Props Re-used

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Neroon, Jan 30, 2009.

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  1. klh

    klh Ensign Red Shirt

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    Oops, I guess I'm having so much fun looking at the pictures that I didn't read carefully. :confused:
     
  2. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Cool. :) Have Mr. Jein and/or Mr. Long been a resource at all for ST:P2?

    That's what I was wondering, if Garth's remote control was ever used in another episode. "Whom Gods Destroy" was towards the end of the 3rd season... so if it was made for that episode, I suspect it is unlikely. Funny that they didn't consider reusing Spock's remote control device from "Spock's Brain", which looked to me like it could have done the job. It looks like the base was a machined block of metal, so perhaps it was too heavy to easily work with Garth's hand choreography. The handphaser does appear more "palm friendly," and cannibalizing an existing P1 might have been fairly simple for the prop master.
     
  3. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    The "Spock's Brain" remote was originally a "Cage" communicator, as I'm sure somebody mentioned somewhere in the previous fourteen pages.
     
  4. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, YOU. ;) This thread is long and I hadn't read the first page in a long while.

    The Pike communicator was originally cast in a clear resin of some kind. I take it that metal parts or a metallic layer was applied to give it a more solid appearance? In any case, it must have been a fairly light prop. But ultimately I think the handphaser remote control has a better aesthetic. And the dead horse has been beaten sufficiently. ;)
     
  5. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer In Memoriam

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    Neither renowned prop collector Greg Jein nor John Long has been involved in our Phase II productions. But we have had a few other prop aficianados contribute from time to time.

    It might have made sense to re-use the "Spock Remote Control" prop as Garth's remote. But it is a bit large to be used as covertly as it is in "Whom Gods Destory." Also, despite the "Garth's remote" misnomer, other "prisoners"--(Garth's "henchmen") had the remote as well. So, they actually had to have multiple units made. I'm sure they had more hand phasers available for cannibalizing and repurposing into Garth remotes than they had "Spock Remote Controls." At any rate, Garth's greenish remote control appears in just the one episode.

    Nevertheless, we do actually see the Spock Remote Contol again in "That Which Survives" as another device. So that means it started as a "Cage" Communicator, was reused as a "Where No Man Has Gone Before" communicator, got repainted and repurposed as the Spock Remote in "Spock's Brain," and then shows up a final time as an odd calculator-thing in "That Which Survives." More on that prop shortly.



     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  6. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer In Memoriam

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    Re-purposing props in Star Trek: The Original Series happened fairly frequently. One of these re-purposed props was a small device Mister Spock used in the episode "That Which Survives." But let's track this prop's ancestry first.

    In the pilot episode "The Cage," the Enterprise crew used an early model communicator. It had the gold flip-open antenna grid, but the body was cast in clear resin so you could see all kinds of cool electronics:

    [​IMG]

    (Note for a moment, please, the large silver knob at the top with the two smaller black knobs on either side of it.)

    Years later, it became necessary to create a remote control device that Dr. McCoy could use to control the brainless Mister Spock in the episode "Spock's Brain." It was decided that the old Cage-era communicators should be cannibalized to create this remote control device. The antenna grid was removed and a series of multi-colored buttons was added to the top/front of the device--and it was given a silver with gold crosshatching paint job. (You can still see that the large silver knob at the top with the two smaller black knobs on either side of it still remain on the prop.)

    [​IMG]

    Later, towards the end of the third season, the prop was revised again. Some kind of small hand-held device was created for Mister Spock to use in "That Which Survives." What is this device? Well, we don't really know. The script makes no reference to it. But Spock carries it around with him through nearly the whole episode, occasionally pushing buttons on it as he goes about his tasks in the episode. Is it a calculator of some kind? Some kind of tracking device? A science device? Based on its coloring and design, it would appear to be a Starfleet device rather than an alien (Vulcan) device. But who really knows. Here are some shots of this "That Which Survives" device:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it is just a re-use of the "Spock's Brain" remote control device. It has the same colored buttons, but now the device is painted bluish. The large silver knob at the top with the two smaller black knobs on either side of it still remain on this prop, too. However, a small white button has been added to one side.

    Interestingly, however, there is still a "Spock's Brain" remote control device in the hands of Star Trek prop collector Greg Jein:

    [​IMG]

    So, this "That Which Survives" prop must be a second "Spock's Brain" remote control device that was revised. That is, there must have been at least two "Spock's Brain" remote controls--one that remains in its "Spock's Brain" state even to this day and which is in the hands of a collector, and the second one that was revised to make the "That Which Survives" device. (The "That Which Survives" prop has never surfaced in the prop collecting world.)

    At any rate, here is my reproduction of that "That Which Survives" calculator-or-whatever-it-is prop that Spock used throughout the episode:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We might see Spock tinkering with this thing in a future Star Trek Phase II episode.

    You can find the slideshow at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10901121@N06/sets/72157603683998010/show/
     
  7. WendellM

    WendellM Commodore Commodore

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    Kirk: How many credits could we save by switching the Enterprise's insurance to Fleetco?

    Spock: [fiddles with device] By Surak's Hammer, what a savings!
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Are we sure the device ain't the same remote in "That Which Survives" still?

    I mean, can Spock really be sure he got all his marbles back? Will nagging doubts surface when the fate of the ship and crew hangs on Spock's ability to put the decimal point in the right place, carry the three and do the cubic root? It would be quite human of him to fidget with this device on days like that...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

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    OR McCoy screwed up some of his motor neurons and he's using the remote to help himself walk...
     
