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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote (Read 13254 times)
Guina
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Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Sep 7th, 2010 at 12:25pm
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Hi,

this has come up between Louise and me, and I am thinking of it now as Matt mentions Straker's age being 48 in 1986. This would place it smack right where the main parts of the series are.

Now - to me it is entirely incongruous to have someone who very obviously is UNDER 40 being called 48, thus nearly 50. That's a time difference for the face and body you are looking at of 10-11 years and it's a time difference which - for most people - really marks the difference between young and middle-aged (lookswise).

It takes a major effort in the make-up department to make someone aged 37 or 38 to realistically look like nearly 50. And going by the real Ed Bishop, it's even easy to see - major difference right down to changes of the basic facial structures and muscular/skeletal changes to the body.

I know there is a B-date for Straker flitting around somewhere of 1938. As I am pretty sure that's not mentioned anywhere in the series, where does that come from? Fanon? Or the extended UK DVD set?

I think it would be a good idea for every writer to - sort of - "time" Straker as per his or her UFO universe, possibly giving detailed reasons for that take, because else others might be brought up short or place stories in the wrong time bracket.

E.g. my take is different from Matt's by 10 years on Straker's age and additionally I usually advance my stories 10 years into the future (making our "now" the time of Confetti Check).

I use the biological age of the actor(s) at the time of production to "time" Straker (Freeman, Foster etc.) as correlated to the series.

I do that because I do not get any other source to put an age on Straker, plus the production used quite considerable means to make Bishop look younger as the freshly married Straker in Confetti Check and Identified. In case the DVD set has put a date to Straker such as 1938, I'd have trouble a) seeing that as canon (it isn't) and b) believing it (Bishop quite simply looks 10 years younger).

This means the following - for my stories (dates in [brackets] mean the dates as transposed to the here and now.

[2010] 1970 - marriage/commission to build SHADO (aged 24)
[2017] 1977 - birth of John/divorce (aged 31)
[2020] 1980 - fully working SHADO (Identify) (aged 34)
[2024] 1984 - John's death (aged 38)
[2026] 1986 - end of series (aged 39-40)

This gives me a B-date of 1946 (within the series' timeframe) and of 1986 within my (futurized) timeframe.

Oh, yes, I am aware that the script of QoP says that Mary and Ed stayed married 3 years after birth, but actual canon (which for me equals what you see and hear onscreen) makes that rather implausible with the later filmed Confetti Check having her move out of the house when the baby is born and believing her husband to have cheated on her. The logic of continuity says she left him then, not three years later.

I also know that some say he'd have been too young as a colonel. Fact is there were even generals as young, not to speak of colonels. It all depends on what war they were in and what needs had to be met.

Any which way, the above is how I time my Straker and stories  Grin
  
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Matt
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #1 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 1:56pm
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Hi Guina,

Straker age can certainly spark quite a debate! Smiley

For my stories I use the back story that Deb has in the Library, the biggest reason being that it made sense to me and I didn't want to re-invent the wheel. In may storylines I set "Identifed" as the first episode being in early 1980, and "The Long Sleep" being the last set in May of 1984. I also use the prodution order found on the UFO Mega set the only exception being that I have the episode "The Man woh Came Back" occur before "The Cat With Ten Lives". I spell all of this out on my website, so the readers know what I'm doing. I also include a "Historian's Note" at the beginning of my stories to clue the reader in as to where I am in the timeline.

