This is one of those moments where I am going to show my age. On the left is a Dodge Durango with the cool LED lights but for a million Spaceball bucks, can you name the tv show car on the right?
When the original Tron came out, everyone tried to have this futuristic look but these f/x were very primitive. These computer generate f/x were amazing to look at on the big screen and then ABC had a tv show called Automan back in 1982. Here’s the premise:
Automan (the “Automatic Man“) follows the adventures of a police officer and computer programmer named Walter Nebicher (Desi Arnaz, Jr.), who had created an artificially intelligent crime fighting program that generated a hologram (Chuck Wagner) able to leave the computer world and fight crime. via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automan
Here was the trick and the main issue or problem with the series; Automan would only come out at night when there was less power consumption of electricity. Hence, the lighted f/x would only work at night for the main character, his car or any other contrast he created. As daylight approached, he would make a comment that he can feel toasters and coffee makers coming online and that he had to go back into the computer until the nighttime. Thankfully, this Tron vampire never lasted more than one season. Granted, the cool thing about this show was to see the Autocar in action. To give the Autocar an interesting feel, anytime it had to make a turn, the car would make a quick 90 degree angle left or right. How this was achieve was through editing the film back then. The car was heading in one direction and then the film was spliced on the car going down in another direction. This was a very cheesy f/x was one that was very cheap to make.
Overall, this computer scifi look has been one of my favorite looks and wish I could created the same look on the cheap. Still, with life imitating art, there are some signs of having this look now. Take a look at the pic below from the Tokyo Motor Show
This Tron-style Kawasaki concept, called the J, is an electric motorcycle where the front “wheel” splits into two. The J eschews handlebars entirely for a pair of “arms” that can be manipulated into different positions to prioritize speed or comfort. Click here to see more