Blooper Reel

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A blooper is a mistake in filming, a misspoken word, a set mishap, a wardrobe malfunction, a continuity error, and/or deliberate clowning around by actors and production staff.

The collection of these bloopers, first on movie film, and later in other forms such as VCR tapes, is called a blooper reel or a blooper tape, or sometimes just, bloopers.

The Star Trek Blooper Reel

View the original blooper reels here [1]

excerpt from a transcript of the first two-season blooper reels from Rigel #1, a transcript that was 25 pages long. Click to read

The first blooper film was the Star Trek blooper reel and was originally compiled for the amusement of the show’s stars and creators. It contained some humorous outtakes from the filming of the series that were created by the production crew after each season. Later when Gene Roddenberry saw the value, financial and otherwise, of appearing at conventions, he brought the blooper reel, along with episodes on film, to show to fans.

Bjo Trimble also takes credit for the widespread viewing of the blooper reel. In 1974, she said:

The Blooper Reels were first put together for a Star Trek cast party. Then the Trimbles saw them, and talked Gene Roddenberry into letting fans enjoy them, too. GR was worried that fans would not like to see their Heroes fluffing lines, and in general, showing that they were human. But when the first reel was shown, the fan reaction was so good that we've shown them many times since at various conventions.... Actually, the reels are all on one reel now.[2]

A fan in 1975 writes to The Halkan Council:

4000 people showed up to hear Gene Roddenberry speak at Michigan State University (they had to turn 1500 away at the door), that he brought an episode on film and the blooper reel.“ She added, “Roddenberry now gets $2000 an appearance.[3]

Originally there was just one Star Trek blooper reel.

There is only one official copy of the Blooper Reel in existence. It belongs to Gene Roddenberry and cannot be gotten legally from any other source. Mr. Roddenberry occasionally brings it along with him to conventions he attends, or sends it with Dorothy Fontana or Susan Sackett." [4] This original reel was broke up into sections, as a fan in a 1975 zine recalls: “Noteworthy are the eight pages of Cory Correll's 'Star Bleeps.’ (only a few of which have been printed before, in Star-Borne). It is a partial transcription of the main ST blooper reel… [5]

In 2009, a fan wrote:

The Blooper Reels were originally made each season with the outtakes of the filming process and shared in an airing to the staff and actors of the show at the Wrap-Up Party20 of each season. These Blooper Reels became black market commodities and highly prized collectibles. Fans would attend showings of the Blooper Reels and film them (in pre-video recorder days), later making them into video tapes. Eventually, they were released professionally in 199721 in order to stop the underground economy in illegally made and distributed video tapes. Like the clips, the blooper reels were made from rejected footage and for that reason did not ever appear to be the property of Desilu or Paramount Pictures. They were rescued from dumpsters outside the Paramount facilities and therefore became the property of the finder. In this case by Gene Roddenberry, and he brought them to conventions and shared the footage with fans.[6]

The blooper reels were a hot commodity, and often one of the highlights of a convention. Some fans remember:

the 1997 blooper tape for Star Trek, published by Simitar
fan-distributed blooper audiotape for Star Trek, made from Season Three audio tracks found in a Paramount dumpster

From 1974:

The first major convention in Britain was help in Leichester on the weekend of September 28/29 1974... The guests were George Takei and James Doohan, who brought over the blooper reel (the bloopers weren't seen again in this country for several years). Jenny had hoped for the banned episodes, too, but Paramount didn't oblige.” [7]

Gene Roddenberry introduced the blooper reel to an audience at Stanford University on January 28, 1975:

I'd like to open tonight with a confession - the truth is I open my talks with the bloopers to judge the level of the audience's intelligence and judging from the wild laughter I heard, I can see I'll be talking to a group of intellectuals. I'm being quite serious, the biggest laughs we get from those reels always come at universities and colleges, showings for astronauts or NASA. The only place those reels never received a laugh was at a showing for television executives, which I think shows there is a correlation between sense of humor and intelligence....[8]

Nancy Kippax remembers:

[We’d] sit for hours in the frigid film room, watching whatever episode was being shown, even if it was one we liked the least. But of course, they always showed our favorites – Trouble with Tribbles, Amok Time, Journey to Babel. . . And the blooper reels – oh, yes, the blooper reels! [9]

One fan shares her memory of the blooper reel:

[A fan] told me she was in possession of something called a 'blooper real' and would I be interested in seeing it? Silly question. The only problem was, we needed a projector. And the solution proved to be rather simple. Eileen was a mass communications major... We got permission to use one of the college's rooms and projectors, and we put up flyers around the buildings. Well, the school only provided a small room -- and I mean small, big enough for maybe 25 people. We squeezed everyone in until they were practically hanging from the ceiling, and we still had to run it twice. And there were people who still didn't get in. So we made arrangements to show it in a bigger room. This time we got an auditorium. But the word had spread like wildfire, and there still wasn't enough seats. Finally we hit the school up for their biggest auditorium and squeezed them in like sardines.[10]

At least one fan found the blooper reel very eductational as per this ad for a zine in 1984:

Feel like reliving those golden days when con was synonymous with NYC, when we learned to swear from the bloopers, and the ST movies were only a gleam in the Great Bird's eye? Or do you just wish you were there? Well, journey on back with LIAPITA through a collection of fan fiction as old as Trek itself and as new as today.[11]

A 1978 lawsuit: According to the March 1978 issue of A Piece of the Action, there was a lawsuit regarding the Star Trek Bloopers: "'The Screen Actors Guild' has filed suit against Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and Norway Productions to prevent the showing of the ST Bloopers. It's asking $25,,000 damages for 'embarrassing the actors'." It is unknown the results of this suit.

