Monday, November 16, 2015

Jupiter 2 Exterior

Okay, this model is really a cheat. I have used the lower section of the full-sized Jupiter 2 exterior with its landing gear as a base. The full-sized spaceship had diameter of only 43’-6”. The miniatures of the spaceship were scaled for a diameter of 48’-0”. The full-sized interior/exterior of the spaceship had a diameter of 47’-4”.

This version of the Jupiter 2 has the 47’-4” diameter of the full-sized interior/exterior.

The other cheat comes from how tall the upper deck portion is. To scale the miniatures all had an upper deck portion of 6’-0”. The same 6’-0” was on the upper deck portion of the full sized exterior spaceship. The full sized interior/exterior had sloped sides that continued up into the scaffolding of the stage. Here the upper deck is 7’-8” in order to house the spaceship upper deck interior.

Don’t ask about the lower deck.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jupiter 2 Master Control Console

This view of the master control console shows the panel as it appeared during the first season. Instead of a central control panel the closed panel could unfold into a pilots seat. This was perfect for the concept of a single pilot, but by the second season a second seat was added and the center panel became another control panel.

Here the view out the window is of Gate 115 (or, double one-five, as it was called on the second season episode “The Ghost Planet”). The gate is not exactly as seen in the episode. Design drawings indicated that the full-sized exterior spaceship was to be used outside of the Fox Lot Mill building. The location was the same location used for the third season episode “Visit to a Hostile Planet.” Here I have dressed the mill and painted it as it was intended.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jupiter 2 Interior Elevator

One of the most significant changes from the set of the Gemini 12 to the set of the Jupiter 2 was the addition of the elevator and ladder leading to the lower level. Along side of each are doors that would lead to storage compartments. In the third season the door nearest the elevator led to the Space Pod.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Jupiter 2 Upper Deck

I’ve been recently asked why I haven’t followed up on my “Lost in Space Design” book series. The sad truth is there isn’t enough interest. It took the publisher three years to sell 1,000 copies. The audience is just too small to make this labor of love profitable.

For those interested from time to time I’ll post a few images from the books that might have been. It was my intention to make a series of five books. Book One is “Lost in Space Design: No Place to Hide.” Book Two would have been “Lost in Space Design: The Reluctant Stowaway.” Each of the remaining books (Three, Four and Five) would have been dedicated to one of the three seasons.

The image here is from a SketchUp model of the Jupiter 2 upper deck. This model incorporates many of the set modifications made to convert the Gemini 12 into the Jupiter 2 spaceship. Here the new airlock, radio control center and storage room are located next to the improved master control console.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Hide Away Exterior

Another location featured in the novel is The Hide Away, a gay bar. The design of this building is based upon a bar never clearly seen in the ‘Back to the Future’ film series during the 1955 visits. The colors have been changed some. In the films a cheerful yellow and green base had been painted over the bricks of the dead-end alley. In my story the alley connects to Grand Avenue (New York Street) and the bricks are red to help the alley remain dark and foreboding.

The bar’s name is significant for a couple of reasons. First, blueprint drawings from ‘Back to the Future’ showed ‘The Hide Away’ as the name for the bar—although the sign is never clearly seen on film. The second reason is for the play on words. Hideaway should be one word when indicating a place or a location. But the action—to hide away—is what my characters are doing and they are using this location to do it in. 

The Alley

I used the Universal Studios backlot from the mid-50s to imagine Michael’s world in my book ‘Second-Story Man.’ But one significant setting did not really exist on the backlot—it was only a note on a blueprint. The note suggested that an alley would later cut through from New York Street to Courthouse Square. I liked the idea of an alley in this location and it served to play an important role in the story as does the dumpster in the foreground.

An interesting addition to this alley is the ceiling above. This makes the alley a bit more of a tunnel—always dark and foreboding.

Michael's Room Again

Here is another view of Michael’s room. His orange desk is next to the bed by the side where Carlos sleeps. The easy chair in the foreground provided Carlos with a comfortable place to read his books and stare out the window to the street below.

