Rod Serling had written for his anthology The Twilight Zone (1959) a rejected episode called "The Happy Place" describing a society where people were executed when they turned not 30 but 60. A fourth season episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), entitled "Half a Life" had a similar plot about a society of a planet who required people reach "resolution" (mandatory suicide) at age 60. Anyone who didn't comply was considered a coward.
The "Love Shop" sequence originally ran much longer (4 minutes), but required re-editing for the film to be granted a PG rating from the MPAA. Other cut scenes include Box making a nude ice sculpture of Logan and Jessica, and several characters visiting the "Hallucimill" shop in Arcade (the latter was cut for its depiction of drug use). All of the additional footage and its background music score were subsequently lost in what is now known as "the great MGM purge", when studio owner Kirk Kerkorian sold off what he could of the studio's extensive archives and simply threw out the rest.
When the Old Man is showing Logan some of the portraits that used to hang on the walls of the capital, one of them was originally to have been of President Richard Nixon; "They used to call him tricky... something". According to Michael Anderson, the gag was considered too controversial at the time and was dropped.
Everyone wears clothes the same color as their life clocks (except Sandmen and Clean-up men). The Sandmen wear black uniforms with silver striping, while the Clean-up men wore the reverse. According to the audio-commentary, it was not actually readily apparent to audiences that the colored costumes represented specific age groups.
The film provides conflicting age at which the Life Clocks change colors, but in the original novel, the colors change every 7 years: yellow (birth-6), blue (7-13), red (14-20), then red and black on Lastday, finally turning black at 21. The characters can only live to 21 in the novel, but this was changed to age 30 for this movie. According to the audio commentary, it was unrealistic in casting and marketing a major motion to have all the characters under the age of 21.
The "Carousel" sequence is one of the most complex flying wire stunts ever done for a motion picture. A circular rig was constructed above the set, designed to rotate in sync with the revolving floor plate below. Initially, the performers were all supported by a single winch driving the mechanism for their thin support cables. Unfortunately this resulted in the cables becoming tangled during rehearsal; each stuntman had to be untangled and brought down from the rig in a maintenance lift. The rig then had to be redesigned so that each stuntman was on their own separate winch, with all of the winches connected to a "panic" switch that cut the power in the event of an emergency. For reversal shots, the white crystal on the arena ceiling was built on the floor of the stage, and the performers were lowered down towards it. These shots were then filmed upside-down so as to make it appear that the performers were moving upward.
In the Carousel sequence at the beginning of the film, there are approximately 36 citizens (give or take a few) who are "Renewing". If all citizens are required to enter Carousel on their thirtieth birthdate, all birthdays are distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, and the number of people who "run" is fairly small, the city's population is about 400,000 people.
The waterfalls and steps that Logan jumps into to get back into the dome are real. This is the "active pool" of the Water Gardens located in Ft. Worth, Texas. The main pool used to be 9 feet deep, but after four people drowned there in 2004 (near the spot where Logan and Jessica dove in) the pool was closed. When it reopened in 2007, the depth had been reduced to 2 feet.
Though the model of the dome city's interior lacks sufficient detail to give it any sense of realism, it was nonetheless constructed on a fairly large scale in order to accommodate the rail system for the miniature maze cars. Many of the buildings in the foreground of the model were three to four feet in height. The buildings were built at differing scales based on their distance from the camera, to give the model landscape a greater sense of depth (a common photographic/special effects technique known as "forced perspective").
The striking "terraced" leather sofa found in Logan's residence was not a unique production design item. It was, in fact, a commercially available - though expensive - home furnishing of the era. It was created in 1973 by Swiss designer Ubald Klug for the de Sede furniture company. The specific piece is referred to as model n° DS-1025.
The ice cave sequence was actually filmed in the middle of the summer in Los Angeles. The people frozen in the ice were not mannequins, but extras who were spray painted white. The extras all had to stand perfectly still for several minutes at a time for each take.
Many of the "ruined Washington DC" scenes of buildings other than landmarks were filmed on the decrepit MGM backlot. Prominent amongst them is the exterior from fictional "Tait College", from Good News (1947), also seen in That's Entertainment! (1974).
Many of the interior shots were filmed in the Dallas Market Center, once a 4.8-million-square-foot complex consisting of six ultra modern structures erected on 135 acres which had then become the largest single wholesale merchandise mart in the world. In its Apparel Mart (demolished 2006), the film utilized futuristic backgrounds of the West Atrium (Phase III), a five-storied terraced space featuring an entire wall of mirrored plexiglass and a variety of acoustical materials created by artist Paul Maxwell; and the Great Hall (inspired by a Viking chieftain's chamber), a five-level arena 280 feet long, 150 feet wide and 60 feet high where 4500 people could be accommodated at a show or exhibit. At the World Trade Center, cameras captured sequences in the seven-story (expanded to 15 floors in 1979), glass-capped courtyard of the 25,000-square-foot Hall of Nations.
