On-Screen Documents

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    There were several cases of on-screen documents in Star Trek that we can read now thanks to HD screen caps:

    • "Where No Man..." - Psych and ESP evaluations.
    • "Where No Man..." - Spinoza's Ethics.
    • "Mudd's Women" - Harry's police record.
    • "The Menagerie" - Mendez's report on Talos IV.
    When the show first aired, people watched it on CRT sets, meaning low resolution and no ability to take freeze frames. Nobody was ever supposed to read these things. So it's surprising and a little lucky that the docs were created as sincerely as they were. The content is pretty good, though not perfect. It could have been a total joke.

    There have been times when I was watching one-hour dramas produced in the 2000s, and I would freeze the DVR whenever they showed a newspaper article. This was especially fun when HDTV was a novelty. Very often I'd see the first few lines of text were true to the episode, and the rest would be either gibberish or sometimes those same lines repeated over and over. Star Trek didn't take that shortcut despite coming from an era when nobody would know. :bolian:
     
  2. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You mean some of those other shows inserted Lorem Ipsum? Cicero in the 23rd century.
     
  3. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I've never seen actual Latin used, but non-Trek on-screen docs are often dummied up. :)
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    But Gene Roddenberry's credo had been to make it feel as real as possible, especially in the 1960's.

    I think these on-screen documents are a nice testament to that and put the actors in the "right" mood in a manner of speaking (e.g. Bill Shatner reading "my" report on Talos IV, obviously not something that would make an actor crack up and start to laugh in the middle of shooting).

    It's a little pity they didn't continue this kind of earnestness in TNG, now that the remastering in HD reveals all these little insike jokes, both the silly and the better ones.

    Bob
     
  5. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Back in the '60s the idea of home video was unheard of. By the time TNG rolled around, home video was commonplace. One would expect the later producers to be even more conscientious about freeze-frame details. But then again, maybe some of the next generation prop creators were hoping this stuff would be seen and noticed one day.

    (With today's technology, one could seamlessly insert or remove anything during "remastering"—cover up continuity errors and other blunders, etc. Ben Finney strikes again!)
     
  6. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    Commodore Comsol, I never knew the significance of your name. Neat.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Actually isn't the "real" Comsol supposed to be the head Admiral of the fleet? The document says "Commanding officer", but it doesn't say of what. I thought this implied that Comsol was the big cheese, so to speak.
     
  8. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like the 23rd Century racism.

     
  9. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't understand. It was simply a way of identifiyng Spock (That IS your objection, yes?). How is that racism?
     
  10. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    ...and, along with the documents, there was a insistent fidelity to how the controls were designed to work...from "Inside Star Trek" to some of the cast biographies to interviews, there have been many recountings of fans writing in to note that Uhuru pushed the wrong button for "opening hailing frequencies", or that Sulu adjusted the ship's chronometer when he meant to take the ship to warp...even the actors recounted some of these stories with respectful amusement...a true testament to some of the points made above... ;)
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    To put it in Earthican terms, 'Black Communications Officer Uhura' sounds particularly nasty, especially when Pike wasn't 'Caucasian Captain Pike'
     
  12. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    Perhaps there might be some reason to identify the biological origin of the 'signer' to show that the Talosian illusions didn't only affect humans. Any other "in-universe" ideas why this might be done?
     
  13. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    ...hmmm...Human-Raised Adopted Child Klingon Worf son of Mogh...
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Because it's irrelevant that Spock is half human. Couldn't they just have given his rank?
     
  15. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ I never noticed until just now that the document we see on screen refers to Spock as "half-Vulcan." I suppose a human-Vulcan hybrid, especially one serving in Starfleet, was a rarity and worth noting. In any case, no one at the time thought it was "racist."


    Here's the insert shot of the file Mendez gives Kirk to look at in "The Menagerie" . . .

    [​IMG]


    . . . and here are the magazine cover and car advertisement created for "Bread and Circuses." That's quite a bit of work for something that was seen on-screen for about 2 seconds.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Robert Comsol, a Dissenting View: I tend to believe that that document was intended to read: "Robert, COMSOL". The commander's last name and his title. The way you might have seen a document signed "Eisenhower, CINCEUR" during WW2, perhaps. I don't think that was suppossed to be his first and last name. (Yes I know the last name more commonly used is Roberts with an "s" at the end, but I have seen it without as well). I also realize there is no comma on the actual document, and believe that to be an oversight on the part of the documet's creator.
     
  17. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ That may have been the original intent, but the fact that the commander actually *signed* the name Robert Comsol would seem to indicate that it is his name. And the way it's spelled - Robert L. Comsol - also supports this. (If it had been an abbreviation, it would be more like Robert, COMSOL, in all caps.)
     
  18. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^
    True enough. Still think it woulda made more sense the other way. *shrug* YMMV.
     
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So important that had to state it twice.
     
  20. sbk1234

    sbk1234 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If it was necessary to note that the science officer was half-Vulcan, they should have included it in the text of the report, and not the signature, which many people would gloss over, anyway. Nope, this was just a case of 1960s unenlightened ignorance.