Monorails on Film and TV
by Kim Pedersen

page five of ten

Monorail in center of Babylon 5's huge artificial gravity barrel

Looks like your average transit vehicle, until you look closely at the passenger in the middle


Babylon 5 - The Gathering, 1993 (TV/Video/DVD)
The science fiction television series Babylon 5 first premiered in 1993 with the pilot episode "The Gathering." Based on the Babylon 5 space station, the series ran from 1994 to 1998. Shown in the pilot and numerous following episodes, a suspended monorail is runs down the center of a huge, rotating station segment designed for artificial gravity. The series was one of the first television shows to rely heavily on computer technology for visual effects, including the external views of the monorail seen to the left.

Every monorail driver should have a uniform this spiffy


  The Simpsons – Marge Vs. The Monorail, 1993 (TV/Video/DVD)
The episode we love to hate and always seems to come up when monorail is mentioned to “laymen.” Even though the plot revolves around a huckster salesman that sells faulty monorails, the whole half hour is hilarious. Conan O’Brien wrote the story, and it’s a good one. The City of Springfield unexpectedly gets some big cash and decides to spend it on a high-speed monorail. Leonard Nimoy (in cartoon form, but with his real voice) is brought in for the grand opening. Who drives the monorail? Homer Simpson of course, doh! Major problems ensue, of course. Everybody sing along…”monorail, Monorail, MONORAIL!”

Young onlookers watch Sly use his laptop while cruising on the Seattle Center Monorail

Pull emergency brake, force door open, make escape!


  Assassins, 1995 (Movie/DVD)
Sylvester Styllone shoots his way through this film as the star assassin. The Seattle Center Monorail has a prominent role for about three minutes. If you want to see Sly (actually his double), evacuate the monorail by jumping off of it, then this is the film for you.

Bad news for Tokyo Monorail...
Destoroyah on approach!

Battle of the monsters by monorail station


Godzilla vs. Destroyer (Godzilla VS Destoroyah), 1995 (Movie/Video/DVD)
A menacing horned beast is destroying Tokyo and it's name is...Destroyer! Godzilla comes to the rescue and the monsters battle it out amongst buildings that, curiously, look like models. There's one shot of the Tokyo-Haneda Monorail with Destroyer flying over, and then there are some nice models of monorail stations and track. And if it looks like a model, you can bet it'll be be smashed up with lots of sparks and smoke.


  Out of Ireland, 1995 (TV/Video)
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) broadcast this documentary on Irish immigration to the United States. There is some fabulous black and white footage of the Listowel & Ballybunion Railway, including a switch, a drawbridge over the track and on-ride views. Strangely, there is no commentary that even describes what you are looking at! It is obvious though that it is Lartigue’s steam-powered monorail, which ran from 1888 to 1924. At least it’s obvious to us.



  Ren & Stimpy – Wiener Barons, 1995 (TV/Video/DVD)
Nickelodeon Channel’s cartoon hit that many parents love to hate…Ren & Stimpy. A suspended wiener-shaped monorail runs across the TV screen when our heroes visit Weeny Land. You eeeeeediots, monorails aren’t just for amusement parks!



Neon Genesis Evangelion, 1995 (TV/DVD)
In 2015, entities called the Angels attack Earth. Conventional weapons are useless, and only one organization, one machine, one youth can save the world: Evangelion. We found at least one monorail in this Anime series in Episode 4, but it's nothing to get too excited about.

Snooze time on the monorail


  Bill Nye the Science Guy – Human Transportation, 1996 (TV/Video/DVD)
In part of this episode on transportation, Bill explains the advantages of monorail while showing the Walt Disney World Monorail System, all while driving a Mark VI. He’s done his homework, it's a nice little PR piece for monorail!
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