Chapter 9 — Kubrick’s Odyssey
Before we close this book, I think it is necessary to address two final moon landing conspiracy theories in detail. One is the supposed “Apollo20” footage which has made the rounds of the internet for years, and the other is “Kubrick’s Odyssey,” a very popular (but utterly absurd) claim that it was in fact famous film director Stanley Kubrick who actually directed the fake moon landings filmed in a secret Area-51 movie studio. Or something like that. As you will see, one is far more credible than the other— or at least more plausible— although they both have issues with credibility. But with that in mind, we will first address the latter before digging into the former.
First, I feel it’s important to point a couple things out. One, I have known Jay Weidner, the creator of the film, for years. I previously considered him a friend, and even worked with him (or attempted to) on a project for Gaia. But after he went all-in on the ludicrous “Unearthing Nazca” Jaime Maussan fiasco, we became enemies. My disappointment in Jay for buying into such an obvious fraud led me to go public with my feelings on the mummy thing, and he subsequently sent me a bunch of unhinged emails which I happily shared on my Facebook page. I was at first reluctant to put anything about “Kubrick’s Odyssey” in this book, but since the professional friendship has fractured I see no reason to pull punches any longer. The truth is the truth, and sometimes it makes people angry to have the truth thrown in their faces. I can’t help that.
“Kubrick’s Odyssey,” is a roughly one-hour short film created by Weidner’s Sacred Mysteries Productions back in 2011. Recently picked up by the Gaia streaming network, who is also Weidner’s current employer, “Kubrick’s Odyssey” has become a best seller for the fake mummy purveyors. I have also recently discovered there apparently is now a sequel. However, after sitting through the original, I can guarantee I won’t be watching the 2nd installment. Yes, “Kubrick’s Odyssey” is actually that bad.
First of all, it’s just an awful film. Weidner narrates, and he’s so bad at it that the audio jumps from point-to-point incoherently and in such a stilted manner that it becomes clear that he recorded it one half-sentence at a time, with the result that none of the rhythms or inflections of his voice match from line to line. It’s virtually unlistenable, and makes it that much harder to take the idea seriously. At least hire a professional voice actor (maybe Christian Meoli, Jay?) or take some acting classes so your “film” doesn’t sound like it was made by a stoned 12-year-old.
I haven’t found a Hi-Def version of it anywhere, and even the Amazon Prime version I got with a free Gaia trial appears to be Standard Def which makes the visual arguments useless. But there are many more problems with it than that.
It starts with a truly awful musical interlude and credit sequence sung by somebody who couldn’t carry a tune in his pocket. Like all amateur efforts, it goes on way too long and is not exactly “Goldfinger” in the visuals department. It’s truly two minutes and forty seconds of Hell.
Weidner begins his thesis with a discussion of Kubrick’s 1963 film, “Dr. Strangelove.” He talks about how it “took the stuffings” out of many American sacred cows. (Note to Jay: The expression is took the “stuffing,” not “stuffings.”) He then goes on to allege that “Dr. Strangelove” so impressed the brass inside the Pentagon that they made him an offer for a new secret project they had in mind: Faking the Apollo Moon landings. He offers no proof of this.
Zero. Zilch. Nada. It’s just his opinion. And it is supported by zero facts. So we are not off to a good start.
|A special effects shot from "Dr. Stranglove." An obvious model against a rear-projected background.|
He also fails to note that while Dr. Strangelove may have been impressive from a visual effects standpoint in 1963, by today’s standards it is primitive and wholly unbelievable. The simple fact is that the state of the art in visual film effects in the 1960s was so bad that they could never have passed for a real TV broadcast, which is Weidner’s entire premise. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Weidner then asserts that Kubrick made a “deal with the devil” while offering no proof whatsoever of so much as a phone call between the two parties; Kubrick and the US Pentagon. He then claims that he stands as an outsider, taking a “third position” between the “we never went to the Moon” crazies and the people who aren’t stupid enough to even consider such a silly idea. He claims his position is that “Yes Virginia, we really did go to the Moon, but that every photograph, video and film that we saw was faked by Kubrick himself.” That’s right. He claims that ALL lunar surface footage of the astronauts was shot by Kubrick. In fact, he asserts flatly that “someone” in either NASA or the Pentagon saw Dr. Strangelove and designated Kubrick as the perfect person to direct the fake moon landing footage. He offers no proof of this. He does however speculate Kubrick was “compromised” by the Pentagon in some way, again offering no proof, not even a quote from Kubrick’s widow or daughter. At no point does Weidner seriously address why the Pentagon would seek to fake the moon landings, other than casual allusions to the limits of “chemical rockets” and the idea that they wanted to keep their real activities a closely guarded secret. Just what those “activities” were he never mentions.
