Lazy Luddite Log

24.10.12

Sanctuary


This entry is a sequel of sorts for this much older entry. It demonstrates that there is always more information on a given topic and that sometimes the only way to discover that extra information is by accident. It also shows how very flawed memory can be.

Let me re-cap what I discovered back in 2006. Exploring all of human knowledge via the Internet was still a new thing for me then and I suddenly was in the mood to get info on a kids TV show from my childhood. It was difficult as I had mis-remembered its name and words are the key to accessing information online. My memory had warped the name from Ark II to Ark 2000 (hardly surprising as in the latter part of last century "2000" as a suffix was a convenient short-hand for "futuristic"). I had also mis-remembered that the crew of the futuristic vehicle travelling in a barbaric wasteland included a talking chimpanzee. In my flawed memory the token non-human had become a robot! But there was more I had mis-remembered.

In the linked post I refer to Sanctuary as the objective of the Ark II crew but at the time I never managed to find any reference to that. That should have made me suspicious as I had looked at complete episode listings and Sanctuary was never mentioned. And now that I think a bit more the absence of such an objective makes sense. The Ark II crew were evangelists taking rational civilization to a barbaric world rather than pilgrims seeking a civilized haven in a barbaric world. Possibly I had imagined it so back in 2006 I abandoned my own search for Sanctuary. But then I stumbled upon it by accident last week while browsing YouTube.

The Sanctuary I found was part of another altogether separate 70s US science fiction television series. As a child I had somehow confused elements of Ark II (1976) with the television adaptation of Logan's Run (1977-78). And get this - the cast of Logan's Run included an android! Seems that rather than turn a chimp into a robot I had simply mashed two existing characters together. Incidentally an android is a cost-effective alternative to a robot in terms of costume design as all you have to do is get an actor to act. If you have spent all your budget on futuristic vehicles then this makes economic sense.

I have seen the original movie of Logan's Run (1976) and it refers to Sanctuary by name. In it humans live in a domed city safe from the ravages of a world that has been devastated by nuclear war. However to conserve resources the super computer that runs the domed city euthanizes everyone at the age of 30. Naturally some decide to escape from this fate ("Runners") but are hunted by a force of assassins ("Sandmen"). The destination of the Runners is a legendary haven called Sanctuary and in the movie the central character (Logan - a Sandman turned Runner) discovers that it is a myth and returns to the City Of Domes. I saw this as an adult and yet somehow overlooked the significance of the word "Sanctuary" (which to be honest is in lots of things).

In the television series version Logan escapes and travels the wasteland in a solar-powered land craft along with Jessica (another Runner) and Rem (the android). In Ark II a group of young scientists travel in something that looks like a cross between a motor-home and a space shuttle. Jonah, Ruth, Samuel and Adam (the talking chimp) are on a mission to bring civilized concepts back to a barbaric post-pollution world. Ark II in this sense is optimistic while Logan's Run is pessimistic. Keep in mind a key difference between these shows - the former is for children while the latter is for a wider audience.

And what of Sanctuary? I had remembered from childhood that the protagonists find it to be fake. Well I can now relate how, in the Logan's Run episode The Collectors, they find a mirage rather than an oasis and the illusion is the deliberate stratagem of aliens who wish to study human specimens. Yep - aliens. The movie concept of Logan's Run was free of any such thing that would detract from the one oppressive thing of the City Of Domes regime. However in the television series they explore a host of science fictions concepts. In The Collectors we see the true faces of the aliens as something akin to the impressive latex mask-work seen in the Cantina of Star Wars fame (made at the same time).

Episode listings tell me that the protagonists in Logan's Run never find true Sanctuary. This is possibly because television shows simply discontinuing rather than concluding was a common problem in past decades. Possibly they were supposed to find Sanctuary and it would be the same lovely water-garden shroud community of comfort and personal freedom. Or possibly the answer given in the movie version that "there is no Sanctuary" (uttered by the creepy holographic mind-probed face of Logan) also holds for television.

Nonetheless the Sanctuary image and the concept behind it seems to have indelibly written itself into my consciousness. I am excited to have discovered the context of this memory but I also feel a sense of longing for the fantastic thing that never existed even in the context of a fantastic fictional future. It tempts and taunts me like conjurations of Paradise are supposed to. However I philosophically reject the notion of hoping to find refuge from a troubled world. I favour one in which the world is lived in and improved by the act of living in it. In that sense I prefer Ark II over Logan's Run. On the other hand indulging in a bit of fiction as a kind of temporary escapism is an important part of life. I wonder if I can get my hands on episodes of these shows.

Cross-posted here.

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4 Comments:

  • I remember both of those shows myself. The ending of the Logan's Run movie does, I think, touch on your own impressions of the Ark II crew going out into the post-apocalyse world to bring back civilization. Logan's "There is no Sanctuary" statement is a philosophical call to arms; you can't just go out and find a place like Sanctuary, you have to build it for yourself (and, of course, realize it will never be perfect).

    By Blogger Enik1138, At 29 October, 2012  

  • Thanks Enik. You make me think that cross-over fan fiction could unite the two settings together. One is a century later than the other. The reformed City Of Domes (once the movie Logan has sabotaged the computer) could _become_ modelled on Sanctuary and it could then send Arks into the wilderness.

    As for the movie and television Logan - well they both just have a common name and one (television) escapes and wanders for longer before the other (movie) eventually brings the whole thing crashing down.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 31 October, 2012  

  • The trippiness never ends because I was watching an episode of The Fantastic Journey (1977) called Beyond The Mountain and I saw Sanctuary! The same set as in the Logan's Run episode The Collectors? Suddenly it dawned on me that the exterior shots were of a location rather than a set.

    And with the help of IMDB and some online images I confirmed that it was the Busch Gardens in Van Nuys, California. They were attached to a brewery but were demolished once the brewery was extended and that only happened a few years after those shows were filmed.

    There you go - I cannot even visit the location shots of my Sanctuary. On the other hand any nice parklands incorporating Twentieth Century modern architecture could remind me of it and I can go there in my imagination. Like I say - trippy.

    By Blogger Daniel, At 02 January, 2014  

  • This topic just keeps on giving and I'm back with another comment. It relates...

    A while ago I was riding a bus past Caribbean Gardens and the sign outside it declared that it had rides. Suddenly it struck me that Caribbean Gardens were a survivor of the era of fun-parks from my childhood that have mostly folded. Maybe it survives because it is also a 'trash and treasure' market. I decided to host a picnic there.

    It is a lovely huge private yet open to the public parkland. You can do nothing there but hold a picnic or BBQ. You can go for walks around a large lake that originally was made for the testing of motor boats. The land was originally owned by a boat manufacturer specializing in the use of the then-new fibreglass. To this day many of the fixtures at Carribean Gardens are made of that futuristic substance. This includes the crazy rides and playgrounds and odd things better seen than described.

    Aspects of the place definitely reminded me of the footage I've seen of the Busch Gardens referred to in a comment above. Ours may be less crowded with exciting retro-modernist things overall and have more space but then that is as Australians like it. As much as it is a very pedestrian suburban institution I also feel that it is a place in which to let the imagination wander. Maybe there still is Sanctuary that I can access...

    By Blogger Daniel, At 24 November, 2015  

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