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Mercury Studios and RoboCop

A superhuman police officer faces off against cold-blooded gangsters in a crime-ridden city called “Old Detroit.” Gunshots pop and explosions light up the night sky. This is 1987’s RoboCop. RoboCop, which became the 16th highest-grossing film of 1987 and was nominated for two Oscars, has solidified itself as a staple in the sci-fi genre and it was filmed in Dallas (Irving, specifically): the home of Mercury One.

For those unfamiliar with this futuristic film, the premise is this – RoboCop is constructed from the remains of fallen Detroit police officer Alex J. Murphy, who was killed by gangster Clarence Boddicker and his clan of cronies. After stopping an attempted robbery by one of Boddicker’s gang members, RoboCop starts to recall his human past. Already grappling with understanding his identity, RoboCop vows to avenge his death, promising to stop at nothing until the nefarious gang has been wiped out. The release of the movie came at a timely point in history, as audiences were just being introduced to new technologies like automation and home  computers.

Dallas proved to be an ideal location to shoot the film – for starters, it had the look and feel of the movie’s setting: “Old Detroit” (ironically, a futuristic Detroit). At that time, Dallas was a hotspot for TV and film production: said actress Angie Bolling, who played Officer Murphy’s wife in the film, “Films and commercials were being shot out there and a lot of people were coming to Dallas to shoot. For a while, Dallas was called the Third Coast.”

Interestingly enough, Mercury One has a close connection to RoboCop; Mercury One is located on the same campus as the Mercury Studios building, which historically has been known as the Dallas Communications Complex, as well as the Studios at Las Colinas. This iconic building was a production site for RoboCop, and this month, the movie turned 30 years old! Many other movies and TV shows including JFK,  Silkwood,  and Walker, Texas Ranger, It Takes Two, Talk Radio, Leap of Faith, The Deep End, and the recent hit show Prison Break were also filmed at Las Colinas. The Studio has seen the likes of top recording artists like Garth Brooks and Phil Collins and owns the rights to 2,000 songs, including songs by Elvis Presley. In addition, The Studios was home to the popular children’s TV show Barney (see a special part of the Barney series still at Mercury One here). Follow our blog to learn more about these and other movies / TV shows that were produced in the Las Colinas turned Mercury Studios building.   

Sources: Dallas ObserverIMDB and Dallas Business Journal

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