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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old December 30 2010, 03:29 AM   #1
cmdr_forst
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Spock with red makeup

I started reading Star Trek 365 a few days ago and on page eight (or eight/nine depending on how you read the numbers) the book mentions Roddenberry's desire to have Spock have red skin, or at least a red tint. It says "early tests showed that red makeup didn't translate well on black-and-white television" because it looked jet black.

Have any of these early tests shown up? Star Trek History has a two early make-up tests for Nimoy/Spock from "The Cage." They are in black-and-white and the makeup does not appear jet black, so I am assuming they do not reflect the red makeup mentioned in Star Trek 365.

(On the topic of make-up, Star Trek History also has a few stills of Majel Barett testing the green Orion make-up. Are there more floating around? Any test footage?)
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Old December 30 2010, 05:55 PM   #2
Maurice
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Re: Spock with red makeup

I don't recall these references ever said "jet black", just that the red read as black (i.e. dark skin) on B&W TVs.
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Old December 30 2010, 06:08 PM   #3
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Re: Spock with red makeup

I'm glad that they didn't go with the red makeup. It would have looked ridiculous.
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Old December 30 2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: Spock with red makeup

Red? Like an American Indian skin tone? That would've backfired, I think. If anything, it would play up the "devil" appearance a bit much, at least on color television. And then on B&W (black and white) sets, he'd have looked more ethnic.

Funny to think about that, the idea of color television being new and B&W sets still predominant. My parents bought their first color television in 1970, while some friends of theirs got one in 1968. Back in the time of TOS, a majority of people were watching it on B&W sets (based on known statistics of household color TV ownership). Just look at the stats on TV sales. It wasn't until 1972 that color TV sales surpassed B&W. Strangely, after 1974, B&W TV sales began to climb again, probably due to the economic strains of the day.

So, I'll have to bet some of the choices for color had to be made to look OK on both color and B&W TV's. This might explain some cases when things looked a little odd, color-wise.
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Old December 30 2010, 10:19 PM   #5
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Re: Spock with red makeup

DS9Sega wrote: View Post
I don't recall these references ever said "jet black", just that the red read as black (i.e. dark skin) on B&W TVs.
Star Trek 365 does indeed say "jet black."

Gary7 wrote: View Post
Red? Like an American Indian skin tone? That would've backfired, I think. If anything, it would play up the "devil" appearance a bit much, at least on color television. And then on B&W (black and white) sets, he'd have looked more ethnic.
I wish we knew exactly how red Spock's skin was originally supposed to be. If it was as red as Susan Oliver's Orion slave girl makeup was green, I imagine it would have been pretty red. A "red tint" is harder for me to visualize.
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Old December 30 2010, 10:50 PM   #6
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Re: Spock with red makeup

Gary7 wrote: View Post

Strangely, after 1974, B&W TV sales began to climb again, probably due to the economic strains of the day.
More likely due to people beginning to buy second TV's (B&W being more affordable) for their homes. I know we had a 25" color floor model and two small 13" black & white sets.
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Old December 30 2010, 10:53 PM   #7
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Re: Spock with red makeup

^^^OT -- we did, as well. And when the color set broke in the late 60s, we sat one of the small B/Ws on it as the color set was quite a handsome center piece in the living room.

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Old December 30 2010, 10:58 PM   #8
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Re: Spock with red makeup

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
^^^OT -- we did, as well. And when the color set broke in the late 60s, we sat one of the small B/Ws on it as the color set was quite a handsome center piece in the living room.

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That would've made me sad everytime I turned on the black and white set...
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Old December 31 2010, 06:13 AM   #9
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Re: Spock with red makeup

BillJ wrote: View Post
Gary7 wrote: View Post

Strangely, after 1974, B&W TV sales began to climb again, probably due to the economic strains of the day.
More likely due to people beginning to buy second TV's (B&W being more affordable) for their homes. I know we had a 25" color floor model and two small 13" black & white sets.
My family didn't get a color television until the fall of 1976. Prior to that we were watching a 12 inch black and white TV.
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Old December 31 2010, 06:34 AM   #10
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Re: Spock with red makeup

One thing about the red face is from a book I once read that said Spock's design according to Roddenberry was "probably half-Martian. He looks like Satan" and this was to show people not to judge by appearances and such.

Another problem was that the first two color tests of Nimoy's makeup came back looking like Nimoy with no makeup. It turns out that the film colorists weren't told about the makeup and spent all night "fixing" it, twice.
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Old December 31 2010, 08:37 AM   #11
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Re: Spock with red makeup

JRoss wrote: View Post
Another problem was that the first two color tests of Nimoy's makeup came back looking like Nimoy with no makeup. It turns out that the film colorists weren't told about the makeup and spent all night "fixing" it, twice.
Hahaha

I remember staring at the screen thinking, "Is Spock supposed to be yellow?"
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Old December 31 2010, 09:02 AM   #12
Captain Robert April
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Re: Spock with red makeup

I think we're starting to mix stories.

The bit with the color mixers "fixing" things was the green makeup tests, with Majel standing in for Susan Oliver.

As for Nimoy in red looking black on a b&w set, whether the original teller of the tale meant jet black or Negro, either way Nimoy looks like he's in blackface, and either way you're reduced the first adult-oriented science fiction continuing series television program to a minstrel show, so I doubt they went through more than one test with the red (whereas they went through about a half dozen green tests on poor Majel before someone called down to the lab to ask why their green girl doesn't look green on film {"You mean she's suppsed to be that color?"} and got that mess straightened out).
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Old December 31 2010, 01:22 PM   #13
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Re: Spock with red makeup

Red Spock would have been weird, no question. But then, if he'd always been red, we wouldn't even question it.

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Old December 31 2010, 03:40 PM   #14
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Re: Spock with red makeup

cmdr_forst wrote: View Post
Star Trek 365 does indeed say "jet black."
Well, it says two different things. In D. C. Fontana's introduction, she says it made Nimoy look like "an escapee from a minstrel show" (i.e. a white performer in blackface like Al Jolson). But later, in the main text by Paula Block and Terry Erdmann, the term "jet-black" is used. Given that Fontana was directly involved with the production while Block and Erdmann are giving a second-hand account, I'd give more weight to Fontana's version.
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Old December 31 2010, 04:51 PM   #15
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Re: Spock with red makeup

A lot of blackface make-ups are jet black. So it's back to square one.
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