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Jason Ritter's face under the show heading, "Kevin Probably Saves the World"

Once Upon a Time, In a Universe Far, Far Away…

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The fun of making film and television is that on any given day, we could be called on to create any manner of new worlds. Back when I worked on ABC’s, “Kevin Probably Saves the World” starring Jason Ritter (great show btw, I hate that it didn’t make it past the first season), we were tasked with sending our actors to outer space.

actor, on set, in a replica NASA spacesuit
Fly Me to the Moon…

Boldly going where I’ve never gone before, it was my job to source the astronaut uniforms that we’d need to pull the scene off. A realistic space suit is, surprisingly, not readily available in your local costume shops. I couldn’t even find one at Western Costume, which is the industry standard! In fact, I called every costume shop I could find (Western, Southeast, Norcostco, CRC, ABC, etc.) with no luck. And even worse, because of scheduling, we only had a few days to pull it off.

I ended up calling the people who actually make authentic spacesuits for NASA (ILC Dover) and finding out where I could rent actual decommissioned space suits and I was able to find and have two sent to us within the week. They shipped in these huge wooden crates and weighed in around 100 lbs each.

 

 

 

 

Actors getting dressed in the spacesuits
Suited and booted…

Totally authentic, the cumbersome multi-part suits took two costumers to dress each actor and both contained interior fans to keep them cool while moving around inside them.

 

 

Because the scenes were taking place in outer space, the Production Designer had a huge green screen set built with massive chromakey green walls and flooring and completed with a replica space capsule. My son was super into space at the time so how lucky he was that I could bring him to set so he could see how mommy helped send a man to the moon.

Little boy visits film set and gets to go on a rocketship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be tough having family time when you’re working in this business but in the days before COVID, there were some great UPM’s and Producers who (out here in Atlanta, at least) used to have an occasional Family Day, when we could bring our families to set to see what we do. And sometimes, just do to life’s circumstances, I had to bring him to work because my husband was out of town or whatever. Luckily, as a Supervisor, I had leeway to do this with little interference to my duties. It would definitely NOT work out that way if I were still working as a Set Costumer…

Little boy takes a closer look at the astronaut on a green screen set

 

Anyway, on a set like this, you have to make sure that there is clear communication with the Production Designer and the AD team to check and double check the color of the chromakey wall. In this case, it was green but there was a challenge in that too. The spacesuits had reflective glass face shields that would have easily reflected the chromakey and could have caused disaster during the take. We couldn’t do an anti-reflective coating on the shields so if I remember correctly (and it has been a looooong time since we shot this), the actors wore the suits shields up during shooting and they were CGI’d in at post.

We also could not use a blue screen because of the infinitesimally small amounts of blue on the NASA patches and the American Flag. As small as they are, it would have been disconcerting to see missing pieces of their space suits. Another reason to check and double check the color of that chromakey folks!

The astronaut and the boy give a thumbs up to the camera.
Thumbs up! Roger dodger!

Notice the disembodied head of my son wandering around the set (ok, so the greens don’t exactly match but it would still key out!).

Anyhow, some critics panned the show, but I liked it. It kind of reminded me of that old show, “Touched by an Angel” starring Della Reese. It was sweet, a good family watch, kinda like that. My sister and I used to watch it with our mom and my son would watch this show with me (on DVR due to the airtime). We were all disappointed when it was cancelled. I think they just put it in the wrong time slot – 9pm television is for grown folks, not the family-friendly fare that we were peddling…

Two fully suited space men walk thru the flats on set.
Good night and God bless!

The show was great fun while it lasted and we had a dope wrap party so we won’t complain. We will just continue to wish the best for our cast and crew mates that they might strike gold on their next show out!

Speak your Peace

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