The Boob Tube #6: UFO

I recently watched the 1970-1971 series UFO and found myself captivated not by the complex storyline, interesting dialogue or even the action and adventure. No, I was fixated on one thing - Commander Straker's killer office.

I know this is an idiotic idea for a post, but, then again, I've posted on naked ladies on funk album covers before... so who am I to suddenly insist on quality? Anyway, let me carefully assess why I am so smitten with Straker's place of work.

Let's start at the beginning. In every episode, Straker drives up in a cool futuristic car to his place of business, SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation), which looks like an ordinary film studio from the outside.

Once Straker enters the secret headquarters, there's the color coded map for those SHADO employees who I assume have a severly impaired sense of direction. Notice there's not only a restaurant, but also a lounge - and I'm quite certain it is of the cocktail lounge variety (I'd love to have one at my work). However, Straker will head left to his office near the control room.

Now, if you remember UFO, you recall that the SHADO facility was one of the grooviest places on earth. Everything was painted mod colors with babes in mini-skirts or unitards strolling the hallways. Obviously, Straker had a hand in choosing its employees, and chose only ravishing bombshells to work at the supreme headquarters.

Maybe it's because I work in a vast sea of cubicles with the most bland conservative decor imaginable that I find the SHADO facility so appealling. Whatever the case, Straker certainly has a pleasurable walk to his underground office.

The two gentlemen in the picture below stand at the entryway to Straker's office (the door is behind them). You better believe you don't enter his office without permission - Straker is one tough S.O.B. and barks orders at his employees like a madman. They don't mind 'cause he so damn cool.

Now we come to the good stuff - the office itself. Let's take a moment to dissect his groovy 9 to 5 pad. First, there's the psychedelic screen behind his desk - it serves no purpose other than to accentuate his coolness. Then there's the pink, orange and green cordless phones - note that UFO was among the first to predict the cordless phone as commonplace in the future (UFO was supposed to take place in the 1980s).

The orange box on the wall on the left is a vaporizer, and the green unit above it is a futuristic reel to reel stereo. On his desk is a cup of cigars (Straker is quite the aficionado), and there's leather seats throughout the office.

And now for the coup de grâce - a fully stocked bar! Press a button and you get a Long Island Iced Tea, press another you get a Tom Collins, a White Russian... hell, I'm sure one button would spit out a shot of Jäger if he wanted it to.

As if that weren't enough, on the opposite wall (directly across from the psychedelic screen) is a flat screen TV, easily 50 inches, and past the wet bar is a nice little conference table. Man, if my office were like this, I wouldn't have to drag myself to work every morning - I'd probably actually be on time.

Last but not least, would you expect anything less than a smoking hot secretary who waits on him hand and foot? Does Straker ever just get down on his knees and thank God?

Look, I know it's a hard job at SHADO keeping those nameless aliens from harvesting our organs. And I'm sure I couldn't just walk straight into Straker's job. I'd have to pay my dues and work my way up to the top... maybe I could start at Moonbase?

If you recall, the ladies of the SHADO facility called Moonbase all wore purple wigs and heavy makeup - this was actually supposed to be their military uniform.... don't ask questions, just roll with it.

Yes, I think tomorrow morning I'll definitely bring my application and resumé down to SHADO... according to the color coded map (shown towards the top of this post), the reception desk is to the left. It's a bad economy out there, so I hope they're hiring!


  1. You mean the women don't look like that where you work? Oh yeah, I work at a university. Only they don't wear unitards anymore, just jeans and sweats.

    I've never heard of this show but may have to look it up.

    What's Gilligan doing there?

    How do you get these screen caps? I can't can't get my computer to capture anything off a commercial DVD.

  2. Hey Gil. Wow! That's really cool. I've heard of this before, but never knew much about it. I love the images. It looks amazing. I would love to work in a place like that. I love the shows and movies of the 60's and 70's. I love that style. Cheers!

