A little movie came out on Blu-ray last week. You may have heard of it: Star Trek Into Darkness.
It became the latest addition to my home video library and Star Trek collection, both of which are fairly extensive.
I have been a Star Trek fan for many years. I grew up on The Original Series cast and later became a fan of The Next Generation. That's when I finally started going to Star Trek conventions and continued to enjoy the other spinoff series. And if you go check out my pictures on Flickr, you'll see me use my Star Trek collection to get creative.
A few weeks ago, I got the idea to design and illustrate a Star Trek infographic. It would show all the ways the arrowhead insignia originally worn by the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise has appeared and been adapted on each of the different versions of Star Trek, from the movies, the TV shows, the spinoffs, even the original pilots and animated series. The idea appealed to me as a Star Trek geek and also as a designer interested in seeing all of these creative incarnations assembled together into one place. Plus, I'd have the fun of rendering them as accurately as possible based on finding the best photo reference for each one.
I spent many hours going through my Star Trek DVDs, Blu-rays and books. It really became an obsession. I scoured the Internet for stills to also use as reference and visited websites like Memory Alpha to see what they identified as Starfleet insignia to make sure I considered everything.
My only criteria was that I'd just include variations of the original 1960's arrowhead patch, or delta shield as fans have also called it. And as the logo started appearing on hats and belt buckles in the movies, I limited it to just when it was worn over the left breast on uniforms, to keep this infographic focused and consistent. The only indulgence you'll find on it is when I included images of the various designs of the starship Enterprise associated with each insignia. The evolution of the design of each starship named Enterprise is pretty fascinating as well, especially regarding the little aesthetic details found on the original 1960's television model.
For logos like the dagger-based Mirror universe one or the starship-based patches worn on Scott Bakula's Enterprise series, they're not here because they didn't include the arrowhead motif. Maybe they'll turn up in a future infographic if I decide to do another one.
Originally I planned to get this done by last Tuesday to post on the day Star Trek Into Darkness came out on Blu. But I didn't get it finished, and I'm glad I didn't. Watching the new film I found a lot more and clearer reference that I didn't have before. So this infographic ended up becoming as comprehensive a collection of that insignia as possible, right down to this last movie.
So, I'll stop talking now and just share it already! It's posted below. Click on it to go to my deviantART page. On that page, click the art there to blow it up and see it larger.
As I pat myself on the back for this, let the nitpicking - and God forbid, citing mistakes - begin!
"The Enterprise Incident"
Over the weekend, Star Trek turned 46 years old.
On September 8, 1966, NBC first aired an episode of Star Trek at 8:30 p.m. The episode was titled "The Man Trap", and it was television audiences' introduction to Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Leonard "Bones" McCoy and the missions of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Forty-six years later, people the world over recognizes these names along with the phrases "Beam me up, Scotty," "Space, the final frontier," and "These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise."
Star Trek originally ran on NBC for three seasons. I didn't discover the show until the 1970's when it aired in syndication. I would've been a pre-teen at the time. And I ate it up! It wasn't just the atmosphere and adventure of the show that reeled me in or its optimistic view of the future, but the look and structure of it too. There was no Internet back then, but I found books like The Making of Star Trek, the Star Fleet Technical Manual, the Star Trek Concordance, and magazines like Starlog. And the background information they offered on this show that aired just in reruns Mondays through Fridays fed my youthful, voracious interest in the show, schooling me on the meaning of the uniform colors, rank braid on the sleeves, insignias worn by the crew and what all the details about the classic starship were called and used for. I was always drawing as a kid, and I doodled my fair share of starships, phasers and Starfleet officers back then.
Original 1966 broadcast trailer (left) and the 2007 trailer to promote the Remastered version of "The Man Trap" (right).
