December 7th, 1979, the opening of Star trek (the motion picture) today is the 30th anniversary

Holy cow!  Today marks the 30th Anniversary of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”…I was a senior in high school and was so excited about this opening day, as was most of my classmates, the entire yearbook class ditched out to go on opening day, and it was one of those awesome fond memory days.  The movie opened with all the fantastic VFX and the dizzying camera twist on top of the Klingon ship accompanied with the incredible Jerry Goldsmith score blasting through the speakers!!  It was Heaven!!!  More awesome VFX came with the fly by and intro to the new Enterprise, the cool Vulcan shuttle rolling and docking with the E, all the cast filing in one by one!!  Just great, but then the story began to drag and all the excitement was getting stretched out, but by the end the film was back on track with a wild ending and one awesome motion control shot of the mighty E going into warp!!!  One fun day, and I ran out and bought the soundtrack on LP and played it to death; I must have gone back 3 or 4 times to see it again and again and was so thrilled to see one of my fav shows go big screen.  Awesome times!! Happy 30th Star Trek: TMP!!

The E in V'ger


38 Responses to “December 7th, 1979, the opening of Star trek (the motion picture) today is the 30th anniversary”

  1. December 7, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I was almost 10 months old when this came out. 😉

    I know a lot of people think this movie is boring but I love it. It’s the truest representation of the TV series on the big screen that we’ve ever seen and that we will ever see because Gene himself was the producer. I love Jerry’s music, especially the triumphant theme music that would be used again and again in some of the other movies and on TNG. And, of course, the special effects are fantastic. This still is one of my favorite Trek films. 🙂

    And thanks for the heads-up on the anniversary because I wasn’t sure when in 1979 it was released. (because, as I said, I was 10 months old)

  2. 2 deg
    December 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Yep, I recall the day clearly. Went with my bro and my girlfriend at that time, and MAN, what a THRILL! I recall waiting and waiting and waiting for this day (then) as well of course. 😉

    Like you, ran RIGHT out (just across the street to the record store coming right out of the show) and bought the score, and next day the movie-poster (framed in the hallway, as I still have it). The score, went through three LPs and an 8-track until CDs arrived.

    I loved, and still do, the pace of the film myself. Still, I hear ya, as seeing it later with some regular (non-Trekker) friends, some of them fell asleep! LOL I loved it though, but then 2001 is my fav film and I have watched it sO many times, I’m used to slow-moving über-lumbering contemplative films. LOL

    What a day, indeed! 🙂


    • December 8, 2009 at 9:07 am

      Per the music and the pacing, same feelings here.

      Nice demo reel BTW

      • 4 deg
        December 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm

        Hey, thanks much, Chris! Thanks for takin’ a peek too, eh.

        I dig lots and lots and lots of the shows you’ve worked on, eh. Nice IMDb listing! 😉

        An yeah, that score, one of the best!, and the film, I loved so much, plus it just has a lot of warm-feeling nostalgia wrapped up in it for me as well, of which I’d bet many, yourself included, can relate to that feeling(s). 🙂

        BTW, seeing as you like me reel, please feel free to tell your friends that may ever need models, eh. Happy to help and serve with me skills. It’s why I honed ’em up. 🙂

        Thanks again! 🙂


      • 5 deg
        December 9, 2009 at 10:10 am

        Beg pardon, and goes without saying, I’d be happy to do the same for you if needed/desired, Chris. Do you have a portfolio website per chance?


  3. December 7, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I was a senior in high school myself when it opened. My friend and I went to Westwood for opening day. I went back several times afterward. It was a great experience.

  4. 7 Richard Knapp
    December 7, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Star Trek: The Motion Picture – this one holds a special place in my heart. It was my wife and mine’s first date. I loved it at the time and it has grown on me more and more over the years – especially the “director’s cut” on DVD with the full, completed FX. The introduction and fly around of the new Enterprise is magic.

    Thanks for jogging a nice memory John.

  5. 8 jared
    December 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

    my dad told me he saw it 13 times, don’t ask me how, but he did.

    • 9 deg
      December 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm

      Back in those days, you could just stay in your seat a watch the film again over and over. jared. I sat through it 3 times myself one viewing. Same with all the Star Wars original three, and CE3K.

      IIRC, I saw TMP a total of nine times at the theater.


  6. 10 the bluesman
    December 7, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    The flyby of the Enterprise still strikes me as the best scene from the film…no dialogue, just show off the new Enterprise in all her beauty and glory.