The film then goes on to simply assume that a deal was done between the two parties in 1964 (again, with ZERO evidence, and certainly no proof of any of the assertions he has already made). He bases his entire premise on one argument: That the Apollo moon walks were filmed on a soundstage somewhere like Area 51 using a technique that Kubrick mastered later on his seminal film 2001: A Space Odyssey called “front screen projection.”
|An example of the Front Screen Projection process.|
Front screen projection was invented by a 3M Corporation engineer named Philip V. Palmquist who received a patent on the technology and won an Academy Award for it. It was first experimented with in 1949, shortly after the invention of Scotchlite, a material used for movie theater screens. Scotchlite was a cloth surface embedded with millions of tiny glass beads that were highly reflective. For Front Projection to work, a projector had to be aligned at precisely 90 degrees to the Scotchlite screen, with the projected image bounced off a mirror. Because Scotchlite was so sensitive, a very low level of light was required, meaning actors could stand in front of the projection and it would not be visible on either their bodies or clothing, but would make for a very sharp, clear image on the Scotchlite screen behind them. The only danger of destroying the illusion would be if the camera caught a reflection off of an actor’s retinas. This actually happened on one shot in 2001 using a leopard, which Kubrick later called “a happy accident” because it made for a memorable shot.
Screen capture from 2001 “Dawn of Man” sequence showing demarcation line drawn by Weidner between the actual set and the projection image.
Weidner then makes several errors around this time in the film, for instance claiming that the “Dawn of Man” sequence was shot entirely in the studio using front projection. In fact the skull smashing sequence was shot outside using a natural sky because that’s what Kubrick preferred whenever possible. The front projection process was only used because of budget constraints. A simple perusal of the 2001’s Wikipedia page would have revealed this to Weidner, had he done his research. Weidner then tries to point out that you can see the “flaws” in the 3M Scotchlite screens if you look closely, but again it’s Standard Definition so it’s impossible to tell if he’s correct.
An example of the front projection technique from “2001.” The marked line, Photoshopped by Weidner, marks the edge of the actual set. The area above the line is a projected image of production art.
Weidner then gets into the meat and potatoes upon which his entire premise is based: That the Apollo photos and films were actually done on a soundstage using Front Projection, by none other than Stanley Kubrick. Weidner also annoying refers to Kubrick constantly as “Cue-Brick” when in fact it is pronounced “Koo-Brick.” You know Jay, like “Koo Stark?”
At any rate, Weidner argues that if you look closely at Apollo photographs of the Moon— especially from Apollo 17— you can clearly see a sharp demarcation line where the fake moon set ends and the front projection screen begins. He does this by comparing known front projection footage from 2001 with actual Apollo photographs. At first blush, the comparison is kind of intriguing. Weidner’s examples seem to show fairly clear lines and he goes to great pains to point out that beyond these imaginary lines of demarcation, the texture of the lunar surface changes rather dramatically. But then you start to ask questions, look closer at the images, and quickly the whole thing falls apart.
First of all, on several of the examples that Weidner displays, the texture of the lunar surface does not dramatically change. In fact, on at least one of them you can clearly see rock fields extending beyond the demarcation line he draws on the screen and the surface texture remains consistent. But the bigger problem is in replication. If you want to follow in his footsteps and repeat his process, you simply can’t. The reason for this is that he does not include any of the photographic frame numbers in any of his comparisons. This makes it all but impossible to retrieve the same photos and study them in the same manner that he has claimed to do. Not only is this a complete violation of scientific standards, it can be easily flagged as the sign of a con artist or flim-flam man.
