Monday, September 29, 2008

Animated Star Trek articles

When the new animated series premiered I embraced it with open arms. Short of a new live-action show, it was the most exciting development that had come into being so far. Unless you lived through that time, when there was no new Star Trek except for the Gold Key comics (and they were silly), you can't relate to how starved we fans were for "real" new adventures.
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Even a cartoon, done as well as it was by the original show's creators and producers, was a welcome sight. I was right there in front of the TV set when it premiered on Saturday morning, Sept. 8, 1973. And I loved it! I never missed it as far as was possible, and those that I did miss I caught in re-runs.

All too soon, after only 22 episodes from one year of production, the series was cancelled (see article below). The sting was lessened somewhat by the rumblings of a new movie, perhaps followed by a new live-action series, but we would have to wait another five long years. The animated series was, with it's faults, "real" Star Trek to us fans of the time. Watching it now on the recently-released DVD set really takes me back to those days!

Here's a great site devoted to all aspects of the animated series. And here's another one!

Below is a pencil drawing I did of M'Ress in the late 70's. I thought she was kind of cute.

"All right, who's the wise guy that left a flea collar in my seat?"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

1976 Leonard Nimoy Article: Why I Believe In UFOs

Last time we had Shatner proclaiming his belief in UFO's, and here "Leonard (Star Trek) Nimoy" (which he probably fears will be on his tombstone) joins in, in an article from a 1976 issue of The National Enquirer.

Below, not to be outdone by Bill's ESP experiance, Leonard tells of his own, and the article references his TV show "In Search Of," which began airing in 1976.

Below is the German Heineken Beer ad that so incensed Nimoy. He sued the company and had the offending ads removed. I don't blame him for being upset! But it is funny.

(Thanks to John Hudgens who commented below and kindly left the link to a better color version, I have replaced my original b&w scan with his better one.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

1974 article by Shatner: "Why I Believe In UFOs."

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"The National Enquirer" tabloid was one my Grandma always got when we took her shopping, and there was very often some kind of Star Trek article in it, which I immediately harvested upon having them passed along to me. These articles came from the 1974 to 1975 time frame, but I didn't make a note of the dates so I'm not sure.

Apparently after writing the above article, Shatner went from second-hand sightings to a personal experience with a UFO, as told in the story below.

Below, a retelling of the ESP/UFO incident, this time from "The Star."

Next time: Nimoy on why he believes in both UFO's and ESP!

And above we have a photo of my picture display wall. I went to my thick binder ST photo notebook and picked out some of my favorites to display around the beautiful VHS video-release promotional poster from 1986. On the right are some autographed photos, on the bottom are three cast portraits from Andrew Probert. I ordered those prints from Roddenberry's Lincoln Enterprises in the mid-70's. Probert worked on Star Trek: The Motion Picture later on, actually designing the new upgraded Enterprise and the other ships seen in the movie. He went on to design the new Enterprise-D for The Next Generation, and much more. These paintings represent some of his early work, done when he was in his mid 20's.

And on the left you can see some pictures from another love of mine, the Apes movies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Article: Mr. Spock Took Me Over

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"Happy Leonard Nimoy has left Mr. Spock behind," says the photo caption in the article, clipped from the National Enquirer around 1975. How wrong they were! But who could know that the old show would return in such a big way in the future? Leonard would even write another book titled "I Am Spock."

Of course, the stoic influence of playing Mr. Spock helped him suppress emotion very little when it came to a life-threatening situation. He felt very un-Spock-like fear when his oxygen ran out during a diving expedition, detailed below in another Enquirer article that I clipped in 1977. Air is like sex; it ain't important till you aren't getting any. Suddenly that little-considered next breath is the most important thing in your life.

The article references "The Coral Jungle," an underwater nature program narrated by Nimoy. I even taped an episode on cassette because he was doing it. Was I obsessive, or what?

The small cartoon to the right I tore out of a New York Times newspaper sitting in a dentist's office in the early 70's (I can see some patient coming in later and looking through the square hole left in the paper). It looks like Spock has some gum on his ear?

Star Trek In The Comics:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

1975 Time Article: The Trekkie Fad

The Scrapbook opens this time to:
The Time Magazine, Sept. 1975 article
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Fads may come, and fads may go, but we just keep on Trekkin'! And back in the early and mid-seventies, the get-togethers known as conventions kept us going. Big, as the one reported above in Time, or smaller, as reported on below. In Florida particularly there were a lot of small "mini-cons" as they were called, in colleges and hotels all around the area. I got to attend a few, but mostly I collected their promotional material, such as newletters and flyers. I'll feature some of those in future posts!

I was rabid about saving anything that even mentioned Star Trek. Below is a local TV Guide ad I clipped in the mid 80's. Notice the all-too-frequent mistake: " Doctor Spock." How that used to get on my nerves! Almost as bad as people calling the show "Star Track." Aargh!

I used to draw a lot more than I do now. Here is a early-80's pen and ink drawing I made of Kirk and Spock.

Friday, September 19, 2008

1975 Article: The Day Star Trek's Monsters Invaded The City

The Scrapbook opens this time on:
"The National Star" Jan 25th, 1975 ST Convention article
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The Kiss concert goers, in a drug-addled fog, accidentally came to the convention hall on the wrong date; and they didn't know the difference. The Star reporter apparently didn't either.

This article, clipped from "The National Star" tabloid, is the absolute worst (but typical) of the kind of scornful write-up that the Trek fandom phenomenon received in many publications.

Look at that opening line! "Like lemmings clawing and squirming to be the first to drown, almost 15,000 true-blue Star Trek fanatics swarmed over New York Americana Hotel last week." Insulting, and just the kind of ammunition my parents liked getting to ridicule me for being one of the fans. But, that kind of writing is the bread-and-butter for most tabloids, back then as well as now.

Reading between the lines, it seemed that everyone had a good time at the convention, especially those that enjoyed grokking the slinky Green Orion Slave Girls. And I bet the fan that won first place with the Horta costume still treasures the memories, and shows pictures of the event to the grandkids.

Below, another convention article, this time for one in Chicago.

Star Trek In The Comics:

"Star Trek: Don't Leave Home Without It!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

1975 Article: The High Priest of Sci-Fi

The Scrapbook opens today on:
The 1975 "Circus" rock music magazine article.
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Remember when I said that as a teen I was constantly on the lookout for Trek information, no matter what type of publication it might be in? This one proves my point; a rock music magazine like "Circus" was certainly not on my list of regular reading material. This one I found while waiting in the doctor's office in Macon, GA where we had taken my Grandma for a regular visit. I trust that the next readers coming into the office didn't miss the four pages that mysteriously vanished from it! I know, I was bad... but I was a Trekker in love.
Once again, Gene discusses his plans for the movie; going back to show how Kirk and Spock met and how the crew all came together before the TV series start; which is the focus of the new movie coming out in 2009.
The article explains: "People have been asking me for years how the whole thing came about," Roddenberry said. "How did Kirk and Spock meet Scotty? How did the whole crew get together?" What Roddenberry has in mind is tracing the lives of the major members of the crew of the Enterprise from their beginnings until they reach the point where the television series began.
So it appears that the new Trek will be exactly what Gene had envisioned from the earliest days of thinking about bringing it back. I think he would be pleased. (Update; well, I've seen the movie, and it might not be exactly what Gene envisioned... being a reboot rather than recounting the actual history; but at least we get to see the characters when younger, and the casting is excellent.)
As a bonus, below are scans of the front and back of a great ad slick for the second set of episodes in first video release of the series on VHS in 1985. Nice! I bet you still have a couple of these tapes somewhere in your closets.