Michael's Room

One of the featured locations from my book Second-Story Man is Michael’s room. This location was not inspired by the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot but instead by a hotel where I spent many a long-term business trip. In the story the hotel is set in a converted brownstone building with newly renovated modern rooms.

Here is the interior of Michael’s room. It’s just a small hotel room with a little kitchen. Michael had left his computer on the dresser just below the mirror. That’s where Carlos spotted it in the story.

Brownstone Hotel Revisited

While I was writing Second-Story Man I kept imagining the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot as the home for my characters Carlos and Michael. Carlos has invaded Michael’s World so the reader gets to explore Michael’s World along with Carlos.

The art director in me had to create Michael’s World in SketchUp so that I could better realize it in prose.

This image is of Michael’s Brownstone Hotel. Carlos climbed through the open window just above the segmental pediment. Just like now the street was deserted, but it was late at night when Carlos came sneaking in. This is a view from across the street where, a day later, Carlos stands wondering if he’s made the right decision to return to Michael’s place.

The Hide Away Interior

In the book ‘Second-Story Man’ much of the action occurs inside ‘The Hide Away’ gay bar where Carlos is forced to endure many a night hanging out with the pool boys. Across the bar is where Michael hangs out with his friends over by the far exit door.

My last blog posting is from Michael’s point of view across the bar to where Carlos hangs out.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Second-Story Man Release Party

Today is the release date of my book 'Second-Story Man' and I'm having a Release Party at the Dreamspinner Press blog site. Come check out the blog to learn more about the book.

In the meantime here is a SketchUp image from the interior of The Hide Away. It's a little bar that the main characters from the book visit often. One of the nice things about being a writer and a designer is my ability to truly visualize the places that I write about. In fact, I made some changes in the book to the description of this bar once I completed this design.

The bar fits into a space, behind a facade, on the Universal Studios backlot circa 1950. But this interior never truly existed. When I designed it I was looking for a trendy industrial look with remnants from an Art Deco past.

This is just one of the interesting places in Michael's World. I'll keep posting more, but for a preview take a look at my later posts at Dreamspinner Press blog.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Brownstone Hotel

This is the primary location for the action in my novel Second-Story Man. The Brownstone Hotel is (fictionally) the place where second-story man, Carlos meets Michael--by climbing into his window!

There are two open windows up on the second floor. Carlos actually enters the window on the right, nearest the street light, by climbing up to the top of the segmental pediment. It's not as easy a climb as he had hoped it would be.

The building is based off from the Brownstone Street buildings at Universal Studios Hollywood backlot, circa 1950. Check out my author website to learn more about Michael's World.

In other exciting news I've got a guest blog on Anne Barwell's Drops of Ink blog. Learn more about my novel and me at the link.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Second-Story Man

Offering a would-be thief a second chance is risky—especially when he could steal your heart.

Carlos had it all: a good-paying construction job, a truck, a rental house and his girl. Then he lost his job and everything else along with it. Desperate, he turns to crime—only to fail in his first attempt when he accidentally climbs into the wrong window. Carlos has to rethink his life when his victim becomes his only friend.

Michael has lost too many times in love. Prince Charming won’t be knocking at his door, with its do-not-disturb sign permanently in place, when fate finds Carlos climbing into his window. Michael’s compassion for this down-and-out lost soul turns to friendship. But Michael can’t allow things to go any further and still feel safe from heartbreak.

There are no accidents, and the second-story man discovers that in life and love there can be a second story.

Coming May 29, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fuel Barge Final Details

Here are the final details of the Fuel Barge hatch. All of the colors seen in these details were called out on production drawings. The shades were selected based upon the common shades of orange, red, or yellow seen during the series run.

