Props Re-used

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

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  1. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Cross-posted from the Star Trek Phase II forum:

    We've see how props in Star Trek get repurposed. That is, they outlive their usefulness and are given a new paintjob or they have buttons added or are modified in one way or another so that they can rise again! This prop is one of these "repurposed" props.

    Some of the components of this prop first appear on the sonic disruptor pistol hand weapons used on the planet Eminiar VII in the episode "Taste of Armageddon." These weapons have a curved pistol grip and a main body; the "barrel" consists of five small pieces of aluminum with some clear red plastic sandwiched between them.

    [​IMG]

    After it was decided the crew of the Enterprise would no longer be returning to Eminiar VII and the Star Trek production team would no longer need several Eminiar sonic disruptor pistol hand props, the question gets asked: "What can be done with the Eminiar props?"

    Of course, the aluminum and red plastic sandwich barrel units ultimately got removed from the Eminiar sonic disruptor pistol weapons. Many of them became simple devices in their own right that Dr. McCoy used on the planet Omega IV--possibly to conduct some kind of medical research. If you look carefully, you can see a couple of them sitting on the workbench tabletop along with a couple of scalpel devices and a couple of "jumper" blocks and a green tape deck cartridge in "The Omega Glory:"

    [​IMG]

    We see Sargon and Thalassa using one in a similar fashion in "Return to Tomorrow." It is possibly some kind of engineering or research or medical device used to help construct android bodies; we see it sitting on the workbench tabletop:

    [​IMG]

    But not all of the "aluminum and red plastic sandwich barrel units" simply became loose instruments and tools. Some of them were stuck onto the end of a newly-constructed prop: a "ray-generator."

    The term "ray-generator" first appears in the script for the episode "Metamorphosis" (which is where this prop makes its first appearance). "Metamorphosis" was the second episode filmed for Star Trek's second season. The script, written by Gene Coon, has this to say In Act II, Scene 39:

    [color=yellow]EXT. SHUTTLECRAFT – ANGLE ON SPOCK
    He has a ray-generator of some sort in hand, is exmin-
    ing the circuits thoughtfully. He takes his generator,
    aims it, turns it on. There is a hight pitched HUMMING
    SOUND, and Spock looks pleased. Obviously whatever
    he has done has worked.

    ANOTHER ANGLE ON SPOCK
    As The Companion materializes behind him, silent at
    first... we should get the impression that it is look-
    ing over his shoulder. Then its lights begin to change
    ... from gentle pastels to more angry bold colors…
    and we begin to HEAR it... but it is not the melodic,
    gentle tintinnabulation of bells... it is a harsher,
    more acute sound... as though it is angry. Spock
    hears it, turns around and reacts.

    He strikes out... but hits nothing. The generator in
    his hand shoots out smoke and flame... short circuits
    hit the exposed control panel in the rear of the shuttle-
    craft... and then as Spock shouts there is a CRACKLING as
    of electricity, and Spock's body is hurled backward
    against the bulkhead, and he slumps to the ground, un-
    conscious. The Companion hovers, and the HUM changes
    to one of more moderate, peaceful intensity.[/color]
    And here's a shot from that scene:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, this is a large bodied, bulky prop with three of those "aluminum and red plastic sandwich barrel units" stuck to the top. It has a screen of sorts on it and some bulky silver knobs and a large knob towards the bottom. It is grayish in color.

    So, the earliest reference to this device is as a "ray-generator." Later, Stephen Whitfield took pictures of this prop for his book The Making of Star Trek. In that book he called the device a "(Spock Built) Ray Generator and Energy Neutralizer." (Although there is no reference to Spock having cobbled this device together out of available components while the Galileo was stranded, perhaps Whitfield thought Spock did exactly that.) At any rate, here is Whitfield's photograph:

    [​IMG]

    The next time we see the ray-generator prop, Mr. Scott uses it on board the Constellation in "The Doomsday Machine." (Interestingly, Scotty knows exactly where to find this device--hidden in a "secret compartment" in Engineering. So starship operations are remarkably standardized--all the way down to where they keep their tools; Scotty knew exactly where the Constellation's chief engineer kept the ray-generator!

    Here's Mr. Scott retrieving the ray-generator:

    [​IMG]

    And here he is a short time later seen using the ray-generator device to help in his task of cross-connecting the impulse engines with the warp engine control interface. (The man's a freakin' genius.)

    [​IMG]

    We see the ray-generator again in "The Ultimate Computer." (This and the "Metamorphosis" shot are probably the best look we get at this device in The Original Series.) Ensign Harper uses a ray-generator to help get the M-5 computer hooked up.

