Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Dukhat, Jul 14, 2011.
Makes sense to me.
Yeah, they were all so bad...
You can believe whatever you want. I'm more apt to take Justman and Solow at their word, considering the publicity photos pretty much back up what they wrote in the book.
Besides, TNG gave us the "dustbuster" phaser, and this at a time when sci-fi props were supposed to be more sophisticated. So I don't think a flashlight phaser is beyond the realm of possibility, especially for the 60's?
I've stated why I don't believe those to be the mythical toy-phasers.
It's not likely a toy company would build three or more "prototypes" and give them to the production. At best you have a mockup or two until the design is approved and then you have the tooling and molds made.
The things they're holding look just like flashlights. There's nothing gunlike about them.
Other photos from the same shoot feature a globe prop that appears nowhere in the series, so this suggests other props from the same shoot likely have no connection to the show.
Justman and Solow's book is not entirely accurate on a number of points, so it's not a 100% reliable source.
TNG's "dustbuster" phasers were created 20 years later and have no relevance.
So, from where I'm standing, Occam's Razor says "those are flashlights doctored up for a photo shoot, not prototype toy phasers". YMMV.
Trying to make a big, vintage three-cell flashlight look like some futuristic weapon makes about as much sense as trying to make a big, vintage three-cell Graflex flashgun look like some futuristic weapon.
It's probably more likely that the toy company already had their "toy flashlights" in production and saw the new show as a possible way to sell the things.
Yes, that's been made very clear. Even I'm not disputing that.
So it's impossible to have other non-specific props in the same photoshoot with actual props?
I'm not talking about the whole book. I'm referring to one anecdote on one page of it. The fact that the anecdote seems to be backed up by photographic evidence is enough for me.
His point was that an object which performs the function of a gun need not necessarily have to look like a gun.
Don't get me wrong: If there's a publicity photo unearthed where Kirk, Spock and Rand are holding what looks like ray guns, I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong in my assumption. But until then, I guess we'll agree to disagree.
Look, I haven't made up my mind one way or the other; there are too few facts at this point to do so.
But, if we're going to invoke Occam's razor then lets be clear on how it goes, which is... "The simplest explanation that fits all the facts is most likely the correct one".
It's the "that fits all the facts" part that people conveniently forget.
So, properly understood and applied, Occam's razor actually supports the theory that the only photo we have (fact 1) that fits the description in the anecdote we have (fact 2), is in fact the publicity photo referred to in the anecdote, and therefore does show the "spec phaser" props. They are mutually corroborative!
Now, whether or not Justman and Solow's book is itself factual on this point (or any other) is a separate hair to split. We can be reasonably sure it is not a complete forgery though, so the anecdote itself is, and remains, a fact to consider.
Until some more facts come to light to either cast doubt on the accuracy of this particular anecdote or further support it, it is what it is, and here we must let the matter rest. Any speculation in the mean time is just that, and stretches Occam’s razor beyond its logical application.
The same for whether or not a toy company in the 60’s would think flashlights would make kewel ray guns or not. It’s all just sheer speculation. Unless we can find some other photo from that period of K/S/R holding gun-like props, or evidence that these are just flashlights appropriated for the shoot, then the photo remains corroboratory fact.
All we see of the props used in the publicity shots are the front reflectors and lenses. Who knows how these things might have been tricked-out on sides, down the length of the handles. Maybe they were purple with weird lights or something. And, of course, they might simply have been crappy props that Roddenberry nixed. If the toy prop things were so crappy that Roddenberry nixed them, that argues *against* the Phaser Rifle--which Roddenberry didn't nix and *did* use for half of "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
As for uninspired props, I know that the white sound microphone-like device that was supposed to pick up heartbeat sounds was played by a device that is designed to pick up sounds--an actual microphone. It doesn't stretch credulity that much that for a prop that is supposed to emit some kind of energy beam, some knucklehead would come up with the idea of using a device that emits a beam of light. And to their credit, just like the Enterprise doesn't conform to the CW of the time that a spaceship should look like a rocket, perhaps no one wanted weapons that looked like guns either.
I totally did not get your reference until DS9Sega pointed out the link to the Graflex/lightsaber page. Thanks for this info, it was a very interesting read!
I'm at work, and my copy of Inside ST is at home, but isn't one of the "flashlight" pics in that sales brochure which is reproduced in the middle of the book? Is that the brochure to which he's referring?
No, there are no flashlight pictures in that brochure thing that's reproduced in Inside Star Trek. In fact, all the pictures are from "Where No Man Has Gone Before." There aren't any pictures from a post-WNMHGB photo shoot with Grace Lee Whitney.
Thanks, Greg. Yes; I checked the book last night. My memory was faulty (again).
Incidentally, speaking of weird props used in publicity pictures, the first page of that brochure shows Shatner and Dromm. He's holding a cloth strap and some kind of distributor, both of which I think were used in the scenes in the control room of the ore planet from WNMHGB. I thought they were odd props to hold in a publicity shot.
Further tangent: I recently saw The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! on MGM-HD. Dromm is in it as Carl Reiner's teenage daughter. It's a fun movie, with an all-star cast, and highly recommended.
Back to our normal programming...
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but is there a possibility that Justman slightly mis-remembered things here? I've been looking through old production memos at UCLA, and found several discussing the Reuben Klamer Toy Development Center, which apparently built at least one Phaser rifle prop on spec for the second pilot, in exchange for certain merchandising rights. By April 22, 1966, however, the deal had fallen through and been cancelled (after the prop had been built and used in the second pilot, though).
^^ As I posted upthread, this was was my thought as well. It's as likely an explanation as any.
On a related note, while at UCLA, see if you can find anything on whether the bridge turbo-lift was moved from behind the captain's chair early in production of the first pilot.
I did have a box with a folder of set-related memos today, but didn't have a chance to look at that particular folder. I'm working on a paper about "A Private Little War," but I pause every time I'm in the archives for a little bit to look at other material just to see what's there.
I saw a great series of memos between the production staff complaining about Shatner's weight early in the third season last week. They're pretty hard on him (behind his back, of course)!
I had the tracer disc gun! Wish I still did. Of course. Still have my Omega Glory viewmasters, though!
Are these memos that are still at UCLA? Because those puppies have a rather frustrating history of walking out the door (thanks to the nonexistent security and lackadaisical staff).
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