As depicted in Ray Bradbury's novel, Dark's Pandemonium Carnival arrives in Green Town in the dead of night, carried on a train with no engineer, pulling cars that hold no passengers. Silently, without the presence of workmen, the carnival erects itself, seemingly materializing out of mere nothingness.
Early in preproduction, director Jack Clayton and production designer Richard MacDonald decided to duck the tricky prospect of showing the carnival's fabricaton. "If you show all that too early in the film, you've shot everything." MacDonald explained. "Instead, we concentrated on the carnival's destruction, at the end of the film.'
However, when Lee Dyer took hold of the film's effects reigns in the summer of 1982, he felt the carnival's appearance was too strong a story point to ignore. Having just completed a stint as effects supervisor for TRON, Dyer reached out to Richard Taylor's MAGI filmworks in Santa Monica-responsible for the bulk of TRON's computer animation-as well as other TRON alumni, to create a two-minute animated insert that would have the proper aura of mystery and fantasy. As designed and storyboarded by Dyer, Taylor and John Norton, the sequence would have represented a new state-of-the-art for computer-generated footage, : tourde-force for the skillful, seamless combination of computer and cel animation.
That is, af it had worked.