Because Doug Drexler is being mischievous over on his Facebook page today, I was prompted to go digging into the archives to pull up something I once wrote about one of his creations from Way Back When.
Back in the 1970s, after the original Star Trek series was cancelled, the animated series had run its course, and the first film wasn’t even on anybody’s radar screens, folks like Doug Drexler helped fill a void. Along with the odd novel or collection of episode adaptations from Bantam Books and the comic from Gold Key, there was one set of publications which allowed you to relive memories of favorite episodes and characters. And once you were done with all of that? You had a slick poster to hang on your wall.
(At least, until I figured out who Farrah Fawcett was.)
It’s a quiet Sunday evening here at Stately Ward Manor, and as I work my way through my Season 3 DVD set of Burn Notice in preparation for watching the 4th season premiere I’ve got on the DVR, I feel like gettin’ a bit nostalgic for some old-school Star Trek nerdity.
So, what’s on the agenda tonight? A trip back to 1976, and the totally bitchin’ series of Star Trek Giant Poster Books. Behold, yo!
Seventeen issues of the magazine were published between September 1976 and April 1978, the first twelve of which were overseen by none other than the mighty Doug Drexler. Mr. D and his associates, Geoff Mandel (Star Trek Maps, Star Trek Star Charts) and Allan Asherman (The Star Trek Compendium, The Star Trek Interview Book) dug into their vast personal collections of photos and other treasures to fill out each issue, and the results were very much a labor of love.
I remember buying a few of these when I was but a wee lad and finding a new issue on the magazine rack at the local Woolworth’s or other department store. The mags featured only eight pages, but they were crammed to overflowing with articles, trivia quizzes, and pictures from the original Star Trek series. Once unfolded, each mag was a 34″x22″ poster with an image from the series (not the same picture as seen on the covers above). All of that Awesome Trekkie Goodness, and for only $1 an issue! The poster books were yet another means of dealing with what would eventually come to be known among longtime fans as the Great 70s Trek Drought.
Though I didn’t get all seventeen issues when they were originally published, eBay eventually proved helpful in obtaining pristine copies of the entire run, as well as allowing me to replace the special one-shot poster book produced in 1979 by the same company (Paradise Press) as a tie-in to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
My absolute favorite of the entire run is #10, which featured an overview of the then-current condition of the original U.S.S. Enterprise and Klingon cruiser filming models following their recent donation to the Smithsonian Institution. In recent years I’ve become quite enamored with exploring behind-the-scenes aspects of the original Star Trek series, especially the sets and the original Enterprise model. I’m constantly snapping up any photos and other info I can get my hands on, and since I’m a regular reader of Doug’s blog, I was thrilled to learn that he considers this issue his personal favorite, as well. Indeed, he even published digital versions of the pages from that issue on his website, along with some of the pictures of the Enterprise model which he took during a visit to the National Air and Space Museum for research while writing the article.
Damn, that lucky bastard. But he shares, so it’s all good. Check it out:
LINK UPDATED 3/29/2014: Doug on Facebook: The Smithsonian Report, 1977
And while you’re there, check out the rest of his blog. It is – in a word – Effin’ Sweet.
Beginning in March of 1991, a series of similarly-designed poster books tying into Star Trek: The Next Generation was published in the United Kingdom. The magazine ran for 93 issues before ending in May of 1995. I’ve only seen a few of these at the odd convention and don’t own any of them, but if you’re a TNG fan then you’d probably dig these the way I love the old original series versions.
(Thanks very much to the good folk at Memory Alpha for helping to jog my…uh, memory…on some details.)