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Old 08-13-2016, 08:54 PM
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Capt Kirk wore green not yellow/gold!!!!

I have spent the last 40-plus years of my life thinking that on the original Star Trek series, Captain Kirk and other "command" personnel (Chekov, Sulu, etc.) wore yellow or gold shirts.

In every other media, they have been depicted as yellow or gold, including my original action figures from the mid-1970s and my replica uniform tunic. I recall that an old Technical Manual called this color "tenne," which according to Wikipedia is a heraldic term indicating a "orange, brown or orange-tawny color."

However, I have discovered this blog post, which quotes original Star Trek costume designer William Ware Theiss as saying that the original colors of the uniform tunics were red (Scotty, Uhura), blue (Spock, McCoy), and LIME GREEN!!!! Kirk's uniform looked gold or yellow only because of a quirk in the way the fabric reflected the studio lights and how the cameras at the time read that color.

According to the interview, the standard Kirk pullover tunic was the same lime green as his wraparound tunic and his dress tunic. The latter two were made of different fabrics that didn't reflect the light in a way that made them appear yellow on television.

Quote:
Another quirk involving the original series’ tunics were the colors - in particular, “command.” Trekkies everywhere will swear Spock wore blue, Scotty wore red and Kirk wore gold. Wrong. The three Starfleet colors were blue, red and green. Lime green, to be exact. “It was one of those film stock things;” Theiss states, “it photographed one way - burnt orange or a gold. But in reality was another; the command shirts were definitely green.” As further proof, look at the wrap-around tunics as well as the dress uniform tunics of Kirk’s – all green. They came off as their true colors because they were constructed of different materials than the standard duty command shirts.
My mind is blown!!!!!

Last edited by Acsenray; 08-13-2016 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:18 PM
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The original ST had multiple issues with colors and the film used. Apparently, when they were doing screen tests for the Orion slave girl (with Majel Barret as the model), the film kept coming back from the lab without the green. They tried for three days, with the makeup getting greener and greener and greener, and the film came back every morning with pink skin. They finally figured out that the developer was, in the process of checking the print during development, thinking that the green was something wrong with the film and color-correcting.
Old 08-13-2016, 09:27 PM
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Does anyone have one of his original shirts for us to see?
Old 08-13-2016, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Does anyone have one of his original shirts for us to see?
Here's a period photo of Shatner on the set. I think it's unlikely that the still photographer would be using the same film stock as was used in the motion picture cameras. (Just as a guess, I'd guess he'd be using Kodachrome.) His tunic is gold in the photo.

Here's another.

And another.

I've heard the story about the colour correction of the Orion slave girl (Marta), and Kirk did wear that green wrap-front tunic. I wonder if people are conflating the two?
Old 08-13-2016, 09:47 PM
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Last month I saw the Star Trek exhibit at the EMP in Seattle. Turns out I didn't take pictures of Kirk's costume--if it was there--but lots of original series costumes were there, and none of them were unexpected colors.

This is waffly information, but it's what I have.
Old 08-13-2016, 10:30 PM
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This sounds fishy to me.

At OP's link, there's a link to these photos from STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION:
http://startrekpropauthority.com...n-detroit.html

The tunic is a greenish yellow in some photos and a golden yellow in others. What's being called "lime green" is still pretty yellow.
Old 08-13-2016, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by foolsguinea View Post
This sounds fishy to me.

At OP's link, there's a link to these photos from STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION:
http://startrekpropauthority.com...n-detroit.html

The tunic is a greenish yellow in some photos and a golden yellow in others. What's being called "lime green" is still pretty yellow.
Yeah, the shirt in the photos without the flash look like a mustard color to me. They still look different from the wrap around tunic and the formal dress tunic.

Edit - if that actually is a nearly 50 year old shirt, the fabric may have undergone some kind of change in color, too.

Last edited by cochrane; 08-13-2016 at 10:44 PM.
Old 08-14-2016, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I wonder if people are conflating the two?
What "people"? Did you read the quote? It's from an interview with the actual guy who made all the costumes for Star Trek, and who is one of the most well-known costumers in Hollywood history.

And the quote says that the color deviation happened when the costume was "photographed," which would throw all period photographs into suspicion.

Last edited by Acsenray; 08-14-2016 at 12:03 AM.
Old 08-14-2016, 12:25 AM
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No, Kirk wore a dress that was gold with white stripes. But some people claim it was blue with black stripes.
Old 08-14-2016, 12:28 AM
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I would love to have a black suit that showed up red in pictures. IF the technology exists, why isn't it available?
Old 08-14-2016, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
The original ST had multiple issues with colors and the film used. Apparently, when they were doing screen tests for the Orion slave girl (with Majel Barret as the model), the film kept coming back from the lab without the green. They tried for three days, with the makeup getting greener and greener and greener, and the film came back every morning with pink skin. They finally figured out that the developer was, in the process of checking the print during development, thinking that the green was something wrong with the film and color-correcting.
I have read this, but always wondered hiw they could correct deep green to normal skin tone. They can really do that? And not make everything else look strange?
Old 08-14-2016, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Does anyone have one of his original shirts for us to see?
Yeah, but it has that gaping slash across the front where the bad guy managed to slice open the shirt and not do any real damage to the torso of OUR HERO!

Dude should be a barber with shaves that close.
Old 08-14-2016, 02:36 AM
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This is probably wrong, but I seem to remember that Kirk's shirt was green when watching the series back in Germany. Is it possible that the colours were affected by the different TV systems (PAL vs NTSC) ?
Old 08-14-2016, 02:42 AM
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I've seen publicity stills from the third season, after the original velour had been replaced with (in the words of Ruth Berman) "bonded something-or-other." Kirk's tunic definitely photographed lime green.

You can always spot the velour tunics because they were constantly being altered---they shrank each time they were cleaned. They were never as neat and trim as the ones in the third season.
Old 08-14-2016, 02:48 AM
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It's also possible that at least some of the publicity stills were filtered to better match the apparent gold color seen on TV.

Again, it seems to me that the third season uniforms appeared "greener" on TV than the earlier ones as well, especially in close-ups.
Old 08-14-2016, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
Yeah, but it has that gaping slash across the front where the bad guy managed to slice open the shirt and not do any real damage to the torso of OUR HERO!

Dude should be a barber with shaves that close.
That was Spock in the plak tow.
Old 08-14-2016, 03:02 AM
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The costume is green,
what's more it ain't clean.
It's green as a bean...

Sorry. This just popped into my head.
Old 08-14-2016, 03:10 AM
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I've always seen Kirk in a mustard yellow shirt. Just like that still photo linked earlier.

What's the deal with that wavy hair on his forehead? Looks like a brown seashell. That's got to be his hairpiece.

http://trekcore.com/specials/rare/shatner_on_set.jpg
Old 08-14-2016, 04:33 AM
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Here's a photo taken on set where Kirk's shirt is unambiguously green:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O9BTJZDrF7...3_amoktime.jpg

If the file name is accurate, it's from Amok Time, so early in the second season.
Old 08-14-2016, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
I've seen publicity stills from the third season, after the original velour had been replaced with (in the words of Ruth Berman) "bonded something-or-other." Kirk's tunic definitely photographed lime green.

You can always spot the velour tunics because they were constantly being altered---they shrank each time they were cleaned. They were never as neat and trim as the ones in the third season.
Sure Shatner's shirt shank every time it was cleaned. Or so he claimed. It couldn't have been his midsection growing as the season went on.
Old 08-14-2016, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
Sure Shatner's shirt shank every time it was cleaned. Or so he claimed. It couldn't have been his midsection growing as the season went on.
Yep. Just like how my old Marine uniform shrank just hanging in the closet for 20 years.
Old 08-14-2016, 07:17 AM
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TV Kirk is a Timelord. His tunic was made out of psychic cloth.
Old 08-14-2016, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
What "people"? Did you read the quote? It's from an interview with the actual guy who made all the costumes for Star Trek, and who is one of the most well-known costumers in Hollywood history.
And yet, there are period photos showing gold tunics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
And the quote says that the color deviation happened when the costume was "photographed," which would throw all period photographs into suspicion.
As I said, it's unlikely that the photographer was using the same film stock that was being used in the motion picture cameras. Thus it is unlikely that two different stocks would show the same aberration. Also, the images in the link: 'Without flash, the fabric appears lime green in color ... With flash, an effect similar to the bright Desilu soundstage lights is achieved, and the tunic appears gold in color ...' In lower-light conditions, colours appear less saturated. So naturally an object photographed with a flash is going to appear to be a different colour than one that is not. And which is it? Does the second photo appear gold because the lighting is similar to the set lighting? Or is it 'one of those film stock things'?

Certainly one film stock captures images differently from another film stock, and certainly it's possible what we saw on TV was not how they appeared IRL. But given that period photographs show gold tunics, still photographers use different film stock than cinematographers, no other colours in the show seemed to be affected*, and surviving tunics are gold, I suspect Theiss was misremembering.



*The author makes two claims about changing colours: The exterior shots of the ship change, and the carpet photographed 'wrong'. He gives no citation for the carpet. The changing ship is certainly due to cost-control measures involving the use of higher-generation footage for the process shots. (They didn't re-shoot the model for every scene, as they typically do nowadays.)
Old 08-14-2016, 08:52 AM
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I'm checking out the original series on Netflix. Kirk's uniform does look more green than it did when I watched it broadcast TV. I don't know whether there has been some change in technology or what.

And doing a Google image search of "captain kirk original series," his tunic does look more green than yellow in a surprising number of the images, especially compared to a search for "captain kirk costume."
Old 08-14-2016, 09:22 AM
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When I was a kid, the hair on Cesar Romero's Joker looked yellow to me (and I knew from comic books that it was supposed to be green). Now looking at photos, I can see the green, but it's more of a light green or lime green—maybe the same color Kirk's shirt is supposed to be??
Old 08-14-2016, 09:54 AM
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Funny... when I was a kid Kirk's tunic was a light grey and the Joker's hair was a sort of medium gray...
Old 08-14-2016, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
When I was a kid, the hair on Cesar Romero's Joker looked yellow to me (and I knew from comic books that it was supposed to be green). Now looking at photos, I can see the green, but it's more of a light green or lime green—maybe the same color Kirk's shirt is supposed to be??
This reminds me—when I was in elementary school, during summer break, the local public library would run a "reading club." They'd give you a sheet of paper folded over and printed with lines to record the books you read, and every time you took it in to the librarian, they would give you a sticker for each one you completed.

I engaged in this very enthusiastically one summer and I vividly recall that the book club record paper looked yellow to me, but my mother and brother insisted it was green. So there might be something to the issue of some light greens tending to look yellowish.
Old 08-14-2016, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I'm checking out the original series on Netflix. Kirk's uniform does look more green than it did when I watched it broadcast TV. I don't know whether there has been some change in technology or what.

And doing a Google image search of "captain kirk original series," his tunic does look more green than yellow in a surprising number of the images, especially compared to a search for "captain kirk costume."
The stuff on Netflix is the remastered version, and they did color correction there.

My understanding is that the dress tunic was green. The main shirt was a greener gold than it appeared on screen. They also used green in Spock's makeup (As Leonard Nimoy mentions in his autobiography), to reflect his green blood, but that never really showed on screen, either. He just seemed a bit pale.

I think people get the green tunic, which looked a bit green even back in the day, mixed up with the slightly green shirt. Or it may indeed be a blue-black/gold-white issue, where people draw the line between yellow and green in different places.

I do note that I personally saw black and blue on my phone, but gold and white on my main screen. But my main screen had color correction. Now that I've removed that, it appears black and blue on my monitor. I've even switched the color correction off and on to see it change.

In short, I think this or this is about the actual color of his shirt, as opposed to this as it appeared on screen. This is his dress tunic.

Last edited by BigT; 08-14-2016 at 10:49 AM.
Old 08-14-2016, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Funny... when I was a kid Kirk's tunic was a light grey and the Joker's hair was a sort of medium gray...
Yeah, I don't know if I saw any Star Trek colors on a screen before the movie came out. I saw the Batman movie when it came out in the 60s, the colors matched what I thought they were, but even seeing stills of the Star Trek characters I didn't realize how bright the colors were at the time.
Old 08-14-2016, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
The stuff on Netflix is the remastered version, and they did color correction there.
Ah, good to know.

Quote:
In short, I think this or this is about the actual color of his shirt, as opposed to this as it appeared on screen. This is his dress tunic.
Yes, I think these reflect pretty much what I had in my OP.

