To Boldly Go–Rare Photos From the TOS Soundstage: Season Two by Gerald Gurian
Published by MinkaTek Press, September 8, 2016. Paperback of 216 pages at $42.00, sized at 11 tall and 8 and half inches wide.
The cover: Angelique Pettyjohn readies hersself to do battle with William Shatner for the episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion” as a clapboard is hastily leaving the image. This cover tells the reader exactly what to expect from this book: rare, behind-the-scenes glimpses into the filming of the second season of this iconic television series. A good tease of things to come. Overall grade: A
The premise: From the back cover, “This volume presents hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes images from the author’s personal collection, which is over four decades in the making. Many of these photos, which were featured in the Saturn award winning book series These Are The Voyages: TOS by Marc Cushman, are now shown in full color alongside a wealth of additional NBC publicity shots, Lincoln Enterprises film trims and candid still photos taken on the Original Series sets to uniquely document the making of the second season of Star Trek.” I am a tremendous Star Trek fan for more than four decades, so any hint of new photographs from the series is enough to get my attention. To have over 400 images, as stated on the cover, is enough to send me into a tailspin. I was extremely interested to see what author Gerald Gurian had to show that I hadn’t seen before. Overall grade: A
The text: The book opens with a foreword by Doug Drexler, who sets the tone of this tome wonderfully. The book is divided into chapters by episode, following the chronological order of the airing of each. The chapters open with a large picture and cites the director, writer, first day of filming, last day of filming, and the budget of the episode. This was the first new bit of information to me: the budget. To think that “The Doomsday Machine” was filmed for under $200,00 is stunning, considering that today some actors are paid over one million per episode. Accompanying the photographs are stories, such as Walter Koenig learning in a most unique fashion he’d been hired, to how many Isis the cats there were (and why there needed to be more than one) for the episode “Assignment: Earth.” Some of these tales I’ve read or heard before, but accompanied by the incredible collection of photos, I felt as if I was hearing them for the first time, as though I was on the set during the filming. Overall grade: A
The photos: These are incredible and are the reason why this book should be purchased. I felt as though there was nothing new to see for the Original Series. It’s been fifty years. I’m close to that age. What could be left to see? A lot. A glorious amount of photographs, outtakes, and–amazingly–unaired footage. To see the actors in between shots of episodes I’ve seen countless times is a revelation, with Shatner reacting to dirt being kicked up (4), Michael Dante getting some wardrobe adjustments (25), the cast awaiting director commentary (46), levity on “The Apple” (80) and “Mirror, Mirror” (88) sets, fun with twins on “I, Mudd”, several effects and costume images, the list goes on and on. To see these actors from new angles, breaking character, or waiting for filming to resume transports the reader to the set; to borrow from another television series, You Are There! To see the actors in their costumes away from the sets is a treat; Shatner’s barbecues are shown as are costume tests (Leslie Parrish is breathtaking on Page 30). It was also incredible to see the crew, the rarely photographed, essential members to a production, on the set. Initially I thought I was gazing at some alternate dimension, seeing people clothed in garb from the twentieth century interacting with my heroes of the twenty-third century. It’s a joy to see costumers, directors, set decorators, and more working to create what, they didn’t know, would be one of most celebrated and durable shows in television history. Looking at the actors readying themselves with a clapboard before them creates a sense of anticipation that magic is going to begin, and I freely admit that I was smiling at these images by the end of the book, hearing that clap within my head for each of these pictures. This collection of imagery is priceless. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Without question, this is a must own publication for every Star Trek fan. This is the Star Trek celebration that fans have been looking for. It’s extremely rare to find anything new for a show fifty years old, but Gerald Gurian has done it. If you know any Star Trek fan, this is what to give them for the upcoming holiday season. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+
To order a copy of this book, go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/069275671X/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=4C3PTVJTM6GZWBSHCPFN
NOTE: I also must recommend To Boldly Go–Rare Photos From the TOS Soundstage: Season One, which was published in March and is equally impressive. A review for this premiere installment will soon appear on SciFiPulse; this review was published first because this book is the most recently published in this trilogy.