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UFO (1970 - 1973)
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Pow
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still more "UFO" Fun Facts.

In March of 1969 the Century 21 production relocated at MGM's British Studios in Borehamwood. This facility was one of the best-equipped existing at that time.

Special Effects legend Derek Meddings and his crew would remain behind at in Slough.

Construction work in Slough was transforming the two soundstages which had been previously utilized for the filming of the Supermarionation puppet characters in Gerry & Sylvia's puppet TV shows.

Now Meddings and his creative team would have three soundstages to shoot in now instead of just the one they had been using.

Meddings said that this expansion was crucial in filming UFO due to the larger models that were required for the live- action series which was imperative for a realistic look.

The building in Slough had been used for the Anderson's marionette TV shows since 1962 which was when the studio was erected.

Metro~Goldwyn~Mayer's British production facility was originally known as the Amalgamated Studios when it was constructed in 1937.

On July 28, 1944 Amalgamated Studios was purchased by MGM as part of MGM's plan to establish a more prominent position in the British film industry.

In 1946 the studio changed its name to MGM British Studios.

MGM acquired 90 acres of surrounding farmland which allowed the studio to create an immense backlot to use for filming.

Classic films that would be shot at the studio would be Ivanhoe (1952), tom thumb (1958), Village Of The Dammed (1960), The Haunting (1963), Dr.Zhivago (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

When the Anderson's Century 21 staff arrived at MGM British Studio in 1969 the film studio was the largest existing in Britain.

It covered 114 acres and 92,000 square feet was studio space that was comprised of ten soundstages.
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johnnybear
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The later nine episodes took on a more adult theme too along with a few new ideas about the aliens prompting several ITV stations to not show the individual episodes until two years later in a later time slot!
JB
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

What did the episodes show that was so objectionable?

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Pow
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2022 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The Patriot" was an unproduced script by UFO assistant director Leo Eaton.

Synopsis: Moon base Interceptors have managed to damage an alien ship which then crashes into the war-torn African nation of Gituma. The draconian and brutal government has nearly managed to overrun the Gitumian Rebel Freedom Fighters.

The Rebels rescue the alien pilot from the ship shortly before it blows up.

S.H.A.D.O. agent Alec Freeman (the number two man) is sent to Africa to cover up the incident since the world at large is unaware of the invading aliens.

Once there, he discovers that the rebel commander Major Davier is holding the alien hostage and wants to negotiate for his release. Davier is blackmailing S.H.A.D.O. & the United Nations for military support for his cause.

Head of S.H.A.D.O. Commander Ed Straker, does not want to be forced into a volatile political situation that is in the
all over the news. He also doesn't want to abandon the desperate freedom fighters to certain death by their own government troops.

What a fascinating take on the series. This script brings in a very complex international situation with no easy answers for Straker. He must obey his oath of secrecy regarding the existence of the alien civilization invading our world. Meanwhile, he is a man of compassion and hates the thought of leaving the rebels high and dry.

The real world meets science fiction can make for marvelous stories. A shame this was never produced, it could have been UFO's finest episode.
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Pow
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2022 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched the marvelous copy on Youtube of the pilot/first episode of UFO the other day after not having seen it in years.

"Identified" was written by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson with Tony Barwick, and directed by Gerry Anderson. It premiered in the UK on Wednesday, September 16, 1970 at 8:00pm.

The ambitious series remains entertaining and is loaded with terrific special effects eye-candy, the sets are still impressive looking, and it had a fine cast.

The costuming for the majority of the women who are SHADO operatives is pretty sexist. More like something you'd expect from a comedic-spoof movie like Our Man Flint. It may have been the times in 1970 but the "look" is both dated and silly. Women today would find it offensive.

Sections of the dialogue are weak. Sometimes it's melodramatic, and the actors perform at times in that stilted and stagey manner that seems to be a part of science fiction TV shows. Even Star Trek: TNG was guilty of this, and they debuted seventeen years after UFO.

Watching the scenes with SHADO's Second in Command agent, Alec Freeman (George Sewell) is outright painful. They have him playing the role as a smug man who thinks he's catnip to women. He tries to act charming with the gals but just comes off as dirty middle-aged man. I'm thinking that he was told to act like Sean Connery's James Bond. He later trades dialogue with the gorgeous Dr. Virginia Lake (Wanda Ventham) that is supposed to be clever sexual double entendre. It isn't. Embarrassing is what it is.

Plot points in this pilot don't always make sense either.
On his way to a meeting where he will be appointed the head of SHADO, we see USAF Colonel Ed Straker (Ed Bishop) on his way to meet with the British Prime Minister in order to offer him conclusive evidence of UFO landings on Earth. En route, the Rolls Royce he and General James Henderson are riding in comes under attack by an alien spacecraft. The car crashes but Straker is thrown clear and survives.

Now, I have a few questions about that scene. Just how did the aliens know that Straker was arriving and meeting with the PM? If they had access to his schedule, then that is pretty amazing intelligence work on their behalf. Earth is in big trouble!

Straker is met at the airport by General Henderson. So how come the aliens did not destroy whatever plane he flew over on when it was in the air? Were the aliens attempting to prevent Straker from presenting evidence that they were here? Wouldn't the fact that they fired at the Rolls Royce blow their cover? Wouldn't forensics later determine that the car was fired upon by an unknown energy beam? That would only give Straker more evidence of their existence to the PM. How smart was that of the aliens?

And of course we have that invariable problem whenever you create a show that has Earth battling an alien civilization that is supposed to be many years ahead of us in science and technology. How the hell are they unable to take out one lone car on a desolate country road? They're centuries ahead of us technologically, at least 700 to a thousand years according to Straker. They have star ships that can fly light years from their home world, weaponry we can only dream about. But they just cannot manage to blow up one Earth vehicle!!!

Other problems arise along the way. We see an alien saucer get by the SHADO Moon Base Interceptor spacecraft. It enters the Earth's atmosphere in order to fire on a SHDO craft transporting a valuable piece of electronic tracking equipment. Again, just how do these aliens get such precise information about such highly secretive operations? In any event, Straker has the Sky One aircraft separate from the Skydiver submarine (two of my favorite UFO vehicles) and emerge from the ocean into the air to shoot down the alien vessel. And it does just that.

Again, a question? Just how does an Earth aircraft manage to pursue an alien ship and bring it down so easily? Wouldn't the alien ship be faster, have vastly superior sensors, tracking capabilities, and, oh yeah, weapons? On this series the alien ships are rarely a match for a world that is a thousand years behind them.

I do remain a fan of the series, the cast, the marvelous production values and the legendary Derek Medding's and his team's special effects. However, we can't kid ourselves and praise the scripting as being the equal of the visuals consistently. The episodes have their strong story points here and there, but they also have plenty of weak ones as well. The show, as a whole, remains fun. It also is, in some cases, dated and lame.

Still, I do wish UFO had gone on for more longer than just one season. It was always better than Space: 1999.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2022 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Hot tatami, what a fun post, Mike! Very Happy

Your initial praise of UFO had me all set to watch the DVD-Rs of the series I got from the late Randy Everett! But then you dissected the episode and reminded me why I never could quite get through the box set. Sad

I remember hav similar objections to the plots which cooled my enthusiasm.

However, I'll offer a brief comment about this statement.


Pow wrote:
The costuming for the majority of the women who are SHADO operatives is pretty sexist. More like something you'd expect from a comedic-spoof movie like Our Man Flint. It may have been the times in 1970 but the "look" is both dated and silly. Women today would find it offensive.

Remember what the ladies in 1970 were wearing — especially the gals from swingin' England?





My point is that the UFO's wardrobe department didn't put the ladies in dresses that were short because they were supposed to be "futuristic", they were short because that was the prevailing fashion in 1970, which is when the leggy snapshot above was taken!

Groovy, Baby! Cool




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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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scotpens
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2022 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
The costuming for the majority of the women who are SHADO operatives is pretty sexist. More like something you'd expect from a comedic-spoof movie like Our Man Flint. It may have been the times in 1970 but the "look" is both dated and silly. Women today would find it offensive.

The men don't come off any better in the wardrobe department. I mean, what's with the fishnet shirts?

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2022 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Well, my goodness, Scot! You mean you don't you remember the fishnet shirt craze in the early 1970s? That's what inspired the strange uniforms in the picture above.

The guys decide that if the girls could parade around in their hinny-high miniskirts and flash their panties every time they leaned over, then WE should be able to show off our six-packs and burly pectorals!

The fade didn't last long, though. If it was a cold day, our nipples stuck out. And if it was a hot day, our sweaty chests were all too visible! Sad

Truly, it can be said, "Fashion is a fickle bitch." Rolling Eyes

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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