A Spacefest Odyssey

By Phil Plait | June 9, 2009 10:30 am

A few months ago I attended Spacefest, a wonderful conference for space exploration enthusiasts. I had a fantastic time, as I did at the first one in 2007, and got to say hi to a bunch of astronauts — including some Moon walkers — that I had met at the first one.

Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea from 2001
Lockwood and Dullea in
"2001: A Space Odyssey".

But I met a few new people as well, and two of them were Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood in "2001: A Space Odyssey". Perhaps you’ve heard of it. They were there to talk to folks and sign autographs, and they were very colorful and fun. I had the pleasure of hanging out with them for a little while at their booth, and enjoyed it immensely. They were very different men; Lockwood was blustery and rambunctious, while Dullea was more quiet and intellectual. They’re clearly friends, having traveled extensively together for events like this (at one point Keir offered to get coffee for both of them, and much to my delight they dickered over it like an old married couple).

Seth Shostak, SETI astronomer and host of the "Are We Alone" radio show, interviewed them for the program, and it’s now live on the AWA website. The whole show is great, as usual, and the interview starts about 28 minutes in.

While he talked to them, I was able to get video of it. The audio from Seth is much cleaner (oddly enough, people at SETI have access to software and equipment that filters out digital noise from a signal), but I figure you might enjoy the video, too.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, SciFi, Space, TV/Movies

Comments (27)

  1. 2001 will be amazing. I hope I live to see it.

  2. A lot of people may not remember that Gary Lockwood was also in the second Star Trek pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

  3. Tim G

    Hey, the year of the sequel is almost here. I’ll turn 90 during the year of the third book. Hopefully, we’ll have crewed missions to the outer solar system by 2061.

    I would love to see a movie based on Rendezvous with Rama to come out. Allegedly Morgan Freeman was interested in such a project but abandoned the idea partially due to funding.

  4. Chris A.

    Just as long as Lockwood’s eyes didn’t start glowing and his voice get all massive-reverb-y. “You’d better be good to me, Phil!” Then it’s time for the phaser rifle. :)

  5. This is why I use a shotgun mic at tradeshows. They cut out a good deal of the surrounding chatter.
    Great interview, even so!

  6. Savino

    Great movie… but the book is far much better, as usual!

  7. Tony

    I had always heard Lockwood was a little full of himself. Also, how close does Dullea look like the older version of his character in 2010?

  8. @Tony: I was thinking he’s looking a whole lot like the “old Dave Bowman” at the end of 2001. That’s some good movie magic!

  9. T.E.L.

    Brett McCoy Said:

    “A lot of people may not remember that Gary Lockwood was also in the second Star Trek pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before””

    He also had a starring role (as David Seville) in Earth II, a 1971 TV movie about an independent nation housed in an enormous space station. It was to have been the pilot for a series; but it fell flat, partially due to anachronisms having to do with Red China.

  10. T.E.L.

    A good friend of mine talked at-length with Lockwood at a sci-fi convention about ten years or so ago. Lockwood told my chum some pretty wild stories about himself, a wad of cash, a Vegas hotel suite, and several companions-for-hire.

  11. Sean

    Keir Dullea is well preserved for a man of 72. Microgravity has been kind to his body.


  12. Sarcastro

    He also had a starring role (as David Seville) in Earth II…

    And he was in two episodes of MST3k! As the lead in The Magic Sword and as an uncredited extra in Kitten With A Whip.

  13. Kevpod

    I was surprised at their endorsement of fuzzy interpretations of the film, as though it has no specific meaning or is just a textural exploration.

    The Sentinel, and then the book 2001 draw a very clear plot involving alien intervention.

  14. T.E.L.


    Clarke’s stories have pointed indications of literal intervention; but keep in mind that this is Clarke’s style. 2001, the movie, isn’t Clarke’s work. It’s derivative of Clarke, but Kubrick reworks it to tell a multi-level story of his own design. There are two stories called 2001: A Space Odyssey. One is by Clarke, the other by Kubrick. Clarke is a great writer, but Kubrick is just as great a filmmaker, and as a filmmaker he wanted to create objects which were characteristically open to interpretation. This wasn’t a cheat or a dodge. He was disinterested in instructing his audience in what and how to think. He was more interested in letting them feast upon food for thought.

  15. Kevpod

    Points taken. And part of what Kubrick did was successfully communicate the essence of Clarke’s story, along with all the other dimensions he added in the film.

  16. I remember seeing this film in Cinerama at a theater in St. Louis.

    One of those “I’ll never forget THIS” moments.


  17. T.E.L.


    I completely agree.

    John Paradox,

    I was never able to see it in Cinerama (my older brothers did; they were about as impressed as you seem). It came out originally when I was about ten years old; I got to see it once in my town’s indoor theater, and once at the local drive-in. However, I did at least get to see it under very good conditions later, in my late teens, at a theater a couple of towns away. The theater at that time was enormous, with I estimated about 1,200 seats (jet-black ultra-cushioned rockers, the likes of which I’ve never seen since), a screen as large as any in downtown Chicago (the theater was in South Bend, IN), and a brand-new 35mm print of 2001. It was a midnight showing, and the lateness only helped elevate the experience. The intense redness of the HAL brain room scene belongs on a LARGE screen. The whole thing was awesome.

  18. One thing about 2010: Despite the films being made 16 years apart, Dullea looks exactly the same in 2010 as he did in 2001. He didn’t age at all! He has since then, apparently, but it’s still odd.

  19. Bad Albert

    I chuckled when Lockwood mentioned he hated it when Frank Poole lost the chess game with HAL. Perhaps he didn’t read the novel which said HAL was programmed to lose on occasion to boost the moral of the human crew. Hence, any win for Poole would be a hollow victory since obviously HAL would have thrown the game.

  20. Autumn

    I like the comparison to Moby Dick, if only because the ambiguity of the end of 2001 has been presented to me as a weakness. I call it a bold literary choice, and one which causes folks to think even today.
    A stunning success, I would say.

  21. Stone Age Scientist

    2001: A Space Odyssey had a sequel, titled 2010, which starred Dame Helen Mirren and Roy Schreider as two scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain looking for answers as to what happened to Discovery One. The astronaut being dragged by the spaceship, as he was trying to pull himself into the hatch via a rope that could snap anytime, was to me a frightening sequence.

    2001: A Space Odyssey is considered by many critics and people alike as one of the Movie Greats. Now that was a Duh! statement I’ve just made. :)

  22. Hal in Howell MI

    Too bad the audio is mashed (there was a second mic left open that picked up all the crowd noise.) 2001 is an all time favorite saw it in Cinerama in Detroit in 1968 and have seen it countless times projected since then. Still an impressive piece of work after all these years. Can’t say enough good things about the film.

  23. SAS: RE: Sequels

    And there were novels as sequels, I think the third was 3001 (but not a sign of Fry or Leela) :(


  24. Another Eric

    Two more sequels after 2010:

    2061: Odyssey Three

    3001 The Final Odyssey

    The reviews for these two books are rather mixed, and most people feeling disappointed. I haven’t read them myself, but I am suddenly feeling intrigued……..

  25. Moe Norman

    Keir Dullea looks great for his age and looks as fit as an astronaut. It would be cool if they made sequels to the two last books and got him to play old Dave Bowman.

  26. Stone Age Scientist

    Hi John @ #24,

    Sad that Sir Arthur C. Clarke passed away last year. There should have been 4010. :) Sigh* I wish I was as well-read as you are.


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