Much later, fans created gif sets of some of the Star Trek blooper reels and posted them on Tumblr. Some examples.

Blooper Tapes and Other Fandoms

a copy of the fan distributed slashy The Sentinel blooper tape
  • Sandy Herrold remembers Escapade 1995: “The vid room went to Open Video this year, and got a real work out. I showed Megan's Starsky and Hutch blooper tape to a few people, who then showed it to a few more...It must have been played 20 times during the weekend. They also had the B7 and Red Dwarf blooper reels...” [13]
  • The Sentinel has a particularly famous blooper reel, which was also distributed via fannish tape circle. These bloopers featured not only many hilarious outtakes by all cast members, but was particularly known for its slashy vibe. The two main actors near-kissed and flirted a lot, often breaking up laughing during the show's homoerotic scenes or making the show's subtext into text. For instance, in one notable outtake from "Dead Drop," in which Blair and others are trapped in a sabotaged elevator, Richard Burgi abandons his script to ask, "Blair, honey? Is that you? I don't care about the others, let them all die, crushed like little ants, but are 'you' okay?"[14]
a blooper tape with Star Wars: TOS and Star Trek: TNG out-takes, as well as original skits performed on Saturday Night Live and the Star Wars spoof, Hardware Wars. An seller on ebay says this tape was "originally created to show at conventions." It is 75 minutes long.
  • And from the first WOAD Society tape: “The concept of Highlander bloopers to kazoos was irresistible and seemed like a good way spend my time waiting for results from the 2000 presidential elections.” [15]

Bloopers as a Source Material

In the Highlander fandom:

The blooper reels also gave credence to a possible relationship between Methos and Amanda. In a later short film, Reunion, Methos and Amanda state explicitly that they have never had a romantic relationship, but that film is not necessarily considered canon.[16]

In 2004, Sandy Herrold moderated a panel at Vividcon. The panel description:

Once upon a time, there was an unwritten rule that fannish vids must only use source from the show. is this still true? When does it work to use deleted scenes from DVDs, bloopers, home-shot footage, clips from other shows, animated sequences, and other "out of bounds" footage? When does it cause cognitive dissonance in the viewer? the use of voiceovers has grown in recent years, as has the use of audio from our source shows, while credit sequences and added text have become a form of creative expression and vidder commentary. When do these "extras" work to help a vid? When don't they? (follows the Breaking the Rules vidshow).[17]

Blooper Tapes As Victims of Permissions and Personal Embarrassment

A fan in 1995 writes that she'd love to see a specific collection of bloopers: "To celebrate 30 years of ST, how about a video of bloopers from all the series and films? I'm sure non-fans would love it as well" is discouraged." - The response: "Bloopers are not distributed anymore since permission would be required of everyone in the film, and that would include any actors in the background. Getting all those permission is considered too complex." [18]

In 1988, a Beauty and the Beast fan asked one of the show's actors about a blooper tape and was told: "Oh, there's lots of good out-takes. I'm hoping that some day Witt Thomas will sell some of these out-takes to Bleepers and Bloopers because I think they're worth seeing. But a lot of producers don't for some reason, and I don't know the reason behind that. But some producers do not like to sell to that show. And it not just that show, it's any of those kinds of shows with that format, because some actors find it very embarrassing." [19]

Examples of Blooper Tapes


  1. ^ [1], Star Trek Prop Authority, accessed 9.7.2011
  2. ^ from an Equicon progress report
  3. ^ The_Halkan_Council/Issues_01-10 from an early issue of The Halkan Council
  4. ^ from The Fan's Little Golden Guide to Throwing Your Own Convention
  5. ^ from the zine Rigel
  6. ^ effect of commercialisation and direct intervention by the owners of intellectual copyright : a case study : the Australian Star Trek fan community, Archived version, by Susan P. Batho (2009) (an academic paper which studies the effect of the Viacom Crackdown and Australian fan clubs)
  7. ^ from IDIC #2
  8. ^ from Archives' Log v.2 n.2
  9. ^ Reminisce With Me: Conventions
  10. ^ from Comlink #28 (1986)
  11. ^ from an ad for Logic is a Pain in the Ass
  12. ^ from On the Double #9
  13. ^ Escapade/Escapade_1995, in a con report posted to Virgule-L
  14. ^ See Sentinel Bloopers on Youtube, clip posted by rodneyscat. (Accessed 15 August 2009)
  15. ^ The WOAD Society: Dramatic License
  16. ^ Highlander page at Fanlore
  17. ^ Vividcon 2004
  18. ^ both comments from Multi-Species Medicine #18
  19. ^ from Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter #4