Bloopers, Goofs, and Other Blunders
A Viewers Guide to UFO Bloopers
And yes, there are quite a few.
- In General: The establishing shot of the Harlington-Straker Studio sign has a reflection of a clock that only ever reads 1:50. Of course, maybe this clock is only right twice a day.
In the establishing shots of the Moon, the Moon is always at one-quarter in a bright blue sky with light clouds and the deciduous trees in full leaf.
- Identified: Straker's briefcase is chained to his wrist and has what appears to be a destruct device, but when Straker is thrown from the Rolls Royce, not only does the chain break, but the case opens, letting the papers fly all over the place.
- Computer Affair: The original story called for this episode to be set in 1985, but the date of the episode was later changed to November 4, 1981 - a fact that was edited out of the actual episode. However, one relic of the previous date remained in the script - Mark Bradley and Gay Ellis sharing a bottle of champagne, apparently vintage 1984.
In the live action shots of Mobile 1 pulling out of the transport, there is a crew of 3 and the driver is black. But in the miniature model shots the mobile has one occupant and that occupant is clearly white.
When pulling out of the transport plane, the command mobile's antenna dish hits a protrusion on the ceiling of the plane and is knocked out of alignment.
- Flight Path: On his way home from the spaceport, Roper checks his watch which reads 7:45. Almost immediately, he stops his car and checks his watch again and it reads 9:00. (The script called for the first time check to read 8:45.)
The next day, when Roper leaves his house to head to HQ, he is wearing a brown jacket - but when the car pulls up to the studio, the driver is wearing a white jacket.
When the mobiles leave the transport carrier to look for the UFO, the fact they are models is more than a little obvious. It's hard to suspend your disbelief when you can tell the crew is made up of dolls rather than people.
Sky-One's attack on the UFO takes place at night - but some of the shots of Carlin in the cockpit show full daylight outside.
During the final sequence on the Moon, Harrington tells HQ that the time is 7:06 and lunar sunrise will take place in 10 minutes (7:16). But when Roper checks his own watch while on the surface, that watch reads 7:31, even though sunrise has not yet taken place.
Ellis refers to the Moonmobile as a 'Moon Hopper'.
- Exposed: The footage of the three UFOs in space is the same footage used in Dalotek Affair - including the speck of light indicating the alien jamming device launched from one of the UFOs.
When the three UFOs are tracked by Moonbase, there are 4 blips on the screen.
Although it is difficult to see, in the first explosion which supposedly destroyed the UFO, the UFO can actually be seen behind the fire and to one side of the center of the explosion. It also appears intact. UFO in Explosion. This footage is used repeatedly throughout the series.
- Survival: When Foster goes to take a look at the UFO, one of the astronauts with Bradley is wearing a helmet without ridges. When Foster rejoins the group, that astronaut is wearing a helmet with 4 ridges. But when the UFO opens fire, the helmet is again the one without the ridges.
The control panel of Foster's spacesuit has no back - the suit can be seen through it when the panel is open. Later when Foster is found and turned over, the person on the left quickly turns it right again.
Foster drives Straker's car to Tina Duval's apartment instead of his own. (Maybe his was in the shop?)
- Conflict: In the first introduction to the alien object attached to the Apollo 8 rocket, the alien device in the first shot is larger, in a different place on the side of the rocket and in a different orientation than in the very next close-up shot.
The first establishing shot of Moonbase shows Sphere 3 - the Control sphere. But the next scene is inside the Leisure Sphere.
Of course then there is the issue of blowing up space debris to create millions of tiny fast moving hazards rather than a few big slow ones...
- Dalotek Affair: In a series of shots of the UFOs, the point of light indicating the alien jamming device appears every time after the second UFO passes - one time as the Ufos move from right-to-left and once while the UFOs are moving left-to-right. This happens before the device is actually launched and seen heading for the Moon.
While Straker talks to Blake for the first time over the video-phone, the papers on Straker's desk disappear when the camera angle changes.
SID says "Awaiting missing timing sequence", instead of "Awaiting missile timing sequence".
- A Question of Priorities: The 'anti-allergeretic' Dr. Segal refers to should be 'anti-allergenic'.
There is a fire burning in Mrs. O'Connor's hearth, but it makes no sound.
- Ordeal: There is a face reflected in the glass of Foster's car door as he gets out at the Research Center. In the establishing shot, there's no one near the car.
There is a sweaty mark on the sauna door before Foster hits it the first time.
Supposedly everything before Foster passes out in the sauna is 'real' - which leaves a UFO heading for Earth while he recovers.
