Apollo Investigation

Stanley Kubrick and Apollo: Appendix

Appendix to Stanley Kubrick and Apollo Part Three


It should be noted that the practice of reusing film titles over time – ostensibly to update the public, but in fact enabling confusion, diversion and the conflation of subjects required to be considered as one and the same – is a practice upheld by NASA to this day. Back in 2018, NASA’s Frederick Ordway was co-author (with Robert Godwin) of a book that exemplified this conflation1 that contains a section which seeks to join Kubrick’s work with that of the TV Star Trek series by making a parallel between the timelines of the 1960s Star Trek TV development and the 2001 film production.

Furthermore, both projects featured actor Gary Lockwood (as Lieutenant Gary Mitchell and Dr. Frank Poole respectively). Clarke and Roddenberry were good friends, as was Roddenberry with Don Erkle, the owner of Industrial Photographic Supply. And with regard to the doubling of titles, pursuing the Star Trek link back in 1976, the Graphic Films/NASA 1976 production of Universe fronted by William Shatner (a date that fits with the production of The Shining) took the same title as the 27-minute black and white film made in 1960 by Roland Kroitor and Colin Low for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

UniverseUniverse, National Film Board of Canada, 1960

Was this new version also seeking to efface all those technical 1960s Universe details as to how to create fake space inside a dome? Remarkably, the 1960 film is not mentioned on the NFB website, but other later works by Kroitor do feature, along with the fact that he would leave the NFB to co-found the IMAX Corporation. However, that 1960 film has gone down in history as being such an inspiration to Kubrick that he enrolled some of the Canadian participants into his 2001 production. And it is possible to see connections to this film in all of Kubrick’s work from 2001 onwards.

Indeed back in 1964, Clarke and Kubrick listed Universe as a working title for their own film. The 1962 NASA/Graphic Films version of Journey to the Stars has undergone a similar fate, as it was replaced in 2009. The new version is listed as being:

Created by the American Museum of Natural History with the major support and partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Science Mission Directorate, Heliophysics Division.

NASA apparently taking a back seat, but sticking with the Star Trek scenario by having Whoopie Goldberg as the narrator.2

[Refs also developed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (amnh.org) in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; GOTO INC, Tokyo, Japan; Papalote Museo del Niño, Mexico City, Mexico, and Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.]

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In 1966 the SA-500 was the first complete testing of a dummy Saturn V assembly It was decided to test the stability of the stack relative to a:

[S]tructural engineering analysis of the Saturn-Apollo vehicle as a complete, integrated stack; perhaps related to flight vehicle mechanics/aero-elasticity and such related things as wind shear limitations on launch criteria, etc – as one engineer recalls, having been present at this test which was apparently undertaken without proper preliminary planning.

The video of the event available today cuts off before the disaster which then occurred. As a result of their combined efforts at pushing with their tennis-shoed feet and pulling the stack with a rope from the other side, when sway was introduced as per the requirements of the test, the entire Launch Escape System (LES) located at the top of this 365ft stack revealed itself to be affected – and collapsed, falling a considerable way down the body of the assembly.

It can be concluded that if conditions were not perfect at launch the LES would not be of much use to the Apollo astronauts at launch after all. But who knew? No one within NASA in 1966 was talking about the disastrous results of this test – not even to this day. "The LES facsimile failure and destruction was hushed up and never widely reported. Fortunately, no one was injured... or worse.”

Clearly there was a cover up, as those investigating this event have noted that:

The Saturn V Semi-Annual Progress Report, the official Marshall Space Flight Center document that covers this period, describes the de-stacking of all parts of the rocket except the LES. In addition, the MSFC Saturn V quarterly film report also makes a similar exception as does the chronology of the Marshall Space Flight Center for 1966.

In first uploading this video in 2008, some 42 years after the event, NASA treats what remains of the tennis shoe test video as a joke:

The 60-second video, which was shared by an anonymous source, was titled ‘Tennis Shoe Test’ and shows what appears to be NASA engineers pushing and pulling at the top of SA-500F with their feet and rope respectively. Set to a soundtrack more suitable for Charlie Chaplin-style slapstick, the video was seen as humorous.

Thereby ignoring the fact that as with many of the issues with Apollo hardware cover ups were endemic during Apollo.