If you pay attention to Jerry Goldsmith's score, you'll find that he uses a full orchestra with no electronic instruments when the action is outside of the city. When inside the city, his orchestra consists solely of strings, piano, and electronic instruments (though the "New Face" segment has some metal percussion instruments that are heard). The music at the beginning of the film during the credits does add the electronic instruments with the full orchestra though.
Changes from the book to the film: "Palm Flowers" became "Life Clocks"; the age that one could live to changed from 21 to 30; the character of Logan 3 was instead called Logan 5; and the chance of renewal went from a session at a "Sleepshop" to a ritual known as the "Carousel".
The first motion picture to use Dolby Stereo on 70mm film prints, also with A-Type Noise Reduction. However, early 70mm Six-Track prints were actually Four-Track presentations; as they didn't utilize the subwoofer tracks, nicknamed Baby Booms. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), were the first films to officially make use of the new bass enhancement channels.
After the box-office success, "Logan's Run" William F. Nolan who was the. novel's co-writer, wrote 2 sequels - they being "Logan's World" (1977) and "Logan's Search" (1980). Further, a novelette, "Logan's Return" has been published as an e-book whilst 2 other novels, "Logan's Journey" (written with Paul McComas) and "Logan Falls" (written with Jason V. Brock) have been mentioned, but as of yet, have not been published.
On the day of shooting, director Michael Anderson and producer Saul David decided that Logan should look more "casual" for the first scene in his apartment. Costume designer Bill Thomas threw together Logan's black house robe in about two hours while the set was being lit. Michael York kept the robe as a souvenir after filming.
Peter Ustinov's character has no name and is billed only in the credits as "Old Man". Despite having a major supporting role in the second half of the film, no footage of Ustinov appears in the trailer.
The catfight between Jenny Agutter and Farrah Fawcett was planned to be a much longer scene. This had to be changed when the two actresses pulled hair too hard and Michael Anderson feared they would end up fighting for real.
Before producing the film himself, producer Saul David shopped the property to producer Irwin Allen, who picked up the book rights as an option. Unfortunately, Allen was at the top of his game with his legendary disaster films The Poseidon Adventure (1972), and The Towering Inferno (1974) and so put Logan's Run (1976) on the back-burner. Unfortunately, the property rights lapsed, and so the film was eventually produced by David himself. Interesting note: Producer David used Allen's trusted special effects man L.B. Abbott on Logan's Run (1976), and when David was at 20th Century Fox, during the 1960s, making such films as Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Our Man Flint (1966), Abbott was the man responsible for the SFX in those films as well.
There was another building featured in the film that was a modernistic brown stucco Aztec-like temple with columns and gold windows, also featured burning in the final scenes. This building was also located in Dallas, just north of downtown on Stemmon's Freeway and was originally the Zale's Building. It was later bought by Mobil Oil, who covered over the brown columns and replaced the gold windows with silver glass covering the entire sides.
The cats in Peter Ustinov's scene actually lived on the set. To ease the boredom, Ustinov made cat drawings for Jenny Agutter. One was called "Cat-tastrophe," and featured a squished cat. Another was of a zombie feline, titled "Cat-atonic."
Marvel Comics published a "Logan's Run" comic book series lasting seven issues in 1977. The first five issues were an adaptation of the film, with two more continuing after the events of the film. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled before the storyline could be resolved.
Michael York initially didn't think the movie was for him. "But this young member of the [Ahmanson Theatre] company was deputed to drive me back and forth, so we would chat all the time," York told Den of Geek. "I mentioned that I'd had this script, and he asked to take a look at it, so I said, 'of course.' He came to pick me up the next day, practically wagging a finger at me saying; 'you've got to do this - you may not be aware of it, but it's pressing a lot of buttons.' And he was absolutely right."
Actress Farrah Fawcett is billed in the credits as 'Farrah Fawcett-Majors', as the film was made and released prior to her divorce from actor Lee Majors. The movie was one of two science-fiction feature films which she filmed, the other being Saturn 3 (1980).
A partial release of the film score composed by Jerry Goldsmith was released on vinyl LP by MGM Records in 1976. The expanded and complete score was not released until January 2002 - by Film Score Monthly on CD.
The film's opening prologue states: "Sometime in the 23rd century...the survivors of war, overpopulation and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There's just one catch: life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of the Carousel".
George Pal initially acquired the rights to this movie and was going to use Miklós Rózsa as composer, but the producer fell ill and abandoned his plans. Some years later Saul David reactivated the project with a score by Jerry Goldsmith.
Fourth and final film that actor Peter Ustinov made with director Michael Anderson. The earlier pictures, all made in the 1940s, were Secret Flight (1946), Vice Versa (1948) and Private Angelo (1949), the black-and-white photo of Ustinov used in the film was provided by Anderson from the latter title, the first film Anderson ever directed, and actually co-directed with Ustinov.
