ST:TMP - How Much of the Memory Wall Sequence Was Really Filmed?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by FalTorPan, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 25, 2000
    Out there... thataway.
    The TMP DVD has an extra with some five or six minutes of test footage from the Memory Wall sequence. On the other hand, I've seen a variety of stills from this scene which feature both Shatner and Nimoy in character. How much of the Memory Wall scene was actually filmed?
  2. Haytil

    Haytil Captain Captain

    Oct 26, 2004
    It was all filmed.

    The question is, how much of the visual effects were completed?
  3. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

    May 8, 2003
    The Red Church of Niah
    Forgotten Trek has some nice info on it, but doesn't exactly say how far the filming progressed. It's entirely possible that, at best, the sequence was only partially finished due to the disappointing results, and this was the basis for the still images.
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Source for that?
  5. Joker

    Joker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 28, 2005
    The North
    Various screengrabs.

    I used to have tons. Not anymore.
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Screen caps don't indicate how much of it was filmed. Unless you happen to have a complete shot list that can be used to validate this assertion.
  7. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    We know that they shot on the trench and memory wall stage for a week or more going by the making of stuff. We also know that there was some bluescreen shooting for it. Right there, that suggests it was shot in its entirety.

    More significantly, Doug Trumbull has claimed he is the guy who talked Wise into dropping the sequence, DURING POSTPRODUCTION. Trumbull official position on the show started in 79, after the sequence was shot. He says that the whole movie fell apart at this sequence when he saw the rough cut. Cinefex 1 addresses all this.
  8. Ottens

    Ottens Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 19, 2005
    The final answer! (hopefully ;))

    Yes, the Memory Wall sequence was all shot. Here's some photographs of what it looked like:

    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    Now, Mr Tracy Tobias of Quasar Visual Media has digitally completed some of these shots, with the input of Mr Richard Taylor!


    At my website, Forgotten Trek, Mr Tobias and I have compiled a page with an excerpt from the TMP script which describes the Memory Wall sequence, illustrated with behind-the-scenes photographs and photoshopped shots that show what could have been.

    CLICK HERE to read it!
  9. Basill

    Basill Captain Captain

    Oct 30, 2004
    Wow. I had almost forgotten "Forgotten Trek." A few awesome updates there.
  10. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 21, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    As an aside, work prints from the Memory Wall sequence wound up at Lincoln Enterprises right before they "closed" in the 1980's. Lincoln intended to cut them into individual frames for inclusion in their ST:TMP frame packets which they sold. Although some of the Memory Wall dailies were indeed cut up, some of them (at least 4 minutes that I have direct knowledge of) were not.
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    But Lincoln Enterprises never actually closed(?). A few years ago they morphed into but I was buying from Lincoln all through the 80s and well into the 90s.
  12. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 21, 2006
    Raleigh, NC

    Yes, but Lincoln Enterprises underwent major changes in the 1980s/early 1990s. Hence, I used quotes around the word closed. Sorry for being obtuse.
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Interesting, but those composites are pretty terrible, and despite Mr. Taylor's input, I suspect they only crudely approximate what the finished scenes would have looked like. I mean, they've got Ilia in her post digitization robe, for pete's sake.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  14. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 21, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    A lot can be done in post production with editing and effects, but I'm skeptical that this sequence could ever have been made movie worthy. For example, the footage of Kirk being "attacked" by the crystals is not good. The scene is very clearly done by first attaching the crystals to Shatners suit, pulling them off, and then running the footage backward. It looks very fake and quite obvious. Not to mention that the wires are very evident (which, I suppose, could be removed digitally now...)
  15. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    Well, you could paint wires out back then too, it was just incredibly labor intensive (one way would be to use the pellicle approach that was employed on the bridge probe to 'lose' the tech holding the light.) But it does fit with Trumbull's statement that it would have cost half the fx budget to just save the sequence, and as-was, it wasn't worth saving anyway.

    Interesting that for all the talk of the vger trench bubble gum card looking like FANTASTIC VOYAGE's ear sequence, that this after-the-fact touched up still of the memory wall has even more FV similarity, more like the brain than the ear with those sparkies.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  16. QuasarVM

    QuasarVM Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 30, 2008
    The composite was meant to be an *approximation* of how the shot would have looked -- one man's creative license used -- mine.

    Since Richard Taylor himself assisted me with it, I assume it wasn't complete "crap"...although I never had any illusions of it being the end-all, be-all of how these shots would look.

    I pretty much did it on a lark.

