Apollo Investigation

Stanley Kubrick and Apollo: Part Three

How did Stanley Kubrick achieve his aim regarding Apollo? What did he encode in his films referring to NASA and Apollo?

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

“We seem to be stuck in a time loop or a Groundhog Day around 1970. Why, 50 years after the Apollo Moon landings, have we done so little to progress humanity’s destiny in space?”

– Mark Hempsell, British Interplanetary Society presentation, May 6, 2020

Part three is in two sections:
Shall we Play a Game of Chess? and
NASA, the Pentagon, Mazes and Labyrinths


Stanley KubrickIn the third part of this thought-provoking investigation we explore the encoded evidence relating to the Apollo Moon landings together with matters concerning NASA and the Pentagon that Stanley Kubrick incorporated into his films. This vital, complex information is brilliantly layered and multiplexed into the audio and visual elements of his works.

Kubrick’s encoding of detailed information about Apollo and how the imagery was created is best appreciated with at least some basic understanding of photography as well as an awareness of the Apollo record, the history of space travel and a little interdisciplinary thinking. Part three contains a wealth of information so there is a lot to take in. A few conclusions might be considered conjectural, but that’s the nature of all history.
Apollo 11

What follows is far from speculative as Kubrick has conveyed the motivations and much of the back story around the faking of the Moon missions, and without doubt, Kubrick banked heavily on the likelihood that at some future point, one way or another, researchers would crack his cipher(s).

Warner Bros. president John Calley sent Stanley Kubrick a galley copy of of Stephen King’s novel The Shining. It was the perfect vehicle for Kubrick to build on.

How did Kubrick achieve his aim? We start by examining the hypothesis that by deploying a brilliant, albeit elementary solution, it was entirely possible for Kubrick to conceive the entirety of the Apollo photographic coverage so that it could be organised and executed by any film crew. This would include the film/photographic teams and the SFX specialists at any required studio location around the world.

Delivering the project
Following extensive planning meetings, taking into account the mission goals and classified briefings provided by the various agencies involved, fully-detailed plans as to how the Apollo missions should unfold will have been drawn up. These plans would include comprehensive scenarios, the film/TV coverage and the stills photography. While parts one and two of this enquiry have demonstrated that Kubrick could have been involved with preparing the storyboards for the Apollo Moon landing photography for missions 11, 12 and 13 at the Cardington studio locally in the UK, the scripted and storyboarded scenarios of subsequent missions would necessitate even larger studio facilities abroad.

Massive circular sets of at least 200 meters in diameter, very much larger in floor area than even Cardington could provide, would have been required for Apollo missions 14 through 17 generated in highly secret and secure locations under the control of the United States. So how would any director be able to control all the photographic conditions engendered by such a unique project? Does Kubrick provide any clues in his own films? Let's see.

Composing the imagery
The Steadicam camera operator on The Shining, Garrett Brown, used the cross hairs in the film camera viewfinder as an accurate guide for delivering the precise positioning and framing Kubrick wanted to 'land on' at the end of shots. But an important question arises regarding this Apollo hypothesis. As Kubrick was not only resident in the UK but averse to flying, how would he ensure that the scenarios and storyboards designed by him would be executed by units operating in those other distant locations? Kubrick’s biographer Vincent LoBrutto, writing in 1997,1 had the answer to this conundrum when he reported that “Kubrick determined exactly how the second unit would film the shots he wanted when they were dispatched on location.”

Fig 1 Sketch
Fig 1. Storyboard sketch for the crew on an Overlook exterior snow scene. The extent to which the instructions are detailed is self-evident, providing a good example of how Kubrick gave specific directions for working in his absence. Note the 1:1.85 markings for theatrical framing, while contained within the television ratio of 1:1.33. (This was of course before the days of widescreen TV.) Image, Stanley Kubrick Archive.

Here in figure 1 is an example of an Overlook exterior snow scene which shows how Kubrick would wish to see the shot dressed and composed, but when it came to actual photography of such a scene in Kubrick’s absence, author Vincent LoBrutto confirms our own research that,

Kubrick had developed an elaborate system of utilising a numbered and lettered grid on photographs so he could direct his second unit by phone. With mathematical precision, he calculated a shot’s composition by giving the crew the coordinates from the photographic grid. [emphasis added]

The grid hypothesis
A grid with numbers and letters? Well, that sounds very much like the description of a chessboard. But wait, chess was Stanley Kubrick's favourite game. Given Kubrick’s predilection and experience we realized that the selected numbered and lettered system would be far from random. We suggest that it would have been a grid based on the chessboard vertical number and horizontal alphabet identifiers. For each set of storyboarded Apollo images a detailed grid plan was likely created for each of the Apollo elements.

8x8 grid
Fig 2. Left: the Kubrick 8x8 grid derived from the chessboard. Right: the bi-coloured chessboard’s horizontal x-axis always comprises letters, known as ‘files’ and the vertical y-axis is always numbers, known as ‘ranks’. The white pieces are arranged along the lettered files and always occupy ranks 1 and 2. The black pieces occupy ranks 7 and 8. The square h1 is always the paler colour of the bi-coloured board and that square is always placed lower right. Diagonals on the chessboard are described from the lower rank to higher rank, here illustrated is the long diagonal a1-h8.

Stanley loved chess. As he told Michel Ciment before making movies,2 he played chess for money, in parks and elsewhere, as well as playing in tournaments at the two famous New York clubs, the Manhattan Chess Club and its rival the Marshall Chess Club. Fast forward to the 1960s and he was still playing chess at every opportunity. Vincent LoBrutto specifically mentions the games he played with Tony Burton on the set of The Shining which threatened to hold up the film production.3 Burton was retained for two weeks of filming but he stayed for six, playing chess with Stanley.

Burton observed that “Kubrick didn’t like to trade pieces, he liked to keep the board full of possibilities and tension in the middle.” The middle of the chess board is the area defined by files c3-c6 and f3-f6 and the centre of the board is defined by d4-d5 and e4-e5. This implies that his grid system operated from the centre. So for example, Kubrick’s 8x8 grid would be overlaid onto his sketches and centered to delineate the areas of principal interest in the required composition. In the example below, a 10”x8” slide taken for 2001 for the front projection process, the ranks of 4 through 6 are those of interest, as the foreground ranks 1-3 would be taken up by the studio set.

Front Projection slide

Fig 3. Pre-production image for 2001, with an overlaid grid based on Kubrick’s original grid idea. This is an example of a 10”x8” slide taken in the Namib Desert, South West Africa for the front projection process. Image sourced from the Propstore, grid added by the authors.

Vincent LoBrutto noted that Kubrick had used the same system for instructing the second unit taking background photos in Africa in preparation for the Dawn of Man sequences in 2001, so we can assert with confidence that Kubrick was operating the grid system he had perfected prior to 1964. Notably then on Dr. Strangelove, Stanley had played chess on set with George C. Scott (General ‘Buck’ Turgidson) and in an interview after making The Shining, had noted that winning nearly all those games gave him a certain edge on the set, as all players who thought themselves to be good at chess had an inordinate respect for people who had beaten them.

The grid in practice
This fascination with chess strongly suggests to us that the Apollo mission locations would be subjected to the very same solution, not least because this grid method was absolutely ideal for the Apollo photography since these still photos were all imaged on 70mm film using the Hasselblad 500 EL/70 camera. That camera produced square images, making it the perfect choice for the coding requirements for the lunar surface photography.4

Suggested sketch

Fig 4. Suggested concept sketch for a Hasselblad square format Apollo 15 photo, featuring the three key compositional assets of the mission with a overlaid numbered and lettered grid.

We maintain that Kubrick had organised an extremely well constructed scenario designed to achieve two specific objectives. Firstly, to incorporate a complex set of encodings within his films that would enable persistent decoders to eventually understand the profound implications for their presence, and from there, expand their research into the Apollo missions. Noting that observers of the Kubrick oeuvre have attributed diverse meanings to the apparent discrepancies seen in his films, we consider that secondly, any references to Apollo data would be sufficiently opaque to ensure that his family members remain protected from the immediate dangers of any such politically delicate discoveries.

A tall order indeed, but if that was the case, this chessboard coding hypothesis should hold up under scrutiny. In other words, if his grid method had been applied to the Apollo photography, we should be able to see examples of this method not only within his films, but also within the Apollo photography as well. Indeed we should find concurrency between the two. But before we further examine that particular thread we need to make a detour.

The name is Apollo
As well as providing the grid for executing the Apollo photography, we found that in The Shining it is often the differences with the events described in the novel that supply additional information. So we started thinking of the chess game as a means of providing the clues and details within The Shining that Kubrick wants the audience to notice relative to Apollo.

Taking the hint from Burton’s discussion about his chess matches on The Shining set, we also checked out his actor’s role. Before Burton became an actor he had been a heavyweight boxing champion, and after reading part two of Stanley Kubrick and Apollo, Mel Karth pointed out that,

Regarding the Apollo/Kubrick Shining hypothesis, search the actor Tony Burton who plays Larry Durkin. Tony Burton is famed for his character as Tony ‘Duke’ Evers – Apollo Creed’s trainer in the first three Rocky movies.

Quite apart from his talent, one might be fully justified in asking if Tony Burton was chosen by Kubrick specifically for that Apollo connection. In The Shining, Burton played the Sno-Cat owner Durkin, who enabled head chef Hallorann to reach the snowbound Overlook Hotel on the final leg of his rescue mission from Florida. As an aside, when it came to the Durkin’s Auto Supply scene, as we have seen in many examples of Kubrick’s work previously, objects move and/or change in this scene.

Durkin 1
Fig 5. Actor Tony Burton as Durkin. Objects that are altered or change positions between shots are circled in red. The colours related to these of moving objects have both exoteric and esoteric significance.

In relation to this scene Jonnys53 blogspot observes, “The yellow [rectangular] NAPA sign in the rear right rotates 180 degrees during the scene without ever being touched.” (NAPA is the largest distributor of automotive parts in North America). That particular rotation is a really subtle change. More obviously, in figure 6 below we can also see that the blue and red box on the counter top is rotated, and behind it we see that a red item and a black one are missing from the back of the shop (by the brown boxes). To the left of frame we see that the white cards below the TV are now covered by two black cables forming the semblance of a large X across them.

Durkin 2
Fig 6. In the novel King notes that Durkin also has the ability to shine. This is not made so clear in the film.

Both examples are further repetitions of the way that objects are moved around between consecutive shots in The Shining just as seen in the Apollo imagery. And recall other references to Apollo found in this investigation – for example Apollo Avenue and Aquarius Way on the NATO base at Northwood. Apollo references the space missions, the Sun god and the number 7, while Aquarius links to the Apollo 13 lunar module (which was LM-7). The 1st and 13th Moon are associated with the lunar yearly cycle and the constellation of Aquarius.5

Having rented the Sno-Cat from Durkin and endured a hellish drive, in the novel Hallorann arrives at the snowbound hotel and survives an attack from Jack. In the film Hallorann is killed by Jack in the Overlook’s lobby and this takes place just to the right of the public phone booths, in front of the carved wooden screens hiding the hotel’s back office administration and communications area.

Fig 7

Fig 7. Halloran is killed by Jack in front of the administration area, note the Gold Room display board is positioned on the left side in the background.

Fig 8
Fig 8. In this scene the Gold Room display board is on right of the curtains. Dust covers are on the chairs.

