On a more serious note
So, I'm going to deviate somewhat from the stuff I normally write to touch on something serious for a change. I don't do this often, but in the best tradition of Star Trek itself I'm not shying away from a topical issue I feel is important to discuss.
Over a year into this ongoing pandemic we have a number of vaccines available around the world with even more on the way. Researchers, Scientists, Doctors, Nurses, and all manner of medical personnel in laboratories, hospitals, clinics, and tents have worked tirelessly (my own wife among them) for this moment. For many of these people the work has shifted from caring for the sick and dying, to vaccinating humanity against this disease. It's a vital, and necessary act.
Just as vital and for the good of our species - is the need for everyone able to receive a vaccination to do so.
The other day I took the first of two shots required for vaccination against Covid-19, and within an hour of that dose I encountered people who said that they had no intention of being inoculated against this virus. Not because they had any physiological reason to refuse the vaccine, but because they simply didn't want it. That disturbed me greatly.
I had encountered someone (more than one) with an ideological objection to a preventative shot against a viral entity whose very existence has been so costly to our entire world.
I thought of Star Trek, and medical personnel like Doctor McCoy, Nurse Chapel (eventually an M.D. herself), Doctor M'Benga and others like Crusher, Bashir, Voyager’s EMH, and Phlox - who searched for cures to deadly ailments usually under dire circumstances.
You wouldn't refuse medication from any of them, right? So why now?
There's actually quite a few reasons people give - allergic reactions to certain medical ingredients is one valid reason. But among the vast majority of people refusing to take their medicine, it really comes down to trust.
Distrust in today's institutions, in governments, in medical centers, and leaders.
Decades (in some cases centuries) of systematic, institutionalized inequality has eroded the trust necessary for some people to roll up their sleeves for a shot, and that can't just be hand-waved away.
But, like it or not - believe it or not... mass inoculation has to happen.
For your own health, for the health of people you love, for the health of people around you, in your community, in your country, and for your species, we all need to do the simple heroic thing and be vaccinated.
While worldwide clinical trials have largely proven that almost everyone can receive Covid-19 vaccines, there may be some who have underlying medical issues, and thus valid concerns about being vaccinated. With that in mind,
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has provided an info page to help people with these concerns which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/underlying-conditions.html
People forget, but the Polio virus once raged around the world, destroying lives everywhere it went. When the Salk Vaccine became available, people took it.
When the later Sabin-Chumakov vaccine became available, even more had access to it and between the two vaccines numbers of world wide infections nosedived by 90%. Since then the number of cases reported each year has continually - significantly dropped.
For example, there were an estimated 350,000 cases reported in 1988; now contrast that against just 33 cases of wild Polio in 2018! Today, Polio has mostly been eradicated from our planet through the cooperation of nations around the world and because of ordinary people like you and me taking the vaccine.
That kind of success story can happen again, but only if everyone pulls together to see it done. It requires the same commitment to one another that Spock demonstrated so well in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when he said;
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
That axiom is perfect for the situation we find ourselves in today.
There are no magic words I have that can make anyone feel better regarding something they feel unsure about.
Some people out there - justified or not - feel that by rolling up their sleeve they are opening themselves up to a risk. Here again, Gene Roddenberry has something to say about risk in a scene he inserted into the script for "Return to Tomorrow."
"Risk … risk is our business.
That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her."
Captain Kirk was talking about a different circumstance than the one we find ourselves in today, but he's not wrong. There's risk in every decision we make in life. You can't live without it, but we can’t afford to let doubt keep us from taking those risks that benefit all humanity.
I know that our blogs are usually focused on the more fun aspects of our shared fandoms, but this topic is too important, and the price of inaction too costly to go without some measure of discussion.
As concerned citizens of our shared planet we ask that if you are medically able to do so, that you please consider taking the vaccine as it becomes available to you. You'll be doing more for yourself, your fellow humans, and our future than you may realize.
We have great things to do together, united by this common simple act as the people that inhabit Planet Earth.
Remember, “The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning.”
Live Long and Prosper,
If you live in the United States and would like more information about getting a Covid-19 vaccination as the rollout continues, please checkout NBC’s “Plan Your Vaccine” website which has useful tools for determining your eligibility and vaccination locations within the 50 states.
