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Dark Side of the Moon

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“Dark Side of the Moon”

S5 E8

Production 47303
Original Airdate: 6 November 1977
Vlcsnap-144065
Steve shows off
Produced by
Richard H. Landau
Teleplay by
John Meredyth Lucas
Story by
Richard H. Landau
Directed by
Cliff Bole
Guest Cast
Guest Star(s)
Jack Colvin as Dr. Charles Leith
Simone Griffeth as Bess Fowler
Skip Homeier as Ted Harmon
Bob Neill as Eric
Quinn Redeker as Frank Tracey
Co-starring
James Ingersoll as Hal
Walter Brooke as Dr. Tellman
With
Rick Richards as Air Policeman
Broadcast Order
Season 5
← Previous Next →
"Rollback" "Dark Side of the Moon (Part II)"

Summary

Dr. Charles Leith is not suspected when the moon's orbit changes, as his government-sponsored space expedition is supposedly on an asteroid. But he leaves an antenna on the asteroid to relay communications to Houston Mission Control, and goes to the moon for his own mysterious purposes. When the moon's orbit changes--causing cataclysmic storms throughout the world--Steve Austin takes off for its dark side to investigate the cause.

Deconstructed

Quotes

Trivia

Storyline
  • The episode seems to take place entirely within a short span of days around the full moon, as Steve lands at his old landing site, and in bionic walking distance is the terminator between day and night sides, with Leith operating just over on the far side. Steve's landing site must have been right at the edge between near and far sides.
Syndication
  • Several short clips from this episode showing Steve walking on the moon would be used to pad out the running time of the two-part version of the first pilot movie, which was retitled "The Moon and the Desert."

Gaffes

Appearance

  • Of course the space suits have a double zipper at the neck so Steve can show off his mane of chest hair even on the moon.
  • The inner appearance of the moon base and the space suits, while on a much smaller scale, mirror the James Bond film, Moonraker, which would come out a couple of years later.

Logic

  • It is never explained why Leith is so determined to find dilanthium on the moon and why he rejects it on the asteroid.
  • Where does Leith come up with the huge amounts of money to pay off the others helping him with his plot?
Real World
  • In an effort to infuse the episode with some scientific realism, the sound mixers erred when omitting all ambient sound on the asteroid scenes. The red sky indicates that there is some kind of atmosphere on the asteroid, though it is probably not an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere breatheable by humans. Nonetheless, whatever gasses are present to account for the red skies would also be capable of carrying sound waves.
  • In a relateed incident, when Steve throws the Frisbee after landing on the moon, the whistle sound is heard. If there's no atmosphere on the moon, then the Frisbee should have flown silently.
  • The exterior shot of the asteroid is obviously a squashed picture of Mars.
  • The visit to the asteroid is shown to use what appears to be standard Apollo hardware, except that it appears to have capacity and capability greater than the lunar module built by Grumman. For a start, after Leith leads his own four-person mission to the asteroid, they lift off and still have a descent module to land on the Moon. Secondly, they somehow can carry four people in the ascent module, and have a way to descend to the ground through a pressurized passageway and into a mine shaft.
  • Libration of longitude would mean that Steve's old landing site and Leith's operating area would move in and out of view from Earth as a month goes by.
  • If this episode is intended to imply that the far side of the moon is always dark, then it is incorrect. Or, to quote the Pink Floyd album that shares its title with this episode, "There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark!"
  • The communications time between Earth and the Moon is 1.3 seconds, for a round trip of almost 3 seconds. The asteroid must be at least two million miles further out from Earth or closer to the sun, or it would be remarkable as an Earth-grazing asteroid. Therefore, if the asteroid is only two million miles further, it would add 13 seconds to the round trip communications, keeping Steve and Oscar from having a real-time conversation without significant waiting.

Gallery

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