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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 June 26 2013, 05:05 AM   #1
Komack
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New questions

As some of you may know, I've started a wonderful journey of sharing Star Trek episodes with my kids (12 and 10 years old). I watched all the original episodes as a kid, but my children continue to come up with questions that I never thought of as a child - so I've been posting questions on this forum and sharing answers with my kids. Here are tonight's questions:

(1) Has the question about a bathroom on the bridge ever been answered?

(2) After seeing several close ups of Spock and Uhura pushing and manipulating buttons at their respective stations, my son wants to know how they know what buttons to push without any letters, labeling, etc. Did the actors actually have a system/routine that they followed, or did they just random push buttons in the scenes?
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Old June 26 2013, 05:18 AM   #2
Lance
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Re: New questions

Komack wrote: View Post
(1) Has the question about a bathroom on the bridge ever been answered?
Never officially, but the Franz Joseph blueprints of the bridge had it ringed with a corridor between the outer shell and the bridge, accessable via the secondary door seen in The Animated Series. This corridor did include toilet facilities.

The Next Generaton went one further by actually including a door labelled 'head' at the back of the bridge, just next to the doors to the conference room.

(2) After seeing several close ups of Spock and Uhura pushing and manipulating buttons at their respective stations, my son wants to know how they know what buttons to push without any letters, labeling, etc. Did the actors actually have a system/routine that they followed, or did they just random push buttons in the scenes?
I do remember hearing that actor George Takei worked out his own method for operating his console as Sulu. Perhaps the other actors did the same? Spock's station was by far the most 'hero' of them all (ie, it had the most props to play with, like that sensor thing he was always looking into) so I imagine Nimoy at least figured out in his own mind what everything did and tried to keep it consistent.
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Old June 26 2013, 05:44 AM   #3
MikeH92467
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Re: New questions

Komack wrote: View Post

(2) After seeing several close ups of Spock and Uhura pushing and manipulating buttons at their respective stations, my son wants to know how they know what buttons to push without any letters, labeling, etc. Did the actors actually have a system/routine that they followed, or did they just random push buttons in the scenes?
From a sound editor's standpoint it would make sense to have some sort of system so that pushing a certain button would correspond to a certain sound effect. Audio cues are subtle, but incredibly important when it comes to telling the audience what's going on and I wouldn't be surprised if at the very least there was some sort agreement between the actors and sound effects techs as to when to push at least a few key buttons so that there could be some degree of continuity. Otherwise, the sound editor would be reinventing the wheel for every episode. Just a guess on my part...I'd be very interested in hearing from those who have first hand knowledge.
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Old June 26 2013, 06:00 AM   #4
SpHeRe31459
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Re: New questions

The close-ups of the button presses were probably deliberate (probably the way one of their tech consultants said to do things and/or the director's personal ideas about the buttons) and likely were done by stand-ins shot at another time. I don't know this for sure, but it's often the case with shots like that.

A fun semi-related tidbit about the bridge buttons that comes from Doug Drexler when he was on ENT doing "In a Mirror Darkly". On the Defiant recreation bridge set they actually put small labels on the buttons because they thought that if TOS was real, it would be silly that they weren't actually labeled. They found that even though they were filming in HD you still couldn't see the little labels they made, even in the close ups.
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Old June 26 2013, 02:53 PM   #5
Redfern
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Re: New questions

Fans have also suggested the stations were "configurable" (in universe). The crewperson would press a certain sequence of command buttons that would then change the functions of the remaining controls.

As for "labels", someone suggested the more "prism" like buttons might display text that's viewable from a relatively narrow angle, say from the standard sitting position. Since we as the audience rarely saw the stations from those angles, we just don't see the text.

Hey, if nothing else, these questions indicate your kids are interested and want to suspend their disbelief.

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old June 26 2013, 04:20 PM   #6
Christopher
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Re: New questions

The Making of Star Trek does suggest that the actors had a pretty clear sense of what controls performed what function. There's an anecdote about an actor refusing a director's instruction to push a certain button because it was the wrong one for the particular function (and might've blown up the ship), but the actor was probably joking around.

For the abortive Phase II TV revival that evolved into Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the technical staff actually put together an Enterprise Flight Manual containing detailed diagrams of the key stations in the various sets and explanations of what sets of controls were meant to perform what functions.
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Old June 26 2013, 06:58 PM   #7
Shawnster
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Re: New questions

Said flight manual can be found here: http://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/efm.php
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Old June 26 2013, 08:40 PM   #8
Halmirdax
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Re: New questions

Wow, inquisitive children you have. Really interesting answers.
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Old June 27 2013, 01:25 AM   #9
Komack
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Re: New questions

Thanks for all the information, folks. Tonight we are meeting a certain bombastic Squire, so more questions about may follow....
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Old June 27 2013, 04:06 AM   #10
StarCruiser
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Re: New questions

Inquisitive kids are a very good thing. Bodes well for their future. That, and them being willing to give a nearly 50 year old TV show a shot!
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Old June 27 2013, 11:04 AM   #11
Robert Comsol
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Re: New questions

Truly good questions the kids have been asking and I'm looking forward to many of their questions arising from "Wink of an Eye" and others.

1) There is no suggestion in TOS that the Bridge does have a bathroom / toilet as the wall panels left and right of the main viewscreen do not feature handles or anything that could suggest such a thing.

Either Bridge officers "do their business" prior to their work shift (with the help of 23rd Century medicine?) or can ask one of the other Bridge crew members (from secondary monitor stations) to take over for a few minutes, IMHO.

2) The way I recall it there was no button pushing scheme on the Bridge, except for Kirk's intercom button on the command chair.
However, for TMP / ST I they went for a scheme where the actors had to familiarize themselves with the console layout and push the right buttons to provide more realism.

Bob
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Old June 27 2013, 01:43 PM   #12
1001001
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Re: New questions

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post

Either Bridge officers "do their business" prior to their work shift (with the help of 23rd Century medicine?) or can ask one of the other Bridge crew members (from secondary monitor stations) to take over for a few minutes, IMHO.
That would be a great scene!

Chekov: Permission to leave the bridge, Captain?
Kirk: What for?
Chekov: I have to take a dump, Sir.

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Old June 27 2013, 01:57 PM   #13
Talos
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Re: New questions

1001001 wrote: View Post
That would be a great scene!

Chekov: Permission to leave the bridge, Captain?
Kirk: What for?
Chekov: I have to take a dump, Sir.



I can't decide if that's better or worse then the TNG alternative, with the head right there. Right in front of the rest of the bridge crew. No wonder Picard has his own in his ready room.

I always liked the idea of there being one in that gangway around the TOS bridge though. It's a clever idea.
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Old June 27 2013, 04:10 PM   #14
BoredShipCapt'n
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Re: New questions

I remember reading an article (in either Parade magazine or the Saturday Evening Post) just before ST:TMP came out, which said that for the first time the controls on the bridge would be coordinated to certain effects: "So when Sulu switches to 'magnification ten,' he'll have to push the same button every time!"

So said the article (which I obviously read entirely too many times back in the day).
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Old June 27 2013, 04:29 PM   #15
Christopher
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Re: New questions

^Well, it's not like the "magnification" effect would be live on the set, since the main viewscreen images were matted in separately. But yeah, I think some of the controls were practical and would trigger certain light displays on the consoles to activate, for instance.
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