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As red is generally considered a colour of danger then in the light of the Biltmore’s mural-adorned dining room with its Apollo-Gemini associations, and the layout of the Overlook’s 'Cold/Gold Room' with its round green-topped ‘games’ tables covered in white cloths for dining, echoing the square green ‘games’ tables and the posters of snow-covered mountains in the [war] games room is more than significant. The Joint Chief of Staff’s highly-secure conference room found in the basement of the Pentagon used to be decorated in these very same colours and with the same curtain swags we see in Kubrick’s film.3

'The tank' as the JCS conference room was known, would be just the place to sort out the Apollo game board. In this regard there is far more to say on the subject of round tables representing labyrinths while square tables represent mazes, games boards and planetary matters, as already discussed. Also Kubrick’s use of the games of pool and snooker (the former most popular in the US, the latter in the UK) with their specific colour codings deserves far more space than is available here, and must await another time.

gold room
Dressed mostly in earth-colour tones, these four are walking towards the bar area, passing in total three two-seater sofas and seven armchairs (totalling 13 seats).

The red single and the two-seater sofa seating arrangements are echoed in the 2001 Space Station V setting around the Howard Johnson Earthlight room as it’s replicated in the Stanley Kubrick exhibition.

Red chairs set out at the Kubrick exhibition as on the Space Station V. A sofa for two and a single matching chair, photo DSP

The screen (on the left) behind the two-seater sofa looks as if it might be the Moon reflecting earthlight but its colouring, along with its purple sky, tells another tale: it is the view of Earth through the large window. This entire corner of the space station bears comparison with the red, purple and blue colours worn by the Russian Dr. Stretyneva, during the discussion with the American Heywood Floyd (as discussed in part one). Dr. Stretyneva’s two companions (dressed in black, brown and creams) occupy a two-seater sofa while she sits in a single chair, as does their male companion Smylov, who we recall bore the same name as a famous real-life chess player.

Appendix image
Regarding the Earth seen outside the Space Station V window, Julie Kearns writes “The spin of the earth outside is clockwise, which means that the rotation of the space station, as we face the landing pad side, is counter-clockwise.”

HotelWe are now back to tactical games playing: the poster in the Howard Johnson image above is a Pan American promotion for a three-level underwater hotel in the Bahamas prompting a link between 2001, the Bahamas and Apollo.

While the north Atlantic was the splashdown arena for space hardware returning from LEO, nearer to the Bahamas the waters would also receive any rocket launch failures or bailouts. But there is more to this scene setting from 2001 than that. During the same year that 2001 was in principal photography and SFX shooting, this Grand Bahamas Island was the subject of a mighty row over funding mostly, and management partially. In other words who got the money.

The Gold Room bar scene and Jack’s proclamation, “I’m the kind of man that likes to know who’s buying their drinks, Lloyd.” springs to mind. Interestingly, the Bahamas tracking station had been under DoD-NASA management during Gemini, but when it came to Apollo, NASA and the USAF were both vying for control. We should recall in 2001 seeing two men and one woman dressed in ‘Air Force Blue’ sitting on three separate chairs. So perhaps it’s relevant that these three Air Force personnel are sitting opposite a communication booth from where Heywood Floyd speaks to his daughter, played by Vivian Kubrick. More mixing of reality and make believe, as was the Grand Bahamas row. Dubbed ‘a cause celebre’ by NASA historians it dragged on from May 1965 through to June 1967.4

Appendix image
With its window looking out onto a view of Earth, Heywood Floyd had asked his daughter what she would like for a souvenir of his trip to the Moon, and she asks for a telephone. Told that they have already lots of those, she asks for a Bushbaby which reminds us of the jungle telephone (aka rumour mill communication system) so we should likely remember the role played by various the tracking stations around the world, including the aptly named Heard Island facility.5

However, this was a storm in a teacup, the lengthy arguments over facilities and funding perhaps the most significant point of the whole charade, because it turns out that this GBI facility, which had apparently been indispensable for the sub orbital and orbital Gemini flights was not required for most of Apollo after all. NASA historians record that as of July 1969, "The facility was disestablished following the first lunar landing and while still under NASA operation."

Armed with an awareness of context, the two men and one woman dressed in ‘Air Force Blue’ uniforms seated opposite the communication booths on Space Station V take on even more significance. Their blue uniforms encode the fifth floor colours of the Overlook and the Pentagon’s fifth floors, and the US Air Force, is principally located around wedge five of the Pentagon. The red two-seater sofa (on the Earth picturephone side) and the three single red seats (on the earthlight side) are encoding the sequential red coding of the same corridor in the Pentagon – as its 2nd level in 1941 and as its 3rd level in 1942 respectively.