Just one nitpick though. That's his casual tunic (or "dress down" or whatever the proper term is) in your last link. This is his dress tunic.

Another thing that occurred to me, not related to the color—on the standard uniforms, sometimes it looks like they're wearing a bright-colored collarless tunic over a high-collard dark undershirt. But sometimes it looks like they're wearing a bright-colored tunic with a dark collar.

For example in this picture, it looks like Kirk is wearing the former and McCoy is wearing the latter.
Old 08-14-2016, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Common Tater View Post
I have read this, but always wondered hiw they could correct deep green to normal skin tone. They can really do that? And not make everything else look strange?
The short answer is yes. For decades, color correction and matching Hollywood film meant making skin tone look vibrant (and matched from shot to shot).

A good film man could push one color or another, much as any slob with a mouse can do in Photoshop today.

Also, consider: the only thing the film guy would have had for color correction in that test footage would have been her skin tone. If the color of the costume etc. was changed, who the hell would notice?

A relevant repeat because I think this is cool: the film The City of Lost Children has a very weird, off, muddy color scheme. I recently found out they did it by putting the actors in whiteface makeup, and then color-correcting to normal skin tones. That pushed the set colors "off" in a consistent, unusual way.
Old 08-14-2016, 11:08 AM
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Here's a black-and-white picture of Spock in which it is clear that his collar is integrated with the tunic.

Here's a picture of McCoy in his surgical scrubs in which it's clear that he's wearing a low-collared tunic over a high-collared undershirt.

I'm pretty sure that sometimes the standard uniform also looks like the latter, but I can't find a good picture right now.
Old 08-14-2016, 11:08 AM
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I love the dress tunics. My friend hates them and says they look cheap, run up out of satin and 'gold' trim from Joanne Fabrics, why would they do that in the far far future? I say, it's a nod to tradition, like wigs for barristers in England.
Old 08-14-2016, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Yeah, I don't know if I saw any Star Trek colors on a screen before the movie came out. I saw the Batman movie when it came out in the 60s, the colors matched what I thought they were, but even seeing stills of the Star Trek characters I didn't realize how bright the colors were at the time.
I also first saw both Star Trek and Batman on a black-and-white TV when I was four or five. I wonder if there's a way I could set my current TV to recreate that experience.

Last edited by Acsenray; 08-14-2016 at 11:16 AM.
Old 08-14-2016, 12:42 PM
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I'm wondering if the story in the OP refers to an original green shirt that appeared yellow on screen, and that in later seasons, they replaced it with an actual yellow shirt, to match what everyone had been seeing on their TV.
Old 08-14-2016, 12:49 PM
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I used the images from Memory Alpha to make this rough chart —

https://instagram.com/p/BJGRnYZjm0D/

Last edited by Acsenray; 08-14-2016 at 12:50 PM.
Old 08-14-2016, 12:57 PM
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I feel like I keep reading stories where things were actually green in ST but looked another color. The original model of the Enterprise is apparently quite green, too (there was a news story about it recently, which I can't find).
Old 08-14-2016, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
I love the dress tunics. My friend hates them and says they look cheap, run up out of satin and 'gold' trim from Joanne Fabrics, why would they do that in the far far future?
My sense, from having read The Making of Star Trek and The Trouble with Tribbles long ago, is that things like this were often done in a hurry because Roddenberry or the director didn't like a standard element. Yes, the wrap-around tunic always looked cheap and ridiculous, like Uhura in a red tutu.
Old 08-14-2016, 01:28 PM
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The Viewmaster reels (made during The Omega Glory) have the command uniforms looking green rather than gold. It was really weird the first time I looked at them.

The images were also taken with the bridge console lights turned off, which also looks weird.
Old 08-14-2016, 01:37 PM
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I also first saw both Star Trek and Batman on a black-and-white TV when I was four or five. I wonder if there's a way I could set my current TV to recreate that experience.
Not sure, old analog TVs could sometimes by just adjusting the color settings, and without too much work the color signal could be messed with. With digital you wouldn't get the same effect, and if the video has been remastered it won't produce the same results unless you creates a de-colorizing process with that intent. You could probably find video tapes to play back on a B&W TV. My buddy has an old B&W TV he keeps in his garage. The sound doesn't work so he has another old set where the video is no good right next to it.