How Discovery compares to TOS
I was talking to a Star Trek uniform fan the other day, and he commented that the asymmetrical collar on the Discovery uniforms really drove him nuts. I thought that was really funny and I told him so, because to my eye the collars of the Discovery uniforms were one of the most "Original Series" aspects of that entire uniform. A uniform incidentally that is filled with little homages to the Starfleet Uniforms worn up and down the timeline of Star Trek.
As those uniforms were introduced in 2256 (a couple of years before "The Cage'' and about a decade before Jim Kirk takes the Enterprise on his Five Year Mission), I really want to compare them with their Original Series counterparts. At a glance, they might appear radically different, but they have more in common than you might have realised.
First, let's acknowledge right up front that they are in fact blue, very blue. A specific color called "Federation Blue," that was intended to recall the blue flight suits of Captain Archer's crew aboard the NX-01. While the color of the uniforms was different, the ensemble itself returned to TOS' familiar tunic and pants combo. The proportions are even similar with a form fitted short tunic over the unifom's pants, and the similarity between the two outfit’s silhouette becomes especially apparent when looking at Star Trek: Discovery’s uniform pattern, made with TOS’ color scheme.
But, the real similarities are found in the uniform's details. The collar for instance is a direct homage to the folded over collars worn by female Starfleet officers in "The Cage" and “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Discovery costume designer, Gersha Phillips took direct inspiration from Star Trek's original pilots episodes for that aspect of the uniform's design.
More than that, the shape of the collar is taken from all over the Original Series itself. TOS' famed costume designer William Ware Theiss used asymmetry to great effect in a lot of his uniform and costume designs seen throughout the Star Trek series he designed for.
Even the uniform's diagonal zip closure recalls similar closures on a number of TOS era uniforms and costumes including Captain Kirk's distinctive Command Green wraparound tunics.
The first thing I want to know when a new Star Trek series is on the way is - what are the uniforms going to look like? Will there be something I like about them, something I don't? Will I see something of the Starfleet uniforms I have loved in them? With Gersha's Discovery uniforms the answer is a resounding "yes." It's funny. Some look at these uniforms, and only see what's different about them. I look at the same outfit and see echoes of The Original Series uniforms I grew up loving.
The Original Series was only the first influence in the development of Discovery’s Starfleet Uniforms, and we’ll explore that in future blog entries.
Until then...live long and prosper.
John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS
ANOVOS’ STAR TREK Original Series Season One Starfleet Insignia on a Command Division Gold Velour Tunic.
On Tuesday a friend sent me a link to an interesting story...
It was from SCREEN RANT titled, "Star Trek: Kirk's Iconic Uniform Color Was A Mistake." Well I'm never one to pass up an opportunity to see someone else’s take on the never ending debate about the color of Captain Kirk's Tunics - So I ran to check it out!
Original story and photo alteration by Zac Kellian for SCREEN RANT. * Click Image for Link
Written by Zac Kellian, the blog entry's first statement is absolutely correct. The evidence is overwhelming that The Original Series' famed Costume Designer William Ware Theiss absolutely intended Starfleet's Command Division to wear some shade of green. He quite correctly points out that Captain Kirk occasionally wore darker green colored wraparound tunics, but strangely he seems oblivious to the presence of Kirk's green Dress Uniform tunics, or the Command Division's green coveralls which would have further backed up his "theissis." BUT, his story completely falls apart after that one statement with his next line.
Command Division Green from TOS. A crewman in coveralls, Kirk in his Season 1 & 2 Wraps, and Dress Uniform.
He says, “Believe it or not, all of the original series Command uniforms were originally lime green.”
It's not really his fault. Mr. Kellian means well enough, but falls victim to something that has plagued everyone who only dips a single toe into the deep ocean of what’s become a debate without end, “The Great Kirk Tunic Color War.”
Misinformation. The interwebs are full of it.
A cursory Google search just can't impart a lifetime of research, but Mr. Kellian's blog is written with all of the certainty of someone who has read just one line of a PhD dissertation, and then puts all his journalistic weight behind his shocking discovery.
He is, of course, incorrect.
