Tag Archives: Sirah

Star Trek’s ‘Navel Battle’ with NBC – Who Won the Battle of the Bellybutton?

In crazy times like these, perhaps we should contemplate our navels; or at least the ones on TOS.

As someone who loves costume design,  I’ve always been curious as to the battles that costume designers face, be it making the costumes under budget and on time, to keeping within any restrictions given by the studio or network.

When the Original Series aired from 1966-69 on NBC, the network’s Standards and Practices (S&P) team were recruited to assure that rules were being followed to avoid censorship.  For some reason, a woman’s navel was considered too sexy for family time, which is why Barbara Eden’s costume on NBC’s I Dream of Jeannie kept the waist of her harem pants high.

So how did William Ware (Bill) Theiss, master of the costume universe,  keep to this rule?  Well, he didn’t; just enough that the S&P didn’t notice!  Bill figured no one would care about navels in the future, and slipped in the scary umbilicus whenever he could.  But who won the battle of censorship?  Let’s keep score – TOS vs. S&P: (and my scoring system is total nonsense!) 

Exhibit A: The Cage.  Theiss designed the iconic costumes from The Cage (1964) onward. And in The Cage, everyone knew Vina as the green Orion in a shiny reptile skin, with no navel exposure but lots of cut-outs.  HOWEVER,  there were also servers and other dancers in the background in harem-ish costumes with exposed navels:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCORE:    TOS – 1    S&P – 0

Exhibit B: The Corbomite Maneuver & Charlie X  The network had no trouble with the good Captain exposing his navel, and practically welcomed it. Probably to present Kirk as the macho alpha male.  Both sides win.  Look at that nice flat tummy. Put a pin in these pictures for now.

SCORE:    TOS – 2    S&P – 1

Exhibit C: Mudd’s Women. 

Although Harry Mudd’s ‘escorts’ were quite stylish, none had exposed navels (although there were hip, thigh and cleavage slashes).   

SCORE:  TOS – 2    S&P – 2  

Exhibit D: The Naked Time. 

The S&P need not worry at the episode’s title, as Sulu (George Takei)  was the only one who was half naked, but even his navel was covered with a high modest waistband!

SCORE:  TOS – 2    S&P – 3

Exhibit D: What Are Little Girls Made Of.

 

Andrea the Android (Sherry Jackson) exposed plenty with her X-shaped jumpsuit bodice, but not her navel!  Theiss gets a half point for it’s daring.

SCORE:  TOS – 2.5    S&P – 4

Exhibit E:  Shore Leave

 

McCoy’s Showgirls may have worn fluorescent Tribbles for brassieres, but their dangerously inappropriate navels are plugged up with teeny tiny Tribbles; making them safe for democracy. Half point for cleverness.

SCORE:  TOS – 3   S&P – 4.5

Exhibit F: A Taste of Armageddon

Mea 3 (Barbara Babcock) and the women of Eminiar VII exposed their flanks in fancy togas,  but not their navels!

SCORE:  TOS – 3   S&P – 5.5

Exhibit G: Catspaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Sylvia’s (Antoinette Bower) little fashion show for Kirk, she exposes her rib cage, but no navel! 1/2 point for daring.

SCORE:  TOS – 3.5  S&P – 6.5

Exhibit H:  Who Mourns for Adonais?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who could forget Carolyn Palamas’ iconic candy pink toga?  It exposed Leslie Parrish’s entire back, right arm, some leg and a considerable amount of torso and hip, but no navel.  There are two conflicting stories about this stunning creation. Theiss stated in The Making of Star Trek , the costume held in place without any need for anchoring tape, while later I read that Ms. Parish did have to be taped in to avoid censorship.  I’m still giving this one a full point for just being beautifully designed and engineered! They each get a half point because I want to round up the score!

SCORE: TOS -5  S&P- 7

Exhibit I: Wolf in the Fold

 

 

 

 

 

There was a big trend in 1960s movies and TV for belly dancers and harems (maybe inspired by I Dream of Jeannie?).  Trek was no exception.  The first person we see in Wold in the Fold is Kara (Tanya Lemani) in her magnificent belly dancer garb, complete with plastic used-car-lot fringe!   Beautiful! But she dare not show her navel so a little pink flower was plunked in there! Must be a good adhesive because despite Kara’s shimmy, it never falls out!  Btw, Tanya is one of my Facebook pals, and Tanya, if you’re reading this,  ❤ Hi! ❤  Tanya is still dancing these days and she rocks! Love ya, girl!  TOS gets a half star for daring.

