Full page view
HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, when Wendy Bailey, wife of producer Patrick Bailey, was doing research for the television series That’s Incredible, she showed her husband news clippings of the U.S. Space Camp at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Bailey already had a passion for flying and believed the subject would work well as a film. A 9 May 1985 DV article stated that Bailey took his idea to Freddie Fields at MGM/UA. When MGM/UA determined that the first script was unsatisfactory, executive producer Leonard Goldberg took the project to ABC Motion Pictures, where president of production Stu Samuels "gave the go ahead" for Goldberg to hire Clifford and Ellen Green. The Greens turned out a script that pleased the producers. Goldberg noted that NASA scientists read the screenplay and suggested a plausible scenario for how an accidental launch could occur.
       Production notes state that actors spent six weeks before filming learning to move in zero gravity while “suspended on pulley-operated wired harnesses.” Technical advisors were around before and during filming to ensure the actors properly simulated weightlessness. To research her role, actress Kate Capshaw had many conversations with the first female astronaut, Sally Ride, and later welcomed Ride on the set.
       A 25 Jun 1985 HR brief announced that principal photography began the day before in Los Angeles, CA. A 10 Jul 1985 DV news item stated that filming occurred on Stage 16 at Laird International Studios in Culver City, CA. Later, the production moved to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, for further shooting. A 17 ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, when Wendy Bailey, wife of producer Patrick Bailey, was doing research for the television series That’s Incredible, she showed her husband news clippings of the U.S. Space Camp at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Bailey already had a passion for flying and believed the subject would work well as a film. A 9 May 1985 DV article stated that Bailey took his idea to Freddie Fields at MGM/UA. When MGM/UA determined that the first script was unsatisfactory, executive producer Leonard Goldberg took the project to ABC Motion Pictures, where president of production Stu Samuels "gave the go ahead" for Goldberg to hire Clifford and Ellen Green. The Greens turned out a script that pleased the producers. Goldberg noted that NASA scientists read the screenplay and suggested a plausible scenario for how an accidental launch could occur.
       Production notes state that actors spent six weeks before filming learning to move in zero gravity while “suspended on pulley-operated wired harnesses.” Technical advisors were around before and during filming to ensure the actors properly simulated weightlessness. To research her role, actress Kate Capshaw had many conversations with the first female astronaut, Sally Ride, and later welcomed Ride on the set.
       A 25 Jun 1985 HR brief announced that principal photography began the day before in Los Angeles, CA. A 10 Jul 1985 DV news item stated that filming occurred on Stage 16 at Laird International Studios in Culver City, CA. Later, the production moved to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, for further shooting. A 17 Jul 1985 Var brief reported that the film’s budget was $14 million, and the cost of the Atlantis Shuttle set was $3 million.
       According to production notes, sets of the shuttle’s mid-deck and flight-deck were constructed on top of “a Ferris wheel gimbal,” allowing them to rotate “360 degrees on two different axes.”
       As stated in a 25 Sep 1985 HR news item, producer Bailey gave actresses Kate Capshaw and Lea Thompson flying lessons on location in AL to boost their piloting skills.
       A 5 Jun 1986 HR news item announced that Twentieth Century Fox would host a screening at the studio to benefit the Santa Monica Wellness Community on 17 Jun 1986.
       As reported in an 8 Dec 1988 LAT article, a New York federal judge ruled that Twentieth Century Fox was guilty of contempt after a four-day non-jury trial for continuing “block booking” in the period between 1985 and 1987. A 1951 antitrust agreement outlawed the practice in which studios force theater owners to show mediocre films in order to obtain higher profile pictures. Among the examples presented, exhibitors were made to book Spacecamp, referred to as a "box-office flop," in order to show Aliens (1986, see entry), and Prizzi’s Honor (1985, see entry) in order to show Cocoon (1985, see entry). U.S. District Court Judge Edmund L. Palmieri levied a $500,000 fine against the studio, and another $5,000 fine against Fox Midwestern branch manager, Leila J. Goldstein, who was involved in the transactions. Fox executives planned to appeal the “erroneous” ruling.
