The Ten Coolest Things in Starlog #003: The Non-Spaceship Enterprise, Conventions and LASERS!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 6:00 am

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The third issue of Starlog hit the stands on November 23, 1976, the last of the quarterly issues before settling into the eight-times-a-year groove. In this issue's convention coverage, Starlog starts to get its Heisenberg on by acknowledging its own existence in the sci-fi fandom it serves. Meta!

As always, if you'd like to read along at home, the full run of Starlog is available over at the Internet Archive, and here are the previous installments of this series.

1. That Cover, Huh?

Seriously, how about that cover? Scroll back up and look at it again. The artist is Jack Rickard, who drew a a more modest Star Trek spoof for the cover of Mad #186 earlier that year. Please, though, make no hay of the fact that Uhura is grinning broadly the sight of Kirk pulling Spock's pants down.



2. Leonard Nimoy Has His Priorities Straight.

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So, the very first time Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner appeared at the same time on television post-Star Trek was Thursday, September 2, 1976, in order to tape The $20,000 Pyramid. The final episode of the original Star Trek wrapped production on January 9, 1969; presumably Shatner and Nimoy had at least been in the same place at the same time together since then; just not in front of a camera.

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Sadly, those $20,000 Pyramid episodes aren't on YouTube, but their return engagement in 1977 is. (The above screenshot, in which Shatner apparently lost a toin coss with Nimoy, is from the '77 run.)

Nimoy: "I spent a half-hour with Bill Shatner, and I'm worn out!" As with the Rickard cover, stop thinking whatever it is you're thinking.

3. The Spaceship Enterprise That Didn't Go Into Space.

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Due to a letter-writing campaign by the fans, the name of the very first space shuttle was changed from Constitution to Enterprise. The rolling-out was a big event, and Roddenberry and the cast were there and it resulted in great media exposure for all, except for one thing: the Enterprise never flew in space. That artist's rendering above is as close as this particular spaceship ever got. Even at the big unveiling, it just kinda sat there on the ground, not slipping the surly bonds of Earth of its own accord until 1977.

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Demanding the ship be named Enterprise made sense at the time, I suppose, and my understanding is that there were plans to retrofit it for actual space travel, but those plans were scuttled, and in 1981 the Columbia became the first shuttle to go into space. It's a damn shame, because as great as the publicity at the unveiling was, I can't help thinking that the publicity of an Enterprise truly orbiting Earth would have been even better. Alas.

4. The Star Trek Movie Continues to Probably Happen, Eventually.

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The Enterprise shuttle publicity certainly didn't do anything to speed along the development of the movie, which was still in the heavy-spitballing stage. The newest wrinkle was bringing on Philip Kaufman to direct. He didn't, of course, though he stuck around long enough to get to know Leonard Nimoy, and direct him in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which was released to theaters while Star Trek: The Motion Picture was still shooting in December '78.

And it's safe to say that not directing Star Trek didn't do his career any harm; this past May, Kaufman received the 2013 Founder's Directing Award at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival, and Body Snatchers was screened at a special night honoring him. So he did just fine for himself.

5. Twentieth-Century Fox Is Still Figuring Things out.

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The anonymous Star Wars source FTW! And oh, how I wish Damnation Alley had been more like Death Race 2000.

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