It has also been remarked upon by others that while people with shining abilities can communicate throughout the snowstorm, none of the technical hardware functions. And indeed Apollo I astronaut Gus Grissom had remarked on similar problems with the Apollo hardware just prior to being burned alive in a fire in his capsule.6

Earlier in the film, Kubrick has filmed this lobby location with a black ragdoll (golliwog) lying on the floor and Danny’s Big Wheel with a toy animal attached to its handlebars. Film researcher Juli M. Kearns relates the toys to the characters in the film, and she allocates the black ragdoll to Hallorann. But it is also possible to see that these toys contain lots of visual clues relative to the Apollo planning.

Abbots Mead photo DSP

Fig 9. Driveway and front door to Abbots Mead, Borehamwood, UK, photo DSP.

Briefly mentioned in part two, it is now worth expanding on the reasons for this. A 1962 film made at Abbots Mead three years prior to Kubrick’s purchase of the house featured a black ragdoll. It was the bomb-loaded ‘McGuffin’ that would explode, killing the kidnapped child and destroying the house if the ransom was not paid in time. Just like the boilers in the basement of the Overlook in the novel.

Taking this to Apollo, it’s hard not to equate the kidnapped child with the director, Danny’s special abilities as a parallel with Kubrick’s special abilities, and the whole affair as a dark (undercover) project with the potential to go very wrong if the child, captured against his will, is not ‘rescued’. It also implies that the perceptive abilities of chief cook Hallorann is another aspect of Danny’s abilities and that it is these that threaten the whole operation if, in terms of the Overlook on Mt. Hood, his talents are not harnessed or ‘contained’.

Looney Tunes

Knighty KnightJulie Kearns interprets the toy attached to Danny’s Big Wheel or trike as a ‘stand in for Danny as ‘Doc’ for it is a gray, white and pink-eared Bugs Bunny. Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny cartoons enjoyed their golden age between 1940 and 1964. This character became the official mascot of its founders Warner Bros. Entertainment, the company and distributor behind Kubrick’s films post 2001.

Released in August 1958, Knighty Knight Bugs was the only Bugs Bunny cartoon to win an Academy award for best animated short subject. Noting the oblique reference to the black horse chess pieces within that title, in the storyline of this cartoon Bugs has serious issues with his arch-enemy Yosemite Sam, disguised as a Black Knight.
Yoesemite Sam

Yosemite Sam had a hair-trigger temper and an intense, passionate hatred of rabbits.

That same year, 1958, Yosemite Sam (already the mascot of many wartime military units) was adopted by the USAF 20th Intelligence Squadron depicted as an aggressive, gunslinging, bandit character of the High Frontier, riding on the clouds, equipped with a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ spyglass and a camera.

The mascot was approved for the 20th Intel Squadron in July of 1958 and at that time the squadron was based at Colorado Springs, Peterson AFB. Which links the notion of ‘Uncle Sam’ via the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park to Kubrick’s film set of the Overlook and the Colorado lounge.

The Ahwanhee Hotel, photo DSP
Fig 11. The Ahwanhee Hotel, in the spectacular setting of the Yosemite National Park, photo DSP.

It is of likely significance that the Bugs Bunny stories and character were the creation of more than one person, and that in King’s novel there is a topiary rabbit, which observes the action but doesn’t itself participate. In the first drafts of Kubrick’s screenplay the topiary was never featured – but neither was a maze. This came about later on. Very obviously the use of Bugs Bunny in The Shining can be seen to refer to the Moon, which is symbolised by a rabbit in Eastern cultures; Looney Tunes, and the plot of the 1960s Lighter Than Hare is particularly apposite when thinking in terms of NASA East’s model makers and set designers during the filming of 2001.

Returning to the black ragdoll in the lobby as representing Danny’s special shining friend Hallorann, the chief cook, it is of interest that in chess the word ‘cook’ has a specific meaning. Generally attributed to E.B. Cook, the 19th century chess puzzle setter, it is suggested by chess aficionado Ed Collins that it is far more likely that the usage of this word in chess actually derives from the English slang for ‘to tamper with, or to foil’.7 How apposite! And for greater insights into its relevance in The Shining, let’s parse Ed Collins’ statement on the matter,

What the heck is a chess cook? In simple terms it's a flaw in a chess problem. Perhaps the problem can be solved by more than one key or mating sequence, or alternatively a possible defense may have been overlooked by the composer. Alternatively, it can simply be an unwanted or unintended solution.

In chess, a key is the first move in a solution, so that should take everyone straight to the door of Room 237 which only has the one key. As for resolving the problem by using more than one key or mating sequence, that takes us to Stephen King’s guestroom number 217, and from there to Wendy and Jack’s staff quarters where we see Jack’s Stovington T-Shirt, associated with Cardington and RAF 217 (see part two). It is indeed interesting that the crew sweatshirts on The Shining were in a dark colour with the decoration of a light-coloured ‘Stovington’ Eagle flying over 'The Shining' printed in red letters.

Arriving on set

Fig 12. Jack Nicholson walks onto the set greeted by a crewmember wearing 'The Shining’ sweatshirt.

When it comes to “a possible defense that has been overlooked by the composer [puzzle setter]” we are back to the third file of the chessboard, the bishop’s file or as we'll discuss shortly, the Indian elephant in Chaturanga, the ancestor of chess. And in French, an elephant tusk is ‘la defense’. So we are left with "the alternative of an unwanted or unintended solution". As far as the planners of the Apollo Simulation Project are concerned it looks as if this has been provided by Kubrick in the configuration of his film sets and here in particular the layout of Hallorann’s domain. The one place in the hotel which did have letters and numbers on its doors is the kitchen’s food storage area with its rooms: C1, C2, C3 and C4. And that file is the white queen’s bishop – or elephant.

Floor plan C1-C4

Fig 13: Floor plan of the four storage rooms, film camera POV. All the C-room doors open outwards, and here the door to C4 is illustrated as ‘open’ simply in order to show the hinge and door handle placements. You can see that C3 and C2 would open with the right hand, while C4 and C1 would require the left hand. The door to the Chef’s Office (C0) opens inwards, and is hung on its right side.

Food storage, cold rooms and the grid
When observing the doors to these rooms (and noting the encoding already discussed in parts one and two) we recall that we never see inside C4. We are shown that C3 is used for frozen meats and we see a door to C2 but it is not clear how its interior space can work. C1 seemingly occupies both its own space plus that of C2 but this last room C1 is not used for cold storage, instead it has shelves stocked with boxes of dry goods and tin cans. Therefore, unless Kubrick is also encoding the cold war as a political stimulus behind the so-called Moon race, the letter ‘C’ does not necessarily stand for ‘cold’ as we are initially led to believe.

As already noted, it can also refer to the C file on the European chess board, and to Chaturanga, the seventh-century war strategy game played in northern India from which the European game of chess is said to have evolved. Especially since, according to Tony Burton, when it came to opening moves, Kubrick absolutely loved using the King’s Indian attack which gets control (those possibilities and tensions) of the centre of the board. The ‘ex-‘Apollo Creed trainer’ actor Tony Burton liked to play the King’s Indian defense (and that King’s Indian opening comes directly from the Chaturanga game).8

‘C’ also sounds like ‘see’, so when it comes to decoding Kubrick’s photographic grid, it’s worth taking a quick look at the principal differences between the older Indian Chaturanga board and the later European chessboard setup. Both games are played on an 8x8 grid. The names of the pieces used in Europe and the West today are not those that were used on the Chaturanga board. The pieces in Chaturanga represented four divisions of ancient Indian fighting forces. The European tower-shaped piece called the rook was, for them, the chariot division, the horse-shaped knight was their cavalry division, while the European bishop was their elephant-messenger division, and the pawns represented their infantry. The king’s equivalent was the Indian Rajah and the queen was originally the Rajah’s Vizier.

In Chaturanga this principle male advisor was always placed to the left side of the Rajah (on d1 and e8). And these two 'kings' were therefore placed diagonally opposite each other. For chess to achieve this would require a favourite Kubrick movie visual astuce: the black queen and king would have to do a horizontal flip. And indeed this is what happened, and more.

Chaturanga board

Fig 14. Chaturanga board that has the rajahs diagonally opposite each other, with their respective viziers to their left. While protective of the rajah and vizier, the elephant positions were used by messengers, without consulting a history of the Indian army, it can be imagined that someone sitting atop could see over the rest of the troops and be able to flash messages with a mirror.

When the game reached Europe this convention changed: the black vizier and the black rajah swopped places, and both viziers were designated as the female queens of their respective kings. In chess, the queen is the most powerful piece on the board, even though the goal is to capture the important king.

Chess CC BY SA-2.0

Fig 15. Stanley Kubrick’s own chessboard, photo Matthew J. Cotter CC BY SA-2.0. Nearest the camera are the black pieces on rows 7 and 8. As white is always the first player to move a piece, it is likely that in the mists of time, an aspect of this game was rooted in cosmology and the dance between night and day, dark and light, Moon and Sun. And as the play of the sunlight across the Moon was the first measurer of time for our ancient cultures, it is entirely fitting that the chessboard reflects that body.

The C file
The decoding of these cold storage doors led us observe that the numbered doors applied to the chessboard’s white queen’s bishop file. The Chaturanga board’s equivalent piece, the white elephant, was notable in that it is a term applied to any public monument, building, or piece of equipment which is expensive to maintain, difficult to get rid of, not fit for purpose and a burden to those in charge of it. By the mid-20th century the origination of the term had been largely forgotten, and these categories were expanded to include whole projects and business ventures. As such it would be the perfect description of the Saturn V and the Apollo program. Stephen King used the term to describe the costly Overlook itself, and he also used a pair of white elephants in his ballroom/Kubrick’s Gold room as we shall see later.9

Crossing the Chaturanga board to the black elephants, the animal’s reputed long memory for relationships, territorial preserves and its experience of interaction with humans offers the metaphor of an encoded memory storage system. However, as Kubrick has placed these storage rooms on the white elephant’s C file, we are more reminded of a ‘useless’ data storage system, and that questioning of the operability of the Apollo onboard computer springs to mind. The C4, C3, C2 numbered doors in the Overlook kitchen also have illuminated red lights above them, as do photographic dark rooms when developing film, and sound studios/film stages when recording is in progress.

Fig 16We are straight into the matter of the Apollo images. Again, we come to the conundrum of the apparently functioning C2 room within C1, which is a room with no red light and no cold storage capacity – the inference is certainly that of a hidden or invisible active unit within the dried goods storage room. We will be returning to this issue later.

Fig 16 (reminder image).

Recall that in part two we saw Dick Hallorann first show Wendy and Danny the door to C4, the walk-in cold room next to the Chef's Office (which as LDS has observed can translate as C0, the Commanding Officer). As Hallorann doesn’t actually enter through the C4 door, it suggests that although this is potentially an opening move, it is quite the opposite. After all, we are observing the closing of the Overlook to all staff and guests. King the novelist has the date as September 30th but Kubrick’s hotel manager Stuart Ullman has it on October 31st, as well as being associated with All Hallows evening, the night when dead spirits are closest to the living, that date also marked the end of the Celtic year.

CoverStephen King said that he had always considered the Overlook a place holding ghosts but that he didn’t get the impression that Kubrick shared this viewpoint. He thought that Kubrick was more in favour of the notion of a person’s memories creating PSI events seemingly attributable to ghosts.