As far as looks goes it's not a far cry for me to picture Ed as being 46 in "The Long Sleep" as I am almost fifty and I've always been told I don't look anywhere near it.(Good living Wink) My wife was 47 when we got married and she looked closer to 30. (Ask Louise, she has seen our wedding photo. Smiley)

In the series Ed was a full bird colonel at the time SHADO was chartered. My timeline makes him about 32 at that point and even that is going some. In real life it is almost unheard of. The youngest full birds are at least in their mid to late thirties. That certainly doesn't stop someone from making Ed a full bird at 24, and a story on how that happened could be interesting. Wink

My take on Ginny was different than Deb as I thought she needed to be older in order to be the brains behind the utronic FTL radar. I have her birth set in 1945 rather than 1953 as Deb does. I have her start college at 16 having finished high school early. In order to be the chief desiger at Westbrook she would have had to been their a while and she also would have had to fight an up hill battle simply because she was a woman. (Sad but true, especialy in that time frame. Angry)

That being said, it really is up the writer as to how we set the back stories and it's alway interesting to see someone else's take on the UFO universe. Cool
  

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Guina
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #2 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 2:37pm
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Hi Matt,

by the way - have to let fly with a compliment there - you certainly look younger, and definitely like William Petersen (CSI) - cute in fact Cool

That said, I beg to disagree, look here:



Left side is Bishop aged 38, right side he is 50. That's a much changed facial structure and it's not just that he has lost "babyfat" in the face, or that certain areas have begun to sag. It includes that the bone-structure of the jaws change with age, that nose and ears continue to grow even in adults, that skin and muscle texture change. There is - for someone used to see the differences - no way you could sell the left face as 48 or the right face as 38.

So, being a very visual person, I'm way more likely to believe in a Colonel with 24, than a face clearly 38 being 48 Grin

Apropos - Richard Sanders was an Air Force general at 28, Galusha Pennybaker at nearly 21, and Harrison Thyng the youngest USAF colonel with 26. It clearly varies Cheesy

And yes - it gets a really funny discussion if you then correlate the ages of the other actors and their socalled biographies and set them against Straker. Foster is such a case Grin
  
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Guina
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #3 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 4:14pm
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Hi K-k,

this reminds me of a discussion the screenwriter and director of "A Bridge too far" had with some of the financiers of that movie.

Ryan O' Neal, then aged 36, plays  U.S. Major General/Brigadier General Gavin, who was aged 37 at the time. The bankers said that O'Neal looked too young to be a Brigadier General, but he was only half a year younger during filming, than Gavin had been when the movie was taking place (D-Day). So the director actually had it right using Ryan for that role!

Such stuff is why I simply use what I see and know (of the actor's age) and to hell with the socalled theory there are no seriously ranking officers at such an age... It's obviously not generally correct Wink

Oh yeah, and timelines can get nicely addled when one uses AUs, right? *laughing here*
  
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #4 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 4:14pm
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Okay.... here's mine.. done to fit in with the Rachel stories. I hope!  i think it follows Redacted okay....  but I never put in the part aboput him being at NASA, so perhaps its a bit faulty.
I also have him and Mary having John early in their marriage... assuming that SHADO was in operation but not fully, about five years after, ..

I may need to look more closely at this!

2009
Edward Straker
Dob; January 27th 1970
UFO incursions recorded by USA and USSR governments Straker starts degree in Astrophysics MIT
1991 Edward  Straker commissioned 2nd Lt.
1992 1st Lt.
1993  Pilot training F16s F 111Fs
1994  Lt Straker promoted to Captain 2 years Lunar research MIT Masters age 24
1997 Major Test Pilot School age 27
1998 December 19th combat pilot captured by Iraq forces during Operation Desert Fox. Flying F16 Viper Rescued March 1999
2000 Air Force Intelligence
2000 Lt Colonel    married Mary (April)
2001 age 31 assigned to General Henderson; project Angel    (August)  John Straker born
2002 age 32. Full colonel
2002 Appointed C-in-C of operations
2004 Divorced
2005 SHADO  begins operations
2008 John Straker dies (July)
  

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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #5 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 4:55pm
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I set Straker's birthdate to 1938 because I needed him to be at least 32 in 1970 which made him 40-something at the time of the series. Bishop was born in 1932, which made him 38 in 1970 - Given that UFO was set 10 years in the future, that puts Straker as about four years older than Bishop.

In this context, four years isn't a big difference.

