Welcome! As part of its ongoing mission to document the Art and Production History of Star Trek, this site will present technical articles on Star Trek prop and costume authentication - focusing on The Original Series - with detailed photos and episode screenshots to complement the information presented; as well as feature pictorials to showcase Star Trek memorabilia in private & public collections, present rare Behind The Scenes TOS imagery & discuss other topics.
Gerald Gurian is a 40+ year collector of screen used Star Trek memorabilia and a passionate fan of TOS
- Star Trek TOS At Auction Part I - Gurian Collection Highlights - Greg Jein TOS Hero Type II Phaser
-Authenticating a TOS Communicator -6 Myths About Star Trek Prop Design -Star Trek 3rd Season Command Tunic
- Design Features of TOS Tricorders -Star Trek Props At National Air & Space - TOS Leatherette Tricorder
- TOS Federation Sciences Dress -Desilu Studio TOS Prop Fabrication - Unreleased Allen/Gurian Prop Photos
- The Beautiful Women of TOS Part I -TOS U.S.S. Enterprise 11' Filming Model - Captain Kirk's Chair from TOS
- Spock Ears -TOS Control Panels & Displays - Mr. Spock's Science Station
- TOS Soundstage at Desilu -TOS Shatner Romulan Pants - The Beautiful Women of TOS Pt. II
- TOS Galileo Shuttlecraft -Greg Jein TOS Cage Laser Pistol - TOS 3rd Season Midgrade Type II Phaser
- Dr. McCoy's Sickbay on TOS -TOS Balok Puppet Head - Captain Kirk "Mirror, Mirror" Tunic
- Greg Jein TOS Hero Tricorder -1992 Smithsonian TOS Cast Video - TOS 1st Season Command Tunic
- TOS "Where No Man" Silver Contact Lenses -TOS Special Effects: The Transporter - The Art of Matt Jefferies
- TOS "Space Seed" Gold Mesh Jumpsuit -Gorn Costume from "Arena" - Rare TOS Behind-the-Scenes Videos
- TOS Stunt Type II Phaser -1993 Bill Theiss Estate Auction - TOS Shatner Command Dress Tunic
- TOS Elasian Royal Guard Tunic -TOS Finnegan Silver "Shore Leave" Tunic - TOS Science Officer Tunic "The Cage"
- TOS Shatner Early 1st Season Command Tunic -William Shatner TOS Tunics At Auction - TOS Shatner Late 1st Season Command Tunic

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Captain Kirk's Chair from Star Trek: The Original Series

The most expensive piece of Star Trek: The Original Series memorabilia ever sold at auction was Captain Kirk’s famous chair from the Bridge set; which realized a final sales price of $304,750 (on a bid of $265,000) as Lot 175 in the historic Profiles In History Bob Justman Star Trek Auction held June 27th, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA.

The Profiles auction catalog description provided some interesting construction insights, exact dimensional information, and what were at-the-time previously unseen photos of its current condition. The significant technical portion of the essay, with accompanying photos, is reproduced below …

175. COMMAND CHAIR AND PLATFORM FROM THE “U.S.S. ENTERPRISE”. The original Captain’s Chair from the bridge of the legendary starship, U.S.S. Enterprise. Constructed at the Desilu Culver Studios in November of 1964, this world-renowned chair was first used by actor Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike in the first pilot, The Cage, and remained the focal point of the bridge throughout the entire series as Captain James T. Kirk’s seat of command.

The original design for the bridge was the responsibility of Art Director Pato Guzman and Set Designer Walter “Matt” Jefferies (after the first pilot, Jefferies became the Art Director throughout the entire series). Although construction of the Enterprise sets was an orchestrated team effort, Special Effects Supervisor Jim Rugg and Matt Jefferies were the two primary people involved in its design and construction.

The outer block-frame of the chair is crafted from plywood and painted battleship grey in color. The wide-spaced armrests contain the controls and switches used by Capt. Kirk to engage various functions of the starship. Set within the frame is the original Naugahyde-covered seat with stained wooden armrests.

The chair is mounted on a wooden pedestal base that features a spring-loaded swivel which centered the chair after the Captain rose from it on either side. The rectangular base of the chair is covered in the original Ozite ® carpet which covered the entire floor of the Enterprise bridge.

The left arm control panel and switches remain as they appeared on the final episode, Turnabout Intruder. [More than once, the special effects crew changed the composition and layout of the control panels to adhere to script requirements.] On the right arm control panel, the owner reinstalled the original five white-button control unit.

Four ceramic, 25-watt light sockets, surrounded with tinfoil to protect the encircling wood from the heat, are mounted in a space beneath the control panel. The base of the chair holds a power cord wired to the sockets which, when powered, would illuminate the colored epoxy resin buttons and switches (one of the epoxy resin “lights” is missing).

The base of the chair is 42 in. wide x 35 in. deep, and stands 9 ¼ in. height. The chair itself is 39 in. wide (from arm to arm), with a 25 ¾ in. tall backrest. The seat of the chair rises 14 in. from the bottom of the base.

The late owner picked up the chair and accompanying set pieces (Lots. 176-183) in 1969 after he received a call from a friend at Paramount Pictures, who alerted him to the fact that the entire Star Trek set was being scrapped and that, if he was interested, he was welcome to get whatever items he wanted before they were thrown away. …

A true icon of entertainment history, the Captain’s Chair is visible in literally every single episode of this beloved, legendary series and is, without question, one of the most important discoveries in the history of television memorabilia, and arguably the most recognizable chair in the world.

The following are some selected TOS screenshots which show the Captain's Chair from different perspectives ...

The Chair as it is displayed in The Museum of Science Fiction in Seattle as part of the Paul Allen Family Collection ...