So I got myself a present.
It’s a big, fat book full of Star Trek.
And I quite enjoyed it.
It bills itself as the “definitive” guide to Star Trek, but, as the owner of manyStar Trek reference books, I beg todiffer.
It’s got a lot of interesting stuff, a lot of stuff I already knew, and a lot of photos. Sadly, most of the photos were really just frames from the episodes themselves, but they were well selected and well reproduced.
I found it very odd that third season producer Fred Freiberger, a figure universally shat upon by Trek fans as the one who killed the show (and similarly scorned by fans of Space: 1999, for which he served as producer for the hated second season) is not once mentioned by name in the entire book. That, to me, is simply spiteful and certainly not definitive. So bottom line is, if you’re looking for a book that gives you a list of all the cast and crew, you need to look elsewhere.
But it does work as an overview of the production and life of the original series, with all its ups and downs. It’s handsomely put together and does contain a lot that was new and interesting to me, despite all the Trek non-fiction I’ve read over the years. Discussion of the disposition of the original Enterprise model, particularly, and photos of same, fascinated me. And it actually discussed the music, which is, unsurprisingly, a favorite topic of mine.
One of the most striking features of the book, though, is a completely unintentional reveal of the immense cultural divide that separates us from the 1960s. And I’m not talking about go go boots and short skirts and such.
There’s a backstage photo from Amok Time featuring several actors getting Vulcan make up applied. And here’s the thing. The make up artists are all men. And they’re all wearing ties. You can even see fancy cuff links on the sleeves of chief make up artist Fred Phillips. What a shock! Can you imagine seeing anyone on a movie or tv set today actually wearing a tie? And, really, aren’t almost all film/tv make up artists women these days? People in the sixties still dressed up to go to work at the movie studio. Being professionals meant dressing like a professional. And that meant a suit and tie. Sure, you can take off your jacket while actually gluing on ear tips, but by gum you’re going to keep your tie on.
This all put me in mind of Jesse Thorn’s web series about “dressing like an adult” and how unusual it is that director Paul Feig wears a suit and tie to the set every day.
Maybe I’ll start wearing a tie whenever I write a blog post. There are worse ways to dress.