This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and I just happened to come across this old article that I hadn’t posted here before! It’s a review from the local college paper Pipe Dream, and it has a lot of nice local Binghamton, NY flavor, which filled me with nostalgia for simpler times.
The writer, Robert Greenberger, was just as excited to see this new incarnation of Trek as the rest of us, and he gives a loving review. He was clearly delighted, and saw this effort as ‘well worth the wait’. However, he did note that the glut of special effects did overpower the heart of the story. He says one of the best sequences is the first time we see The Enterprise and “the ship is explored for the next ten minutes” (To me, that part was 8 minutes too long!)
He also rightly points out the the supporting characters were not given enough to do and that the plot tends to have annihilation encroaching every every five minutes, leaving character development in the dust. But he’s still happy to see that the positive message at the soul of Star Trek is still there: The future need not be bleak. Something we truly can hope for in these strange times 40 years later. I hope Robert will find this and say Hi! Enjoy.
And the band got back together! As the latest Trek movie was released the other week, I thought it would be fun to look back on the first press conference for the movie that started the series way back in March of 1978. Here’s Leonard and company looking splendid on that happy day. He looks so genuinely thrilled at this impromptu nearly-10 year reunion! Love that velvet blazer! Bless them All!
Posted in Leonard Nimoy, My Weekly Spock
Tagged Deforest Kelley, Gene Roddenberry. 1978, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, James Doohan, Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols, Persis Khambatta, press conference, Robert Wise, ST:TMP, Star Trek: The Motion PIcture, Walter Koenig, WIlliam Shatner
This week marks the 35th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (and let the franchise begin!) Here’s a rare shot of Leonard and Bill at the premiere that was held in (interestingly enough) Washington D.C.! The tuxes really reflect their personalities; Disco Bill is in his ruffles while Suave Leonard in in his traditional, fine tailored threads. Marcy and Sandy look sweet too!
True, the movie may have not been the best, but I’m glad they had a fun night!
As I start this week, I’m aware I’m getting dangerously close to the end of the third volume of my old Star Trek scrapbooks– in fact the items I post this week will be the last of Volume III! Now I know that Volume VI is somewhere in this house, but I’ll have to keep looking! Now don’t panic, kids, even when my Trek scrapbooks have run out, I’m sure I’ll find more fun stuff to post! In the meantime, Here’s today’s flashback:
When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released, Gannett Newspapers added a daily comic strip based on the movie in our local paper (The Evening Press) I’ve made reference to these comics before, and now I can share them with you. (It actually wasn’t too bad!) I started to collect them, and before you knew it, I had collected a whole adventure (well, give or take a few panels). Unfortunately, we did not get the Sunday color comic, but I happened to find the opening Sunday Comic of this adventure online. So here begins Star Trek: The Newspaper Comic from December 2 to December 11, 1979. Enjoy!
Here’s today’s flashback: The day had finally come! After 10 years fans fervent hopes of a comeback, of waiting for the day when Star Trek would return, it was finally here! I remember waiting outside the Cameo Theater in Binghamton on that cold winter night for the first showing with my school pal John and we couldn’t wait to see how this ‘Human Adventure’ would unfold. (The Press photo below is of the line for the second showing that night) I recall being happy to see the ol’ crew again, and delighted that Spock was back. I liked the beginning, I liked the end, but couldn’t recall much from the middle. And I couldn’t help but wonder why parts of it seemed so slow and sometimes the dialogue was barely above a whisper! I admit, I said it was great to fellow patrons on the way out, but in my heart I knew it was more a matter of ‘be careful what you wish for’. Was this dull, beige-y/grey saga the future of my beloved show? It was Trek, but just not quite Trek enough; where was the humor and the spirit of the original? I admit, I almost gave up on Trek after this version, but the sequel in ’82 made me much happier!
Here’s today’s flashback: From February 1979, a Us magazine preview of Star Trek: The Motion Picture from beloved movie critic and aficionado, Roger Ebert. I was sad to hear of Ebert’s passing last month, he was a fine critic and devotee of the art of moviemaking, and his reviews should be required reading for anyone who loves movies. Surprisingly, with all it’s flaws, he actually liked ST:TMP, which is more than I actually expected. Roger, I hope you have the best seat in movie heaven.
Christmas came early for me in 1978, and seeing my heroes on the cover of the Sunday weekly Parade magazine was not only a thrill, but a validation of my fandom. Hey, if it was important enough to make the cover of Parade, it must be really big! The article previewing the movie was surprisingly long (3 pages!) but I took issue with it’s attitude about Trek and its stars. Especially the one quote:
…Shatner and Nimoy are the only two of the cast who have been able to work continuously since Star Trek went off the air. But chances are you don’t know what they were doing because if they weren’t Kirk or Spock, it wasn’t much noticed. They are “stars” only in the world of Star Trek.
I found that quote highly offensive and untrue. Just review all I had collected up to this point and you could see that they did indeed stay busy, especially Nimoy, who had In Search Of… in syndication, numerous stage work and was about to be seen in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and while Bill ran the game show circuit (usually a last ditch effort to stay in the public eye), but also did numerous appearances on popular dramas like Columbo and Mannix. Okay, so they weren’t superstars like Robert Redford, but they were working, and working hard. Trek would give them the last laugh, of course, especially after the second movie, when their stars would rise to their greatest visibility and successes. And looking back on this, I’ve become aware of the quality of rubber cement too! (pardon the brown splotches) And I used to have that very issue of Star Trek Fan Clubs, but I think I sold it on eBay-Sorry!
Here’s today’s flashback: From March of 1978, the official confirmation article form the beloved Starlog Magazine (the ultimate geek periodical of the time giving us the final rundown of the press conference for the upcoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (that was an awful title, wasn’t it? They should have called it V’Ger Unleashed or something else!) Anyway, Nimoy explains here that his long awaited casting as Spock was delayed because the communication “between Paramount and Vulcan was very slow” 😉 , and Shatner, when asked it if will be hard to recreate Kirk after 9 years, paraphrases the great Spencer Tracy* “You take a deep breath and say the words.”
Trekkies could always rely on Starlog to bring them the latest news. This piece was written by Susan Sackett, a writer and associate to Gene Roddenberry well known to Trek fans (I think I have a letter from her someplace).
*Shatner was blessed to work with Spencer Tracy in Judgment at Nuremburg
Here’s today’s Flashback: From March 28, 1978, an article (from all things) The Star tabloid — a real full color article on the launch of the Trek movie (a feature less common then than it is now). You can see the estimate for the movie was 15 million dollars, I believe when it was all finished it came to something like 40 million (but I’ll have to check my facts). You’ll note that as ever the picky Trekkie, I was always on top of clerical errors in these old articles, here noting that Grace Lee Whitney was mis-identified as Christine Chapel, even as the real Chapel, Majel Barrett is standing at left in big picture, you can see my teenage scrawl identifying her in the margin, as well as the mis-caption of the lower right hand pic, and cross outs of other mistakes involving Waler Koenig and Grace. And the flashback is naturally backward too! Oh these Trek amateurs! At least Grace looks ecstatic, probably hoping that this would bring back some good work. I always liked Grace, a crime she was screwed over in the original production because Gene wanted Kirk to have more space babes!