    [​IMG]

    And then he grabs it again when he goes to pull the plug on M-5:

    [​IMG]

    There are three more appearances of the prop--but two appearances are relatively recent appearances and might be considered prop "reproductions."
    In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, we see a bridge officer on the Enterprise NCC-1701-A using a ray-generator. You can see that it's a slightly different style (which makes sense, I suppose). There are reddish-colored buttons on the front of the device below the "screen" rather than two silver rectangular blocky-knobs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," the crew of Deep Space Nine travels back in time to the events of the original Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" where, using special effects, they are digitally added in to old original footage. In some added scenes, an Enterprise Lieutenant works on some power conduits using the ray-generator with Chief O'Brien and Doctor Bashir. Apparently, the writer of the "Trials and Tribble-ations" script did not know this prop already had a name from the "Metamorphosis" script; in the "Trials and Tribble-ations" script, the device is referred to as a "Trident Scanner." With its three prongs or "three (tri-) teeth (-dent)" on the front end, it does indeed look rather like Poseidon's trident. However, I prefer the original term "ray-generator" from the "Metamorphosis" script.

    Here's a shot from "Trials and Tribble-ations:"

    [​IMG]

    As Star Trek prop fans go about their hobby of reproducing various Star Trek props, there's been one silly little nagging question with this ray-generator prop: on the sides of the prop up near the top--are there two round button/bolt things--or not? When you blow up the shot from "Metamorphosis," it looks like there are a couple of round button/bolt things--and the main body looks to be about an inch and a half thick.

    [​IMG]

    But when you look at it in "The Doomsday Machine," it doesn’t look like there are those round button/bolt things--and the main body looks more like two inches thick.

    [​IMG]

    So, is it one and a half inches thick with bolts or two inches thick with no bolts? Of course, Star Trek prop fans love arguing about such prop minutiae. It turns out, there is a little-known answer to that question--and it lies in a few brief frames in the background of the episode "I, Mudd:"

    [​IMG]

    What we see by blowing up those frames from that episode is that there were actually at least two ray-generator props constructed. This makes sense: one of them had to actually burst into flames in Leonard Nimoy's hands in the episode "Metamorphosis." It's not surprising that more than one would have been made.

    [​IMG]

    Although we can't actually see whether one has bolts and one doesn't, it does appear that one is a bit thicker than the other. And simply knowing that at least two of these props were made certainly accounts for any discrepancies between different versions seen on screen. So the answer is: there are both kinds!

    Our prop reproduction at the Star Trek Phase II studio is the thinner, two-bolt variant:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It shows up in the recent episode "Blood and Fire." (The Enterprise takes quite a beating in that episode, and Mr. Scott needs to do some damage and repair work to the ship's bulkheads and power conduits.) [color=red]If you look carefully, you can see it lying in front of Mr. Scott on the briefing room table in the "Blood and Fire" trailer. Don't blink or you'll miss it![/color]

    We also recently picked up a second "Ray-generator" prop. The minor improvements it has over the prop that first version in our studio are:
    1) The button to the right of the "screen" is a more accurate black color instead of a red color.
    2) The large button located at the center towards the bottom is a more accurate brownish-brass colored instead of a steel-aluminum color.
    Here are some shots of my "ray-generator" prop reproduction:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][/color]

    Slide show is at:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10901121@N06/sets/72157603968875842/show/

    Greg Schnitzer
    Property Master
    Star Trek Phase II
     
  2. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    In Gene's name, what have I unleashed? :lol:

    This threads has had a profound effect on my Star Trek viewing. NOw, every single time I watch an episode I'm going to be looking for these re-used props, as well as seeing if I can identify any that haven't been mentioned yet.

    Special thanks to you, Greg, for including that incredible collection of pictures for the "trident scanner".
     
  3. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Yeah, well welcome to my life. :)

    Greg Schnitzer
    Property Master
    Star Trek Phase II
     
  4. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    Great prop, Greg!

    Man, this is a fascinating thread.
     
  5. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Not what you intended to show in this picture, but the item in the foreground also made several appearances. This "CD Rack", as it's called on the "re-used props" page at ex-astris-scientia, is seen again in "The Immunity Syndrome", and once again, briefly, in "Elaan of Troyius".
     
  6. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is a device that I've always called the still that first shows up in The Devil In The Dark and returns at least once, in the mirror universe Sick Bay. I want to say I saw it again but I can't remember now where. I'm sure if it did, Greg will tell us.

    You are a wonderful resource, sir. The fact that my name is Gregg has nothing to do with my opinion. [​IMG] :p

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Oooo, that is a good one. Unfortunately, although I've researched a bunch of props (and obtained or constructed copies for our Phase II productions), this isn't one I've researched yet. (It's been on my To Do list for ages.)

    I can tell you that its first appearance was actually in "The Man Trap" in the Botany Section, way over at screen left:

    [​IMG]

    It also shows up pretty clearly in "The Tholian Web:"

    [​IMG]

    But I haven't gone through each episode and found each and every appearance like I have for many props and set pieces.