In the Overlook this red floor is referenced as 2 and the red key tag of Room 237 also informs us about earthlight (the diffuse reflection of sunlight reflected back from the Earth’s surface and cloud layers is estimated at some 37% of the light received). Arthur C. Clarke used the term for a novel written in 1951 to describe the view of Earth from the Moon and in this novel, he not only notices the beauty of the Moon under 'earthlight', he also notes that the Earth in the Moon’s ‘sky’ is far bigger than the Moon in the skies of Earth. Not something that was ever the case in the Apollo images of the Earth allegedly seen by the astronauts on the Moon. But very much the case of the Earth seen out of picturephone windows on Space Station V, supposedly orbiting in LEO.

If the brown-suited visitor references the ground floor and basement levels, and the space station operative is dressed in white coveralls and they are talking together, then this strongly infers the functions of all those levels in the Pentagon, plus that Space Station V encodes the hidden details of the Moon missions. Everything is situated between the file floor and chess board ceiling of this white-gray 3rd/4th floor. We are on the fourth intermediate floor which becomes the 5th floor and the 1942 B, C, D levels of the Pentagon, taking us to the Overlook’s blue stairways and the reason for the staff quarter’s room 3. In this single scene we have four out of five floors of the Overlook and the Pentagon’s colour coding, while the Pentagon’s missing green floor (level 2 or 3) is encoded in The Shining’s service corridors, inside Room 237 in its bathroom, and as an element of its bedroom carpeting.

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While any surviving documentary evidence of the Apollo fakery may never be accessible, the truth within the multiple layers of Stanley Kubrick’s works will remain with us – his films really do tell the story. And we find echoes within the works of his friends Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. For example, the final scene in the enormous warehouse in Raiders of the Lost Ark picks up on the subterranean issues occurring down in the lower basement boiler room of the Overlook. Julie Kerns has noticed the similarity of the boilers with the projectors in the Peter Sellers film The Smallest Show on Earth, (which is a good metaphor for what the world actually saw on it's TV screens in July 1969.)

Appendix image
Peters Sellers in The Smallest Show on Earth with his two film projectors.

Appendix image
Wendy checks the boilers in the basement of the Overlook Hotel. Note the similarity of the shape of the boilers compared with albeit smaller film projectors – also compare the upper narrow housings on the projectors for extract cooling, and the dial casings atop the boilers.

Wendy leads us into a room where we see, stacked in extremely insalubrious surroundings there are four top-loading pale green washers. Incongruously equipped with the same warning notice we saw in the boiler room, these washers are the same colour as the nuclear bunker doors at Northwood and they are set at right angles to three tall, light-coloured driers. Stacked next to the washer is a seemingly miscellaneous collection of objects: we can see four huge wooden crates, the large ‘X’ marked on one of them suggesting that either it relates to the number 10 or that the crate with a huge X does not contain what is written on it, which seems to include the words THE OVERLOOK, implying that this is not the Overlook. Indeed, those two slatted forms, looking like old radiators, leaning against these crates are also reminiscent of the ribbing of the Cardington hangar windows.

Appendix image
Wendy in the basement laundry area – two of the four washers are visible here, while the three driers are to the right as in the frame below.

Apollo 12 'light bulb'

This laundry room area is hardly adequate for the size of the Overlook. Above the four green washers are the notices concerning the danger of explosions.

Alongside these washers are brown hessian sacks and various other cartons stacked on and around a black rectangular object with a silver metal case haphazardly perched on the assembled items. The sacks possibly contain soil, while the silver case is stacked as if left in a hurry. However, knowing something about the basement at the NATO base, this collection of seemingly miscellaneous items is most informative.

One could infer that green washers the means by which it was hoped that nuclear radiation could be removed from the human body and those two cloth sacks, if not full of ashes, become a metaphor for the officially held opinion of the 1940s, that two foot of the good earth would provide enough protection when close up to a nuclear explosion. (Or the soldiers in trenches observing the Trinity site tests in New Mexico were so informed.)6

That silver case (placed on the radiators) implies technology within, whether it be a Geiger counter or perhaps, given the context, a piece of camera equipment. If this summation of the dangers of nuclear materials is too speculative for some, it is entirely consistent with everything we are finding so far. Kubrick was well versed in matters nuclear and radiation in general, having paid attention since 1958. The fact that the public today are only just becoming more aware of the actual dangers of solar and cosmic radiation to human beings travelling beyond LEO, and particularly out on the lunar surface, does not mean that the authorities were in the same situation back in the late1950s and during the Apollo program.

Moreover, that radiation would be the showstopper preventing human exploration of space was known, as were the problems of managing the excessive variations in both the radiant heat and icy cold that equipment and human beings would have to support while out on the lunar surface.

