The Catacombs Catacombs Reference Library
Space 1999 - SERIES ONE

This is the brochure given to the press describing Year One of Space: 1999. See also the Year 2 brochure.

Introduction | The Stars | The Regular Players | The Producers | The Script Editors |
Special Effects | Costumes | The Lighting Cameraman | Hair | The Music | The Directors

Special Effects

The special effects provide a major challenge in the "SPACE 1999" series. They provide some of the most vivid, exciting and imaginative aspects of the. productions and credit must go in particular to two men, Brian Johnson, designer and director of the special effects department, and special effects director Nick Allder.

Brian Johnson is one of the most experienced and brilliant of Britain's special effects experts, responsible for the amazing events to be seen in such movies as "Taste the Blood of Dracula", "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth", "2001, A Space Odyssey" "Mosquito Squadron", "Something to Hide", "Nothing But the Night", "The Blockhouse", and "The Tamarind Seed". For television, he has worked on "The Protectors", several episodes of "Budgie", "On the Buses", "Please Sir", "New Scotland Yard", and the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson puppet series, "Thunderbirds".

His work has taken him on location to most parts of the world, including Venice, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy and Barbados. But not exactly to the moon for "Space 1999"! His work for this series has taken place at the specially equipped studios at Bray, near Windsor.

His job includes designing models, painting original artwork, floor effects and directing the combined skills of his highly efficient 12-man team of special effects and camera crew.

Born in Surrey, England, his ambition was to take up flying as a career, but he was incorrectly advised against it on medical grounds. Instead, he got a job with a company specializing in the making of television commercials and after a time found himself promoted to the laboratory. The next three-and-a-half years were spent working with cameras on a variety of film documentaries and TV commercials, and then as an assistant on feature films:

National Service, performing various duties in RAF Transport Command, interrupted his promising career, but when demobbed he found himself working on visual effects camerawork, a field in which he has specialized ever since.

Nick Allder was born into the film industry. His father, the late John Allder, was a camera engineer, and Nick began his career as an assistant rostrum cameraman with a film company making commercials. Eight years later, he switched to camera special effects, at first working exclusively on motion pictures on films offering an enormous challenge to the special effects team.

Nick spent eleven months in Egypt working on the epic-scale "Khartoum", starring Charlton Heston; then the award-winning "A Man For All Seasons"; after this, to Malta for a thriller, "Twist Of Sand", then two years on the aerial process photography for the mammoth "The Battle of Britain". From the air, he went below the surface for the underwater photography on "Submarine X-l", and the under-water tank sequences for the Alistair Mclean thriller, "Fear Is the Key". Other films have included "The Music Lovers", "The Long Duel", "El Condor", "The Yellow Dog" and "Man of Gold".

Television has included, "A War of Children", and "The Protectors".

The Costumes

The futuristic costumes worn by all the players when on Moonbase Alpha duty in "SPACE 1999" have been designed by Rudi Gernreich.

It is not the first time Mr. Gernreich has looked into the future and, as it happens, to the same period. He was asked to design predicted 2000 AD clothes for the Osako Expo '70, and he caused a sensation with the unisex concept which has, in fact, taken its place in the world of fashion far ahead of the expected period.

That 'was not the only time Rudi Gernreich has caused a sensation. He did so with the topless swimsuit, which led to scores of girls being arrested when wearing them, condemnation by the Pope and ministers of all denominations and threats of legal action and even helicopters being used to patrol the St. Tropex beaches.

He admits that his designs are often way-out - though not exclusively - but denies that this is simply to attract attention to himself. On the contrary. They are the developments of his revolt against traditional Paris styles. Probably more than any other designer, he has helped women to find new freedoms in clothing.

He is Viennese by birth and thought of becoming a painter until fascinated by the fabrics in the dress shop owned by an aunt. He began sketching clothes and did so well that a London designer offered him an apprenticeship, which had to be turned down because he was too young. In 1938, the shadow of Nazi persecution fell across Vienna.