Now, to be fair, I don’t think Jay is either. I just think he’s a sloppy, undisciplined researcher who gets ahead of himself and doesn’t try very hard to leave a confirmable trail for others to check his work. The truth is he’s as sloppy a researcher as he is a film maker, which I think is borne out by his participation in Gaia’s Nazca mummy scam, which is falling apart of late.
The other big problem I have with this part of the film is the fact that again, all of the images are low resolution, making the fine details he’s attempting to base his premise on all but unverifiable. Perhaps there’s a high-definition version of the film somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet. It would probably be very helpful in confirming his core argument. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience with lunar photography, so I have an advantage most critics and fellow travelers do not. I know where to look.
Screen cap from Kubrick’s Odyssey showing where Weidner alleges the moon set ends and the front projected background screen begins.
After viewing all of the photos shown by Weidner in the film, I was frustrated by the lack of frame numbers so I could double check them. But fortunately, I actually recognized a couple of them from my time working on lunar imagery for my books Dark Mission and Ancient Aliens on the Moon. So I began to look for them. Very quickly, I found one. A very important one.
The image above used by Weidner for his film is actually an Apollo-16 photo, frame number AS16-107-17446. It is a photograph taken by astronaut Charlie Duke of the lunar rover and mission commander John Young at Geology Station #4 in the Descartes Highlands. It is also the same frame from which the alleged “C-Rock” image was taken that we discussed in the last chapter. Upon downloading it from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (a source Weidner suggests), two things are quickly obvious. First, the image used by Weidner is probably the low resolution preview JPEG, and second the “line” he talks about in the film simply isn’t there.
On the ALSJ website, which is extremely through and detailed, there are two image scans typically available for each frame. One is a low resolution JPEG about 250K-300K in size, and a full hi-resdownload image typically 1-1.5MB in size. Obviously, the larger image is much clearer and better for research purposes. Even the 222K preview image is substantially clearer than the one presented in the film, but this could simply be a function of image compression by Gaia or Amazon (where I previewed the film for free) or the fact that the film was never released in Hi-Def. Regardless, the “line” that Weidner alleges simply isn’t there in either of the JPEGs I downloaded from the ALSJ website.
What is there, in viewing the hi-resolution (1069MB) scan, is a very smooth blend line from the foreground to the background. The image shows no signs, as Weidner repeatedly claims, of everything being in “perfect focus” out to infinity. And even if it did it would not mean what Weidner alleges it means. Nor is there any change in the color or texture of the lunar surface anywhere on the frame, as he flatly asserts.
Apollo-16 frame AS16-107-17446, high resolution scan. Where is the alleged “sharp line” that Weidner is talking about?
As you can see from this much higher resolution scan of AS16-107-17446, Weidner’s so-called sharp line of demarcation simply disappears. It isn’t there. All you can see is the smooth blend from the foreground to the background. The line that Jay thinks he sees in the lower resolution images is in fact nothing more than a natural drop off of the lunar terrain. As we all know, the Moon’s surface is full of craters and has a rolling, undulating topography. Weidner has failed to account for this in “analysis.” Videos taken at Geology Station #4 show the astronauts climbing up and down the hills in the area surrounding where the Rover was parked, confirming the uneven quality of the terrain in that area. So the line that he imagines is there is simply a natural drop off created by a small hill or rise in the lunar surface, which the Lunar Rover has been parked at the edge of.
Side-by-side comparison of high-resolution scan of Apollo-16 frame AS16-107-17446 and the low-resolution version used by Weidner in “Kubrick’s Odyssey.”
Placement of the two images side-by-side only emphasizes the problem more dramatically. The quality difference between the screen cap from his film (L) and the actual scan could not be more pronounced. The simple fact is that like many of the other claims he makes in the film, there is simply no evidence to support it. His imagined “line” simply does not exist.
And what about that “focus problem,” where, beyond Jay’s imagined “front projection line,” the texture and clarity of the lunar surface drops off significantly? Well, that’s easily explained away too.