Here would be the moment to offer another explanation for the nomination of Room 237 pertaining to the Moon. Much has been made by us and others of the idea that Kubrick chose the room number to reflect the average distance of Earth to the Moon (see part two) and it is true that in July 1969, this was the average of 237,227 miles. However, there is another explanation for the choice of this number and it has to do with the nuclear fuels powering space craft, probes and the exploratory scientific experiments placed on the Moon and Mars.

These all have radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) attached, which use plutonium 238 as a fuel. Pu-238 has an isotope containing 144 neutrons and a half life of 87.7 years. Its greatest limitation is that of its supply. In 1959, the AEC commissioned SRS to convert the radioactive actinide metal Neptunium 237 into Plutonium 238. Np-237 is an artificial element, with a half life of 2.4 million years, (and interestingly its atomic number is 93 (echoing the 93 million-mile average distance of the Earth from the Sun).

By 1960 the US had optimised known methods of irradiating an oxide of Np-237 with neutrons to produce Np-238, which decayed into Pu-238 . This Np-237 derived Pu-238 has been used on all spacecraft RTGs ever since. The Apollo program is said to have used a SNAP-27 RTG containing 44,500 Ci (1,650 TBq) of plutonium dioxide and it was used for the land experiments carried out on the Moon. PU 238 is said to have high heating ability while emitting mostly alpha particles and is therefore considered safe! Nonetheless, when it came to the Apollo crewed missions it was stated that the RTG destined for surface experiments was “in a graphite cask attached to the lander leg”, so not that safe after all. But the set dressers seem not to have received the RTG memo, since the Apollo photographs show no sign of this RTG attached to a LM leg.7

While still near the boiler room, remembering that the ending of King’s novel has the whole Overlook going up after an explosion in the basement, while Kubrick’s ending focuses on lighting up the maze both inside and out, makes the real life fire on set of the The Shining, due to overheating from lighting, rather poetic. As is the fact that it delayed the shooting of the next film at the studios, Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. How does that relate to the boiler room?

Spielberg virtually reproduced Kubrick’s laundry room wooden crate at the end of his film, in the unforgettable, expansive warehouse scene where a porter, wearing the same brown colours (as does Wendy in this scene) is wheeling a box holding the crated Ark of the Covenant into the huge warehouse, while on his Ivy league university campus Indiana Jones was being told that the Ark was being studied by ‘Top Men’.

In real life, that soundstage at Elstree was rebuilt, and Spielberg later used it for his ‘well of souls’ scene. Which is also poetically fitting. Bearing in mind that the Ark of the Covenant was another name for a rainbow, and that rainbows only appear within an atmosphere, and that Danny’s room and door in the Boulder, Kensington apartment, is covered with both Disney cartoon characters and Snoopy-rainbow-balloon motifs, and that NASA used a Snoopy badge as a reward for its employees, is very much food for thought. Or no food at all, for with a bit of imagination, the story takes us to other doors with different stories to tell, or hide.

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‘Light bulb’ studies

Front Projection rig

Further studies of the Apollo 12 photo revealing a ‘light bulb’ within the sun, originally found by Jack White in 2007, with 2021 enhancement of the latest hi res version, accessed 26.3.2021.8

Apollo 12 'Light Bulb'


If Kubrick’s use of mirrors throughout The Shining are more hints that we should consider the Carroll oeuvre, it is likely that these floral corridors and entryways to the staff apartments have another, complementary meaning. And bearing in mind the chess game hypothesis, it's noteworthy that in regard to the floral corridors, chapter two of Through the Looking Glass is called 'The Garden of Live Flowers'. In this garden there are daisies which link to Bowman Killing HAL 9000 in 2001. Carroll’s use of the Tiger Lily flower also recalls Peter Pan’s Tiger Lily, and from there to The Shining, we find analogies to the Native Americans referenced in the Overlook’s artwork and the Colorado Lounge murals, Danny talking to Tony while looking in the mirror in the Kensington complex bathroom, to the UK’s Kensington Gardens home to Peter Pan, and the Peter Pan rigging required for the wire flying to simulate the lunar EVAs.

Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of Charles Ludwidge Dodson, Professor of Mathematics at Christ Church College Oxford. Alice Liddell was one of the daughters of the Dean of the college. Dodgson also played chess, croquet and billiards and was a prolific inventor of maths puzzles, word puzzles and cipher methods (encoding.) And just as Carroll encoded and reflected the characters of his first book in the storyline of Through the Looking Glass, so did Kubrick structure The Shining, its two halves reflecting around the scene of Jack in the green bathroom of Room 237.