       According to 3 Apr 1985 HR article, Spacecamp marked Harry Winer’s feature film directorial debut.
       End credits state: “Filmed on location U. S. Space Camp® Huntsville, Alabama.” The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special thanks to Lionel Newman and to Astronaut George Nelson,” and “We wish to thank the following for supplying valuable products and/or services: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Rockwell International, Panasonic Industrial Company – AVSG Western Region, Kaiser Electronics, Media Services Corporation, Martin Marietta, Spar Aerospace Limited, Warner-Lambert Company.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 May 1985
p. 1, 18.
Daily Variety
10 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 1986
p. 3, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1986
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1988
p. 1, 6.
New York Times
6 Jun 1986
p. 10.
Variety
17 Jul 1985.
---
Variety
4 Jun 1986
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
ABC Motion Pictures Presents
A Leonard Goldberg Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Best boy
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Still photog
Filmed with Louma crane by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Leadman
Const coord
Head painter
Stand by painter
Shuttle maintenance
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost dept head
Cost supv
Costumer
SOUND
Spec vocal eff
Prod sd mixer
Cable man
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR supv
ADR asst
ADR casting
Foley supv
Spec sd eff
Spec sd eff
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Key spec eff crew
Supv spec visual eff
Spec visual eff
Visual eff coord
Opt photog supv
Opt cam
Opt cam
Opt cam
Blue screen cam
Graphics supv
Motion control
Motion control
Motion control computer software
Matte painting artist
Matte painting artist
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Graphic tech
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Exec in charge of prod
Prod supv
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst to Mr. Goldberg
Asst to Mr. Winer
Asst to Mr. Coblenz
Asst to Mr. Bailey
Spec consultant
Flying wire consultant
Asst to flying wire consultant
New York casting
Post prod supv
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Teacher
Extras casting, Los Angeles
Extras casting, Alabama
Prod asst
Prod asst
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Promotional consultants
STAND INS
Flying wire consultant
Asst to flying wire consultant
Stunt double
ANIMATION
Computer anim and displays by
Computer anim and displays by
Computer anim and display, Video Image
Computer anim and display, Video Image
Computer anim and display, Video Image
Computer anim and display, Video Image
Computer anim and display, Video Image
Computer anim and display, Video Image
Computer anim and display, Video Image
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Walk Of Life," by Mark Knopfler, Chariscourt Ltd. adm. by Almo Music Corp. in U.S.A. and Canada, performed by Dire Straits, courtesy of Phonogram Ltd./Warner Bros. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"So Far Away," by Mark Knopfler, Chariscourt Ltd. adm. by Almo Music Corp. in U.S.A. and Canada, performed by Dire Straits, courtesy of Phonogram Ltd./Warner Bros. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Forever Man," by Jerry Williams, Blackwood Music/Urge Music, performed by Eric Clapton courtesy of Warner Bros., records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
"Walk Of Life," by Mark Knopfler, Chariscourt Ltd. adm. by Almo Music Corp. in U.S.A. and Canada, performed by Dire Straits, courtesy of Phonogram Ltd./Warner Bros. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"So Far Away," by Mark Knopfler, Chariscourt Ltd. adm. by Almo Music Corp. in U.S.A. and Canada, performed by Dire Straits, courtesy of Phonogram Ltd./Warner Bros. Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Forever Man," by Jerry Williams, Blackwood Music/Urge Music, performed by Eric Clapton courtesy of Warner Bros., records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"American Girl," by Joseph Williams and Paul Gordon, Off Backstreet Music/Seph Music, used by permission of Unicity Music, Inc./WB Music Corp., performed by Joseph Williams and Paul Gordon
"Don't Look Back," by Joseph Williams and Amy La Television, Off Backstreet Music/Seph Music/Unicity Music, Inc./amyzoomusic, used by permission of Unicity Music, Inc., performed by Joseph Williams