SCORE:  TOS – 5.5  S&P – 8

Exhibit J: The Apple Well, the S&P must have had that week off, because all the natives of Gamma Trianguli VI had nekkid navels!  Three points for Bill Theiss getting away with it!  TOS inches into the lead!

SCORE:  TOS – 8.5   S&P – 8

Exhibit K:  Mirror, Mirror   With this blatant display of the alternate universe female uniform, it is said that the crew lured the S&P member off the set with a big lunch to film Uhura’s bridge scene! But how did he not notice Marlena? By now it was 1967, maybe the Summer of Love got the censors less uptight! (Now if only Spock was allowed to wear his tunic open!).  Two points for each actress getting away with it!

SCORE:  TOS – 10.5   S&P – 8   

Exhibit L: I, Mudd  For heaven’s sake! Even Norman had a navel! (maybe a charger port…or three?) But the Alices and all the other female android series kept theirs hidden! 1 for S&P!

SCORE:  TOS – 10.5   S&P – 9

Exhibit : Bread and Circuses The network never seemed to complain of exposed hip bones on minor characters like Drusilla here, but no navel.  Clever (and a bit creepy) credit for use of chain as an accessory here, 1/2 point to TOS for originality, 1 Point for S&P.

SCORE:  TOS – 11   S&P – 10

Exhibit M: A Private Little War Nona (Nancy Kovak) may have been a Kanutu Woman, but she was also a perfect precursor to 60’s hippie girls!    Between her low slung leather bell bottoms (with the emphasis on bell) and her macrame necklace she was ahead of the Woodstock generation by 2 years!  Of course, California is usually ahead of the curve fashion-wise from the rest of the country, so Theiss was probably surrounded by this in LA.  Even so, she’s proud of her navel and you better not cross her S&P, she’s armed!  1 point for TOS!

SCORE:  TOS – 12  S&P – 9

Exhibit N – The Gamesters of Triskellion

Everyone remembers Shahna (Angelique Pettyjohn) for her aluminum bikini, but despite it’s boldness and its possibility as a popcorn popper, it still modestly hides her navel.  And that bikini is also a marvel of engineering.  Whereas all the other drill thralls (and the Enterprise crew) wore their harnesses on the outside, Shannah’s harness is incorporated into her bikini; which means she can’t wear one without the other. Well, at least she could tuck her matching gloves into it when she wasn’t using them.  Half point to TOS for its skimpiest costume yet, but a full point to S&P.

SCORE:  TOS – 12.5  S&P – 10          

   Exhibit O – Patterns of Force

Well well,  two navels appear here, although the Captain’s we’ve seen before, (see above), blessedly, this will be the last time we see Kirk’s navel for the rest of the series.*   The good Captain is not quite as fit as he was in Season 1, but then, ANYONE would look a bit doughy next to Spock’s remarkably lean frame. TOS gets a 1/2 point for finally letting Spock lose his shirt.                                                   *and YES, I know that Kirk was stripped to the waist in The Empath, but we only see his front from the pectorals up!)

SCORE:  TOS – 13  S&P – 10    

Exhibit P – The Omega Glory and The Savage Curtain    Did you ever notice that Sirah of Omega Glory and Zora of  Savage Curtain both wore the same tattered two-piece? Zora added a fur piece, but there was no denying that Theiss had cleverly covered their navels (just barely) with a convenient flap?  Of course in battle scenes, the flap would flip up, but censors didn’t catch it! One point for TOS recycling!

SCORE:  TOS – 14  S&P – 10

Exhibit Q: Assignment: Earth   We only see her for a second, but when Isis (April Tatro) is revealed as a woman, she’s breaking the rules, as any good cat would.  1 point for TOS sneaking it in!

SCORE:  TOS – 15  S&P – 10

Exhibit R:  Elaan of Troyus               The warrior Elaan got to wear 4 different gorgeous costumes while on the Enterprise, all stunning and suggestive, but none with the dreaded navel. Her silver appliques here blot it out.   S&P gets 4 points for still getting their way with 4 different costumes!

SCORE:  TOS – 15  S&P – 14

Exhibit S:  That Which Survives   Losira (Lee Meriwether) might have been for Mr. D’Amato, but her pants were purely for modesty.  High-waisted with a ridiculous anti-navel flap, the S&P had won again! And we’re tied.

TOS – 15  S&P  15

Exhibit T – For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.

For the leader of a civilization, it’s a shame Natira had only one glorious gown (maybe Elaan used up all the budget!) But despite her prestigious title, she was beholden to the network S&P, with her navel wrapped up like a very fancy mummy. Still quite gorgeous.  Kudos and a point to Theiss for continuing to work with metallic fabrics (which he loathed!) and a point to S&P for winning again! Like Natira’s gown, we’re still tied up!

