||Uncharted Content from the Final Frontier - Since 1999
Franz Joseph Timeline
by Karen Dick
with annotations by Greg Tyler
Entries here are condensed from FJ's "Writing Activities Log"
(14 April 1973 - 14 April 1988) and FJ's "Design Work, Script, and
Correspondence - Planet Earth" notebook (1974).
Star Trek production timelines, as far as Karen can determine them, are in red.
|GR||Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator|
|FJ||Franz Joseph, industrial designer|
|LM||Lou Mindling, Paramount Television V.P.|
|Judy-Lynn||Judy-Lynn Del Rey, science fiction editor for Ballantine Books|
|BGP||Booklet of General Ship's Plans (a.k.a. Enterprise Blueprints)|
|TM||Star Fleet Technical Manual|
on continued fan interest in the defunct Star Trek
television series, as evidenced by ST conventions
with huge attendance numbers and the continued popularity of the series in syndication,
NBC contacts Gene Roddenberry about reviving the series. NBC eventually decides
it is "too expensive" to re-create the sets and costumes, and the project is
dropped. [Source: Where No One Has Gone Before
(J.M. Dillard, Pocket Books, 1994)]
S.T.A.R. San Diego
holds its inaugural meeting, which Franz Joseph attends with daughter Karen.
Many of the members are interested in making accurate replicas of the props
and costumes used in the Star Trek
FJ makes technical drawings
of the hand phaser and communicator using film clips and Whitfield's
The Making of Star Trek as references.
FJ has made about a
dozen drawings at this point and writes GR regarding proprietary rights.
GR writes back, encourages
FJ to proceed, and wants to arrange with FJ to have Lincoln Enterprises (his
wife Majel Barrett's ST memorabilia business)
market the drawings.
FJ and GR exchange several
letters regarding the drawings, now dubbed by FJ as the
Technical Manual. GR continues to be supportive
and enthusiastic, but marketing arrangements are still up in the air.
Star Trek The Animated Series premieres.
FJ begins work on the
blueprints of the Enterprise, a.k.a. the
Booklet of General Ship's Plans. He feels he
needs to lay out the contents of the entire ship before he can determine if
he can make some of the detail drawings (of the crew cabins, bridge stations,
shuttlecraft bay, and such) for the Tech Manual.
6 months have passed,
and there is still no marketing arrangement between FJ and
GR/Lincoln Enterprises for production of the BGP
and TM. FJ makes the decision to keep working
along on the drawings for the BGP and the
TM in the hopes that they will get marketed
somehow by someone.
FJ completes work on
the BGP and makes 6 check copies.
FJ sends one of the
check copies of the BGP to GR.
GR calls FJ and is
highly complimentary about the BGP.
Neither he nor his staff has seen work of this caliber and they still are
amazed that such a drawing of the Enterprise
could be produced. GR invites FJ to visit him at Warner Studios in Burbank
to discuss equipment problems he's been having with
FJ flies to Burbank
to meet with GR, Matt Jefferies, Bob Justman, Bill Theiss, and Ralph Naveda
in GR's offices at Warner Brothers. The
BGP has made the rounds of Warner Brothers
and everyone, including the janitor, has seen it. Everyone is very
enthusiastic about the BGP. GR and FJ
discuss problems with Planet Earth,
and FJ agrees to develop some sketches and get back together with GR ASAP.
FJ flies to Burbank
for a second time. GR and FJ decide on the equipment types for
Planet Earth, and FJ agrees to make
drawings for both shooting dummies (Phase I) and working models (Phase II)
and get them to GR as fast as possible, as they start shooting on
FJ delivers Phase I
Planet Earth prop drawings to GR.
FJ and Norway Productions
get into an extended debate over assignment of rights to the
Planet Earth prop designs.
All Phase II
drawings have been delivered by FJ to GR by this date, even though
assignment of rights is still up in the air.
10 months have
passed, and FJ has received no response from either GR or Lincoln Enterprises
regarding marketing the BGP and
TM. FJ takes a different tack and writes
Paramount Television asking for information as to who holds the proprietary
rights to Star Trek, and how FJ might
obtain a licensing agreement to sell copies of the
BGP at Equicon '74 in April.
department immediately responds with an offer of a one-shot-sale licensing
agreement for Equicon '74.