At first, it may seem like he has a point. “Please note how everything is in focus, from the rocks and pebbles close to the camera all the way to the crystal clear mountain behind the astronaut,” he says. “There is a stark difference in ground texture between the set and what is being projected onto the screen. You can almost count the number of small rocks and the granularity of the ground is clearly seen on the set. Once we get to the screen on the other side of my line, this granularity disappears.” He further asserts that “the little pebbles and dust just seem to disappear behind my line.” Uh, no they don’t. There are several examples of images that Weidner shows where the pebbles, small rocks and dust are still visible. But even if they weren’t, this would be easily explainable.
First, lunar photography and Earth bound photography are completely different animals. On Earth, foreground details are generally crystal clear while background detail is inherently blurry and less distinct. This is because on Earth, you have an atmosphere. That atmosphere contains dust, pollen, water vapor, pollutants and various other gasses. This creates a thin and generally harmless layer of haze between a camera and distant objects, which is why they seem fuzzy and far way. In fact, this effect is a key visual cue in helping human beings determine and estimate distances on Earth. The Moon, for all intents and purposes, has no atmosphere, so there shouldn’t be any haze in the far distance and therefore no blurring of the background. At first blush, this would seem to support Weidner’s assertions.
Except that it doesn’t.
Weidner seems to be assuming that all of the cameras used by the astronauts on the lunar surface were set to a focal length of infinity, which might explain why the backgrounds would be in “perfect focus.” Except, they weren’t all set to infinity. In fact, the Hasselblad 500EL cameras used by the astronauts came equipped with a standard 60mm wide-angle lens used on all missions, and on a few later missions had an additional 500mm telephoto lens, but this was only used occasionally. What creates the “blurring” effect (or change in texture, as Weidner puts it) in the distance is the fact that the cameras, instead of having an infinitely variable focus ring, had focus rings that were divided into three preset positions: near, medium and far. Obviously, “near” was used for close-ups of rocks and artifacts near to the astronaut’s position; “medium” was used for shots like AS16-107-17446 where you wanted to capture a scene some distance away, and “far” was only used for long shots of the background mountains and panoramas. So a Hasselblad camera set to “medium” focus and a high f-stop would capture the scene immediately in front of the astronaut, but beyond say 10-20 yards or so the background would be less focused, and look pretty much exactly like it does in AS16-107-17446. For that matter, they look exactly like all the other frames Weidner presents.
Close–up sectional of the area behind the Lunar Rover from Apollo-16 photo AS16-107-17446. Note how the detail drops off progressively from the foreground to the background, exactly as it should look for a photo with a medium depth-of-field setting.
So there really is nothing unusual or unexpected in any of the lunar surface photography Weidner presents and there is certainly nothing in it which supports his assertion that it is all a fake moon set on a sound stage being directed by Stanley Kubrick. It is entirely consistent with surface photos taken with the equipment on hand in situ on the lunar surface. The “front projection” demarcation lines Weidner presents are simply optical illusions created by the use of low resolution imagery and Weidner’s own imagination. At least in the case of AS16-107-17446, it is simply non-existent.
Of course, if only one example of a false positive can be demonstrated, the rest of the photographs must be questioned if not outright debunked for the same reason. If the other frame numbers were available, I am confident that they would show the same misinterpretation/wishful thinking process that went into this single example. There might be a hint of an edge here and there, but they would be easily attributable to the camera settings and the lunar topography rather than the absurd conclusion that they were due to a front projection process. Although he encourages viewers to see for themselves the phenomena he thinks he has discovered, Weidner provides no frame numbers for them to replicate his work. Perhaps the fact that the sharp lines he alleges are there don’t show up in the high resolution scans are the reason why he’s failed to provide this crucial piece of information.
Regardless of that speculation, there are several other reasons to question his premise which he fails to address in his film.
First, the reason that the front projection process works so well during the “Dawn of Man” sequence in 2001 is because Kubrick used actual photographs of the desert landscape to project onto the screen. As you can see from the first photo in this chapter, when they are enlarged and projected onto the Scotchlite screen, these high resolution photos actually look pretty good and could fool an audience of the period into thinking the scenes were really shot on location. But other front projection shots don’t work nearly as well.
Other shots using the front projection process in 2001 were of various lunar backgrounds, the gas giant planets and the spaceship Discovery One itself. These shots— while of excellent quality for the period— fall short of today’s standards and are not in the least realistic enough to fool a modern audience. That’s because the images being projected onto the Scotchlite screen are not actual photographs of the lunar surface or the planets (those photos didn’t exist yet), but are simply artist created matte paintings.