But then one cannot entirely excuse Stephen King from picking up on Lewis Carroll themes either, since his book features a Roque court and animated topiary, all Alice territory, while his glass covered clock on the mantelpiece of the ballroom (Kubrick’s Cold/Gold room) with the key far too small for adults, although it is normally only adults who are going to wind up the clock, is straight out of Tenniel’s illustration for the mantelpiece in Through the Looking Glass. Was Kubrick then picking up on some of King’s themes and toying with King while playing his own chess game?

Lewis Carroll’s books have led to multiple interpretations of course, and with the advent of psychoanalysis, his interest in young girls has led to him being compared to Humbert, Nabokov’s narrator in Lolita. And that is perhaps another hint from Kubrick that within his films there is a narrative thread quite other than the script storyline to be found, one which relates to a hidden sequence of events stemming from his 1962 foray with MGM into making films in the UK.

Interestingly Dodgson first narrated the story to Alice and her sisters during a July 4th boating trip of 1863 and he published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. A hundred years later Kubrick was filming Dr. Strangelove and then starting principal photography on 2001. Dodgson’s second book about Alice appeared in December 1871 and was titled Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, but its publication date was 1872. A hundred years later Kubrick released A Clockwork Orange which he described as a psychological dream. Through the Looking Glass… was also a dream, and it was based on a game of chess.

In the world of space travel 1965 saw the end of the Gemini and 1972 would see the end of the lunar missions. As an aside, Carroll used the elephant as representing the bishop in his chess game, and Peter Sellers twice played roles in filmed versions of Alice in Wonderland. In Jonathan Miller’s BBC TV version screened on December 28, 1966 he played the King of Hearts and then in 1972, Fox-Rank distributed the John Barry musical version of Alice, in which Sellers played the March Hare. In Through the Looking Glass the March Hare becomes Haigha, the White Queen’s Knight. As an aside, Geoffrey Unsworth, who had worked on the Pink Panther films and had just worked with Kubrick on 2001, was the Director of Photography on this musical production.9


Appendix image

We have seen that the actual Timberline lodge exteriors in The Shining do not match the hotel façade built for Kubrick’s exterior set. Indeed this mismatch (which is certainly not a mistake) must be intentional to emphasize the parallels with the anomalous Apollo photography and the TV recordings.

This mismatch echoes the fact that NASA’s actual images from the 1966-67 Lunar Orbiter program taken of the Moon do not match the Apollo lunar surface studio photographs. As we noted in Part One under Impossible Scenarios:

Noticing the difference between the astronaut’s reports and the photographic record, we began to question everything … especially the validity of the TV recordings and immediately released NASA prints.
It was soon clear that the orbital photography and the ground-based images simply didn't match.” [emphasis added]
– Richard C Hoagland and Mike Bara, Dark Mission 2007.

Since the late 1960s the MGM Borehamwood studio complex has been redeveloped. Today it is turning into an extensive warehousing facility.

Appendix image

Present-day redevelopment on the land once occupied by the MGM studio complex in the 1960s.

But we will never forget that thanks to the pure genius of Stanley Kubrick, from somewhere on this site, a massive spacecraft once left for Jupiter and beyond… and that the masterpiece that is 2001: A Space Odyssey set us all thinking.

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Stanley Kubrick and Apollo: Part One
Stanley Kubrick and Apollo: Part Two

©Mary Bennett and David S. Percy 2021

Aulis Online, May, 2021



  1. Frederick I. Ordway III and Robert Godwin, 2001: The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey (Ontario, Canada, Apogee Prime, 2018).
  2. Journey to the Stars 2009 version, was also developed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (https://www.amnh.org) in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; Goto Inc, Tokyo, Japan; Papalote Museo del Niño, Mexico City, Mexico, and Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
  3. This article shows how the decoration of the so-called Tank Room echoes aspects of the Cold/Gold rooms décor.
  4. The full account of this storm in a teacup row.
  5. The Odyssey of the Lost Apollo CM for the USCG Southwind’s visit to Heard Island.
  6. Mary Bennett and David S. Percy, Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers (London, Aulis Publishers, 1999) Chapter 3 'Radiant Daze', p111.
  7. Plutonium-238 Production for Space Exploration and Wikipedia, Isotopes of neptunium.
  8. Jack White's Apollo Studies
  9. Martin Gardner editor, The Annotated Alice, the Definitive Edition (UK Penguin Books, 2001).
    Martin Gardner first published his Annotated Alice in the US in 1960. It comprises Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. In this definitive edition, Martin Gardner’s original and updated annotations have benefited from comments sent to him over the years by his readers.

In 2018, The Shining was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
2001: A Space Odyssey had been inducted in 1991.

We consider that this analysis falls under the ‘fair use’ laws of the USA and the United Kingdom, and any copyrighted material is included on a not-for-profit basis for research, discussion and educational purposes only.


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