Captain Kirk in his “Avocado Gold/Green,” Command Division Uniform in season 3’s “The Paradise Syndrome.”
No Zac, they weren't “Lime Green,” or “Apple Green,” or any other shade of Green. Captain Kirk's Regular Uniform Tunics were Gold.
It's an easy and understandable mistake to make.
Many have. Many still do.
About twenty years ago in the earliest chat rooms and message boards set up to discuss Star Trek's uniforms, someone would inevitably come along and say, "Guys! Did you know Captain Kirk's yellow shirt was really green?!?"
Rage Mode Activated
New people in the hobby would gasp & say, "No way, that’s amazing" while more experienced people would simply say "Here we go again." Sigh. I guess it's my turn.
What people were referring to was Captain Kirk's 3rd Season nylon, Command Gold Uniform Tunics. They’re tunics that we’re all incredibly familiar with at ANOVOS. They’ve been one of our most accurate and popular replicas since entering the marketplace over a decade ago.
How do we know they’re accurate? We use the original materials, and most importantly - the original color dye formula, from the original dye house, which was developed & used for Star Trek in 1968 & ‘69.
We know they’re right because we’ve been granted access to examine and compare original Star Trek uniforms that survive in the archives maintained by ViacomCBS, and in private collections.
That's me with a couple of Third Season Command Tunics, corrected to demonstrate the fabric’s “avocado” color.
The third season Command Tunic has always been a very peculiar color. It was described by Bill Theiss as an "Avocado Gold/Green'' which is to say that it’s a shade of yellow with a touch of green to it. It's certainly NOT "lime green" or anything even approaching that shade.
It's a weird color to be sure.
To the naked eye, in natural light, it appears to be almost more green than gold, but when photographed...it turns gold.
Now there are a number of reasons for this color shift.
A bisected avocado for reference
From the particular Eastman/KODAK 5251 color negative film used for TOS, to how it was processed, to the various colored gels used to light the interior of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE. But, I've found (and demonstrated to countless people at conventions over the years) that something about photographing these tunics - even just looking at them through a camera's shutter - turns them gold.
Every damn time. Weird.
Season 3 Uniform tunic as originally televised, and color corrected for the remastered “Requiem for Methuselah.”
The 3rd Season Command Tunic is the origin of this particular color phenomena, but Zac compounds his mistake - like so many others before him, by assuming that same information must apply to all of Captain Kirk's gold uniform tunics (and of course Sulu & Chekov's) worn throughout the series. It's probable then that he's simply unaware that the velour (actually brushed tricot) fabric used for the first two season's uniforms was a different shade of gold altogether, and unquestionably yellow (no matter how green he photoshopped Captain Kirk's tunic for his blog).
The original image of Captain James T. Kirk from Season 1 -- The gold velour tunic in “The Alternative Factor.”
In the first (and best) two seasons - the tunics worn by Captain Kirk and others belonging to the Command Division were a warmer citrus based yellow that under certain lighting conditions picks up the faintest greenish twinge. But they remain an almost perfect yellow on a Pantone Color chart. A yellow we copied from original references in the archives & allowing for color drift over the course of five decades.
ANOVOS’ 50th Anniversary Season 1 Velour Tunic laying on a Season 3 Premier Line Tunic, in sunlight.
The truth then is far more involved than just saying all of Kirk’s shirts were “originally lime green.” The fact is that none of them were. Even the wool wraparound tunics which WERE green were different shades entirely. You can see that yourself by simply watching the remastered Original Series. The Season 1 wrap was almost olive, while season 2 was colored more like Kermit the Frog.
ANOVOS’ Season 1 & Season 2 Captain Kirk Wraparound Tunics
In any case, the shirts he was trying to talk about were conclusively yellow/gold (with maybe a hint of green). A better headline for Zac’s blog would have been “Captain Kirk’s Iconic Uniform Color Was Complicated.” But I guess that's just not as buzz worthy. 😒
Captain James Kirk wearing his Second Season gold velour Command Tunic on Pyris VII, in “Catspaw.”
Honestly on my first readthrough of Zac’s blog, I just wanted to ignore it. I hoped I could. I really didn’t want to write about it at all. I just wanted it to go away. BUT, I’ve been in the trenches too long. I’ve been a soldier in “The Great Kirk Tunic Color Wars” (from both sides of it) for decades.