Matte paintings are a time honored process for creating backgrounds in feature films and television that had been used for decades before 2001 came along. While the process got better as time went by, they always had the look of paintings and only the audience’s suspension of disbelief made them at all effective in visual storytelling. By the time of 2001 and with the film’s large budget, the matte paintings of 2001 are quite good but undeniably obvious and not very convincing. Certainly, they would never be mistaken today for realistic on-location photographs. And they are nowhere near as good looking as the front projection shots that used actual photographs, as in the “Dawn of Man” sequence. In addition, a question that Weidner does not address is the fact that the lunar surface looks so different in the actual Apollo TV broadcasts compared to the surface in 2001. The reality is that lunar surface is soft, rounded from constant meteoric bombardment and very dusty. The lunar surface in 2001 is sharp, jagged, and not at all similar to what the Moon really looks like. So why the disparity? If 2001 and the Apollo missions were made contemporaneously and directed by the same master filmmaker— as Weidner flatly claims— why don’t they look the same? Why don’t they look identical?
The answer is simple: Weidner is completely wrong.
Video screen cap of Apollo-16 astronaut on the lunar surface standing behind Weidner’s alleged “set.”
For one thing, Jay would have been well served to examine the video sequences that go with the photographs he has presented. I went to the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal for the one photograph I could get a frame number for (AS16-107-17446) and did exactly that. Although the video is of very poor quality compared to the brilliant hand-held photography, it is sufficient to follow the movements of the astronauts. So I went and watched all of the video from the Apollo-16 astronaut’s visit to Geology Station #4, the period where photograph AS16-107-17446 was taken. As I watched, it was easy to pick up the area where Weidner claimed the front projection screen started and the “set” ended. Although the astronauts hovered near the alleged line, they did not cross it specifically, probably because it was a drop-off and there wasn’t much interesting to see beyond it. Conversely, the area near the Rover was a geological treasure trove, littered with rocks and specimens of all types. However, at one point one of the astronauts climbs a hill just to the left of the edge of frame AS16-107-17446, and then goes beyond it over the top of the hill. A frame capture I took of the sequence shows the astronaut standing behind the area Weidner claims is the edge of the “set” Kubrick built. So Jay’s “set line” doesn’t actually exist. At this point, some 19.5 minutes into the film, Weidner has presented pretty much all the evidence he has to support his thesis that Stanley Kubrick actually directed the Apollo moon landings in a studio in Area-51.
And none of it holds up.
The film then switches gears into Richard Hoagland’s work on lunar photography, where Weidner claims that prismatic “rainbows” that Hoagland discovered on some NASA photographs are actually flaws in the Scotchlite screen reflecting light back into the camera. Hoagland is on record (as am I) as attributing this phenomenon instead to the reflection of light through multi-paned glass towers covering much of the lunar surface. The “rainbows” are simply a prismatic effect as the light bounces through these various geometric structures and is directed into the camera lens. I cover all this is greater detail in my books Ancient Aliens on the Moon and the book I wrote with Hoagland, Dark Mission. I have no wish to repeat it here, nor will I. Other than that, I can say this is the most interesting part of Kubrick’s Odyssey and worthy of at least a little bit of scrutiny. But, like the “front projection” argument, it falls apart fairly quickly.
In DarkMission, as part of the general discussion on glass ruins, Hoagland and I pointed out that there were multiple examples of bright, multicolored lights on the lunar surface in various photographs, and we showed several examples. Our premise is that the prismatic effect of light bouncing around these glass ruins is what causes this lighting effect. Weidner does not specifically address this in Kubrick’s Odyssey, but he does argue flatly that the “rainbows” are from front projection screen flaws. Weidner also vaguely alluded to “chemical rocket technology” as the reason that the moon landings had to be faked in the first place. However, nowhere have I heard Weidner claim that the unmanned Surveyor series of spacecraft could not and did not make it to the Moon, which is a good thing since we now have photographs of the vehicles actually on the lunar surface. So logically, any photographs taken of the lunar surface that showed the multi-colored lighting effect would obviously support Hoagland’s premise and not Weidner’s, unless he’s claiming that Kubrick also faked the unmanned lunar landings as well.
