Diamond Select Toys & Collectibles is offering a replica captain’s chair for only &_#36;2,700, but enterprising fans are creating their own versions of Kirk’s command chair.
As reported by The New York Times, fans, some of whom were not even born when Star Trek first aired, have incorporated part of the Enterprise into their home decor with full-sized replicas of the captain’s chair from the bridge of the USS Enterprise.One of these fans, 27-year-old Scott Veazie, has his replica chair set up in a corner of his townhouse. An original series fan, he watched reruns of the show with his mother in the 1980s. “The original show is was the first one I saw,” he said. “It was so idealistic. A lot of us kids wanted to be Captain Kirk, and part of that was the chair.”
So Veazie built his own chair and found it to be quite the conversation piece. “When someone comes in, it’s the first thing they comment on,” he said.
Building a chair is easier due to the spread of digital video, where shots of the chair can be freeze-framed and examined from all angles to get the details correct. “The closet command-chair Trekkies have come out of the closet,” said 45-year-old Keith Marshall, whose own yet-to-be-completed chair sits in his brother’s garage. “For a lot of people in the last few years, the pieces have come together.”
For some, building a chair is a natural progression from the days of building model kits. “I loved the show,” explained 42-year-old Mike Paugh of British Columbia. “I had all the model kits and that stuff, but when I moved, I had to get rid of them. Now I’ve started to build again.” Paugh’s chair cost about &_#36;1,000, and now graces his family’s rec room.
Herbert F. Solow, former vice president of Desilu Studios, says that Kirk’s chair was made from scratch, as does John Jeffries, brother to set designer Walter “Matt” Jeffries. Jeffries remembers his brother constructed the chair’s extended frame, swivel base and pedestal from plywood, then coated it with dove-gray paint from the Desilu stores. “It was a function of what we had to work with and the ability of the people we had,” explained Jeffries. “Cost was a factor. Today, it would probably be made of fiberglass or carbon fiber material.”
But do the builders actually sit in their creations? Yes, according to auto parts manager Bruce Boyd. “Everyone wants to sit in it,” he said. There’s some charisma there. It’s hard to explain.” Boyd sits in his chair when he needs to address his family on discipline issues. “When we have a little family powwow,” said the father of four, “I sit in it to lay down the law.”
Even though the hobbyists sit in the chairs, they’re the first to admit that the captain’s chair is not for long-term lounging. “It’s not the most comfortable of chairs,” said Veazie. “The arms are too low and they’re too far apart. Now I know why William Shatner was always leaning forward in it.”
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