Here's a look at the fine
amenities provided to Supertrain passengers and what was known of the consist of the train itself. Though mentioned
in TV Guide ads for early episodes, we never see the Movie Theatre that was supposed aboard the train. You'll also notice
that early NBC ads and publicity refer to the train operating on two sets of tracks. Supertrain actually rode on a standard
looking set of rails that were of a wider gauge than normal U.S. trains.
Control Room Engine
The Control Room/Engine for
Supertrain include all the necessary futuristic amenities like flashing lights, various knobs and buttons, a Commodore Pet
personal computer, TV monitors, open reel tape units, and a large game-show like digit display to countdown the launch of
This is the only segment of the train that is not of two-level
construction. Though it does impossibly contain a basement entered via a trap door in the floor in the "A Very
Formal Heist" episode.
Though not clearly identified from
the outside, Supertrain does have a car or section of the lower level of a car that serves to store baggage. Interestingly,
though rather typical for Supertrain, we find little or no security for this area and the various belongings stored there.
Passengers have open and free access to Supertrain's Baggage Car and even can open the large sliding door while the train
is speeding along at 200mph without anyone noticing!
Located in the upper level of Supertain's
first bi-level car is a parlor area that appears in numerous episodes. This area is apparently accessed only
by the elevator and one can see Supertrain's forward facing pair of windows located at the front end of this first double-decker
car. A piano is found here and used in the first episode and the second. This parlor is the host for Supertrain's
International Poker Championship in "The Green Girl." The parlor also plays host to the society crowd attending Zsa
Zsa Gabor's charity event in "A Very Formal Heist." It is in the "Heist" episode that we enjoy Supertrain
regular Ilene Graff's singing The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" from the parlor car.
Home to Dr. Dan Lewis (Robert
Alda) is Supertrain's Infirmary. This section of Supertrain includes the doctor's reception area which connects
to the examination and small area to house patients. Among those visiting the Supertrain Infirmary are Dennis
Dugan in drag, an annoyed Isabel Sanford demanding nerve pills, Joyce DeWitt
in hiding, and regular Edward Andrews with a case of the mumps. Robert Alda's character
is joined in the first four episodes of the series by then cast regular Nita Talbot as the nurse/receptionist.
For Supertrain's final run, Alda is called to the Dining Car to help deal with the crisis caused
by "Billy Boy" and passes an unknown new dizty receptionist on his way out of the Infirmary.
No self-respecting rail operation
is without a good food service and Supertrain was no exception. Though Robert MacKenzie complains in his TV Guide Review
that he found no one dining about Supertrain, this is simply not the case. Supertrain's Dining Car is the focus for
the series' entire last episode, "Where Have You Been Billy Boy." The Supertrain Diner is also hosts Dick Van Dyke and
Barbara Rhoades in "And A Cup Of Kindness, Too" as well as the all guests eating at the same time during the "Superstar" episode.
We also see the Supertrain crew discussing the jewelry theft problem over breakfast in "A Very Formal Heist." So, Mr.
MacKenzie needed to pay better attention or maybe he was out in the kitchen popping popcorn during this segments of "Supertrain."
If you need to make a phone call,
Supertrain as a section devoted to its passengers' communications needs. An attendant is shown in this area and it appears
to be a low-level residing part of one of the bi-level cars. The Communications Center is seen when Steve Lawrence
makes a call in "Express To Terror" and we also witness Lyle Waggoner's attempt to change his return reservations
with Harrison Page during the "Very Formal Heist" episode.
Forget something in your packing?
Or did you decide that you have nothing to wear to the Supertrain Disco tonight? No Problem, thanks to Supertrain's
Gift Shop. This small retail facility is found occupying what appears to be most of the lower level of one of the passenger
cars. It's here that Dick Van Dyke purchases a bathing suit for Barbara Rhoades in
"And A Cup Of Kindness, Too." We find Sylvia Sydney shopping for designer dresses, while Timothy
Carey and Mills Watson ogle a toy gun and stuff bear in "Superstar."
It is a stretch, but we'll label
this car the Theater Lounge in the Supertrain consist. NBC ads and publicity materials included reference to a movie
theater on board the train. No movie theater is ever seen in the series and one wonders what use it could have been
put to anyway. Considering the quality of the series, perhaps they could have simply started a show with someone going
into the movie theater and then NBC could simply run an old theatrical film in place of "Supertrain" that night. Maybe
this could have been an early start to the film commentary that began on LaserDisc and is found today on DVD releases.
You could have a guest star or maybe a film critic board Supertrain and sit down in the theater car and then watch and comment
on a movie. I can hear the announcer now, "NBC's Supertrain Night at the Movies will continue with
Roger Ebert critiquing Charlton Heston in 'The Omega Man' after
these messages and station identification."
Anyway, this room on Supertrain
includes a pair of 19-inch color TVs facing a group of highbacked swivel chairs. At the back end of the viewing area
is a bar. This room is featured in "The Green Girl" and "Where Have You Been Billy Boy" episodes.
The last car of the Supertrain consist
really has it all! The lower level included the famous disco and bar, while up the flight of stairs you found the train's
pool. Beyond the pool and the rear of the upstairs was an open platform observation area. From the downstairs
disco-bar, one is given a fish tank view into the swimming pool located behind the bar itself. At Supertrain's 200mph,
I see just one lawsuit after another with this part of the train's consist. Could you disco and swim in a train moving
at 200mph without injuring oneself? And if you could, what would your chances be trying to stand outside on the observation
platform at 200mph? Guess folks weren't so litigation-happy in 1979 and this wasn't a concern.
The disco is given generous screen
time in "Hail To The Chief"; "A Very Formal Heist"; and "Where Have You Been Billy Boy" among other episodes. The pool
is shown off in "Express To Terror"; "And A Cup Of Kindness, Too" and "A Very Formal Heist"; "Green Girl" and "Billy Boy"