Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Little Flying Saucer that Could

Biosphere 2, the town of Bisbee and my friend JP have something in common:  William Shatner.

Don't laugh - it's true.  In 2002, William Shatner directed and starred in Groom Lake.  He wrote the story (though not the screenplay), and gave himself a prominent role in order to avoid paying another actor (we all know Shatner would never steal the limelight, right?).  He also agreed to "host videos that will be shown to Biosphere visitors, in lieu of paying a site fee for filming there" (Cohen, "Shatner Film Boosts Bisbee).  When Shatner ran out of money, Shatner's wife bought pizza for the crew.  It was not a high-end production.

Watch a clip from the movie - you'll see what I mean.  This is not the quality of acting you'd associate with Star Trek, or even Invasion Iowa (which I enjoyed, BTW).

 Groom Lake is a real place.  Look, you can see it right here on a map.
However, there is no public access to the real Groom Lake, so when Shatner wanted to make a movie about an alien space, he needed to find other locations.  Hence his decision to film the government base scenes at Biosphere, and the town scenes in Bisbee.

Which is where my friend JP got to see a free screening of the film, complete with free popcorn.

Did she like the movie?  I dunno, but as for the popcorn, she ate it up.

Links & Works Cited

Cohen, Lorrie, and A.J. Flick. “Shatner Film Boosts Bisbee.” Tucson Citizen, 13 Dec. 2000.

“Groom Lake (Salt Flat).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 May 2018,

Locations in Tucson, 12 July 2017,

Satellite photo of the real Groom Lake