Neil Armstrong was just months away from taking mankind's first steps on the moon when Star Trek's last episode aired in primetime on 1969. Ten years later, Star Trek was reborn in a series of motion pictures featuring the original cast and later spun off into four new television series. With another motion picture due out next summer, Star Trek continues to thrive with the support of its trend-setting "trekkies" (or "trekkers" if that's your preference).
Waking up last Saturday morning, my only plan to celebrate Star Trek's birthday was simply to pull out my Blu-ray set of Season One of Star Trek that evening and watch "The Man Trap" right at 8:30 p.m. But another notion popped into my head after stimulated by a couple of sips of coffee, a desire to do something else to celebrate. And being that guy who is always taking pictures, I thought about what photos I could possibly take. Looking around my living room that could be a set for The Big Bang Theory, my brain flashed with the idea of calling a row of Star Trek books sitting on a shelf a "return to tomorrow", the significance being that the books documenting the science fiction show's history would be poetically titled after an actual episode of Star Trek.
"Return to Tomorrow"
I loved my idea, thank you very much! And the rest of my morning was dominated by a mix of brainstorming other original episode titles that could inspire other photos and setting up those Star Trek collectibles into pretty pictures. Out of 79 episode titles, I used six. And I am pretty pleased with myself and the results.
I've included two here. The rest you can see in their own collection, or menagerie, on Flickr. Enjoy!
And Live Long and Prosper.
On December 7, 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture arrived in theatres ten years after its last first-run episode aired on NBC. I became a fan - a Trekkie - while watching the reruns during the 70's. And I remember being caught up in the excitement of the release of the new movie and the new starship and the new uniforms, even as I knew watching it that something was definitely off about this latest “episode” of Star Trek. But there were clunkers among the show’s 79 episodes (e.g., "Spock's Brain"), so no matter what, fans like me would forgive the fact that the movie, like any one of the carbon-based units in the film, is not perfect. Star Trek was back one last time (so we thought at the time), and that was great!
Star Trek: The Motion Picture, referred to commonly as TMP, arrived two years after Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a year after Superman: The Movie. Those were the films that John Williams astounded moviegoers’ with, introducing heroic scores and signature themes that would make him The Composer for fantasy adventure films of the day. Naturally, he influenced the works of other film composers working on similar projects. I bought his records and sought out any other works that were just as exciting to listen to, that carried a weight that was as epic, romantic and inviting as Williams' work. And Jerry Goldsmith’s score to TMP easily met the criteria.
Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams are contemporaries. Both started working in the 50’s in Hollywood, both composed music for scores of 60’s television shows – Goldsmith counts The Twilight Zone and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. among them and for Williams, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea – before moved on to scoring for films. Williams won his first Oscar for adapting the music from Fiddler on the Roof for its film adaptation. Goldsmith earned his one and only Oscar for his score to The Omen. But you’ve also heard Goldsmith’s work in Patton, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion, The Sand Pebbles, Legend, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Rudy, Hoosiers, Gremlins, First Blood, Air Force One, The Mummy and Poltergeist.
If by chance none of the above films are familiar, everybody still knows at least one Goldsmith piece of music. The "Main Title" from TMP was re-used as the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Specifically, the music wasn’t composed to be a TV theme, but no one can argue the theme sounds right for a Star Trek show. It exudes confidence, adventure, discovery, even a little whimsy. Hum a few notes and everybody knows the show you’re talk about.
On June 4, 2012, Jerry Goldsmith’s seminal work on TMP was celebrated at an event promoting the release of a new expanded edition of his score to the film. Titled “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” Soundtrack Celebration, it was sponsored by La-La Land Records and Creature Features and featured a panel of speakers who worked with Goldsmith including some who were orchestra members during the TMP scoring sessions. In addition, the discussion featured video interviews of Goldsmith, who died in 2004, and footage from TMP with rare music cues composed by Goldsmith that were re-written after feedback from director Robert Wise. A screening of the 2001 Director’s Edition of TMP concluded the evening.
