Enterprise Interiors - Set Usage

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    What were they thinking when they created the original set plans and made Sickbay so big? It takes up a quarter of the sound stage! It seems to me that for the same money, they could have had a more varied bunch of ship interiors. Just cut Sickbay down to one room and redress it as the part that's needed.

    Were any of the four Sickbay rooms ever redressed as another set?

    We know that Engineering doubled as the gym ("Charlie X"), the theater ("Conscience of the King"), and Starbase 11's Computer Center ("The Menagerie").

    The Briefing Room became the Rec Room in "Charlie X."

    The Transporter Room became the Chapel in "Balance of Terror." The Romulan control room was built on its own, midway between the Bridge and the Briefing Room.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What they were thinking, presumably, was that Dr. McCoy was a fairly major character and that hospitals are a staple of both drama and adventure plots (due to diseases, injuries, death scenes, autopsies, lab analyses of weird phenomena or creatures, and the like), and that it was therefore likely that they'd make a lot of use of the sickbay set, requiring something more expansive and versatile than a single room.

    I mean, even having four adjacent rooms is a bit spartan for a hospital set. There's a doctor's office, a lab, an exam room, and a patient ward, but no dedicated operating room (combining the OR and the recovery room seems like a pretty bad idea to me), no scrub area, no nurses' station, no emergency triage area, not to mention having only two or at most three beds in the ward -- really, pardon the pun, it's kind of a bare-bones facility. If anything, it was smaller than it should've been, not larger.
     
  4. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I think you're right. I was just passing on an age-old claim from somewhere. [I wonder if David Gerrold said it was the Transporter room in one of his books, because that's how long this idea has been in the back of my head.]
     
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The sets weren't always standing 24/7 as the blueprint suggests, and is why Jefferies built the "lost set" scale diorama. The corridors near engineering seemed to change sometimes, sometimes the brig was near there, sometimes not. Sometimes a completely different engineering was seen, as in "Alternative Factor".

    I'd guess the McCoy's Lab got reworked a bit, and I don't think McCoy's Office was always there from the beginning either.
     
  6. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    In both "Balance of Terror" and "The Tholian Web," the Chapel was a redress of the Briefing Room, not the Transporter Room.

    I can't think off the top of my head where McCoy's Office and McCoy's Lab from the second and third seasons were redressed into anything other than the Office and Lab. I guess they contemplated using those sets more as Office and Lab just as intended than they contemplated needing a variety of other sets. It looks like between the swing space they had on Stage 9 and the whole other sound stage they had, they thought they would have plenty of room without limiting their Sickbay upgrade. To be fair, they developed Emergency Manual Monitor, Auxiliary Control, an upgraded Engineering Room, the Mess Room, the Recreation Room, Bele's Quarters, the Herbarium, the Observation Port room, and Environmental Engineering (a redress of the Briefing Room). They seem to have done just fine with the "limited" space they had.

     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you tour the sickbay of an old aircraft carrier like the USS Hornet in Alameda you'd be surprised just how little sickbay there was for a ship with a crew of thousands, and the rooms are all crammed together.
     
  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    That's well-argued but I wasn't expecting it. I would have made Engineering bigger or had some weird-and-fancy offbeat set, like the big Jeffries tubes in the spin-off series. Still, you make good points.
     
  9. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    A lot of great scenes took place in sickbay, so I'm not complaining.

    With willingness and ability to redress, I think we pretty much got to go anywhere on the ship that the story required, which I think is awesome.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I can think of other sets it might've been good to have. A science lab set, as opposed to the medical lab set, would've been a good place for Spock to work or for science-officer guest stars to be featured. It might've allowed showing more of what a science officer actually does beyond standing on the bridge or going on landing parties. Maybe a captain's office/ready room set would've been handy -- then they wouldn't have needed to have so many private conversations in the turbolift.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    A lot of private conversations took place in Kirk's quarters, too, though.
     
  12. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, a couple of things come to mind:

    The Star Trek Writers Guide (Third Edition) dated April 17, 1967 said:

    [LEFT]"INT. SHIP'S CHAPEL -[/LEFT]
    Redress of Transporter Room."

    So this comment was either written before "Balance of Terror," or it was put together by someone who didn't actually know (or didn't remember) that the Briefing Room had already been used for the Chapel. At any rate, this would seem to be the source of "the Chapel was the Transporter Room" misinformation.

    Also, the same Writers Guide had this comment:

    [LEFT]"Obviously various stories may require specialized 'one time' sets. Past examples of this have been a botany section, a computer bank area, an observation deck (with stars visible through a window) and so on. Again, completely new and unusual sets are costly and should be vital in the story if used. If planet sets and interiors are required, then new ship sets should be minimized--the writer must use experience and common sense in keeping construction costs within a normal television budget."[/LEFT]
    [LEFT]So, writers were actually instructed to keep new sets to a minimum. Not enough space for new ship-board sets? No problem: "let's just not ever require any!"[/LEFT]
    [LEFT]Find the old Writers Guide here:[/LEFT]
    [LEFT] [LEFT]http://www.bu.edu/clarion/guides/Star_Trek_Writers_Guide.pdf[/LEFT]
    [/LEFT]


    I think the overriding philosophy was "we will build sets as necessary to service our script needs, but let's not create scripts in order to service our sets we've built." I think creating a science lab (to the degree that it requires a different from the medical lab) in order to drive script development and opportunities would be the tail wagging the dog.

