Andromeda Strain

In 1970, Hollywood came to Presidio County for the filming of scenes for the blockbuster science fiction movie The Andromeda Strain, featuring Academy Award winning director Robert Wise, known for directing The Sound of Music (1965), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). The script was based on Michael Crichton’s novel, The Andromeda Strain. A production crew from Universal Studios set up shop 20 miles north of Presidio in the old mining town of Shafter.

Andromeda Strain

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According to Martha Rhea, an elderly Presidio resident known as “Ma Daniels” was driving along the Presidio highway during the filming of the movie The Andromeda Strain. Described as one of the area’s most “colorful” residents, Ma Daniels noticed some very unusual activity, including an outdoor movie set where “dead bodies” were lying on the ground surrounded by buzzards, which were picking at the carcasses. Overcome by curiosity, Ma Daniels aimed her car right through the middle of the movie set, causing the buzzards to scatter and fly away and causing a great amount of frustration to the film crew (

Coincidentally, there are odd similarities between the plot of The Andromeda Strain and what happened in the “Mexico’s Roswell” UFO crash about 40 miles northwest of Presidio. The crashed UFO reportedly released a toxic substance into the surrounding environment that killed an entire squadron of Mexican soldiers.

The YouTube clip below contains the main segments that were filmed in the area: