A “Big Bang” for Costumed Trekkies!

It was Wednesday, February 9th around 3:30 PM when I received a call from Joe Salcedo, CEO and co-founder of ANOVOS asking me if I could shift one of our current projects into warp following a request CBS Television. I had already been one of their main advisors and collaborators with previous projects. They were engaged to see if they could provide an exacting replica of the formal dress uniform worn by Captain Kirk for an episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY. They needed it quick as it needed to be at the Burbank studio early on Monday morning… luckily, this was something that we had already started working on together, I just didn’t expect it to be shifted to the warp speed timeline. Having just gotten an arduous roller coast of proposals to the government working long hours and several weekends, I initially declined citing I needed to rest and catch up on personal things on the home front; however, some good coaxing from both ANOVOS principals, Joe and Dana Gasser (COO and co-founder), I accepted the challenge.

Prior to committing, I had asked them if the tunic was going to be worn by the actor or used as a prop.  They got confirmation from CBS Television that it was merely going to be used a prop – one of two Star Trek tunics in a closet that would be pulled out with some accompanying dialogue.  With that in mind, I would not have to start from scratch, but could use a prototype of the formal dress uniform done a few years ago.

I’d like to point out that I just recently received a copy of the correct pattern that is exacting to how the originals were made.  The TOS formal dress uniform pattern is a complicated variation of the raglan sleeve pattern.  Interesting enough are the three pieces that comprise the sleeve itself.  There was insufficient time to make the tunic from scratch and since the uniform would be used merely for a prop for a second or two of air-time, simply not necessary for CBS Television’s specifications.

I would spend the next two nights after work finalizing it and detailing the tunic for overnight courier on Friday afternoon.  My prototype of Kirk’s formal dress uniform was made of a lime green satin-like polyester fabric using the reverse side of the fabric, which gives a metallic-like sheen as shown on TV. The fabric may not be exacting in terms of its original, screen-used counterpart, but it does look how it was presented on TV. A collar was added, as well as the gold metallic braid that parts the tunic down the middle.  The rare gold metallic braid is exact to the original for Star Trek’s flag officers (braid trim from the private collection of Robert Withrow).  The prototype already had gold piping along the shoulders (thanks to Cheryl Thomas-Smith’s help from some years back on this project).

Close-up Shot of Braid Trim - Courtesy of Robert Withrow

In terms of the decorative service triangles to denote Starfleet accolades, I used what triangles I had available. I did not have time to make the tear-drop medal and making that known upfront, Dana went ahead and developed it from scratch using materials purchased at Hobby Lobby. I was blown away after seeing it completed – looked exacting to me especially for less than 24 hours.

Close-up of Kirk's Service Accolades

You’d think that after shipping the costume out via FedEx, all would be well, but there was a small gliche for the exact time.  It was needed by the earliest 8:30 AM delivery in Burbank, but due to a disconnect at Fed Ex, it was being sent for the 10:30 AM delivery.  We were able to work some things and it was delivered at 9:15 AM and used for filming.

Flash forward a month later.  With great anticipation, we all watch to see both ANOVOS’ regular command gold tunic with the lime green formal dress uniform to make their debut on prime-time TV. This is what we got to see:

As seen on TV

Admittedly, it there was more to be seen, but it was a glorious 3 seconds to see our hard work on TV – that’s Hollywood for ya!  All in all, it was made to CBS Television’s specifications and thankful that ANOVOS convinced me otherwise to do this project.  I should also point out that in ANOVOS’ “regular” gold Kirk tunic above, the captain’s rank braid is that of Farragut’s braid (courtesy of Kim Haas of KRH Embroidery), which is used on our Starship Farragut productions.

For more information on this special project, please check out ANOVOS’  link.   Also, check out one of the original William Shatner formal dress uniforms @ Gerald Gurian’s blog:

http://www.startrekpropauthority.com/2010/08/special-photostudy-star-trek-original.html

For more details on ANOVOS and their official Star Trek exacting uniform line, including both the new JJ Abram’s film and Classic TREK, please check out:  www.anovos.com

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3 Responses to “A “Big Bang” for Costumed Trekkies!”

  1. Sparky Says:

    It does put into perspective how much work goes into even just a few seconds of screen time. And the final formal dress pictured above looks fantastic.

  2. Miss Kat Says:

    I’m so happy and excited for all the things that are going your way!! Congrats to Farragut and Anovos. Keep up the great work,…it shows how
    love and dedication that you all have. Class Act.

  3. Bill Says:

    I remember that scene. I love all the sci fi and especially all the star trek references made in Big Bang Theory. Thanks for making the star trek connection complete!

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