Although there are other accounts of exchanges between the two, King, writing these observations in a 2001 introduction to a reprint of his book, says that he made this observation from the only conversation he ever had with Kubrick, some six months prior to pre-production on The Shining. What can be said with any certainty is that in both the novel and the film, Closing Day is the start of the time when the public and extraneous staff are excluded from the location, and the Overlook’s management installs the winter caretaker for a period of some seven and a half months. That number 7.5 is relevant to other key matters we shall discuss later on.

In chess, a move is not completed until the player removes their hand from the piece being moved. We never get to see inside C4, but nor do we see Hallorann remove his hand (which implies a continuation of whatever is going on inside C4 and its connection to what is going on in C3, because Kubrick cuts immediately to the next shot, and we see that Dick is now inside cold room C3. We know this because the door to C3 is hung on the opposite side of the doorframe and it is on the opposite side of the corridor.

Fig 18

Fig 18. Left: Dick Hallorann places his hand on the door to C4 as if intending to enter it. Cut to right: Hallorann, Wendy and Danny standing inside C3.

Fig 19 floor plan

Fig 19. Plan view of the storage rooms, film camera POV inside cold room C3.

Kubrick has said of the filmmaking techniques he used in The Shining that he does not particularly like using dissolves, but that “when one scene follows another in the same place, but you want to make it clear that time has passed, a dissolve is often the simplest way to convey this.” However, in The Shining many dissolves are a device to lead the viewer to make a brief connection when half way through the dissolve. On the other hand, “the paranormal visions are momentary glimpses into the past and the future, and must be short lived, even abrupt.” Given that this particular abrupt cut is taking place in very ordinary circumstances and with no indication of the paranormal events we shall later see in this film, this comment made by a director who does not generally like to discuss his films, is worth serious pondering.

The paranormal notwithstanding, this scenario is highly indicative of chess openings. The move pawn to c4 is called the English opening, but as the door is actually kept closed, in filming terms this can imply a closed set, and with that thought, the Cardington scenario described in part two is immediately brought to mind. The opening of cold room C3 can be equated with another chess opening move called the Saragossa opening. In chess this is an unusual opening defined by the opening move: pawn c2 to c3.

The Breakthrough

'C' Rock photo
Fig 20. Kubrick’s numbered and lettered grid overlaid onto AS16-107-17446. Some published prints of this Apollo photo had the letter ‘C’ visible on the left foreground rock and is reproduced here. The ‘C’ rock image is the key to understanding how the photographic shots and sequences were divided into sectors using Stanley’s lettering and numbering grid system.

The Apollo ‘C’ Rock image – the key to unlocking this encoding – two-thirds of the ‘C rock’ is in sector c3. Coincidence, or evidence of the method in practice? The clue that Kubrick has provided is in this much-discussed photograph with the ‘C’ clearly visible on a foreground rock, featured in Dark Moon and was originally noticed by Apollo researcher Ralph René. It turns out that this image contains the breakthrough clue. Hopefully those who have attempted to play down this C’ Rock image will now see how it fits within the encoding that Kubrick so meticulously encrypted.

The Saragossa opening is a more irregular opening for any chess player and if by word association, Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street irregulars and Dr. Watson, or Bill Watson the Overlook’s summer caretaker come to mind, so does the fact that Zaragoza in Spain (in English Saragossa) was home to the USAF during the cold war.

'C' Rock photo
Fig 21. The Saragossa opening – pawn to c3 – two-thirds of the ‘C’ rock is in sector c3 – linking to the C3 cold room meat locker door.

From 1954 to 1956 the existing Spanish facilities were enlarged upon and the runway was strengthened and extended to take heavy bomber aircraft should the cold war turn hot. Then an even longer runway was built which was ready for use by 1958. Decades later, this long runway would earn Saragossa the designation by NASA of a transoceanic Space Shuttle abort airport. In truth, both the runways conformed to the 7,500ft length required for the shuttle, but in the 1950s that shuttle orbiter was not even on the drawing board.

However, by 1958, Mercury suborbital flights were looming, to be followed by orbital flights for Mercury Mark II – later renamed Gemini.10 Remembering that the C3 cold room meat locker inversely becomes ‘the team’, or indeed the team’s locker room, the Saragossa USAFB was well placed for mishaps of any sort that might occur during the earlier space program exploits where flight paths took them over the Atlantic.

Just as the space race grew out of the arms race, which itself grew out of the development of the atomic bomb during World War II, a close examination of Kubrick’s works and the order in which they were produced merits study on those grounds alone, since his filmography encompasses the seminal issues produced by such warlike tendencies. Here we need to make a brief detour into the genesis of Dr. Strangelove since it forms the background to a much of what is happening in The Shining.

According to author Norman Kagan,11 Kubrick had been thinking about the nuclear arms race for some six years before starting on Dr. Strangelove, and during that time Peter Bryant’s novel Two Hours to Doom was published in both the UK and the US, where it was re titled Red Alert. The film rights for this 1958 novel were sold by 1959, but not acted upon. Kubrick picked up the rights in 1962, and despite having to sue his studio Columbia at one point, that’s how the screenplay for Dr. Strangelove came about.


Fig 22. Left, US cover for the 1958 first edition paperback, right: UK 1958 first edition. Written while Peter George was a serving officer in the RAF, the author adopted the pseudonym Peter Bryant for the 1958 US & UK publications. After retiring from the RAF he reverted to his own name and is credited as such for the Dr. S screenplay.

When it comes to The Shining, the kitchen’s storage room C1-C4 series establishes many levels of thinking seen from different perspectives. In the context of Saragossa (in the cold war reality, as pawn to c3 in the chess game, and The Shining cold store) that red light over the C3 door supports the interpretation Red Alert. Dick Hallorann tells us that C1 is the ‘story room’, and it therefore represents an officially commissioned storyline. Reading King’s novel, the political impulses of the 1960s and ’70s are clear to see, as are links to Steinbeck’s works.12

However, just as he did for Dr. Strangelove and again in his film 2001, if the commission was for one set of criteria, Kubrick was taking a different tack. What we see on the screen in all his films is what Kubrick did with the basic storyline to visually and subtly inform us of the problems inherent within the ‘official version of events’. In The Shining, these issues were dressed up as haunted hotel spookiness.

The C1 dried goods storeroom with its shelves full of prop tins and boxes, many of which move position during Hallorann’s dialogue, or (as we saw in part two) referenced certain Apollo images and also space flight foodstuffs. Those Tang orange juice containers, the giveaway to prompting a closer look at these Apollo hints – and indeed tints – for the colours assembled on the shelf behind Hallorann were for the most part associated both in content and in labelling, with the same red, orange and terracotta tones prevalent in the carpet design in the corridor outside Room 237.

We will return to that corridor and David Hick’s hexagon-patterned carpet further on, for now it’s interesting to learn that during filming at Elstree Studios the room used for the C1 story room was also operating as Kubrick’s film equipment store room. It contained lenses, cameras, cans of film, some of Stanley’s transatlantic travel trunks, transit cases and boxes of material relating to all his films. Everything was simply moved out when dressing the room for the C1 cold store scene.

Studio tour
This was all explained to Jun’ichi Yaoi and his Japanese film crew just after the end of production at the studio in 1980 when they were given a tour of the studios used for The Shining. Yaoi had a particular interest in the paranormal and UFOs, and although It is not clear that he actually got what he was looking for in terms of spooky content, as a mini-oeuvre of its own, the short film of his tour uploaded to YouTube in 2018 is most informative when it comes to decoding The Shining.13

The Japanese film crew was welcomed to the studio by Julian Senior, head of European Regional Advertising and Publicity at Warner Bros., and then Vivian Kubrick gave Yaoi a very particular tour of this store/story room area. With no relevance whatsoever to the Japanese filmmaker’s interests, Vivian opened one of the travel trunks to show him costumes from Barry Lyndon. Emphasizing that these were authentic period pieces, not made by the costume department, she showed him the little old-fashioned pram (stroller in the US) she used for wheeling her equipment while filming the documentary she made of her father’s work. Thereby reminding the viewer of the little cart (modular equipment transporter) scripted into the Apollo 14 scenario for astronaut walkabouts.

Fig 23 Fig 23. Vivian Kubrick at Elstree Studios, 1980.

Vivian then led Yaoi into to an adjoining room which was supposedly Stanley’s office, or perhaps the C2 space was implied, because this room felt totally abandoned, there was a bare table in the middle of the room and a tall filing cabinet haphazardly placed to the left of the table. A single page of notes lay on the table, which Vivian picked up and waved at the visitor, while saying that it had been left there by Stanley, who was ‘away that day’, or at least elsewhere.

Later we see Jun’ichi Yaoi in Julian Senior’s office conducting a telephone interview with Kubrick who says:

The best thing is when an audience looks at the film and wonders whether something they see is an accident or whether the director or writer meant them to know it. I think that allowing the audience to discover for themselves what the film is saying is the most important thing – that’s why I try to avoid explanations about my films – the film should be able to speak for itself.

For someone who didn’t like talking about his films or giving interviews, Kubrick was really quite forthcoming to Yaoi.14 Having established Stanley’s absence, Vivian then tugged at the filing cabinet’s top drawer while emphasizing that it was of course, locked. As ‘Stan’s office’ this whole setup was utterly unconvincing. But as the chief cook’s C1 and C2 storage rooms relative to the C file bishop and pawn in chess (and the elephant in the room) it was all poetically and visually apposite, and possibly even more informative when taking another moment from this video into account.

The seeing eye
Earlier, while in the room used for C1 in the film, Vivian made a point of opening a metal transit case to show Jun’ichi Yaoi the lens used for the low light photography on Barry Lyndon, while mentioning its association with NASA. She explained to him,

This is the lens that we used on Barry Lyndon… these were the ones developed for NASA. And the reason why they are so big they are used for maximum intake of light. They have a point seven f-stop. These in fact were developed for space photography, that’s why they are so ridiculously big!

Yes, this is a Zeiss f/0.7 lens at the rear (to the right of frame), but the bulk of the lens she is holding is an attachment, not “the lens used by NASA”.

Fig 24
Fig 24. Vivian Kubrick holds up what she describes as a Carl Zeiss f/0.7 super fast lens. This lens assembly is so heavy Vivian struggles to lift the lens out from its transit case.

There are many accounts of the NASA-Barry Lyndon lens saga. It is said that NASA ordered ten of the famous Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 lenses from Carl Zeiss in the mid 1960s. These were apparently intended for photographing the ‘night side of the Moon’. Although most people think of the night side as the far side of the Moon, what that description actually means is ‘the unlit portions of the lunar surface’. Other accounts state that this lens was going to be used specifically on the Apollo missions. In the decades since Apollo, it has never been stated by NASA if or when this special Zeiss lens was actually flown, and to our knowledge no images using this lens have ever been published described as such by NASA.

Fig 25

Fig 25. Example of the f/0.7 50mm Carl Zeiss lens c.1965, image P+S Technik.

This far-side of the Moon photography story may well be an urban myth. Moreover, such a lens would be less than ideal for use on the lunar surface during Apollo EVAs, except maybe to snap something on the dark side of the LM in deep shadow, but certainly nowhere else in bright sunlight. However, going with the notion that NASA was the recipient of ten of these special Zeiss lenses, one may well ask how Kubrick ended up with three of them. After all, NASA had originally planned ten Apollo lunar landing missions to be scheduled approximately four months apart, and they were numbered 11 through to 20 from 1969 through 1972.

