The National Center for Atmospheric Research, formed in 1960, temporarily housed on the University of Colorado Campus before being moved to the Mesa Lab location, has from the beginning, produced first class research in the Earth Sciences.
Perhaps a less well known fact is its popularity for movie directors’ choice for set locations.
One such movie, shot in 1973, was “Sleeper”, starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.
The NCAR Mesa Lab served as the “Function Complex” where “Miles Monroe” (Woody Allen) was a computer tech. The sci-fi romance contained two scenes whch were shot at NCAR. A scene in the “Function Complex” and a scene where “Miles” made his escape off of the side of the North Tower.
The building was not the only NCAR contribution to the movie. About a dozen NCAR employees were cast as extras, with several of them being given prominent roles.
The movie plot follows “Miles” as the owner of a Greenwich Village, NY health food store. He is cryogenically frozen (against his will) in 1973 and is “thawed” back to life in 2173 Colorado. The 2173 America is run by a dictator that is planning the “Aires Project”. “Miles” becomes part of the underground group trying to stop the Project. Diane Keaton plays “Luna”, who accidentally discovers that “Miles” is not the robot he had initially pretended to be in order to hide from the authorities. “Luna” threatens to turn “Miles ” in, so he forces her to accompany him in his mission to search out the “Aires Project”. After much drama, falling in love, brain washing, and reverse-brainwashing “Miles” and “Luna” succeed in “assassinating” the only piece left of the “Aires Project” leader … his nose, thereby preventing him from being cloned and ending the Project.
The film was directed and written by Woody Allen and, in 1974, was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation at Discon II, the 32nd World Scence Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C.
Many films and movies have used the NCAR lab and grounds for movie sets. Another of these is a made-for television movie, “Dying To Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Pena Story”. The Walter Orr Roberts Trail and other trails around the mesa served as the set on that filming day, July 23 1996.
NCAR is sponsered by the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as other United States government agencies, other national governments, and private sectors. As stated on the official website, “NCAR’s mission is to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related physical, biological and social systems…”
A few other entertaining facts about Boulder/CU:
* Scott Carpenter, a NASA astronaut grew up in Boulder. He named his space capsule after his home on Aurora and 7th, making it the Aurora 7.
*CU-Boulder’s buildings are built with red sandstone, quarried in nearby Lyons.
*In CU’s first graduating class, 6 out of the 44 students had high-school degrees.
attributions: wikipedia, UCAR staff notes (by permission)