     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I think they could have been even more restrictive than they were without hurting ratings one iota. One example that comes to mind is the service crawlway area in "That Which Survives". They could have written that set out completely, and stuck that action in a Jefferies tube or in a corner of main engineering. What viewer would have complained?
     
  14. LordMudd

    LordMudd Commander Red Shirt

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    I know the corridors were redressed for Gamesters of Triskellion.

    I remember George Takei telling the story at a con. The sets only took up about a third of the total soundstage and the flats were stored at the other end. This one guy whose name I don't remember released a book of his experiences that he took notes on during shooting. George was practicing his fencing for Naked Time at the other end behind the flats. Doohan heard all of the "Ha"s and walked down to investigate. Just as he stuck his nose around the corner to look, the foil shot in front of his face. He went running back and told the other guy "George just attacked me with a sword." That guy went to look and when he stuck his nose around the corner, the foil shot past his nose. He jerked his head back, looked at his clipboard and wrote "George attacking people on set with sword. George tells the story to emphasize how far out of the way he went to go practice, which gives an idea of how much space they had to work with.

    CCC.
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    In "The Cage" they didn't have a sickbay set, Dr. Boyce had to make "house calls" and carry a medical bag with him.

    For "Where No Man Had Gone Before" they had added the bedroom section of sickbay, but Dr. Piper was still carrying a bag with him, which created the strange Impression that patients would be abandoned on their beds...

    I think it became obvious for the regular series to extend this area and "Mudd's Women" possibly provided the argument for the examination room (featured first in "The Corbomite Maneuver". The Enterprise was a patrol ship and provided medical assistance to remote colonies and outposts.

    Even today, Russia operates a hospital ship that runs down a major river every year to provide medical assistance to villages that have no access to hospitals in the far reaches of Russia. I think it's an adequate analogy for what the Enterprise does, too.

    Still in Season One there was the passenger cabin (where McCoy's Office and the lab would later be) but they only used it in "Charlie X" and "The Conscience of the King" (parts of the set belonged originally to Pike's cabin sand were partially recycled for the brig).

    I think by Season Two TPTB thought that it was somewhat odd to have Dr. McCoy’s office in the exam room, essentially only consisting of a table and a viewscreen (did this really qualify as a doctor’s office?). Since any regular crew cabin could stand in for the passenger cabin (as it already did in “Mudd’s Women”) this area was cannibalized to have the doctor’s office (it had already been given up for “Operation Annihilate” to feature a believable laboratory aboard the Enterprise).

    Bob
     
  16. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    The size of Sickbay grew in relation to its requirements in the stories, as Robert_Comsol summarised above. Since the Season One set was different in several significant ways to the later Season Two/Three outings, I think it's worth an illustration:

    [​IMG]
    Please ignore the number of pads on the Transporter platform, this is incorrect. Incidentally, the gaff about the T-Room being redressed as the chapel made it through to the Phase II series bible as well - astonishing that no-one on the staff picked this up.

    The Sick Bay Ward from WNMHGB has been imported straight in to the bottom of the set, which caused the curved corridor to have to take an abrupt turn to accommodate the turbolift there. Compare it to the setplan from post #1 and you will see that it was extensively rebuilt for Season 2, eliminating the "crowding" issue and restoring the corridor's natural curve.

    McCoy using the examination room as an office in S1 is not unbelievable, but does make the ship feel smaller. A separate office also gives him somewhere to put the skull collection! :)

    The usefulness of a standing laboratory set was doubtless realised after Operation:Annihilate! but whereas that was a two-room affair the one we got in Season 2 was smaller and only a single room. Fine for the CMO's personal lab but a larger one for certain stories would have been nice (robot building, for example).

    On the whole though, the set worked well. The Auxillary Control Room even fitted in two locations!
     
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    The other surviving Season One set plan was from "Charlie X", the passenger cabin I referred to was between the examination room and the Jefferies Tube corridor (in the first season, however, the Jefferies Tube was in an extra room you see in the middle to the left).

    Bob
     
  18. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    I'd love to show a pic of Charlie's room, but the only ones I have to hand are either low resolution or slightly cropped.

    That wild area next to the examination room was well used in Season One - Charlie's cabin, the Korridian Players' suite of rooms, the Dilithium Reamplification Centre - all very interesting to look at and imaginatively designed due to the inverse walls they had to work with. Season Two had that wild area next to the cabin set, but it was never quite the same...
     
  19. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    The intention with some sets like that is for them to be redressed as other things. I assume that for McCoy's lab at least this was considered a possibility, what with the need for various mission specific labs and so forth. I don't know if Sickbay was ever redressed as anything else though (somebody more knowledgable that I about them might have the answer to that).
     
  20. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Other than acting as the botany section in The Man Trap I don't believe Sickbay had any other guest roles, sadly.