Where no news­pa­per had gone be­fore

Star pho­tog­ra­pher cap­tured mo­ment in pop-cul­ture his­tory, first Star Trek episode to air

StarMetro Vancouver - - DAILY LIFE - Tony Wong

When the late Toronto Star pho­tog­ra­pher Reg In­nell stepped into a Los An­ge­les stu­dio 53 years ago to pho­to­graph a bunch of un­known Cana­di­ans on a TV set, he didn’t think much of the as­sign­ment he did on a lark.

Pop cul­ture didn’t in­ter­est him. So it’s hard to imag­ine what he’d make of that low­bud­get sci­ence-fic­tion show called Star Trek. In­nell was on va­ca­tion in July of 1966, when he shot pic­tures of un­known Cana­di­ans Wil­liam Shat­ner as Cap­tain Kirk and James Doohan as Scotty — and he hap­pened to cap­ture a mo­ment in pop-cul­ture his­tory.

That episode, “The Man Trap,” de­buted in Sep­tem­ber as the first Star Trek episode seen on TV, although it was the sixth filmed.

The pic­tures were never pub­lished. Un­til now.

Star Trek, orig­i­nally pitched as a kind of “Wagon Train to the Stars,” by cre­ator Gene Rod­den­berry, would go on to spawn six suc­ces­sor se­ries (in­clud­ing the up­com­ing Pi­card) and 13 movies. It would in­flu­ence a gen­er­a­tion of space ex­plor­ers, in­clud­ing the first

NASA space or­biter shut­tle be­ing named the En­ter­prise, after Kirk’s fic­tional ship.

The new­est it­er­a­tion of the show is shot in Toronto at Pinewood Toronto Stu­dios near the Star of­fices on Lake On­tario. Star Trek: Dis­cov­ery, star­ring Sonequa Mart­in­green, re­turns for a highly an­tic­i­pated sec­ond sea­son on Jan. 17 on Crave.

As fans know, the new se­ries takes place a decade be­fore the clas­sic Star Trek se­ries. The ac­tion-filled first episode of the new sea­son has Cap­tain Pike (Kirk’s canon­i­cal pre­de­ces­sor on the En­ter­prise) leav­ing the ship and tak­ing com­mand of the Dis­cov­ery. The spe­cial ef­fects on the cur­rent show re­main the gold stan­dard for sci­ence fic­tion se­ries — a note­wor­thy achieve­ment, con­sid­er­ing the orig­i­nal se­ries was known for cheesy, low-bud­get ef­fects and props.

After In­nell’s death in 2018, boxes of his neg­a­tives were do­nated to the Star cour­tesy of his life part­ner Mar­garet Ser­rao, who said he “never read sci­ence fic­tion, and I doubt if he even looked at the show when it aired.”

“He was there dur­ing the golden years when pho­tog­ra­phers had a lot more ac­cess to their sub­jects and you could in­ter­act with them,” says In­nell’s daugh­ter Adri­enne.

A Star story at the time of In­nell’s visit to Los An­ge­les head­lined “The Cana­dian Colony” re­ports the pho­tog­ra­pher was on va­ca­tion in L.A., not on as­sign­ment, when he vis­ited one of his best friends, the Pey­ton Place ac­tor Jim Begg.

The story men­tions Cana­di­ans liv­ing and work­ing in L.A., and the new NBC se­ries em­ploy­ing a cou­ple of them is given a throw­away line: “Don Francks is at work on a new TV se­ries Jeri­cho, and so is James Doohan in the se­ries Star Trek, a sci­ence fic­tion star­ring fel­low ex-cana­dian Wil­liam Shat­ner,” it reads barely fore­shad­ow­ing the im­pact the two Canucks would have star­ring in one of the most en­dur­ing TV shows in his­tory.

JAN THIJS/CBS

“Star Trek Dis­cov­ery” sea­son 2 de­buts Jan. 17, 53 years after Reg In­nell cap­tured his­tory in the mak­ing on the set (be­low) of the orig­i­nal se­ries’ first episode to air.

James Doohan and Wil­liam Shat­ner caught on cam­era on the L.A. set in 1966.

Ac­tress Francine Pyne played Nancy Crater, in film­ing of “The Man Trap.”

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