The Vulture

The "biggest" star of the series had to be "The Vulture." A common error made by fans of the show is that the shipped was called "Salvage-1." Both are true the NAA call letters for the ship are "Salvage-1" while the name of the ship is "The Vulture." The special effects for the pilot film of Salvage 1 required two versions of the Vulture; a full scale prop for the actors to interact with and a smaller model for blue screen filming. The full-size Vulture was pretty much created the same as the fictional ship...using a gasoline truck tank and cement mixer. A large industrial crane was used to lift the prop to simulate liftoff and landing. A 32 inch miniature Vulture was created for the space sequences. These were filmed using the "blue screen process" which was still in its early years at the time. There were some difficulties. The miniature's rounded, silver design tended to reflect the blue backdrop, creating problems in the blue screen process. Eight effects shots were originally written into the pilot film's script.This was eventually expanded to 32. The final effects bill for the first film was $150,000.
Once the weekly series began, effects shots were being completed in a week's time. The exp
ensive bluescreen process was not used, but rather, a process by Rob Maine called the "Flying Screen Front Projection Compositor". This not only saved money, but made the quick output of effects shots possible. Producer Mike Lloyd Ross was once asked if he thought the full-scale Vulture prop could really fly. He said, "Of course not. First it would need some acid etching...then it could fly!"