This page started when I was asked to provide a photograph displaying a 10 Channel Decoder and Scan Converters at a center control position. I searched my library and found this pix -- an official still from the movie.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Richard Dreyfuss. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object.
The production began shooting on December 29, 1975, at an Air Traffic Control Center (ZLA) in Palmdale, California, so that Columbia Pictures, juggling its very shaky resources, could qualify for a tax shelter. That shoot wrapped after two days at the facility and filming would not resume again until May of 1976. The movie was finally released in November of 1977.
I could never understand why they put the stupid fake keyboard boxes adjacent to the the real ones. They added nothing to enhance the scene and frankly looked silly. Note the cigarettes and ash tray at the position, try that today!
I thought that this was the most realistic depiction of a center control position in one of our control rooms. The hardware brings back fond memories and I used it all until it, or me, became obsolete. Most visitors to this site have pushed metal for decades and will notice technical inaccuracies but this clip still brings excitement to the viewer.
It seems like yesterday that this movie was released and although I'm not a big Sci-Fi fan, I loved this flick. I thought that our viewers might like to see this Air Traffic Control scene.
Hint: To watch the video "full screen", click on the icon at the lower right of the screen.
The Clip Download
If you have difficulty playing YouTube videos or you'd just like to save a copy of this scene, download it, then watch it with your default video player. Works on all systems.