Survivor Set

Art Director Ray Markham provided this photo, SURVIVOR SET (1964):

A movie about surviving in a plane crash (in snow!)

I do remember creating this set.  I had to get a lot of information on size of plane and what was in it; straps, seats, etc.  The plane's interior had to be shown at the beginning of the story.  Of course the most important part was the exterior of the plane.  After talking with the director, we decided that the wings and tail wouldn't be seen.  That saved some money in the set construction.  I had to design the plane upside down as that's what happened (in the true crash this story is based on.)

Based on my design of the set, showing the plane upside down in the snow made it easier to create the snow terrain around it.

Fred Hemme, head of Paint and Scenic Department, had his crew paint some mountains in the background and create ice-covered rocks.  Big fans were added to blow the snow for blizzard-like conditions.  In the top left of the picture you can see a circular object.  That is what's known as a "snow hopper."  As the wire drum (cage) is rotated, snow flakes fall.

I remember standing on the set and watching the blowing snow.  Not only did it cover the set, but it was turning the entire stage into a snow storm.  Crews were ready for this and had it swept up as fast as it fell.

Photos provide by Ray Markham include European StreetBeyond the CallLate 1940s setAnimation DepartmentSurvivor Set, and Celeste Holm.

Chris Henry wrote, "I was thinking of my father this evening and decided to do an APC google search. It was my hope to see the building that I would visit as a very young boy with my father. My father, Col. Robert M. "Bob" Henry, USAR Retired has been deceased for a number of years. He retired in 1957 and was a civilian employee at the Military Police School at Fort Gordon. In some way he was involved in the training films for the Military Police and would frequent the APC.  During the summer I was allowed to come with him. The pictures of the outside complex did not jar my memory but when I saw the airplane crash "survival" picture, that was it! As a young boy the stage was basically empty and I was able to go in close to the scene.  Obviously it was a memory I have never forgot and my vision of what it was, is exactly like the picture on the webpage. Thank you so much for posting that picture and having this webpage."



Posted July 23, 2003 - Updated June 30, 2009, and September 12, 2020.




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