Newcomer Talks About Her Farragut Experiences

During our recent trip to St. Marys, we had a new volunteer joined our efforts to make CLASSIC TREK NOW.  Newcomer, Helene Smith joined us for the weekend’s Starship Farragut activities.  Helene, a Pennsylvania writer of both fiction and non-fiction has published 50 books based on history. 

Through her, I learned that St. Marys, Georgia is America’s second oldest city, with St. Augustine, Florida being the first.  But, I also educated her that St. Marys is also doing something quite rare and distinct – making new episodes of Classic Star Trek!

Marie Cook and Helene Smith

I interviewed Helene and asked her to describe her experiences with us:

When the first notice calling for volunteers was reported, this is how I entered the scene.  Eager to help, on a beautiful December 5th day, I went to the studio and met a car leaving.  After rolling down the window and asking for John, his father, John (who I had not yet met) pointed to his son beside him.  “Jack” jumped out of the car and upon learning that I came to help, enthusiastically greeted me.  He said I could follow them to nearby Camden County’s annual Chili Festival,  Since I wanted to talk with John, after looking him up on the Internet, I immediately welcomed the invitation, ending up in the middle of a three-car caravan, with the car behind me driven by another volunteer.

After arriving at the site, the previous day’s rain had not deterred any of the frivolity, including  costumed pirates and their ladies trying to lift their skirts to keep them out of the drenched field and mud.  (St. Mary’s was an early smugglers cove with more than one unsavory character.  One pirate said “Arrrrr” to me in passing and I responded similarly as his companion offered me a candy cane.  She asked on the sly,  “Do you take candy from strangers?”  Laughing, I replied, “Of course!” and hurried along to the Starship Farragut table and tent amidst the other vendors.

John introduced me to another volunteer, Marie Cook, from Jacksonville.  On the table I beheld for the first time the four DVDs that Farragut Films had produced–with one, For Want of a Nail, winning “Best Fan Film of 2008” at the Wrath of Con Film Festival in Panama City, Florida.  It was understandable, with George Washington portrayed in an exciting re-enactment of history.  This particular film is an excellent example of history being learned through the osmosis of an adventure film.

At the festival it was a delightful experience watching little children and adults alike coming up to the booth and being offered free DVDs! and autographed color photos of the cast.  One little girl was so excited that she came back shortly with a pack of her friends.  This ten-year old was aglow with budding salesmanship, and of course on the other side of the coin, there’s no better marketing than word of mouth.

Back at the studio I found out that Marie was an accomplished seamstress and the two of us immediately got busy, with her working on her own  machine and I doing hand sewing.  John, a creative costume designer, also working with the materials, some taken from original bolts of the first Star Trek series, gave us instruction as we watched the 2X4’s being laid out at our feet.  The bridge was on its way, with its panels already erected and finished  or being painted, replete with transporter room to beam folks up and down and the Captain’s Cabin besides the bridge.  At lunch break, on the second day at the construction site, Mike showed me the Captain’s chair and invited me to sit down.  He told me it was a perfect copy of the original Star Trek one that computer guru, Bill Gates, had purchased and donated to a museum.  John’s father and he had built it.  It is remarkable–control panels and all.  Mike also showed me the cell phones, also copied from the originals that inspired present-day cell phones.  Both days it was interesting to see how everything was carried out with precision, especially attention to details in both the costumes and the set.  Here, I also met Holly, another delightful, talented person. John’s brother, Michael (a Chief in the Navy), came in, too.

It is good to be part of the next generation of Star Trek through a new series and new characters.  But what impressed me the most is how this team of people, professionals and volunteers, worked together enthusiastically with dedication to keep the thrill of the original Star Trek going.  The same premise is still being promoted–education through history graphically coming alive, what public schools no longer offer.  This new creative and inspiring team also is obviously family oriented with good values–often a rarity today in the film business.  And the humor in the films, was another asset.  It was a very refreshing experience.  It doesn’t get any better than that–exciting, thrilling adventures into space. I commend Farragut enterprises wholeheartedly and am glad to help them out.

Helene and Marie Helping Out with Costumes

Thanks Helene.  We’re glad to have you involved with our project.  I will be posting again soon on this recent trip with the focus on set construction efforts – stay tuned! 

Also, Helene’s latest book, The Carnegie that Nobody Knows should be available by January at the St. Marys Visitor Center through the National Coastal Parks Service.  The book is about steel magnate, Andrew, brother of Tom Carnegie whose house is nearby to St. Marys on Cumberland Island.  Check it out!


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