The star projector featured in "La La Land's" planetarium scene is the same one that once called the Robert J. Novin's Planetarium at Ocean County College home for 27 years.

"It's a Minolta two-B machine designed for medium sized planetariums," said Phil Zollner, Program Presenter at the Novins Planetarium.

The planetarium dance scene in the film displays the Minolta projector. The device's life took twists and turns by going from the Novins Planetarium, then almost to the trash, to being featured in "La La Land."

"I assume they have many projectors and they chose that one (for the film)," said Zollner.

Around 2008, expensive mechanical problems occurred with the projector and Ocean County College nearly threw it out before making the decision to donate it to a California museum, where it remains on permanent display when not being featured on the big screen. From there, it made it's way to a movie set and may have had other on-screen appearances.

"It's been used, as I understand not just in "La La Land," but also two or three television programs," said Zollner.


Once word about the star projector's fame  and presence on the big screen spread among students and staff at OCC, there was a great deal of excitement on campus. In fact, the movie scene in which the Minolta appears was shown at a recent meeting of the school's astronomy club.

"We actually did see a brief clip from the movie showing one of the scenes with that projector," said Zollner.

In addition to the expensive repairs needed to fix the actual projector, back in 2008, the college was also forced to make a tough decision regarding the state of the planetarium.

"That the planetarium was not serving the needs of the students of Ocean County College and it was running in the 'red' financially," Zollner said.

The planetarium eventually stayed afloat through fundraising efforts.

According to Zollner, the Minolta projector was originally installed at the opening of the Novins Planetarium in the Mid-1970s.

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