1975 Article: Paramount To Film "Star Trek" Feature

The Scrapbook opens today to:
1975 article on the planned movie
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This was the second of the newspaper articles that I came across announcing the plans for a movie. Once again, the condescending attitude prevailed: "The joyous news is passing along from one Star Trek freak to another, and there are thousands." It also contained the Paramount plan to beef up the star power by including "ten international celebrities in cameo roles." They apparently felt that the TV series actors couldn't draw the mainstream crowd and they hoped that the cameos by big-name stars would bring them in. We can count ourselves lucky that saner brains prevailed (most likely Gene's) and they dropped it.

Can you imagine how silly it would be to look back and see the film had they insisted on this? One big-name cameo would have been fine; playing an admiral or the like. But ten? Like Batman and Robin climbing the sideways building, only to have current celebrities pop out and comment, we would be seeing then-current celebs crop up all over the ship. It would have destroyed the integrity of the film and made it a current-day laughing stock.
Star Trek In The Comics:

They'll take "The Wrath of Khan" over that fanboy's dead body.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

1976 article: Fans Spending $1 Billion on Star Trek Cult

The Scrapbook opens this time to:
An article from "The Star," March 9, 1976.
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The Balok and Spock I get, but what the heck is that kid in the top one supposed to be? Captain Kirk as rendered by Picasso?
Here's a good example of the kind of article I mentioned in the last post. Considering the Star's propensity for making up "facts" I'm sure the 1 billion number was pulled out of thin air. But regardless of the clueless attitude of the writer toward the fans and Star Trek in general, I still was interested to know when reading it that there were other fans out there that were crazy about the show to the extent that I was, and that they were getting together to have fun.
I remember that when I first discovered Star Trek about 1971, through the Gold Key comics, I thought I was about the only one that had such a passion for it. I had no idea that there were so many others out there, until I began to read about the fan movement. It was through articles like this that I vicariously joined the rest of the crowd that appreciated the show and loved it.

Star Trek In The Comics:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1974 article: They Just Keep On Trekkin'

The Scrapbook opens this time to:"They Just Keep On Trekkin'" 1974 article
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I clipped this fun article from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel on Feb. 20, 1974. I was always interested in how Star Trek's fandom generated almost as many write-ups as the show itself. During the period from 1972 to about 1975, after the first convention and before there were any rumblings about the show's revival, the press focused mainly on those "spacy, way-out trekkies" as the newsworthy subject.

This was the first time a single TV show had generated such a devoted and active fan following, and the press couldn't resist their gatherings as a rich source of human-interest stories. The weirder, the better for them, and they often magnified the unusual to such an extreme that the general public began to perceive the fans as truly strange people. It's almost no wonder that my parents were worried about me, although I showed no outward signs of being a fan. Only if you opened my closet or dug into my dresser drawers would you find my Trek-oriented books, magazines, comics, View-master reels, bubblegum cards, drawings, cassette tapes, etc., etc. Most 15 year-olds had a Penthouse hidden under their mattress; I had my Star Trek magazines hidden. My parents were the founders of P.A.S.T.; "Parents Against Star Trek." It wasn't that they had anything against the show, they never watched it... they just had something against me.
Thankfully, this article doesn't stray too far into the usual rhetoric of "raygun-waving, pointy-ear-wearing freaks" as most did (the tabloids were especially guilty), and for that reason I enjoyed it more than usual. The humorous artwork set it apart also. One would almost think that the writer Jim Davis was a bit of a fan himself!
Look for more fandom-oriented articles in the future. They'll make you thankful that the Star Wars fans came along and took the heat off of us as being the weirdest ones out there! :)
Stardate 0809.22 Supplemental Entry: Mystery fan John Ellis located!
Not that he was lost; he knew all along where he was. But in posting the article featured in the entry, one I clipped out of the paper 33 years ago, my curiosity about the fan holding the tribble, John Ellis, was stirred. What had become of him? Did he fondly remember this article? What had he gone on to do in his life? So, I used the tool that detectives of old would have loved to have had; Google. Right away I found someone with that name who was active in the film special effects industry. Sounded about right!
So, I chanced looking like a fool and emailed him, inquiring if he was the fellow in the photo. Here's his reply, beside a current photo:
Dear Fred,
Busted! Yep, that's me...and I don't know that I ever saw that particular article (I have a scrapbook that someone put together for me years ago, and that isn't in it). I'll try and drop by your blog and comment...though I'm pretty busy at the moment. If you feel like plugging our Steve Canyon Tv blog I won't complain...
Thanks again, talk to you soon.
John R. Ellis
Representing The Estate of Milton Caniff
Steve Canyon on DVD 2008
Celebrating The Steve Canyon TV Series' 50th Anniversary 2008
Contact me directly for Licensing, Trademark and Copyright issues.