  7. December 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I recall my first theater viewing as well: 10th grade, at the Cinerama dome in Orange, Ca. I went through the same high-to-low response. I didn’t really love the film, so much as just enjoy it at the time, but I’ll never forget one critic’s pithy review: “If you go to see ST:TMP, you’d better bring a pillow!”

  8. 13 DeanneM
    December 7, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    The visual delights in the beginning and the end really caught my eye, and I, too, liked the movie. It was ALL the same cast back on the screen ten years later…that was so cool to see! I didn’t care if they just showed them standing around, it was the beginning of reams of new Trek that we couldn’t even comprehend at the time.

    I was too young to have watched the show in the 60’s, and only caught some of the episodes in reruns here and there…TV wasn’t the same as today,with 100’s of channels, back in the 70’s, and I did NOT control the TV, but I wanted more ST and got it with this “new” movie! I was right there as each movie came out and for the opening episode of TNG. 🙂 I found lots to enjoy in pretty much every movie (some more than others, true) and was glad to have ’em all!!

    I was in 10th, BTW. Went with my sister. Funny, I never thought of the opening of the first ST movie as being a “Where were you when…” moment!! HA!

    • December 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

      “Funny, I never thought of the opening of the first ST movie as being a “Where were you when…” moment!! HA!”

      Good point! I have memories of so few of my first viewing of now-classic movies, and it’s odd that ST:TMP is one of them (along with Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, & Star Wars). I guess I was more excited at the time. 🙂 I was a huge fx geek and really loved Trumbull’s work, as well as Apogee’s stuff. And of course I’m still a huge fan of Mead and McCall. And wasn’t there an earlier aborted attempt at making the ST movie that had some really odd McCall ships?

      At the time, big budget movies from beloved tv shows were very rare, and the studio had the unenviable choice between pleasing the rabid fans and trying to reach a broader audience, and the conundrum seemed to cripple the final film. I know the production was a mess, and editing and fx budgets were endlessly fought over. But it would be hard to imagine a production of such a scale would go smoothly, especially since they were trying their best to launch a franchise and not kill it.

    • 15 the bluesman
      December 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm


      I caught Trek in the early 1970’s. It’s amazing the the things that the network in the 1960’s was worried about…an alien, a black woman in senior officer position and A Rooshun on the bridge.

      My thoughts as an 8 year old were how cool is that ship and how do I get on it?

  9. December 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    opening night….
    no seats left..

    ended up first row in a 70mm showing in rockville center i believe.

    spent 2 hrs head titled back…

    but when those klingon ships first hit… and that score blared…. it was worth the neck ache…

  10. 17 Syd Hughes
    December 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Up until last year, I’d only ever seen TMP on 27″ and around TV screens, as a kid, and my God it was boring. Motionless Picture indeed, said me.

    Then, for completion’s sake, I watched TMP on my shiny new 55″ HDTV. NOW I think I get it… without the big screen, you just don’t get that sense of awe that the visuals produce, that’s so core to the feel of the film. I was only getting half the effect until I saw it on the big screen. I appreciate it a lot more now.

    Happy 30th, TMP.

  11. December 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Unfortunately, of all Trek movies, I have never seen TMP on the big screen. The film would have deserved it.

    Nothing in the Trek franchise has brought the vastness of space so convincingly to the screen, the sense of awe in the presence of the unknown, and the optimism that lies in the “human adventure”. Especially since the reboot movie I sadly miss the slowness of TMP (that it shares with many other great, mostly older movies).

  12. December 7, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I attended the first showing of TMP in a cinema in Glasgow in 1979, and it’s the only time I can remember the audience giving a movie a standing ovation at the end.

  13. December 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I was 18 and still in high school. My friend Willy, his girlfriend Andrea and the third wheel (yours truly) went to the Metro Theatre filled with expectations. We watched in awe. The ships were like the ones we knew, but after a SPA treatment and steroids injections. The final frontier was waaaay bigger.
    V’ger was the ultimate nemesis. What can be more dangerous than an almighty child? (Anybody said Twilight Zone?).
    The “boring” scenes weren’t boring at all: it was ME there watching and touring across V’ger, trying to unlock its mysteries.
    And Persis, sweet beautiful Persis, God bless her soul. I helplessly fell for her. (John, how about a retrospective Pinup display with Ms. Khambatta? As an homage, of course).
    We talked about it for weeks. I went to see it again twice.
    Then, a year after, I got a job as an international communications operator at the local phone company, and, half a block away there was this little hobbies scale model shop. Gracing its main window: the TMP Enterprise, by -a well known model company-.
    I passed by every day on my way to work, drooling at its very sight. I couldn’t afford it at the time.
    It was then when I knew I would forever be a Sci-Fi geek. Of course I was one before, I just didn’t realize it yet.
    Thanks a lot, John for the memories (I’ve also met my wife at that job, but that’s another story)