Some friends and I attended the event, where we also got to buy our copies of the new 3-disc collection a day before its official release date plus have them autographed by two of the panelists. The 115-minute panel discussion, hosted by Jeff Bond, included among others the soundtrack's producer and long-time Goldsmith recording engineer Bruce Botnick, and Craig Huxley and David Newman who both performed on this score. It was a much better program than I had expected it to be. Many of the anecdotes that were shared were very informative or very entertaining. David Newman, who played violin in the score and would become a successful film composer himself, scoring the Star Trek-inspired comedy Galaxy Quest and the sci-fi cult favorite Serenity, explained that Williams’ popular romantic style of film music that had quickly become the norm to film goers and filmmakers, and that challenged Goldsmith’s own modernistic style of music, a challenge he slowly but obviously successfully overcame. Goldsmith’s agent Richard Kraft shared with us the composer’s annoyance of a young James Horner who hung around the recording sessions to watch Goldsmith but also spend a lot of time talking to the Paramount execs. Horner would later go on to compose the score to TMP’s next two sequels, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock before scoring Titanic.
Another highlight of the evening was a demonstration of an instrument called the blaster beam. It’s featured prominently in the TMP score. In another intersection of the Star Trek universe, the creator and performer of the blaster beam, Craig Huxley, was formerly a child actor who was cast in two episodes of the original Star Trek series. As he explained at the event, he went on to become William Shatner’s musical director when the actor “…wanted to combine beat poetry and jazz scat singing with outer space.” He produced Shatner's infamous “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and "Rocket Man" during those days.
Huxley told the audience how excited and intrigued Goldsmith was when he learned about the blaster beam, and how the composer was eager to use it in his score for TMP. In the middle of the panel discussion, Huxley stepped behind the blaster beam to recreate some of the tones Goldsmith composed for it in the score and sounds used in the sound design of the film. For all the geeks in the room, it was an amazing experience to hear these familiar sounds performed live in front of us! I recorded the entire demonstration. Take a look at it below.
Since that evening, I’ve played the hell out of my new CD purchase! My friend has too, sharing with each other over the next few days how nostalgic it's made us feel and how much we love the new recordings, which were drawn from a different source as any previous releases which essentially makes every track on the set previously unreleased. And let me tell you, the fidelity of every bit of the score is AMAZING!! It even inspired me to pull out a book that I've owned for quite a while, Star Trek: Phase II: The Lost Series, and finally read the story of what would have been the 1970's return to television of most of the original cast in a series continuation before Star Wars and other factors forced Paramount to elevated the project into a motion picture production.
The new Star Trek: The Motion Picture 3-disc original soundtrack collection is limited to 10,000 copies and can be ordered from La-La Records or Screen Archives Entertainment.
I discovered a wonderful place yesterday: the audio/visual section of the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library! :p
While meandering around the lower level, I found the Documentaries and Special Interests section where there were many titles I'd never imagined existed, like Star Wars vs. Star Trek: The Rivalry Continues and Best of Filipino Food Vol. 1. I checked out Pioneers of Television Season 2 and watched the first of four episodes on it. Science Fiction covered primarily the 60's, interweaving the origins of Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Lost in Space and Time Tunnel through new and archival interviews with the series' casts, some of whom guest-starred in popular episodes of the other shows. I was surprised how much time they spent delving into the creators of the shows, mainly on Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen with a little on Rod Serling, as well as material on Shatner and Nimoy's early acting days. There were a few things I learned from it (As a Trek and TZ fan, so much of it I'd already known), but the new interviews (the DVD was released in 2011) and several stills that I'd never seen before I enjoyed a lot. The rest of the 50-minute episodes are Crime Drama, Local Kids' TV and Westerns. I'm looking forward to seeing and enjoying them too before I have to return this disc back to the library next week!
All About Me
A fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, comic books, Blu-rays, Disney, soundtracks, taking pictures, theatre and...Barry Manilow!