"Turn It Up," by Joseph Williams and Paul Gordon, Off Backstreet Music/Seph Music, used by permission of Unicity Music, Inc., Chappell & Co., Inc./French Surf Music, performed by Joseph Williams.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 June 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 June 1986
Production Date:
began 24 June 1985
Copyright Claimant:
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 June 1986
Copyright Number:
PA301236
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
107
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28091
SYNOPSIS

Female astronaut Andie Bergstrom complains to her astronaut husband, Zach, that she is disappointed to be passed over for an upcoming space mission. On the bright side, Zach reminds her that she will have time to work with him at Spacecamp, teaching adolescents how to be astronauts. Andie is less than thrilled. At the start of camp, Spacecamper Kevin Donaldson watches Kathryn Fairly land a prop plane in a field next to the campus. When the campers are assigned to teams by color, Kevin switches his yellow badge for a blue one so he can be on the Kathryn’s team. Andie Bergstrom gives campers their titles and corresponding assignments, and selects Kevin to be shuttle commander. Andie also gives permission for a precocious twelve-year-old Spacecamper, Max, to join the older teenage Spacecamp program. Despite Kathryn Fairly’s desire to be shuttle commander, Andie assigns her to be pilot. Andie takes her group on a tour to familiarize them with the space equipment. They meet “Jinx,” a NASA-designed robot programmed to be a handyman. In the dormitory, Spacecamper and free spirit Tish Ambrosay shares a bunk bed with Kathryn. As they become acquainted, Tish reveals that she has a photographic memory, and Kathryn confesses that she wants to be the first woman shuttle commander. Elsewhere, Kevin tells teammate Rudy Tyler that he is just there to have a good time. Rudy loves science, and might want to start the first fast-food restaurant in space. Back in the teen’s dormitory, other Spacecampers discover that teammate Max has hidden Jinx in a cabinet. They take turns giving Jinx commands until the robot becomes confused and breaks down. Later, Max repairs Jinx, and agrees ... +


Female astronaut Andie Bergstrom complains to her astronaut husband, Zach, that she is disappointed to be passed over for an upcoming space mission. On the bright side, Zach reminds her that she will have time to work with him at Spacecamp, teaching adolescents how to be astronauts. Andie is less than thrilled. At the start of camp, Spacecamper Kevin Donaldson watches Kathryn Fairly land a prop plane in a field next to the campus. When the campers are assigned to teams by color, Kevin switches his yellow badge for a blue one so he can be on the Kathryn’s team. Andie Bergstrom gives campers their titles and corresponding assignments, and selects Kevin to be shuttle commander. Andie also gives permission for a precocious twelve-year-old Spacecamper, Max, to join the older teenage Spacecamp program. Despite Kathryn Fairly’s desire to be shuttle commander, Andie assigns her to be pilot. Andie takes her group on a tour to familiarize them with the space equipment. They meet “Jinx,” a NASA-designed robot programmed to be a handyman. In the dormitory, Spacecamper and free spirit Tish Ambrosay shares a bunk bed with Kathryn. As they become acquainted, Tish reveals that she has a photographic memory, and Kathryn confesses that she wants to be the first woman shuttle commander. Elsewhere, Kevin tells teammate Rudy Tyler that he is just there to have a good time. Rudy loves science, and might want to start the first fast-food restaurant in space. Back in the teen’s dormitory, other Spacecampers discover that teammate Max has hidden Jinx in a cabinet. They take turns giving Jinx commands until the robot becomes confused and breaks down. Later, Max repairs Jinx, and agrees to be its friend forever. The next day, campers learn how to move in zero gravity, and work space shuttle operating systems. Kathryn is strapped into a training module that simulates a spacecraft spinning out of control, and has thirty seconds to stabilize it. When she fails, Kathryn asks for an extra five minutes to master the task. As she straps herself in for another try, Kevin suggests it would go easier if she did not push so hard. He invites her to visit a secret spot for a private viewing of the shuttle. Kathryn agrees to go when Kevin insists they will not get caught breaking curfew. Kevin learns of a shortcut to the beach from Jinx. As he and Kathryn look at the shuttle from the water’s edge, she confesses that she has wanted to be an astronaut ever since her father took her flying as a child. Kevin fails to see what is so special, but Kathryn believes anything is possible in space. Back in the