GR writes FJ and
suggests that FJ donate a copy of the BGP
to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum for their
"Life in the Universe" display, which includes artifacts (including the
14-foot ship model) from the Star Trek
television series. GR has already written Fred Durant at the Smithsonian
describing the BGP and the contribution
they would make to the display.
FJ sends an uncut
copy of the BGP to the Smithsonian.
With the help of S.T.A.R.
San Diego members, FJ gets 500 blueprinted copies of the
BGP cut, collated, stapled, and wrapped
in bundles of 50 for transportation to Equicon'74.
BGP is a hit! 410 copies sell at the
convention, and 450 additional requests are taken.
FJ pays Paramount its
royalty percentages from the convention sales. Paramount agrees that the
remaining 90 copies may be sold under the original Licensing Agreement.
BGP copy arrives damaged at the
Smithsonian; FJ obtains and sends another uncut copy.
FJ and family attend the
studio premiere of Planet Earth as GR's guests.
Vice President of Paramount Television, calls FJ. He says Paramount holds
all the proprietary rights to the Star Trek
theme and that FJ will have to deal with them (not GR) in all future
marketing. He says Paramount is extremely interested in marketing FJ's work
through their international organization, and Paramount will offer FJ a
royalty agreement after looking for a suitable publisher. He will discuss
the matter with Ballantine Books and get back to FJ as soon as he has
The second uncut copy of
the BGP arrives safely at the Smithsonian and
is included in the "Life in the Universe" display. The National Air & Space
Museum would like to sell copies of the BGP in
their Gift Shop, but FJ does not yet have permission from Paramount to market
FJ tells GR about his
interaction with Paramount, and apologizes to GR, but it is obvious that
Paramount has the legal/marketing rights to
Star Trek and will be handling the
marketing of FJ's work instead of Lincoln Enterprises.
FJ and Norway
Productions finally reach an acceptable compromise on assignment of rights
to the Planet Earth prop designs.
FJ writes to
Paramount asking if they have any photos or sketches from the
Star Trek television series that FJ
might use to create a design for a commemorative postal stamp to be issued
at the opening of the new National Air and Space Museum.
Lou Mindling calls to
say that Paramount no longer has any photos, materials, or artifacts, from
the original Star Trek television series
with the exception of the master film footage of the various episodes. LM
says Paramount thinks the commemorative stamp is a great idea.
Lou Mindling calls
to say he has sent copies of the BGP and
sample sheets from the TM to
Judy-Lynn Del Rey of Ballantine Books, and she'll call FJ within the
hour. LM also says Paramount will pay FJ an honorarium if the Postal
Service accepts the stamp design.
Judy-Lynn Del Rey
calls. Ballantine Books is very interested in producing both the
BGP and the TM.
She will discuss the matter with Betty Ballantine and be back in touch
in about a week.
FJ sent master
artwork for the proposed commemorative stamp to the Postmaster General.
Lou Mindling calls,
apologizes for the long delay, and says Judy-Lynn Del Rey is in his
office and they are discussing marking the
BGP. Both he and Judy-Lynn are very
enthusiastic about marketing FJ's works.
FJ agrees to sign
a contract with Ballantine Books covering the publication and sale of
negotiations with Paramount over royalty percentages, FJ, Lou Mindling,
and Judy-Lynn Del Rey reach an agreement. Paramount gets the lion's
share of the profits.
The master art
for the BGP is sent to Ballantine.
FJ signs the
contract for the BGP with Ballantine Books.
Tony Lenz of
Ballantine Books calls to say that pre-sales of the
BGP have already hit 20,000 copies.
signs a contract with Paramount to do a
Star Trek movie with a $3 million budget.
[Source for budget info: Where No One Has Gone Before
(J.M. Dillard, Pocket Books, 1994)] FJ is unaware of this.
FJ, Ballantine, and
Lou Mindling go through lengthy negotiations over the proposed contract for
the TM. FJ has more original work involved
in the TM than in the
BGP and wants a higher percentage of the
profits; he also wants the book copyrighted in his name, not Paramount's.
