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Starflight One 


Rating: 8 Poseidons


Reviewed by The Entire Movie Club


Starflight One 

Starflight One, Going Into Orbit



Some thoughts on Starflight One.

by Tony W.

Although I wasn’t able to watch this film with the Movie Club, I did watch it twice in the privacy of my own home and wished I’d had a Movie (or any other sort of ) Club with which to smash it into pieces. Here goes.


1. All of the passengers and crew of Starflight One were neatly attired, clean, well-behaved, and presentable. If  you’ve flown recently and been subjected to the insensitive and unrefined practices common to today’s passengers, you will appreciate what it means to have quiet, clean, polite people seated near you.

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A Well-Groomed Lee Majors, in His Lucky Hat



1. Why are precious metals (gold bars) being shipped in ordinary pine boxes without security? 
2. How is it that “Freddy”, a businessman sipping on a cocktail, has the authority to order the launch of a missile in Australia by merely making a phone call from thousands of miles away? Can one simply launch missiles at will in Australia?  NASA seems to know all about the launch. 

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The Missile "Destruct" Button, Right Next to the Fax Machine

3.  Starflight One is capable of taking off from Earth and achieving Earth orbit within about 10 minutes. Such a feat would instantly render obsolete the clumsy, tedious Space Shuttle program. Why are our tax dollars being wasted on such an inefficient and primitive technology?
4. Why is the passenger compartment of Starflight One as big as the Lincoln Tunnel? 
5. At the acceleration required to achieve Mach 3 in the short period of time it takes Starflight to do so, passengers would have been permanently embedded in their seats. “Attention, passengers. This includes you, too, granny. Brace yourself for a 7 g pull. Thank you.”  
6. How do the astronauts propel themselves and the massive objects they employ (Universal Docking Station, enormous tank, casket) so precisely? We see no jet packs. Yet the rescue tank, which must weigh several tons, makes a beeline to the shuttle.
7. Bad physics. Although the effects of gravity are neutralized in orbit, objects still have mass. Which means that stopping the enormous tank full of passengers before it crashes into the shuttle requires a significant force.
8.  In NASA training, astronauts and others are taken up in a modified Boeing 747. It accelerates and climbs rapidly, then levels off. For approximately 30 seconds, the passengers experience weightlessness, a common reaction to which is vomiting. The airplane is dubbed “The Vomit Comet”. Improbably, all of the Starflight One passengers and crew (including the 70-year old lady) have cast-iron stomachs.

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A Weightless, Hapless Passenger

9. Why does the shuttle try to refuel Starflight? We are told constantly that the craft would burn up during re-entry. Moreover, the astronaut says “Could you open the fuel door, Captain Briggs?” and Lee Minors pushes a button which opens a flap just like the one on my car. It doesn’t even close completely. And this flimsy contraption is supposed to survive Mach 3?  
10. When Starflight One enters orbit, it is approximately 450,000 feet above Earth. Officially, it is 87 miles high. Yet, later, the copilot refers to the anxiety of the passengers knowing that they are 50 miles high. 
11. How convenient that the astronauts and space shuttle can pick up signals from the internal Starflight communication system. 
12. How is it that everyone at NASA knows Josh (Hal Linden)? And why does he have to return to Earth to effect a rescue solution? 
13. Once Josh is back at the company headquarters, he instantly acquires a five-o’clock shadow which darkens and lightens from scene to scene. And, as soon as Josh’s beard becomes noticeable, Cody and his co-pilot also look unshaven.
14. Why does the Shuttle have to remain 100 yards from Starflight One when using the Universal Docking Tunnel to rescue passengers? Why not closer? Because the Tunnel had proven effective, why not use another one, isolated from the sparking wires which ignited (somehow) the first one? In order for something to burn, oxygen is required. One could not strike a match in orbit. Yet the flimsy plastic of the Universal Docking Device, burns like tissue. 

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An Inside Look at the Death Tube

15. How is it that the electrician who had never flown before, instantly acquires complete mastery of the intricacies of space suits and extra-vehicular activity?
16. At the beginning and end of this film, credits mix italics and regular formats, but do so inconsistently. Example:

Captain Cody Briggs      LEE  MAJORS   

Josh ???                        HAL LINDEN  (note lack of italics)

                                      LAUREN HUTTON

       These forward-leaning italics are intended to suggest a “looking ahead”, futuristic style. The producers need not have worried. I had no intention of rewinding. 

17. Can someone do something about Lauren Hutton’s cottony monotone?   

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 The "Cottony" Lauren Hutton

18. And, finally, let us observe that we aren’t getting good value from the current Space Shuttle program if a shuttle can be  launched anew two hours after its return.

Some Random Observations on Starflight One

by The Movie Club


 What was with the two giant fuel canisters to power the space shuttle? 

Did you see the moron push the wrong button and get blown out of the UDD? 

They left the dead guy floating around in the cargo bay after stealing his coffin for Hal Linden.  


Should they really have kept the missile self-destruct button right next to the copier?

What the heck was "The Quadrangle?"

An employee lottery for a seat on Starflight One's maiden voyage?

