With the hype building for TRON: Legacy, we re-posted a great article by NeatoRama.com about the original Tron:
Twenty eight years after the release of Tron, Hollywood is coming out with a sequel that will surely be packed to the gills with special effects. But can the new Tron Legacy movie beat the groundbreaking original? Do you remember the old one? (Heck, were you born yet?)
To help jog your memory, here are some neat facts about Tron:
1. Tron was inspired by Atari’s Pong. Tron’s creator, then animator Steven Lisberger was working with his own studio when he saw a demo CGI reel from a computer firm and Atari’s game Pong. (Source)
2. Where did the name “TRON” come from? Some people said that it was from a debugging command in the BASIC programming language (TRON or TRace ON).
But Lisberger actually got the name from “electronic.” The first Tron was actually Lisberger’s studio logo:
3. Part of Tron was filmed at the Lawrence Livermore Lab. It’s the only movie ever filmed inside the famed lab, and probably for a good reason. During filming there, Cindy Morgan (who played Yori) actually stepped into a radioactive spill and had to have her shoes removed and decontaminated. (Source)
4. Back then, many Disney animators were wary of computer animation and feared that it would replace them, so they refused to work on Tron.
5. If you think Tron was pure CGI, you’d be forgiven. It was mostly old school effects and matte paintings. The glowing circuitry on the character’s costumes? Those were hand-painted onto each frame.
At the time, computers could generate static image but not animation, so the coordinates for each image in the light cycle scene had to be entered by hand for each individual frame. It took 600 coordinates to get 4 seconds of film.
Later, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the people behind the Oscars, skipped over Tron when considering visual effects awards because they felt that using computers was cheating!
6. There’s a Hidden Mickey in Tron. In the Solar Sailer scene, the heroes fly over a giant Mickey Mouse head.
7. How did Jeff Bridges and fellow actors prepare for the movie? By playing arcade games, of course. Indeed, there was lots of coin-op arcade games on the set of Tron to serve as “inspiration.” In an interview with /Film for the new Tron Legacy movie, Jeff Bridges said:
“I remember I couldn’t believe it we showed up the first day at work and around the walls of the studio – this is the first Tron – are video games that you have to put quarters in just all over,” Jeff Bridges said in a recently published interview. Bridges told the director that all those arcade games might make getting down to work difficult.
“It did hold up the work every once in a while but it was great fun,” Bridges continued. “I remember I got locked into this game, Battle Zone. You familiar with that game? The tanks. God, hours and they would come and try to yank me away. I’d say I’m preparing, I’m preparing.”
8. Tron was a box office flop, though it became a cult sensation and inspired a video game franchise.
9. Talking about video games, does anyone remember the light cycle duel from the 1982 Bally Midway arcade game Tron? It was my favorite game growing up. Ah, good times!
10. Tron Guy
Photo: Jay Maynard
Forget Jeff Bridges! If you ask the Web 2.0 crowd about Tron, most of them will tell you about Jay Maynard or the Tron Guy who rose to Internet fame with his homemade Tron costume.