The "open" and "close" buttons were actually called out as painted details. They had no dimension at all and did not glow. The fuzzy edge of the "A"on tank "A-11" is due to the fact that the pattern for this  SketchUp model was created at a much smaller bit size and pasted onto the tank.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fuel Barge More Details

It would appear that the hatches on the Fuel Barge were intended to slide up. Even though a full sized section of the fuel tank was built on stage with this hatch the hatch was not made practical. On screen the glowing push buttons for the fuel capacity could be seen, but little else.

It's amazing how much detail goes into the production of a single episode of any television show and still never finds its way to the screen.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fuel Barge Detail

The Fuel Barge miniature used in the Lost in Space episodes "Wild Adventure" and "The Haunted Lighthouse" were missing in a small detail. This hatch was actually built as a full sized section of the tank for an actor to interact with. The fuel gauge is in the upper righthand corner and two hooks are provided for safety tethers to attach.

A great deal of design work was added to this hatch that barely shows in the episode.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fuel Barge Bottom

This is an interesting view of the Fuel Barge--it's the bottom view. Comparing this view with the top view it becomes evident that there are three repeats of the number and pattern around each tank. 

This model was a challenge in SketchUp because of the patterns. Trying to wrap lettering and patterns around the tank would have been difficult and created an unnecessarily large model in terms of size. This model is only 5.6MB. That's because the patterns were drawn flat in another model and then images were pasted onto the tanks. The tank circumference had to be calculated to plan the pattern. One side of each tank has a small hatch (not included in the production miniature) that had to be properly positioned.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fuel Barge Top

A site visitor asked about the paint pattern on the Fuel Barge. On screen the third fuel tank, "C-10," is very difficult to see--not just for the letters but the colors too.

I had the good fortune to research original drawings from the television series in order to prepare this SketchUp model. Honestly, I don't remember if these are the colors that were called out on the drawings, or if they are the closest match to what was seen on screen. Possibly it's a little of both. 

I've also added a little detail that wasn't on the miniature--a hatch on each tank. But more about that later.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wild Adventure

As the eternal Lost in Space fan I can't help but return to the show on occasion to marvel at the wonderful and ever present spacecrafts. This is (fictionally) an American design as opposed to the many alien spacecraft that were seen. It was first seen as a fuel barge in the second season episode "Wild Adventure." Later the same ship would become a weather station in the third season entry "The Haunted Lighthouse."

As a fuel barge the design makes some sense with its three large fuel tanks surrounding a central docking ring. But when depicted as a weather station the eternal problem of an interior too big for the exterior plagued the episode. The supports connecting the tanks to the central docking ring are too small to allow for personnel access. That means that only one of the tank areas could possibly be used as living quarters. Using the Jupiter 2 upper deck for scale means that the stations livable area would be smaller than the upper deck as well as long and narrow. Of course that's not how it was depicted on the show.

But who cares? The episode was entertaining anyway.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bedroom of the Future

This SketchUp model add a little furniture to the master bedroom of the future in the House of the Future. Much of the interior furnishing came from top designers of the era. George Nelson, Ray and Charles Eames, and Herman Miller contributed all but a few custom pieces. In the bedroom the bed and dresser were custom designed.

For this SketchUp model everything is sized based upon my estimates. Still I've managed to fit a queen sized bed into the room.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

House of the Future Aerial

The best part about designing in SketchUp is the ability to view your models from any angle. It's great to be able to have a helicopter shot of the House of the Future. From this view you can see the rolling terrain that surrounds the house. The gardens were just as important to this home as the plastic house itself. A little known fact is that a carport was actually located under the children's wing (closest to the bottom of this view). That means that the driveway was just off from Matterhorn Road. Perhaps the house address was: 1 Matterhorn Road, Disneyland, CA

The path to the left led up to the front stairway and entrance to the house. Guests would exit from the back stairway into the back yard. A fence, not shown in this model, separated the two areas.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Comfort in the Home of the 21st Century

I was really worried that my furniture might not be as comfortable as it was stylish. Was I ever wrong. The furniture is not only comfortable—it is very comfortable. The chairs and daybed all make one sit up straight and still feel comfortable doing it. It’s hard to slouch on this furniture and that is so much better for ones back and posture.

