In this latest ’70s Flashback feature–a sporadic examination of some of the Me Decade’s greatest flicks punctuated by various clips–we’ll take a look at Logan’s Run. The film is one of the most gloriously cheesy efforts of the 1970s (which is really saying something given that the era also gave us such cultural obsessions as pet rocks and The Brady Bunch Variety Hour). But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also terrific fun. Based on the classic sci-fi novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, the movie is set in a 23rd-century domed city that seems to be paradise on Earth. As the trailer so eloquently puts it, “there’s just one catch.” In this society, when you reach the age of 30 you must report to Carousel–a bizarre arena where the city’s residents participate in a deadly “renewal” ceremony that has them literally going out in a blaze of glory. Those who refuse to renew face the wrath of status quo-protecting guardians known as Sandmen.
Shortly after meeting the beautiful Jessica (the underrated Jenny Agutter), ennui-stricken Sandman Logan 5 (Michael York, in an unbelievebly hammy/awesome performance) is given a secret assignment to track down runners who may have reached the safe haven known as Sanctuary. The trouble is, he’ll have to go on the run himself to do so. Burdened with this unwanted responsibility, Logan suddenly finds himself squaring off against Francis 7 (Richard Jordan), his best friend and fellow Sandman. With Francis in hot pursuit, Logan and Jessica attempt to reach Sancturay. Along the way, they encounter such characters as a futuristic makeover maven (Farrah Fawcett-Majors in a cameo), Box (Roscoe Lee Browne), a killer robot who really doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than look really cool, and a cat-obsessed old man (Peter Ustinov) whose very existence proves that Carousel is a lie. It’s all pretty fantastic, even if most of it was shot in a Dallas, Texas shopping mall. To celebrate this cinematic masterpiece, here’s a variety of rare clips that explore the movie’s world and its continuing legacy.
First up is the “Advance Preview of Selected Scenes” trailer that was sent to movie theater owners nationwide in 1976 by MGM with hopes of getting advance bookings. It features plenty of deleted/alternate footage that has never been available elsewhere. (This is frustrating given the film’s various VHS/Laserdisc/DVD and Blu-ray releases over the years). Let’s take a look:
In 1975, visitors to the set were treated to a look at the film’s special effects and, randomly enough, a pre-fame David Hasselhoff modeling costumes from the film:
Here’s a rare radio ad for the film that plays up Farrah Fawcett-Majors’ role:
Following the success of the film, CBS decided to bring the adventures of Logan and company to the small screen. Recasting the leads of Logan and Jessica with Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies and giving the pair a wacky android sidekick (Donald Moffat, later of The Thing), the show ran for 14 episodes before being cancelled, even though it was cheesy fun. Here’s an overview of the show:
And here’s a fan-made trailer that imagines what Logan’s Run would have looked like if it were originally released in 1936:
A look at some of the special effects for the film that originally ran as an AMC Cinema Secrets feature.
DISCO LOGAN’S RUN! I REPEAT, DISCO LOGAN’S RUN!
Here’s Tom Petty’s music video for “You Got Lucky” that features the vehicle from the Logans’s Run TV series:
Finally, musicians Brian Reitzell and Roger Manning Jr. (whose various film soundtrack work includes Lost in Translation) released Logan’s Sanctuary in 2000. This concept album/quasi sequel to the film imagined what happened next to Logan, Jessica and company. The highlight is this epic fist-pumper that brings to mind Kipp Lennon’s equally terrific theme song to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. You’re welcome.
Read more about it!
–A tribute to everyone’s favorite robot killing machine, Box! (Plankton, fish and protein from the sea not included)