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 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 1:25 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

To my then-eight-year-old self, it seems that Star Trek: The Motion Picture received a flurry of intense advertising.

Just going from my rapidly-degenerating memory, I recall the McDonald's "Happy Meal" box having maybe six variations featuring TMP comic strips, puzzles, games, etc. It may have even been the first-ever McDonald's Happy Meal movie tie in.

There was a Marvel Comics adaptation of the film, which IIRC went by an earlier draft of the script because there was a sequence in the comic where Spock is attacked in space by some crystaline entities (not the TNG one, obviously).

Also in the comics, both Marvel and DC Comics published the full-page, color ad of TMP's poster. It would usually be found on the back cover of, say, a Superman comic of late 1979 and early 1980. Most every comic book during that span featured the ad.

TMP was also the first film I remember in which the TV spots had "interviews" with filmgoers--mostly high school and college-age kids--outside of the multiplex or by the snack stand effusively praising TMP. Who knows, those kids were probably zooba, Jeff Bond, and solium. wink The commercial spots were shot on video IIRC and I remember thinking the interview stuff and the video-shot commercials were novel ideas. wink

What other marketing ploys were used to promote the film?

P.S. Yeah, yeah Preston Neal Jones wrote a TMP book, but I ain't interested. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 1:53 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

I don't really remember any official tie-ins in the UK, but there was a lot of buzz amongst those of us who liked the original series and a number of us flocked to the cinema on release eager to see how it translated onto the big screen. Disappointingly, as it turned out.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 2:33 PM   
 By:   Nicholas_DW   (Member)

Off-topic, but I would love to have seen it in its original run. The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan are my favorites.

 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

To my then-eight-year-old self, it seems that Star Trek: The Motion Picture received a flurry of intense advertising.


Your recollection would be correct! It had extensive marketing and the whole "revival" was treated like an event. They even had a sweepstakes so fans had an opportunity to be in the film as extras. Paramount of course saw it as their STAR WARS.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 4:37 PM   
 By:   henry   (Member)

I have always liked TMP. But I was only two when it came out so I missed out on all the marketing.

 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 5:04 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I saw it several times in the theater on first run. I was wowed by the audio/video splendor. Though I admit even at the time I know it recycled elements from "The Changeling" and The Doomsday Machine".

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2017 - 5:32 PM   
 By:   Timmer   (Member)

I don't really remember any official tie-ins in the UK, but there was a lot of buzz amongst those of us who liked the original series and a number of us flocked to the cinema on release eager to see how it translated onto the big screen. Disappointingly, as it turned out.

I saw it on its UK release. I was only mildly disappointed but as a Jerry Goldsmith fan sucked up the monumental score and thus enjoyed it.

The film has aged well in my opinion.

This film and The Black Hole were heavily promoted as I ( vaguely ) remember, and yes Jim, I well remember the Marvel/DC advertising.

Oh, and does anyone here in the UK remember being able to get hold of the soundtrack lp before the film was released? My memory may be f***ed up but I'm sure I listened to amongst others Alien, The Black Hole, Moonraker, Star Wars, The Fury and more before the films were released here.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 5:17 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

"P.S. Yeah, yeah Preston Neal Jones wrote a TMP book, but I ain't interested. wink"

Which of course didn't exist yet. You'd have had to content yourself with Susan Sackett's book on the making of the film, which had to be written before the film was completed, due to publishing deadlines and the notoriously extended post-production process. Other book tie-ins included Walter Koenig's diary of the shoot and of course Mr. Roddenberry's novelization.                            

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 3:15 AM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

I was lucky to be working at a chain of Dome Movie Theaters at the time of it's release. The Century Theaters in San Jose California. I worked at all of them at one time or another from 1977-1981. It was Christmas of 1979 and we sold advanced tickets to the crop of films that came out at that time including Coppola's APOCALYPSE NOW, Fosse's ALL THAT JAZZ, Spielberg's 1941 and of course STAR TREK. So in that respect, it was marketed with pre-sales. I worked box office at Century 21, the first built. STAR TREK played at Century 22 next door. All the employees always got to see the First Run films the night before they opened to the public, usually at a Midnight showing so the projectionist could run the film and make sure everything was in shape for the paying crowds. I remember being able to invite a couple of friends and we were all into film music, so hearing Goldsmith's Triumphant music in 70 MM Six Track Dolby was phenomenal!

