Watch George Takei Get Quizzed On Star Trek Sound Effects

Star Trek’s origininal Sulu, George Takei, is in Philladelphia today, promoting an event at the Star Trek: The Exhibition at the Franklin Institute, and he appeared on a local morning show to talk Trek history. While there, they ended up quizzing him on Star Trek sound effects, see the video below to find out how he did. 


Morning George
Watch George talk some Trek and get quizzed. 

Video courtesy of

Looks like George owes the host a bit of an apology as he actually did correctly identify the phaser sound which Takei thought was the sound of the doors opening. But 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, and the ship phaser sounds a bit like the door opening and may have been hard to hear in the studio, so we will give George a pass on that. The CD that the host was showing was the "Star Trek: Sound Effects from the Original TV Soundtrack" which actually came out on CD in 1990 and was available on LP before that. 

Takei is in Philly for ‘an evening with George Takei‘ at the Star Trek: The Exhibition at the Franklin Institute. Unfortunately the event is sold out. But the Exhibition is open until September 20th. More info at and



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I’m surprised they had a TOS star come to the Exhibition, because Philly’s version of the Exhibition has NO TOS material in it at all. The ads showed the TOS Bridge, but they have the TNG Bridge instead. They don’t even have the Guardian of Forever – all they have is some crummy uniforms and a captain’s chair from TOS. Almost as bad as the TNG Vegas attraction. It’s a shame, too, since I live near Philly and I REALLY wanted to see the TOS Bridge!!

George was quite good looking back in the day wasn’t he?
I bet he got all the guys, I’m jealous.

The anchorman was right about the phasers!


Good for George. He refrained from “going there”, if you know what I mean.

The phaser sound is a tough one to get unless you’re like us. If I hadn’t seen the show in a while, like maybe George, I would’ve thought doors opening too.

I attened the Franklin Institute in Philly a few weeks ago when Avery Brooks, (DS9) hosted. It was a sold out house. It will be again with George hosting.

I hear you #3 ,but for all those TOS fans it was still cool to see what they had there. I live in Philly and it has been a major highlight here since the Exhibition got here.

What is the joke with the “Oh My” and Mr. Takei. I’ve never gotten it, or don’t know the source.

Does it have something to do with William Shatner’s last line as Kirk in “Generations”?

8. Could have been, but I just know it as a sound byte from the Howard Stern show. They used to cue it up at appropriate moments.

11 – Is that meant for me as answer at #10? If so, thank you.

12. Yes sir, that it is!

Yes, the anchor was correct.

He got that 3rd sound effect wrong..wasn’t that the sound when phasers or torpedoes are engaged ..not the doors, but it has been a while for George…is he more a ham everyday..don’t get me wrong I love him, but
realllyyyyyy….oh my!…I thought Shat was doing Takei in Generations!
George wishes!!!

Hey, that’s Mike! He used to host the national morning show with Juliet. Did their show get canceled or something? What’s he doing in Philly?

i remember when i got that cd back in the 90’s!

Possibly the sound confusion is between a hand phaser and a ships phaser – they don’t use the same effect…

I don’t know why I laughed when he said “Two little Takeis.”

They picked three sound effects that Sulu had a hand in — or certainly would have heard, being on the bridge as he usually was — which was nice of them I suppose. I’m proud of George for getting two of them.

#10 – As far as I know, George is known for saying “Oh my” in that deep, drawn out way, the way other people say, “Well, well” or “You’re kidding” or “Is that so?” or “No comment.” It’s apparently his trademark response expressing mild surprise when no specific response comes to his mind. It’s sort of taken on a life of its own because of the way he says it, and what unspoken thoughts it might represent.

Anyone else got another explanation I’m not aware of?

Scott B. out.

I really hope the Philly exhibit of Star Trek goes well. Especially for Kate & Brad who won the wedding contest on the TNG bridge at the Franklin Institute. It seems that the Exhibiton has lost something since the original company it started with sold out (or went bankrupt depending on what you hear) after the first showing in Long Beach, CA in Jan 2008. That was the best display with everything mixed in. I am glad I got photos of all those props, costumes, displays, bridges, etc when I did.

When it started up again in San Deigo CA, after months of laying dormant. It was not the same as the original TOUR as Long Beach. The San Deigo Air & Space museum was very nice, but the Star Trek items were cut in half and they forbid any one from taking photos. They said it was because all the items are licenced and protected. Beats me if that ti true or not, but one guy told us that they had to stop people taking pictures because some one is or was selling photos of he stuff on Ebay.

So what took us over 3 hours at Long Beach, we saw in 20 minutes in San Diego because the other half was headed to Arizona. While that speeds up the shows around the country, it really dilutes the display and the impact.

#1: PMSL….. You appear to have some blockage.. :-D

The sound effect he missed was not necessarily a Phaser or Torpedo. It was the sound you heard inside the ship when either weapon was being fired. It was akin to the energy being sucked out of the power systems to charge and fire the weapon. To give George credit, it would be hard to know unless you are a total geek and watched the show a billion times….

12 & 20 – Thanks!

Okay, I’ll be the naysayer…

There’s a BIG difference between the harsh sound of the phasers and the gentle whoosh sound of the doors. We’re all Trek buffs here, including George. He should have gotten that, especially when they played it again and turned up the volume.

That said, I really like George and thought he made a great captain!

Actually that was the firing sound then the phaser sound follows later.
The firing button, Not actaully the phaser sound.

Nice, Alex! You’re absolutely right!

I have that CD. I’ve had it for 10-15 years.

George is cool, but I just have to admit local TV news personalities are so fake and cheesy. I cringe.

How can you not love George Takei? Captain of the Excelsior!
“Have you got hearing problems mister?”
Kirk could never pull off THAT line

George Takei is awesome.

