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Billion Dollar Brain (1967) computer facility set location

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  • #16
    Originally posted by alan gowdy View Post
    Guys, I'm as interested in the production of early Bonds as anyone but how about a new thread for it rather than using this one?
    Feel free to start a new thread any time

    Steve

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Mikey View Post

      Stephen

      Sorry to change subject, but do you have any idea which stages at Pinewood were used for the filming of You Only Live Twice?

      I know that the Volcano base interior was constructed on the North Lot.

      Would love to hear any memories you have regarding the filming of this Bond movie.
      Hello Mikey. Unfortunately, I was not at Pinewood during filming on "YOLT". I did not start at Pinewood until August '68 around the time "OHMSS" started shooting. I left the studio when "GOLDEN GUN" started and returned to the studio when "SPY" was in production in '76.
      If I come across any information I'll let you know.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Stephen Pickard View Post

        Hello Mikey. Unfortunately, I was not at Pinewood during filming on "YOLT". I did not start at Pinewood until August '68 around the time "OHMSS" started shooting. I left the studio when "GOLDEN GUN" started and returned to the studio when "SPY" was in production in '76.
        If I come across any information I'll let you know.
        Hi Stephen

        Many thanks for responding.

        Comment


        • #19
          UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (V2.0)

          [0] INTRODUCTION

          Previously in this topic I created an entry called "UNANSWERED QUESTIONS" but ran into a major limitation - you are only allowed five attachments (in this case images) per post. After some thought I realised that this was actually an advantage. By expanding the content, using proper headings and then posting it in logical segments it was more readable.

          [0.0] WHAT ARE THE QUESTIONS?

          1) Where were Honeywell's UK computer facilities located?

          2) Which scenes in the movie were shot at the Honeywell facilities?

          3) What did the Honeywell physical installation look like?

          4) How many H200 computers were used?

          5) Was there an operational Honeywell H200 computer running on the Pinewood set?

          [0.1] THE KEY

          Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_0.1.0 br01_resj_r.jpg Views:	3 Size:	20.1 KB ID:	33678
          Image UQ_0.1.0 - Honeywell H200 control console (Wikipedia)

          As luck would have it the key turned out to be the Honeywell H200 computer control console.

          [0.2] THE MISSING LINK

          Fortunately I was reminded by Mikey of a reference that I had come across and forgotten about - yet another YouTube movie excerpt titled "The Billion Dollar Brain - Honeywell H200 Computer":

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8Rv7clC_A4

          While the video is a nice recap of the procedure Leo (Karl Malden) goes through to secretly reprogram the Brain the really important part is the first comment by YouTube member "Science-is-god" - and I quote it in full:

          "I worked for Honeywell when this movie was made, they used the data centre machine at the Honeywell UK Hq in Brentwood just west of London.
          In the opening sequences they show a close up of the control panel and you can see some of the ENTER buttons (Arrow symbols) have the arrows worn away from constant use, this WAS the H200 in Brentwood that I had used many many times.
          I have a genuine H200 control panel at my home but that one came from an H200 in the downtown Chicago Data Center in the late 70s.
          Oh happy memories. "

          Thank you. So what useful points came be made from this?

          [0.3] POINTS OF INTEREST

          a) An (almost) perfect source
          - a Honeywell employee
          - technical since he used (ran programs on) the actual computer
          - who was working at THAT company facility
          - WHEN the movie people were filming there.

          b) Facility located: "UK Hq in Brentwood just west of London"

          c) Confirms the model: "this WAS the H200 in Brentwood"

          d) Implicitly states that there was only ONE H200 and that is was operational: "used THE data center machine" - not "used A data center machine".

          e) Question 2 above (partially) answered - the computer seen in the opening (and thus the closing) credits montage IS that machine: "In the opening sequences they show a close up of the control panel"

          f) finally and most important of all - uniquely identifies that singular Brentwood H200 by it's control panel: "some of of the ENTER buttons (Arrow symbols) have the arrows worn away from constant use"

          As I quickly found out it should have been "Brentford" instead of "Brentwood".
          Last edited by lazarus6; 10th September 2017, 10:32 AM.