Since I worked the box office and was well liked by the manager, I got as many Mint One Sheet Posters that I wanted from all the released movies to our Theater chain. Right away if we already had one on display in our Theater. So I got one for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. Have it still somewhere packed away with countless others. We had a local TOWER RECORDS on Bascom Ave. not far away and I established a relationship with the managers and got a lot of promo Soundtracks. I would from time to time create displays, mainly at Century 23, where I had started and had worked the most. TOWER let me have them for free to display and we put up a sign saying "Original Soundtrack Albums and Tapes Available at Tower Records". Such a cool deal. I remember making a nice display featuring many of Jerry Goldsmith Soundtrack Albums when CAPRICORN ONE played there.

STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK was a big seller at TOWER and people just really loved the music. I can recall us all at the Pre-Opening Screening of the film being a little disappointed with the film itself and thinking it was a tad boring and having the over all feeling of "Is that all there is?" Of course we were in awe of the look and sound of the film on the big screen, but in the end it was truly missing a soul and heart. Seemed to be the general feeling over the years.

Great memories. I do remember seeing a lot of TV Ads for it so it was pretty extensively marketed in that way. I bought the available bumble gum cards and we sold the Colorful Programs from the film at the Theater. I remember APOCALYPSE NOW had a Free give away little booklet that was quite extensive and cool. I'm sure I saved some somewhere.



Century 22 line for STAR TREK (above) and below the Century Theaters Marquee, 7 years before STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 3:50 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Thank you for your superb post, zooba! I enjoy the reminiscences! Thanks to everyone who replied and contributed their memories of having seen the film and perhaps the tougher chqllenge of remembering the advertising. I hope others will chime in, too.

Does anyone else remember seeing those "interviews-with-enthusiastic-filmgoers" TV spots?

That's right, I had the Topps trading cards, which I remember showing off the various new alien races, many of which were not seen to maximum effect--or at all--in the film.

This site shows a few of them:

http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-vault-topps-the-motion-picture-trading-cards

Love that Mid-Century-Modern movie marquee! Hmmm...what to see: that mob movie, the dystopic future film, or...

...I can't imagine wanting to see more than one movie at the cinema today. For better or worse, the '70s were a different time, that's for sure...

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 6:38 AM   
 By:   Sean N   (Member)

I can't remember the advertising at all, nor those testimonial ads, which I have watched on YouTube. Even missed out on the Happy Meals dammit!

One thing I do remember was seeing - and buying - the electronic phaser "laser" tag game. Which I have to this day - they still work, and I used to play with them with my daughter when she was little 8 or 10 years ago.

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 6:46 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Sean, your next Star Trek TMP Happy Meal is my treat. wink



It was the first--and only--time I ever had a Happy Meal, and it took TMP to do it.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 7:37 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

I saw it at the Sheffield ABC cinema, where they used to show films in full 70mm, and was totally blown away. I didn't understand any of the panning it got at the time. That opening scene was incredible, and had the same "they've got to cut soon coz it's a model but they're still going"... touch that Star Wars had, except this time I had a slight unbalanced feel as the head of the Klingon ship turned. The scene and the incredible music set me up for the rest of the film, and I had a whale of a time. Not remotely concerned about the stately pace of the piece. The visuals stunned me and I was very happy to see the old crew back on the screen.

What particularly galled me is that many would go on about how great 2001 was. A film just as slow, and complete with shuttle traveling to huge space vessel. To me, the Trek film's had more significance being Kirk's emotional reuniting with his old ship. Wonderful. And all to a fantastic score.

It had been promoted on a Saturday morning kids show and it was so exciting. It was also paired and compared with The Black Hole by one of the Sunday papers' colour supplements. For me there was no contest. All the flack about 'slow motion picture' deserved to be attached to the Disney flick, not to mention the annoying cute robots with Disney style eyes!

But I'll never forget my next visit to the record shop. The Trek album was a must buy, and when I saw that TBH was on the Disneyland label, it was a duel purchase at a knockdown price. Out of the two LPs though, only one was constantly on the turntable, and I'm afraid it wasn't John Barry's .

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Before the movie came out, I swear by almighty God just about every Weetabix cereal packet had TMP images of the Enterprise and other associations printed on the exterior packet for months before the movie even showed up. As well as promotions of one sort or another, there were 2D silhouette figures of aliens with the head prosthesis/attachments even then! So, I guess there was something of a marketing push as regards the movie.