FJ completes the
masters for the Tech Manual. He is also
told on this day that GR has signed the contract for the
Star Trek movie.
Lou Mindling says
Paramount will not contest a copyright on the
TM in FJ's name.
BGP hits bookstores and is sold out within
2 hours in every store that carries it.
50,000 copies of the
BGP have sold out and Ballantine is printing
BGP is now #10 on the list of best-selling
paperback books, even though it is not a book. Ballantine has now
produced 210,000 copies.
FJ signs the
contract for the TM and ships the master
artwork to Ballantine.
FJ sends a
Xeroxed copy of the completed TM to GR
as a courtesy.
GR writes FJ to
acknowledge he has received the TM. He
is bitter about his previous arrangements with Paramount during the
live TV series, and he doesn't think FJ has given him a large enough
acknowledgement credit in the front of the
Walden Books has
placed an advance order with Ballantine for 70,000 copies of the
TM. Ballantine plans on printing 250,000
copies of the first edition, which is unprecedented in the industry.
BGP is already in its 4th
printing of the TM is now up to 450,000
copies(!). The first copies are off the presses, and Judy-Lynn calls
FJ to tell him she is sending one to him immediately.
calls to congratulate FJ on the TM.
TM is being shipped and should be in
bookstores by Thanksgiving.
notes that of the 450,000 copies of the Tech Manual
in Ballantine's first edition, 400,000 are already pre-ordered. Of the
350,000 copies already printed and shipped, 320,000 have already been sold.
is now in its 5th printing.
TM hits bookstores nationwide. It sells out as
quickly as the BGP, and there are long
"waiting lists" to order additional copies.
TM is #1 on B. Dalton's bestseller list, and has
been since the beginning of December. The BGP
is still on the charts at #18.
A bottle of champagne
arrives at FJ's residence, addressed from Ballantine Books. The
Tech Manual just became #1 on the New York Times
Bestseller List this week.
Tech Manual is still #1 on the Bestseller List.
Lou Mindling calls to tell
FJ that Paramount is going full-blown on the
Star Trek movie, with an expected release in
1977, although they were starting from scratch. He said they would should
shortly have a project for FJ and to think about "modernizing" the
Enterprise. Nothing will be done to compromise
GR and his ideas as creator, but Paramount wants FJ to help get this thing off
the ground. FJ has no idea what they have in mind, but assumes they'll tell
him when they're ready.
FJ calls Lou Mindling
on an unrelated item and LM tells FJ that there is now a good working
relationship between all the parties on the
Star Trek movie project and that they are
currently concentrating on signing up all the original actors.
Lou Mindling called to
talk about the Ballantine royalties and the success of FJ's publications. He
urges FJ to produce other materials in the series.
Judy-Lynn Del Rey
calls. Everything is going fine. Ballantine is publishing a book of
Gene Roddenberry's fan letters and his replies in January 1977. If it's
successful, they want to follow up with a similar book of FJ's fan letters
and replies later in the year.
FJ reads in the media
that GR's latest script for the Star Trek
movie is rejected. This means that after 17 months, Paramount still does
not have a useable script to start shooting.
Lou Mindling calls FJ,
and they have a long conversation. Lou asks if FJ would like to be involved
with the Star Trek movie either as a
writer, a consultant, an actor -- whatever. Anything. Please. FJ declines
the offer, feeling it is not his place to be telling GR what to do with his
Lou Mindling calls FJ
just to chat. Gives FJ info on the forthcoming
Star Trek movie, and discusses FJ's work
as it relates to GR's. LM continues to encourage FJ to do more work in the
Star Trek area.
Lou Mindling tells
FJ the Star Trek movie will be shooting
FJ enters the hospital
with a 5% hemoglobin count from a large benign tumor in his bladder.
FJ re-enters the hospital with
symptoms that lead to a diagnosis of intestinal cancer. He has surgery May 30 and
is released from the hospital June 12.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
opens in theaters.
Copyright 1999 by Karen Dick and Greg Tyler.
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