Starship, the proposed 1970s Series

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Doctor Jeffrey, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm, maybe that's why it had a name as generic as Starship. Maybe that was just a more convenient way of saying Untitled Starship Series, and if some network had bitten, he'd have come up with a better title for it.

    (Admittedly, Planet Earth is an even more generic title, but that was a retool after he couldn't call it Genesis II anymore.)
     
  2. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    This is a good point, Christopher. Originally, STAR TREK: PHASE II was a studio project title. Not a show title. STAR TREK: PHASE II was supposed to begin as 4 two-hour MOWs for winter to summer 1974. Had those clicked, there would have been 6 MOWs per year. Each with the title STAR TREK: (individual MOW title). As Christopher suggests, STARSHIP might have been a generic title to give studio decision makers an immediate, though general, idea of what the show is about. Lot's of series change their titles when going into production or while approaching premiere. Quite logical, Christopher.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This is true. It's telling that while there are blueprints for the Starship design, there aren't character profiles to go along with them. Surely, the characters are more important than the details of the vessel they fly in? Yet it seems character details weren't fleshed out until the animated version developed at the turn of the century.

    We know the Starship shape began life as a concept for what became the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701. Perhaps it's legend owes more to Lincoln Enterprises having something to sell than anything else.
     
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  4. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    There's much to what you say, King Daniel. There are at least 2 more elements, though, and both are nicely positive. One is that even in the brief synopsis and the homogenizing description (and I'm being generous with the word) of the characters, there is a surprising amount of potential to the premise. You, yourself, tapped into this a couple of days ago.

    The other positive element is one that can be gleaned by looking at this thread as a whole, and which is something I never expected when I started this thread, but for which I am grateful to you all. (My. That was a long sentence)
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    Shows and movies change titles all the time in development.
     
  6. cmdr_forst

    cmdr_forst Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I had never heard of "Starship" before seeing this thread. I've always been fascinated by unsold pilots and never produced concepts for TV shows.

    A quick Google search for more information led me to the iCollector.com website. Back in 2011, Profiles in History auctioned two blueprint drawings by Matt Jefferies supposedly created in 1977 for Star Trek: Phase II.

    Here are links:

    Systems Analysis Unit and Metatransit System
    Command Deck

    These must be the original drawings used to create the blueprints sold by Lincoln Enterprises.
     
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  7. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Brilliant! Cmdr Forst! This is exactly what I was hoping somebody would find. I had all 3 of the blue prints back in 1977, along with a one page description of the show and the sets. The Metatransit System had the Metaflier sphere, which is attached to the starboard side of the ship, scene in the other 2 blue prints. The one pager described that there were 2 designs for the forward view screen, based on the budget for the pilot and series, and the centerpiece was the Omniputer, which was a combination of digital navigation chart table and scanner for the exterior instrumentation. Like a beefed up version of Spock's hooded scanner. Notice that there is only one seat in the design. The ship was intended to fly and run itself from verbal commands of the captain and scientists onboard. The scientists review data by walking along the main view screen and the minor view screens (identified as instrumentation in the blue print)

    I had forgotten that the decks were grilles in some sections.

    Thank you, Cmdr Forst. These drawings show that their was a bit of thought in the preliminary (and possible ONLY) development phase for the series in the early 70s. By 1977 the blue prints were enhanced with color sections and sold.

    Also, by 1977 there were sets for STAR TREK: PHASE II (Version 2) being built (I think in Toronto). Part of that story was supplied by somebody here in a link about a week and a half ago. That series was switched back to a feature film project after STAR WARS became a phenomenon. By 1977 both STARSHIP and STAR TREK: PHASE II were former concepts for series. On the other two blue prints I purchased in 77 was the title STARSHIP. And I read the same catalog blurb for STARSHIP (not STAR TREK: PHASE II) that somebody here posted about a week ago.

    Thank you Cmdr Forst. It was wonderful to see this again after over 40 years.
     
  8. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    On Page 6 here, King Daniel posted a copy of the catalog blurb from 1977. It clearly states the series as STARSHIP.

