Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey in Town magazine

Opening of 5-page article on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey with sketches by Clive Arrowsmith in Town magazine

Opening of 5-page article on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey with sketches by Clive Arrowsmith in Town magazine

Clancy Sigal wrote the words and Clive Arrowsmith did these sketches on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey for the July 1966 issue of men’s magazine Town.

This was a special film issue, with articles about Len Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin, the girls of Casino Royale, Bryan Forbes (who had already directed Whistle Down the Wind and written the script for King Rat and would go on to direct The Stepford Wives in 1975) and beach fashion spreads with the cast of Robert Aldrich’s  The Dirty Dozen.

The 5-page article, ‘2001: An informal diary of an infernal machine’, was written two years before the film’s release. The article opens with a whole page sketch showing an image of Saturn behind Dr Heywood R. Floyd (William Sylvester), a detail that is changed in the actual film, where the Discovery spaceship follows the monolith’s radio signal to Jupiter.

Sigal, a US novelist and screenwriter, points to a problem that still bedevils people today after seeing the film:

Arthur Clarke is going up the pole, trying to meet with Kubrick to put the end together. Kubrick is finishing the picture and, probably, wondering how to end it.

First spread of the Town magazine article shows one of the astronauts and the maintenance vehicle

First spread of the Town magazine article shows one of the astronauts and the maintenance vehicle (the right side of the page was cut off in the scanner)

Arthur C. Clarke – one of the best and most prolific of the SF writers who lives in Ceylon, where he has business interests, according to the text – was, of course, trying to finish his book.

Sigal speculates about an outcome similar to the ‘benign being that blessed’ Clarke’s Childhood’s End, though ‘it could turn out to be the hydrogen bomb in a rubber mask, like in (Madame Odinga Oginga from Outer Space) Sam Katzman’. He was prophetic on another point:

HAL may yet turn out to be the most interesting actor in the story.

Final spread of the Town article shows a sketch of the frozen scientists that is similar to a sketch shown to HAL in 2001

Final spread of the Town article shows a sketch of the frozen scientists that is similar to a sketch shown to HAL in 2001

In the film, one of the Discovery’s two crew members, David Bowman (played by Keir Dullea), is seen making sketches of the scientists in suspended animation, which he shows to HAL.

One of the sketches is similar to Arrowsmith’s at the bottom of this spread.

Clive Arrowsmith did illustrations for other issues of Town and is probably the famed photographer, who worked as a graphic designer for television after leaving art school before taking to the camera.

The article makes no mention of Arrowsmith having been commissioned by Kubrick to work on the film. So the question is: which came first? Did Town commission the article and then Kubrick take up the sketch idea, or had Kubrick commissioned Arrrowsmith to do the sketches and the latter took the article idea to Town?

In 2001, Kubrick shows one of the astronauts making sketches of the scientists in suspended animation

In 2001, Kubrick shows one of the astronauts making sketches of the scientists in suspended animation

Detail of Clive Arrowsmith sketch in Town magazine - compare it with the still from 2001 below

Detail of Clive Arrowsmith sketch in Town magazine – compare it with the still from 2001 above

One of the Discovery astronauts shows a sketch to HAL in a scene from 2001

Through HAL’s distorting camera: Dave Bowman, one of the Discovery astronauts, shows one of his sketches to the ship’s computer in a scene from 2001

>>Town magazine covers and history

 


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 


 

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