Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter

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Title: Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter
Publisher: Starship Exeter Organisation, out of the UK
Editor(s): Carl Hiles
Date(s): 1978-1979
Frequency: bi-monthly
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

You may be looking for the Starship Exeter US fan film series.

Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter (notes: Minicomputer Bold font used in the title means that "Exeter" on the cover resembles "Eheter" -- Also, a period is included after "Organisation.")

There were six issues. It ceased due to lack of fan contributions.

Despite the volumes being numbered as "v.2 n._," there are no previous issues.

V.2 N.2

Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter V.2 N.2 was published in August 1978 and contains 15 pages. The cover is by Jim Pitts, the interior illos by David Hunter and Alan Lloyd.

front cover of V.2 N.2 by Jim Pitts

The editor, Carl Hiles, refers to it as the second newsletter, despite the numbering that makes it appear there were many other previous issues.

The topics are mostly about Star Trek, but also other science fiction shows, movies, and books.

  • an interview with pro writer Joe Haldeman, as well as a review of his Trek tie-in book, "Planet of Judgment"
  • a word find
  • a centerfold that is a reprint from "Variety," about the new Star Trek movie
  • ads for some zines, info on some fan clubs, some cons
  • a full-page ad for Intercon '78, the fifth The British Star Trek Convention (series of cons)
  • some letters from fans, most with a Blake's 7 focus
  • a letter from Terry Nation saying he does not want Blake's 7 material to appear in "magazines that are dedicated to other television series" -- this petty zero sum assumption probably did not impress many fans

Excerpts from the letters:

Good news, at last all the original cast are back for the movie version of Star Trek, I am sure that when the news was released from Paramount that may hearts leapt [sic] with joy because Leonard Nimoy was to apear in the film after all. I am still very confused, though about wheather [sic] it was the Paramount team or Nimoy that were being difficult but happily the differences have been settled and we can sit back to enjoy the movie safe in the universe that Gene Roddenberry created for us. I was overjoyed to find out that techniques from both Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars will be used in creating the Star Trek movie. After going to see Close Encounters about 9-10 times I can tell you that you miss an awful amount on the first and second times and you become more enthralled by both the story and the special effects the more times you see it.

After reading my letter in the last newsletter I realised that my argument about the Vulcan name just did not stand, after all in Amok Time the one T'Pring had chosen as her consort was called Stonn and even Spock's father is called Sarek. What about the bald lady would it be such a disaster I mean after all look what they said about the "The guy with the ears."
I know it's policy to support all series and the ones allied to 'Trek' but Blakes Seven it's garbage. It's Terry Nation with a hangover. The BBC are giving out that pap as a substitute for Star Trek repeats. Accept no substitute!
I am a viewer and fan of 'Dr Who', I did not watch 'Blake's 7' at first, but by chance I saw Episode 4 and liked the crew straight away. The characters are not to be compared with 'Star Trek' but if you are looking for a Mr Spock you won't go far wrong with Avon, who is very emotionless. On the whole Terry Nation has done very well and fitted the characters together with skill, ray only criticism is that one or two of the stories have been very similar to 'Star Trek'. Nevertheless it is still worth watching for the acting alone. Long live Blake and his gallant crew I say.

Below is a reply to a letter I sent to Terry Nation asking for some information to print in future newsletters.

Thank you for your letter. I think I should make it clear from the start that I do not want material about Blakes 7 to appear in magazines that are dedicated to other television series as in the case of your Star Trek club. There are a great many clubs starting up that are exclusively devoted to Blakes 7 and of course these have my first loyalty.
I have written to Terry Nation three times now asking for the names of some of these clubs and have had no reply yet. I have also written to Seveners, the only Blakes 7 club I know of. Carole Fairman, president has written that as far as she knows there are only 1½ Blakes 7 clubs. The other is something to do with Omicorn but run as a separate club.

V.2 N.3

Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter V.2 N.3 was published in October 1978 and contains 160 pages.

cover of v.2 n.3, David Lloyd

The front cover is by David Lloyd, the interior art by Barry Willmott, Jim Pitts, and Alan Hunter.

