In 1999 there are 300 men and women living and working on a base on the Moon, Moonbase Alpha. On 13th September 1999, stored nuclear waste on the Moon explodes, flinging the Moon out of orbit. Drifting on a random course through deep space, the Moon and the crew of Alpha encounter aliens and strange worlds.
This was the basic premise of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s TV sci-fi cult success of 1975-1977. Many people associated with the series would become leading exponents of their field. Special effects director Brian Johnson and most of his team would later go on to work on Ridley Scott’s Alien as well as Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The lead character of Commander John Koenig was played by Martin Landau who at that time was relatively unknown except for his role in TV’s Mission Impossible. He would later be nominated for the Oscars three times, finally winning for Best Supporting Actor in 1994 for his role in the movie Ed Wood.
This was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. The beautifully designed and crafted models of the Eagle Transporter was the work of Martin Bower who also did work for Aliens. The Eagle Transporter was one of my most common subjects when I drew or doodled during a boring class session in school.
The opening sequence of the show always replayed the crucial fireworks of 13th September 1999 which started the moon and its stranded adventurers on its hurtling journey through space. Such fireworks are a fitting way to celebrate another anniversary on the same day (though not same year)…….my birthday.
I had a great birthday yesterday which I spent seeing off a pesky bear and then celebrating with a large crab dinner. It was a good day.