I've been enjoying the old black and white BBC TV series Quatermass and the Pit from 1958. I adore the film version from 1967 so it was a no-brainer that I'd like it. I found it in my VHS collection, an old BBC video in its original case.
Its such an amazing story. Lordy, I wish I could write like Nigel Kneale. He seems to be able to tap directly into that eerie space where the boundaries of science, the occult and technology collide and pull out what feels like new and real folklore. It must have scared kids half to death back in '57!
I could go on forever about its merits but here are a few lighter masses of Quaterness.
A while ago I blogged about this statue of a rhinoceros on the shelves behind the Blue Peter team and wondered about its origin.
Well, Quatermass and the Pit didn't supply that but it did have its own rhino, a white one. You can just make it out on this murky still at the rear of Roney's office. Just what is it about rhinos? Were animal statues popular in the Fifties and Sixties?
Inspired by the series I googled for a toy play set. I didn't expect to find one. I didn't even find a single toy! The strange alien ship deserves to be played with. But where have I seen that design before?
Where could a kid find one to put into a DIY play set? A dalek? Definately knobbly but the wrong shape.
A vostok 1 model? Getting the shape!
A sixties plastic lampshade with a spiky look maybe? Sadly no big buttons. This may have to do. At least there's space to shove in loads of aliens and drill workers!
so, what about the aliens, those hideous dwarfs? Easy. plastic grasshoppers of course!
Which leaves the workers. Well, there were lots of plastic workmen around when I was a kid in the Sixties. Companies like Blue box and Roxy did them as part of those brilliant three-layer window boxed road construction sets.
Here's a really great Corgi set that looks just the part! I found it on Hugh's wonderful and encyclopedic Small Scale World site [hope you don't mind Hugh!]. There's even a Bernard Quatermass in his hat and mac!
All we need now is a Colonel Breen, Sladden the driller [although the road driller above might work], Professor Roney the archaeologist and his assistant Miss. Judd [played by Christine Finn, the voice of Tin Tin in Thunderbirds no less!]
Can anyone help with these or maybe design a Quatermass and the Pit Play Set box cover?