- The Square Triangle: The Interceptor attack on an incoming UFO is called off, but when the Interceptors are shown on their return trip to Moonbase, they have no missiles.
During the meal between Liz and Cass, a salad bowl and wine glass change as the camera angle changes during the conversation.
The husband, Jack, is scheduled to arrive at the cottage about midnight and does so after Freeman takes Cass and Liz into the elevator/office - which shows full daylight through the window.
- Court Martial: The part in Freeman's hair mysteriously moves from one side of his head to another during one scene in Straker's office.
As Straker's car returns to the studios from Singleton's store, it only has one occupant.
- Close Up: Both Kelly and Henderson call the International Astophysical Commission (IAC) the 'Astro Space Commission'.
During the space walk sequence, Foster has a jetpack on his back - sometimes. The astronaut in the module airlock also changes helmets.
When the UFO finally shows up, Harrington announces that it is traveling at Sol eight-decimal-three-five. But SID announces it as negative eight-decimal-three-five, which Ford then confirms.
- Confetti Check A-OK: The wedding seems to take place in the summer, but the calendar in the honeymoon hotel features a winter scene...
Straker takes off from Heathrow on a Pan American Boeing 707 on a flight to New York but the plane shown landing is a DC-8
There is a shot of Straker's bronze SHADO car pulling up to the IAC building. However, since this is part of a flashback sequence to the start of SHADO in the early '70s, Straker wouldn't have had that car yet. Also, while Straker is seen wearing a light brown coat when entering Henderson's office, the driver of the bronze SHADO car seems to be wearing black.
Later in the episode, Straker is seen driving home in a burgundy Ford of the appropriate vintage. When he arrives, he is seated behind the wheel on the right side of the car, but then he gets out on the left side of the car.
While the ribbon array on Straker's uniform in this episode is not very clear, it is clear enough to see that it does not match the ribbon array seen in Identified. In fact, some of the few ribbons that can be seen well enough to identify appear to date from World War II.
- Responsibility Seat: An out-of-control Russian mining rig is said to be heading straight for Moonbase. However, several shots of the vehicle show it moving much too erratically to determine its actual course.
Straker's suit changes from brown to white from the time he first arrives at the studio and the time he appears in SHADO HQ. Straker's suit changes from white to brown and back again as he tracks down Jo Fraser.
While Foster waits to board the Sovatek rig, an Alien can be seen reflected in his helmet faceplate.
Both Ford and Foster's Moonmobile driver refer to the vehicle as 'M-3', but the exterior shots show it labeled as 'Moonmobile-4'.
Between leaving the Moonmobile and getting on the Sovatek rig, Foster's helmet changes style.
Sovatek is written 'COBATEK' in Cyrillic. But the logo for Sovatek appears as a stylized 'S'. (Seen on the crew's spacesuits and Dudzinski's uniform.)
In the Moonbase Control sphere, Ellis and Harrington start out wearing white space helmets, then in the next angle they are both wearing yellow helmets. The helmet colors switch back and forth throughout the sequence.
More repeated footage of the UFOs from Dalotek Affair launching the jamming device.
- E.S.P.: The office name-plaque clearly identifies Croxley's psychiatrist as 'Doctor Brünner', but the credits identify him as Dr. Ward.
When Foster returns to HQ after recovering from his injuries, Straker lifts a pot of coffee to fill his cup - but does it again following a cut to a different camera angle.
When Croxley is arriving at the psychiatrist's office, 'Elstree Television Studio' can be seen on the side of the building (at an oblique angle).
When the doctor opens up the file drawer to remove Croxley's file, it's clear that there's only one file in the drawer. Brünner has only one patient?
Freeman and Straker arrive at Croxley's house at 9:30, but after only a short time with Croxley, it's midnight.
- Kill Straker: In the Moonbase Control sphere, when Straker gets the gun away from Foster, we see a man in a spacesuit outside the window. However, in the establishing exterior shot just before this included the window and the guy in the space-suit is nowhere in sight.
There is no room at all in Foster's silver suit to have hidden a gun.
- Sub Smash: Chin's arm is not in the proper place for Straker to check his pulse once he dies... so Chin moves it.
- The Cat With Ten Lives: There are several shots of Jim Regan's lilac car that have the door open and the pole propping up the door is clearly visible. When Regan climbs into the car, he presses one button that closes both the driver's and passenger side doors - despite the poles holding them up.
After scratching Miss Holland in Straker's studio office, the Siamese cat is seen passing through the upstairs office door into a SHADO corridor.
