It had to be small enough to fit into a one car garage and look convincing enough to be accepted as an interplanetary vehicle from an advanced civilization.
The Martianís spaceship was of an original design in the realm of sci-fi entertainment. Art Director James Hulsey based the structure of the spaceship on an e-type JAGUAR sports car, which had an open vent in its grillwork. The shipís hatch was altered after the pilot show was filmed. In the first episode, the hatch, which had no windows, simply falls off the vehicle when Tim discovers the Martian inside. But subsequently, James Hulsey remodeled the hatch with an ingenious design that separated on the top and opened into gull doors that now included windows. *
First seen as a blur in the sky when Tim spots it, the ship crash lands on its side and a scar serving as evidence of the impact remains on the hull throughout the first two seasons.
Initially, in order to be light enough to be lifted, the Martian spaceship prop was made of wood that was painted silver. It was then recast by Joe Lombardi using a stone mold into fiberglass with a steel underskeleton, resulting in the ship weighing upwards of 400 lbs. This became a problem while shooting the episode Rocket to Mars, when one of the three steel cables flying the ship away from the carousel broke, almost killing Ray Walston's stand-in who was riding inside it. As a result, when the shot was restarted, they chose to leave the cockpit empty, as Mr. Walston would not allow them to endanger his stand in/assistant.*
*(added 4/26/05 with special thanks to Peter Greenwood)
The Spaceship was usually featured at night, taking off in darkness, and an animation illustrated its flight across the night sky.
Based on an observation of the bottom of the hull, it can be inferred that the ship had three retractable legs but they were never actually shown in operation.
The one-seated spaceship did have an interior set, though it was rarely seen. The thin rod on the right of the square light board served to guide the ship into landing. A round communication screen is above the square, and red and green square buttons are at the left of the screen.
Tim finds himself obligated to take off and land in the pre-programmed ship with Martin giving him voice commands.
Here Martin takes the ship up for a low altitude surveillance mission so a spacesuit was not needed.
A central view of the dashboard and left window
The interior set was built for the second season episode Great Brain Robbery and appeared again in the second seasonís Martinís Favorite Martian and the third seasonís That Time Machine is Waking Up That Old Gang of Mine.
In a conversation with a fan, Mr.Walston mentioned that there was really very minimum room to move inside the actual spaceship prop itself. Nevertheless, he said that in episodes where the ship was on the set, Bill Bixby could often be found sitting in the craft during breaks in filming, as Bill took great delight in the prop vehicle.**
(**added 9/9/05 with thanks and appreciation to Koby)
After the series was over, the spaceship prop was rumored to have gone into the collection belonging to the "Planes of Fame" Museum in Buena Park, California.
*added 9/9/05, courtesy of Stephen Wilson
In the mid-1970s it was loaned out for display at the Union Bank of Fullerton, California.*
In the summer of 1985 the spaceship prop was sold for $750 at a Hollywood car auction at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It changed hands after that and in 1993 it was reported to be residing in the archives of a Los Angeles TV memorabilia collector.
April 2011: Pegasus Models is marketing the official model of the Martianís spaceship, available in May 2011
See Upcoming Products
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