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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old November 26 2012, 11:42 PM   #16
Terengo
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Redfern wrote: View Post
And it's possible only two sides of the structure was built. Was the facade ever shot from the right side or the back? That would have saved some expense, both materials and labor.

Regardless, it was one of the most impressive elements depicted in Trek.

Sincerely,

Bill
We can see three sides of the object in the pictures. Not sure how much it would save to leave off the 4th side (although it might have made it easier to get inside to assemble it).
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Old November 27 2012, 01:15 AM   #17
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

I doubt they would've built the fourth side if it didn't appear on camera. At least, they wouldn't have painted it.
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Old November 27 2012, 03:35 AM   #18
TremblingBluStar
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Harvey wrote: View Post

Inside Star Trek: The Real Story quotes the third season budget at $178,500 per episode (page 399). The second season budget was $187,500 per episode (page 317) according to the same book. Memory Alpha quotes the average first season budget at $190,635 per episode, although skimming I can't find the page number.

Although the decrease might not seem like a lot of money, when you take into account two years of salary increases for each of the regular and semi-regular actors (not to mention the additional increase in pay Nimoy negotiated for after the first season) it is. It doesn't help that many of the costs of production are fixed. Since you can't cut the salaries being drawn for above-the-line costs (writing, directing, acting) -- many of which are actually increasing -- that means the money has to come from below-the-line areas of the production. That's one of the reasons why only two episodes in the entire season went on location.
I figured performer salaries were an issue and a reason why the budget was an issue in the third season. However, given only three of the cast members received top billing, I'm not sure how much of an issue this was in reality.

Either way, I didn't get the impression that the last season was substantially cheaper looking than the others. The writing took a nosedive. I think "That Which Survives", or "This Way to Eden", "Spock's Brain", "And the Children Shall Lead" and "Turnabout Intruder" prove this. There were still a number of good, classic episodes regardless.

One thing I have noticed about season 3 is that the costume budget for female guest stars was much, much skimpier than in previous seasons!
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Old November 27 2012, 04:46 AM   #19
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Desilu had a huge overhead charge that ate up a lot of budget, but was that overhead carried over when Paramount took over?

With less overhead, they might have had MORE of the budget actually available to use for the actual production 3rd season, which would explain how they could drop 90 grand on just the vfx for THOLIAN (that is the figure Mike Minor was quoted as citing when interviewed about his career in ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS magazine. Occasionally I wondered if it was a typo, but 9 grand sounds way low, even for back then, given that it was something like a three month stint to put that stuff together for the episode.)

Also you've got rear projection on the bridge a few times, which, while it saves on opticals, costs in stage time to set up. And great bits like the aforementioned obelisk (which must have been built solid, because it would have been blowing in the breeze if it was a lightweight construct) and the klingon cruiser - especially that nice bit of animation when it gets vaporized into milk in DOVE.
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Old November 27 2012, 04:59 AM   #20
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

TremblingBluStar wrote: View Post
I figured performer salaries were an issue and a reason why the budget was an issue in the third season. However, given only three of the cast members received top billing, I'm not sure how much of an issue this was in reality.
Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley were not the only three actors with contracts that guaranteed annual raises. Koenig, Takei, and Doohan also received annual raises. Nichols was was paid as a day player, although she may have received a raise at some point. Since she didn't have a contract (only a hand-shake deal), there's no paper trail as far as I know. I don't have her memoir, so I can't consult it for more information, but it might say.

Either way, I didn't get the impression that the last season was substantially cheaper looking than the others. The writing took a nosedive. I think "That Which Survives", or "This Way to Eden", "Spock's Brain", "And the Children Shall Lead" and "Turnabout Intruder" prove this. There were still a number of good, classic episodes regardless.
Inside Star Trek: The Real Story suggests that an important difference between season three and the first two years is that the third season producers did not have the money to "junk" stories and/or scripts that were not working out (page 399). I'm not sure of the veracity of this claim; certainly, the third season junked a few potential episodes, but it may well have done so less times than in the first and second season.
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Old November 27 2012, 05:14 AM   #21
Gil T.Azell
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

I'm thinking the Vol set/prop in the "Apple" was fairly large as well.
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Old November 27 2012, 05:45 AM   #22
Melakon
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

The Galileo shuttlecraft was a pretty good sized prop too. Regarding the Paradise Syndrome Obelisk, I was convinced it must have been something redressed from another production, until I saw Jefferies' sketches a few years ago.
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Old November 27 2012, 07:30 AM   #23
Maurice
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

trevanian wrote: View Post
Desilu had a huge overhead charge that ate up a lot of budget, but was that overhead carried over when Paramount took over?

