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Tag Archive: Captain Kirk


By C.J. Bunce

Don Hillenbrand is what you would call a diehard science fiction fan and entertainment memorabilia collector.  In particular he is a rabid Star Trek fanboy, a true Trekkie, and he’s one of my oldest Trek collector pals. He recently launched his new website WrathofDhan.com, an online museum of sorts where he shares some of his sense of humor and allows fans to get a closer look at his amazing collection of screenused costumes and props from the show and movies that featured the original Star Trek crew—Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and the rest.

Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) about to board the USS Enterprise shuttlecraft Galileo.

As part of his passion for Star Trek, Don has spent some time over the years trying to track down the original shuttle Galileo—the actual ship that was used by Kirk & Co. in the original 1960s TV Star Trek series.  For years rumors persisted about the ship being in Don’s vicinity.  Trekkies posted photos of Google satellite images showing the vessel existed, somewhere in Ohio.  But no one seemed to know where it was stored.  It had undergone extensive restoration over the years.  One owner obtained it from the studio and (rumor has it) let their kids play in it in their yard for some time, somewhere in California.  The current owner acquired it and supposedly poured tens of thousands of dollars into a restoration effort, only to run short on money or otherwise decide to hold off, resulting in further weathering from storing it outside.  This is, after all, a 45-year-old piece of set dressing that was never intended to survive production of the series.  Recently the current owner put it up for sale and it is being auctioned off.  This week, after much persistence, Don (pictured above) was able to get in to see the Galileo in person.  I asked him here today to share his reactions with everyone involving this unique opportunity.

Front view of the shuttlecraft Galileo taken this week.

CB:  Don, what was your reaction to finally being able to see in person and walk through the actual shuttle Galileo, the only item that could be called an actual full-sized ship from the original Star Trek TV series?

DH:  Seeing the Galileo was a truly amazing thing.  On one hand, this is THE prop that we’ve all seen for decades and the emotions of joy that wash over you – well you can imagine.  Kirk and Spock actually hopped in and out of this piece!  But even as that feeling overtakes you the reality sets in – this thing is in TERRIBLE condition.  If you think it looks bad in the photos, that’s nothing compared to seeing it in person.  So you’re simultaneously hit with profound amazement and profound sadness.  It’s an odd experience.

Detail of Galileo exterior panel damage.

CB:  So how much is left of the original ship?

DH:  Of the main structure, I’d say AT THE MOST, there’s 25% of the original material in place, and of that, very little is salvageable, in my opinion.  The vast majority of the structure and surfaces have been replaced.  But then THAT was left to go to hell.  The owner kept saying how upset she was about all the bad online comments concerning the condition and how it wasn’t that bad.  At one point she abruptly turned to me and asked “It’s not as bad as you thought it was going to be, is it?”  To which I replied “Yes, I’m afraid it is.  Maybe worse.”  I didn’t want to be cruel, but this was a piece of crap.  It never ceases to amaze me how people can delude themselves when they have something on the line.

Aft view of Galileo.

CB:  I see from photos some of the weathered iconic logo on the side of the ship and the Enterprise ship identifer NCC 1701 across the back.  None of the paint or logos are original, correct?

DH:  Not a bit, unfortunately.  This has gone through at least two rounds of “restoration,” neither of which did much actual restoring in the long run.  Apparently every time progress was made, it was left out in the weather.  The lettering that you can see is from one of those rounds.  From what I can tell there’s not a molecule of original paint on the piece.  Or if there is, it’s so deteriorated that it can’t be identified.  This was originally made from a combination of materials.  From what I could tell, the skin is/was masonite with fiberglass used to blend the curved surfaces into each other.  The top “quarter round” pieces were metal, again blended with the glass.  Now it is mostly plywood and Bondo.  Lots and lots of Bondo.

Remnants of Bondo work from previous restoration efforts that took place nearly 20 years ago.

CB:  Can you tell what parts were original and what was replaced in the last restoration?