I guess Sulu Prime has had so many other things develop in his life that can let memories fade.I guess he may not have had the sounds burned into his head like us fans that have watched replays of the show that I first saw in 1968 and then daily from 1973 to 1987. May his memories of Star Trek give him pride for the rest of his years. Alomg with all other original Trekkie’s also.

28. Evan – August 20, 2009

I have that CD. I’ve had it for 10-15 years.

I have it too. It’s nothing new as George seemed to imply. It came out in ’88. It’s actually 21 years old. An early year compact disk. His mistake was the “Phaser Firing Switch” which is track 19.

#29 – True, but I do like the fact that that cheesy guy owns the Trek FX CD. Closet Trek nerd?

Speaking of Trek nerds, I’ve had that effects collection since the ’80s … on vinyl. :-)

Scott B. out.

Actually, it sounded to me as if they “mixed” the “swoosh” of the doors and the Phaser Firing Switch together. Perhaps they were trying to pull a fast-one over on George. In which case, had George chosen either sound effect, he would have been correct.

And, the Sound effects came out on cassette tape BEFORE the CD.

George is such a gentleman and an entertainer — And if you happend to be one of the lucky 9,000 people who attended the Cleveland Orchestra Sci-Fi Spectacular concert last Sunday night at Blossom, you also know what a extremely fine actor/narrator he is — He narrated ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ with the Cleveland orchestra and Maestro Jack Everly. It was amazing!

if george says its the doors, its the doors!

Last night at the Franklin was a rare opportunity to see George in such an intimate venue with a few hundred fans. As always, George was exceedingly gracious to each fan in attendance. I have added some photos to my Flickr stream:

10.) – I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s sort of like a personal catch phrase. He also says it as Captain Sulu in the prelude to the last mission in “Star Trek: Shattered Universe,” which I think is a sort of homage to George being famous for saying that in real life.

that was the enterprise phaser

this was great!@ good stuff!

hmmmm, perhaps if you remember, little doors on the outside of the hull open up to allow the phasers to fire… or Joe Tormolen has to open a door into the phaser control room in order to get fried and die?

Well, some doors are in that phaser, I guess… but there is a similarity until the end of doors and Enterprise phaser sounds, and in a tv studio, without great audio, I can see how he went that way.

Me and the wife went to the Philly exhibition. I had been looking forward to it and what a let down it was. It was small to begin with, no pictures allowed, the re-creation of the TNG bridge was just that-a recreation with no original parts. The TOS captains chairs was a P.O.S. replica that was there mainly to sell you photos. It was overpriced and basically felt like something thrown together to make a quick buck. I also read that many of the costumes on display were most likely never worn on film. The stuff from the new movie was cool, but that was about it. The “Franklin” has really gone down hill. The actual museum, or institute itself is treated like crap. Many interactive exhibits are broken due to the school kids disrespecting everything. I usually go nuts over everything star trek, during the exhibit my wife was like what do you think and i said this is cool. But when i got home and had a chance to digest the experience I told her it was a disappointment and i would not recommend it. Then i heard they split the exhibition and that pissed me off even more. Detroit’s looked better presented. I’ve also heard the Philly exhibition is not bringing in the money they expected which makes sense after what i say. just my two cents.

“edit” – after what I saw

George oh George. A little too arrogant on that “door” call. It’s clearly the “inside” sound of ship’s phasers being fired. Don’t mind you being wrong, but don’t be so sure of yourself that you put down the ones giving the quiz, even if it was “kiddingly” and they were wrong too. His answer of it being the “phasers’ was still closer to right that George’s. Kudos to the anchors though, for not calling him on it . Classy move on their part.

Lt Bailey’s comment: “It seems that the Exhibition has lost something since the original company it started with sold out (or went bankrupt depending on what you hear) after the first showing in Long Beach, CA in Jan 2008. That was the best display with everything mixed in. I am glad I got photos of all those props, costumes, displays, bridges, etc when I did.
When it started up again in San Diego CA, after months of laying dormant. It was not the same as the original TOUR as Long Beach.”

You are aware that they were different exhibitions, with different companies?

The Long Beach experience was “Star Trek: The Tour” and it was only ever in Long Beach. Then it folded. Parts of it were used (and more new parts were specially created) to come up with “Star Trek: The Exhibition” – different name, different company, different experience.

I went to both and, personally, preferred the San Diego Air & Space Museum because they also had real spacecraft like Apollo 9, real spacesuits, moon rocks, and all other kinds of stuff that make the comparison of real and science fiction possible – and fascinating.

Long running show?….

*squee* I went to the event and it was awesome! I got Mr. Takei to sign the BEST macro ever (I didn’t make the macro, I just got it signed on behalf of ONTD_STARTREK!). I got it on video too. I think it’s probably the first and only time you will ever hear George Takei say, “Set phasers to STUNNING!”

I was so nervous giving it to him that I was shaking but it was totally worth it and his presentation was fantastic! The audience also asked some really great questions and I really loved hearing what he had to say about Gene Roddenberry’s vision. It was MUCH better than the Avery Brooks panel discussion I went to a few weeks back.

If anyone’s interested in a recap of the evening with George Takei, some video clips, and the picture I had him sign for the comm:

I didn’t go to the exhibition (which I really loved!) because I’ve already been.

I have the sound effects record on vinyl! HA! Top that!

The sound effect that George got wrong was used in various places on the show. It was usually layered in with other sound effects. It can best be described as an energizing sound or power up. In addition to the phasers being fired, it was used in the transporter romm in early epsodes when Scotty would fire up the transporter console but with another twinkling sound effect layered over it. That’s why it is kind of hard to place it.

When the scene is shot, there are no sound effects, just direction. So, when Sulu fired phasers, there was no phaser sound.