dorms, Zach and Andie discover Kevin and Kathryn missing at bed check. Jinx reveals their whereabouts. As the campers return to their dorms, Andie tells Kathryn she has what it takes to become an astronaut, but there is no room for mistakes. Kevin confronts Max for turning him in, then finds out that Jinx was responsible. In his anger, Kevin warns Max to stay away. Max runs off to be by himself, wishing that he could escape to outer space. When Jinx hears Max’s desire, he interprets it as a real command, and enters Max’s name into NASA’s computer astronaut program database. The next day, the tension between Kathryn and Kevin leads to chaos during a training exercise. Andie stops the lesson, and criticizes the team for failing to work together. Meanwhile, Jinx discovers that the students are scheduled to observe a demonstration of a rocker engine test and investigates how the test can be reprogrammed for an actual launch. By the time the campers strap in to the real shuttle for the test, Jinx has reprogrammed the shuttle for liftoff. After the shuttle is airborne, Zach establishes radio contact with Andie, but loses it when the shuttle enters orbit. In space, the campers discover the joys of weightlessness. They crowd by the windows, recognizing landmarks on Earth from afar. Andie discovers they have twelve hours before they can attempt re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. However, since the shuttle is not considered flight ready, there is not enough oxygen for the crew to return home. Andie makes the decision to fly to a nearby space station, Daedalus, to borrow oxygen. Since the shuttle needs to be in contact with Mission Control for its re-entry, Tish suggests they use Morse code to reestablish communication. Arriving at Daedalus, Andie dons a spacesuit and exits the shuttle via the airlock. When her spacesuit is too bulky to reach through the station’s exterior metal latticework, Max volunteers to help. After obtaining an oxygen canister, Max jostles the load on his way back to the shuttle and is propelled into space. Andie chases after him, and guides him back to the shuttle. As Andie connects the oxygen, the campers puzzle over which hose to use. Rudy, who disagrees with Kathryn, insists that Andie follow his instruction. She and the Spacecampers are relieved when oxygen flows back into the cabin, but Kathryn is shocked to discover that she does not have all the answers. Andie thanks Max for his help, and sends him back to the airlock. As Max opens the door, the suction propels Andie away from the shuttle, ramming her into a metal pylon and knocking her unconscious. As she and the oxygen tank drift into space, Max panics. Inside, the Spacecampers realize that NASA has placed the shuttle on autopilot, and the cargo bay doors are closing. Kathryn finds the manual override button, but Kevin warns they will miss re-entry if they use it. When Kathryn is paralyzed with indecision, Kevin flips the switch. He orders Rudy to open the cargo doors and tells Max to pull Andie in. Meanwhile, NASA cannot understand why the Spacecampers turned off autopilot and missed the window for re-entry. Kevin orders the teenage crew back to their stations while he sits with the rescued Andie. He admits that now they do not have enough oxygen to get to the next re-entry window. Kathryn acknowledges that he took responsibility for his crew, while she does not have what it takes to be a shuttle commander. As she cries, Kevin comforts her with a hug. Rudy suggests that if they land at Lake White Sands, New Mexico, instead of Edwards Air Force Base, they might have a chance for survival. Tish continues to send Morse code messages to request a change in landing sites. Jinx the robot appears in Mission Control, and announces he can bring Max home. The robot calls their attention to Tish’s Morse code signals. NASA radios back that the camper shuttle crew has six minutes to line up re-entry. On the shuttle, Andie tells Kathryn to lock in coordinates. Together, Kevin and Kathryn guide the shuttle toward the re-entry point, but the spaceship spins out of control. Andie tells Kathryn it is her turn to shine, and Kathryn gains control of her nerves and the spacecraft. Andie instructs Kathryn to keep the ship’s nose at thirty degrees. Kathryn succeeds briefly, then loses her grip. As the shuttle’s nose drops, its exterior overheats, and communications with NASA shut down. Suddenly, the vibrating craft becomes still. Spacecampers believe Kathryn may have missed the entry point, but then they see Earth, and congratulate her. Radio contact resumes. Andie informs Zach that everyone is fine, and she is happy to be coming home. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.