by Marc Gravelle
These days, a person’s age isn’t as clearly defined as it once was in correlation to where and how one should be in life. Some people like to believe that fifty is the new forty. Others dictate that sixty is supposed to be the new forty. Is forty now the new thirty? Seriously, what kind of math is being taught to today’s kids in school? I’m beginning to lose track of how old I am as opposed to how old I’m supposed to feel! (Un)fortunately, things are far less complicated in the futuristic world of Logan’s Run, where society dictates that once you pass a very young prime, it’s your time to go. As the story goes, Logan and Jessica strongly disagree.
Logan’s Run was first brought to life in 1967 as a science fiction novel co-written by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. The tale, both utopian and dystopian in nature, focused on a society set in the year 2116 where, once inhabitants reached the ripe old age of 21, they were put to sleep…
permanently. Most of society willingly conformed to this murderous fate without question and checked into a Sleepshop when their time had come, but not everyone was so willing to die by society’s decree. Anyone who dared to defy their predetermined fate would run from the confines of society, only to be hunted down by a group of enforcers called Sandmen. Logan’s Run follows the adventures of Logan 3, a Sandman who becomes a runner. Accompanied by free willed Jessica 6, the two set out together to find the fabled Sanctuary.
In 1976, Logan’s Run was adapted into a major motion picture and released with great success. The film adaptation modified several key details from the book. For instance, Sleepshops are replaced by a ritual known as Carrousel, and the age of expiration expands from 21 to 30. Set further in the future than the novel (more precisely, the year 2274), the film features Michael York in the lead role of Logan 5, and the lovely Jenny Agutter of An American Werewolf in London fame co-starring as Jessica 6. Francis 7, Logan’s one time friend turned pursuer, is brought to life by Richard Jordan. 70’s icon, and the face behind the best selling poster of all time, Farrah Fawcett, also joins the party in a brief but memorable performance as beautician Holly 13. Incidentally, Logan’s Run was released just three months before Fawcett’s debut in the wildly popular TV series Charlie’s Angels.
A Logan’s Run TV series followed in after the film’s success in 1977, with Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies inheriting the lead roles. The television series was set in the year 2318, a future even more distant than those portrayed in the novel and film. Unfortunately, the series was not as successful as imagined; it was cancelled after just 14 completed episodes. Likewise, a comic book released by Marvel Comics sold poorly and vanished after just five issues were published.
The legacy following the success of the Logan’s Run film has been relatively modest. William Nolan delivered a pair of novels after the film’s release titled Logan’s World and Logan’s Search. Additionally, more comic books have appeared, most recently published by Bluewater Productions. As for a new film, there have been rumours of remakes and sequels over the years, of course. Among the rumors there has been talk of a female lead, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. In the meantime, the original film and TV series are, in my opinion, must-see viewing for young and old sci-fi fans alike. If you haven’t experienced the world of Logan’s Run yet, then you’re in for a treat. If you have, then you know it’s a world worthy of revisiting!