In the spring of 2007, amid some controversy and skepticism from the collecting community, a machine identified as the one and only white Computer Space cabinet, manufactured specifically to serve as a prop in the movie Soylent Green, went up for auction on eBay. The seller contacted me to ask me to spread the word, which I did in a few places. I think he was wondering if I was interested in being a potential bidder, but with a baby on the way at the time, this Computer Space was a bit much for me. I did, however, see an extremely important opportunity to document the machine in question, and asked the seller if he could provide some photographic documentation of the machine, and any paperwork that would effectively serve as a paper trail to prove that this was, in fact, the Soylent Green prop.
Sadly, he admitted that he had received no such paperwork when originally purchasing the machine. This seller was not an arcade collector or a member of the hardcore retrogaming community, and had originally sought the Computer Space machine as – more or less – a futuristic sculpture. That being said, only the eventual buyer of the machine knows for sure; given what we do know about how the unique casings for this machines were made, however, it seems like it would be an extremely difficult thing to fake. Inasmuch as I could possibly tell without inspecting it in person, I personally believed this machine was the real deal – an incredibly rare piece of both video game and classic SF movie history. An incredibly rare arcade cabinet that, in all likelihood, had happened to share screen time alongside Charlton Heston was sitting in this guy’s living room.
Presented below are the pictures he shared with me. Whether or not you’re skeptical of the machine’s origins, this is an extremely rare look at the innards of an extremely rare machine, and I appreciate the time and effort he took to document it for me.
– Earl Green (is people)