Some time back, someone posted a YouTube video featuring highlights from an episode from the third season of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, “Spaced Out.” This episode featured a late 1970′s science fiction convention, and clearly had several scenes filmed at the LAX Marriott.
After Loscon, I was again thinking of the episode and decided to have Netfilix send me the DVD containing the episode (alas, it wasn’t available for streaming). Last night, I watched the episode, and made a few observations:
- The plot was about as I’d have expected. Not a bad story (thief steals valuable military hardware from an observatory, hides it in crates being sent to con, has to retrieve them. Prince/Wonder Woman are on the trail. At the convention hijinks ensue.
- I was able to blow holes in the plot in several places.
- As one would expect from TV, most of the convention attendees were in costume. (OK, this was portrayed as a media con sponsored by a studio, and was from 15 or so years before I found fandom, so my gauge may be off a bit).
- However, the costumes weren’t universally too good or too bad. Of course the largest collection of costumes clearly not straight from the studio’s costume shop was in one panning shot which could have been actual convention footage.
- Robby the Robot’s near cameo performance includes a shot of is actor/operator getting into the costume, which is a bit of a Chekov’s Gun for the last scene.
- While most of the shots of the con itself took place at “Paragon Studios” (who were holding the con to promote the relaunch of a TV series), plenty of scenes were filmed at the LAX Marriott (or whatever it was in 1978/1979 if not a Marriott). Key locations include:
- The swimming pool deck.
- The roof of one of the 4 story wings around the pool deck.
- The ballroom level lobby – which served as the hotel’s front desk. It is possible that in that era, the hotel front desk was on that level rather than its current location on 2nd floor. It is just as, or perhaps more, likely that the Ballroom floor was slightly redressed to serve as the front desk allowing the crew to shoot without shutting down hotel operations.
- The ballroom level porte-cochère
- The hallway outside of the Presidential Suite, including the elevators on that floor.
- Possibly the Presidential Suite itself.
- Two scenes took place in the suite, and in at least one the stairs between the doorway and the main lounge area were visible. But at later part of these scenes featured a character escaping out an open window.
- The hotel exterior hasn’t changed in appearance that much, except:
- The ugly orange globes under the upper level porte-cochère are gone.
- The similar white globes under many of the upper level balconies are also gone.
- The interior has undergone redecoration at least once – and probably several times - in the last 32 years.
- At the time of filming the hotel had a restaurant or lounge on an upper floor – probably the space that Loscon has used as a con suite at least since 2008. Advertisements for this were visible inside and outside the elevators both on the ballroom level, and on the level with the Presidential Suite.