Mr. Kellin’s blog entry - as harmless as it might seem - is a new front in that fight. Already it’s being fired off to different corners of social media and paraded around as “proof” for the green side in this never-ending hellscape of debate.
For example, recently it was reposted by the Roddenberry Entertainment facebook page, and just from there it’s been shared 208 times. 208 people spreading nothing but misinformation to who knows how many people, and that’s just from one post!
Imagine the damage it’ll do by the weekend.
BTW - It's blue and black.
That was nothing compared to the bloody, open warfare of “The Great Kirk Tunic Color Wars.” I have seen mild mannered costumers turn into wild berserkers on virtual battlefields.
I’ve seen heads explode like watermelons and people compare the color of the rind to one of Kirk’s wraps. Dark stuff. You wanna be a hero? Spread this response instead. Anywhere you see that insidious Screen Rant story, retort with this.
Maybe, just maybe we can spread some truth out there.
Doctor McCoy, Captain Kirk, and Commander Spock of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE in Season One’s “This Side of Paradise.”
Stay Safe, and Live Long & Prosper,
*Screen Rant Article Reference https://screenrant.com/star-trek-kirk-uniform-tos-original-series-green-yellow/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS
(P.S. Now that’s a green tunic 😃)
Did you know that from the very start of STAR TREK, a captain has always had the option of wearing a different uniform of the day from the rest of the crew?
During TOS, Captain James T. Kirk often wore one of two Command Green Wraparound Tunics. The First of these (and my favorite) can be seen in episodes like "The Enemy Within” and “Court Martial”.
I always thought it looked sharp. It's more structured and detailed than it's brighter second season counterpart.
I especially loved it's early first season “reverse helix” captain's rank braid on the shoulders.
Original Series costume designer William Ware Theiss was an absolute genius when it came to details and the braid on the shoulders is a perfect example.
On one level you can see where the shape he's chosen resembles the gold oak leaf clusters (sometimes called "Scrambled Eggs" by military service members) that adorn the bills of Command grade officer's service caps in the Armed Forces.
On another level Mr. Theiss is playing with a shape he used time and again and would eventually influence the design of the shoulders on his first season Next Generation uniform jumpsuits.
The green wraparound tunic Captain Kirk wears during the first season of Star Trek™: The Original Series is an optional tunic Starship captains are permitted to wear while on duty. The uniform displays his rank braid around the collar, and fastens using his Starfleet command division insignia.Shop Now
The Season two wraparound tunic is a bit less structured and so more form fitting than the season one version. It's also a slightly different weight of wool, and a lighter, warmer shade of green than the earlier version.
This style was worn in a number of episodes including "A Journey to Babel" and "The Trouble With Tribbles." Our replica of this famous uniform was designed with the invaluable assistance of the amazing Greg Jein.
Jein was gracious enough to allow us to examine an original 1967 wrap from his incredible collection. From this original William Shatner screen worn tunic we were allowed to take measurements, photos, and patterns, which enabled us to reproduce an extremely exacting replica that matches the original in every way including fabric weight and color.
This tunic uses custom-milled and dyed wool fabric and features second season captain's rank braid on the cuffs, Starfleet Insignia on the wraparound hook and loop fastener, and even utilizes the unique system of elastic “hook and eye” straps that attached the hem of this high waisted tunic to the uniform’s pants.
We worked hard to capture the essence of these screen-used original uniforms, so no expense was spared in faithfully recreating both of Captain Kirk's wraparound tunics.
We had the fabric custom milled & dyed, and discovered that the only way to attain the correct look and complex cornering was that each piece had to be hand stitched. A process requiring no less than three workers to complete each replica.
Of course the tunics feature Captain Kirk's Starfleet Command Division Insignia on the wraparound hook and loop fastener of his belt. And both of them utilize a unique system of elastic “hook and eye” straps that were used to attach the hem of this high waisted tunic to the uniform’s pants.
I love these uniforms! Command Green, and ready for anything.
Whether Captain Kirk was fighting himself, or trapped in a mountain of tribbles - he always looked cool in the final frontier!
John is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.