What an amazing year 1976 was. Yeah, it was the bicentennial of the US – but that’s not what I’m talking about. What made 1976 special?
During a time in which sci fi movies kept getting darker (see Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, Soylent Green, and so many more), one movie shined a disco ball’s beacon of light on the world: Logan’s Run.
Yes, Logan’s Run premiered, ladies and gentlemen.
Before you get too immersed in my literary magic the likes that would make William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White puke, sit back and strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy, fabulous 1970s disco ride. Allow me to drop these 23 pearls of wisdom on you.
1. Logan’s Run Accurately Predicted Boutique Plastic Surgery
Neither would have happened if Michael York’s most popular movie never came to be. (Don’t try to verify that claim, either. Just take my word for it. I mean, it’s 2020 and everyone implicitly trusts everything they read online, right?)
2. Logan’s Run is Based on a Book
The Logan’s Run book was written by none other than William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. You’re probably thinking, “who?”. If so, you’re young like me (assuming you consider being born in the 1980s young. If you don’t, then we’ll agree to disagree).
George Clayton Johnson had some experience in sci fi writing. He wrote a few episodes of the original Star Trek series and a few for The Twilight Zone.
3. Michael Anderson Directed Logan’s Run.
The dude was a legend at the time. He directed 1984 (not the John Hurt version) and Around the World in 80 Days (not the Jackie Chan version). Both were huge – no – bigly popular when they premiered. 1984 is the yin to Logan’s yang. Sorry, that didn’t sound as perverse when it was in my head. Allow me to elaborate. Where 1984 was dark and dreary, Logan’s Run was a beautiful masterpiece full of color.
4. There are 4 Different Shops in the Mall of Logan’s Run
Typical of 1970s sci fi, Logan’s Run takes place in a utopian megalopolis run by a computer (it would be called “AI” today).
Members of the utopian society can go to:
- Hallucimills, for hallucinatory drug excitement
- Relive Shops, to relive a desirable memory of the past
- New You Shops, for instant and supposedly painless plastic surgery
- Love Shops, for, well, you get the idea.
5. Everyone Has a Crystal Life Clock Embedded in Their Left Hand at Birth
As they age, the crystal changes colors.
- White from birth to age 8
- Yellow from ages 9-15
- Green from ages 16-23
- Red from ages 24 to “Lastday”
- Flashing black and red 10 days before one’s 30th birthday
6. You Don’t Want to Turn 30 in Logan’s Run.
People enjoy a laid-back, sex and drug-induced lifestyle similar to Brave New World. Until they turn 30. In the name of population control, everyone that turns 30 must “renew” (aka, get blown up) at the ritual of Carousel near their “Last Day.”
Most people embrace the Carousel as lambs herded to the slaughter. Every now and again someone with an urge to live as strong as
Regis Philbin Charlie Daniels Fred Willard Little Richard Brian Dennehy Betty White would decide he didn’t want to blow up and he would run away. They’re called runners. Original, right?
Heroic runners try to escape the domed city to seek the safety of the mythical Sanctuary. Runners get hunted down by a team of pseudo-policemen called Sandmen. The Sandmen have a shoot-first-and-disintegrate-the-body-later policy. Otherwise, there’s no law enforcement. Because there are no other laws.
7. Logan 5 Actor Michael York was (Ironically) 30 Years Old at the Time of Filming
“I know, I was a fraud… nobody brought it up. I’ve always looked young for my age, so I think I scraped by.”-Michael York
8. Filming Lasted Only Four Months
Considering how huge the production was, it’s an impressively short amount of time. Production split time in MGM studios and Dallas, TX. Dallas seems a strange place to film a futuristic utopian movie. That leads us to…
9. Logan’s Run Also Predicted the “Malling” of America
Let me drop a history lesson on you. Back in the 70s, the huge shopping malls (that are dying out now) were a brand new concept at the time. They appeared futuristic looking and made a perfect backdrop for the movie. Producers opted to film at the largest shopping mall in the country at the time – Dallas Market Center. Sadly, it’s the same place where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
10. There was a No-Bra Policy for Filming
Michael Anderson’s crew packed a ton of young people into the mall as extras, implemented a no-bra policy for the women, and filmed the necessary scenes. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to find one single female in the movie that has a bra on.
As if a no-bra policy wasn’t
sexist enough to spice up the sexiness in Logan’s Run, actress Jenny Agutter wore what York referred to as an “undress”. In later interviews, she expressed her discomfort and embarrassment in wearing it.
11. Hot Texas Temps Made the Sandman Costumes Uncomfortable
Although actors put up with the hot Texas temperatures, itchy nylon costumes (see the Sandmen costumes specifically), and malfunctioning Sandman guns, they seemed to enjoy the filming experience. York and Agutter both spoke highly of director Anderson during interviews.
12. The Geekiest Part of Filming: The Hologram
Yes. Michael York received the distinction of being the first actor to be portrayed by hologram in a movie. A real hologram! York recalled traveling to San Francisco to use the hologram to film the interrogation scene that appears towards the end of the movie. The result isn’t exactly spectacular to see today, but it was ground-breaking at the time.
