My cousin was helping clean my great aunt's place and stumbled upon this gem: A 1977 Star Trek coloring book. I'm pretty sure Aunt Babe got it for me and my brothers so we had something to do when we visited. With the new movie coming out in just a couple days (on my birthday!) I thought we should take a look at it.
We start off with a pretty decent painting of Leonard Nimoy as Spock. What's really interesting to me is that if this were done today, I'd say this was a Photoshop filter. So there's a nice technique here.
Moreover, what youth of 1977 could pass up a coloring book featuring Star Trek written generically and a painting of Spock looking mildly disinterested wearing what looks like his never before seen Christmas uniform. Red collar and green tunic? Really?
First, this book was drawn by Robert Doremus. A quick check of the internet reveals that he passed away three years ago. It seems like he had a good career and a good life, and a painting of the Enterprise, no doubt from one of these coloring books.
As someone who has tried to draw or caricature William Shatner, I have to say that he does a pretty good job getting a likeness of His Shatnerness. That isn't easy.
On this cover page we see the actual Star Trek logo, and that the book was printed in Akron, Ohio, which I wouldn't have guessed. I also don't know why they went with the passive voice in calling it "A Book to Color."
Yes, that is the U.S.S. Enterprise, making its appearance flying away from us. But it's a pretty good picture of it. It might be traced from the cartoon or the Star Trek Compendium, but the ship is tough to draw perfectly, and I'm sure coloring books don't pay the big bucks or have huge, expansive deadlines. I've got no problem with that.
Captain James Kirk
Yes, that is Captain Kirk!
Okay, I don't know who this is. There are a couple places we'll see where the printing is decidedly lackluster, so the type may have dropped off. Heck, this book isn't even actually square. You know who this isn't, though? It's not Lt. Uhura. She's apparently off-ship for this adventure and replaced by Lt. Blonde Bob.
And yes, that is Mr. Spock. Doremus has a stranglehold on the Starfleet uniforms being a little short of sleeve. Why he keeps drawing stars as actual stars, though, I can't speak to.
Connect the dots! What could it be? What thing that has the name U.S.S. Enterprise and its serial number could it be? Clearly 1977 Thom and his younger brother John couldn't be bothered to even go through the motions of connecting the dots.
The bridge crew stares out into the the literally-starred space. I think this might be from the cartoon, too.
It's a giant circus tent! It's somehow floating in the vacuum of space and billowing above. Okay, maybe it has some sort of internal structure. Though those cables don't look particularly spaceworthy.
"Captain, come quick! I'm picking up something unusual. It looks like a floating circus tent."
Oh, where to start? She's the communications officer. What are Sulu and Chekov doing that they didn't notice a giant floating circus tent. Also, ordering the Captain to come over to your station. He's the captain, lady, you go to him. Or, just talk to him. He's five feet away.
"What do you make of it, Spock?"
Kirk always knows how to pose dramatically.
"It must be the lost planet Omicron. Supposedly… (no printing)"
Wait, why must it be the lost planet Omicron? First of all, it's not a planet, it's a ship. Maybe it's a Dyson Sphere, or like the Fabrini ship from The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky. In which case it should be freakin' huge. But lost? If they're in the area that the planet Omicron was, and there's a huge circus tent that looks like the "planet" Omicron, how did anyone ever miss it?
Also, man, does Doremus nail Leonard Nimoy's teeth.
I really want to know what the missing text is here. I can only imagine how it explains why Spock is looking things up in a giant book. Library computer down, maybe, so we've gone to the actual library?
"Do you mean to say that we have accidentally discovered a lost planet?"
No. You're a Starship on a five year exploratory mission. You don't accidentally discover anything. You intentionally discover stuff! That's the job.
"It sounds like it would be an interesting planet to visit."
The likeness on Sulu is decent here, but for some reason he appears in the book constantly with his mouth open or wearing a mouth guard.
Also, may I point out that we haven't heard anything about the planet except that it was lost. Is that enough to make it sound interesting to visit? Or maybe Sulu has a better stranglehold on the exploring thing that Kirk seems to have missed.
"It says here that the people of Omicron have found the secret of happiness."
Okay, now that sounds like an interesting planet to visit. Thanks for bringing that to the table a page late, Lt. NotUhura.
And don't they seem to know a lot about a planet that they couldn't find a minute ago? THANK YOU BOOKS!
This comes out of nowhere so much that for a minute I think I slipped into another coloring book.
"Captain, I'm picking up what looks like a man on a flying carpet."