  • an editorial
  • a run-down of the upcoming movie reprinted from the Star Trek Action Group
  • a reprinted clipping about Persis Khambatta, who appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the subject was mainly about how she shaved off her hair for the role
  • an article about the BBC filming of "The Martian Chronicles" starring Rock Hudson
  • a reprinted clipping from Filmworld (July 1978) about a segment of the upcoming Star Wars Holiday Special
  • a con report for Intercon, a Star Trek convention, see that page
  • a review of the tie-in book, "Star Trek 12" by James Blish and J.A. Lawrence
  • listing of the Trek episodes and the dates they were first shown on television in the US, and then in the UK
  • some club ads, some con ads
  • a Trek crossword puzzle
  • a half page ad for some Trek things (cards, art) sold by Starship Exeter Organisation, the fan club
From Filmworld:

Animated Star Wars film. For the next four months Selvana productions in Toronto will be working on the 16,00(1 drawings required to animate a 10 minute Star Wars film for George Lucas.

The film is actually an insert in a 90-minute musical variety television special scheduled to air on CBS late in the fall. Executive producer Lucas hired Nelvana to produce the episode after seeing the company's successful special, a Cosmic Christmas televised last year. The Star Wars film will depict the further adventures of Luke Skywalker and will introduce the new villain of the upcoming Star Wars 2.

The film will have a heavy emphasis on special effects, said Michael Hirsh of Nelvana. "We were selected we put humor into what we do and we can come up with interesting special effects. Also there's the quality of our layout and animation and our ability to animate in perspective."

Hirsh and Patrick Loubert are co-producers on the project. Clive Smith is directing and Frank Nissen is in charge of animation. Altogether about 50 people will be involved in the production. The sound and music will be supplied by Lucas, but all mixing and lab work will be done here at film house.

What is it like working with George Lucas? Hirsh described the exec producer as "Bright, Quick, thorough and relaxed." "It's been a pleasure working with him," he continued. "Lucas is very much a team worker and has been responsive to our ideas.
Some hating on Blake's 7, probably propelled by Terry Nation's petulant letter in the previous issue:
I have just finished reading your latest Newsletter and may I just say that it was very interesting, I found it for sale in the Science Fiction Bookshop in London, I go there quite often but didn't see it before. I would like to say that in reply to David Lloyd's letter, I couldn't agree more, BLAKE'S SEVEN was terrible, it was more like WATCH WITH MOTHER than science fiction. Whilst I appreciate that some people may like it, I really can't see them running a fan club for it. Everything about it seemed really childish particularly the special effects, it doesn't even compare with STAR TREK or SPACE 1999. So please don't waste space in your future editions on this pathetic programme. This is a STAR TREK magazine don't put cheap frauds in it as well. Keep up the good work and people will continue to read your otherwise good magazine.

V.2 N.4

Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter 4 was published in December 1978 and contains 15 pages. The cover is by Alan Hunter. The interior art is by Alan Hunter and David Lloyd.

front cover of issue #4, Alan Hunter
  • the editor is a little grumpy about how fans are not sending him enough material for the newsletter
  • an obit for Andre Morell, film and TV actor
  • a bit about the re-release of the re-edited Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • a fan reports on Leonard Nimoy's slide show of the preview of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"
  • various clippings about various science fiction media things
  • a full-page cast list and run-down of Superman: The Movie
  • some official info on Roddenberry's Spectre
  • a two-page spread, a publicity photo of the bridge crew from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, everybody's got big grins as they probably hadn't seen the movie itself yet
  • a review of the for-profit book: "Official Star Trek Cooking Manual" -- "This is defineatly a nice addition to the Cordon Bleu cookbooks which doubtless line your kitchen shelf. There are several party recipes for use when "Trekkie" fans come to call, and while enjoying your meal -- which really will be "out of this world"! -- you can discuss the latest news of "STAR TREK -- The MOVIE!"
  • a Trek crossword puzzle by Russell and Barry Willmott, has a Christmas theme
  • a con report by Carl Hines for Britain's first Fantasy Film Convention
  • a con report by Carl Hines for Novacon
  • a full-page ad for Fantasycon 5
  • a full-page ad for the science fiction bookstore, "Dark They Were and Golden Eyed"
The single letter from a fan:
I am a very recent 'convert' to STAR TREK, inspired by the recent showing of some of the first season episodes on BBC, Actually, I saw most of them when they were first shown - I was at university at the time and Star Trek was something of a cult in the women's halls of residence (Mr Spock being the main attraction, I seem to remember) - but somehow it didn't strike any great chord in me at the time. I suppose I was going through the usual cynical adolescent phase. However, watching these episodes recently - at the ripe old age of 28! - I have been surprised by the strength of my response to the programme. Its optimistic view of mankind's future is naive and simplistic, I suppose, but it has a sort of innocence about it which is tremendously refreshing and appealing. The standard of production too is excellent and of course the characters are marvellous, and the acting is superb, especially the way the Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship is developed. I hope the BBC is going to carry on showing the series and is not just using it as a temporary schedule filler to be snatched off at any moment. Do you have any information on that point, please?