- Destruction: Apparently, the Royal Navy ship 'featured' in this episode has an identity problem - it switches between a County class destroyer and a Tiger class cruiser. (This is according to people who are far more knowledgable about this than I am.)
The ship's captain is looking through an ordinary pair of binoculars - but the camera shot of what he is allegedly seeing through the binoculars shows a squared-off image.
Straker reads off a setting from Sarah Bosanquet's telescope - a reading that is supposed to indicate a single vector. But the telescope is on a moving platform - Earth. In order for SHADO to know which of an infinite number of possible vectors to place the observation Interceptor, SHADO needs a time reference.
And what possible reason would the aliens have for destroying all life on Earth when they need human body parts to stay alive?
- The Man Who Came Back: When the pressure is blown in Grey's sleep sphere, the air pressure goes down - but the air mattress doesn't change size or burst.
The Moon girls always wear their purple wigs, even in the leisure sphere - except in this episode.
Jackson calls Collins' apartment and expects that the person picking up the phone will be Colonel Grey?
- Psychobombs: This is a plot issue: Clem Mason steals Lauritzen's fingerprints by pressing his fingertips to his victim's and 'heat transferring' the prints. Issue? Those prints would be reversed and on the wrong hand, but the scanning computer fails to recognize this discrepancy and passes Mason through security as 'Identity Correct'.
When Linda Simmons opens the window of her red sports car, we can hear the whine of an electric motor even though she is obviously rolling it down by hand.
Mason forces the metal doors open in the voice-print trap. When he gets through there are no marks on the door but later there are fingerprints pressed into the steel.
- Reflections In The Water: Here, there is a major battle at the end, and 4 Interceptor missiles are shown to be fired, but only 3 Interceptors had been launched. Just as an aside, half of the 50 attacking Ufos were expected to be taken out by Moonbase - apparently with only three Interceptors and the mobile rocket launchers. And has any one mentioned that the aliens must be dumb as sticks for assuming that Moonbase wouldn't shoot at them even with orders not to fire?
And Sky-1 was expected to (and apparently did) take out 25 alien craft single-handedly? Again, the aliens are dumb as sticks for not getting themselves out of range of the only capable fighter craft in the air.
And what were the aliens attacking anyway? None of them came close to SHADO HQ.
- Timelash: The aliens, with the help of a traitor, have frozen a moment in time and trapped Straker and Lake in it. Everything and everyone is frozen in time - except for the guy in the background walking across the road during Straker's and Turner's 'car' chase in the Harlington-Straker mini-cars.
The smudges and rips in Straker's black shirt appear, disappear and change configuration between shots.
In the opening sequence, Turner's mini-car is moving counter-clockwise, but when Straker shoots Turner, the same car is seen traveling clockwise.
When Colonel Lake jumps into the jeep, her scarf has no pattern. But it does everywhere else in the episode.
Ayeshea and a few other people move noticeably during the frozen scenes in the Control Room.
Turner's console moved between shots - it is at an angle away from the wall when Straker and Lake are in the Control Room, but it is against the wall when Straker smashes the video screen, destroying the alien device.
- Mindbender: When talking to the Sky-diver pilot, the SHADO operative refers to Sky-4. However, Foster refers to the fighter as Sky-1 and so does the pilot of the craft.
When Beaver James hits the alarm with his elbow, the entire 'concrete' wall flexes.
- The Long Sleep: The most noticeable blooper in the entire series is likely to be one in The Long Sleep - Straker refers to a 'Miss Ross' even though the character's name was changed to 'Fraser' prior to filming. Also while Straker, Foster, and Dr. Jackson are standing over Fraser's 'dead' body, the actress's eyelids are twitching.
- Continuity Issues: While continuity between episodes was not nearly as important then as it is now, there are a few glaring continuity issues.
- In Identified, Ford states that he has been 'with us' for 'over two years', but in Confetti Check A-Ok he is clearly seen as one of the first batch of recruits.
- In The Long Sleep, it is established that the action takes place in 1980 and both Paul Foster and Virginia Lake are a key characters, but the episode where Foster is recruited (Exposed) must take place after SHADO becomes operational in August 1980. Given that the training of SHADO operatives takes five to six months, Foster should still be in training.
Many thanks to all the people who have been collecting these over the years - including Marc, Steve, Lieve, Amelia, Matt, Denise, Claire, Marco, Elliotpav, Jean G, Ineke, and many many more.
Revision date: May 19, 2016