The throw pillows on the sofa and the coconut chair are from Anna’s Linens. The cushion on the fiberglass armchair is from (gasp) Kmart! I couldn’t manage to find just what I wanted anywhere else. They came in blue and an orange red. I bought six of each so that I can mix and match them into the dining room too. The fiberglass chairs are comfortable, but a cushion provides a nice accent with just a bit more comfort.

Rounding out the comfort of the room is the art on the walls. All of the pictures are from my collection and all depict my favorite things from the mid-century. Many of them depict my favorite futuristic things from the mid-century.

Over the daybed is a signed limited edition print of the Disneyland monorails for the 1959 Tomorrowland expansion. In the dining room is a signed limited edition cel of "The Jetsons" representing the title sequence of the 1962 television series. Over the Nelson cigar lamp (from Modernica) is a photograph of Herman and Lily from "The Munsters." The shot was taken during their TV Guide photo shoot in 1964 but wasn't used. Over the fiberglass armchair are John and Maureen Robinson from "Lost in Space" in an enlargement of their TV Guide cover for 1965. And finally, over the swag leg desk is a cel (hand painted by a Hanna Barbera artist) of Samantha from "Bewitched" in the title sequence originally created in 1964.

The colors just naturally go with the rest of the room since it’s all from the same era. This is the promise that “The Jetsons” gave me when I was young: I would live into the 21st century in the comfort of a futuristic home. What do you know? I made it.

P.S. I've got links to all of these retailers both here and at the bottom of the page. Start shopping and make your dreams come true.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

More News From the 21st Century

Here is another view of my new Home of the 21st Century. This view shows off the swag leg desk and the back of the coconut chair. These items came from France and Son in New York. They are considered to be reproductions since Herman Miller sells licensed versions. But furniture is a utilitarian item and as such does not generally qualify for patent or copyright protection. The best part for me was that the coconut chair came in orange wool. Herman Miller only offers black leather. While most of my furniture was made in the USA alas, these two pieces came from China.

The low credenza next to the desk is also from Modernica. It is almost a one-of-a-kind (a near match is in the dining area). Modernica had just started offering these Case Study Units with a spray booth painted finish. A different style was on display in the store window. I took it to a new level by adding the fiberglass sliding doors and then mixing and matching one ocean (blue) and one mustard (gold) door. Not only is the look very mid-century, but the colors just happen to be the colors from vintage Disneyland stationary.

Above the credenza is a metal wall sculpture. That is the only new wall art in the room. It came from Bed Bath and Beyond and it was on the discount rack. It seems that here in the 21st Century boomerang metal sculptures aren’t so popular. All the better for me. Now mine has become more rare.

Oh, and yes, for those of you with a sharp eye, that is a Jim Beam Jeannie bottle on the desk. Just another little mid-century touch in the 21st Century.

P.S. I've got links to all of these retailers both here and at the bottom of the page. Start shopping and make your dreams come true.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Home of the 21st Century

It’s not often that I get a chance to art direct for myself, but relocation back to the greater Los Angeles area made it happen. This is my new apartment filled with new furniture. I’d been living like a nomad for the past several years, staying in hotels mostly, so I’d rid myself of all of my old furnishing.

When it was time to start over my first thought was Danish modern. It is modern, but still somewhat traditional. I didn’t want to go too far out. Problem was I couldn’t find any entire suites of matching furniture. I’d find a sofa that was nice, but no coffee or side tables that matched.

Then I went back to the old Monsanto house of the future for inspiration. The 1957 interior furnishing were light and airy and still classically modern. A few pieces were easily identifiable such as the George Nelson coconut chair and swag leg desk as well as the Eames fiberglass chairs with the Eiffel tower base. But what to do about a sofa?

