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Taking A Ride On The Moon

Taking A Ride On The Moon
Martin Landau & Barbara Bain

Scanned by Paulo Jorge Morgado

Married for 19 years, Landau and Bain present the picture of the perfect couple - happy and equal.

Barbara Bain won three Emmys for her portrayal of Cinnamon Carter, the super-cool, super-sophisticated spy on Mission: Impossible. Martin Landau, her husband and a respected actor in his own right, was originally asked to make a guest appearance on one episode of the show but wound up making almost 80 "guest" appearances over the next three seasons. Then due to contract difficulties, both Landau and Bain left, bringing an end of one of the most successful and exciting team-ups in television. Now, finally and happily, they are back together again, in a new series: Space: 1999.

The Landaus are, as you might expect, warm and charming people, but Barbara Bain's photographs do her no justice, she is much more attractive in person. Landau is tall, also striking, and has the disarming habit of turning his penetrating gaze on full force while talking or listening. The couple often complete each other's sentences, but isn't it to be expected from such an obviously compatible couple after 19 years of marriage? During the interview, Martin doodled on a notepad ("I started out as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News," he explained when questioned about one of his more elaborate creations.) Barbara kept busy working on a large needlepoint, a freeform floral pattern of her own design.

How did you both get involved in Space 1999?

Martin: After we left Mission, I accepted assignments that kept me traveling constantly. One year alone, I covered over 100,000 miles! I missed Barbara and the girls (the Landaus have two daughters, Julie and Susan). We realized that it wasn't enough for each of us to do our own series; we wanted to do one together. We were offered all sorts of scripts, but basically they were either remakes of Mr. and Mrs. North or McMillan and Wife or ripoffs of shows already on the air.
Barbara: It's important to add that since we'd already done a show together. we knew what we were getting into.
Martin: Anyway Gerry and Sylvia Anderson brought us the whole package for Space: 1999.
Barbara: We loved it!
Martin: 1999 was the most expensive series ever made. Each episode cost $270,000! The most expensive series in the States costs $250,000. And, if we had made 1999 in the US, it would probably have cost $400,000 or more.
Barbara: Everything was done right. The costumes are by Rudi Gernreich; Brian Johnson who worked on 2001 did the special effects.

Was there any difference in filming in a foreign country?

Barbara: It was fun. It was a great set. Our whole relationship to every one was fantastic. The crew was full of cute, funny people. And we had no trouble communicating, except when you get a guy who speaks with a cockney accent.
Martin: We had a cockney first director. He'd say something and I'd go 'huh'? It didn't even sound like English. I thought I was in Bulgaria. And there were the tea breaks...
Barbara: ... ten in the morning and three-thirty in the afternoon. A tea trolley with a little lady would come around and everything would stop. We could have been right in the middle of an emotional scene... Anything! Everything stopped for a 'cuppa.'

People are bound to make comparisons between Space 1999 and Star Trek...

Martin: lt's ironic. When we were filming Mission, Star Trek was being done on the very next sound stages. In fact, we even began and ended on the same years. Space: 1999 is science fiction, but our characters are based in "now," in the beginning of the space age. We're not set 2000 years in the future. And we're not bold explorers. We don't even have a spaceship! We're flung into space as an accident and it's really the story of our struggle for survival.

There seems to be a feeling that a romance will break out between Commander Koenig (Landau) and Doctor Russell (Bain).

Barbara: (laughing) Why not?

You still have your fans from Mission days?

Martin: Let me tell you what happened one day. I was in a Japanese restaurant, the kind where you don't see another American face all day long. I walked in and this guy jumps over the counter and literally attacks me, shouting, "Hi! Hi!" I was petrified. I didn't know what I had done and he had me in this bear hug and was spouting Japanese at me a mile a minute. Finally, the owner came over to me and said: ".Mr. Landau. this man has only been in the United States for a few weeks and he doesn't know anyone, You're the first familiar face he's seen since he got here!"
I speak perfect Japanese over there. It's dubbed, of course, but isn't that something that he recognized me?

The Landaus are back for a long while, we hope, but do they have other plans for the future? "We're waiting to see how the series does," Barbara said. If 1999 is successful, it would mean shuttling back to England for another six months, a prospect they didn't seem to mind in the least.

- SHERRY ROMEO

[Captioned Photos]

Sherry Romeo also interviewed the Landaus in the 1976 article Luna Love Story