Day: March 4, 2017

UFO – Space 1999 – tape 2087

This tape opens with the end of an Edgar Lustgarten short, Inside Information.

Then, UFO. I’m beginning to get annoyed at the way the Bravo announcer pronounces the word ‘Shado’. He seems to say ‘Shadorr’

There’s no titles immediately after the Century 21 ident for this episode. Everyone in Shado control is smoking a cigar, as one of the staff’s wives has just had a baby. This triggers a flashback for Straker.

Memories

This episode is called Confetti Check A-OK and takes us back to when Straker was newly married. He’s just about to fly out on his honeymoon when he’s called back to work to persuade a committee that they should fund Shado. He’s a bit scaremongery. “Monsieur Duvall, I understand you have three daughters. I pray that you never find yourself looking down at one of their mutilated bodies. I hope that the next UFO incident is not in your home town.”

Straker’s job causes strain on the marriage as he tries to balance the job of setting up Shado with spending time at home.

It’s kind of interesting to see the Shado team in their pre-uniform days.

Casual Day at Shado

But his wife resents the time he spends, and it’s all top secret so he can’t tell her what he does til all hours. It comes to a head when her mother has Straker followed, and the detective photographs Straker picking up Nina Barry in a car park and driving her to the flat where the team is doing their planning.

He arrives home to find his wife walking out with a packed suitcase. As with all these scenes, she won’t listen, he can’t easily explain, and her father is banging on the door to take her away.

But then Straker totally blows any chance he had by hitting her across the face (in that 70s way that everyone did to ‘calm’ a ‘hysterical’ woman). But then, totally randomly, she falls downstairs, right past him. I’m at a loss to explain this. Maybe she fainted (a Gerry Anderson trope we’ve seen before).

She’s very pregnant at the time, so this is bad, but both mother and baby survive an emergency caesarian. Straker is cute when he’s looking at the baby.

Proud father

The programme goes back to the present day, and Straker gives the new father in the office a week’s furlough. So at least he’s learned something about work/life balance.

After this, recording continues for a time, with the beginning of an episode of The Protectors.

Then recording switches to Space 1999. A huge spaceship has been discovered on the moon’s trajectory. More fabulous miniatures.

Darians

This is Mission of the Darians. The occupants of the ship are in need of help – a distress signal is received. So an Eagle is dispatched, and they split up to investigate the very run down ship.

Cool spacesuits, dudes.

Cool suits

Russell and another Alphan are captured by a scary ground of feral-looking people.

Koening and Bergman are captured by the spacesuit people, and wake up to meet Joan Collins. She’s not looking quite so feral as the others.

Joan Collins

As well as the feral group and the Joan Collins Glam Club, there’s two short people who can’t speak. When one of them is declared a mutant by the feral mob, she’s bundled into a glass box and zapped. I guess they’re trying to Make Darians Great Again. Then they take Helena’s crewmate and zap him similarly. Lucky for her, she’s not a mutant so they keep her.

Mutant fate

Aubrey Morris plays the leader of the feral pack.

Aubrey Morris

Here’s another great matte painting of the ship interior.

Ship Interior

The chief of the Darians tells Koening and Bergman about the ship. Describing its purpose, he says “you may remember a ship from your own Earth history.” Bergman replies “You mean the ark.” I’m surprised at Bergman for describing Noah’s Ark as a historical vessel.

Meanwhile Helena is having less success with the Feral people, who have now stripped her down to her underwear and intend to sacrifice her.

Sacrifice

The Ferals are doing what they do because Joan Collins and her fourteen perfect Darians have set up their society with fake gods, and orders to preserver ‘the fittest’ and to consume the ‘mutants’ to gain vital elements for the continued running of the ship.

Koening rescues Helena, and leaves the Darians to their fate. There’s a short, wordless shot where Helena, Victor and Paul look at the seat where their dead crewmate would have sat, and the soundtrack recalls his earlier happy whistling. It’s nice that they take time to acknowledge that someone has died.

Next, another Space 1999 episode. Helena is writing a report. On a typewriter. It’s not even some kind of space typewriter.

Typewriter

She’s writing a report about Tony Cellini, who is imagining being menaced by a spinny light thing. He tries to get into an Eagle in his pyjamas, so he’s stunned by security.

If you freeze frame the stun effect it looks like they’ve just drawn zig zags with a thick marker pen.

Stun effect

We get a flashback to before the moon left Earth. Koenig was a pilot, not Commander, and it’s weird to see him with an orange sleeve.

Flashback

Cellini was the pilot on a probe to a new planet discovered on the outer edge of the solar system. Here’s a lovely space station miniature.

Space Station

They’re definitely going for Kubrickian gravitas with this one. The probe launches with Barber’s Adagio for organ and strings playing. I love the way the front of the ultra probe matches the Eagle (although I think the scale is off a bit). You really get the sense there’s coherent engineering in this world.

Ultra Probe

On the probe’s crew is the great Michael Sheard, Mr Bronson from Grange Hill, or Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back.

Michael Sheard

When they get to the planet, they find what seems to be a scrapyard of other spacecraft. They dock with one, and open the door, when something bad comes in. “Wind, noise, light, it’s pretty weird.”

The weird light becomes something even weirder.

Tentacle Monster

I used to love the pictures of this creature in my Space 1999 annual. I don’t remember seeing this episode when I first saw the show, so I could only imagine what it was. The annuals tended to make up brand new stories and use photos from the show as illustrations.

The creature pulls Mr Bronson into its brightly lit orange maw, and spits him out as a charred corpse. I wonder if this was ever shown in the show’s original morning slot.

When Cellini escapes the monster and flies the command module back to Earth, Helena is asked to assess his mental state, as Earth don’t really believe his story. We get to see Dr Russell in civilian clothes.

Helena in civvies

Back in the present day, Alpha discover the same spaceship graveyard, somehow, and Cellini has to face his monsters, so he leaves the centre section of the Eagle behind. I love it when they do that.

Detached Eagle

He tries to kill the monster, but ends up getting sucked in himself, but Koenig takes over and manages to kill the monster finally.

After this episode, recording continues, with the start of an episode of Wild Palms. The tape ends during this episode.

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