Monorails on Film and TV
by Kim Pedersen

page three of ten


Suspended monorail almost at ground level...why?

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Thunderbirds Are Go! #11 - Brink of Disaster, 1966 (TV, DVD)
Warren Grafton is a monorail executive in need of a big infusion of cash to finance his US-based cross-country monorail system. During a test run, a hoverjet crashes and severs an overhanging section of track. Oh no, what do we do? Incidentally, the monorail is suspended, but most of the time it cruises at ground level. Yeah, that makes sense. Puppets and model monorails crashing, what more could you want?

Lady Penelope enjoys a nice meal on the the monorail.


The Anderbad Express comes out of a tunnel

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Thunderbirds Are Go! #12 - Perils of Penelope, 1966 (TV, DVD)
Using the same suspended monorail model as in "Brink of Disaster," this time it's located in Europe. Lady Penelope gets in a pickle when Dr. Godber suspends her on a ladder in the pathe of the monorail in Anderbad tunnel. Thunderbirds to the rescue of course.


This is certainly a peril for Lady Penelope


Same monorail track, but the Tokyo skyline certainly has changed since 1966

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Walk-Don’t Run, 1966 (Movie/Video/DVD)
Cary Grant’s last film is set in Tokyo during the 1964 Olympic games. There’s only five seconds of the Tokyo-Haneda Monorail in the film, as it looked when it was brand new. It’s visible during the opening titles. Maybe Netflix is your best option for this one, unless you’re a diehard collector.

Bond impersonates a bad-guy astronaut and boards a monorail vehicle


During climatic battle, Bond grabs the monorail track while plotting his next move

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You Only Live Twice, 1967 (Movie/Video/DVD)
James Bond (Sean Connery) infiltrates evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s (Donald Pleasence) secret rocket launch facility located inside a dormant volcano. It gets even better. A special near-ground level straddle monorail carries astronauts and assorted bad guys around the interior of the volcano. Being low to the ground, it allows Bond to jump over and grasp the track during the climatic battle to save earth. The two low-capacity monorail cars are made of shiny metal are of two very different body designs. This is one of my favorite film monorails, and was one of the inspirations for building a backyard monorail. I remember hearing one of the stars being interviewed on TV about the film back in 1967. She said the track of the monorail ended just feet beyond the movie set and she was always worried they’d run off the end.


The amazing volcano set, as seen in a Japanese booklet on the film. Note the ground-level monorail circuit


Model babes riding monorail to Monte Carlo.


This could be bad

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Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons #14 - Model Spy, 1967 (TV, DVD)
Another Gerry Anderson puppet plus gizmo series. The Mysterons start this episode off by making a high-speed straddle monorail go too fast and crash. It rolls down the side of a hill, and the monorail passengers don't fair so well. That's ok for the Mysterons, they only want to rebuild a couple of models onboard for their own evil purposes.

Shouldn't the font sizes should be reversed?


Did you know that stiff burkas will be in fashion on monorails in 2021?

Moon Zero Two, 1969 (Movie, DVD)
Do you want campy sci-fi? Well here you go, this one is Mystery Science Theater 3000-approved campy. Think Austin Powers, except this was really released in 1969. The lunar 'monorail' seems to be a bit conflicted. On the poster below, it's clear that it's a suspended monorail. During the movie, we get a look at the interior of the monorail car (or would that be moonorail?), but the view out the window doesn't really match what they show in a wide shot of the lunar surface. The monorail appears to cruising along in a segmented tube on the surface of the moon. No segment breaks are visible from the interior. Oh well, if you're looking for accuracy, this is NOT the film to go to. Whacky fun though.


The promotion poster shows a suspended monorail, never seen in the film. Come to think of it, neither is the sleak rocket. No bikini babe with a gun either!


photo by Patrick Engle

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Epcot Magazine, 1983 (TV)
For Disney fans, this show was special as it featured many terrific behind-the-scenes segments on the Disney parks, most notably Walt Disney World in Florida. One episode went into some detail on the Walt Disney World Monorail system, which at the time had WDW’s original Mark IV trains. Michael Young hosted the show and for the monorail sequence the guest host was actress Dana Hill.

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Harry and the Hendersons, 1987 (Movie, Video, DVD)
There’s an ever-so-brief shot of the Alweg monorail as Bigfoot runs below on the streets of Seattle. Good thing it’s a monorail, otherwise Bigfoot might have been run over by Seattle’s real train of the future, light rail.

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Interurban Videos/Films - Electric Transit Today & Tomorrow, 1988 (Video)
Reissue of three General Electric promotional films, one of which is a 1960s short film entitled Urban Transport. Urban Transport is a sales pitch featuring SAFEGE monorail and shows the test track in France. At one point in the 1960s, GE owned the rights to market the system in the USA.
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