It is a distinct pleasure for this site to present the following set of high resolution photos that document the design and construction details of a truly extraordinary piece of Star Trek history: a William Shatner screen worn Captain Kirk tunic used in the production of Star Trek: The Original Series. With its early 1st season style braid, this costume might be the earliest and most desirable Captain Kirk tunic still in existence. It is one of the hallmark creations of TOS Costume Designer William Ware Theiss and likely saw service in many Original Series episodes. After the initial display of modern day images, some analysis supporting the authenticity of the costume is presented.
It is to be noted that the reader may click on any image below to view an enlarged version; as is the case with all of the photos posted on this site.
1. Velour - the texture and construction of the velour fabric in this tunic; both on its front and reverse surfaces, is consistent with that used to create the 1st and 2nd season TOS starfleet uniforms. Below is a direct comparison with a 2nd season blue velour sciences dress (sold by Profiles in History, Auction 37, October 2009). In addition to the matching textures and thread weaves, note the slight "sparkle" effect visible on the front surface of the fabric that is frequently seen when these costumes are photographed at close range with a flash in use.
i. The black collar fabric used on this tunic is consistent with that found on other early TOS velour starfleet uniforms. Note the identical "ribbed" knit fabric construction visible in the comparison below with the 2nd season TOS sciences dress. (Third season TOS costumes featured a distinctly different "spring weave" collar fabric.)
6. Zipper hardware - this costume features a hidden zipper assembly with metal teeth bearing the brand name "UNIQUE" and the word "JAPAN" present on the metal slider, which is identical to the zipper hardware observed on all three seasons of screen used TOS starfleet tunics and dresses. Below is a direct comparison photo matching the zipper appearance on this tunic to that on several other screen used TOS costumes:
i. This tunic features a black cloth pull for the zipper that is not a frequently encountered feature on screen used TOS starfleet tunics. However, it has been observed on occasion in the past. The photo below shows the construction details on this costume, and confirms the presence of a similar cloth pull on a 3rd season Spock tunic (sold by Profiles In History, Auction 14, April 2003):
As seen in the comparison photo below, the exact braid construction found on the right cuff of this tunic precisely matches that visible in the screen capture from the 1st season TOS episode "This Side of Paradise"; where a close up view of Kirk's hand operating the transporter controls is the focus of the screenshot. There are literally dozens and dozens of matching characteristics that may be discerned upon close examination of the images - including contours of the gold mylar all along the outside bands of braid, contours on the individual pieces of braid forming the middle band, relative spacing between pieces of braid and main features/contours on braid, prominent thread line locations and thread paths, areas of prominent colored thread and even some soiling / spotting on the velour fabric itself. By any reasonable analysis, this screen match alone with all of its successful points of comparison should be considered sufficient to confirm the use of this tunic on screen as a 1st season Captain Kirk.
As seen in the images below, this costume bears evidence of not only machine sewn construction but also hand sewn work. While the machined elements are reflective of the initial fabrication of the tunic, the hand sewn portions speak to the subsequent repairs and adjustments made "on the fly" - sometimes while the actor was still wearing the garment on the soundstage - and their presence is entirely consistent with screen used TOS costumes.
12. Overall size - The overall size of this tunic has been found to match that of a Shatner-worn Kirk costume from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
13. Proof of William Shatner hand in close up screenshot operating transporter -
It is possible to establish that the hand seen in the close up screen capture from "This Side of Paradise" - the hand belonging to the actor who was wearing this Captain Kirk tunic - was the hand of William Shatner beyond any doubt. It seems that Mr. Shatner suffered an apparent forearm and back of hand burn injury at the time that this episode was being filmed; as is evident in the following set of three screen captures.
Note the number of red marks / signs of injury to the back of the hand of the actor who was operating the transporter controls ...
The composite image below provides an additional set of information that, even when considered by itself without regard to the earlier burn injury photos, may be deemed sufficient to successfully identify the hand on the transporter console as that of William Shatner. The distinct appearance of the actor's right hand, especially the thumb, is quite recognizable in both of the following views.
To complement the earlier photo evidence that established William Shatner was used for close up hand photography in "This Side of Paradise" (both using the transporter console and reaching for the safe), the photo below presents another instance; this time from the 1st season episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday". In more recent Star Trek television series such as Star Trek: TNG, stunt actors were frequently used for these types of close up shots. In TOS, it is shown that William Shatner himself was frequently used for this purpose.
As the following screen captures illustrate, there are two different scenes in the memorable first season episode "Shore Leave", where the unique Captain's Braid pattern on this tunic can be precisely screen matched to the braid pattern visible on a tunic worn by William Shatner - this time on the left cuff as opposed to the right cuff that was screen matched in "This Side of Paradise". Again, the reader is encouraged to click on any of the following images to study enlarged versions with greater clarity.
Both sides of TOS Starfleet patches typically appear convex (slightly curved, bulging outwards) as seen on screen used tunics and dresses. The patch on this tunic was sewn on in such a manner that the bottom right vertex was pulled slightly to the right, giving a much straighter than usual appearance to that side. Typical patch appearance is shown in the image presented immediately below. The composite photo after that demonstrates the patch screen match found in one of the same scenes of "Shore Leave" where an earlier left cuff braid match was documented.
Finally, below is a very special personal photo from my collection that I had the great pleasure of taking in my home showing this historic William Shatner tunic draped over my replica TOS Captains Chair: