Friday, April 5, 2013

Space Probe Nº 1 From The Twilight Zone's "The Invaders"

Here are some images plus a composite of Polar Lights 1/72 scale C 57 D Space Cruiser from Forbidden Planet painted up as Space Probe Nº 1 from the Twilight Zone's "The Invader's".

From Wikipedia"
An old woman (Agnes Moorehead) lives alone in a rustic cabin. She is dressed shabbily, and there are no modern conveniences in evidence. After hearing a strange noise above her kitchen roof, she is accosted by small intruders that come from a miniature flying saucer that has landed on her roof. Two tiny robotic figures, only about 6 inches high, emerge from the craft.
She battles them for many minutes, finally killing one and following the other back to the ship, which she proceeds to attack with a hatchet. From within the craft, she hears a voice speaking in English with an apparent American accent (voiced by Director Douglas Heyes). One of the intruders is frantically warning other potential visitors that the people on the planet are giants and impossible to defeat. The woman finishes her destruction of the ship, which is quiet now, and collapses, exhausted. (Prior to this scene, the episode has no dialogue.)
The camera pans, and on the side of the ship, we see U.S. Air Force Space Probe No. 1, and it is revealed that the "invaders" are humans from Earth and the woman in the small farmhouse was the alien being.

 The United Planets Cruiser C57-D is a fictional starship featured in MGM's 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet. The design used for the C57-D is a flying saucer, inspired by of the spate of UFO sightings during the 1950s era, and which itself inspired the look of the exterior saucer section and interior design of another iconic starship, Star Trek's USS Enterprise.

In the movie's screenplay, the ship carries no name, only the designation "United Planets Cruiser C57-D."
The saucer has a lenticular profile. Above there is a dome, approximately a third of the diameter of a lens. Below there is a very shallow cylinder of about the same diameter, and a somewhat smaller dome that ostensibly houses the ship's faster-than-light light drive engine and central landing pedestal. The precise contours and proportions differ slightly between the models, full-size sets, and matte paintings used in the film. On landing, a stairway and two conveyor-loading ramps swing down at an angle from the central base of the bottom lens shape.
The original movie blueprints for the ship's command deck show it to have a central circular "navigation center", reminiscent of the TARDIS console used later in Doctor Who, with a transparent globe centered on a small model of the C57-D. Around this central space are a number of wedge-shaped rooms, including:
  • A room with a curved table, chairs, and a space for books (presumably a galley and recreation room).
  • A room with the "communications center", a chart table and the "main viewscope".
  • A room with 16 bunk beds, with a pit and crane between it and the central area.
  • A room with 9 "decelerator tubes". The movie shows the crew standing within these transparent cylinders while the ship decelerates from hyperdrive, but does not reveal whether the tubes must also be used during the ship's transition to faster-than-light speed.
On the ship's mezzanine level there is an instrument station and other rooms that aren't seen.
The studio created a stage set of the ship's interior command and mezzanine decks and a 60-foot (18 m) semicircular mockup of the landed ship's lower half (with the landing pedestal and ramps). The sets suggest that the saucer's size is between 100 feet (30 m) and 175 feet (53 m) feet in diameter.
Three miniatures were used, of 22 inches (56 cm), 44 inches (110 cm), and 82 inches (210 cm) or 88 inches (220 cm) in diameter, and costing an estimated $20,000. The largest miniature, constructed of wood, steel, and fiberglass, which contained the internal motors for the ramps, central pedestal, and red neon engine light, weighed 300 pounds (140 kg).
In 1970 MGM sold off the largest saucer miniature as part of the large MGM studio auction, but there was no later record kept of who bought the prop. A North Carolina man, who had originally bought the miniature and stored it in his garage, hadn't realized the prop's market value until 2008; so he finally put it up for auction that year, and it was sold for $78,000.
The C57-D miniatures were later reused in several episodes of the Twilight Zone TV series, sometimes slightly altered for the appearance:
  • 1960 "Third from the Sun" — The original navigation center is seen, as well as the starship.
  • 1960 "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" — The movie saucer scene reused was optically reprinted but was shown flying upside down.
  • 1961 "The Invaders" — A facsimile of the original saucer model, used for USAF Space Probe No 1, was partially destroyed by the episode's sole (giant) character at the end of the episode.
  • 1962 "To Serve Man"
  • 1962 "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby"
  • 1963 "Death Ship" — This episode makes the greatest use of stock and new footage of the C57-D; it is identified in the episode as the Space Cruiser E-89, patrolling the 51st star system in the year 1997. Here the model saucer is shown using downward-directed rocket thrust propulsion; the identical crashed saucer already on the ground is a separately created prop.
  • 1963 "On Thursday We Leave for Home"
  • 1964 "The Fear"


Spacerguy said...

The classics are the best!

Warren Zoell said...

This ship was a major inspiration for the TOS Enterprise.

Manchu said...


Warren Zoell said...

Merci Manchu!!