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

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Old March 20 2013, 09:58 PM   #16
GSchnitzer
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Re: Space Art in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

Simply because I don't have anything better to do today, I'm beating trevanian to the punch and I'm reproducing and posting the relevant "Mike Minor's astronomical paintings from TOS" content from the magazine Enterprise Incidents, Issue Number 14 (February 1984). The article "Mike Minor: Star Trek Through the Years" by Mr. James Van Hise is about ten pages long, so I'm not going to reproduce the whole thing. But the relevant content is in what has to be the longest single paragraph this side of Mark Twain's humorous short story "The Story of The Ram."


"I'd watched Star Trek from when it first aired in 1966 and just got my guts together one day and called up Gene Roddenberry's office and made an appointment. I wound up going to see associate producer, Bob Justman, who went on do do hings like Man from Atlantis and A Man Called Bronson [I think he meant Then Came Bronson--Ed.]. I had a pleasant little interview with Gene; he was more than civil. He was very warm and asked me for my background. I had a folio of sketches, astronomical art and slides which I showed to Bob Jusstman and he got me in touch with John Dwyer, the set director at the time on he show. We worked out a very simple deal where as an outside supplier I would bring in the finished work and, of course, Paramount could say that they were purchasing my work rather than hiring someone who was non-union since I was not involved or associated with any of the guilds at the time. They saw some of my sketches and Roddenberry said, 'You, know, I've always wanted to have art on the ship in some form or manner so that it's not so sterile. To portray the beauty of the universe on a budget. Something which would show that the universe is a beautiful place out there, not all bleak, dead planetoids.' So I came back to them some weeks later with some sketches and they liked them and chose several and I wound up doing about eighteen small acrylic paintings which were mounted and hung around several areas of the ship and if you blinked you'd miss them but they were there in Rec Room, Kirk's quarters, and the mess hall (which was a redress for budgetary purposes of the Rec Room). My goal was I purported to 'sell' them as the space traveller's guide to the universe, as snapshots or some kind of reproduction or memory of places they'd been on the tour of duty. There were little placards which I made up with little stardates. Some of them were from space, of planets and there there was one I did of the camera winging past an Earth-like planet with lots of clouds and in the distance was a double-star and it was throwing off hydrogen gas rings. I was quite enamored of that conjectural painting by (Chesley) Bonestell of the Bettalyrae [It's spelled Beta Lyrae--Ed.] system which is supposedly material from a blue giant being sucked off by a white dwarf companion, and because of gravitational forces it's whiplashing around the smaller companion and then being launched out into space as ever widening concentric rings. [I think he simply meant 'spiral' instead of 'ever-widening concentric rings'--Ed.] of hydrogen gas. As a matter of fact I made use of that years later in Spacehunter in the opening. If you're up on astronomy you'll see that one in the opening shot of Spacehunter. We come down to that in three dimensions, and go into that system and find a starliner drifting through on a sightseeing trip. Anyway, I did these paintings for Star Trek in '67 and they purchased them for a very low figure, but it got me in the door. It was minimal money and they had a minimal budget of $6,000.00 for sets per episode and the set decorator had less than that."


For those that haven't seen Chesley Bonestell's famous "Beta Lyrae" painting, it looks like this:





As a side note, we get to see the Beta Lyrae star system (also sometimes called by its traditional Arabic name Sheliak) in the animated episode "The Slaver Weapon." Mister Spock offers that "Beta Lyrae is one of the rare spectacles of the galaxy; almost every ship that passes stops to see it."

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Old March 20 2013, 10:50 PM   #17
Robert Comsol
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Re: Space Art in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
[Mike Minor:] My goal was I purported to 'sell' them as the space traveller's guide to the universe, as snapshots or some kind of reproduction or memory of places they'd been on the tour of duty.

There were little placards which I made up with little stardates.

Some of them were from space, of planets and there there was one I did of the camera winging past an Earth-like planet with lots of clouds and in the distance was a double-star and it was throwing off hydrogen gas rings.
Thanks Greg for this insightful information.

I wouldn't be surprised if one of the structures on these paintings was from Vulcan.

Bob
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Old March 20 2013, 10:59 PM   #18
GSchnitzer
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Re: Space Art in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
[Mike Minor:] My goal was I purported to 'sell' them as the space traveller's guide to the universe, as snapshots or some kind of reproduction or memory of places they'd been on the tour of duty.

There were little placards which I made up with little stardates.

Some of them were from space, of planets and there there was one I did of the camera winging past an Earth-like planet with lots of clouds and in the distance was a double-star and it was throwing off hydrogen gas rings.
Thanks Greg for this insightful information.

I wouldn't be surprised if one of the structures on these paintings was from Vulcan.

Bob
If the paintings (some, all, or just any) do surface one day, I wouldn't be suprised if the little identifyling placards are misplaced or lost and are no longer attached.

Then again, the old, original, Galileo was "destroyed" years ago too, so you just never know.
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Old March 21 2013, 01:18 AM   #19
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Space Art in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

I always thought it was odd that the paintings were composed as narrow vertical frames instead of being "widescreen." If the same canvas shape was oriented the wide way instead of the tall way, a more natural vision could be presented.
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Old March 21 2013, 03:13 AM   #20
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Re: Space Art in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
I always thought it was odd that the paintings were composed as narrow vertical frames instead of being "widescreen." If the same canvas shape was oriented the wide way instead of the tall way, a more natural vision could be presented.
Well, I think that was more John Dwyer's call more than Mike Minor's.

Mike Minor actully did compose many of the paintings in a landscape orientation and not a portrait orientation. It would appear that set decorator John Dwyer was then responsible for "stacking" the paintings in columns. Here are two on top of one another--a set from Kirk's quarters:



(The two paintings themselves are actually in landscape orientation.)

Orienting them the "wide way" instead of the "tall way" would indeed be a more natural vision. Having done some set decorating on the Enterprise, I can tell you that trying to show a futuristic and exotic 23rd century starship that is different from the 20th century--but not too different--might be the exact reason why the more "natural" way of displaying the paintings wasn't employed.
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