V.2 N.5

Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter v.2 n.5 was published in February 1979 and contains 13 pages. The interior art is by Jim Pitts and Alan Hunter.

front cover of issue #5, from Star Trek Animated
from issue #5
  • a Trek crossword puzzle by Russell and Barry Willmott

V.2 N.6

Starship Exeter Organisation Newsletter v.2 n.6 was published in May 1979 and contains 20 pages. The interior art is by Jim Pitts and Alan Hunter.

front cover of issue #6, Barry Willmott
backcover of issue #6, Jim Glenn

The front cover is by Barry Willmott, the interior illos by Alan Hunter, Dave Carson, David Lloyd. Jim Glenn did the back cover.

The editor says this is the last issue of the newsletter:


That was the way I started my first newsletter just over a year ago. Like the voyages of the starship "Enterprise", I regret to say that my five year mission must also end prematurely; I feel that I can no longer continue to run The Starship Exeter Organisation and produce newsletters to an acceptable level for members. I know there are a lot of STAR TREK fan clubs in Britain already, and rather than passing the S.E.O. on to a new editor, I will close it down.
  • many clippings from newspapers and magazines about Star Trek and other shows ("The Sun," "The Daily Mail," "The Daily Star," "Daily Express," "Screen International"...)
  • a full-page publicity photo of Nimoy in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"
  • a cast list and info for "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"
  • 4 full-page publicity photos of Kirk, Spock and McCoy on the bridge in Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • a review by fan, Pat Smith, of Star Trek: The New Voyages #2, see that page
  • "Star Trek - The Motion Picture, The Enterprise-ing Theft" -- an article by Jo Fletcher about how a worker on the set walked off with blueprints, see below
  • "THE LONG TREK. An interview with Philip Kaufman. Talking about the Star Trek film that was never made" by Stephen Jones
  • "Blake's 7 or Star Trek," article by Roger Nutton, see below
An excerpt from "The Enterprise-ing Theft":

"We're all collectors" was the comment made by John Thomas Askew, who admitted stealing blueprints from the Star Trek set in Hollywood last year.

Askew was under contract with Paramount Pictures to produce a set of "mylar reflective posters" based on the television series of Star Trek, and was permitted on the set for the motion picture currently in production.

Presumably unaware of the high security surrounding the script and set. Askew pocketed the blueprints he saw "just lying around the studios."

Obviously "theft" was something that never entered his mind, "I never thought I had a trade secret," he said. "The security was atrocious; the blueprints were just lying around and I took them as a souvenir.

It was thanks to a part-time student at U.C. Irvine, Marc Siegall, that the blueprints . were recovered. Marc was the captain of the Star Trek Association of Irvine, one of the many fan clubs across America.

Askew rang Marc in September 1977, asking if he had any pictures of the old television series. A couple of months later, in a manner reminiscent of 1960s spy thrillers, Marc received a phone call from a man identifying himself as "Mr. X". "Mr. X" said he had gotten a set of blueprints; a general plan of the stage, one of the Captain's quarters and one of the transporter room," said Marc.

He wanted $200 for the set, and would not meet me until I agreed to a definite 'buy'. He refused to give his phone number, but said he would call back." On February 22 1978 the plot really began to thicken. Askew rang Marc, identifying himself as the elusive "Mr. X." He said he had sold most of the copies of the prints and dropped his price to $100.

The two met in the innocuous South Coast Shopping Plaza at Santa Ana, and Marc "looked over the print" and said he'd get back to Askew. The following Friday Marc told members of the Association of the set-up. "It went against my grain," he said, and added that he was contemplating contacting Paramount.

The members agreed with Marc and within 48 hours studio administrator John Barber was told about "Mr. X" his attempts to sell the stolen prints.

F.B.I, agents, used to dealing with industrial espionage and the like, moved in and set up a "buy". The idea was to arrange a 1 p.m. meeting in the Shopping Plaza. P.B.I. Agent Mr. Tom Ruprath arrived at Marc's home, complete with marked bills, and detailed him on what should happen.

