Star Trek the Motion Picture
30 years ago
I grew up on Star Trek while in high school. It's greatest appeal to me overall was Gene's vision of the human race, in the future as successful explorers of our greatest frontier, Space.
When I came to Hollywood in 74 I could have never dreamed a few years later I would meet and work with Gene and the original cast. I was in my mid 20s and I was in heaven.
Thanks to Fred Philips I was invited to work on the film with my old friend Rick Stratton.
Fred was as good as the came and a good friend to both of us. I'll never forget the day he came to me in the lab there on the back lot and asked the question. He tossed a pair of Nimoy's ears down on the table, "You want to make Spock's ears?"
The answer was indeed obvious and I started right away. I copied exactly the style and shape of those original ears with pride.
One night working late my light at the table was blocked by a tall Shadow. A unmistakable voice rang out asking, " Are those my ears?" I looked up from the table to a legend towering over me and in a small rather humble voice said yes. I was blown away. It was a small job making the ears but a huge deal to me to be part of the Star Trek family and history.
We were never given credit for the work we did other than a letter from Fred on Star Trek the Motion Picture stationary. Fred kind of slipped us into Paramount and we worked outside the union there. How? I'll never know. It's been long enough now I feel I can talk about it. Besides I left Local 706 years ago.
I went on from the ears to work on other makeups for the film. I'll never forget the meeting I had with Gene and Robert Wise about doing new aliens. Talk about a scared and a kid in awe. But they were, as all of the cast and crew so kind and a joy to work with.
I designed the Alien with the dome forehead on the bridge. I was influenced by one of my old favorites, "This Island Earth". Ve Neill applied the make up and did it exact to my design right down to the wispy hair. I also worked on background aliens.
Fred was asked back then to give the Klingon's a real Alien look by Gene. I was there the day he did a test. Fred created before my eyes, with morticians wax and make up, the bonny ridged look we know today. Rich Stratton developed the test into appliances that were made from BJB ploy foam. History and I was there.
There's so much more to tell but it was truly one of my greatest and most rewarding experiences of my career to work on Star Trek. Recently I stumbled over pictures I though were long lost. I found a bunch of old stuff and it's my hope I'll find more. But I did find pictures of the molds I made for Nimoy's ears I sculpted and the rough unfinished sculpture of the bridge Alien.
As time allows I will add more of my treasures from this film and the other Star Trek films I was so lucky to work on.
And might I add, I'm so pleased to see Gene Roddenberry's vision live on the screen today with it's new crew and new film. May Star Trek never die!
Nimoy wearing my ears. The makeup was applied by Fred Philips.
Fred Philips applying Nimoy's makeup on the original series. Fred had me match these ears exactly.