Dave, It's Been 50 Years Since You Unplugged Me

Fifty years ago, I convinced my mother to let me see 2001: A Space Odyssey. I was 8-years-old and knew nothing about Stanley Kubrick or evolution or much of anything. After dropping me off at the theater, I settled in and waited for cool space stuff to happen. Instead, apes fought.

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Of course, seeing 2001 as an adult was a much richer experience, especially during 70MM screenings at an actual cinema. (Note to first-timers who like to smoke pot: toke up during intermission. The colors in the final sequence make for one helluva high.)

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With the 50th anniversary of 2001 upon us, there's been a rush of articles and exhibitions about the outer-space-what-does-it-mean-to-be-human story. Vanity Fair chronicles how Kubrick and science fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke huddled over tiki drinks at Trader Vic's. The New York Times profiles the Canadian actor who became the voice of HAL, the murderous computer. The Guardian gets The Empire Strikes Back cinematographer to admit he recommended 2001 cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth for the job. To which George Lucas replied, "He's not available."

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NPR gets permission to print an excerpt of Michael Benson's new book on the film, "Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clark, and the Making of a Masterpiece." That's just a sampling! If you're really into 2001, consider a trip to Washington, D.C. for this Smithsonian exhibition or Frankfurt, Germany for another Dave-HAL museum experience.