Monday, August 07, 2017

Cult-TV Theme Watch: Gliders

A glider is a light aircraft with no engine, and the glider is a vehicle often seen throughout cult-TV history.

One of the creepiest programs to ever feature a glider is the paranormal anthology One Step Beyond (1959-1961) hosted by John Newland.

An episode of the second season is called "Reunion," and the narrative revolves around a glider.  The episode begins in Germany at the start of World War II (just after the invasion of Poland).  A group of friends share a picnic, and fly a glider.

But the glider disappears, with its pilot aboard.

After the war, the friends share a "reunion," and, mysteriously -- after all these years -- the glider and its pilot return.

What is found in the cockpit is genuinely disturbing; the stuff of nightmares.

You can watch the entire episode here:

In 1974, the final episode of the Planet of the Apes TV series, "Up Above the World So High," featured a human genius who invented a hang glider, though it would not fly properly without the knowledge and know-how of the 20th century astronauts Virdon and Burke.  An ape scientist working for Dr. Zaius wanted to get her hands on a functioning glider so as to launch a coup against Central City's ruling council.

In 1997, Star Trek: Voyager's fourth season featured an episode titled "Concerning Flight," which saw thieves steal Starfleet technology in the Delta Quadrant, including Captain Janeway's (Kate Mulgrew) Da Vinci holodeck program.  

Before the episode was over, Janeway and Da Vinci had to flee capture in a fixed-wing glider built by the Italian inventor.

Gliders have also appeared in other series, including Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974; CBS), and other series as well.

One of the most interesting models was a re-entry space-glider, which could ride the dorsal side of Eagle Transporters, in the Space:1999 (1975-1977) episode titled "The Immunity Syndrome."

1 comment:

  1. Well, this is what I get by neglecting to visit the site for a few days - an article connected to my strongest obsession: soaring! Thanks for the One Step Beyond link. At the moment the airport in the Fraser Valley I fly gliders from is shut down due to the restricted visibility caused by a combination of forest fire smoke and a stagnant weather system and I'm getting frustrated with the lack of flying. Watching the show will help with the withdrawal symptoms:-)

    Back in the late 70's there was a Disney TV movie called Skytrap which featured a couple of young glider pilots with an L-13 Blanik sailplane. I would love to be able to get my hands on a copy of that. The Six Million Dollar Man had quite a bit of sailplane action too.