    Notice how it describes the crew as humans. In the Majel Roddenberry revision in the late 90's, early 00's, the crew has many aliens, including the captain and one scientist who was described as a "bug". The probably lead for that series was a female human who was an M.D. and probably an exo-zoologist.

    Thanks, King Daniel. Thanks, Cmdr Forst.
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    One thing that struck me when Iooked at this again: "This could be the forerunner of new TV series[...]" Could be? So what was it if it wasn't?
     
  10. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    My guess is that the line in the catalog was either wishful thinking or non-committal hype written for the catalog in order to sell the blue prints. The brief written material that came with them referred to STARSHIP as an unsold series, but added an oblique touch of hope that it might still become one. Again, I thought that was wishful thinking at the time. I purchased the blue prints in 1977 because, like Cmdr Forst, I was, and am, interested in unsold series.

    I'm glad you mentioned it. Good eye, Maurice.
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    BTW it's "metafier" not "metaflier". No L.
     
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  12. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    oh, good catch. I think I typed the "L" a few times in other posts. Probably muscle memory in my fingers for typing "flier". Thanks. I'll be more careful in the future, and Metafier makes much more sense.
     
  13. Jinn

    Jinn Mistress of the Chaotic Energies Premium Member

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    Metaflier does sound like a fun word though.^_^
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Do we know who wrote the text in the catalogs? Lincoln Enterprises was Gene & Majel Roddenberry's family business, but I think Bjo Trimble worked for/with them. So potentially any of them could've written it.

    The "could be the forerunner" line is pretty telling, as is the fact that they only had the poster for sale whereas for other GR pilots they were selling copies of the series bibles, scripts, and (in the case of Genesis II) story treatments. It does seem reasonable to conclude that Starship was nothing more than a cursory pitch at that point.
     
  15. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    A cursory pitch would just be the synopsis. The 3 pages of blueprints shows more thinking than that, especially in the details. The ring ship concept might have started as an idea for the Enterprise in the 60s, but THIS ring ship is obviously a much smaller ship, and they put some thought into it, including some of the lighting positions.

    As you said, pretty telling.
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    As to the catalog, The Trimbles got jettisoned and Gene and Majel took over and eventually Susan Sackett got pulled in. Bjo and John discussed the rotten way Roddenberry treated them in an interview on The Trek Files podcast not long ago.

    Much as AMT got Jefferies to design the Leif Ericcson kit to try to spin off their own line of starships, it's also possible Gene paid Jefferies to do some drawings specifically as merchandise and just made up the show idea just to sell it to fans. Who knows?
     
  17. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Possibly, Maurice. Majel Roddenberry said, in the late 90s, that STARSHIP (the animated series) and ANDROMEDA were taken from ideas Roddenberry had in the 70s, and she had found notes, synopses, etc. Was she telling the truth? Was she exaggerating? How much material was their really from the 70s? As you said, Who knows?

    There are some interesting aspects to the design that would have fit nicely for a series at that time and for the synopsis in the catalog, and for the one pager. There are also a couple of difficulties with the design for television production (the placement of the computer banks) and for the mission given in the one pager (placing the command room and the room below it in the E-pod). The does look as if there was a bit more thought (a bit, not a lot) put into the design besides a quick re-tread of an early, rejected Enterprise design with the only intention being catalog sales. However, what you opine, Maurice, might be true and should be considered.
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    I don't understand your concerns about the sets. "Command room and room below it"... huh?
     
  19. Doctor Jeffrey

    Doctor Jeffrey Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    If you look at the U-shaped dotted line in the command center, it marks a raised section labeled computer banks. You can see it in the 2 elevation drawings. The raised section appears to be about 3 feet high and 4 - 5 feet deep in the forward elevation; and, in the floor plan, ranging from 3 feet deep along the sides to 5 feet deep by the main view screen. This unnecessary use of floorspace would confound directors, not only for camera positions, but also for blocking actors. I realize that some of the wall are wild, but it would still hamper camera placements and the placements of kickers and other stand lights. I'm surprised that a designer with Matt Jefferies's experience would make that choice, unless he was directed to do so.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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