The price of the print of the stage was set at $75. The set-up included photo-taking and the main instruction was "to pass the money slowly."

The set-up worked like a dream. Askew made Marc sign a document pledging that he would neither copy or sell the print. The transaction finally completed, Marc walked away and Tom Ruprath moved in.

On 4th August Askew was convicted, lie received two years' probation and was fined a total of $750.

In an interview Askew said there was no malicious intent at all. "I could have gone out and tried to make a million dollars, but I didn't, did I?" he said. "I just thought the kid would put the things on his wall and that would be the end of it. I had no idea I was dealing with a cultist. I was mentally sick over the whole thing, but I learned my lesson about doing a favour and I learned about big business. It boils down to the system: politics, scapegoats and publicity. Ever since "Star Wars," and the sci-fi trend in general, the studios are acting like the Pentagon: overkill and total paranoia. They're trying to build up some publicity momentum; anything they can get their hands on they'll use."

The overall effect of Askew's supposedly unpremeditated and thoughtless action was to start a massive security guard on the studios.
"Blake's 7 or Star Trek":

I have heard recently that the Producer of Blake's 7 has been receiving a lot of abusive letters from some Star Trek fans, telling him to take Blake's 7 off the air, as (in their opinion) it is rubbish and to put on the old repeats of Star Trek in it's place. I've also heard that it is these same fans who put pressure on ITV to stop making Space 1999, "as it isn't as good as Star Trek".

It appears, (if these rumours are true), that some Star Trek fans seem to regard Star Trek as the be-all and end all of science fiction and so therefore, no other science fiction shows should be allowed on T.V. Such an attitude is ridiculous and is extremely petty minded. I always thought Star Trek fans were more mature than that and were above such childish prejudice.

Gene Roddenberry fought long and hard for the freedom to enable him to make Star Trek as he thought and knew, it must be made; is that freedom now to exist only for Star Trek and nothing else? If so, then that freedom is not freedom at all, but a repressive tyranny, which comes dangerously close to the attitudes portrayed in the totalitarian Federation in Blake's 7, where no view except the official party view is allowed to be expressed.

We must not let such bigoted ideas pollute our 'movement', they will only bring discord and enmity into our ranks and spoil any standing we have with the general public, as well as making it harder to get the BBC to show more of the old Star Trek episodes.

Remember, we don't have the multiplicity of TV channels that the American's do; if the BBC decide they've had enough of our abusiveness and retaliate by refusing to show Star Trek ever again then we don't have any other station to turn to and it will be entirely our own fault if they do.

The IDIC philosophy states that a thing is not necessarily wrong because it is different; there is room for everyone to try to create new science fiction shows and no-one should deny them that right. The British vegetarian society's motto is: 'Live and Let Live', perhaps it should be ours also. Let us welcome new science fiction shows and not try to force them off our screens; other producers and writers have things to say as well and may have something of value to contribute to the genre and to society as a whole.

I think it was Sondra Marshack who said that now Star Trek has finished on television we have to look for those 'little pieces of gold' that Star Trek had so much of, in other TV shows. If we deny ourselves the opportunity of finding such gold, then we could be a lot poorer as a result.

We have something good in Star Trek; in a world like ours, which is constantly being torn apart by prejudice, standards and values such as those shown on Star Trek are almost unique, and if they are to mean anything, then they must be seen to be what they are, namely, universals, and not the exclusive property of one particular series.

We should be striving for harmony, not discord, and avoiding narrow-minded attitudes. The science fiction world is big and with science and technology advancing all the time, new vistas of thought and expression are constantly being opened up. We can all contribute to it in our own way, adding, as Leonard Nimoy puts it "To the universal bank of reality."

Let us behave in a civilised way, a demoncratic [sic] way, applauding that which is good, and offering constructive criticism to that which is bad, but obstaining [sic] from condeming [sic] shows simply because they are not Star Trek.

If we can act in this manner, then we will gain more than we will lose, in the way of friendship with other science fiction fans and with assistance, and possibly free publicity, from the B8C, There are enough militant sectional factions in society today without us creating more within our own film. If you don't like a particular programme, then don't watch it, no one is forcing you to. All I am saying is, give others a chance to be creative; they have just as much right as Gene Roddenberry.