I first saw the movie with my father in Orpington, way back when it had a cinema, in '79.

In 1979 if I'd see a B&W film on TV made in, say, 1935 I'd think, "gee, that's an old movie, and it shows."

TMP is now approaching a similar age to those pre-WWII movies that seemed so archaic to me at the time it was first released. Something doesn't want to add up!

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Jim Phelps

I would say most, if not all the aliens appear on film in the pre-flight conference scene in the rec deck. They are scattered among the mostly human crowd and easy to miss.

I collected the Topps cards too. There was an Enterprise bridge play set, three plastic model kits, Enterprise with Lights and "rainbow" transfer markings, the Klingon Cruiser and Spock's shuttle. And the then popular 3 inch tall action figures. (Blah, give me my 12 inch tall GI JOE, now that's an action figure!)

Paulhickling

I forgot which effects team did what. One did the Klingon stuff, the other did the Enterprise stuff. I remember the Klingon pan and swivel was done first. The other effects team didn’t want to be upstaged so did their own similar pan and swivel for the Enterprise at the end of the film. ;-)

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   Sean N   (Member)

Paul H, your assessment of the film matches mine exactly (which I've said many times around these parts) - loved it the first time I saw it, and have loved it ever since. As to The Black Hole, I remember more promotion of that, and thought everything I saw was just shudderingly awful, so I shunned the movie and the soundtrack for decades. (Ok, maybe not so smart to shun the soundtrack, and the movie is at least stranger than I would have expected from Disney at the time, but oy! them robots.)

Jim P, thanks for the kind offer. I can't believe I missed that commercial way back when, only the second time that a Klingon spoke in his native language! (Though of course, um, non-canonical).

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Paul H, your assessment of the film matches mine exactly (which I've said many times around these parts) - loved it the first time I saw it, and have loved it ever since. As to The Black Hole, I remember more promotion of that, and thought everything I saw was just shudderingly awful, so I shunned the movie and the soundtrack for decades. (Ok, maybe not so smart to shun the soundtrack, and the movie is at least stranger than I would have expected from Disney at the time, but oy! them robots.)

Jim P, thanks for the kind offer. I can't believe I missed that commercial way back when, only the second time that a Klingon spoke in his native language! (Though of course, um, non-canonical).


I loved the film for the most part too. But I think it suffered from not having an identity of it's own. People either complained it was too much like 2001 or to much like Star Wars. (Depending on the scenes)

I actually love a great deal about the Black Hole. Some of the robots and secondary characters are just to hokey, otherwise I think it's a great film on many levels.

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 9:02 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

solium: Thanks for the reminder about the (Mego) 3 3/4" action figures! I had the Decker one, which I bought at a supermarket with a toy aisle--and which was pricier than if I had gotten it at a department store. It was only recently that I learned they also produced an Enterprise bridge playset:

https://www.megomuseum.com/startrek/sttmp.html

I'd have to venture into the microfilm archives at my local library to find out the cinema where I saw TMP. I have it narrowed down to maybe three places...

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   Sean N   (Member)

I loved the film for the most part too. But I think it suffered from not having an identity of it's own. People either complained it was too much like 2001 or to much like Star Wars. (Depending on the scenes)....

I don't disagree with this at all. The only thing that disappointed me (besides the jammies the crew wore) was the march - I thought, oh come on! Not everything in space has to have a march now just because of Star Wars. I got over that pdq though. And though I loved the first shot with the Klingon ships, the similarity to the opening of Star Wars was painfully apparent.

I actually enjoyed the slow nature of the film - as I've said before here somewhere it felt more like a number of the many science fiction novels I had read in the 6 years or so* prior to the film. It was fun to see what "real" science fiction looked like in the Star Trek frame. (And also enjoyed it more in that vein than 2001, which still on a recent re-watch irritates as much as fascinates.)

*(Started when my computer-scientist-working-at-the-Pentagon uncle gave me a big bagful of classic SF paperbacks in '73. Began an endless journey.)

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2017 - 9:20 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Yeah, the gimmicky Klingon whirl-around shot in TMP, stems no doubt, from the Star Destroyer flyover at the inception of Star Wars. That must have something to do with the fact it was Dykstra's (Apogee) unit which handled the Klingon intro and Epsilon 9 sequences. Star Wars, IMHO, still gets the biscuit for springboard 'WoW' factor.

 
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