In December 1969, mission No.20 was cancelled. In the mid 1970 Nos.19 and 18 were knocked off the list. That effectively left three spare Zeiss lenses at NASA which have become integrated into the Barry Lyndon story. What is less appreciated is that there are three totally different lenses with links which track back to NASA & Co, and because all of these lenses have their origins within military programs, the data are not always clear, but the following is what The Shining’s story room has revealed.

In the mid 1960s during the filming of 2001, John Alcott and Stanley Kubrick were already discussing the need for a fast lens like the Zeiss f/0.7 and lamenting that such a lens didn’t exist. Remembering that NASA was heavily involved in the facilitation of technology for 2001 it is obvious that if the Zeiss lens was in development, allegedly for NASA, the team likely would have had wind of it, in which case they’d have been lamenting their inability to use it – not the fact that it didn’t exist.

Tunnel vision
Logically, the Carl Zeiss 50mm lens may have been used during the period in which the Apollo missions were scheduled, but given the total lack of lunar surface images using this lens and the fact that no such pictures taken with this lens have ever been published by NASA, it is entirely possible that NASA provided suitable cover for the fabrication of a lens destined for use elsewhere – its purpose classified.

It has been noted by other researchers that the events of Apollo paralleled major events over in Vietnam, and although it has never been stated publicly, the capabilities of this Zeiss lens and the timing of its arrival in the mid 1960s would have made it eminently suitable for the dimly-lit (flashlight) conditions found in the Vietnam underground tunnel network. A major issue for the US from 1966-1972, these tunnels had been dug and established firstly by the VietMinh during their war with the French and then enlarged upon by the VietCong.15


Fig 26. Entrance to Củ Chi tunnels, Saigon, photos Lim Ashley.

Cut to the mid 1970s and Kubrick is on the record as saying that he'd got hold of three of these Zeiss lenses, although exactly when and whether directly from Zeiss, via NASA or from another source is not clear. So we thought we would investigate further. After contacting Carl Zeiss in Germany for clarification, a spokesperson replied:

This is what we can tell about this request:
In 1965 the NASA assigned Hasselblad and ZEISS to develop the cameras and lenses for their lunar missions. In the following years after 1965, e.g., the Planar 0,7/50 was developed and the 10 items were manufactured. We do not have the exact details about the production dates of those lenses.
[emphasis added]

Note that Zeiss is not actually linking the 50mm f/0.7 lenses to NASA, the company is only stating that the lens was manufactured after 1965. Which potentially brings the 20th Intelligence Squadron back into the frame, as that is when this squadron was active, flying out of a base in Vietnam.16

Hassleblad’s publicity states that it was already designing cameras for NASA by 1962.17 What is certain is that this Zeiss lens had been designed for a still camera and that it had a built-in Compur shutter. Kubrick asked Edmund DiGiulio (the President of Cinema Products Corporation in California) to adapt these Zeiss lenses for his movie camera.

Fig 27
Fig 27. Ed DiGiulio’s account of different modifications of the Zeiss f/0.7 lens. Image, ascmag.com.

In his very interesting account of the conversion process, DiGiulio repeats the ‘made for Apollo’ storyline, but surely he would know that this lens-camera combo rendered it unsuitable for general lunar surface photography.18

Fig 28

Fig 28. Lens expert Joe Dunton BSC holding a Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 lens (at the rear by his left thumb) with a 35mm wide-angle attachment (at the front of the lens) similar to (if not the same as) the one seen on Stanley’s camera in figure 29. Joe Dunton says in his video at 09:30 mins, “We had four of these lenses.”18

Mitchell Fig 29

Fig 29. 50mm f/0.7 lenses with a 35mm adaptor on an f/0.7 50mm Carl Zeiss lens mounted on Kubrick’s own Mitchell camera, photo DSP, Stanley Kubrick Exhibition.

Dubious provenance aside, the association of the 1960s ‘NASA-Zeiss’ lens with Kubrick’s 1970s film is on the record, and even Vivian Kubrick wants to make the link, but she does it with a lens which is not just the Zeiss f/0.7 50mm. Attached to it is the Zeiss specially produced, very bulky wide-angle adaptor converting it to 35mm. As seen in figure 29, the ‘Barry Lyndon’ lens on display in the Stanley Kubrick exhibition is not this monster Vivian could hardly lift out of its box.

One could conclude that members of the Kubrick family are virtually begging us to work out the missing links. The various accounts of lenses owned or borrowed by Kubrick might be better understood when considering the Hollywood connections like Graphic Films, whose team members worked on 2001 and were dubbed NASA East. The address of Graphic Films in Los Angeles, 916 North Citrus Avenue reminds us of the lemon hung on the Apollo I LM by Gus Grissom. This company, already mentioned in part one, had been founded in 1941 by Lester Novros. After a five-year stint at Disney Studios, he had set up this company to specialise in making educational and promotional films for the US Defense industry.19

Lester Novros shared common links with another ex-Disney colleague John Wilson, who also got into the NASA school of space promotion. Wilson founded Fine Arts Films in 1955 and ended up creating the 70mm film Journey to the Stars for NASA and the Boeing Company that was screened at the Seattle Man in the Space Age World Fair of 1962. (Boeing of course was the maker of Saturn V rocket hardware and various spacecraft for NASA and the US military.) The Kubrick Archive infers that Kubrick saw Journey to the Stars and was impressed by it, though whether he saw it in Seattle in 1962 or elsewhere, is another matter.

For a useful lesson in how to simulate the space environment within an enclosed studio the American Cinematographer article on the making of this film is a good place to start.20 This 15-minute colour Journey to the Stars was projected onto a huge hemispherical 75ft dome, equipped with a lens designed by Felix Bednarz who was originally at Northrop and then at Curtis Optical Inc. of California. By the time the film was in production the company had been absorbed into the Fairchild group, and so the 0.9-inch focal length, f/2 inverted telephoto lens (which could be used for both photography and projection) was identified as the Fairchild-Curtis optical 160° lens.

Fig 30

Fig 30. Cinerama Fairchild-Curtis 160º ƒ/2 ultra wide-angle lens used in 2001, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, LA. Photo Joshua White, JWPictures/©AMPAS.

Which is where Fine Arts Films meets Stanley Kubrick. In 2001, HAL’s point of view (POV) shots were captured using this unique 160º lens. Kubrick returned the lens to its rightful owners after filming but many people have this lens mixed up with the Nikon fish-eye lens which was used as HAL’s red ‘eye’. There is also a story doing the rounds that three of HAL’s red eye lenses (the magic number for lens stories!) were obtained from Industrial Photographic Supply in Hollywood. Perhaps that rumour and HAL’s fish eyes are linked to those three red lights over storage rooms C4, C3 and C2.

Fig 31
Fig 31. HAL 9000 computer – HAL’s red ‘eye’.

Fig 32
Fig 32. Nikkor 8mm f/8 fish-eye lens used for the HAL 9000 eye. Image ©Ken Rockwell.

That still leaves Vivian’s monster lens in the story room with no clear ‘pedigree’. In summary, we have a visitor to the set of The Shining being shown a lens which had nothing to do with either Barry Lyndon or 2001. Further research reveals that the monster was in fact the Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 lens with a 35mm Zeiss adaptor which, in combination, Kubrick eventually did not use21 – the confusion comes from Vivian not sufficiently explaining this to Yaoi.

Fig 33

Fig 33. Joe Dunton holds a Carl Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 lens (at the rear by his left hand) with the special Zeiss 35mm wide-angle attachment (at the front of the lens) which is similar to the bulky lens assembly Vivian Kubrick shows to Jun’ichi Yaoi.

Tracking the other lenses back to NASA led us to ask if the muddle around this unused, bulky Zeiss lens adaptation was hinting at something else related to Kubrick’s films and NASA. Having learned that even Dr. Strangelove was initially going to include a section relative to Alien presences within it, and that Clarke used to refer to 2001 as ‘Son of Dr. Strangelove’, the abandoning of subjects initially deemed important led to the conclusion that back in the 1960s, all was not well all within NASA’s unspoken project for “Educating the public as to what space is about, and what might be ‘out there’.” 22

Low light
In 1964 Graphic Films other ex-Disney personnel, Con Pederson, Doug Trumbull and Jim Dickson made the 15-minute production To the Moon and Beyond for the New York World Fair. Clarke and Kubrick saw their movie that summer and all three would go on to work on production of 2001.23 The uniting of team Graphic Films, and then team NASA with Clarke and Kubrick early in 1965 looks to be less of the happy accident than is generally portrayed. More on this in Appendix 1.

Barry Lyndon It looks as though the NASA-Barry Lyndon connection is the key to understanding that Kubrick was discreetly stripping details pertinent to the ‘the space race’ across all his films. And if that is a correct assumption, and bearing in mind that the Zeiss lens may not have been designed for the purpose attributed to it by the NASA storyline, what was Kubrick telling us within his film?

William Makepeace Thackeray had based his novel Barry Lyndon on the real life adventures of a man who had lived from 1774 to 1810.24 Kubrick took that story but produced his version with such attention to detail in all aspects, including the design, costumes, make up and lighting, that his version of the life of an 18th century rogue is today considered a masterpiece for its authenticity.

Notably, in regard to the contrast between the physical reality and the studio make believe, it was filmed entirely on location, no sets were built.25 And it was the lighting of those interior scenes solely using candlelight which required that special Zeiss 50mm f/0.7 lens, the fastest lens available at the time (two stops faster than a f/1.4 lens).

And in the recounting of the tale of how Barry Lyndon came to be, it is always at this juncture when discussing lighting, that the NASA connection gets mentioned. Was Kubrick simply reiterating the opposition of an authentic account of an event versus an incomplete or inaccurate version of events, was he drawing attention to the problems the Moon posed to the Apollo project, or the problem of lighting relative to photographing Moon sets – or was there even more to it?

Fig2 35 and 36

Fig 35. Left, King George II, by Thomas Hudson and Fig 36. Louis XV, by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour.

Andrew Stoney, the real ‘Barry Lyndon’ had lived during the reign of the George II of England, so in the mid 1970s, Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon reflected that Georgian period.

But across the water on the other side of the channel, the French King Louis XV was ruling. And back in the mid 1960s, at the end of the 2001 Jupiter ‘Stargate sequence’ the hotel bedroom (or ‘alien room’ as some have called it) had been set dressed predominately with Louis XV furniture and a painting by his court painter was reproduced on the bedroom wall.

Born in 1703, during the final years of Louis XIV, the Sun King’s reign, Francois Boucher had become the court painter to Louis XV in 1738. He was known for his pastoral paintings in a style dubbed by the French as ‘bambochade’, because the peaceful scene painted was in fact the preliminary to a drunken spree, thus what you see is not really what is going on. These notions of secretive debaucherie would be evoked by Kubrick over a decade later in Eyes Wide Shut. And having just discussed lenses and shutters, that title takes on even more significance.

