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Albertese November 11 2012 06:39 PM

TOS Door Colors
I've been wondering about this and, rather than re-watching the entire series to find out, I figured that certain posters here might have already given this some thought.

Seems like the colors of the doors off the corridor set on TOS were a bunch of fun colors. Do you suppose that the colors were meant to identify what lay beyond the door in a similar spirit as having the various department crew wear different colored shirts? If so, what are the correlations?

I seem to recall doors that were red, yellow, gray, and blue.



TIN_MAN November 11 2012 07:23 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
Yes, I've always assumed they were color coded; it breaks down something like this (in my mind).

Red doors = engineering (and turbo-lifts)

Blue doors = science and medical (at least on the corridor side)

Yellow/gold = command and related

Grey = all others

Of course this was not practically achieved in all instances in the show, but it seems to have been the general idea they were shootin for?

Robert Comsol November 12 2012 12:10 AM

Re: TOS Door Colors
I've been wondering myself but I gave up after the first episodes. It seemed that red doors would indicate turbolifts exclusively (especially with a corresponding sign above) but already in "The Naked Time" there were blue (or grey) turbolift doors.


blssdwlf November 12 2012 06:51 AM

Re: TOS Door Colors
Ditto. I don't think it is consistent enough for an obvious pattern for door colors - but I could be wrong :)

wildstar November 12 2012 08:40 AM

Re: TOS Door Colors
The grey ones are in the middle of being sanded down and repainted.

Robert Comsol November 12 2012 03:02 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors

wildstar wrote: (Post 7243030)
"The grey ones are in the middle of being sanded down and repainted."

:rofl: Seriously, I watched several episodes (in regard to the transporter room locations) and the door opposite to the transporter room set appears to be constantly yellow (in "Charlie X" the strange lightning of the corridor makes it look orange).

The Season One door to the engine control room (near the turbolift at the corridor end) is also yellow. But if you want to assign an engineering function to it, you'll have a problem at the end of "Balance of Terror" where the editing clearly suggests that the door in this episode leads to the ship's chapel.

I'm wondering if it were better to apply a process of elimination, i.e. what's not behind the door. It would appear colored doors neither provide access to crew quarters or medical facilities. Yellow doors might indicate other ship's facilities. Blue doors (e.g. hangar deck) might indicate doors that also serve as bulkheads in case of an emergency.


Timo November 12 2012 03:15 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
Or it might be a matter of clearance after all. Grey is for everybody, including possible passengers and assorted other civilians; you need some sort of a clearance to use the express turbolifts marked in red, or enter the engineering spaces, or use the transporters, or visit the personnel residing in cabins thus marked; and only command staff is cleared to use the yellow doors (such as the one for the Captain's Locker Room in "Charlie X" ;) )...

Timo Saloniemi

TIN_MAN November 12 2012 05:52 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
Well, a lot depends on whether we're using the Thermion approach or not?

If so, then no, there's not enough consistency to suggest color codes.

If not, then we have a little more wiggle room.

throwback November 12 2012 08:06 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
Then there is this to consider. Many of the signs adjacent to the doors are unreadable, even on the Blue-Ray. Personally, I don't think there was a thought process behind what color the doors were.

Timo November 13 2012 12:07 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
"No thought process by the makers of the show" sounds like a good bet. But the question here would seem to be whether there was any thought process from the part of Starfleet.

Timo Saloniemi

Robert Comsol November 13 2012 02:36 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
I find myself corrected: From Season Three on (after "Elaan of Troyius") the door opposite to the transporter room is red.

I don't think "no thought process" is fair. Take "Amok Time" where at the beginning McCoy is leaving some room at the end of Spock's corridor which usually is a turbolift (with red doors). For this particular scene the door color changed to grey.

And for the signs adjacent to the doors they mostly made an effort, especially in Season One, to change the texts: "Personnel Director", "Science Library", "Computer Systems", "Briefing Room 2", "Astro-Medicine Ward 1" (aka Sickbay) etc.
In the beginning, they tried to mark crew's cabins with black signs and others rooms with blue signs.
One of the signs they appear to have used permanently is a blue one saying "Officers Quarters" with an arrow and cabin numbers.


throwback November 13 2012 03:02 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
There were two signs for Officer's Quarters. (This is clearly seen in "Day of the Dove") And there was one sign for Crew Quarters. Unique signage continued into the last episode. One of the last signs seen, in "The Turnabout Intruder", was for the isolation ward of the Astro-Medical Department.

Timo November 13 2012 03:59 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors

I don't think "no thought process" is fair. Take "Amok Time" where at the beginning McCoy is leaving some room at the end of Spock's corridor which usually is a turbolift (with red doors). For this particular scene the door color changed to grey.
Which of the turbolift sets was "wild" and detached for interior shoots? Would the corridor doors have been removed as part of the process of moving the turbolift around, and replaced by whatever was the most conveniently available afterwards?

Timo Saloniemi

Mytran November 13 2012 11:02 PM

Re: TOS Door Colors
During the course of the series, all of the turbolifts were moved at some point.

As for the door in Amok TIme, it was more turquoise wasn't it?

Sadly even the HD screencaps don't reveal what's on the sign - presumably some sort of medical lab.

Robert Comsol November 14 2012 11:11 AM

Re: TOS Door Colors

Can you (or somebody else) tell me if an overview of the different text labels in TOS does exist? I'd really like to spare myself this kind of work if someone else has already done it. ;)


There are odd cases where turbolift locations changed. In "Mudd's Women" they seem to enter the turbolift at the end of the corridor (near the yellow door to engine control) but then actually enter a turbo lift 7 behind an A-frame. This edit seems to suggest a turbo lift in the corridor opposite of engineering (and more like the motion picture turbolifts) which would probably make this the only time in TOS a turbo lift there has been suggested (the original Season One set plans considered this corridor end for a turbo lift location where the set plans for Season Two did not) as I do not recall another example (although this would be the only turbo lift location in the set plans corresponding with the turbolift from the bridge and a vertical shaft).

In "The Enemy Within" we see the regular turbo lift location (at the end of the circular corridor) Kirk and Spock enter to travel to Sickbay (strange, they didn't notice Evilkirk or Mytran...:D)

In "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Robotkirk arrives near Kirk's quarters (he moved - again?!?) in a turbolift right next to the aforementioned one where there's also the Season One Jefferies Tube (different angle than in Season Two and Three). The yellow door of this little JT corridor serves no function at all in this particular scene (if the main corridor wall panel is in place - like in "The Enemy Within" - I believe this might be a yellow door to the crew's restrooms).


A medical lab on Deck 5 (Spock's quarters)? Actually "Amok Time" confused me incredibly and I'm wondering if "Astro-Medicine Ward 1" ("Way to Eden" door sign) or Sickbay is actually located on main deck 7.

After Kirk learns that Spock has changed course to Vulcan he has made up his mind that Spock needs to be examined at Sickbay. He arrives on the bridge and calls Spock to join him. In the turbolift Kirk says explicitly "deck 5" (again, he intends to get Spock to Sickbay and not to his quarters). In the turbolift Kirk orders Spock to "report" to Sickbay. They arrive on deck 5 and Spock leaves the elevator.

IMHO, this scene clearly suggests that Sickbay is located on deck 5 and Kirk at least wanted to accompany Spock there. Measure!


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