Contrary to advertising and even the actual end credits; the picture was not filmed using the original 65mm incarnation of Todd-AO. Also, an official fact confirmed by it's Director. The 35mm negative was optically enlarged to 70mm print copies for deluxe exhibition; better known as a 70mm Blow-Up. Logan's Run (1976) was filmed in Todd-AO 35, using Arriflex and Mitchell cameras. The Todd-AO 35 anamorphic lens system was designed by Dr. Richard Vetter. He received a Technical Achievement Award at the 46th Academy Awards, for this improved anamorphic focusing system. It had the added advantage of maintaining a constant squeeze ratio (2:1) of the image at all focus distances, without distortion. This particular lens system was best known for it's incredible sharpness, warmth and for having the ability to flare rather easily. An anamorphic system that resulted in the lowest amount of distortion, when originally released.
The movie is set in the 23rd Century. The actual year that the film takes place was 2274. As the picture was released in 1976, the time-span difference between that and the film's story was around three centuries, 298 years to be exact.
The movie features dialogue relating to "Termination" like "You are terminated" making this sci-fi film a precursor to the later The Terminator (1984) film franchise which popularized the "Terminate" phraseology.
The guns didn't work all the time. According to Michael York; 'those wretched guns misfired as much as they fired. There were a lot of highly technical things, yes, but thank God we weren't standing against blue-screen all the time."
Originally, there wasn't going to be a Visual Effects Oscar awarded for the 49th Academy Awards. The VFX committee didn't believe any of the films were actually worthy. Retroactively, this decision was overturned (unlike for 1973) and the Oscar given was shared between Logan's Run (1976) and King Kong (1976). The Academy's visual-effects committee members, including it's chair resigned in furious protest.
Michael York was playing tennis and saw what he described as a "blonde vision of delight." It turned out to be Farrah Fawcett. York suggested her to the casting director and she subsequently landed the role of Holly.
As this film was made in The Sexual Revolution (1960s & 1970s), a slight nod can be seen early on when Logan returns home wanting some company. And just after he and Francis have killed a runner. The first companion offered is male, and it's clear the selected offered is not intended only for a woman, nor by accident. Logan politely smiles at the young man, and tries again.
Both of the two top-billed leads (Michael York and Jenny Agutter) in this American Hollywood movie were English actors. Their full character names were actually Logan 5 and Jessica 6 respectively. In the film's source book, the central character was called Logan 3.
The film was released a year before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), which eventually became the highest-grossing film of all time. By the standards of 1976, "Logan's Run" was considered fairly successful for a science-fiction film, enough to spawn a short-lived TV series. However, since the Logan's Run (1977) series did not begin airing until a few months after Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) came out, it has often been wrongly assumed that it was produced directly because of the success of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), and the resulting popularity of science-fiction that followed.
According to "The Aurum Film Encyclopaedia Science Fiction" edited by Phil Hardy, "This film was initially set up by producer George Pal with [Michael] Anderson (who had directed the awful Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975) for Pal in 1975) scheduled to direct only to have one change of MGM executives throw out the project and another reinstate it but without Pal".
At the Dallas sneak preview, Producer Saul David told the press,"You know we had to shoot some extra scenes back at the studio. And every executive at MGM seeing the picture has said they can pick-out the Dallas extras every time; they're much prettier". Subsequently, several Texas Belles which previously appeared as extras, were hired to give-out free copies of the original novel at the Dallas Medallion and Ft. Worth Wedgewood theaters on opening day.
The City's Central Computer, while interrogating Logan 5, uses a font called Huit Medium. French for 8, it was designed by Michel Besnard and based on photos of a pair of feminine hands forming letters of the alphabet, and was also used in the title for "Man From Atlantis".
The Love-Shop sequence was filmed (July 7th to 9th, 1975) in the OZ Restaurant/Nightclub multi-level discotheque. It was all chrome and glass, with mirrored walls adorned by neon sculptures and mirrored etchings; the dominant colors were purple and gray. OZ was designed by Stan Richards. The business was regarded as one of Dallas' most chic haute cuisineries and membership-only nightclubs when it opened in 1973. It's reputation was eventually damaged when word got around it was a rip-off. OZ closed in 1977 and the building was demolished years later.
The concept of no one living past 30 was taken in an interview of the idea having come from the viral catch phrase by Jack Weinberg "Don't trust anyone over 30." On November 15, 1964, the San Francisco Chronicle printed the story, quoting Weinberg as saying, We have a saying in the movement that you can't trust anybody over 30.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Adam Wyse is the extra who gave the Vulcan salute near the end of the film. His mother's talent agency sent him on extra-calls and others, including Ashley Cox which played Timid Girl that touches the Old Man's face. This future Playboy model also appears nude at the beginning of the Love-Shop scene, making a grab at Logan.
The Old Man was a revision of a character from the 1967 book named Ballard. Ballard was a mysterious figure in the underground who helped runners. He was also revealed in the book to be Francis in disguise. Director Michael Anderson realized that it would have been implausible for Richard Jordan to morph into Peter Ustinov, thus the Ballard/Francis character was dropped and the Old Man became a separate character. In the book, Ballard was actually only 42 and stayed elusive due to laser surgeries but the director felt that these details would slow down the plot; also, 42 was relatively old in the book where the mandatory age of termination was 21, not 30.