    All the best for you
    Keep on warping


  14. 22 Buckaroohawk
    December 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I was 12 when TMP came out and I remember standing in line (outside in the cold Pittsburgh air) waiting to see the film. As others have stated, I was awed by the opening FX sequence; that rollover flyby of the Klingon ships made my head spin! Not long afterwards, I was introduced to the new U.S.S. Enterprise and just like Kirk, I fell in love with her instantly. And she was so HUGE! The TV series never gave a sense of the ship’s scale, but Scotty’s and Kirk’s tour showed just how big the “Big E” really was. And a little bit later when she went into warp the first time, wow! Just plain wow!

    Then of course, came the bulk of the movie. Where was the action? Where was Kirk’s usual pontification on (place your favorite subject here)? Where were the fistfights and the beautiful but innocent alien woman who falls for Kirk’s considerable charms? I was sitting in a chair watching a screen that was showing me people sitting in their chairs watching a screen. In short, I was bored out of my mind.

    But, as I said, I was 12 years old and the movie was much bigger than I was at the time. I had fallen deeply in love with the special effects and the production design, though, so I couldn’t get enough of the new Enterprise. I bought the model, the blueprints, the photobook novelization of the movie (which I still have); anything that would show me more of that amazing starship.

    Now that I’m (much) older, I have a greater appreciation of the film, expecially the Director’s Edition, which I think pulls the story together more efficiently and the newer CGI FX blend in with nearly seamless precision. Still, whenever I watch the film I’m really watching for the Enterprise, which never looked as stunning and realistic in any of the subsequent films. A beautiful lady she was and I enjoy my visits aboard her when I watch the movie. Hard to believe it’s been 30 years. Live Long and Prosper, Star Trek!

  15. December 7, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I’d watch this over and over on VHS so often as a kid that I wore the tape out!

    Love the look and feel of The Motion Picture. Everything is designed with a purpose in mind and it shows; makes the ‘world’ seem more real.

    The ships, the sets, the great character moments, the beautiful music of Jerry Goldsmith…just awesome! And the Director’s Cut is even better. Watching it right now in fact! 🙂

  16. December 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    I never saw TMP in the theaters back in ’79 (I had only recently turned 4 after all), but I do recall seeing a preview at the end of the nightly newscast about that time. I was somewhat confused by it as I somehow mistook Spock as a villain even though I was aware he was one of the good guys in the series (apparently, I have been a fan of Star Trek since I was at least 3). Go figure.

  17. 25 mrchristopher3d
    December 7, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    I was mesmerized by this movie when it came out. It was like oh wow, there’s the NEW Enterprise! I was this awestruck kid. Still a special place in my heart for this movie.

  18. 26 Matt Boardman
    December 7, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Has it really been that long? The movie and I age in years together, so I suppose it has! There are parts of this movie that I would love to see cropped down just to speed it up a bit, but at the end of the day, she really is a beauty. So many neat things came out of this one, but I will always remember the fantastic shuttlepod approach that revealed the ship in her new digs. Touches the heart!

    Live long and prosper, TMP! 🙂

  19. 27 FSL
    December 8, 2009 at 12:32 am

    TMP is before I was born. But it is quite good, even soem of the slower parts. the only really stretched out portion was entering the V’Ger. Nothing but external, internal, and reaction shots…

  20. December 8, 2009 at 9:02 am

    So hard to believe that 30 years has passed . . . I remember going to the theatre right after school and getting in line. Remember getting the program book and looking at all the aliens and seeing the “new” Klingons was a little scary. Couldn’t wait to see it again and again. It was a great time I remember, lots of great movies during that time.

    • December 8, 2009 at 7:22 pm

      And there’s that warm-feeling nostalgia I was speaking of, that I was sure you could relate, eh. 😉

      Indeed, an adventurous time of movie-going in those days, culminating with the summer of ’82 with Blade Runner, E.T., Conan The Barbarian, Poltergeist, The Thing (remake) just to name a few. 🙂


  21. 30 Simon Matthew Coles
    December 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Happy birthday to an underrated sci fi classic. Best of all Star Trek movies, and its great to have a hi-def copy of the original version – glad the director’s edition hack job has been sidelined.

    • December 9, 2009 at 8:05 am

      Yet again with the insults toward peep’s hard work… I just don’t get some peeps.