So, do I have such a photograph?
In the color section is an image (actually the first color image taken of the lunar surface) that shows the true multi-colored lighting of the lunar surface. This can only be the result of vast overhead glass structures bouncing light all around the lunar surface. And, since it appears in a Surveyor photograph, then it can’t possibly be the result of Stanley Kubrick using a front projection process, can it? The answer is no. Once again, Jay has cherry-picked the pieces of evidence that suit his argument (such as it is) and ignored the information that doesn’t. I encourage all of you to examine the color section closely.
There is also a second set of images that support Hoagland’s hypothesis and disprove Weidner’s. In Ancient Aliens on the Moon, I pointed out several hand-held orbital photographs that show Hoagland’s theorized glass towers, photographed from orbit. Obviously, there is no way that Weidner’s premise of the glass structures actually being an artifact of a Scotchlite screen can also apply to orbital photography as well as surface photography. But Hoagland’s premise can account for that.
Apollo frame AS10-32-4862 showing skyscraper like structures towering miles above the lunar surface.
So unless Weidner is also claiming that Kubrick faked the orbital photography as well, and that it was all “staged” on a soundstage in Area-51, he really has nothing to support his claim that the rainbows are front projection screen artifacts. Sadly, that makes it par for the course on “Kubrick’s Odyssey” to this point.
Before we move to the last segment of the film, I would like address a few other claims that Weidner alludes to which he claims support his arguments. The first is one that many other researchers have brought up before him. The claim is that the television footage of the astronauts shot on Kubrick’s Area-51 soundstage was in slow motion, accounting for their otherworldly movements and gravity defying bunny hops. The truth of course, is somewhat different.
First, when the films are sped up to what he considers “normal” speed, unlike Weidner’s claims, their movements don’t appear natural at all. Clearly, the “slow motion” sequences are smoother and far more natural. In addition, the astronauts found on Apollo-11 that it was far easier to move around in 1/6th gravity by jumping and hopping, like a bunny rabbit, in the low gravity environment. Probably the most famous “hop” is when John Young demonstrated the low gravity environment on Apollo-16 by leaping into the air as he saluted the American flag for the cameras while Charlie Duke took pictures. Considering he was not an athlete, was wearing a bulky pressurized space suit which kept him from bending his knees and carrying a 50-pound backpack on his back, I find his 16-20 inch lunar vertical pretty impressive. Readers can find the video on YouTube at (https://youtu.be/g5aPoRtF2vw).
The simple fact is that the astronauts were not shot in slow motion. Their cautious movements are because they were in stiff, bulky and awkward space suits in an alien environment and in 1/6th gravity. The proof of this revealed by simply looking at their feet. They kick up lots of dust as they bunny hop around the lunar surface. And in all thevideo you watch of these movements, the dust rises and falls at normal speed. It is not slowed down at all. So how did Kubrick manage to arrange for the astronauts to be shot in “slow motion,” but the dust gets kicked around at normal speed, just as it would be on Earth? The entire premise is simply ludicrous, and could be easily dismissed if Weidner had simply watched a little more TV footage.
Weidner then goes on to make several more unsubstantiated claims from that point forward. He claims for instance that the original credits for 2001 included many “thanks to” notes to NASA and “a vast array of military/space corporations” for their assistance in the making of the film, but that these end credits have subsequently been deleted from all further versions of the film. His evidence for this?
Not so much as a screen cap from an old VHS tape.
Next, Weidner goes off on a tangent about how the 1997 movie “Wag the Dog” is actually about Kubrick faking the moon landings because the producer in the film (played by Dustin Hoffman) is named “Stanley” (a common Jewish name of the period) and therefore is a representation of Kubrick. Forget that “Stanley” does not look, behave or talk anything like Stanley Kubrick. Jay is sure of it! “Stanley” is then killed near the end of the film because he wants to take credit publically for faking the news footage that leads to a war. By Weidner’s logic, this is even more evidence of his conspiracy theory.