DH:  One of my goals (beyond acting like a Trekkie fanboy) was to specifically try to ascertain what was original and what was replaced.  I tried asking the owner but got rather vague information.  At one point she would say that an entire side was original.  But when I pointed out the obvious use of the plywood that the “restorers” had used, she’d say, “well, except for that.”  Of course “that” was a third of the side.  But through a lot of study and comparison, I was finally able to break it down.  Here’s what I know:

  • Steel frame is original and in good condition
  • Engines are mostly original and in good condition
  • Rear landing strut is original and in good condition
  • Interior wood frame has all been replaced
  • Sheathing on port side is about half original/half replaced
  • Sheathing on starboard side is all replacement
  • Aft – impulse engine nook has been totally replaced; lower section is original
  • Roof – totally replaced due to cave-in
  • Front – mostly original and in bad shape
  • Door – original
  • Detail pieces –grills – original
  • Bottom – no idea

Interior front view of Galileo.

The best thing about it are the engines – they are almost entirely intact.  They have no domes, unfortunately, but the rest is original except for one rear cowling that the owner had fabricated by one of the guys that worked on the original.  And I was amazed at how big that rear landing strut was in-person.  Big and beefy.  Unfortunately for me, the engines were stored in a garage and I was not able to get far enough away to take a good shot.  But they were impressive.

Galileo nacelle detail angle.

CB:  Someone will be forking over tens of thousands of dollars if they want to take on another (maybe the last) effort to finally restore this ship.  What is your take on that?

DH:  Let’s bottom line this: Is it worth restoring?  Is there enough left that it could be considered a “restoration” at all?  This is about opinion, since there’s no magic formula to determine which way to go.  I say “yes, there is.”  If it didn’t have the engines, I’d say forget it.  After all, whatever outer sheathing that is still original is in such poor condition that it will have to be replaced.  But I think there’s enough to justify restoring it and still being able to call it the “True Galileo.”  Just barely, but it’s there.

Water damage inside aft section of Galileo.

That said, it will take a Herculean task to fix this puppy up.  A year ago when I first heard about it resurfacing – practically in my own backyard – I fantasized about buying it and restoring it myself.  I’m a very handy guy and I can learn how to do just about anything.  But when I saw the poor girl in person, I knew it was good that I had put that dream aside.  You’d need a significant facility to house it in and work on it – this is no “garage kit” after all.  And you’d have to make it your extended hobby and be willing to spend hundreds of hours AND thousands of dollars (tens of thousands? I don’t know, frankly).  I’m not up to it.  And anyone thinking of bidding needs to know this going into it – it’s a BIG job!

Kirk exits Galileo, followed by Spock, in the season two episode “Metamorphosis.”

CB:  So what were your thoughts on being able to touch that actual ship from your favorite series as a kid (and still today)?

DH:  Regardless of her condition, I got to spend a great afternoon looking into every nook and cranny of the old girl.  A good friend and fellow Trek fan was with me (hey Mike!), and for a little while we were 7-year-olds stranded on a desolate planet (that bore a striking resemblance to a warehouse) with Spock and McCoy and the rest of the crew.  Kid in the candy store moment, for sure, and one I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.So I want to help make sure she ends up in a good home – with someone who will restore her to her former glory and put her proudly on display for the world to see.  I hope it comes to pass.  She deserves it.

Screencap of Hillenbrand’s online screenused costume and prop museum.

CB:  About your own collection of original Star Trek costumes and props, what made you put it all together to share on the Internet?

DH:  Well, I think you said it best when you referred to my site as “an online museum of sorts”.  That’s exactly what I want it to be – a virtual museum where fellow fans can see these amazing pieces of Star Trek history that we all love so much.

As a collector, I collect for myself, period.  I don’t buy things to impress others, just myself.  That said, a collector likes nothing better than to show off their collection to fellow fans and see theirs in return.  And since I can’t afford to build a facility and open my own museum (every collector’s dream, I think) I decided to go online.  Since web design and photography are what I do on a daily basis, it was a natural progression.  My friends had to endure countless iterations (sorry, Chris!) but I finally got something that I could be proud of and that reflected my collecting sensibilities.  I tried to have fun and tell a story.

