Thursday, February 25, 2010

Electric Fencing From The 50s – Sci-Fi Style!

In our last post we paid tribute to movie maker George Lucas and his use of the word ‘perimeter’ in his “Star Wars” science fiction movies. Let’s face it, if a 900 year old Jedi Knight (Yoda) uses the word then it’s got to have an intrinsic worth! We concluded that use of this kind of vocabulary possibly has a social impact contributing to why “perimeter security” remains a popular and established term. Today, however, we have made a fascinating discovery which we’d like to share with you. We decided to delve further back into the annals of science fiction movies and found that the trend of using perimeter terminology existed over 50 years ago in one the most influential science fiction movies ever made: “Forbidden Planet”.

There are several instances in the movie screenplay where the perimeter is mentioned, such as:

“Establish a standard perimeter and set up a class "A" alert by sundown.”

“This may have been a ruse to divert us from some other part of the perimeter.”

Not only that, but the perimeter protection they set up around their space ship is an electrified system! We soon see the benefits of this ‘electric fence’ when a normally invisible alien tries to breach the perimeter and is ‘lit up’ when detected so we, the audience, get to see how monstrous and scary the ‘enemy’ is. Science fiction at its chilling best!

Made in 1956, “Forbidden Planet” is a classic movie, still revered today as one of the best of its generation. It has apparently influenced just about every major film director currently in Hollywood from Steven Spielberg, to Ridley Scott, to James Cameron and, believe it or not …. George Lucas! We know this because we found this fascinating review about the Forbidden Planet Special Edition in which they mention an hour long documentary called “Watch The Skies! Science Fiction, The 1950s And Us”. In it, apparently Steven Spielberg says he believes Robbie the Robot was possibly the inspiration for George Lucas’s C3PO and the writer of the review goes on to draw other similarities with the Star Wars movies. He cites the look of the Death Star being similar to the underground laboratories in Forbidden Planet and Luke Skywalker’s Sand Speeder being similar to Robbie the Robot’s atomic car.

It’s truly fascinating how a quick investigation into a single keyword such as ‘perimeter’ has taken us on a journey of discovery through outer space to electric fencing on another planet … and back home again!

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