How Many J2 Master Control Console Sets Were There?


I’ve been researching the Master Control Consoles of the Jupiter 2 and something has bugged me for quite a while.

As I scrutinized each of the consoles and made note of the nuances of each seemingly identical console (the three Burroughs 205 consoles and the black side radars in particular), I noticed that the B205’s and the side radars traded places with each other at several points during the series.

Why?

Well, as it turns out, there were two structures built to house the Master Control Consoles and they shared the major components between them. Apparently, as the panels were swapped back and forth, there was no mind paid to where similar panels were returned to.


The primary set is the one you’re used to seeing. This was part of the interior/exterior of the upper deck of the J2. Most upper deck scenes were filmed there. Beyond the viewport there was usually either a planetscape, or if in space, a painted backdrop of a starfield.

The secondary set was constructed to be used for through-the-viewport rear screen projection shots where motion was required; approaching spaceships, fireballs, tumbling robots, etc. This was achieved by projecting pre-filmed scenes onto a screen from behind which was positioned just outside the windows.



On the surface, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to build two identical structures, however, when you factor in the special needs of the rear screen projection set-up, it becomes evident that it could not be accomplished with the primary set.



To eliminate hot-spots and achieve more even lighting, rear screen projection requires a projector 100 - 200 feet away from the screen with an unobstructed path. The primary set would have had faux rock formations and other elements in the way, so because of this, another partial set was built.



The secondary set consisted of the viewport flanked by one freezing tube and the communication center (both moved from the primary set). A few corners were cut when constructing the set which gives it away:





This secondary set was also hoisted above stage level to get a downward view of the ground to simulate a tripod landing in “Ghost Planet” and "Target Earth". A similar view was planned, but never filmed, for “A Visit to a Hostile Planet”.





After “The Condemned of Space”, it appears that the secondary viewport was retired from projection use in favor of using bluescreen shots with the primary set, which did not need the unobstructed line of site as the moving images are added optically in post production with that process.



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