          Comment


          • #20
            UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

            [1] QUESTION 1 - WHERE WERE HONEYWELL'S UK COMPUTER FACILITIES LOCATED?

            Mentioned previously - Points of Interest (b) Facility located: "UK Hq in Brentwood just west of London".
            As Mikey has so gently pointed out to me it was actually "Brentford".

            Yet another "Google" hunt came up with a book reference that was relevant for 1968:

            Honeywell UK 'Head Office' and 'Computer Maintenance Centre': Honeywell House, Great West Road, Brentford, Middlesex

            BOOK REFERENCE INFO

            Book "British Commercial Computer Digest (Tenth Edition): Pergamon Computer Data Series" By R. H. Williams
            In Section 2 page 5 there is a entry for Honeywell:

            Book Synopsis: "presents information on computers and peripheral equipment available in Britain. A list of computer manufacturers and selling organizations is included, along with all worldwide known computers installed as at the end of 1968. A table of speeds, memory storage capacity, and storage type of the computers is also presented."

            Google Books online reference:

            https://books.google.com.au/books?id...ntford&f=false
            Last edited by lazarus6; 10th September 2017, 10:15 AM.

            Comment


            • #21
              UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (V2.0)

              [2] QUESTION 2 - WHICH SCENES IN THE MOVIE WERE SHOT AT THE HONEYWELL FACILITIES?

              [2.0] OPENING/CLOSING CREDITS MONTAGES

              Now let's consider the opening/closing credits computer montages. The film makers are very careful and try to show only close-ups of the equipment - no wide angle views that would show any background and identify that the scene is NOT located on the extravagant "Bond" E Stage at Pinewood.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_2.0.0 br02_BBB spin_mag_tapes 00:05:03r.jpg Views:	2 Size:	17.4 KB ID:	33681
              Image UQ_2.0.0 - still 00:05:03 - Honeywell data centre magnetic tape drives in opening credits montage

              There are several sequences in showing the magnetic tape drives with the spinning reels that intermittently pause - this is indicative of data being transferred with an operating computer.

              I suspect that the following scenes in the movie were also shot at Brentford:

              [2.1] ROOM - LOCATION LEO & HARRY DISCUSSION

              Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_2.1.0 br03_bbb_rmts_01:11:50r.jpg Views:	2 Size:	13.3 KB ID:	33682
              Image UQ_2.1.0 - still 01:11:50

              A room whose main requirement in the film was privacy so Leo and Harry can discuss General Midwinter's plan.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_2.1.1 br04_bbb_rmts_01:10:51r.jpg Views:	2 Size:	12.2 KB ID:	33683
              Image UQ_2.1.1 - still 01:10:51 - Leo activates the rotary magnetic tape storage unit

              At the far end it has an operational rotary magnetic tape storage unit which Leo starts up. This feature is an unnecessary embellishment which leads me to suspect this is a real location and not a Pinewood set.

              [2.2] BRAIN ORDER PRINTOUTS

              Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_2.2.0 br05_bbb_print0_01:14:23r.jpg Views:	2 Size:	13.4 KB ID:	33684
              Image UQ_2.2.0 - still 01:14:23 - original 'brain' order printout

              Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_2.2.1 br06_bbb_print1_01:15:20r.jpg Views:	1 Size:	13.5 KB ID:	33685
              Image UQ_2.2.1 - still 01:15:20 - Leo's modified 'brain' order printout

              The close up of the scrolling printouts. These days it's easy - just plug the usb printer cable into a laptop and print anything anywhere. Fifty odd years ago it was more complicated so again I think these were shot at the Honeywell data centre.

              So much for Questions 1 and 2.
              Last edited by lazarus6; 10th September 2017, 10:33 AM.

              Comment


              • #22
                UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (V2.0)

                [3] QUESTION 3 - WHAT DID THE HONEYWELL PHYSICAL INSTALLATION LOOK LIKE?

                If anyone has any images of the actual Honeywell Brentford data centre exterior and/or interior when the H200 computer was installed please upload them.

