Moonbase Alpha Wiki

Brian Johnson is a special effects designer and director.

Johnson started work at the Cement and Concrete Research Association at Wexham Springs. After 6 months, he was desperate to get away from mixing concrete. He went into the local pub and met Les Bowie, the Canadian born special effects designer. Bowie got him a job at Anglo Scottish Pictures at Shepperton, in 1957. Johnson learned the film business by sweeping floors, loading film, and occasionally helping Bowie in his small special effects studio at the studio. For his national service (compulsory military service), Johnson spent two years in the RAF working on instrument landing systems. When he left the RAF, he met Les Bowie again and joined him as a special effects technician, working on The Day The Earth Caught Fire (1961) and Phantom Of The Opera (1962).

Johnson was contacted by Derek Meddings, who he had worked with as a matte painter when he worked at Anglo Scottish. Meddings was special effects designer at Gerry Anderson's AP Films. Johnson joined AP Films to run a special effects second unit, starting on the last episodes of Supercar, followed by Fireball XL5 and Stingray, and the second series of Thunderbirds. The second unit shot the effects for alternate episodes, so was essentially a second main unit; a third unit led by Ian Scoones did pick-up shots. He was also working with Bowie on Hammer films, including Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1969) and When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1969).

Johnson then joined the crew of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), working for three years on the film. He was in charge of the models, in particular on the lunar and moonbase scenes. After Mosquito Squadron (1970) he returned to Anderson to do the practical effects for The Protectors (1971-1973). In early 1973 Johnson directed the effects on Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1974) and was recruited for Space: 1999. When the project entered a hiatus in mid-1973 he went to Barbados to film The Tamarind Seed, but had returned when special effects filming began on Space: 1999 in November 1973.

Johnson also handled the effects for Anderson's Into Infinity (1975), and the Alien Attack Anderson commercial (1977). In 1976 he had been approached for Star Wars (1977), but was committed to Space: 1999 Year Two at the time.

He directed the effects for The Medusa Touch (1978), Alien (1979, for which he won an Oscar), The Empire Strikes Back (1980, and his second Oscar), and Dragonslayer (1981, and an Oscar nomination), The Pirates Of Penzance (1983), Legend (1985), The Never Ending Story (1985), Aliens (1986, early and "post-production" after L.A. Effects Group were fired), Enemy Mine (1986), Labyrinth (1986) Telepathy (1987), Slipstream (1989), The Never Ending Story II (1990), Star Truckers (1997).

While 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) won the Oscar for best special effects, it was given to director Stanley Kubrick, not the special effects crew. He won Oscars for Alien (1979), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and was nominated for Dragonslayer (1981). He worked on Aliens (1986), which won an Oscar for visual effects, but because of contractual reasons Johnson was not on the list of 4 names nominated by Fox.

Johnson has attended several model events at RAF Cosford, Britain, the 2014 convention in Peterborough, Britain, and the 2015 Future Is Fantastic convention. He was interviewed on film in The Space: 1999 Documentary (1996). He was filmed revisiting Bray Studios in the documentary The Future Was Fantastic (1998-2004).

Johnson autographed cards for Unstoppable cards (2016), and the Round 2 Eagle Transporter Special Edition (2017).[1]