Again, what are the helmsman and navigator doing that the communications officer is noticing things flying at the ship?
"Uhura, inform headquarters of our discovery."
In what universe is that Uhura? What's happened to her? Even the Mirror Universe Uhura still looked like Nichelle Nichols." I can't reconcile the continutity.
Also, please note that someone decided that the Starfleet miniskirt uniforms were too revealing and has given Still Not Uhura a much more modest skirt. I suspect a Catholic school principal.
Color by number! And what's more colorful than a generic station in Engineering?
"Headquarters wants us to investigate Omicron and obtain information for our computer library."
First, what computer library? You looked the planet up in Fromme's Guide to the Galaxy, 23rd Century Edition.
Second, Kirk needed to contact HQ to be told to continue the mission he was assigned? What else could he be thinking he should do? Photon torpedo the floating cast of Cirque De Soliei?
"Mr. Spock, prepare to beam down to the planet Omicron."
So Transporter Chief Kyle is off-duty today, too? Or maybe he's telling Spock to get ready and he's going on a trip. Spock doesn't like to travel, you know.
"Welcome to Omicron."
They're clowns! They're actual clowns! They… you know, the series had a floating Abraham Lincoln approach the Enterprise once. I can totally buy this.
"You are most kind to let us come."
Here we see the first instance of 1977 Thom coloring. The colors are pretty accurate, he's taken the comic book style of coloring the black pants as a gray so it wasn't an ink blot. He also seemed to have the Crayola 64 box, given that the rank stripes are actually colored in gold. And apparently Young Me didn't think they nailed the transporter effect, hence the glowing effect.
No idea why I edited the text to read "Are you to come."
"You were right, Mr. Spock. Everyone here is dressed as circus performers!"
Wait, did I miss where Spock predicted that? And even if he did, the thing is a floating circus and a guy on a flying carpet came out to greet us. Egad, Holmes, how do you do it? What's next? Guessing that the football stadium has people wearing football uniforms inside?
Not only are they dressed as 20th century clowns, but they have one dressed as an 19th century cop. And they have a dog!
This has to be from a different coloring book.
"Have you noticed that there are no sad people on this planet. They truly have the secret of happiness."
Yes, in your exhaustive survey of two people, you know that everyone on the planet is happy. Also, good idea checking that with the emotionally repressed Vulcan. He probably picked right up on that.
Wait! What could that be? I should color in the pieces with the dots!
"Halt! Who goes there?"
Wait, didn't you just greet them? Now you're shutting the gate? Remember four pages ago when you were being kind to let us come? Hmmm, maybe that's why Young Thom changed the text.
"We are visitors from the U.S.S. Enterprise."
"We have come as friendly visitors to your planet."
You know, I do appreciate that Mr. Doremus has drawn the rank and insigina right in every panel. Young Thom was a stickler for that stuff.
"If you want to visit with us, you must dress the same way we do."
One leg at a time? Wait, no, that's a different joke.
"Come with me. I will give you the proper clothing."
The coloring is all off on this page. My brother John must have done it.
I mean Kirk in all blue? That would be like Spock wearing a Christmas colored uniform!
"This just might turn out to be fun, Captain."
Sure, yeah, if there's one person on the ship who knows fun, it's the guy whose race has sex once every seven years.
There is no text here, but that could be a printing error. I can only imagine the explanation of why everyone dresses like clowns and Spock decides to dress like a pirate. And look, the Red Shirt behind him has a dog.
"You are very talented."
Based on Kirk's body language, I can only imagine that this page is dripping with sarcasm as well as questionable color choices.
"I can't explain it, but I feel suddenly very happy and content."
Probably the blood flowing away from his head after that handstand.
"So do I!"
To be fair, this could be sarcasm again.
"There's something strange going on around here, Captain."
Really? It could be fun, Spock.
"What secret formula do you possess for making people happy and content?"
I'm guessing the clothes are soaked in PCP or something. It's really the only thing that makes sense.
"The key to real happiness is being kind and thoughtful to others."
Well, that was one hell of a handstand. I mean, the crew of the Enterprise just put on silly outfits. They weren't actually kind, unless you count not making fun of Spock for being a Vulcan like they often did. But if that's so, that bar is pretty low and I should be ecstatic right now.
"Thank you for a valuable lesson."
Kirk can't get out of this nuthouse fast enough.
"RETURNING TO THE ENTERPRISE"
See? He beamed out so fast that he kept the loaner clown outfit.
Next we'll cover the questionable wiring plan of the Starship Enterprise.