punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,


I got asked a question today, by Christine. It was about an old friend who used a handle that ended with "1138." Wow. Like it is seeming more and more, my life before 18 is being sealed off and fading away. But questions like that send flashbacks deep into hidden crevasses in my mind.

Of course she didn't know. Just like "Project 2501" has special significance to today's new anime fans, "THX1138" was so us 1970s sci fi fans. The number 1138 replaced the number 451 in many code names. I picked it up from the friend we were talking about, because we were huge George Lucas fans (I feel so ... dirty, now) in the 1980s. He had done a successful Star Wars Trilogy, had the Indiana Jones saga going strong, and many people remember him from American Graffiti. But for those "serious" fans, we all knew about THX1138.

This was George Lucas' first film, based on a short he made in Film School. THX 1138 and two other citizens attempt to escape from an underground futuristic society that has outlawed reproduction and use drugs to control what people think and feel. THX 1138 stops taking the drugs, and gets another citizen pregnant. They are both thrown in jail where they meet another guy (Sen?) who helps them escape. The film was very nihilistic, as I recall. Hard core sci-fi readers recognized the themes from great works of the past few decades, like Orwell's "1984," Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," and, of course, Huxley's "Brave New World." A later film, "Logan's Run," did a slightly better job, IMHO.

I stopped using 1138 for a code word when I went out on my own. It shows up a lot here and there, almost like an homage to hard core sci-fi fans. I have seen it in logins, or in small mentions in films.

But 1138 has a stronger tug for me. It reminds me of a time when the Henson workshop was experimenting with more mature films, like Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. When Dune was finally made as a feature film. When 3-D tried to make a comeback with "Metal Storm" and "Space Hunter."

For every sci-fi geek, there will always be a Summer of 1138.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000671.html
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