bob justman

For everyone concerned with the use of the Starfleet delta, I.E., the Enterprise insignia in Discovery, please consider this memo from Bob Justman circa 1967.

It explains that other starships having its own emblem was a production error, not something intended. They did roll with it, but it was never the intention of the day, hence its resolution in The Motion Picture.


The Mugato giant ape suit in Star Trek was originally created for a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode, and was re-used on the Lucy Show a year later.

A lot of people point to Lucille Ball as the godmother of Star Trek, but that’s really, really overstating her role and ahistorical. Yes, she approved Trek’s pilot, but she didn’t get involved in production, and in any case, her time with Trek was extremely limited: Desilu was bought out by Gulf + Western production only a short time after Trek began. There are no photos, anecdotes or stories or her visiting the set or reading scripts. Neither Bob Justman or Gene Roddenberry have any stories about Lucille Ball’s involvement or input, no correspondence exists, except for one story: Bob Justman said that Lucille Ball, who was cheated on by her ex-husband Desi Arnaz, had a “morality clause” built into all productions. When Ball found out that the actress who played the first officer from the pilot, Majel Lee Hudec (later Majel Roddenberry) had an affair with the married Gene Roddenberry, she demanded they get rid of her. They were able to sneak Majel back in with a different hair color later on as Christine Chapel, however…and the fact they got away with this shows how involved she really was.

Years later, I realized it wasn’t [Majel Barrett] I disliked, it was the role. Nurse Chapel was a wimpy, badly written, and ill-conceived character. In ‘The Naked Time,’ all she did was stand around and pine for Mister Spock, much the same as Yeoman Rand did for Captain Kirk. And in 'Little Girls,’ Nurse Chapel pined for her fiance, mad scientist Dr. Korby. The close-up shots of her eyes misting over and lower lip quivering were beautifully photographed by cameraman Jerry Finnerman, who used special lighting and diffusion lenses. But this only served to emphasize the lack of character written into the character.

In 1987, in 'Haven,’ a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I produced, Majel created the role of the Betazoid character, Lwaxana Troi, a bold and lusty, irreverent and energetic female alien, and she played the part to the hilt. This new character became popular with viewers - and with me, too. I took pains to tell her of my changed opinion.

—  Bob Justman (producer and assistant director of TOS) in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1996.

Star Trek was originally going to have a more complex opening credits sequence, but instead ended up with the stripped down (and likely more iconic) one we all know so well. How’d that happen? Well, thereby hangs a tale.

Desilu had locked the program into an exclusive deal with the Howard Anderson Company, who’d provided visual effects for “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” They’d done good work and were well-established in the business. In fact, they’d been around since 1927, which made them the closest thing to a sure bet any fledgling TV program could have. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to meet the demanding schedule of a weekly program. They’d had months and months to work on the two pilots; that was reduced to weeks very quickly.

By August 1966, it was plain that Anderson would be unable to complete the visual effects for the episodes they’d been contracted to work on and complete a new opening. Roddenberry and Bob Justman were forced to cobble together titles from zooming ship footage they already had from the previous two pilots. Turns out that it was probably for the best.

Anderson still got work from the Trek production crew; they just ended up sharing that workload with several other production houses scattered throughout Hollywood.

February 5, 1968

From: Bob Justman

To: Gene Roddenberry

Gene: If you haven’t already heard about it, we are missing some wigs and hair pieces. Bill Shatner borrowed all four of his hair pieces when we finished shooting. There are two new ones and two old ones. The new ones are worth approximately $200 apiece and the two old ones are worth approximately $100 a piece. Should Star Trek go again next season, this no doubt means that we will have to construct new hair pieces again for Bill because he will have used both the old ones and the new ones to such an extent that they will not be photographable. This I guarantee, since it has happened to us before.

From a memo reprinted in Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry by David Alexander, 1994.