I'm sure you've heard the story by now. When the original "Star Trek" was cancelled by NBC in the 1960s, there were no auctions to sell off pieces of the set or anything like that. Instead, television shows would get the plug pulled, and the next day, demolition crews would be destroying sets and tossing them in the trash.
The bridge set for the USS Enterprise, however, got a bit of a reprieve. Instead of rotting in a trash pile somewhere, it instead rotted behind one of the theater educational buildings at UCLA. Back then, no one knew how valuable all of that stuff was, but luckily someone rescued Capt. Kirk's chair from that heap and have it sell for more than $300,000 in 2008.
But fans were able to acquire other set pieces over the years, some small -- and some real big. Like the exterior of the shuttlecraft Galileo, which pretty much had its own episode, "The Galileo Seven" during the show's first season.
There seems to be some behind-the-scenes drama concerning this shuttlecraft, but at some point, it was purchased around the 1990s and restoration on the decaying prop was set to begin.
And a lot of work was done. At least according to Kiko Auctions, the Galileo had its wood frame completely replaced, while the metal outer shell was restored.
However, the work was never finished, and for a couple of decades, the Galileo was not much more than a rusting prop that got little, if any, attention.
But now the current owner is looking to part ways with the prop, and is expecting to get a cool $100,000 for it.
I'm sorry, but I know there are some excited Trek fans out there who are not afraid to spend money on something. I know, I tried (and failed) to buy something from the Roddenberry moving sale on Facebook a couple years back, but Doug Drexler kept out-bidding me on everything (jokingly shakes a menacing fist at the genius visual effects master). But I have a hard time believing that anyone is going to want to buy this piece of Star Trek history for that price, especially with its condition so bad.
And I think it's great that some Star Trek fans, including those with the International Federation of Trekkers that now includes a partnership with the likes of Drexler and art supervisor Michael Okuda, but it's going to cost a lot of money to restore this. A lot.
I find that real sad, because it didn't have to be this way. Yes, this is a prop that is 45 years old, and was meant to only have a lifespan of a fraction of that. But TLC (I'm talking "tender loving care," not the R&B group) would have went a long way.
Even partially restored, a Galileo in good shape would have fetched quite a bit of money. But it's hard for me to respect anyone who acquires a piece of history, only to let it rot.
Hey, I know, if you buy it, you own it, you can do what you want with it. But to then put it out there as a piece of history that, at the very least, should fetch a third of what Capt. Kirk's bridge chair was worth is just insane.
Whoever ends up with the shuttlecraft, all I can ask is that you restore it (keeping it as original as possible), and then love it. There are few pieces left of the original "Star Trek," and the Galileo should be celebrated and remembered as something in good overall condition, not several rust specks away from junk.
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