    I can tell you about the yellow thing in Mr. Scott's left hand in that first shot for "Devil in the Dark." That thing shows up in a half dozen or so epiosdes.

    Greg Schnitzer
    Property Master
    Star Trek Phase II
     
  8. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you, Greg. It was the Tholian Web appearance for the still that I was thinking of. I had no idea it was in The Man Trap.

    That yellow thing is actually a Star Trek specific prop, huh? Paramount should sue Fluke for stealing their design for a multi-meter. ;) :p
     
  9. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    There is a prop we’ve seen occasionally in Star Trek The Original Series that seems to be some type of electronic device used for testing shipboard equipment. This Equipment Tester is first seen very briefly in “The Corbomite Maneuver.” Some unnamed crewmember is using it to check one of the plant-ons on one of the bulkheads in the ship’s corridors:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can tell from the picture that it is some kind of yellow thing with wires--but that's about it. We get another quick “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” view of this Equipment Tester in “Mudd’s Women.” Technician Conners (Eddie Paskey) can be seen testing some Sickbay wall monitor and he ultimately carries the Equipment Tester device out with him in his toolbox when Doctor McCoy chases Conners out of Sickbay upon Ruth Bonaventure’s arrival:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can also see the Equipment Tester in "Who Mourns for Adonais." Uhura is resting her right hand on it while she works under her console. (It's a bit hard to see, but you can clearly see the red stylus/prod between her fingers.)

    [​IMG]

    Uhura also has it resting on her console up behind her little intercom speaker along with a small yellow and blue "Tool-Mate" toolkit as she works:

    [​IMG]

    She's holding it a bit later in her right hand (while holding the little blue and yellow Tool-Mate toolkit in her left hand):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It also shows up in "The Man Trap:"

    [​IMG]

    It also shows up in "Devil In the Dark"--as Mr. Scott attempts to repair the PXK Pergium reactor:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But probably the best look we get at this Equipment Tester is in “This Side of Paradise.” Captain Kirk is helping Mister Spock cook-up a “subsonic transmitter” and Kirk can be seen using this Equipment Tester:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, in "real life," what exactly is this yellow thing with two black wires with one red and one green "probe" on the ends of the wires?

    Well, the Equipment Tester was played by a Wigginton-style DC Polarity Tester (also known as a "Wiggy"). Different companies manufacture Wigginton-style DC polarity testers; for example, Sears/Craftsman made them. The particular brand of "Wiggy" used as the Star Trek prop was a Square D brand.

    These come up occasionally on ebay. Here’s a shot from someone’s recent ebay sale of such a Square D Wigginton DC Polarity Tester:

    [​IMG]

    Add a coat of yellow paint to match the color of the Star Trek prop and voila!—you have a genuine Starfleet-issued Equipment Tester as seen in Star Trek. Here are some shots of my 1960’s-era Square D Wigginton DC Polarity Tester with appropriate paint job:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And here's a "screen shot compared to my prop" view:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, keep your eyes out for this prop whenever some Enterprise crewman needs to crawl under a console to fix some equipment. This is also the perfect kind of prop our Phase II extras might carry around while populating our ship’s corridors. (We can only have our extras use that same ol’ ubiquitous “clipboard”-PADD prop so many times before people get tired of seeing it!)

    I have a little slideshow that rotates through these images at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10901121@N06/...066119715/show/[/url]

    Greg Schnitzer
    Property Master
    Star Trek Phase II
    Gaithersburg, Maryland
     
  10. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    This prop was made mainly from chemistry lab glassware, plasticware, and tubing. For example, the central tubular piece with the red liquid in the upper photo is an old Allihn condenser that's been modified slightly. See this link for a newer one: http://www.labdepotinc.com/Product_Details~id~26~pid~5780.aspx
     
  11. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks, alchemist, for the information.

    So what does anybody know about the property master for Star Trek, Irving A. Feinberg?
     
  12. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, okay, so this isn't a prop per se. It's a set decoration. I'm generally more of a prop guy, but I do sometimes dabble in the world of set decorations, too. (Props are things handled by actors; set decorations aren't.) But just as props need to convey a sense of The Future, so do set decorations.

    One of the set decorations we've seen from time to time is the Starfleet delta-wedge-boomerang insignia. It's visible, of course, on the Enterprise itself--a yellowish "corn" colored little boomerang shape that's part of the Starfleet banner located on both the port and starboard sides of the secondary hull and on the lateral sides of both warp nacelles--visible in this shot from "Mirror, Mirror:"

    [​IMG]

    You get a better look at this boomerang shape on the side of the shuttlecraft--visible here in "The Galileo Seven:"

    [​IMG]

    It is also visible (although hard to see) on one of the two flags that are displayed during Mister Spock's court martial in "The Menagerie." (It's also displayed at the hearing against Khan Noonian Singh and Lieutenant Marla McGivers in "Space Seed.") In the script, the scriptwriter of "The Menagerie"(Mr. Gene Roddenberry) refers to this flag as the "Star Command Flag:"

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As an actual set decoration piece, this insignia shows up a few other times. This Starfleet "boomerang" insignia decorates the wall of the courtroom at James Kirk's court martial--in "Court Martial:"

    [​IMG]

    It is seen behind Commodore Barstow in "The Alternative Factor:"

    [​IMG]

    It is seen behind Admiral Komack in "Amok Time:"

    [​IMG]

    It is seen behind Admiral Fitzpatrick in "The Trouble with Tribbles:"

    [​IMG]

    It is seen behind Admiral Westervliet (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Admiral Komack) in "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky:"

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, it is seen behind Commodore Fitzgerald (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Commodore Barstow) in "Mark of Gideon:"

    [​IMG]

    So here' my reproduction--made with the same 1960's vintage mylar film:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, look for this piece if we ever have need to show a Starbase, or an Admiral or Commodore, or if we need to show any of the various upper echelons or divisions at Starfleet Command. This set decoration is an immediate, visual way of conveying "command hierarchy."

    Greg Schnitzer
    Property Master
    Star Trek Phase II
     
  13. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    Talented and creative, especially given the budgets, and VERY careful (almost possessive) with his props. I have many clips that show him handling the props before and after takes. I'd post some, but I'm at work.

    There's a shot of Irving on startrekhistory.com:

    http://startrekhistory.com/restoration/contributors5.html

    Scroll down towards the bottom. The "technician" standing behind Nimoy in the image from Spock's Brain is Irving.
     
  14. QuasarVM

    QuasarVM Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ah yes...and standing behind the "proboscis excavator"...:guffaw:
     
  15. Tan Ru

    Tan Ru Captain Captain

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    Indeed. A fascinating look at TOS props.

    Now, can someone document all the ordinary spray-bottles that showed up onscreen in TOS?

    I always thought it kinda funny that items we consider routine show up two-hundred years in the future. The best being the poisoning of Reilley's milk in Conscience of the King.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/1x13/conscienceoftheking125.jpg

    I don't know why but this shot always makes me laugh.
     
  16. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    In actuality... it's been kind of fun for me. Last night while watching "Turnabout Intruder", during a scene in sick bay I think, I'm pretty sure I saw the "globe" portion of M4 from "Requiem For Methuselah".
     
  17. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    We saw them quite a few times. Here they are, in order:

    "The Enemy Within" (next to Dr. McCoy):

    [​IMG]

    "The Enemy Within" (in McCoy's supply cabinet):

    [​IMG]

    "The Man Trap" (next to Lieutenant Sulu):

    [​IMG]

    ...and a couple more way over on the back wall:

    [​IMG]

    "The Naked Time:"

    [​IMG]

    "Charlie X" (in McCoy's cabinet):

    [​IMG]

    "Dagger of the Mind" (in McCoy's cabinet):

    [​IMG]

    "The Conscience of the King" (in McCoy's cabinet):

    [​IMG]

    ...and when Lenore Karidian places some Tetralubisol in Lieutenant Kevin Reilly's milk (in probably the second best view we get of one of these things):

    [​IMG]

    "The Alternative Factor" (in McCoy's cabinet):

    [​IMG]

    "Space Seed" (carried by a nurse on a surgical tray):

    [​IMG]

    ...and in McCoy's cabinet, here:

    [​IMG]

    ...and here:

    [​IMG]

    "Operation--Annihilate!" (during the operation on Mister Spock's back):

    [​IMG]

    ...and on the credenza in the Sick Bay Ward Room:

    [​IMG]

    ...and again:

    [​IMG]

    "Mirror, Mirror:"

    [​IMG]

    "The Deadly Years" (carried on a surgical tray):

    [​IMG]

    ...and over by Elaine Johnson's bed:

    [​IMG]

    "Journey to Babel" (on the credenza):

    [​IMG]

    ...and on a small table on the back wall in the Sick Bay Exam Room:

    [​IMG]

    "A Private Little War" (in probably the best shot):

    [​IMG]

    "The Immunity Syndrome" (by the far bed):

    [​IMG]

    "By Any Other Name" (hard to see--over on the instrument stand):

    [​IMG]

    "Return to Tomorrow" (on the back counter in the Lab behind Nurse Chapel):

    [​IMG]

    "Elaan of Troyius" (in their final appearance--and one and only appearance in the third season):

    [​IMG]


    Greg Schnitzer
    Property Master
    Star Trek Phase II
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Ghost of Tom Joad Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
    There's a Caption Contest in the making. ;)
     
  19. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :rommie: Saved!
     
  20. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Guess it was lucky for Scotty that his counterpart didn't use the secret compartment for his porn collection. ;)
     
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