    For now though, I think it would be nice just to see some feedback on the web pages (i.e., discussion of these rare images) that Ottens has setup. This is material that has rarely been seen and has been put into a format where EVERYONE can see it. And keep in mind, these are all taken from footage that people keep saying was never shot! Well, the proof is now quite clear that it WAS. Now, the FX were not completed...that is indisputable. But, let's put to rest this silliness that the sequence wasn't filmed -- because it was. The site shows imagery from the beginning, middle and END of the sequence.

    If that doesn't constitute or imply a completed sequence, then I don't know what does.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  17. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    Well it was only the folks who got their info through the DVD that thought there was just a bit o' testing.

    Anybody who got the bubblegum card set or read ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS (or MAKING OF TMP) knew that they shot a ton of stuff for the trench and memory wall.

    What'd be nice is if somebody could find some wild tracks from the shooting (assuming it wasn't MOS) and see if you could cobble together a kind of continuity with stills and dialog (and soundfx?), so we could get an idea of how the scene might have played (L-O-N-G, if trumbull is to be believed, and I do.)

    Does anybody know what happened to all the film that Abel's folks actually shot? I mean, I talked to somebody who worked there about their take on the bridge probe, and he said they had lots of film on that, which was a kind of light sculpture Con Pederson headed up. Do we assume this is all in a Paramount vault, or that, like a lot of the Apogee/EEG stuff, that nobody paid to keep the elements and they got tossed?
  18. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 21, 2006
    Raleigh, NC
    I don't know about the negatives, but Lincoln Enterprises wound up with work prints. Last year, I telecined 4 minutes of footage that shows Shatner gliding through the trench and being attacked by the memory crystals. I'm hoping it will see the light of day soon.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  19. QuasarVM

    QuasarVM Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 30, 2008

    Actually, I think it IS in a vault somewhere. I don't think they got tossed because some of the footage made it into the TV version of the film (Kirk exiting the airlock)...and Daren Dochterman claims to have seen it (and, along with Robert Wise, deemed it unuseable) when working on the Director's Cut.

    But, Curt McAloney over at told me once that he knows/knew a film collector who had some (all?) of the memory wall/trench footage (this might be dailies?). This was a few years ago and who knows if the person was telling the truth.

    One thing is for sure, the footage hasn't shown up at, so McAloney apparently never got his hands on it...or at least a video transfer of it...

    I'd like to think that Paramount will release a ST:TMP Ultimate Edition someday on Blu-Ray that will include the footage as an extra on the disc. I think the fans deserve to see the footage and it's surely the only way I'd ever buy that movie on DVD again.

    You're right: A lot of people think that the test footage on the Director's Cut DVD is all that there is...and, well, some of us know that is not the truth -- but that myth seems to have gotten spread around a bit.

    With regard to the light probe, Richard Taylor told me that would have been spectacular had it made it into the film. As scripted, that scene was quite a bit different than what made it into the film (the probe seems to do a lot more in the shooting script than what ended up in the film -- and the script includes the shot-but-cut security guard confrontation by phaser with the probe). In 2000, I interviewed Richard Taylor extensively (and became email "pen-pals" with him to an extent) but tried to interview Con Pederson but was met with abject silence (I assume he was not ready or inclined to discuss his work on the film) -- not even so much as "mind your own business" email -- lol!:

    Kirk's voice is blotted out by a DEAFENING, SHRILL-
    ING SOUND, accompanied by a multi-hued point of LIGHT
    which EXPLODES into BLINDING INTENSITY, obscuring
    everything for an instant. Overlapping this action,
    we HEAR:

    Intruder alert...! Intruder


    207 OMITTED 207


    The BLINDING LIGHT FADES and in its lace we SEE a
    strange "entity" shocking us with its frightening
    appearance and its ugly-sounding THROBBING HUM of
    power. It is about seven feet tall and resembles a
    "blob" of raw energy in shifting patterns and colors
    of deep, ugly hues of upper spectrum violet. Yet,
    it looks strangely alive. At the end of the "tendril"
    (of light) is an "eye" (a small multi-colored device)


    The bridge crew reacting hard, shocked and shaken --
    the THROBBING SOUND of the Alien thing intensifies
    as it begins to move across the bridge. Suddenly, in
    b.g., an elevator door snaps oen and two SECURITY
    MEN burst onto the bridge, phasers drawn. Chekov
    shouts warningly at the Men:

    No weapons...!

