Some parents and children share a common love of baseball or stamp collecting. For our six year old Nicky, it is a shared appreciation of autograph collecting and Star Trek. When the new Star Trek was announced back in in 2006, my wife Mary Jo and I thought it would be an interesting quest to try and get the autographs of everyone involved in the film for Nicky, this is our first progress report on that quest.
Nicky is very excited about the new Star Trek movie. This is going to be Star Trek for his generation. His favorite TV show is Star Trek: The Animated Series, so he is very happy that these characters will be featured in the first Star Trek film he will see in theaters.
The idea is to write to everyone from the film, from the writers to the actors, from the artists to the editors. As signature collectors, my wife and I often wonder what if our parents, who were always supportive of our hobbies, would have written to the stars of Star Wars a year before its release, before the actors were household names and before George Lucas was too busy to sign. At six years old, Nick might not really get the idea of his collection, yet hopefully ten years from now, when JJ Abrams is giving our son his fourth Star Trek film, this special collection will mean something. Hopefully, it will show him how much he means to us.
This article is our first "progress report" on this, the one year anniversary of our starting our quest, and one year before its hopeful completion with the May 8, 2009 release of Star Trek. It is on that day that Nick learns of his collection when we reveal it to him for the first time. We have written every actor and crew person we could whose address is available, especially sending letters to Paramount during the filming of the movie. Unfortunately, so far, Paramount Studios hasn’t worked out as good a place to send letters as we thought. As of now we have got back around a dozen autographs. However, as long-time autograph collectors, we have learned that there two qualities to have for those who pursue through-the-mail autographs: persistence and patience. So as Spock likes to say: there are always possibilities. So we continue to peruse our goal of a complete set and hopefully more signed pictures will arrive over the next year.
Here are some samples of autographs we have received so far (click to enlarge):
Others we have collected so far:
- Leonard Nimoy (Spock) = signed Star Trek XI teaser poster
- Chris Doohan (Starfleet character) = signed picture
- Jennifer Morrison (Winona Kirk) = signed picture
- Roberto Orci (writer and producer) = signed picture
- Alex Kurtzman (writer and producer) = signed picture
- Mary Jo Markey (editor) = signed picture and letter
We also got a couple of actors that we anticipated might be in the movie: William Shatner signed a Star Trek XI poster and Greg Grunberg sent us a signed picture.
A couple of special letters
Every letter we get is much appreciated, especially when the signers add something special. For example, Jimmy Bennett told Nicky to "rock on!" and Simon Pegg signed his picture that he was going to "beam up." The letters from Mindel and Markey are very enthusiastic about the film and its quality. Of these, though, the two we treasure are Anthony Vitale and Zachary Quinto’s items.
Since writing him, Vitale has become a friend and we have become fans of each of his films and television shows. The picture he sent Nicky was the very first Star Trek autograph Anthony ever signed. He wrote our son a very wonderful letter, concluding it with the advice that "We are never too young to dream, nor too old to learn. Life is always…Under Construction." The reference to the Star Trek tag line from the teaser Anthony performs as The Welder in is poetic and heartfelt. Nicky loves watching the trailer with its music and drama, and this will be an autograph he treasures.
When we got a letter from Zachary Quinto, we were already fans of his because of Heroes. Yet, we were very impressed by his friendliness and kindness with his letter to Nicky. He not only sent a signed picture, telling Nick to "be good" but also sent us all a letter. He told us that he had read our letter the same day after he formally signed his contract to play Spock, and that the Star Trek emblem we sent him was a "auspicious omen." After reading many interviews with him, we notice that he resembles Leonard Nimoy more than merely in looks. Like Nimoy, he is incredibly thoughtful about his character of Spock. And he is incredibly thoughtful to his fans.
Many more to go
There are many autographs we are waiting for. We hope our letters get to the various actors and crew, and we hope they can find the time to return a signature to Nicky.
We have been collecting Trek autographs for a long time and to us are no insignificant roles or crew. So our past autographs from famous names like William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Nick Meyer and others are cherished along with our autographs from artists like Rick Sternbach, set decorators like Jim Mees, composers like Velton Bunch and even extras.
In the future, we will continue to inform fellow fans about the quest. Also, we will provide a guide to the autograph world of Star Trek.
Thanks to all those who make Star Trek, past and future. You help make entertainment which bonds families.