Still in the throes of slogging through my Video Tapes, I’m enjoying seeing these “lost” bits of Trek history. One of the biggest moments in the annals of Trek Lore is the press conference announcing “Star Trek – The Motion Picture”… as we know now, the machinations behind the scene were extremely complex, and this was only the halfway point in the long process of bringing trek from the small to the big screen.
Paramount had been toying with making Star Trek into a movie for many years… (according to some accounts, even as early as 1973) but had been on a treadmill of indecision and half realized ideas. The process had been hindered, of course, by Leonard Nimoy’s legal actions against the studio and Roddenberry to secure his own likeness rights and prevent his face being used to sell beer. (Whether this was due to the fact that he actually didn’t drink Heineken , or that he wanted to be _paid_ for these ads) In any case, the previous attempts at bringing star trek into its new incarnation didn’t get anywhere…
These days with all the fabricated “buzz” about movies and popular culture… it’s a good idea to take another step back and look at a simpler moment… where there actually _was_ excitement before all the hoopla. It’s amusing to see, now, in retrospect, Nimoy’s attitude at the news conference. He is definitely “playing ball” at this point, after several mettings with Paramount big-wig Jeff Katzenberg and a “let’s be friends” check…
I’ve been sifting through my collection of VHS tapes… and culling out little gems here and there. Here’s one that I got from a friend… amidst a collection of wonderful video of interviews and press kits from the history of Star Trek fandom.
Here is a great piece from 1980… (I think this was a show called 20/20 but I’m not sure) it’s Hugh Downs and a celebration of the premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. A little unfortunate that the only fan interviews they have re-inforce stereotypes… but that’s how it goes.
Fresh off the summer high of 1977, which introduced me to Star Wars for the first time, the second part of the psychic 1-2 punch came in November when Columbia Pictures released “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” It filled me with wonder, and the aliens scared the heck out of me. Here’s the relation between fear and interest that I’ve mentioned before… it was another major contributor to my interest in movies and filmmaking. Along the years that I’ve watched it, I noticed several familiar faces in the film that aren’t widely known… When Neary and Gillian are stopped by the roadblock, and the men in environment suits capture them… the one that goes in for the “dead” birds out of the front seat of the car looks like none other than Spielberg’s buddy, George Lucas. Lucas was on set in Alabama at times… you can see him hanging with Steven in several on set photographs that I’ve seen before. It’s only natural that Steven would have asked him to be an extra in the movie. I’ve never heard a confirmation that this is in face Lucas in the film… but it sure looks like him. Also, I noticed in a screening of it last night in Santa Monica, that I recognize writer/director Willard Huyck, (American Graffiti, uncredited polish on Star Wars, and of course Howard the Duck) who was a close friend to Spielberg and Lucas.
Another face in the crowd in the end sequence is former Project Blue Book head Debunker turned researcher J. Allen Hynek, who coined the term “Close Encounters”… A small personal note, I got to meet Hynek several times when my dad was involved with producing a show on UFO research in the early 80s. Hynek passed away about 20 years ago, but he’s immortalized in the film, with his trademark pipe and inquisitive gaze.
I’ve gotten messages from a bunch of you wondering what I thought about the new movie called “Star Trek” released this weekend. Well, to be honest… I don’t know. I haven’t seen it yet. All I know is that it’s being marketed as “not your father’s Star Trek”… well, that’s funny… cause my father’s Star Trek WAS my Star Trek… It was one of those shows we could watch together and enjoy together. He took me to the Federation Trading Post in New York. He took me to see Gene Roddenberry speak Live at Kean College in New Jersey. He encouraged my creativity with Enterprise Model kits.
This means that my father’s Star Trek is what I want.
This means that they are marketing this movie to other people than myself. I think it’s being marketed to people who think they’re “cooler” than me. Well, they probably are cooler than me… but that’s fine. We all have our capabilities, and our shortcomings. But let me ask you this… if you have to change your personality and the way you dress to hang with the “cool kids”… why would you wanna hang with the “cool kids”? hmm.
Just my thoughts for now. I will see the movie… and who knows… maybe after I do, it will fill me with joy and feelings of rebirth. But, I don’t really wanna be part of the first weekend. I think that’s intended for people who don’t like my father’s Star Trek.
See you in a couple days. Talk amongst yourselves.
The time in-between jobs can be a scary one… there are many times in-between jobs in the movie industry. That’s just the nature of it. We’re all nomads, and circus folk. It’s a time to collect your thoughts, organize your portfolio, and brush up on your skills. One such period had me working on honing 3D skills, so I decided to do something fun… something that I wanted to see.
Yes, it’s the Hall of Justice! From the iconic 70s Saturday morning cartoon show: Superfriends.
I’ve always liked that building… and thought it would be fun to see it in a more “realistic” portrayal… yet still maintain some of it’s cartoon roots… I think I was mildly successful… but in looking for research for it, I found out that it was based on a real building…
Cincinnati’s old Union Terminal building, which now houses the Cincinnati Museum Center. A true Art Deco masterpiece… and who says you can’t learn anything from watching TV. Ok, well, I didn’t learn much… but I do know the pre-amble to the Constitution from watching Captain Kirk… so there.