The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide
1973 casting list


Before Martin Landau was cast as the lead of Space: 1999, another of other actors were considered. Robert Culp is the only actor known to have been interviewed. The book To Everything That Might Have Been (2022) adds a list of other names that were considered, and a longer list that was proposed which includes William Shatner, former star of Star Trek.

Apart from Culp, it is impossible to know how seriously any of them were considered.

Among the long list, Shatner in particular seems unlikely due to the association with Star Trek, while another name, Roy Thinnes, had starred in Anderson's film Doppelganger (1969), during which he had argued with Gerry Anderson.

There are no references to Katharine Ross, originally named in Starlog #10, but Anderson has always denied they considered her. She was described as being "semi-retired" in the 1970s, mostly working in a few film and theatre roles.

These are some quick profiles of some of the names that were proposed or considered.

Robert Culp

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1930, died 2010, would have been 43 during filming.

Culp first starring role was in the western Trackdown (1957-1959). He was best known as the co-lead of the secret agent series I Spy (1965-1968), during which he also wrote and directed for the series. He won several Emmy nominations for acting and one for writing (his co-star Bill Cosby won). He re-united with Cosby in the film Hickey & Boggs (1972). He was also well known as Bob in the film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). Later he would co-star in The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983), for which he also wrote and directed episodes.

According to Gerry Anderson, it was Culp's desire to write and direct that worried him.

Gerry was about to turn on the charm and say how much he enjoyed Culp's hit show with Bill Cosby, I Spy, when Culp interrupted him. 'I want you to know I am a great actor;' he began. 'Having said that, there's something else I want you to know: I'm a better director. And finally, I want you to know I'm an even better writer.' Gerry decided that negotiations had gone far enough. 'I felt immediately,' Gerry says, 'that we had a complicated series here - a production-line going, making one picture every ten days, special effects... What kind of a nightmare were we going to have if the star believed that he could direct and write better than all the people on the show? I'm not saying it would have been a problem, but it could have been trouble and I couldn't take the risk.' What Made Thunderbirds Go by Simon Archer and Marcus Hearn (2002)

Robert Conrad

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1935, died 2020. He would have been 38 when filming started.

Conrad was best known as co-star of The Wild Wild West (1965-1969). Later he would star in the series Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976-1978); he also directed some episodes. A well known name.

Christopher George

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1931, died 1983, would have been 43 during filming.

He is best known as star of the series The Rat Patrol (1966-1968). Also of note is the science fiction TV movie and series The Immortal (1969, 1970-1971). In 1976 he starred in the horror film Grizzly, which led to many roles in horror and action B-movies. He worked with his wife on several TV episodes and movies, actress Lynda Day George (Mission Impossible, 1971-1973). If the Andersons were thinking of husband-and-wife couples for the series, these would be interesting candidates. He was not well known outside the US.

Larry Hagman

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1931, died 2012, would have been 43 during filming.

At the time, best known as co-star of the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970). He also directed the low budget horror film Beware! The Blob (1972). Later he would star in the series Dallas (1978-1991), earning several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. At that stage in his career, perhaps too associated with sitcoms.

Doug McClure

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1935, died 1995. He would have been 38 when filming started.

Famous as co-star in the western The Virginian (1962-1971). He had been a rotating star in the technology themed series Search (1972-1973), with another of the stars being Hugh O'Brian, see below. Later he starred in a series of low-budget action movies with Space: 1999 director Kevin Connor: The Land That Time Forgot (1975), At The Earth's Core (1976), The People That Time Forgot (1977).

Hugh O'Brian

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1925, died 2016, would have been 49 during filming.

Best known as star of the western The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (19551961). He was a rotating star in the technology themed series Search (1972-1973), with another of the stars being Doug McClure, above. Among his early roles was the film Rocketship X-M (1950).

Patrick O'Neal

Wikipedia, Imdb. Born 1927, died 1994, would have been 47 during filming.

O'Neal was suggested by the agency to ITC, but we don't know if they were interested. He was a guest star in numerous TV series and films from the 1950s to the 1990s, but he seems to have few leading roles.


Copyright Martin Willey