    But Chekov is too late: First Security Man FIRES --
    the BLAST harmlessly absorbed by the Probe which emits
    a SCREECHING nerve-grating SOUND --- sends out a SMALL
    WHIPLASH ENERGY BOLT which instantly envelopes First
    Security Man in a PURPLE GLOW (of implosion). Second
    Security Man has almost lifted his phaser -- but now
    carefully, slowly is moving his hand away from his


    PURPLE GLOW FADES, the First Security Man has simply

    210A FULL SHOT - BRIDGE 210A

    Chekov, like the others, horrified, flips a switch
    and the COMPUTER-VOICE ("Intruder Alert") goes OFF.
    At the same time Chekov speaks into his intercom:

    Security... do not send further

    The Probe is sending out snake-like tendrils to the
    various consoles on the bridge.

    These tendrils lash out in a cobra-strike movement,
    the tendril-head seeming to enter into the console
    affected -- at which time all monitors and instrument
    lights there come ON as if the Probe is "reading"
    each console function. The crew carefully stays clear
    of the tendrils.

    Spock has risen, moving to Kirk's side as he slowly
    brings his tricorder up, very carefully extracting
    its tiny sensor and aiming it at the probe.

    No intruder readings on other
    decks, Captain...
    (to Spock)
    Can that be one of their crew?

    A probe from their vessel...
    (to Kirk)
    A plasma-energy combination...

    Meanwhile, the probe is now hovering near Chekov who
    sits frozen, fists clenched, jaw tight.

    Don't interfere with it...!

    Absolutely, I will not interfere!


    as the "probe" withdraws an energy-tendril from one
    bridge station and "inserts" it into another console.

    No one interfere...! It doesn't
    seem interested in us -- only
    the ship...!

    Kirk's words are never completed as suddenly all the
    energy tendrils withdraw from all consoles and a
    larger, more powerful-looking tendril lashes out,
    snaking into the science console complex.


    Where, also immediately, all the console and computer
    lights are suddenly flashing wildly, rapidly --

    -- There is an incredibly fast EXCHANGE OF HIGH-PITCHED
    BEES -- the computer obviously in unauthorized commu-
    nication with the probe!

    Computer off!

    It's taken control of the

    It's running our records!
    Starfleet strength, Earth

    As Decker moves to the main power control, Spock now
    steps in, his Vulcan strength easily brushing Kirk and
    Decker aside. Spock clasps his fists above his head,
    brings it down in a SHATTERING BLOW on the console. It
    splits open! As the bridge lights dim even more, and
    as the science console shorts itself out -- and off,
    Decker confronts Spock:

    We could have cut it off at the
    main computer...

    This served the purpose.

    Kirk has been giving Spock a puzzled look -- Spock now
    turns abruptly, and:

    210D ANOTHER ANGLE (O) 210D

    as Spock, in stepping back, accidentally brushes the
    probe's energy tendril -- a FLASH OF LIGHT at the
    contact point sends Spock sinning under the rail and
    to the floor near Ilia. The probe's energy-tendril
    has withdrawn from the darkened science console, hov-
    ers high over the dazed Spock as if angrily seeking
    the reason for the break in its computer contact.
    Spock starts to rise.

    Mr. Spock, don't move...!

    Decker steps toward her, AD LIBBING a grim "Ilia...!"
    But he has no chance as:

    211 OMITTED 211
    - -
    219 219

    220 CLOSER ON ILIA (O) 220

    The Probe hovers over her, its whole mass seemingly
    about to envelope her with a single tendril extended
    toward her, somehow freezing her into immobility -
    and then the entire Probe DISSOLVES IN A BLINDING
    FLASH OF WHITE, obscuring Ilia. Almost instantly
    the WHITE FLASH FADES -- but Ilia has vanished -- her
    tricorder clattering to the deck.
  20. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    With the exception of two 2001-oriented interviews in the 90s (one is archived at, Pederson has kept his mouth shut about everything for quite a long time. He even turned down Cinefex during the early 80s.

    The guy I talked with (it was for a piece that had nothing to do with trek, I just recognized his name from credits for RED OCTOBER) worked mostly in R&D and was blown away by Pederson's imagination and ability. This guy also survived the transition to Trumbull (helped out a bit with matte painting setups), and mentioned that when he was with Abel, he tried to stay away from the main building because of the cocaine abuse going on. So I'm guessing you had a couple groups at Abel who were really 'on' for the show, and others that were 'on' whatever they needed to keep going for the show.

    Manoman, I wish Preston Neal Jones would cough up some of those 1600-odd pages of TMP-related journalism. There's a guy who did a retrospective MAKING OF CLOSE ENCOUNTERS book last year (and did a KONG book that covers the 70s version in detail) who would love to do a full-on TMP volume too, as would I, but even now lots of folks won't go on the record, and pocket would probably sue any gutsy small 'reference' type publisher that put out an accurate researched book.