  3. Robert - I work in the science field and my place of work is basically the bizarro version of SHADO - it's what SHADO would look like in an alternate universe where everything is the inverse. I will NEVER have a fully stocked bar in my office, nor will the women I work with EVER start dressing like sexy space kittens.

    I don't do anything fancy to capture the images - in Windows Media Player I just pause, right click, capture image. Done.

    Keith- I love that style too... still waiting for it to make a comeback. It seems like for most of America there is almost a complete absence of style. Say what you want about the funky fashions of the 60s. 70s, smf 80s- at least there was a distinct style; whereas, now the "style" seems to be t-shirt, shorts/jeans, etc. (yawn).

  4. There's one episode of UFO where the aliens muck with Straker's mind. Remember, in the series he was the secret head of a secret organization so his cover identity was that as the head of a movie studio (which made a certain amount of sense; all the bizarre vehicles and equipment were passed off as movie props).

    The aliens one-up this by planting a thought in Straker's head that he's really an actor in a TV series about a secret organization -- and when they do this Ed Bishop got up and WALKED BEHIND THE SETS ON CAMERA to show they were fakes!

    Yeah, I know they must've had budget problems and were looking for something cheap to do, but man, how cool was that?

  5. buzz - That is so mind-bendingly cool that I am at a loss for words. I've seen most of the UFO episodes, and evidently have missed one of the better ones!

  6. No PHB's at SHADO. I think it's because they don't have a marketing department.

  7. Dude, I've had plans to model my home office like that for years.

    FYI: When you smash the groovy screen behind Straker and climb through the hole, it leads to an emergency escape elevator.

    And yes, I'm going to include that feature.

  8. Thought Criminal- Straker would have all PHBs exterminated... they know better than to apply.

    Dr. Monkey - It was like a live version of those puppet shows Thunderbirds, Supercar, Fireball XL5, and Stingray (all by Gerry Anderson). Bishop (Straker) even cut his hair to look like those puppets. If you don't remember these, I strongly suggest you put one in your Netflix queue - they are a lot of fun... and UFO actually had some intriguing high quality scripts.

    Sleestak- My dream is to have a killer luxury NYC apartment like Brian Keith on Family Affair with a home office like Straker's. You're halfway to realizing my dream!

  9. I always thought the swirly gem opening credits for Family Affair was cool. I kept expecting Mr. French and the kids to show up floating and falling through the effects like the guys on the Time Tunnel and have wild adventures.

  10. Hey, you forgot to mention the groovy crew of the Skydiver submarine all decked out in string vests!
    I remember being a kid when UFO was first on in the UK and I love it even more now than then. Who couldn't love the design aspect of a UFO Inteceptor that can only fire one missile before it has to return to base?

    And the slinky secretary? That was Ayesha Brough who also had a pop music TV show on around the same time :)

  11. Loved the show as a kid and recently bought the series on DVD. I remember wanting one of the jackets with no collar that Straker always wore.

    One cool thing that you missed.
    the "psychedelic screen behind his desk - it serves no purpose other than to accentuate his coolness,"
    actually hides a secret elevator so that Straker can escape should the need arise.

    The episode was "Court Martial," and Col. Foster, standing before the color screen, wonders why someone like Straker, who has no time for trivia, would have this useless screen in his office.

    Great series if just for Staker . . . AND of course Gabrielle Drake.

    The "blue wigs" the girls wore on Moon Base, BTW, were to control static, long a problem with computers.

  12. Dearest Gilligan,

    Having been a fan of UFO since it first appeared in the '70s and having been around the various cyber-space UFO fan boards over the past +10 years or so, I'm always amazed and very pleased to encounter people who have never seen the show before. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised because even way back when I knew that UFO was ahead of its time (in many aspects) or perhaps I should just say it has a timeless quality. And it's a double pleasure for me to read such an entertaining blog as yours. You really make SHADO and all the gang alive once more. Many thanks, I had a right good-hearted giggle this morning!

  13. Just discovered there's a movie adaptation in 2011 - http://ufo-themovie.com/shado/

    Straker's office was pretty cool!