CB:  Any future plans for WrathofDhan.com or new pieces you are looking to acquire for your collection?

DH:  I already have so many amazing pieces – stuff that is frankly beyond anything I could have dreamed of a few years ago.  But like any collector, I’m always on the hunt for new stuff, new information, and new insight into the Trek experience that has meant so much to me throughout my life.  As a matter of fact, I have a number of pieces that I need to add to the site even now.  In that way, I hope my site will never be finished.  And I’d like to thank all the great friends I’ve made over the years that have helped me make my collection what it is.  They’ve helped me in so many ways, beyond just the collection.  I wish all of you could have joined me on the Galileo for the trip of a lifetime.  As usual, Captain Kirk said it best:

“Course heading, Captain?”

“Second star on the right… and straight on ‘til morning.”

CB:  Thanks for talking with us today, Don!

DH:  My pleasure.

In real life Don runs New World Design (www.neworldesign.net) and NEOWORX Studio (www.neoworxstudio.com) where he creates design and illustration work for clients around the world. His work was recently featured in the Star Trek “Ships of the Line” calendar, a collection of new outer space imagery in the expanded Star Trek universe.

Hillenbrand designed this beautiful image for the Star Trek Ships of the Line calendar.

For anyone interested in bidding on the Galileo, you’ll have to act fast as the auction ends this week.

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Today we continue yesterday’s interview with former Paramount art coordinator and Star Trek archivist, Penny Juday…

CB:  How often does Star Trek enter your thoughts now that you no longer work for Paramount?  I heard that Star Trek video supervisor and graphic artist Denise Okuda introduced you to your husband, Anthony Fredrickson, while working on Deep Space Nine.

PJ:  We talk about it every day.  Not that we want to—it just is I used to tell everyone who would listen, and probably still do—that Star Trek paid for my house, my car, my clothes, my pets, my food, my gas, well you get the idea.  If I owned it Trek bought it for me since we both worked for Trek for so many years which was considered a coup in the film industry—to get a show that lasted that long was unheard of.  As far Anthony… poor guy … apparently had a crush on me for eight years.  He was very shy. Most people didn’t even know who he was, just the guy in graphics.  So he never really asked me out.  I had no idea.  He would talk to me at lunch, bring me little trinkets, hover when I was in the DS9 art department–always so sweet to me.  We were very good friends.  So one day Denise Okuda and I are picking up some crew jackets, I was complaining bitterly about the lack of great guys to date.  So she tells me about the guy who sits next to her and how he has been in love with me for many years. “Anthony?”  I said.  Yes, I just couldn’t believe my ears.  Then all the clues hit me–I am just oblivious at times, I guess.  So the game was afoot: I was invited to an Oscar party, I call Anthony and ask him to lunch, I take him to my favorite spot near Paramount, I ask him if he would like to go to this party with me, just as friends—I didn’t want to frighten him.  He tells me he has other plans. “Rats,” I thought.  Oh, well.  We are almost finished with lunch and he tells me he has changed his mind and he will alter his plans.  “Great,” I said, “I will pick you up.”  I got the car washed, I flew to Vegas to my favorite guy and had my hair done, I bought a new outfit.  Now I had never seen him in anything but a T-shirt and jeans.  He comes out in a navy blue double breasted jacket.  Man, who is this?  It was over for me.  I made up my mind as did he apparently and we have been together ever since.

Penny and husband Anthony Fredrickson, former Star Trek scenic artist.

CB:  Do you still watch the series and Star Trek movies?  What are your favorite episodes and scenes as a fan of Star Trek, and are there any of your favorites that you were part of creating?