Cool, huh? Another fan that made a name for himself, and in the industry he enjoyed. Check out his IMDB entry to see all he's done! You've seen some of his work, I guarantee! I look forward to reading his comment here in the future.

Monday, September 15, 2008

1975 article: Star Trek Will Become Movie Scheduled For Release In 1976

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 This was it. The Big One. In my little world, anyway.

Printed in the Miami Herald, March 4th, 1975, this was as I remember the first time I had heard the movie announced. Needless to say it was a memorable article that made me smile all day.

Of course, it was written with the usual mentality; "Okay all you thousands of trekkies on planet Earth, put away your space guns!" I think they underestimated the number of "trekkies" as well as their intelligence, as if they went around waving Flash Gordon-like space pistols and chanting "Dr. Spock! Dr. Spock!" (as the press often called him) all day. Notice also that the actor interviewed is the ever-vocal George Takei, although he wasn't pictured.
Above is a clipping from another tabloid about a planned TV movie. The announcements were all over the place for several years; a theatrical movie; a TV movie; a new series; then a movie again. At least, we can "start wearing our Spock ears again." Whee!

The announcement proved a bit premature, of course, it was nearly five years later before we would see the movie. But it was an exciting time! I never did wear Spock ears, though (at least not publicly).

There will be a lot of these kind of clippings posted here in the future. It should make an interesting study of how many different stages the effort to bring back Trek went through. And remembering those times in my personal life will be half the fun, if not more! I hope it will stir some good memories for you, too.

1976 article: The Great Bird of the Galaxy

From the Scrapbook pages:
1976 article from "TV Showpeople" magazine
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This was a very exciting article to find at the time; unusually intelligent and respectful. Looking back I can see that this was because Susan Sackett, Roddenberry's personal assistant, wrote it, and it was probably pretty much word for word what Roddenberry wanted. Much different from the "whiz-bang" sci-fi ignorant articles it usually got.

Notice also that as Gene talked about his plans for the return of the show in movie form, he had the idea of showing how the crew met and came together for the first time. It would have been problematic back then, as the actors were older than when they did the show; but now that vision is coming to life in the new movie coming out in 2009. The recasting of the characters will allow us to see the beginning!

UPDATE: Well, it's after the movie has come out now, and we know it wasn't THE beginning, but rather a new beginning. But, we have the original show characters back, and that's better than any spinoffs.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

1975 Article: Why Star Trek Still Has Millions In It's Power

Today's scrapbook page contains:
1975 Gene Roddenberry article from The National Star
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The April 1975 issue of The National Star. My Grandma would always pick up a few of the tabloid papers when we took her shopping, and I always got them when she was done, to scan through them for items of interest to me. I would spread them out on her dining room table, and snip out what I lucked upon.

Grandma was cool, and was a nite-owl. I liked this, as when I went over I got to stay up as late as I wanted. This meant watching the TV shows I liked; "Planet of the Apes," Kung Fu," "Kolchak: Night Stalker" and of course Star Trek when I could catch it. It also meant catching the "CBS Saturday Night Movie" and even the "CBS Saturday Night Late Movie" when they were something good. Good times.

4-29-2010 Update: After reposting this on my Facebook fan page, the actual writer of the article, Gene's assistant Susan Sackett, commented on it and said this: "When I wrote this I never gave it that horrible title! 'Millions in its Power' -- we never thought in those terms. The National Star headlined it. "

Thanks for the comment and info, Susan; that sounds like a sensationalistic headline a tabloid would come up with!