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STAR TREK & The Number 47

The Number 47

I’m supposed to be writing about our STAR TREK™: FIRST CONTACT / DEEP SPACE NINE - Premier Line Command Uniform Jacket, but as it turns out this is the 47th blog in this particular series of stories. 

And I couldn't let this occasion pass without mentioning the number 47.

The number 47 shows up a LOT in dialog & computer screens throughout 24th century era Star Trek. All the "47s" in Star Trek originate with Next Gen, DS9 and Voyager writer Joe Menosky. 

Joe attended Pomona College in California where there is a club called "The 47 Society" whose members believe that there exists mathematical proof that all numbers are equal to 47 and that the number 47 occurs with greater frequency in nature than other numbers. 

It was Joe that seeded the first 47's into the stories he wrote, and once the Star Trek Art Department got in on the joke 47s started appearing everywhere. The number 23 (half of 47 rounded down) shows up a lot in Star Trek as well as the occasional reversed number - 74. TNG era executive producer Rick Berman once quipped that, "47 is 42, corrected for inflation." 

Here's a bit of trivia for you, there are 47 people listed in the credits of STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT as "Other Crew." Seriously, go check it out at the IMDB- I'll wait.

The Starfleet uniforms first seen in First Contact (and shortly after in DS9's fifth season episode "Rapture") were intended to be for the Next Gen cast what the "The Wrath of Khan" era uniform had been for the original cast. A more structured, more "military" form of Starfleet uniform. It utilized a similar woven wool for the uniform’s taupe grey, ribbed shoulders (which itself had been inspired by the shoulder detail of Captain Picard’s “Darmok” flight jacket). 

Also like the TWOK uniform, it reduced the wearer’s division color to an undershirt and stripe on the cuff. 

It was a uniform designed for more serious material, and it worked! The new uniforms looked...still look heroic.  

Even the new combadge (designed for STAR TREK: GENERATIONS) seemed more at home on the new uniforms as John Eaves had given them "wings" that recalled the backing board of TWOK era officer's chest badge.

The First Contact/DS9 Uniforms were serious uniforms for more serious times. They saw Borg invasions, and The Dominion War. New worlds and new civilizations were defended by the heroic actions of the Starfleet members that wore them. 

Those uniforms - much like the TWOK uniforms of an earlier generation - became fan favorites. They helped to define a unique era of Star Trek, and even showed up recently in a flashback on the show STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS.

The FC/DS9 uniforms are a favorite around here, and we're happy whenever we revisit them. Whether they're aboard the Sovereign Class U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, the U.S.S. QUITO, or the U.S.S. DEFIANT ("Little?"), to us they'll always look cool.

John Cooley

John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.


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John Cooley October 02, 2020 0 tags (show)