Next, he moves on to Kubrick’s final film, 1999’s “Eyes Wide Shut.” In this sequence, he claims that Kubrick died four days after showing his cut of the film to Warner Bros executives, who were very upset about its depiction of the behavior of the rich and cultural elites. He then claims that he was in France at the time Kubrick died and on French television he saw outtakes from several scenes that were never in the finished film. I have heard Jay make this claim numerous times over the years, but like the claim about the end credits of 2001, he has no proof of it. Not so much as a photo of the TV screen. Now, to be fair, I’m not saying Jay is lying about this often repeated claim. All I’m saying is that he offers and does not seem to possess any evidence of it, much less proof.
Next, Weidner offers up the tidbit that “Eyes Wide Shut” was released on July 16th, 1999, 30 years to the day that Apollo-11 was launched. For him this has some significance that somehow proves Kubrick faked the moon landings on a soundstage in Hollywood. Or Area-51. Or wherever. Personally, I’d be a lot more impressed if it was July 20th, the day of the actual landing and first Moon walk by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, since that date is a recurring NASA “ritual date” as documented in Dark Mission, but that’s just me. He then asserts that Kubrick “insisted on July 16th, 1999 as the release date for “Eyes Wide Shut in his contract” but once again offers no proof whatsoever for this claim. Honestly, I suspect he just made it up. I’d sure love to see the contract he claims to know so much about.
It is unclear to me what a movie about drugs, hookers and sex rituals has to do with the moon landings, but maybe Jay will let us know at some later date. For now, this segment of the film just proves that once again, Weidner is willing to make fantastic claims without offering any evidence.
The final half of the film is dedicated to an even more absurd proposal that Kubrick’s 1980 horror film “The Shinning” is actually a visual/symbolic confession by Kubrick that he faked the moon landings. The simple fact that he can’t even fill a full hour with any evidence of his base premise before running off into wild speculation should send up all sorts of red flags for the reader. It certainly did for me. But just for a few more pages, let’s go through some of Weidner’s claims and see where they lead.
There’s a lot of gobbledygook at the beginning about symbols and meanings in the film, but I will skip over these and go directly to the parts that he claims are directly related to Apollo. First Weidner asserts that the characters of Jack and Danny actually represent two different aspects of Kubrick’s own personality. He offers nothing other than his own speculative opinion for this, which is fine, but it’s not an argument. He then shows a long, slow scene in which Jack Torrance is interviewed by the manager of the Overlake hotel for the winter caretaker’s job. He tells us that the manager represents America because he wears red white and blue and has a wooden eagle on the bookcase behind him, and after all the Apollo-11 lunar module was named “Eagle.” He follows this up with something about the fact that the actor portraying the manager (veteran character actor Barry Nelson) is wearing a toupee is further proof that he represents America, and the meeting represents the “deal” Kubrick made with America to fake the Moon landings.
Believe it or not, it actually gets more ridiculous from there.
Next, Weidner tells us that Indian wall hangings on the walls of the Overlook represent rockets preparing to launch into space. He follows this up with an argument that the carpet pattern on the floor of the hotel represents the launch pads from which the Apollo missions departed the Earth.
The hexagonal pattern of the carpet on the floor of the fictional Overlook hotel compared with the 10-sided shape of one of the Apollo launch pads at Cape Canaveral. They do not match.
Somewhat to his credit, Weidner at least notes that the carpet pattern is hexagonal (6-sided). The problem is that Apollo launch pads (Pads 39a and 39b at Cape Canaveral) are not hexagonal at all. You can easily see that they are 10-sided geometric shapes, which (note to Jay) are not “hexagonal.” The only thing you can say about any similarity between the two is that both shapes are multi-faceted geometric shapes. That’s it. The rest of the argument is just nonsense. They simply aren’t the same. Not even close.
Given that the carpet in the film was selected by Kubrick himself as part of the vast interior sets constructed to his specifications at EMI Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Britain, isn’t this kind of a major oversight on Kubrick’s part? I mean, since as Jay asserts he intends the carpet pattern to invoke the Cape Canaveral launching pads, then why didn’t Kubrick have the pattern be 10-sided, like the real launching pads, instead of hexagonal? Jay has no answer to this I’m sure. There’s a reason for that.
