(NOTE: Hey Kids, This is a repost of one of my earliest articles from way back in 2011 when I started this blog! Posting it again today since I am finally writing Part II, about Star Trek Props!)
As I reviewed old episodes of Trek, it was enlightening to see where the costume and production departments saved money and cut costs while making the the episodes. In this first article in the series, I’ll discuss Costume Recycling.
William Ware Theiss ( to be referred here always as WWT) , the supreme costume designer/wunderkind for Star Trek TOS, was always on a tight budget and a tighter schedule. Not only could this genius improvise a bolt of cloth into a ‘how-does-it-stay-on’ gown for an alien princess, but he knew when and how to re-use elements when needed.
*In S1’s The Conscience of the King, Lenore Karidian has the wardrobe that keeps on giving. Early on, she basically wears a luxuriant gray mink bath wrap. At its center is a lovely cats eye oval brooch with a pearl drop. In a later episode, (s2’s Assignment: Earth) the gray mink dress turns up on a modern (read 1967) passerby in the crowd on Gary Seven’s Earth–this time with a longer skirt under it. Two seasons later, (S3’s Plato’s Stepchildren) the Lenore’s brooch shows up on the bosom of Lt. Uhura when she is forced into Grecian gear by the Platonians. Just goes to show that a good piece of jewelry never goes out of style!
*Another of Lenore’s gowns had been re-purposed from an earlier episode. The first time, in Dagger of the Mind, it was seen as a tie-closure tunic in foamy green and aqua stripes and a pale pink lame border. When Lenore wore it for her observation deck flirtation with Kirk, the gown has been reversed, sewn up at the shoulders, caftan style, and green marabou added at the sleeves, hints of the pink lining are glimpsed. Seems a bit ironic that Lenore’s gown was recycled from the gown of a a sanitarium resident, since Lenore herself, (although never seen there), ends up in a sanitarium too.
*Lenore’s Father, Karidian, wears a dramatic olive green robe of a coat with a dark blue swirly branch design running through it, with faux yellow-green fur trim. The very same coat is worn two seasons later by the mad Captain Garth in S3’s Whom Gods Destroy. Then Garth himself has borrowed a blue suit from Commissioner Ferris from S1’s The Galileo Seven–the collar tabs were changed from white to sparkly blue, The ascot is gone, and Garth has added jewelry. (Accessories, ladies!)
*In Season 1, Mudd’s Women, we see Eve and Ruth, two of Harry’s “cargo” looking the stunners in rose pink and mint green sparkly gowns that Diana Ross would kill for. In S2’s I, Mudd, who should turn up in these same gowns but the Annabelle and Maisie Series among Mudd’s improved androids. Gives you a bit of insight into how 60’s TV worked. I’m guessing that WWT made two gowns for the originals, especially Eve since she had more action scenes, and kept them around for incidentals. And Harry Mudd must know a wholesale retailer for glam space lady gowns! Also in I, Mudd, Norman and the other male androids wear tight gray knit long underwear that leave very little to the imagination. Later two of the same gray tights show up on Lokai and Beale in Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, only with silver spangly trim added at the shirt hem and matching gloves with matching silver spangly cuffs.
This recycling on WWT’s part became commonplace. Usually, it’s the gowns of central female characters that end up on extras in later scenes. For example:
*Attorney and Kirk-Ex Ariel Shaw wore a vibrant yellow, green and pink paisley caftan at the bar in Court Martial. (WWT loved caftans!) It shows up later on a female alien ambassador extra in Journey To Babel. And in that same scene, extra is talking to a man in another recycled suit, Lazarus’ blue suit from The Alternative Factor (Yet the suit from the later episode seems to be untorn and clean– maybe WWT made two versions?)
*In The Deadly Years, Dr. Janet Wallace first appears in brightly pink and yellow dyed burlap jumpsuit (What was WWT thinking?!) And later, in a swirly purple multi-print. Yet both of these outfits suffer a nasty fate in the S3 episode Where the Children Shall Lead where (blink and you’ll miss it) they are seen on two of the doomed mothers on the planet Triacus. (Heck, if I had to wear an itchy burlap jumpsuit, I’d die too!) In another flashback on Triacus, we see a happy mother in a pink cowl-necked mini dress, which was originally worn in the S1 episode of The Conscience of the King by character Martha Leighton. Then another of Martha Leighton’s gowns is being worn and slightly modified with straps and fluff by the android version of Harry Mudd’s wife, Stella, in S2’s I, Mudd.
Obsessed fashionistas will find The Ultimate Recycled Moment came from Seasons 1, 2, and from another TV series. In S2′s Catspaw, the wizard Korob wears a pumpkin colored robe with gold lame hood and front panel, with an all-watching eye at its center. In S1′s The Squire of Gothos, spoiled brat General Trelaine wears a grand blue velvet suit and cape trimmed with gold leaves in his castle. But wait! Didn’t we see BOTH of these costumes in an episode of Gilligan’s Island? Yup, Korob’s gown was worn by Bob Denver as the Fairy God-Father in Lovey’s Cinderella Dream in Lovey’s Secret Admirer. And then, Mr, Howell himself as the Prince, dances the night away in Trelane’s Cape! UPDATE! 6/15/14: A reader here pointed out that they may have seen Trelane’s coat on Mike Nesmith in an episode of The Monkees (Also anNBC series) and he was right: In the episode The Prince and The Pauper, we first see the coat on an old footman, then Mike dons it when pretending to be Davy’s footman. Later we see two of Trelane’s coats in the same scene, which begs the question, how many were made? I’ve also see a later photo of William Campbell, posing in his Trelane finery; I’m glad the costumers let him have one!
(11/22/12 — Found another one! Another series crossover is from the 1966 Daniel Boone episode, SeminoleTerritory, where character of Fletcher wears a splendid Indian feathered cape. Fast Forward to 1968, In The Paradise Syndrome, and Jim Kirk, a.k.a. ‘Kirok’ is wearing the same cape to marry Miramanee! I bet some of the other native costumes were reused here too, Boone was another NBC series).
(Update 9/29/15) Colonel Green’s Red jumpsuit from The Savage Curtain was later recycled into Mork from Ork (Robin William)’s classic red uniform on Mork and Mindy! The original doo-dads from the shoulders and upper front were removed, but the collar and cuff silver braid was kept, and a huge silver triangle was added to the front!
Well! I can only presume that capes were expensive to make, and someone’s been digging into Western Costume’s warehouse!
Check the Gallery here to see each of these costume switcheroos and a few more!
Next time: Props Recycled.