                [3.0] WHAT WOULD IT BE EXPECTED TO LOOK LIKE

                Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_3.0.0 br07_sala macchine IBM 360.jpg Views:	1 Size:	93.0 KB ID:	33687
                Image UQ_3.0.0 - IBM 360 (a very large "heavy iron" mainframe) data centre

                Meanwhile working on the assumption that it is similar to the example image above; that is to say like any other real commercial computer facility of the period:
                - yet another anonymous windowless (for security and insulation) office building level
                - raised false floor (to run the multitude of power/data/control cables between the cabinets and peripherals)
                - uninterruptible power supply
                - air conditioning cooling plant
                - good physical access needed for transferring large heavy cabinets and peripherals.

                [3.1] WHAT IT ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE!

                With Google getting the right answer depends greatly on the art of asking the right question - and so it finally proved in this case - from an unexpected source indeed.

                Would you believe a tv series?

                http://www.mark-1.co.uk/Professionals/home.htm

                DAVE MATTHEWS PRESENTS

                THE AUTHORISED GUIDE TO

                THE PROFESSIONALS


                Two episodes of particular interest

                "The Professionals" s02e10 "Fall Girl"
                web page - http://www.mark-1.co.uk/Professionals/b10.htm
                Last updated: 9th November 2014
                Original UK Transmission: 9th December 1978
                "Locations" section - http://www.mark-1.co.uk/Professional...mputerRoom.jpg

                Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_3.1.0 [s02e10 The Professionals]]_ComputerRoom.jpg Views:	1 Size:	82.3 KB ID:	33688
                Image UQ_3.1.0 "Meanwhile MI6 man Willis is planning a risky operation with Marikka's husband, an East German double agent. Willis' office - and CI5's Computer Room - were shot in Honeywell House, Brentford."

                (the caption bold emphasis is mine)

                "The Professionals" s03e05 "The Madness of Mickey Hamilton"
                http://www.mark-1.co.uk/Professionals/c05.htm
                Last updated: 15th November 2015
                Original UK Transmission: 24th November, 1979
                "Locations" section - http://www.mark-1.co.uk/Professional...mputerRoom.jpg


                Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_3.1.1 [S03e05 The professionals]ComputerRoom.jpg Views:	1 Size:	76.6 KB ID:	33689
                Image UQ_3.1.1 "The CI5 computer room was filmed at Honeywell Systems in Brentford."

                (the caption bold emphasis is mine)

                Since these episodes were shot at least 11 years after the "Billion Dollar Brain" I wasn't surprised to see later versions of the computer and peripherals - but that row of magnetic tape drive units does look familiar! This was most likely the same computer room back in 1967.

                Sad to say that the actual computer room (Honeywell Brentford) looked much smaller and much less exciting than General Midwinter's massive 'billion dollar brain' construct (Pinewood E Stage).
                Last edited by lazarus6; 11th September 2017, 09:01 PM.

                Comment


                • #23
                  UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (V2.0)

                  [4] QUESTION 4 - HOW MANY H200 COMPUTERS WERE USED?

                  As mentioned before the film makers were very careful during the Brentford shoot to not show the background. In fact they only slipped up several times but hoped that the viewer wouldn't notice.

                  [4.0] YET AGAIN - THE CONTROL CONSOLE


                  Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.0.0 br01_resj_r (copy).jpg Views:	3 Size:	20.1 KB ID:	33691
                  Image UQ_4.0.0 - Honeywell H200 control console (Wikipedia)

                  A visual reminder of the object of interest.

                  [4.1] BRENTFORD H200 CONTROL CONSOLE

                  Here is the Brentford H200 control panel as seen in the opening credits montage:

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.1.0 br08_bbb_H200_B_cp_05:21r.jpg Views:	1 Size:	13.1 KB ID:	33692
                  Image UQ_4.1.0 - still 00:05:21 - Brentford control console - left hand end

                  Note:
                  - rows blue backgrounds
                  - arrow keys - blue symbols
                  - bottom 'HONEYWELL 200' in blue lettering
                  - added film makers "agent selection" peel off labels "CHARACTER", "INTEGRITY", "CAPACITY", and "REFLEXES"