Because it’s all bullshit.
Weidner then does spot something I find kind of interesting, but I’m not sure it’s significant, at least not in the context of Weidner’s argument. As he stands up, it becomes clear that Danny is wearing an “Apollo-11” sweater that has a crude rocket on it. I guess he’s saying that the act of Danny standing up over the “launch pad” carpet is actually a symbolic representation of the launch of Apollo-11.
In reality, there could be lots of reasons why Kubrick might have chosen this particular wardrobe for the child actor in this scene. The fact is Kubrick was an immense science fiction fan, to the point that he devoted five years of his life to creating the greatest science-fiction film ever made, 2001. In that context, this could have been a simple, personal homage to that film and period in his life. Beyond that, Kubrick was somewhat obsessed with NASA, Apollo and the secrets of the space program, which he demonstrated with the film 2001 itself. In fact, the whole story is based on Kubrick’s reading of the infamous Brookings Report, which told NASA what to do in the event they found artifacts on the surface of the Moon. This also happens to parallel the plot of the film exactly. In fact, according to a 1968 Playboy interview, Kubrick could quote from the Report chapter and verse. In the interview, he quoted the exact passages from the document related to finding artifacts and suppressing that knowledge from the public and declared that the whole question of covering up the discovery of artifacts to be the central theme of his groundbreaking film. So I find nothing at all strange about a reference to Apollo or NASA showing up in any Kubrick film. He was a space nut, plain and simple.
But the following scenes are where Jay goes even farther off the edge of sanity. After Danny stands up, he walks down the hall to where he finds a door to a room opened with a key in the lock. The room is number 237, which Weidner points out is changed from the room number “217” in the Steven King novel. Weidner then claims that the number “237” is significant because the average orbital distance between the Earth and the Moon is 237,000 miles.
Except it isn’t.
The average orbital distance between the Earth and the Moon is actually almost 239,000 miles, or 238,856 miles to be exact. Weidner claims that in the text books of the period the distance from the Earth to the Moon was always given as 237,000 miles, therefore this is some kind of proof that Room 237 represents the Moon. This is not in fact the case. When I was growing up, the distance from the Earth to the Moon was always simplified to 250,000 miles, and later rounded down to 240,000 miles. I never saw the number given as 237,000 miles, and at any rate Weidner offers no proof of this claim anyway, not even a photo of the page of a text book or encyclopedia from the period.
|Script page from "The Shinning" with Stanley Kubrick's hand written notes on it.|
He then slides into the scene where Jack Torrance’s wife discovers that he has been typing the same phrase over and over again on page after page instead of working on the novel he was supposed to be writing. The phrase is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Weidner— I’m not kidding here— claims that the phrase actually means “A-11” or “A-one-one,” not “all.” He cites this as evidence that the secret fake moon landing films (that he has no proof Kubrick actually made) were secretly called “a-one-one” in the Pentagon.
Or something like that. I really was beyond caring at this point, the whole thing had become so stupid.
Stanley and Christiane Kubrick at the World Premiere of 2001 A Space Odyssey.
One last thing: Weidner claims that for the purposes of the film, Jack Nicholson’s character of Jack Torrance is actually meant to represent Stanley Kubrick. But if that’s the case, then it seems logical that the actress hired to play “Jack’s” wife would be meant to represent Kubrick’s own wife of 40 years, Christiane. In reality, Shelly Duval, who plays Jack’s wife, looks nothing like Christiane Kubrick, who was a glamourous model. Shelly Duval is a frumpy, whiny and rather plain actress, the exact opposite of Christiane Kubrick. So this argument falls apart too.
After this, I am completely done with the idiotic, unscientific claims that we never went to the Moon. John F. Kennedy did not commit this country to a course it could not navigate, or a destination it could never reach. The Moon landings were not faked, not by Stanley Kubrick or anyone else. The footage you see of the astronauts on the Moon are actual scenes of the astronauts on the Moon. These absurd conspiracy theories actually give good conspiracy theories— like mine— a bad name. What is far more important is not to waste any more energy on the stupid notion that we never went, but to instead focus on what Kennedy was really after when he committed the nation to this course of action, and what they might have actually found…