PJ:  My favorite scenes are endless.  I think “Trials and Tribble-ations” from Deep Space Nine is probably my favorite of all, then “Little Green Men,” also from Deep Space Nine, where Quark is making the military look very smart.  The comedies are the best.  I know it wasn’t a comedy show, but I wish they had done more.  It worked so well.  On the other hand you have actors like Avery Brooks and Patrick Stewart, with their backgrounds and complete ability to become any character they choose, and so convincing.  Watching them work, I would get goose bumps being around them.  That’s not to say that I am pretty sure all the girls got goose bumps being near them.  Sorry, got lost there.  Watching Christopher Plummer in the Klingon court room, my very first experience at being on a Star Trek set… that was a surprise for me.  I was speechless.  The scenes are endless because I felt Star Trek was one of the best shows ever made.  And the pranks, moving an entire company from Paramount out to locations, just being on set and watching the cast and crew.

The production set went retro for the Deep Space Nine time travel episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

CB:  I have always been a fan of Trials and Tribble-ations, too.  What was your involvement with that episode and what was it like to have all those actors walking around in Original Series garb, with 1960s-style props and sets?

PJ:  That show made just about all of us nostalgic.  We loved it.  It was a great challenge to make it look like the real thing, so to speak.  The best part was the tribbles, of course.  A fun note:  Bob Key, who was in charge of the fabric drapery department, was working at Desilu at the time and remembers how the tribbles were made.  Not a tough thing really, but he was very important for choosing colors and types of fur (fake of course) that was used.  I was surprised any of the tribbles made it through the show as stuff vanished as if on a transporter pad constantly.

Penny discussing Viceroy prop knife on DVD extras for Star Trek Nemesis.

CB:  You have appeared in several video and DVD featurettes, including “Penny’s Toy Box” where you give fans a glimpse at Nimoy’s maroon Starfleet uniform from Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country and various prop masks and weapons.  Before the Christies and It’s a Wrap auctions (where Paramount sold off most of the Star Trek collection) you were the caretaker of the archive of thousands of pieces of Hollywood history.  You also set up the museum at the Star Trek Experience that used to be in Las Vegas as well as the traveling museums that have circled the planet.  What are your favorite props or costumes from the franchise and are there any specific props or costumes that you, as a Star Trek insider for so many years, consider to be the most iconic?

PJ:  I felt the most awed I think working with Mr. Shatner’s costumes.  Even though they were from the features and not the original series it was so cool to be able to be the caretaker of things he had used and worn.  Quite a few of the costumes in the Las Vegas museum were reproductions as so many things were missing.  I have a lot of great stories about putting the collection together.  One of my favorites is Kirk’s broken reading glasses that McCoy gave him [in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan]… of course those were long gone so “the game was afoot” to find a matching pair.  I can’t tell you how many older eyeglass shops I was in with photo frame grab in hand showing it to shop owner after shop owner.  Nothing.  So one lovely day my gang and I are having lunch on Larchmont Blvd, which is blocks away from Paramount Studios.  I see this tiny eyeglass shop that has obviously been there for many years.  It hit me that the prop master might have gone there having been so close to the lot, duh.  I took my photo and my chance and went in.  A young clerk went to get the owner and must have thought I was nuts… this small elderly gentleman comes out, examines the photo, I explain why I want them, he says “not only do I have the exact same pair, but I sold the originals to the prop master and I have the case they came in.”  Yup…

Captain Kirk’s birthday present from Dr. McCoy in Star Trek II was a pair of glasses that came from a shop very close to home.

The other experience I will never forget… we had a DeForest Kelley costume from one of the early films.  I knew he was small, meaning very thin, but do you think it dawned on me just how thin?  I bought a teenage boy mannequin for Mr. Kelley’s costume just to make sure I would have no issues getting the piece of iconic history into place.  Not to be… there we were days before opening, mannequins are very expensive.  I can barely get the pants over the thighs and not even close to going over the back side sitting area of the large fiberglass doll… So I go the art director and explain the problem, feeling not very bright of course, he says let me dwell on this for a bit as life is utterly crazy of course trying to get The Experience open.  A few hours later he shows up with a hack saw… there the two of us were on the floor hacksawing off the buttocks of the mannequin.  I was laughing so hard I could barely help get this done.  We still barely got the pants on.

