I can respect and appreciate each for what it is.
My only real problem with 2010 though is that from a design point of view it doesn't feel like its set in the same version of the future as the original and the space suits drive that failing home more profoundly than anything else.
They're good suits and they would be fine in any other film but they lack a cinematic evolution
Here we have the Russian suit with the lights on the sides of the helmets and then we have the American suit with the single light at the top.
I suppose we should just enjoy them for what they are and try not to imagine what they might have been but they did miss an opportunity didn't they.


The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of the all time classics of science fiction.  Released in 1951 and based on the short story; Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates.
Klaatu the humanoid alien, with Gort his bodyguard robot, come to earth with a warning for humanity.  And that's about all you need to know about the plot really.  The rest of what it's about is the national paranoia manifest in the post WW II, Cold War era America in which the film is set.  And its all very very good so for those that haven't yet had the pleasure it's well worth seeking it out.

And here's some snaps of Klaatu in his space suit.
There's not much more to add really except;
Klaatu barada nikto


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Not Really A Spacesuit but... 3

George Sander as the villainous Mr Freeze from the 1966 Batman TV series.
He's not a spaceman of course, he's just wearing a specially constructed refrigeration suit to help keep him alive after suffering a terrible cryogenic chemical spillage at the hands of Batman.
They don't make camp TV like this anymore and it's a real shame.


Here Come The Double-Deckers (1970) - Invaders from Space - Gallery

Here are some much better pictures than I had back when I covered this episode of the Double Deckers the first time around.
Watching the episode again I noticed that the yellow and the green suits have white circular patches on the backs and I was trying to figure out where they might have been between this and their premier in Moon Zero Two and why they have this slight modification.
And then it dawned on me that these patches are most probably there simply to hide the holes made in the suits in order to connect the harnessed actors to the flying wires for the Zero G fight scenes at the end of the Hammer movie.  Get me, I'm like Captain Zep.
Anyway the only other question I have is what happened to the red and blue suits?  They're the only colours not to make it from the Moon to London Junkyard.  As speculated in the original post, I'm guessing that they were both too small to fit these actors but where did they wind up?  Surely they had a career of their own even if it was just modelling work on album covers or book jackets.  Anyone?
Enjoy the rest of the gallery.


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Zathura (2005)

Two young brothers are drawn into intergalactic adventure when their house is magically transported into space by consequence of Zathura, a board game they're playing.
There are asteroids, spaceships, robots, aliens and Dax Shepard as the heroic Astronaut.
I stumbled across this family film on TV one afternoon, knowing nothing at all about it, and found it quite entertaining.  Perhaps a little bit more than the kids I was watching it with did
There is a lovely 1950's retro design to the sci-fi elements which ties in to the fact that the Zathura board game is found in the basement, a lost toy from a previous generation.  And where possible the special effects are practical and not computer generated which give it an old fashioned; 1970's look from my own childhood.
The film wasn't a big hit and got very mixed reviews but I, for any number of different reasons, recommend it to any.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Say; Happy Birthday Spaceman

Happy first birthday to this blog and a very big thankyou to it's regular followers as well as those that just pop over now and again.  I appreciate all and everyone of you and still get an enormous kick out of watching the viewing stats climb higher and higher with each passing month.

To celebrate, instead of a cake, here's the cover of one of the Action-Man books published by Purnell back in 1967.  Artist most probably destined to remain unknown unless anyone out there knows better
Well there you go; a full lap of the calender and back round to start year two.  There's still plenty more stuff to share with you.  There's more films and TV, more book and comic covers, more toys, model kits and maybe even a few more real life spacemen.  The image file is already pretty full and I'm finding new stuff all the time so stick around. 

I've still not got the glitch fixed that will allow me to comment on my own blog and thus address your comments directly but I always look at them and often edit information offered into the post in question as well as name checking those that offered it.  Keep commenting.  Keep naming those unknown artists and keep suggesting stuff that should be covered.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Something for the Weekend 7

It's been a while since I've done a; Something for the Weekend post but this makes the wait worth while I think.
This is Martha Hyer in a publicity still for the 1964 film version of First Men In the Moon.  A lovely bit of ephemera this and brought to you just a soon as I discovered it.  There are a few other similar pictures out there of the scantily dressed starlet but I can only really justify showing this one on the grounds of the equally sexy spacesuit.

Hey Love, show us your Windak


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

2001 A Space Odyssey - Recycled

It's a reasonably well documented fact that after production of 2001 wrapped, Stanley Kubrick ordered the models, props and costumes scrapped so that they wouldn't resurface in other film productions and lessen his original in the way that they did in Forbidden Planet, for example.  Now bits of that film have turned up all over the place and for decades after.

Well Stan's plan was a good plan and it almost worked... but for the fact that nobody was watching for those cheeky skip-pickers that worked for B.B.C. tv.  Now these guys were expected to make something out of nothing on a regular basis and turn in movie quality work for pocket money prices.  And they did for the most part and I was and remain a huge fan of what they achieved.  They furnished my childhood dreams and made the imaginable seem real.   And they also managed to get their hands on one of these;
Two of these;
And a couple of these as well;
Which then resurfaced in the 1972 Doctor Who story The Mutants
The Blake's 7 first series, second episode story; Spacefall from 1978
The Doctor Who story The Pirate Planet also from 1978
And another Douglas Adams penned Doctor Who from the following year; The City of Death, 1979
And do you know, given the gaps between some of those appearances, I'd put good money on the fact that there are more of these random acts of unauthorised recycling as yet unreported.
If you know of any others then drop me a comments and I'll add them to the list along with a name check.  I'll say thanks now in advance though because for reasons I can't yet find the time to sort out, I remain unable to reply to comments on my own blog except within these posts

So, Joshua, many thanks for your kind comments the other day and I will check out your recommendation.


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) Blue

We'll be back round this way again at some point to look at the original spacesuits designed for this film as well as a bit of a breakdown as to what it was all about and my own personal thoughts on it.  However, just for now, here's that blue spacesuit again as first seen in; 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Except its not quite because this is a copy.  To maintain the integrity of his very original film, that cunning Mr Kubrick had ordered the props, costumes and miniatures destroyed after his production had ended and so much of what was needed for the sequel had to be painstakingly recreated from production stills.  And they did a pretty good job from what I can see but having gone to the cost and trouble of building the blue spacesuit again you most probably won't be surprised to hear that they didn't destroy it and it does go one to feature elsewhere.  Now we like that kind of recycling over here at this blog but Stanley must be spinning.


2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) Blue

And finally... the one they left behind.
The blue spacesuit unworn in the film and left upon its stand.  Which is why we get to see it again, sort of, in the sequel and beyond.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Not Really A Spacesuit but... 2

The Earth Dies Screaming, released in1964, uses the spacesuits first seen in the 1963 satire; The Mouse on the Moon.
Here they’re used to dress the killer robots that have been sent to Earth to mop up the last few survivors of an alien plague attack.
I’ve not had the pleasure of this little gem of British cinema as of yet but I will soon and I already know I’m going to like it. 
As a side note it was directed by the late great Terence Fisher who gave us Spaceways in 1953 which has also been covered previously in this very blog.