Art at work

Fig 37
Fig 37. As seen in 2001: the studio picture behind Bowman in the style of a Boucher painting has been reproduced with the woman sitting on the man’s right side. As is the position of the black queen d8 in chess. Taken together with two figurines on the same console table, we see three couples – two-thirds in three dimensions, one in two dimensions. All with the woman on the right side of the man. We are reminded of the dark secret planning for three missions: Apollos 11, 12 and 13.

Fig 38Fig 38. Detail from Pastoral Landscape with a Shepherd and Shepherdess, oil on canvas, by Francois Boucher, c.1730 – image flipped 180º (reversed) to match the bedroom scene.

The original orientation (inset) has the woman sitting on the man’s left side, which makes her the white queen d1 in chess. ‘D’ as in Diana has always been associated with the Moon.

And if the original French painting is ‘reality’ and the English film set has the reversed copy – it could be another way of alluding to the colour reversal film used for the Apollo photography, along with astronaut miniatures, foreign places (as in alien), and hidden motives.

A ‘bambocheur’ describes someone who leads a debauched life, and if that was a perfect description of Barry Lyndon, what does that mean in this scene from 2001? Seeing the red-suited astronaut Bowman in the Louis XV bedroom, it’s useful to know that the word bamboche also describes a large scale marionette. Not only is that about miniature, scale astronauts but also puppet masters and animated films.

Also relevant is the fact that in his novel The Shining Stephen King used the Roman numbering system for the numbers inscribed on the clock Danny discovered in the ballroom. Flanked by two white ivory elephants, this clock played the 'Blue Danube Waltz’ at XII (twelve o'clock) while two ballet dancers performed a very rude dance related to the French number 69.26 The Apollo missions were scheduled to land on the Moon at the first quarter, which rises above Earth in the east at noon and sets at midnight GMT.

This clock scene is totally omitted by Kubrick, although it so happens that NASA also used Roman numerals for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. So that when we return to the relationship between the French Sun King, Louis XIV, Francois Boucher and his role as court painter to Louis XV, his presence in Kubrick’s 2001 film set, and remembering that exceptionally, Kubrick filmed much of Barry Lyndon across the water in Ireland, we are back to the analogy between George II and Louis XV.

That separation across the water of two monarchs can also be seen as the separation of tasks between the NASA East and NASA West – the latter in charge of the missions from XIV onwards, requiring monumental sets (recall the Monument Valley visions seen by Bowman prior to his Louis XV hotel arrival) and most in need of Kubrick’s grid plan. So it’s noteworthy that the Louis XV hotel bedroom also has a floor resembling a chess grid.

When we see chess grids in our view we are being asked to pay particular attention to the placing of props within the setting, for there is more than just the move in the game that’s afoot. Here Bowman’s dark robe and diagonal motion infers that he is a black chess piece moving across into white territory. So we can think of the floor squares representing the lettered files and the squares extending to the back of the room as the numbered ranks. Notice now that the Boucher reproduction is on the left, and another painting (with the woman on the right of the man) can be seen on the right side of the same wall.

Fig 39
Fig 39. Louis XV hotel bedroom scene from 2001. Kubrick has framed this shot to reflect a chessboard of 8x8 squares. Here we see that the chair, the small table and the dining table are predominately placed on the white elephant/bishop squares. The bed occupies a3-a5 and b3-b5 – it’s long footstool occupies c3 and c4. The writing desk is on h3 and h4. The squares normally occupied by the tower/rook have suitable tall pedestals on them. Bowman, now an old man, is here seen moving across e3 towards f1.

The dining table is located on f1. This is the square attributed to king’s bishop/rajah’s white elephant. F1 is also the designation of the Apollo Saturn rocket’s problematic first stage engines. Does this bishop-elephant- Apollo link not remind us of sacred and burdensome memories? Or as Jack puts it in The Shining, “the white man’s burden.”

Fig 40

Fig 40. Broken crystal chalice having been knocked from the f1 table.

When seated at this table astronaut Bowman takes food and drink but breaks the crystal chalice. All the medieval legends concerning the grail chalice, as well as the earlier biblical accounting of the last supper (later to become holy communion in the Christian tradition) are seeded into this scene. As is the Arthurian knight’s round table, for we have come full circle. This particular shot of the bedroom (figure 39) is framed as an 8x8, but the later setup taken from behind the headboard when the resting/dying astronaut is lying in bed looking at the monolith, the floor is 10x8 – the ratio used for the front projection slides used on the Dawn of Man sequence at the very beginning of 2001.

Fig 41
Fig 41. Replica hotel bedroom with the 10x8 view of the floor, image Stanley Kubrick archive. This scene from the centre of the bed includes the further two rows of floor squares (image right) that were not included in the framing of the chess board view of figure 39.

Kubrick echoes this grail scene in The Shining, when Danny, seated at a table with Dick Hallorann in the Overlook’s kitchen, is eating ice cream out of an unbreakable silver metal chalice. Hallorann meanwhile talks to him about the art of shining (telepathy and the like). In the book this discussion takes place outside the Overlook, with the two of them sitting in Hallorann’s car, just before he leaves for Florida. Wendy, observing from the doorway, is unsure of what is gong on and whether Danny is about to leave for Florida with Hallorann. There is no technical reason why Kubrick could not have shot that scene as it was written – unless of course, he wanted us to spot these similarities with the 2001 scene, comparing the old astronaut with the young boy in The Shining, sharing through symbols the common pursuit of reaching beyond, physically and mentally via telepathy.

Chess challenges

Fig 42Fig 42. An Interesting Problem, by Adolphe-Alexandre Lesrel (1839-1929).

There are further hidden connections to be made with the Louis XV hotel bedroom and chess. We can see another analogy when we look at the issue of chess puzzle problems and the relationship between the composer (Kubrick) of the problem, and the solver of the problem (the observer, as in the movie audience),27 we can see a direct reference to the matters we are discussing in this portrait by the French artist Alexander Andre Lesrel.28

Look at the similarities between the décor in this picture (figure 42) and Kubrick’s 2001 bedroom set. The pastoral tapestry is a larger version of his wall paintings, but without the debauchery of Boucher. The chairs and table resonate with those used by Kubrick. The red-suited Frenchman recalls astronaut Bowman’s red space suit.

So, the astronaut becomes the solver of the puzzle set by the game master, and as such we should pay more attention to the real NASA astronauts, and their counterparts, the fictitious 2001 astronauts. For the former, Buzz Aldrin, when asked about the authenticity of the Apollo missions, famously replied,

“Well you’re talking to the wrong guy! Why don’t you talk to the administrator of NASA? We’re passengers!”29

And for the latter, in the film 2001 it is not the red-suited Dave Bowman who plays chess. He is asleep. It is Frank Poole in his blue flight suit with its NASA look-alike arm patch.

Fig 43
Fig 43. Frank Poole plays chess in 2001 with the HAL 9000 computer whose red ‘eye’ is reminiscent of the red lights above the C2, C3 and C4 cold store room doors and their doings in film and in life. Note the white pawn on C3.

Fig 44
Fig 44 (reminder image). Upon close examination HAL’s red ‘eye’ is composed of four colours. Inside its blue ring mount the eye is surrounded by black, then red, then yellow with a hint of white at its center. These are the four alchemical colours related to the four principle stages of the transformation of matter. All of them are present in the Lesrel portrait in figure 42, as they were in Durkin’s garage.

Interestingly, from his own time in the 1820s Lesrel specialised in painting historical reconstructions such as this chess problem, while from his own time in the 1960s Kubrick was using his medium of film to portray both the past and the future. One does not necessarily need to be a chess player to see that the inclusion of the chess game in 2001 with its white pawn on c3 draws attention to, and indeed corroborates our hypothesis regarding the role of Kubrick’s 8x8 chess grid in the Apollo photography.

Moreover, as Juli Kearns has pointed out, in these scenes on the Discovery spacecraft there are odd, non-sequential cuts that occur with Bowman and then with Poole. This sort of editing is also present in the official Apollo 11 coverage. For example when Buzz Aldrin is descending the ladder, Armstrong unexpectedly cuts away during these crucial moments to take shots of the LM’s legs and undercarriage and then returns to photographing Aldrin’s descent. Then remember what Kubrick said about sudden cutaways (as that of C4 to C3 in The Shining) – he used them to indicate a paranormal event. For those who do not accept the paranormal that would translate as an event that did not have any substance in reality.

Fig 45
Fig 45. AS-11-40-5866 with hotspot. If Aldrin’s right foot, the one with the hotspot on his boot, was to be in a specific place in frame (i.e. suspended above the top rung of the ladder, originally noticed by Marcus Allen) the instruction would be to position it in sector e4 – and the left foot extended, positioned in d5, and so on.

Additionally, in this same shot one can see another of those tell-tale Cardington studio light streaks (red box):

Fig 46

Fig 46. AS12-48 7084 (upper image) and AS11-40-5866 (lower) with increased brightness. Note the prominent narrow light streak effect from a Cardington studio window as discussed in part two. There are several streaks in the 'sky' of the full image (with further bright areas in the sky visible in other images in this series.)
The same type of streak effect is present on the black backdrop, despite being on different missions, on different dates, different types of film, with different cameras, but with common artifacts – an indication of a common photographic location. Notice also the horizontal red line marking the ‘streak’ on the black
backdrop does not extend to the top of the full image area.

This light streak brings to mind Paul Simon’s observation that one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, and that the chess grid of illuminated flooring we saw in the Louis XV bedroom is partially replicated in the ceiling of 2001’s orbiting Space Station V. Only six files wide in the space station, we see this ‘chess grid’ suspended over the phone booths and the reception area, disappearing into the distance as it covers the circular section of the space station, while underneath it we see Smylov and his Russian colleagues grilling the NASA representative Dr. Heywood Floyd about his trip to the Moon.

Fig 47
Fig 47. Dr. Heywood Floyd meets the Russian Smylov on Space Station V.

In Eyes Wide Shut Kubrick uses the very same grid style ceiling above the reception area of a hotel in Washington D.C. Only on that occasion the ceiling light grid is only three files wide. The name Jason used for the hotel offers yet another link to Kubrick’s preceding film 2001. However, rather more relevant to this filmic appreciation of the hidden recesses of the US space program is the analogy of this fictional hotel (and the scene that occurs within it) to the US Government’s very real JASON Advisory Group, a think tank. This group comprised theoretical physicists and prominent scientists from various scientific disciplines was established in the 1960s as an offshoot from the DoD’s 1957 Sputnik-inspired Project 137. Dealing in mostly classified research, such as national security studies for DoD, DoE, and the intelligence agencies, it was Initially named Project Sunrise by the DoD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – another link to 2001 and its important opening Sunrise theme.