 

TOS – 16  S&P  16

Exhibit U:  The Cloud Minders   I think by this time in Season Three, Theiss was getting pretty sick of navel restrictions.  By the time they filmed The Cloud Minders, the 74th episode of the last season, I don’t think S&P were too vigilant anymore.  Hence, Theiss let ’em have it with two prominent displays here.  2 points for TOS!  Someday I want a tummy like Vanna again – (Droxine, please eat something!) ❤

TOS – 18   S&P  16

Exhibit V: The Way to Eden

Gotta let Hippes be Hippies.  Yeah, the episode was dated, but Irina’s gown was impeccable!  With a lonely little navel in the flower patch, it’s Hippie chic! One  point for TOS.

TOS – 19  S&P  16

Exhibit W: All Our Yesterdays   Zarabeth’s covering is little more than rags tied around her body, but she still keeps her navel modestly covered. Kudos for remaining remarkably clean in a damp cave!  Theiss gets a full point for leading the way in TV costume, S&P get’s a  point for still getting their way.

Final Score TOS – 20  S&P  18

The Navel Battle was Won by Star Trek!

13 Times The Animated Star Trek Mimicked the Original

Lately I’ve been reacquainting myself with the animated Star Trek series (TAS -1973-4).  I remember being a 12-year old and excited that my favorite show was being brought back (at least in animation) and that maybe the Enterprise could finally finish its five year mission!  For the most part, it was pretty good, I only wished I had a color TV to watch it on!                                                         Anyway, recently I’ve seen a few episodes on Netflix and it really seemed all new to me again, as I hadn’t since the early 70’s.  I was taken by the lovely backgrounds and the simple, but accurate way the animation captured the faces and subtle nuances of the original actors. (Can a cartoon male be handsome? You bet!).  But something that also stood out for me was how the series often mimicked the original (TOS) in angles and style; the creators at Filmation clearly did their homework as you’ll see in these examples.   Lets’ start with some opening Enterprise shots. The makers of the series did a beautiful job recreating the ship.  There’s much more detail in the orbital images than the character scenes, but it’s lovely.  Rotoscoping anyone? thejihadcatspaw                                                                                      magikscage-12

 

 

 

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The Enterprise in its animated form: Top: Orbital views from ‘The Jihad’ and ‘Catspaw’ Center: Clever rotoscoping seen in “The Magicks fo Megus-Tu” taken from “The Cage”. Bottom: Shoulder view of the Enterprise in ‘The Terratin Incident’ and “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

But wait, there’s more.  There were several detail and character scenes that were clearly influenced by the original (if sometimes with subtlety):

Scotty in a shaft in "Once Upon a Planet" and in the Jeffries Tube in "The Naked Time".

Scotty in a shaft in “Once Upon a Planet” and in the Jeffries Tube in “The Naked Time”.

Digital time panel in "The Counter-Clock Incident" and "The Naked Time"

Digital time panel in “The Counter-Clock Incident” and “The Naked Time”

Eyebrow City - Lara from 'The Jihad' and Zora from "The Savage Curtain"

Eyebrow City – Lara from ‘The Jihad’ and Zora from “The Savage Curtain”

Ready for my super close-up: Magna in 'The Time Trap' and Sirah in "The Omega Glory"

Ready for my super close-up: Magna in ‘The Time Trap’ and Sirah in “The Omega Glory”

tribbles-and-more-tribbles

They HAD to do this one! Kirk’s booted feet with tribbles in “More Tribbles, More Troubles”, and in “The Trouble with Tribbles”

In Once Upon a Planet, the Enterprise crew visits the amusement park planet again as they did in Shore Leave – so of course Alice and the White Rabbit are there, but then there’s a clear reference to Catspaw, when a giant cat menaces the crew from a doorway:once-shorejpg onceshore once-capspaw

Another  revisited character was Harry Mudd – this time in Mudd’s Passion, peddling love potion to Nurse Chapel in her eternal quest for Spock’s affections.  Here, he offers her pills, just as he did to his ‘cargo’ in Mudd’s Women: muddspassionwomenjpg

Finally, this one surprised me the most: In Albatross, Nurse Chapel checks on  sleeping patient Kol-Tai in practically the same angle she checks in on a sleeping Spock in Amok Timealbatross-amokjpg

Well, this was a fun visit to the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth (modern kids don’t know what they were missing!)  If anyone here knows of any more similarities between TAS and TOS, let me know! I’ll post them!

Next Time: The Backdrops of TAS.