My research into the USAF actually took place in the 70's and I was assured at that time that it was extremely unlikely that Straker would be younger than 32 in 1970. AND in order to have made that last promotion, he needed to have spent time in school getting trained for his future position.

  

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Guina
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #6 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 5:08pm
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Hi Deb,

a few questions re that...

Quote:
Bishop was born in 1932, which made him 38 in 1970


Filming was from April 1969 to September 1970, with Identified falling onto the the first date?

Quote:
Given that UFO was set 10 years in the future, that puts Straker as about four years older than Bishop.


Uhm. Run that past me again Grin I fail to find the logic in that sentence.

Quote:
My research into the USAF actually took place in the 70's and I was assured at that time that it was extremely unlikely that Straker would be younger than 32 in 1970. AND in order to have made that last promotion, he needed to have spent time in school getting trained for his future position.


Yet would that be the same in war? With only a limited amount of officers set up for such a post?

Interesting take, though.
  
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Guina
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #7 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 5:33pm
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Quote:
I know, I know, no help at all ...




Yep, quite impossible.

I think I will start rewatching all tapes for actual hints and then sort out canon to canon and fanon to fanon. Cool

And then we can discuss this further I'd say Grin
  
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #8 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 5:50pm
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I'm keeping out of this.. we Brits have different systems etc. although it is possible that he went to Uni. early....... if he was clever enough? Nah.. would he have done the uni thingy through the Air Force?

See.. I am SO glad I stuck him in 2010.  I can do my own thing now!

Althoug there are some presumptions.. about being a POW for example... although it does fit in SO nicely with the series! (YOur fault Deborah! Wink)


I still have confusion over the actual time line of SHADO.. set up in 1970.. when was it 'open for business'... shortly after.. although that would presume that only the very very basic defences were in place. moonbase etc would take YEARS to set up. so in Identified, (1980) Shado has been commissioned for ten+ years, running for ???? but only now coming into its full operational capabilities.
Hmmmm,,, maths . at this time of night. Not good.


  

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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #9 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 6:45pm
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For simplicity I went with Deb's take as my storyline was in the original timeframe, and as I said I didn't want to reinvent the wheel. (Plus that I felt like she did such a good job, why try to better it. Althought I did tweek it slightly in one or two areas.) I do need to sit down and do bio's for Keith, Gay, Alec, Paul, and of course the characters I've added, Reinhardt, Wallace, Ginny's mon. My take on Ginny is already on my website. Smiley

Deb also has an excellent back story on General Henderson! Cool
  

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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #10 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 7:19pm
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Deb's timeline for Straker is on the Library website, I don't know if an "official" timeline exists other than the things that were spelled out in the series. Even the order of the episodes and time span covered is subject to some interpetation. (A writer's paradise!) Wink I think that is one of the great things about writing UFO stories is the flexability of expression allowed due to the lack of solid timelines and overarching themes! Smiley

I do agree that 1973-74 was a good speculative date for SHADO to begin operations, becomming fully operational in 1980.
  

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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #11 - Sep 7th, 2010 at 9:25pm
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Quote:
Yet would that be the same in war? With only a limited amount of officers set up for such a post?


This was USAF - Pilots and support personnel, not front-line fighters except when they lose their planes. The upper ranks aren't likely to see combat at all except from a pilot's seat. (We're talkin' guys who partied in Thailand on the weekends in the middle of a war).

The USAF also had a policy of 'up or out' - promotions were not handed out freely. There was a lot of competition for few openings.

Therefore Straker's attaboy promotion would have been to captain, or maybe even major. He had to be twenty-one (or really close) to take the oath become an officer. That's a limiting factor.

Straker was an astronaut (canon). That meant he was a test pilot. That takes time AND talent. That Masters in Astrophysics from MIT took at minimum of two years (A Masters program requires taking classes you can't test out of)  . Most of us put him as a veteran because it makes sense - he's a warrior, he would not shirk that duty.

