Monday, July 14, 2008

Ashby to SF in No Time At All

I have to thank a commenter for this tip. Brett, you're the best. I had no idea about this footage, and all I can say is wow!

I've never seen the film "Escape from New York,"but I'll be sure to now. In a deleted scene from the start of the movie, Snake, the main character, robs a bank and escapes (or tries to) using--wait for it--MARTA!

It's not really MARTA in the film, however. Apparently the filmmakers envisioned a high-speed underground transport system linking the United States together by 1997. They were probably sorely disappointed. I know I am. Anyway, the movie debuted in 1981, and was probably filmed in late 1979/early 1980. That tracks with the scenes we see.

After he leaves the bank, when the code red is announced, he is in the Concourse A station of the Atlanta Airport People Mover. Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport opened in September of 1980, so the filming could have easily been done prior to the Airport being opened.

The West Line (including Five Points) opened in December of 1979, so MARTA could have easily been used for filming before the commencement of service there. The initial scene was shot at the Ashby Station. Note that the train fills the platform, it's a full 8 cars long. MARTA doesn't do that very often.

On board, the seats are still padded. Because of a high instance of seat slashings, MARTA uses hard plastic seats now, and has for many years. This filming took place early enough in the system's history, however, that the pads were still alive and well.

At "San Francisco," the train arrives on the wrong side of the Platform, but that is the Omni Station. It's now known as Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center/CNN Center/Phillips Arena. I think it's ironic that the station with the shortest name at opening now has one of the longest of any transit station in the country.

Since the directors were going for a futuristic dystopia, it made sense to use MARTA. At the time, it was America's newest subway.

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