Just curious about the first appearance of this. I’m talking about the big room with a screen on the wall with a conference table or techs in chairs in front of it. You see it used in films tracking missiles, super villains, alien fights, space ships etc. What was the earliest this now common set piece appeared?
Well, there was the war room in Dr Strangelove (1964). I’m not aware of an earlier appearance.
My thought too. The design of the Big Board might have been inspired by NASA Mission Control (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercury_Control.jpg), which I’m guessing had design roots in how the Air Force (SAC?) tracked things at the time.
Fail Safe (also '64) had a SAC control room with a big board as well. I’m not sure which film had the earlier release date.
As far as source goes, one could trace the concept as far back as WWII, where aircraft participating in the Battle of Britain were tracked manually by means of symbols moved around on a large map. Not sure if any films of the actual period have it, but Battle of Britain (1965) has a re-creation.
Sink The Bismarck (1960) had a version of it, the board was a large horizontal table rather than a vertical wall, but otherwise it was similar
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936), although it was just the Big Boss with the big screen, not a sea of technicians.
Girls and maps! It doesn’t get any better than this!
Wasn’t there a maps-with-toy-ships scene in Sink the Bismark? Oops, sorry, just saw previous post. Yes! Yaya!
(I couldn’t find what I was looking for…but google images of “maps with toy ships” was so much fun, I was totally absorbed!)