Therefore we're (realistically) looking at a career track for a truly exceptional officer that takes 13 to 20 years that took Straker only ten or eleven years . (An 'ordinary' officer would normally take 21 years from oath to colonel.)

(Bishop was 37-38 playing a character who was 41-42.)
  

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Guina
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #12 - Sep 8th, 2010 at 3:43am
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Hi Deb,

Quote:
This was USAF - Pilots and support personnel, not front-line fighters except when they lose their planes. The upper ranks aren't likely to see combat at all except from a pilot's seat. (We're talkin' guys who partied in Thailand on the weekends in the middle of a war).


That's not the kind of war I was talking about. I so far work from the premise that it is the war against the aliens we talk about, which is ongoing and has a dearth of personnel attached. This obviously started out earlier than Identify, as there we only get the first proven because photographed UFO. For it to be the first ever the canon alludes to too much prior knowledge of various parties involved.

Quote:
That meant he was a test pilot.


I thought pilot was enough? And the USAF service can waive he bachelor? Or did they have it all wrong in "The Right Stuff"? Additionally I wonder where they wanted to squeeze that into the original timeline. The series was produced 1969/70, we had astronauts out there from 1961 on only.

So either the astronaut reference must mean a time prior to roughly 1965 (and thus can't have been much more than simply sitting in the capsule) or it means time after 1970 (and refers to the setting up of SID, which places it post-promotion anyway).

Quote:
(An 'ordinary' officer would normally take 21 years from oath to colonel.)


Yeah, I see that. The question is are we talking "ordinary" here and - see above - I do not mean Straker per se here, I mean the whole situation. If I read my info correctly any ordinary Colonel also wouldn't just play aide to a general.

Also - we have extremely young Colonels hopping all over SHADO like bunnies (Foster, Freeman, Lake), so I am rather inclined to see it as being a commodity agreed upon to rank the international military staff SHADO recruited/recruits.

Or - as I pointed out - pure wartime promotions in the face of a scarcity of officers.

What I mean is, your timeline is absolutely logical in a normal situation, and well researched I am sure. But the fact alone that 4 extremely young Colonels are on SHADO premises to me means that this is the exact opposite of a normal situation. And the logical explanation to me would be the abovementioned wartime promotions out of necessity.

As to the astronaut part - which episodes - apart from "The Man who came back" - is that mentioned in (really have to rewatch the whole set)? Does that episode mention anything other than setting up SID via NASA?

Hmm.
  
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #13 - Sep 8th, 2010 at 4:23am
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SHADO does not have to follow USAF rules for promotion. But in canon - Straker was a USAF full colonel at the time of SHADO's founding and was also an astronaut.

Yes, there is every reason to assume that the aliens were coming to Earth far earlier than 'Identified'. Otherwise, why would Henderson have been looking for hard evidence to prove his case?

And in the 'Right Stuff', they were all test pilots.
  

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Guina
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Re: Time lines and ages - Something Matt Wrote
Reply #14 - Sep 8th, 2010 at 4:47am
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Hi Deb,

Quote:
But in canon - Straker was a USAF full colonel at the time of SHADO's founding and was also an astronaut.


Well, the founding was after he was an AIA/MI officer and after/at the time the UFO was photographed and also after he already played aide for quite a while to Henderson. All that does not forestall a wartime/convenience promotion to put him exactly there where he was at the time.

As to the astronaut part - where exactly is that mentioned? I'd love to look at that again (and spare myself watching the whole set). Exposed?

The main problem I see in all this is that probably Louise is right and Anderson and his writers worked from British military rules and conveniently forgot they'd added a few careers too many. Logically speaking there's room for just one at the time, not the 4 or 5 they - apparently - cram into Straker. I seriously doubt one can approach any of these various careers as they are normally run. THAT would prolly give us a Straker of 100 years age at the full start of SHADO Smiley Err ... that OTOH means he is Spock after all!!!  Shocked
  
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