All in the name
The group’s founding members thought that name presumptuous or bland (depending on source) and renamed themselves after the hero of the Greek myth Jason and the Argonauts. And that informed everyone that these scientists were very independently minded, not prepared to bow to the political imperatives of the day – they have saved us all from the outcomes of Pentagon planning into nuclear mayhem and so-called ‘Star Wars' technology on more than one occasion. To this day, the JASON group is not overly popular with those in the US administrations who wish to push such agendas. Kubrick is likely to have come across the observations of this group when collating data for Dr. Strangelove and the ‘Son of Strangelove’, 2001.30

In Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s Hotel Jason features in the scene where ‘the Doc’ (aka Bill Harford) asks for information concerning the disappearance of his erstwhile friend Nick Nightingale, the pianist. Julie Kearns observes that the ‘Doc’ gets pretty much the same response as did Smylov in Space Station V – i.e. variations on ‘nothing to see here!’ and apropos the Hotel Jason scene she observes that,

This is the only conversation in the movie in which the word ‘clue’ is used. The clerk asks Bill if he's a detective. In the background we see an individual pass by who is dressed as Peter Seller's Clouseau from the Pink Panther films. The thing about Clouseau is that he was a lousy detective who overlooked the obvious, which is the same that has been said about Bill.31

And that observation could indeed be said about us all. Notwithstanding the overt socio-sexual messaging in Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick is asking us to look at everything we thought we knew with different eyes. So what about this insertion of a Clouseau lookalike? This French detective has a name which breaks into various interesting words: ‘clou’ in French is a nail and as a verb, ‘clouer’ is used for chess, where it means literally ‘to pin’ a piece (to trap or block a piece in English).

logoInspector Clouseau was played by Peter Sellers, who featured in Kubrick’s 1962 Lolita as the amoral and corrupt paedophile-playwright Clare Quilty, and in his 1964 Dr. Strangelove as a three-in-one: a member of the American government, the British Air Force, and the European scientific fraternity. Peter Sellers would appear as Clouseau in seven of the films and the animated cartoon character of a Pink Panther was used, along with its theme tune to represent the entire franchise from its inception in 1963 onwards.

This looks to be another example of Kubrick stripping Apollo program data across all of his films, and given that the production of 2001 was pacing the Gemini-Apollo program, it is interesting that the Pink Panther movies were out of the same stable – MGM. The pink panther was originally a flaw in a pink diamond that reflected the light in the form of a panther, this animated character would end up having its own cartoon series, as would the character of Inspector Clouseau.32

So animation took over from the story lines it initially represented, as it did in the space world, where in order to introduce or entice the public into the so-called space age, Disney animator Ward Kimball created Man in Space (1955), Man and the Moon (1955), and Mars and Beyond (1957). And as already noted, in the 1960s ex-Disney personnel created animated movies for NASA such as Journey to the Stars for the 1962 Seattle World Fair and To The Moon and Beyond for the 1964 New York World Fair.

While on the subject of multiple role playing and the doubling of one organization or location for that of another, in Eyes Wide Shut, as Julie Kearns has pointed out, Kubrick uses his camera to show that Hotel Jason shares the same viewpoint as that of his Verona Restaurant which features in a different scene from the same film. As researcher Jack White and others have demonstrated, this sharing is also true of Apollo photographs where the same background serves for different foregrounds, the same props serve for different Apollo missions, and props move position within the same mission. All intentional.

Fig 48
Fig 48. Continuity of common backdrops in these panoramas, but each one is dressed with different foregrounds, with or without craters, figures and props – 2005 study by Jack White, BA.

More chess
This repeated doubling up brings yet another analogy with the game of chess: the tendency for objects to move around, change (be replaced by another piece) or disappear (having been captured and removed from the game). From the above observations, it is clear that Kubrick did not limit these events to The Shining, but it is this film where these occurrences are most obvious.

Fig 49
Fig 49. In this corridor view the trash bin on the left (just beyond the clay pot) is missing in the scene on the right. Also notice the excessive number of waste bins for a hotel, especially in the corridors, but of course there’s the need to ‘Keep America Clean’ as discussed in part one.

The blogger Jonny53 has listed the affected items as,

Danny’s Big Wheel [wheel hubs change colour], Jack’s typewriter [changes colour], clocks [all tell different times] light switches, chairs, bathroom fixtures [appear and disappear], pictures, lamps, vending machines, [virtually all] the sofas, rugs, mirrors, and almost all of the unattached Indian art work, props, clocks, lamps, shower nozzles and light switches all move around by themselves.33

As an example of this, take the signage for the Gold Room. Here we see the entryway to the room, and how the board changes not only its position but the easel’s decorative framework also changes form.

Fig 50
Fig 50. Visible above the Gold Room display board on closing day the easel has a Venetian mask supported by gold scrolls.

Fig 50a

Fig 50a. Tidewater, an astute reader, further makes the case, pointing out that the ornament above the poster also references the lower portion of the MGM logo.

Fig 51
Fig 51. Later, Jack enters the Gold Room, which he will find is now populated with ‘people’ and with drink. This time (as spotted by Jonnys53blog) the ornate framing of the easel has changed. The easel now recalls an artist’s paint palette surrounded by gold scrolls. Additionally, Tidewater suggests that this ornament references the lyre and nightshade symbolism associated with the god Apollo.

Fig 51

Fig 51a. An example of Apollo’s Lyre, a musical instrument invented by Hermes and given to Apollo.

Since the drug atropine is derived from this plant Atropa Belladonna and is used in ophthalmology to dilate the pupil, Tidewater’s nightshade observation leads us to conclude that here is yet another nudge from Kubrick to open our eyes to what he is showing us in The Shining and perhaps a clever hint that there will be more to come – in Eyes Wide Shut.

Fig 52
Fig 52 (reminder images). Gold Room board is on right of the curtains. Dust covers are on the chairs and the easel is similar to figure 51.
Later, the Gold Room board is positioned on the left, Hallorann lies dead on the floor in front of the screens concealing the administration and communications centre.

All these events could be taken as part of the ‘spooky hotel’ theme but in fact, most people haven’t noticed these subtle changes. Kubrick uses the camera to direct the observer’s attention and expectation to where the action is, and as remarked before, in the cinema the film runs through the projector in real time, too fast for such changes to be consciously noticed. Subconsciously though, everything will have been noticed. It is the same for the Apollo images. For example, we don’t expect to see unmatched footprints on the Moon, which then means that until it is pointed out, one does not register the impossibility of this:

Fig 53
Fig 53. Detail from AS11-40-5874 as noted in part one, an isolated, single (extra long) footprint set at 90º across the boot tracks that lead out from the flag to the camera position. Such an occurrence is more consistent with the single imprint created by a boot print intentionally placed in the 'wrong' direction.

But years later, after the emotion of an event that has been apparently set in stone as an ‘historical first for mankind’, that subconscious registration of things which are ‘not quite right’ remains, and will eventually emerge. It is our view that when creating his films post Dr. S, Kubrick counted on the fact that one day in the future, people would have the ability to look at every frame of his movies and discover these discrepancies for themselves.

One viewpoint is simply that the Apollo missions upheld the JFK commitment to land men on the Moon by 1969, versus the second perspective, that of SK’s desire to convey the fact that the Moon landings were totally unreal – and that specifically includes the imagery he is designing and creating. "Remember what Mr. Hallorann said, it's just like pictures in a book, Danny. It isn't real."

Check mates
Returning to this notion of doubling of viewpoints and multiplexed locations, the Hotel Jason in Eyes Wide Shut is clearly the Washington Square Hotel façade as noted by Juli Kearns. However, even though she notes that Hotel Jason and Space Station V share similar glass ceilings, and that Kubrick has given the Russian Smylov the name of a famous chess payer, there is another connection to chess and Kubrick. In the 1960s, this Greenwich Village Hotel was a favourite haunt of prominent artists, writers and musicians,34 while its location on the northwest corner of Washington Square in Lower Manhattan was near to the outdoor chess tables where Kubrick used to hustle games for money spending up to 12 hours playing chess in the park.

Fig 54
Fig 54. Chess players in Washington Square Park New York, photo David Shankbone CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Hotel Jason, having the same viewpoint as the Verona restaurant, also infers links between the Argonauts searching for the Golden Fleece – in the shape of exclusive think tanks discreetly funded by unknown government agencies, and the Shakespearian tragicomedy of the Two Gentlemen of Verona. These are linked to the Jason group/hotel by way of the two heavies who have abducted the Doc’s musician friend for giving away confidential information about the secret masked party at Somerton.

Verona is one of seven cities that was part of the ancient city state of Venice, and there is a visual link between the street in Eyes Wide Shut and The Shining’s corridor outside the Gold Room: it is made thanks to the small Venetian mask seen on the easel for the Gold Room’s board, as in figure 50 above.

The Gold RoomIn fact, the Gold Room’s board is also a very clever visual pun. Not only revealing that the JASON group chose their name rather wittingly, a close examination of the data included below of the two musician’s portraits (‘Mr. tambourine man’ – Danny Haynes) in the left picture, and ‘guitar playing lady’ (Kim Woodman) in the right picture – reveals that guitar playing lady’s weekday performances are outside of real time, since the numbering is incorrectly listed.

They are also taking place outside the announced unwinding hours. In other words behind closed doors.35

So the links already made between the Gold Room and the Cardington RAF base together with the 237 street number of the Verona restaurant, get us very neatly back to another hotel, The Shining’s Overlook, where we see that the door to the ‘Moon’ Room 237 is located on the corridor where Danny is seen in his Apollo knitted jumper. Almost everyone has noticed Danny’s jumper, and concluded it represents Apollo 11, when in fact the numbering underneath the rocket could just as well represent the Roman numeral ‘two’. And given the context of The Shining with all its doubling and pairs of people, it can also represent two parts of the manned space program: Gemini and Apollo. Gemini took place entirely over a series of suborbital and orbital flights, and the first two missions were uncrewed.

Fig 56
Fig 56. Danny’s jumper – vertical Roman alphabet lettering and the horizontal Roman numerals produce the number two, and in the Roman numbering system this was used for the Gemini program’s mission patch. Note the Apollo Sun and the two stars of Gemini. Main photo DSP, Kubrick Exhibition.

Gemini MissionFig 57. Gemini program mission patch, also specifically attributed to the second mission. It is easy to confuse the Roman numeral II with the number 11.

The Gemini 2 mission was an unmanned suborbital test flight lasting 18 minutes 16 seconds, its primary objective was to test the spacecraft's heat shield. This was seemingly sufficient for a return from LEO as the flight was (mostly) considered successful and Gemini missions from 3 onwards were designated as crewed flights. Although it must be said that the flight’s maximum altitude of some 92.4 nautical miles (106 miles/171 km) was hardly an equivalence of the re-entry conditions a craft would experience on its return from the Moon, NASA websites have taken to describing the Gemini program as ‘The Bridge to the Moon’.

Consequently, one might conclude that Danny’s woollen jumper is another way of pointing out that we've had the proverbial wool pulled over our eyes. In The Shining, Danny is seen wearing his NASA jumper when playing with his toy trucks and cars on the brown, red and orange hexagon-patterned carpet. Many have made the link between the geometric pattern on the carpet created by the British designer David Hicks and the design of the Apollo launch pads at Cape Kennedy (as Cape Canaveral was named from 1963-1973).

Fig 58
Fig 58. The yellow ball and Danny’s yellow vehicles. This yellow colour was later changed to pink, yes pink, by Warner Bros. thereby avoiding any further possible references or connections either to Apollo, as in Apollo, the Sun God, or even to the tennis shoe incident, which occurred in the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) after testing of the Saturn V systems on the launch pad, see below.

But not so many have made links between the references in The Shining to actual events that occurred at Cape Kennedy. The red hexagons and the red mixer truck hint at the disastrous deaths by fire of the Apollo I crew in January 1967. (The red truck looks as if it is carrying a lemon. And cement was used by the TOPOCOM topographic modellers creating lunar landing site moon sets).36 The ‘Grissom’ red/yellow mixer truck is lined up behind a racing car and a colour-coordinated loader truck, far too small to actually take the racing car anywhere. This line up clearly indicates the impossibility of racing to the Moon with the Saturn V’s inadequate F1 engines (represented by the Formula 1 car). F1 races are held twice a month on average during the season. Each Apollo launch window period was of two calendar days). The other cars in the right of frame pick up on Danny and Hallorann’s clothing worn during the closing day inspection of the kitchen storage rooms C3-C1.