  10. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer In Memoriam

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    I think we the audience are being dissuaded from thinking that the Spock Remote and the "That Which Suvives" device are one and the same. If we were being persuaded that the devices are actually meant to be one and the same, they probably wouldn't have repainted the thing a different color and added a new, additional button with the intent to make it look different from its previous appearance.

    More likely, as Mr. Scott and Dr. McCoy worked to slap something together to control the brainless Mister Spock, they grabbed one of the calculator-things from the ship's "calculator closet," modified it, and used it as the Spock Remote Control device. Weeks later, coincidentally, we see Mister Spock using one of the actual unmodified devices.


     
  11. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the info and shots on the calculator device, Greg. What a peculiar looking prop... No screen/read-out. I'd have expected the prop designer to have at least made room for a small view window. We never really get a good shot of this prop in the series, and maybe it's for that reason--to keep it ambiguous.
     
  12. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    I think this communicator is one of the most unconvincing props in the entire series (IMHO and YMMV). I mean, I don't know what they intended to convey by having the "electronics" visible through the body, other than "look at the cool electronic parts." Not realistic at all, and those parts very much dated the prop even then.

    I was the ultimate nerdy kid growing up, so, in addition to having an interest in science, I was also experimenting with electronics. As a kid, I remember watching the scene of Pike in his quarters and immediately recognizing the parts in the communicator as nonsensical military surplus junk:

    [​IMG]

    It totally destroyed the illusion for me... :(

    ....and scarred me for life.

    Dave, damaged.

    :lol:
     
  13. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I too couldn't stand the sight of that communicator. At first I thought that the device was damaged, and the broken outer shell removed. It looked ridiculous to me. The next and final design for the series was a serious leap forward. I liked it instantly. The only complaint I had is that there was no digital readout of any kind and the lid wasn't cushioned. You'd hear a metal slamming against hard plastic sound when they close the lid, making it appear cheaply made. Otherwise, very cool design.
     
  14. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer In Memoriam

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    Yes, this is an odd one. There's nothing in the script to indicate what the heck Mister Spock is doing. He goes around throughout the whole episode--on the bridge and down in engineering--and punches buttons on the thing--apparently at random and yet quite precisely and methodically, and he doesn't seem to be referring to the device at all. He doesn't look at some small readout or screen. He just punches buttons. So, who knows what this thing is doing.

    Since Nimoy purportedly wanted more buttons added to his tricorder so he would have something to tinker with while he acted, I'm guessing this is another Nimoy-requested item to help him emote somehow as an actor.
     
  15. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Humm. Who knew Nimoy attended to the Steve McQueen School of Acting?

    McQueen was the king of props. Next time you see him in a movie, look for his use of props. He's always fiddling with something. It's a trademark of his acting style. If you think of one of his most famous movies, The Great Escape, the movie opens and closes with him throwing a baseball against a wall, wearing a glove to catch it. He got two props in this case.

    Maybe Greg would like to comment on how, in general, actors love props.
     
  16. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    You don't have to guess. Nimoy clearly understood/understands drama and film. For the two to work together successfully, something has to be moving, i.e., either the action in the scene or the camera. Unfortunately, the Spock character often was involved in "actionless" scenes and needed to espouse long bits of "tech" which were essentially expository and stale. Nimoy recognized this (and complained about it as the records show) and, thus, wanted something to be moving on camera. Due to the limitations of the sets and the camera set-ups, the best way at the time to have something moving was essentially to have the actor doing something -- in this case, pushing buttons on a prop.

    And Gary7, I totally agree with you. I, too, had initially thought that the communicator had broken and that we were looking at its guts. And the lack of any sort of read-out on the That Which prop was obvious and criminal.
     
  17. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have a question about the old communicator, I don't see any visable speaker/mic? But I've noticed in "The Cage" the actors all seemed to be speaking into the antenna grid, as if directed to do so? Could it be that the antenna was somehow suppose to double as a speaker/mic diaphragm? Just curious.
     
  18. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    The script doesn't really have any specific directions on how the actors were supposed to handle the communicator. And interestingly, the first time we see the communicator in Pike's quarters in the filmed pilot -- when he picks it up from his desk -- is not present in the script at all. Rather in the script, he was to have used an intercom. (As an aside, I have a deleted/alternate scene that shows Pike walking into his quarters and picking up his communicator from his desk rather than opening it directly on his desk. Then, after he use it to call the doctor, he drops it back to his desk and picks up a report binder. He rifles through his reports as he waits for the doctor to appear.) In the script, the first time the communicator is used is on the planet.

    I wonder if we've gotten so used to "flip open" cell phones that it's difficult for us to remember a time before people knew how to use them...
     
  19. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Well, they did have more than one communicator made for the pilot, right? Seems to me they just modified another communicator (maybe originally as a backup for the "Spock's Brain" scenes), and in the intervening time, tinkered a bit with the second one.

    As for what Spock's doing with the thing, remember he also had a second train of thought going regarding Scotty's earlier complaint about the feel of the ship being wrong. Could be the thingamajig was taking readings, which was how Spock was able to conclude, while Scotty was in the crawlway, that the ship had, essentially, been beamed a dozen light years away.
     
  20. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think Spock was just playing with that handheld gadget, wondering how McCoy managed to steer Spock's brainless body some months before, using that device's ten buttons and three knobs.
     
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