Center is DeForest Kelley’s Leonard McCoy costume from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that Penny had to put on a very small mannequin at the former Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas.

CB:  You now have a business designing jewelry, and some of the jewelry has been worn on TV.  Can you share some details about that?

PJ:  My shop is called The Lost Box which is in downtown Tehachapi, California.  There is a webstore, www.thelostbox.com, which is currently wiped out from the holidays so I am working to get more goodies listed.  I specialize in one of a kind wearable artworks of jewelry like the steampunks which seem to be a favorite as I cannot keep them in stock.  I also work with precious and semi-precious stones and metals.  I love getting a strand of amethyst stones and making it into an incredible piece of jewelry that will be worn for hopefully generations to come.  And one of my pieces, a copper beaded strand, will be on an episode of NCIS.  The guest star has it on.  There are more pieces out to other shows.  I am just not sure when they will air. Having been in the business for so many years really helps with contacts and getting the jewelry used on the shows.

Penny’s silver steampunk jewelry like this can be seen on the NCIS TV series.

CB:  I know that today you run a cat rescue shelter.  Can you tell us more about that?

PJ:  There are always dumped and stray cats on the lots at the studios.  Now it’s even epidemic, I might add.  Anyway, after feeding and trying to care for as many as I could that were living under our lot trailer, a co-worker tells me of a person on the lot who has proclaimed that she is the cat caregiver.  I called her.  The beginning of the end for me!  (Just kidding).  She jumped right in and helped out several of them.  As we talked I learned her goal is to make a real cat rescue and non-profit organization.  Here we are 15, 16 years later with preciouspaws.org.  I call it “recycling kitties.”  We save them, clean them up and find homes–we hope.  Donations are so way down as you might imagine these last two years that it has become a struggle to keep the doors open.  We do have a great back up team, like most the Brady Bunch cast is huge in supporting us–Susan Olsen just did an interview with The Today Show with brand new kittens.  I do not know when it will air.  Going back to the beginning… I had no intention of really getting involved.  I was busy with school, the films, etc., however, I started working with the cats just three months after my twin and nephew were killed so I figured this was given to me to help with the horrible grief.  So here I am… my twin was a rescuer as well.  Since I can remember we were always rescuing something, and we became known on the lot as the rescuers–right down to little birds, we got the call.  So many stories about them, I could write a book just about the cats alone: the “coffee can” rescue, the “cat under the manhole cover,” the “cat caught in the gate,” the “long-haired calico dumped in a stair well,” where I took her home and Anthony said, “where’d you get the carpet?” So her name was “car’pet.”  Then there were the tiny babies we would find scattered about the lot that took us three litters before we were able to catch the mom with trickery.  A lot of people on the lot spent time on that rescue.  If Paramount only knew how much money they spent helping us!  For anyone able to donate to preciouspaws.org, please check out the website as donations are always appreciated.  Donations can be sent any time to Penny at ahabbud [at] aol [dot] com!

Thanks, Penny!

By C.J. Bunce

There be SPOILERS here…

Let it be known that we here at borg.com will never pass up an opportunity to talk about borgs, from wherever they may originate, be it the 1960s or 1970s or 1980s or even the 2010s, or some future century.  As filming wraps next week in San Francisco for the next Star Trek movie, the release of the new Trek/Doctor Who crossover is getting closer.  And borgs from two franchises and several time periods will finally collide.

Just as we previewed the covers for the coming Issue #1 and Issue #2 of the IDW Publishing mash-up series with the long title, Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation,² the comic industry Previews catalog published the cover to Issue #3 this week.  And it doesn’t take much of a discerning eye to notice some cool… cosmic anomalies:

If you can get past the smirk-inducing, albeit true to the original series, belly button shot of Captain James T. Kirk (cleverly included by artist Elena Casagrande), there is something amiss here… this is a Next Generation spin-off series, right?  And isn’t that the fourth Doctor?  And isn’t that the older version of the borg Cybermen?  What’s going on here?