Fig 59
Fig 59. Close up of Danny’s toy vehicles, inset: Formula 1 racing car of the period, c.1980.

Behind the ‘Grissom Lemon' mixer truck we see a small vehicle in the yellow and black colours of Frank Poole’s 2001 spacesuit, so we are back in the realm of filmmaking. The colour yellow recalls the death of the astronaut Frank Poole, dressed in his yellow space suit and dumped into space by HAL’s computer program gone awry. Then again, no one has made the connection between Wendy’s pale blue daisy-strewn dressing gown and the flowery blue and yellow wallpaper (seen in various hallways in the Overlook) with HAL’s rendition of the song Daisy Bell.37

Danny’s red/yellow trucks and cars further remind us of the difference between the novel with its red VW and Kubrick’s film with its yellow VW. This colour difference is carried into the small matter of balls. In the novel, Danny plays with a small red ball, whereas in the film Jack throws a yellow tennis ball around the Overlook, which at one point finds itself impossibly rolling into Danny’s model vehicles.

All this takes us back to more games playing, as once more we go through the looking glass and talk of cabbages and kings.

Between a roque and a hard place

Fig 60 Fig 60. Rocque court, 1904.

Very relevant to the differences between the novel and the film is the fact that King’s novel features a roque court. This American variant of croquet, which was the sport of the French kings and European aristocracy, got its name by topping and tailing two consonants C & T from Croquet. Some of the croquet rules were changed, the colour of one of the balls was switched from yellow to white and the game was played on a hard 60ft x 30ft sand or clay surface bounded by a low wall. Thus was founded the National Roque Association in 1899 by New Yorker Samuel Crosby who decreed that the game become "the most scientific outdoor sport in existence".

Roque courts were built all over the USA during the depression in public spaces as a means of employing people.38 So why King thought the game appropriate for his Overlook’s exclusive, well-heeled clientele is a mystery. Or perhaps not so much.

In French the verb ‘roquer’, when applied to the game of croquet, means to loose (release) the ball. The French also use the verb ‘roquer’ in chess where it means ‘to castle’. This strategic action of swopping out the position of the king using the rook is only permitted under certain conditions, but that must surely be how the piece that looks like a tower (and is called as such in most countries) acquired its English name of ‘rook.’39

Fig 61Fig 61. Rocque court, Florida, 1958.

Although both roque and croquet have a red ball, only croquet has a yellow ball. Since a yellow ball did not feature in either the roque court game or King’s novel, it is even more significant that Kubrick replaced King’s red ball in his film. Especially as Kubrick totally ignored both King’s scientific roque court and his topiary animals. And the fact that he did it with a tennis ball can be linked back once more to the withholding of inconvenient data relative to the Apollo program of 1966-67. The very years that Kubrick seemingly was pacing the 2001 production schedule to the Apollo program needs, and encountering problems with those individuals not necessarily in the know.

Anyone for tennis?
In 1966 the SA-500 was the first complete testing of a dummy Saturn V assembly, full size but not flightworthy, it spent from May through October between the VAB and the launch pad, where it enabled all the launch facilities to be tested. By October it had been returned to the VAB and before the rocket was de-stacked and dispersed, the 'tennis-shoe test' was undertaken and it created a disaster. For full details of this event please see Appendix 2.

Yellow ballKubrick, by using a yellow tennis ball and sending it on its ‘impossible’ roll towards a kneeling Danny, metaphorically places it onto the launch pad at the base of the Saturn V seen on Danny’s jumper. And the use of this yellow tennis ball also picks up on another year. In 1967 the UK introduced colour TV, Kubrick was on the special effects segment of his 2001 production and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) was forced to consider switching the traditional white tennis ball for a more visible colour.

But it took until 1972, the year of the last scheduled Apollo mission, for the ITF to adopt the tennis ball which Jack plays with in The Shining. When it did so, the colour was designated as ‘optic yellow’. Given all the issues with Apollo, its use as a cover for military satellite programs such as CORONA, its parallels with Vietnam war events, another optic becomes valid when interpreting this scene. One which connects all these aspects of the space program with both the game of chess and the hexagon form. Limiting the time space to that of the ‘tennis ball analogy’, the years 1966 through 1972 were associated with the military surveillance/reconnaissance satellite programs known as GAMBIT and HEXAGON respectively. The Queen’s Gambit, white d4, black d5, white d2 is considered the oldest chess opening, replaced in popularity by the Indian defense after world war II. Hexagon is also the Apollo pad motif here in The Shining.40

Pink and perks
In the latest version of The Shining transfer to HD digital the yellow ball along with all the yellow toy vehicles in this scene have mutated to pink. Has the Apollo solar reference become too obvious, are we back to the reflected light sources as referenced in the Pink Panther and Eyes Wide Shut, or are we talking about another game altogether?

Fig 62

Fig 62. A large earthenware pot (on the left) is positioned between the elevators on the hotel lobby floor as well as on this guest floor.

We can see a huge earthenware pot in figure 62 located by the elevator doors on both floors. And even if the plastic trash bins appear/disappear or change position, and even when the left elevator produces a ‘river of blood’ (dark red fluid) cascading into the lobby in one sequence, the huge brown clay pots stay put. Do these pots infer that the so-called Moon missions were in fact Earthbound and shot within doors? Are they referencing another game, associated both with the Sun and with croquet/roquet that originated at the court of the Sun King Louis XIV when he wished to pursue his enjoyment of croquet within doors?

Today we know of three variations of this indoor croquet game. Snooker, billiards and pool are different games that are all played on a baize cloth-covered table. The main difference is the size of the table and the number of balls used in the game. Although they are closely related and have even evolved from one another, they are distinctly different types of cue sports.

  • In Billiards, only three coloured balls are used, white, yellow and red – both the white and the yellow ball can act as strikers or cue balls. These are essentially the alchemical colours with the player acting as ‘black’, the basic material. These four colours are common to all three games, with the white ball always acting as the valueless cue ball or striker. That said, it is Zeigler’s pool table and that intrusive pink ball with which we are concerned here.
  • The game of Pool is played with 16 numbered, coloured object balls with numbers on the balls: spots are numbered 1-8 and striped balls are numbered 9-15, the 16th ball, the white cue ball, is numberless.
  • In Snooker, 22 balls are used. The coloured balls have no numbers actually on them – the 15 red balls are worth one point each and the other 6 object balls (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black) have values ranging from 2 through to 7 points respectively. The white cue has no value.41
‘Potting’ the ball’ is common to all three games as are the King and Kubrick ball colours yellow and red, albeit with different numbering systems. That yellow tennis ball takes on yet another sport when changed to pink, as only Snooker uses a pink ball where its value is six, the number of the hexagon.

Fig 63
Fig 63. Snooker table with its twenty-two balls. The pink ball is positioned at the top of a triangular rack of 15 red balls, the yellow ball lies on the white line. image Maciej Jaros, CC BY 2.5.

What the hex?
The hexagon-patterned carpet outside Room 237 has its brown, red, and orange colours carried forward to Kubrick’s later film Eyes Wide Shut, where the game of pool (and the association with 2001 and astronaut Frank Pool) comes to the fore.

Fig 64
Fig 64. Ziegler’s red baize-covered pool table in Eyes Wide Shut.

In a scene set in the panelled library in Ziegler’s house, we see his pool table covered in the same colour red of the hexagon carpet. During the scene, objects in the library change place, disappear and reappear. Which is all relevant to the scene, as the coloured balls used in these tabletop games are also known as object balls. While the table covering of red baize is certainly a choice, it is not a usual choice, as it makes it slightly more difficult to discern the motion of the red and burgundy spot balls (numbered 3 and 7 respectively) and the red and burgundy stripe balls (numbered 11 and 15 respectively). These numbers will become highly significant later when discussing the Overlook’s maze plan.

pool rackFig 65. Rack of numbered pool balls ready for the break out, photo Sean Mack, CC BY-SA 3.0

While attempting to convince Doc Harford (and the audience) that the several disappearances and deaths that had occurred around Harford had not really happened, Ziegler moves all his striped and spotted pool balls around the table with his hand. Ziegler asserts that in reality, everything had been engineered so as to warn him of what could occur, should the Doc reveal all his dealings with these powerful people. We see the Doc leave the room scared, but masking his lack of belief in Ziegler’s story.

In the background we see that the fairy (story) lights suspended from a black frame across the corridor are predominately red, blue, yellow and white, the colours of the spacesuits in the 2001 pod bay, the colours around HAL’s fish-eye lens and also the colours seen on the centre marker of a croquet court. A central marker which brings to mind the gnomon used in Apollo photographs. 42

Frank Poole’s suit was yellow with black ’eyes’ on its helmet: In the game of pool the yellow spot ball is No.1, and the yellow stripe is No.9. On Apollo, the number 1 was given to those who died in the fire on the pad in 1967 and Apollo 9 was a low-Earth orbit test flight for the LM. Given the use of colour in 2001, where we have the croquet colours of red, blue and yellow echoed in the spacesuits hanging in the pod bay, and white features on the pods, we also have Bowman wearing a dark green helmet when shutting down HAL – but we never see a green spacesuit in the film.

In snooker green has the value of 3. Ironically dubbed (the unsinkable) 'Molly Brown' by Gus Grissom and John Young, Gemini III flying three orbits around Earth was listed as the first mission to be crewed. Its patch features the capsule floating on the surface of the Atlantic. In pool the green spot is worth 6, the stripe green is worth 14 and the pink ball is worth 6. Apollo 6 was a disastrous Saturn V all-up test on the hexagon-shaped pad. While on Apollo 14, the script called for the use of the modular equipment transporter to trundle gear on the EVA (recalling Vivian’s cart in The Making of The Shining) and the infamous golf shot (recalling the yellow Volkswagen beetle/bug).

That yellow VW (changed by Kubrick instead of King’s red VW) was also shown to have transported a huge amount of baggage up to the Overlook. Far more than could have been stuffed into the car, and we see from the shots on the road that neither a trailer, nor a roof rack was used for the journey.

Fig 66

Fig 66. Jack’s luggage in the Overlook lobby. This luggage was originally to be in a trailer drawn by the VW beetle/bug. But apparently Kubrick cancelled the need for the trailer, and the idea was dropped. Therefore this large amount of luggage was somehow transported separately, just as many researchers have realized that in reality the lunar rover could not have been transported aboard the LM as seen in the Apollo lunar surface imagery.

Remembering that the Volkswagen had its engine in the back and the luggage stowed under the hood, there’s still insufficient room for all the bags stacked in the lobby, along with Danny’s Big Wheel. Given that the journey to the Overlook was made in part along the Route to the Sun, the references to Apollo could not be clearer.

Fig 67
Fig 67. Lunar Roving Vehicle fitted out with all its associated equipment allegedly transported by and unloaded from the LM.

