Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1987 Article On Sulu's Solo Trek

From issue #119 of Starlog Magazine, dated June, 1987, comes this short article on an early fan film, "Yorktown: A Time to Heal," another of those that never seemed to get finished and the footage seldom seen. This one is significant in that they snagged Sulu himself, George Takei, for their home movie. (One cannot help but think of Galaxy Quest a little here.) The trailer, which can be found online, looks about like you'd expect for the time, and in light of today's more polished fan efforts, is somewhat embarrassing to watch... probably for George more than anyone else involved, in retrospect. The film was never finished and the footage tucked away by one of the main masterminds, Stan Woo.
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Another thing setting the production apart from the average fan film was the involvement of several Hollywood professionals, as the article explains. For this reason alone, the footage might be worth watching. Who knows, maybe someday the film will be finished with digital effects and made available to watch. Even raw unedited film would be good to see, for the historical value.
Many, if not most fan films that are planned or actually begun fall to the same fate, thanks in part to the large amount of money and work required, for very little (if any) payback; other than the pleasure of watching one's self on film making imaginary Trek. It's happened a lot in the past, all the way back to the 70's (see earlier post on "Paragon's Paragon") and it will continue to happen; but of the few that actually get made, only the rare effort is watchable for anyone other than those involved and their friends and families. I can think of only a couple that are really enjoyable, and they are the exception. However, fans want to make their own for their love of the show, and for that I commend their efforts and say, "God bless 'em."

Read more about the ill-fated Yorktown fan film story in this Star Trek Expanded Universe Wiki entry. Update: I just found out that today is George's 73rd birthday. What a coincidence!

UPDATE, June 24th, 2010: I recently received an email from the filmmaker Stan Woo, with some additional info about the effort, which you can read below. Thanks for the details, Stan!
Thanks for mentioning Yorktown: A Time to Heal in your blog. This little opus just got too expensive to complete and at the time, it also killed my grades, so I had to give it up. My father financed the film and when my grades took a nose dive, he cut off funding. That was the beginning of the end. Then I just got caught up with life and it got put back in the backburner. Maybe in my retirement, I'll start working on it again. Right now, I'm working with Paul McCudden to finish some missing dialog for a final ADR session.

Some of the Da Han wiki stuff is accurate, but some are just out in left field, especially this "Axiom' project which I'm not involved with except for footage used in the unauthorized trailer. The two Yorktowns were only at the most 15 minutes long. The first one is total crap made when I was in 11th grade thru community college. The first film was more of a first "pilot". The 2nd ended up being a second "pilot" than a sequel. It started out as "Yorktown II", but when Takei came aboard, the continuity of the first film had to be abandoned. Therefore: "Yorktown: A Time to Heal", not Yorktown II: A Time to Heal. The final title of the first film is "Yorktown: In Temporary Command", not Yorktown: The Quadroplastine Incident. The film was reworked in 1984 and the Quadroplastine reference was removed from the film. The film is so bad that I don't want to subject the youtube community to it. Stephen J. Cannell was not involved personally. Gary Winter, executive in charge of post-production at Stephen J. Cannell Productions granted me access to their sound effects library. That's it.

Here's a link to a fansite entry about "Yorktown: A Time to Heal"; perhaps you can do a link.

This entry lists the actual credits. Any other claims in the web is not accurate.

-Stan Woo

Bonus: Below is a small selection of the many mini-clippings that I gleaned from the newspapers back in the early-to-mid 70's; some from tabloids, others from the daily papers. I'm serious, if it had the words "Star Trek" in it, I saved it. About the only items I didn't clip were the daily listings of the episodes in the TV Guide. Was I obsessive, or what? And to still have them in my scrapbook, is that compulsive hoarding or what? I don't know... you tell me. The dime is included because it was once touched by Jimmy Doohan who loaned it to me for a phone call. Nah, just yankin' your chain, I included it to give some scale to the size of the tiny clippings. I'm not that obsessed.
Below is another page from one of the Trek coloring books that I bought in the mid-70's. The likenesses are pretty good in it. Print it out and color away!

"Captain, do you mind moving that hand from my booty? This is not the time."


mmtz said...

Which coloring book is this from?

Frederick said...


You know, that's one I don't have an answer for. I have four or five, but I also have some detached pages where I pulled out the good drawings and threw away the rest, for some reason I can't fathom now. When I post a page from one I do still have all of, I'll post at least a link to the cover.

CMX said...

Re: ST fan films; indeed it's hard as hell to make one of those things, and I have known people who tried and gave up. I think it was actually easier in the 70s or 80s than it is today, for a lot of reasons having to do with the technology and with the many life distractions (videogames, cell phones, emails, IMs, iPods, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc.) sucking up the time and energy of people who might otherwise lend a hand on such fan productions. Also it's hardly worthwhile to get into such a project unless you have a LOT of money to spend (like Cawley & Co.) in order to make it very high-gloss and high-tech, because if it's not you will be laughed out of existence at any convention or fan site. I damn near made a ST film in the '80s and I'm actually glad I didn't, because I'm sure it would be posted now on YouTube as someone's idea of a joke. Bottom line: it's not worth making fan films today unless you're wealthy and/or very, very thick-skinned. Sadly, something like Paragon's Paragon just wouldn't fly in 2010.

Frederick said...


Thanks for the comment! Yes, we both know you are right; but that will never stop people from putting time, effort and money into these things. It's such a losing proposition; but as long as they are having fun, I guess they'll always be around in some form.
Maybe Paramount could have a reality show where they give fans some money and access to the sets, props and costumes, and supply the effects, and see what they can turn out; then have a winner at the end of the season who gets money and a video release. Wouldn't that be funny to watch?