It turns out that the Writers Tipton have some tricks up their sleeves for us, in the realm of some time travel between the 24th century of Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise-D and the 23rd century of Captain Kirk’s original Enterprise (“with no bloody A, B, C, or D,” as Scotty would say), including an appearance by the shuttle Galileo (currently rotting somewhere in a yard in Ohio, if recent reports are accurate).  And a visit from the Fourth Doctor, to boot.  That’s a lot to bring together, but we Trekkiewhovians (WhovaTrekians???) are up for it.

And there’s one more bit of fun–color art for an alternate cover for Issue #1 by artist Tony Lee:

And this adds one more twist to the fun, with an appearance by The Borg from Star Trek Voyager, specifically Seven of Nine before she was separated from the Collective.

This is a further variant, a retailer edition signed by artist Tony Lee, available only from UK comics retailer Forbidden Planet:

Can’t wait?  Neither can we. Issue #1 will be released May 30, 2012.

Tonight dog lovers across the galaxy tune in to their screens for the annual Super Bowl of dogdom, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  Here at borg.com, this is serious TV viewing, and this year our thoughts naturally turned to… dogs in space.  Like Laika, the first dog in space who beat mankind into the outer realms, these dogs have gone… where no man has gone before.  So we bring you our very own contenders for Best in Show–our picks for best dogs from genre fiction in TV, movies, and comics (in no particular order).

1.  Toto – Who better to start our list than the little terrier feisty enough to take a bite out of Miss Gulch and accompany Dorothy on her journey down the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz?

2.  Einstein – Doc Brown’s faithful sheepdog companion, like Laika, was the first to make a historic voyage there and back again in a Delorean in Back to the Future.

3.  Fluffy – Two heads are better than one, so three must be exponentially better.  How can you not like this lovable cerberus from Harry Potter & the Sorceror’s Stone?  Just don’t let thieves know their secret, that music will lull them fast to sleep.

4.  Fang – Speaking of Harry Potter, we can’t pass up the loyal and large pal to Hagrid, Fang the boarhound (played by a Neapolitan Mastiff).  Although Hagrid calls him a bloody coward, in The Sorceror’s Stone he took Harry and company through the Forbidden Forest.

5.  Krypto – Strange how themes repeat themselves.  Originally, Krypto, like Laika and Einstein, was Jor-El’s first foray into creating a vehicle to get Kal-El (our Superman) off of the planet Krypton and on his path to Earth.  Although a mishap sends Krypto off-course, fortunately he makes his way back to his best friend.

6.  Porthos – We would later learn Porthos would have a pack of offspring of his own per Scotty in Star Trek 2009.  This fellow accompanied Captain Jonathan Archer on many a mission where no man had gone before in the earliest Star Trek stories on the series Enterprise.

7.  Astro – Maybe the first family dog we were introduced to in the future of our past, Astro loved Elroy, Judy, Jane and George Jetson and showed there are no bad dogs today and hundreds of years from now.

8.  Commander Kruge’s targ – We never learned her name, but this fiercely loyal friend helped make all of us cheer for Kruge when he went up against Admiral James T. Kirk in Star Trek: The Search for Spock.  Unfortunately, she represents the one four-legged companion on our list that doesn’t make it, thanks to that dastardly Kirk and friends.

9.  Fizzgig – Seemingly cute and innocent, Fizzgig is the Muppet companion to Kira in The Dark Crystal.  Like Kruge’s targ, although not technically Canis familiaris, he had all the qualities of a good buddy and did not hesitate to bear his fangs to protect Kira when he sensed danger.

10. Butler – James Kirk redeems himself in his last mission when he is sucked into the Nexus in Star Trek Generations.  His reaction to seeing his dog Butler at his old home shows there was a real guy in that Captain Kirk.

Honorable mention:  All greyhounds, since they look like AT-ATs from The Empire Strikes Back.

Do you have any others you think should make the list?  Let us know, and enjoy the Dog Show tonight! The 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show airs tonight and Tuesday on USA and MSNBC. Only dogs from Earth are eligible.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com