With less overhead, they might have had MORE of the budget actually available to use for the actual production 3rd season, which would explain how they could drop 90 grand on just the vfx for THOLIAN (that is the figure Mike Minor was quoted as citing when interviewed about his career in ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS magazine. Occasionally I wondered if it was a typo, but 9 grand sounds way low, even for back then, given that it was something like a three month stint to put that stuff together for the episode.)

Also you've got rear projection on the bridge a few times, which, while it saves on opticals, costs in stage time to set up. And great bits like the aforementioned obelisk (which must have been built solid, because it would have been blowing in the breeze if it was a lightweight construct) and the klingon cruiser - especially that nice bit of animation when it gets vaporized into milk in DOVE.
Methinks Mike misremembered. It seems unlikely that a show that budget conscious would have thrown a half an episode's worth of budget at optical effects.

By the way, hi!
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Old November 27 2012, 04:39 PM   #24
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Melakon wrote: View Post
The Galileo shuttlecraft was a pretty good sized prop too.
The difference being that it was intended for ongoing use so the cost was amortized across the full series. Also, didn't they contract the construction out to AMT in exchange for the model-kit rights, or something?
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Old November 27 2012, 04:50 PM   #25
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, they had to truck the structures for Miramanee's village out to the location as well. It wasn't a very large village, just five fairly basic structures and a number of canoes, but the total amount of material involved seems at least as great as the amount of wood that would've gone into building the obelisk.

And if you think about it, the weight and volume of all those pieces of scenery probably wasn't as substantial as the weight and volume of the cameras, sound equipment, lights, generators, trailers for the cast and crew, craft services (food) table, etc. that they would've had to truck out to the location anyway. It's not like they normally would've just driven up there in a pickup. Location shooting is a major operation. Transporting and erecting the obelisk would've been a relatively small part of the total logistics.
These are all excellent points, Chris. And, thanks for putting it in context w/ the village set etc.
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Old November 27 2012, 06:16 PM   #26
TremblingBluStar
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Harvey wrote: View Post

Inside Star Trek: The Real Story suggests that an important difference between season three and the first two years is that the third season producers did not have the money to "junk" stories and/or scripts that were not working out (page 399). I'm not sure of the veracity of this claim; certainly, the third season junked a few potential episodes, but it may well have done so less times than in the first and second season.
Could be true. I've always heard the cause was Gene Roddenberry taking more of a backseat role, and new writers being brought on board (for less pay, no doubt). A look at the writers for each season shows quite a few new ones (and Gene L. Coon using a Lee Cronin as a pen name).

Though before giving Roddenberry too much credit, if you notice his two third season contributions in clue such gems as "The Savage Curtain" and "Turnabout Intruder".
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Old November 27 2012, 08:37 PM   #27
Forbin
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Melakon wrote: View Post
The Galileo shuttlecraft was a pretty good sized prop too.
The difference being that it was intended for ongoing use so the cost was amortized across the full series. Also, didn't they contract the construction out to AMT in exchange for the model-kit rights, or something?
Yup. Which has been giving us model-builders a for decades, because the AMT model is horribly, horribly inaccurate to both the prop AND the filming miniature.
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Old November 27 2012, 08:44 PM   #28
Melakon
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Melakon wrote: View Post
The Galileo shuttlecraft was a pretty good sized prop too.
The difference being that it was intended for ongoing use so the cost was amortized across the full series. Also, didn't they contract the construction out to AMT in exchange for the model-kit rights, or something?
Yes. For some reason I blanked on the thread title specifying "one-time prop" and didn't notice until after making the post. One of my disappointments with the AMT model was it didn't have an interior, and I couldn't find any 1/25 or 1/32 scale figures that seemed to match its size.
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Old November 27 2012, 10:09 PM   #29
BoredShipCapt'n
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

They probably saved some money on costume design for the episode. Must have been plenty of Amerindian getup lying around from old Westerns.
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Old November 27 2012, 10:24 PM   #30
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Re: TOS's largest one time prop.

Melakon wrote: View Post
... it didn't have an interior.
Mine did, sort of. There were seven seats (but no platform floor), an front control panel and a interior bulkhead that gave the model a bluge 3/4 of the way back from the bow.

My astronauts made of lego blocks fit the seat nicely. Plus it floated in the tub.

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