While it’s obvious to us that Kubrick was obliged to work on this classified Top Secret Apollo Simulation Project in ways he couldn’t possibly morally condone, it is clear there are far too many references to the US space program hidden in plain sight within his films for these references to be accidental. From his own experiences gained while working on Dr. Strangelove and ‘Son of Strangelove’, 2001, Kubrick had experienced up close the US space program’s propaganda machine at full throttle. That alone would have provided considerable inside knowledge, and made him more sensitive than most to the vagaries in the compilation of the official Apollo photographic record. And from there to seed his own experiences and grave concerns over the reality of Apollo into his subsequent works ready for others to discover in their own time.

Continued next page next page

©Mary Bennett and David S. Percy 2021, updated with observations ref figs 50&51, August 2022

Stanley Kubrick and Apollo: Appendix

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



"Interesting observation about a possible connection to Eyes Wide Shut. The film's mask scenes may reference the mask in the MGM logo (image below). I wonder if the two-faced masks are a nod to this duality. We've gone from references to both the MGM and Apollo logos in The Shining to the masks in Eyes Wide Shut, referencing again the MGM logo. All based on visual clues long hidden in plain sight. As if our eyes are wide shut. Which may help explain the title, which always struck me as curious and provocative. Stanley Kubrick's nod to his final, brilliant visual clues.

With what great subtlety did Kubrick use technology and symbolism to reveal this mystery. Thank you for your original contributions to unriddling the subtext."
– Tidewater, August 2022



  1. Vincent LoBrutto, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (Penguin Books, New York NY, 1997) p380.
  2. 'Three Interviews with Stanley Kubrick' concerning A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Shining Michel Ciment conducted with Kubrick in 1982.
  3. Lobrutto, ibid p432.
  4. Issues with the authenticity of the Hassleblad camera on the Moon, Mary Bennett and David S. Percy, Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers (London, Aulis Publishers, 1999) chapters 1&2
  5. The ancient Chinese did not call the constellation Aquarius but it's the name we use for the constellation which houses their 1st and 13th Moon. Needham, J., Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 3 'Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth' (Cambridge University Press, 1959).
  6. The Apollo 1 fire of January 27, 1967 was ostensibly due to wiring issues in the CM. These had already occurred on earlier CM tests, so were not unknown to NASA. Grissom was notably aggravated with the technical difficulties on the Apollo I test launch and was recorded as saying, “How are we going to get to the moon if we can’t talk between two or three buildings?” and calling the module a “bucket full of screws.” But Grissom had also shown frustrations with the program leading up to that day, having purportedly told his wife, Betty, that if there were ever a serious accident in the space program it would likely involve him. He was also said to have grabbed a lemon from a tree on his property before heading to base and tying it to the hatch of the simulator.
    When he was asked by the media what he thought the chances were of the Apollo missions succeeding, he replied that he thought they were slim. Betty Grissom, left widowed with two sons, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Apollo program’s prime contractor, North American Rockwell. She won a $350,000 settlement in 1972 that would be worth nearly $3 million today if adjusted for inflation. “What she did wasn’t the most popular thing that a NASA widow could do, but she nevertheless felt that her husband’s life was taken needlessly,” said Ronald D. Krist, the Houston attorney who handled that case “She got nasty notes from some of the executives at NASA, but she kept steadfast in her beliefs and showed a lot of courage and grit. She never wavered.” The Apollo 1 Conspiracy; Did NASA Cover Up Gus Grissom’s Death?
    The NASA version of events.
  7. Chess Cooks by Edward D. Collins
  8. LoBrutto, ibid, p432; and Wikipedia, Chaturanga.
  9. Originating in Siam (now Thailand) the story goes that a white elephant was such a rare thing that not only were any considered possessions of the King, these animals could not be used for any work or even be ridden. The King would offer them to any subject giving him displeasure, and as it could ruin him financially in upkeep, such a gift was a poisoned chalice. So it’s even more appropriate when we see that broken chalice related to the applied King’s Elephant f1 chess/square in the 2001 Louis XV bedroom scene. The phrase came to England with the British Empire builders in the mid 1770s. Source: Albert Jack, Red Herrings & White Elephants: The Origins of the Phrases We Use Every Day (Wales, Creative Print and Design, 2004).
  10. Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 capsize. Note how Elon Musk’s 2021 SpaceX spacecraft is a dead ringer for Bell’s hypothetical Moon lander seen in this 1960s article: One-Way Space Man (1962).
  11. Norman Kagan, The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick, Third Edition. Oxford, Roundhouse Publishing Ltd, 2000.
  12. Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining picks up on various aspects of Steinbeck’s works, notably Cannery Row, published in 1945, and Sweet Thursday published in 1954.
  13. It is stated that this 2018 upload was done at the instigation of Lt.Col. Wendelle Stevens. Although this fits with the Japanese crew’s interest in UFOs (in the 1980s Stevens instigated the US research in the Billy Meier UFO photos) this is more likely to be a ‘click bait’ statement, as Stevens died in September 2010.
  14. The extract is taken from the phone interview which features at the end of this video. However all of Kubrick’s conversation with Yaoi is worth a listen.
  15. Tom Mangold and John Penycate, The Tunnels of Cu Chi: A Harrowing Account of America's Tunnel Rats in the Underground Battlefields of Vietnam (New York: Random House, 1986).
  16. Combat tactical reconnaissance in Southeast Asia, 1965-1967.
  17. Mary Bennett and David S. Percy, Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers (London, Aulis Publishers, 1999) pp54-70
    and Ed DiGiulio’s detailed account of the Zeiss f/0.7 lens conversions.
  18. Camera and lens expert Joe Dunton discusses Stanley Kubrick's photographic lenses.
  19. By 1946 Graphic Films had earned a reputation across all branches of the military, including the then secret satellite industry, and by the late 1950s it was ready to work with NASA. It supported Kennedy’s Moon program by creating simulations of the space environment and illustrating the necessary technological requirements on films aimed at Congress for funding purposes; for the astronaut training program, for educational and scientific purposes and for promoting the space program to the public.
  20. The very instructive article on making the original 1962 version of Journey to the Stars.
  21. See reference 17 for Ed DiGiulio’s account of this lens adaptor.
  22. Peter Kramer 2001: A Space Odyssey (BFI Film Classics), London, (Palgrave Macmillan 2010 & 2020).
  23. Frederick I. Ordway III and Robert Godwin, 2001: The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey (Ontario, Canada, Apogee Prime, 2018).
  24. The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon Esq. published as a novel in 1844. Author William Makepeace Thackeray’s favourite and final London residence was at 2 Palace Green, Kensington. His novel was based on the life of Andrew Robinson Stoney see The Victorian Web and The Real Barry Lyndon.
  25. Photographing Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.
  26. Stephen King’s analog clock had a face with Roman numbers and at midday and midnight, when the clock struck XII (twelve o’clock) two automated ballet dancers emerged into view, with the female from the observer’s left and the male from the observer’s right, while holding their arms in ballet position V (5). Thus the female was situated on the man’s right side (as with Kubrick’s Bamboucher mural and figurine setting in the Louis XV bedroom). As it happens, the Apollo missions were scheduled to land on the Moon at the first quarter, which rises above Earth in the east at noon and sets at midnight GMT).
    This couple’s ballet dance turned into the sexual position vulgarly described as ‘soixant neuf’ (69). Given the Russian’s renowned Bolshoi Ballet, King’s linking of the number 69 to the ballet in such a crude way, infers a rude gesture towards the Russians concerning the year 1969 – which can only mean Apollo 11. Especially when it is known that Louis XIV, a keen ballet dancer, performed the role of the Sun King in the Ballet de la Nuit in 1663. However the novelist King’s use of position V, white elephants and the Blue Danube waltz also implies secret knowledge relative to the actual state of the US Saturn V rocket technology, to Kubrick’s making of 2001 and to Hollywood’s role in promoting the space program. Also of interest is the little key that fitted Danny’s hand but would be too small for grownups, in his opinion. Over the fireplace of the mystery room at the Bowman-Biltmore hotel in Phoenix, today, one can see a huge old-fashioned key, which was dropped from the sky to the hotel on its opening day ceremony.
  27. Chess Cooks (and chess problems)
  28. Adolphe Alexzandre Lesrel, Rehs Galleries.
  29. From Buzz Aldrin's statement to Bart Sibrel, ABCDigital video interview.
  30. The Jason Group, and Reuters Special Report: 'Inside a Trump-era purge of military scientists at a legendary think tank.' Also see JASON and the Bureaucrats.
  31. Author/artist Juli M. Kearns at Idyll Opus Press.
  32. The original Pink Panther cartoons ran from 1964-1978; the Clouseau cartoons from 1965-1969. All were released by their creators DFE, through United Artists.
  33. Jonnys53.blogspot and Ophthalmology In Ancient Egyptian & Greek Mythology and Herbs in Mythology
  34. Washington Square Hotel, ‘The soul of Greenwich Village’.
  35. The Woodman weekday hours are incorrectly written: 5.0 is not actually a time nor is 8.0pm. Bob Dylan who originally wrote ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ in 1965 was a patron of the Washington Square Hotel at that time, along with the guitar-playing singer Joan Baez. Both were concerned with the issues of nuclear proliferation and the Vietnam War. The Jason Group did a major study on the use of nuclear arms during the Vietnam war and effectively put a halt to the Pentagon’s intentions. Hence problems with Trump in December 2019 and they are still unpopular with the warmongers Jim Morrison is also a possibility, “The picture on the left does indeed appear to be Jim Morrison holding his tambourine… others agree it is indeed Morrison and feel that Kubrick was probably pointing reference to Aldous Huxley.”
  36. TOPOCOM is the short name for the U.S. Army Topographic Command that includes the former Army Map Service, the U.S. Army Engineer Topographic Laboratories, the 30th Engineer Battalion and the 64th Engineer Battalion. it lasted from 1968 through to 1972, when it was merged into the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) in 1972. (Coincidentally, these are the Apollo lunar mission years, from Apollo 8 though to Apollo 17.) An Army history of TOPOCOM states that for use in astronaut training at Cape Kennedy, the Army topographers prepared a series of eight 3D relief models for the Apollo landing sites. The Apollo 17 scale model measured 16ft x 25ft.
  37. The six-line chorus of the 1892 song Daisy Bell was the first ever song rendered as speech synthesis at Bell Labs on an IBM 704 computer in 1961 inspired Arthur Clarke’s incorporating it into the storyline for 2001.
  38. A history of roque and can be found here: and includes an extract from Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday which featured rivalry on the roque court: Chapter 8, 'The Great Roque War'.
  39. In croquet, the order of play is that of the blue player, then the red, the yellow and finally the black player. Four balls are used, red, white (replaces yellow) blue and black.
  40. How tennis changed from white to yellow balls thanks to David Attenborough
  41. The Rules of Sport and here.
  42. Interestingly, the word gnomon (from the Greek νώμων) means ‘one that knows or examines’ (see Apollo image, figure 20), which is certainly what has been going on in this scene between Ziegler and the Doc. The knowledgeable Ziegler is very well positioned. Thanks to Julie Kearns, we know that Ziegler’s house is adjacent to No.237 Madison Avenue – the home of advertising in New York. [Look Magazine was originally located at 488 Madison Avenue]. Once again Kubrick has stripped this Moon number across two of his most revelatory films, and here he has also linked it with Frank Pool and Apollo, thanks to a game invented by the Sun King Louis XIV. And also here.

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.

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