Rudi and his mother escaped to America, where Rudi went to college and studied at an art school. Yet when he left school, it was to become a dancer with the Lester Horton Modern Dance group, and it was through designing costumes for the dancers that his future career took shape, initially in New York and then returning to California to design clothes for a film before setting up as a clothes designer in association with Walter Bass. Today, he is one of the world's most successful, and original, designers.

His designs for "Space 1999" are simple and shapely, tight-fitting and without pockets. They are essentially functional. And they are uni-sex.

The other clothing, including space suits, have been designed by the series' art director Keith Wilson in conjunction with co-producer Sylvia Anderson. They are futuristic, completely original designs which bear little resemblance to present-day space suits.

"A lot of advancement will probably be made by the end of the century", Mr. Wilson explains, "but this is not my main reason for doing something new and making them as different as possible. So much of the action in the series takes place against the stark black-and-white of the moon's surface that the suits have been designed to provide contrasting colour, also with the logical reason that those wearing them could be seen clearly."

The suits are made of nylon, well padded but very light and warm, with plenty of pockets and sufficiently flexible to enable the actors to move around easily and to take part in fight scenes when necessary.

Keith Wilson has had plenty of experience in making such outfits - but previously mainly for TV puppets! This was when he was working on the Anderson's series such as "Thunderbirds", moving into live action for the "U.F.O." series.

The Lighting Cameraman

Frank Watts is the lighting cameraman on the series, arid it is something of an anniversary production for one of the most experienced of television-film cameramen. Production coincided with his 25th year in the motion picture business, which he entered at the age of 20 as a camera assistant on the lowest rung of the ladder - a "focus puller".

Although he has worked on feature films during his quarter-of-a-century in the industry, he is exceptional in that since quite early in his career, he has specialized in television films. Very few cameramen can beat his record of film series.

As a camera operator, he worked on such series as "Sir Francis Drake", "The Third Man", "Man of the World", "The Sentimental Agent" and "The Saint".

As a lighting cameraman,- he has been responsible for the photography on "The Baron", "Department S", "The Avengers", "The Champions", "Jason King", "The Adventurer", and "The Protectors", and he went to Canada for the film series of "The Last of the Mohicans.".

Frank was also cameraman on the second unit filming the Brian Keith-John Mills-Lilli Palmer-Barry Moree series "The Zoo Gang". He entered the films-for-television scene back in his days as a focus puller, when he worked on "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and "The Count of Monte Cristo". These were to a large extent responsible for his becoming interested in the specialized technique of filming for television of which he is now one of the greatest experts in Britain, if not in the world.

In photographing "Space 1999", he is working on a series for the third time with Barry Morse, who co-stars with Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. Mr. Morse has running star roles also in "The Adventurer" and "The Zoo Gang".

Frank is a member of the British Society of Cinematographers, and among his recent feature films has been the Roger Moore starrer "The Man Who Haunted Himself".


Michael Rassner, of Michaeljohn, has created the hair fashion for Barbara Bain in "SPACE 1999".

The famed British hair-stylist is the man who did Princess Anne's hair for her when she married.

He admits: "The Barbara Bain assignment was a difficult one. Her hair, as it is today, suits her so perfectly that I doubt if she will change it very much in the future - even in 1999! I had several things to bear in mind. One, that Miss Bain is portraying a girl stranded on the moon when it breaks out of orbit, and as she wouldn't have hairdressers around her she would need something simple that she could control herself.

"Two: it was necessary to keep to a style that would suit her own personality.

"Three: that it would be her own hair and not a wig - and that she would therefore have to be seen outside the studios as well as on the screen with whatever style I chose.

"This is the first time I have been asked to look into the future and, frankly, I wouldn't like to predict what styles will be popular next week, next month or next year, let alone a quarter of a century hence!"

He therefore created what he describes as "The Timeless Look".

"It is basically classical," he explains. "The colouring is very much Barbara Bain's own, but I have taken the silver of the moon to symbolize the setting by introducing blonde highlights which give a subtle lift for the hair.

"She is lucky. Her hair is fantastically lovely. It is thick, strong hair which falls beautifully.......a pleasure for any hairdresser to work on."

Barbara Bain professes herself to be delighted with the result!

The Music

The "Space 1999" title music has been composed by Barry Gray, who also conducts an orchestra of 55 symphonic musicians. Music is also supplied by Vic Elms and the China Group, who supply the pop element which adds to the big, futuristic sound.

Barry Gray has composed all the music for the science fiction series made by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson over a period of twelve years, and also for their feature film, "Doppelganger".

The Directors

Top directors, with experience both of feature films and television films, share the responsibilities of the various segments in "SPACE 1999"

Charles Crichton is one of the "regulars". Formerly one of Britain's leading movie editors, Crichton made his mark as a director under the Ealing Studios banner, notably with the chilling "Dead of Night", then "Hue and Cry" which set the pace for the famous Eating comedies, and among others to stand out have been "The Titfield Thunderbolt" and one-of the greatest of the Alec Guinness successes, "The Lavender Hill Mob".

The many TV series for which he has directed segments include "Danger Man" ("Secret Agent"), "The Avengers", "Man In a Suitcase", "Strange Report", "The Protectors" and "Black Beauty".

Another is Ray Austin, formerly one of Britain's ace movie stuntmen. His switch to directing came by degrees when he directed action sequences for several TV films and he was then given the opportunity to direct one of the segments of "The Saint". He did so well that he was given another episode to direct and from this directed two of the "Department S" segments and was then one of the team of regular directors on the "Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)" series (retitled "My Partner - the Ghost" in America), followed by "Shirley's World" with Shirley MacLaine, and others.

He has also directed feature films, including "Oh, What a Lovely Way to Go", "The Virgin Witches" and "Fun and Games"; several documentaries, one: of which, "The Perpetual Garden" , won an Outstanding Film Award at the London Film Festival; and segments of such series as "The Ugliest Girl in Town" and "Journey Into the Unknown". He has also written several screenplays.

During his years as a stuntman, the London-born Ray spent two years in the United States, taking part in such productions as "Sparticus", "Operation Petticoat", "Have Gun Will Travel" and "Johnny Staccato".

Lee Katzin , noted American director of such movies as "The Salzburg Connection", "Le Mans" and other major screen hits, has directed the opening episode and one further story in the series.

Episodes have also been directed by:-

David Tomblin, who for many years, was closely associated with Patrick McGoohan on the "Danger Man" ("Secret Agent") series and as producer of the controversial "The Prisoner" series.

He has since worked as Stanley Kubrick's assistant and has also directed a variety of contemporary dramas.

Born in Jersey, Channel Islands, he has spent the whole of his working life in films, starting as a production office runner. Before long, he was on the floor as a third assistant and rapidly rose to first assistant. He switched from feature movies to television films as soon as the latter went into production in England, working for Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. and then on such series as "Scarlet Pimpernel", "Charlie Chan", "William Tell", "Danger Man", "Invisible Man", "One Step Beyond", then the one-hour "Danger Man" stories, a trip to Canada for "Last of the Mohicans" and then joining Pat McGoohan again.

Bob Kellett, who makes one of his very rare incursions into drama from his more familiar ground as a director of such film comedies as "Up The Chastity Belt", "The Garnett Saga", "Up The Front" and "Our Miss Fred". After entering the film industry as a writer in 1950, when in his early twenties, he became producer and director of documentaries, and then produced a number of feature films, among them "A Home of Your Own", "San Ferry Ann" and "Just Like a Woman", later forming his own company to make documentaries and features and both producing and directing films like "Grounds for Suspicion" and "Futtcocks End".

Space: 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment