Monday, January 17, 2011

Kelly Freas Chekov Portrait

Well, it's been a fun series of posts to do, and this time we look at the last of the portraits painted by Kelly Freas of the Officers of the Bridge. Why is Chekov last? I admit, the order of posting was entirely my own choice, the pictures were not numbered. But in descending order of any list of the bridge crew, poor little Chekov always comes in last. Aside from the fact that he was only added in the second season, Chekov seems to have been the whipping boy of Star Trek, not even showing up in the animated series. Did Freas do him justice in his portrait, though? Let's take a look-see...
(Click on images to enlarge.)

Like his painting of Sulu, Kelly perfectly captures the facial features of Chekov, who actually seems the closest to his 1967 self than any of the others. And oddly enough, whereas most of the others gained longer hair (based as most were on photos of the stars taken at the time, the mid-70's) Pavel's is the same as the series; maybe Freas judged his Monkees haircut shaggy enough already. Nothing added to it for visual interest, as in most of the others, either; a phaser or something would have added a little zing. I would have given it an A+ for character accuracy, but I deduct a bit for the lack of flair here that had been given to the others. But for the very nice starfield background, this would have been somewhat lackluster. Even his expression seems a bit distant and sad; whereas his buddy Sulu looked happy and energetic, Chekov looks lethargic and introspective.

Not surprisingly, painful depression really was inwented in Russia.

Maybe the expression comes honestly... Chekov always seemed to get the crappy end of the stick; a Ceti eel in his ear put there by Khan, an butt-ugly Drill Thrall who wanted to molest him on Triskelion, a plasma-burned hand when V'Ger overloaded their shields, brain injury on an aircraft carrier in Earth's past, shot and "killed" in the Melkotion OK Corral illusion... even his Mirror universe double fared no better, as he end up screaming for hours in the Agonizer Booth. Chekov was famous for screaming in terror and/or torment; that would dial down your enthusiasm level.

Or, perhaps it was taken from a then-contemprary photo reference of Walter Koenig, who probably was depressed at his lack of work after the series, and was forever ambivilent about his typecasting. His interviews and book "Chekov's Enterprise" all bemoaned the fact that he was so underused. The one convention I saw him in, where he was onstage with TNG actress Marina Sirtis, he looked uncomfortable, as if he had been ill, or eaten lunch at Taco Hell. Though, to be fair, I guess years of people asking him to "say 'nuclear wessals!'" would drain the joy from any man. He could probably relate to "Galaxy Quest" more than any others of the cast.

Bonus: Below, the salute to Walter Koenig from Starlog's Trek 20th Anniversary issue #112.

"I wonder... am I helping my career by playing Chekov or hurting it?"

Thanks for sticking with me on this series of posts! Thanks for your comments, also. I love hearing from my readers. Now that you've seen them all, name your favorite!


Rob Bignell said...

Somehow the Chekov painting seems uninspired compared to the rest. Not that I wouldn't hang it on my wall. But if someone said, "We're doing an animated series about your love of Star Trek, and you can only have six Freas paintings in the show," Chekov gets left behind with the drill thrall on Triskellion.

Anyway, you asked for our Freas favorites (No. 1 is the best):
1. Scotty
2. Uhura
3. Sulu
4. McCoy
5. Spock
6. Kirk
7. Chekov

Thanks for the great posts, Frederick! It was a great series.

Anonymous said...

I felt terrible for Walter and Judy last February (2010) when their son died. They were devastated and couldn't even go through with a TV interview on the subject. To this day, I hope they've gotten their old spirits back and recovered from this family tragedy. I saw Walter at a convention in Buffalo NY in 1980 and he was upbeat, funny, generous to the fans. Nice guy.

Frederick said...

Thanks for your votes, and your great comments!

I too felt for them over their loss. I could hardly get over something like that. Glad you had a good con experience with him, perhaps he just wasn't well the day I got his autograph.