Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Behind the Irwin Allen Panel on "Hyper-Reality"

If you've seen the old Irwin Allen television shows Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, or Time Tunnel, you probably remember what I refer to as "The Irwin Allen Panel". In the early 1960s the 20th Century Fox studios prop department bought surplus U.S. Air Force equipment and made some modifications, including taking the indicator lights and hooking them up to a series of chaser-boxes, thereby producing sequenced blinking lights.

The equipment was already "old" but that did not stop producer Irwin Allen from utilizing them for his futuristic television programs. (Makes sense; 1960s aliens in silver face paint no doubt would operate 1950s Earth equipment.)

By the way, the panels appeared in the television series Lost. My guess is they are still available for rent.

When designing my (as of yet uncompleted) short film Hyper-Reality I used the panels in question as a guide. The story requires a retro look.

The photo affixed above features a crew member operating a piece of projection equipment.


Tibor said...

Cool! Did you assemble them yourself from scratch? How long did it take and how many visits to Active Surplus did it take?

Simon St. Laurent said...

Just a couple. I bought a box of 6-Volt clear light bulbs. I hired a guy to hook-up the electronics; Dennis Pike built the prop to my plans in his workspace. The whole build took a few weeks.

I had a ball designing that film.