Monorails on Film and TV
by Kim Pedersen

page two of nine

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  Forty Pounds of Trouble, 1962 (Movie/Video/DVD)
This is perhaps the first (and only?) non-Disney produced movie to take viewers inside Disneyland. Tony Curtis and Suzanne Pleshette ride up front in Mark II Monorail Red. It’s a pretty lame storyline, but sometimes lame can be fun. The visit to Disneyland as it was in 1962 is great for Disney fans as well.

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  State Fair, 1962 (Movie, Video, DVD)
The combination of young Pat Boone and Ann Margaret makes this movie interesting enough, but a brief (and very rare) clip of the long-gone Texas State Fair Trailblazer monorail really adds to the collectibility of this movie.

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  The World of Tomorrow - Alweg Monorail, 1962 (TV)
Before Seattle’s Century 21 World’s Fair opened, KING-TV broadcasted a series of live updates on the construction progress on the fairgrounds. One episode aired shortly after the Alweg Monorail first started test runs. In one of the more amusing moments, the TV station touted its new “creepy peepy” camera by bringing it onboard the train for a live broadcast ride, something that was technically difficult to achieve in 1962. I wonder who came up with the name creepy peepy though. The station rebroadcast the series during anniversaries of the fair.

Elvis enjoys the view on the monorail

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  It Happened at the World’s Fair, 1963 (Movie, Video, DVD)
Some of us like to quote Elvis from this silly film…”it’s called a monorail, honey.” Elvis not only rides the monorail twice, he flirts and daydreams a song on it as well. Elvis “dreams” a lullaby while cuddling a little girl as they leave Seattle’s 1962 Century 21 World’s Fair. Too bad it’s only a 90-second ride. Even though this film was made during a time when a lot of close-ups where done in front of rear projection screens, Elvis really rode the monorail over and over to get this on celluloid. Reportedly, young girls rode the other train back and forth so they could wave at him as he passed them by in the Red Train. Pay close attention to details so when you go to Seattle, you can sit where the King sat.

Cool door!


Zombite monorail driver. OK, I give...a steering wheel?

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  Thunderbirds Are Go! #5 - The Uninvited, 1965 (TV, DVD)
One of Gerry Anderson's famous puppets and gizmo series had plenty of futuristic things, many of which we are still waiting for. Monorail shows up several times in the 1965-1966 TV show. In this episode the Zombites have a secret base inside of a Sahara Desert pyramid. Scott Tracy and two archeologists are brought into the deep corners of the facility by the Zombite's suspended monorail, only to escape using the same line minutes later, shooting out the side door as they go.
 

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  Fahrenheit 451, 1966 (Movie/Video/DVD)
Ray Bradbury’s story of a future where firemen burn books. Pioneering filmmaker Francois Truffaut directed this film and his unique film techniques are still appreciated today by film historians. Some of the special effects show their age however, but the story is clever and worth a look. A real monorail, not a computer graphic, plays the monorail. The SAFEGE test track is our star of the film, and it looks great cruising by in several different scenes of the film.

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