      • 32 Simon Matthew Coles
        December 10, 2009 at 3:55 am

        I’m just calling it like it is – I really don’t see the point of anything they did in the director’s ed. And the fact that they used such a dirty, worn and damaged print is inexcusable. I was just amazed to see some of the original film’s ponderous and disjointed editing left untouched, with several noticeably jarring and ill timed new edits made to “tighten up” certain scenes, only problem is they simply cut the music wherever their edit happened to be so the score now has abrupt and distracting edits in it. I don’t know why they just removed the computer voice and other sound effects, replacing some with bland and watered down versions (alert klaxons for example) – the blu ray disc of the original cut has a vastly superior sound mix because it is in line with the powerful original theatrical mix, with the score’s majestic percussion and deep rumbling bass of ships and such. They even added cheesy beeps to the klingon bridge when buttons were pressed on control panels, only those buttons in the original mix already had sound effects, in that case, subtle and realistic clicks. As for the new effects, none of them actually is a distinct improvement over what was originally there – except maybe the wingwalk sequence, but is obvious CGI really preferable to a distorted matte painting? I would say, overall, no. And don’t even get me started on the skew nacelle in the officer’s lounge scene, low quality render, dodgy compositing and all.

        As for character content that was added, nearly everything they added to the DE was entirely redundant character development. Spock crying on the bridge simply repeated everything we found out in the sickbay scene. Those scenes were definitely taken out for a reason 30 years ago and the film plays better without them.

        So with its muddy image quality, low resolution CGI, jarring editing, redundant character scenes and limp sound mix, I just con’t see how the DE could be called anything but a hack job. I really doubt Robert Wise had anything whatsoever to do with the day to day decisions abut what to change. On the one hand, the DE did bring TMP into the consciousness of a lot of Trek fans who used to dismiss the film, but I don’t really think it was worth castrating the film to achieve that.

  22. December 9, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I’ve always found the pacing far too slow, but even as a child I still loved the movie. There’s just so much to look at and ponder… it really is a feast for the eyes. Not the first movie I would show to someone if I was introducing them to Trek, though.

    Not sure what you can have against the director’s cut. Personally, I think it adds some much needed finishing touches and I’m really glad that Robert Wise was able to go back and finish the film the way he wanted to before he died. Hopefully they’ll update/re-render the effects at some point so it can be released in hi def.

    Btw, I was listening to Jerry Goldsmith’s brilliant First Contact soundtrack yesterday and discovered some interviews on the CD I’d forgotten all about. Really interesting hearing his, his son’s and Jonathan Frakes’s thoughts on the evolution and importance of Star Trek’s scores.

  23. 34 Joe_Cocolo
    December 9, 2009 at 10:41 am

    My favorite parts have always been the refitted Enterprise, the finale between Decker and Illia, and the Penguin Dress Greys that Kirk had on at the begining (which somehow made a comeback in the new movie, as worn by CAPT Pike).

  24. 35 Harry Hallett
    December 12, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    I still choke up during the big reveal of the refit enterprise. And I still love seeing the Klingon battlecruiser sequence. In my opinion the film’s premise would have made a very good 1 hour episode (Oh wait, it did. (ref: The Changeling)) but the pace was a bit plodding for a film. But after 30 years it has held up well and I’m still happy as hell that Paramount didn’t follow its initial leanings and just splice together 2 or 3 of the original episodes and have the performers make some new footage to connect them. Taking the “phase 2” work and regearing it to use for a motion picture was a much better decision.

  25. December 12, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Interesting “making of” featurette that’s apparently not on any of the DVD releases:

  26. 37 Simon Matthew Coles
    December 13, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Cool little featurette even though half of it was spent on Persis Khambatta’s shaved head. Interesting to see the earlier version of the Refit Enterprise being assembled, before Doug Trumbull’s revisions.

  27. December 13, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    For some odd reason, ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ didn’t open in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama the same time as it did everywhere else. I seem to think there was a 2 week delay (as did ‘The Empire Strikes Back…had to go to New Orleans to go see it) So, all my friends went to Pensacola, Florida to catch the first show. Well, due to one thing or another my crew and I didn’t make it for the first showing, but Dave Hodge and some other friends of mine did. So, we waited outside for the two hours or so, chatting to other fans in line, speculating about this and that, and generally having a good time.

    Then the doors to the theater opened up and the crowd came spilling out. They seemed rather happy and then we saw our friends (Dave amongst them) and asked them what they thought of the movie. Lots of good reviews when Dave and I’s mutual friend, Chuck Raue, chimed in with “You’ll LOVE IT when Kirk dies!”

    I thought we were going to have to hold back some other friends of mine from killing Chuck right there on the spot! He’s such a kidder!

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