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.1.1 br09_bbb_H200_B_cp_05:29.jpg Views:	1 Size:	8.4 KB ID:	33693
                  Image UQ_4.1.1 - still 00:05:29 - Brentford control console - right hand end

                  Note the following:
                  - faded arrows keys - as stated by YouTube member "Science-is-god"
                  - colour of the arrow keys (blue)
                  - colour of the surround edges (blue)
                  - added film makers "agent selection" peel off labels "REFLEXES" and "VERSATILITY"

                  [4.2] E STAGE H200 CONTROL CONSOLE

                  Now compare that to the E Stage H200 control console:

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.2.0 br10_bbb_H200_ES_cp_01:14:04r.jpg Views:	1 Size:	14.4 KB ID:	33694
                  Image UQ_4.2.0 - still 01:14:04 - E Stage control console - left hand end

                  Note:
                  - rows white backgrounds
                  - arrow keys - black symbols
                  - bottom 'HONEYWELL 200' in white lettering
                  - the 2nd. row "ADDRESS" label replaced by yet another "HONEYWELL" product placement
                  - NO added film makers "agent selection" peel off labels

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.2.1 br11_bbb_H200_ES_cp_01:14:10r.jpg Views:	1 Size:	10.8 KB ID:	33695
                  Image UQ_4.2.1 - still 01:14:10 - E Stage control console - right hand end

                  Note:
                  - arrow keys intact
                  - colour keys (black)
                  - colour of surround edges (white)
                  - NO added film makers "agent selection" peel off labels

                  So there were two different control consoles which implies two computers.
                  Last edited by lazarus6; 10th September 2017, 10:34 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (V2.0)

                    [4] QUESTION 4 - HOW MANY H200 COMPUTERS WERE USED?

                    [4.3] SHIFTING MAGNETIC TAPE DRIVE UNITS LOCATION

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.3.0 br12_bbb_h200_B_cp_00:04:38_h.jpg Views:	1 Size:	10.5 KB ID:	33697
                    Image UQ_4.3.0 - still 00:04:38 - Brentford highlighted row of magnetic tape drive units in front of H200 computer.

                    At the Honeywell data centre there is a row of free standing magnetic tape drive units in FRONT of the computer. Also note the colour of the highlighted read/write head covers are silver.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.3.1 br13_bbb_H200_es_01:17:13r.jpg Views:	1 Size:	16.5 KB ID:	33698
                    Image UQ_4.3.1 - still 01:17:13 - E Stage H200 computer from behind

                    On the Pinewood E Stage set the immediate area in front of the H200 is bare.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.3.2 br14_bbb_pan_01:15:24-27_hr.jpg Views:	1 Size:	10.6 KB ID:	33699
                    ^^[magnetic tape drive]_____________________________________________ ^^^^^^^ [H200 computer] ^^^^^^^
                    Image UQ_4.3.2 - E Stage pan montage 01:15:24 - 01:15:27

                    However there is a row of magnetic tape drive units BEHIND the H200.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	UQ_4.3.3 br15_bbb_mtd_es_01:14:33_hr.jpg Views:	1 Size:	16.9 KB ID:	33700
                    Image UQ_4.3.3 - still 01:14:33 - E Stage row of highlighted magnetic tape drive units

                    Another view looking behind the Pinewood H200 unit. Note that the highlighted covers of the tape read/write heads are black rather than silver.

                    This is a different set of magnetic tape drive units.

                    Ergo not only were there two H200 computers but also two different installations - one at Honeywell Brentford and the other the centrepiece of the the 'Billion Dollar Brain' set on E Stage Pinewood.
                    Last edited by lazarus6; 10th September 2017, 01:13 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (V2.0)

                      [5] QUESTION 5 - WAS THERE AN OPERATIONAL HONEYWELL H200 COMPUTER RUNNING ON THE PINEWOOD SET?

                      [5.0] INITIAL ANSWER

                      I think that the short answer has to be "NO" - the E Stage H200 'brain' was a non-operational facade.

                      In my next post on this topic I intend to show how Pinewood got away with it!
                      Last edited by lazarus6; 10th September 2017, 10:34 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        lazarus

                        You have been busy. Very thorough explanations and images to back it all up... a joy to read.

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