13. As if the Movie Wasn’t Sexy Enough, They Added Farrah Fawcett to the Cast
That’s right. It’s 1976 – the year that made Farrah Fawcett a household name. York happened to be over a friend’s house and noticed “on the tennis court was this vision of loveliness, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, with this hair.” He ended up convincing the casting department to cast her as the character Holly.
“So, I am responsible entirely for Farrah Fawcett’s amazing career.”– Michael York jokes
What made 1976 so special for Farrah Fawcett?
- She appears as Holly in Logan’s Run. Boom.
- She locks in a poster deal that eventually became the most sold poster in the history of horny teenagers. Boom.
- She stars in the popular TV series Charlie’s Angels. Boom.
Fawcett’s big year didn’t hurt movie ticket sales for Logan’s Run, either. The movie, rumored to cost around $9 million to produce, earned over $25 million at the box office. Not too shabby.
14. There was a Spin-Off Prime-Time TV Series on CBS, but it was Horrendous
Luckily both York and Agutter declined to appear in it. It was canceled after 14 episodes. That’s about 14 more than it should have had.
15. Michael York, now 78, Suffers From a Rare and Destructive Blood-Plasma Disorder Called Amyloidosis
It affects only about 50,000 people worldwide. A stem-cell implant likely saved his life, as he’s been in remission for over four years. According to the Mayo Clinic, there could be three major complications resulting from amyloidosis.
- Heart. Amyloid, an abnormal protein, reduces your heart’s ability to fill with blood between heartbeats. Less blood is pumped with each beat, and you may experience shortness of breath. If amyloidosis affects your heart’s electrical system, your heart rhythm may be disturbed. Amyloid-related heart problems can become life-threatening.
- Kidneys. Amyloid can harm the kidneys’ filtering system, causing the protein to leak from your blood into your urine. The kidneys’ ability to remove waste products from your body is lowered, which may eventually lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis.
- Nervous system. You may experience pain, numbness, or tingling of your fingers or numbness, lack of feeling, or a burning sensation in your toes or the soles of your feet. If amyloid affects the nerves that control your bowel function, you may experience periods of alternating constipation and diarrhea. If it affects the nerves that control blood pressure, you may feel faint after standing up too quickly.
16. The End Scene of the Gorgeous Geometric Water Pools is a Real Place – the Water Gardens in Ft. Worth, TX
The Fort Worth Water Gardens, built in 1974, is located on the south end of downtown Fort Worth between Houston and Commerce Streets next to the Fort Worth Convention Center. You can go to visit it today.
17. Although Blatantly Obvious Today, the Domed City was Small-Scale Miniature
The set crew used a scale of 1/400 for the exterior and 1/48 for the interior. They used Sepulveda Dam’s large concrete area to film people walking around. Later, that footage was matted with the film of the miniature model of the city to produce the effect of people walking about in the city.
18. Matte Painting Artists Created the Backdrops
Many scenes in the movie (including a decaying Washington, D.C.) used master painters to create matte painting backdrops. By the mid-1980s, computer graphics program advancements allowed matte painters to work digitally rather than painting large sheets of glass.
19. The Crew Got Creative for the “Stickman” Scene
A stickman riding a jet-propelled drone-looking vehicle sprays a dead runner’s body. In the movie, the spray substance dissolves the body, eliminating the need for removing and disposing of it elsewhere. To accomplish the look of a body decomposing then disappearing, the set crew used styrofoam to create a figure of the runner, then soaked it using a combination of methane and ketone.
20. The Carousel Scene Set a New Standard for Highwire Filming.
Glen Robinson pushed the limits of film engineering by having 18 actors on a highwire while starting off on a spinning stage (both on the bottom and up top were spinning synchronously). As if that wasn’t enough, the crew had to depict the actors “renewing”, so they dressed them in fireproof clothing and attached small explosives to each. In the film editing process, producers simply cut the scene off as the explosion occurred to depict the floaters as “renewing”.
21. Cats Moved Into the Set for Two Weeks
The Cat Care Shelter in West Los Angeles provided the felines for the Washington, D.C. scene featuring the old man with all the cats. The cats actually lived on the set for two weeks filming their scenes.
22. Jenny Agutter Appeared in Both Marvel’s The Avengers and Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Keeping with the sci fi theme (yes, I know it’s disputable to call the Marvel Cinematic Universe a work of science fiction, but I hold to it), the Jessica 6 actress portrayed World Security Council Member Hawley. Seriously though, it’s awesome to see the talented actress appear in more movies that appeal to science fiction fans.
23. The Only Black Actor Cast for Logan’s Run Wore a Costume Concealing His Whole Body
The talented actor Roscoe Lee Brown was a master class in cerebral eloquence and audience command. Yes, his voice acting as the robot Box in Logan’s Run was perfect, but it would have been nice to see a non-white character in the movie. Different times, I guess.
That’s it! 23 interesting facts you may not have known about the classic sci fi movie Logan’s Run. Armed with this new info, head over to Amazon Prime Video and watch the movie!