I really liked the look of the low custom designed sofa from the House of the Future, but I never expected to find such a thing. Then I came upon Modernica and found almost everything that I needed made in a Los Angeles factory. They had a daybed that closely resembled the House of the Future sofa, but it was more practical for my purposes because it could double as a bed for houseguests (no more heavy sofa beds for me). The best part was that they had a number of matching pieces for a lamp table and a coffee table. They even had a whole bedroom suite.

As if this weren’t enough, they also had the molded fiberglass chairs. It was a one-stop shop.

Well almost. I had to shop around for a few other pieces that they didn’t make. The dining room table in the picture came from Jules Seltzer and it’s called a Setu table made by Herman Miller.

The rugs come from At Home in the Valley and the style is called Hudson 2666f, not an easy one to find. The rugs are made in the USA and they are perfect for my Home of the 21st Century.

P.S. I've got links to all of these retailers both here and at the bottom of the page. Start shopping and make your dreams come true.

Friday, April 3, 2015

More House of the Future

Here's an exterior view for the House of the Future. I posted a similar view before but this time I've added some topography. Planting comes next although I can't say when that might happen. Again, the model was created entirely in SketchUp. That's no easy task when rolling slopes are involved.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monsanto House Interior

Some time ago I created a SketchUp model of the Monsanto House of the Future. Well now I've added some interior elements to the model home--including a model family. Oh, and Walt has dropped by to welcome the family to this fantastic home.

I still have much more work left to do to this model, but who doesn't like seeing a work in progress?

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Thrill of it All

I thought that I had posted this image some time ago, but I guess not. This is the exterior of the house used in the 1963 Doris Day James Garner comedy "The Thrill of it All." Doris is an overachieving housewife with too much time on her hands and Garner is her doctor husband who wants to keep his wife at home. When Doris finds herself the star of soap commercials her fame is too much for Garner. The films most memorable moment comes when Garner drives his sports car through the carport only to end up in a swimming pool, courtesy of the soap company.

For this film a new front door was relocated to the side of the house, the the lower level windows were modernized and the wing over the carport was added.

The house was originally built for the Deanna Durbin film "Nice Girl?" in 1941. In the film her father was known as Professor Dana, so the official name of the house is the Dana house.

For the television series "Desperate Housewives" this became the home of Lynette Scavo, with a few modification such as a garage door covering the carport.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Space Station Terra

Here is a model that I created in SketchUp. It is the Disney version of Wernher von Braun's Space Station One. The same design was also used in the original 1955 Rocket to the Moon ride in Tomorrowland. For the Disneyland ride the station was dubbed Space Station Terra.

According to the ride narration Space Station Terra was constructed way back in 1964 and had been in orbit for 22 years. The 1955 version of Tomorrowland was supposed to represent the future year of 1986, the same year that Halley's comet was due to make its next near pass of the Earth. The station was to orbit 1,075 miles over our planet and travel at the speed of 16,000 MPH.

The SketchUp model is scaled to meet the space stations 200 foot diameter. It would have rotated so that centrifugal force could create an artificial gravity inside. A crew of 50 men (sorry, no women in space) would have walked on the inside of the outer rim with their heads pointing up toward the center hub. The three large spokes are elevator shafts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Making More Dreams

So I haven’t been updating my blog like I should have been. I’ve been pretty busy over the last (oops) years. I can’t believe it’s been that long. And I’d like to report everything that I’ve been working on since. Unfortunately, everything I work on is Top Secret.

I’ve spent most of this time working on a project for Disney’s Shanghai Disneyland. The park has been announced so I can tell that much. That’s it. Two and a half years of work and nothing to show—until it opens. I’ve worked on projects for other big players, mostly planned for foreign countries, but again there is nothing I can tell.

So now, with a little free time, I’m posting some of my personal work. This is the stuff that I do for fun. Hidden behind the ‘Top Secret’ label is Space Station S-1. You’ll have to wait to learn more about it, but I can tell you this much—it has nothing to do with my theme park work. The foreign locations I’ve mentioned are all on this planet.