Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Heroes

They were the people who made it all work. From the producers who put in incredible hours (some of them, especially during the original series, wound up in the hospital because of it) to the effects people who made the future out of barrettes, plumbing supplies, recycled sound recordings and junk they found in the Mission Impossible dumpster next door, they made the Star Trek universe.

"I think the secret to Star Trek's success was its attention to details," said Oscar Katz, a Desilu executive as the original series was being developed. " ...its science-fiction truth not only in the big things that were spoken about, but also in the smallest details."

A lot of them worked on various Treks for decades. From the original series to Enterprise, everyone described them as a family. They were good at what they did, they were proud of it, and maybe above all, they cared about each other and they cared about Star Trek.

"I'll tell you one thing about Star Trek," Nichelle Nichols said to David Gerrold years ago. "...everyone you worked with, the prop man, the sound men, the light men, they had a very personal attitude about that show, a very personal pride, a personal sense of ownership. There were times when even a sound man wouldn't let something go by---it may not have had anything to do with sound---but he knew it didn't belong on the Enterprise, and he would speak up."

Speaking of his own fifteen years working on Star Trek, from Next Gen to directing episodes of every series since, Levar Burton observed (in an interview excerpted on the 7th TNG season 7 DVD) "Once you get past the overwhelming power of the sets, the thing that you will notice the most if you hang out for any length of time, is just how nice the people are, and how pleasant the working environment is. The amazing thing about Star Trek is, it's not just about the family of people that's on the screen. There's a family behind the scenes that is responsible on a day to day basis for getting this show done, day in, day out, these people show up every day and have done for the better part of the last fifteen years. It's extraordinary."

Last week Dan Curry spoke of Enterprise in particular as being a single family, the actors and crew and behind the scenes people. Another word that many use to describe everyone from Rick Berman to the directors of photography and Dan Curry as well-- is generosity. They were generous with their knowledge and their encouragement and their loyalty.

This, like just about everything else in Star Trek, seems to have started with Gene Roddenberry. I'm becoming convinced that even more that his visionary ideas, his genius was for people. Even the way he interviewed people for their jobs, asking more about them as people than about their experience, and talking to them about the real core of Star Trek (which it seems almost everyone who worked on it understood and remained loyal to for the rest of their lives) must have had something to do with how well this otherwise unlikely collection of talents---most of them previously obscure or untried--came together to create a storied universe unique in its impact and longevity.

Now the Enterprise set are silent, and it's likely this particular group of people will not work together again. Even if a new Star Trek series or movie begins in a few years, and possibly even if Enterprise somehow is resurrected in Vancouver before fall, many of them will no longer be part of Star Trek. Yet they are the heroes of Star Trek, and they deserve all the gratitude, admiration and honor they can receive.

3 comments:

Scott said...

Amen brother! Very well said. My heartfelt thanks goes out to those people. They'll be in my prayers as they move forward in their careers; going outside of Star Trek for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Scott said...

Amen brother! Very well said. My heartfelt thanks goes out to those people. They'll be in my prayers as they move forward in their careers; going outside of Star Trek for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Arman said...

Agreed! We should always remember those who put so much of their lives into Star Trek, and who helped creating what it has become.