Star Trek Auction Listings

Profiles in History sale #24, lot #302


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Profiles In History Catalog Listing

SALE: Hollywood Auction 24 ESTIMATE: $4000 - $6000
PRICE: unknown
Gene Roddenberry letter regarding the development of the Phaser, Tricorder and costumes for Star Trek
Twopage letter on Desilu letterhead, dated April 25, 1966 and marked “Confidential” boldly at the head. Written to Alden Schwimmer of Ashley-Steiner-Famous Artists, regarding the development of the Phaser. In large part:

“Dear Alden:
Have just completed sketching out for our art people a rather unique three-stage phaser hand weapon-pistol-rifle, one convertible into another. Not only do they meet STAR TREK’s dramatic requirements but also they are adaptable for the toy market in which each device when added to the other does something different, new lighting effects plus new sounds plus new sighting potential…. It has everything the MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. gun has, plus many new features.

Have also invented a ‘tricorder’ device for our female Yeoman, again basically for dramatic uses on our show but also with female child’s toy potential, a device which acts sort of as a portable secretary-recording-photographic unit capable of taking down any information the Captain wishes at any time he is away from his bridge.

Also I have spent a considerable amount of time working with our costumer, improving the basic design – items which also have considerable sales potential. And without deprecating the work of any of our talented people involved, these are all items on which I have had to come up with the basic conception.

The point of all this, Alden, is that I am finding myself required to come up with inventions and designs far beyond what we earlier thought necessary and far beyond what any show creator-producer should be expected to provide. I absolutely am not content to see Desilu and others getting from this profits off the top while I have to wait for a profit-loss statement on the entire show. Admittedly, STAR TREK is a very special thing and requires a special kind of inventiveness, perhaps also a special kind of ‘unity’ from one person. But however it is sliced, I find myself necessarily becoming a toy-costume-etc. creator and inventor and going far beyond what any of us conceived necessary when we set up the original contract.

The point of this all is that I am not at all happy with the provisions in this contract. They are one-sided, unfair, and each day become more demonstrably so.

I have mentioned this to Herb Solow.”

Signed “Gene R”.

A great letter showing how intricately involved Gene Roddenberry was with the day-to-day creative aspects of Star Trek.