The Death Tube - some of us thought that perhaps the Death Tube wasn't the most efficient means of rescuing passengers from the stranded Starflight One. Maybe there was a better way - SPACE SUITS, maybe?  But none of us are rocket scientists, and none of us work for NASA, which fully explains our combined level of ignorance. 
The UDD (Universal Docking Device) - none of us had any idea that hypersonic jets were equipped with space-shuttle-compatible docking devices.  Since SF1 wasn't designed with space travel in mind, it wouldn't have occurred to any of us to equip SF1 with devices designed solely for use in outer space. But none of us are aeronautical engineers, so our ignorance is once again pardoned.
The Ho - some us us wondered why Lee Major's wife was portrayed a home-wrecking "ho", while Lauren Hutton (the other woman), was portrayed as the righteous heroine.  But none of us are social scientists, and we confess that our ignorance has clouded our ability to reason. 
The Lucky Hat - Lee Majors had a lucky hat that he wore only when he wanted things to go right. We wondered why he ever took it off in the first place. But none of us are psychiatrists, which probably explains our not understanding why intentionally destructive behavior is really a good thing.  
Three Space Shuttle Flights, One Day - yes, we all wondered how it was that the space shuttle Columbia was able to fly three full missions in one single day. Most of us thought that at least two days would be required to pull off such a feat. But none of us are shuttle flight commanders, so we cannot be expected to grasp all the inherent intricacies of unintentional manned space flight.  
Hal Linden's Problem Solving - most of us wondered why Hal Linden had to be off and away from Starflight One in order to solve the problems occurring aboard Starflight One. But none of us are chief designers of hypersonic jets, which explains our inability to understand such abstract reasoning. 
The Hole in the Coffin - a number of us thought that Hal Linden would have been pureed, frozen, and atomized when the coffin he was occupying sprung a leak while traveling through outer space. But none of us are physicists, which explains our not understanding that plugging the hole with one's finger while covered with a blanket would have protected Hal from the -250 degree, oxygen-free environment.    
Weightless, not Weightless - a few of us more cynical Movie Club members wondered why once in outer space, the passengers were randomly weightless, then not weightless, then weightless, then not weightless, etc. But none of us are astronauts, so we could not possibly possess such a deep understanding of the interior environment of a hypersonic jet in full orbit. 
Gold Bricks on Fishing Line - some of the more inquisitive among us wondered why a load of solid gold bricks were brought along for the maiden voyage of Starflight One, and why they looked like styrofoam on fishing line when they were shown to be "floating" in the cargo bay. Although one or two of us are fishermen, none of us are bankers, which is why we failed to understand direct relationship between the effect of space travel on gold bricks and their subsequent increase in value.    
The Abundance of Clothesline - many of us wondered why Starflight One had such an abundance of clothesline on board, which was conveniently used by passengers during intermittent periods of weightlessness.  But none of us are hypersonic jet contingency specialists, so we'd have no way of knowing what might come in handy during an accidental entry into a full orbit of the earth. 
The Pinpoint Landing - all of us wondered how Lee Majors managed to land Starflight One practically on Hal Linden's toes at Mission Control upon SF1's safe return to earth. But none of us are mission control specialists, so such engineering and navigational feats are beyond our narrow grasps.   
"Anything up there already?" - and believe it or not, there were those of us who wondered why NASA used the space shuttle Columbia to perform three missions in one day, when the entire time there was already a shuttle in space performing maintenance work on a military satellite. But we have an answer to this particular question, courtesy of Movie Club member John R. 

John R. directs us back to the following exchange between Hal Linden and NASA, in which NASA denies Hal's request to send Columbia on it's fourth mission in one day:

Hal Linden:  "Hello, Houston?  You've got Columbia touching down here in about 47 minutes.  Think she can make another jump, with minimum processing?"

NASA: "What for? So she can watch the burn-up (of SF1)?

Hal Linden: "Can she do it?!"

NASA:  "Not quick enough. By the time she got back up, there wouldn't be anything left of Starflight."  

Hal Linden: "Got anything else hanging around? Anything up there already?" 

NASA: "Hang on, we're checking." 

And therein lies the answer.  NASA didn't opt to use the readily available maintenance space shuttle simply because they didn't know it was up there already.  

Ask a stupid question ...    


Welcome to the Starflight One Essay Contest!

For a guaranteed prize of $1,000,000.00, can you guess what is going on in the below picture?  (see Rules and Regulations underneath picture).


Rules and Regulations - Starflight One Essay Contest:


1. You cannot watch the Starflight One before submitting your essay.

2. You cannot speak to anyone who has watched Starflight One before submitting your essay.

3. You cannot fraternize with Lee Majors, Hal Linden, or Lauren Hutton before submitting your essay.

4. You must fraternize with Jerry Jameson, director of Starflight One, before submitting your essay.
5. Essays must be at least 100,000 words, typed, single spaced, and received prior to the release date of Starflight Two. 
6. You must submit proof of weightlessness before submitting your essay.
7. Only one grand prize winner of $1,000,000.00 will be selected.

*** Disclaimer: Prize will not be awarded ***

The following is the correct answer to the Starflight One Essay Contest.  We trust you will not peek before submitting your essay.
Essay Contest Answer:

The astronauts from the Space Shuttle have gone into space to rescue Hal Linden from Starflight One, a hypersonic jet that got accidentally stuck in space when an Australian guy self-destructed an Australian rocket that had been commissioned for launch by a crooked American guy.    
Since Hal Linden, designer of the Starflight One, couldn't possibly do any good in the rescue attempt while actually on board Starflight One, NASA sent a space shuttle up to bring him back to earth. By maximizing the distance between the designer of the Starfight and the Starflight itself, Hal Linden would be much more effective.
The astronauts decided that a coffin would be a much safer method of transport between the Starflight and the space shuttle than a space suit would have been, so they put Hal Linden in the coffin and pulled him over to the space shuttle.  When the coffin sprung a leak in outer-space, Hal Linden fixed the problem by plugging the leak with his finger, " ... just like the little Dutch boy."
If you guessed what was going on in the picture, then congratulations!  You win the big prize!!!

*** Disclaimer: Prize will not be awarded ***


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Hal Linden, Inside the Safety Coffin


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Starflight One, Re-entering the Atmosphere Behind Shuttle #4