Slightly interesting sidetrack, I taped the move Trancers when it first came on cable, literally taped on an old early VHS, and somehow it dropped the color for the beginning of the movie in the future LA, and coincidentally the color recovered just as Jack Deth travels to the past. I thought at the time it might have been done intentionally to give the future a weird noir look.
Old 08-14-2016, 02:07 PM
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You run into this in other areas.

According to the Star Wars wiki, the Imperial uniforms were olive green.
I always perceived them as gray.

World War II-era U.S. Army uniforms had a dark olive drab jacket and light olive drab trousers.
In paintings from the era, the jacket was often depicted as brown, and the trousers as gray.

Last edited by mbh; 08-14-2016 at 02:07 PM.
Old 08-14-2016, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
The stuff on Netflix is the remastered version, and they did color correction there.

My understanding is that the dress tunic was green. The main shirt was a greener gold than it appeared on screen. They also used green in Spock's makeup (As Leonard Nimoy mentions in his autobiography), to reflect his green blood, but that never really showed on screen, either. He just seemed a bit pale.

I think people get the green tunic, which looked a bit green even back in the day, mixed up with the slightly green shirt. Or it may indeed be a blue-black/gold-white issue, where people draw the line between yellow and green in different places.

I do note that I personally saw black and blue on my phone, but gold and white on my main screen. But my main screen had color correction. Now that I've removed that, it appears black and blue on my monitor. I've even switched the color correction off and on to see it change.

In short, I think this or this is about the actual color of his shirt, as opposed to this as it appeared on screen. This is his dress tunic.
Those first three jpegs are a bit skewed to red, admittedly. Looking at it in that context, I suppose maybe the uniform was "lime green."

Last edited by foolsguinea; 08-14-2016 at 05:05 PM.
Old 08-14-2016, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Funny... when I was a kid Kirk's tunic was a light grey and the Joker's hair was a sort of medium gray...
I would love to chime in on this, but our color TV from that time made Black people look orange, so I'm not claiming anything.

Speaking of skin tones, I've heard that Spock's skin was supposed to be very sallow, almost yellow-tinged (because of the green Vulcan blood) but he always looked pink to me. Anyone else?
Old 08-14-2016, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I engaged in this very enthusiastically one summer and I vividly recall that the book club record paper looked yellow to me, but my mother and brother insisted it was green. So there might be something to the issue of some light greens tending to look yellowish.
I get that effect a lot due to deuteranomalous trichromacy, a form of colorblindness. A lot of borderline yellow greens and lime greens look yellow to me but not to most other people. Because it's a fairly subtle effect it's a form of colorblindness that is often not diagnosed until adulthood.
Old 08-14-2016, 07:43 PM
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Another similar thing was NASCAR in the analog video days. Day glo (fluorescent) colored cars didn't come through correctly. Fluorescent yellow (which is a bright green-yellow in person) came through as more of an off yellow on TV. But the weirdest one was the STP Petty car - the fluorescent red would "flash" on the screen sometimes. It actually moved a bit back and forth, like the camera or the electronics didn't know what to do with it at the transitions. It was the strangest thing.
Old 08-14-2016, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Terminus Est View Post
Here's a photo taken on set where Kirk's shirt is unambiguously green:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O9BTJZDrF7...3_amoktime.jpg

If the file name is accurate, it's from Amok Time, so early in the second season.
Keep in mind that back in those days, "avocado" was the color of choice for appliances. We had them!
Old 08-15-2016, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
Sure Shatner's shirt shank every time it was cleaned. Or so he claimed. It couldn't have been his midsection growing as the season went on.
His shirt went north while his belly headed south.
Old 08-15-2016, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
Speaking of skin tones, I've heard that Spock's skin was supposed to be very sallow, almost yellow-tinged (because of the green Vulcan blood) but he always looked pink to me. Anyone else?
He always looked yellow (or yellow-ish) to me on our old 1969 color TVs. This was especially apparent in close-ups like the ones in "The Omega Glory," where you can see how thickly his makeup was applied.

The character originally had reddish skin to make him look more "Martian" (and Satanic), as he was described in the series format. Tests showed the red makeup looked obviously fake on film, so they went with yellow instead. The "green blood" bit (first mentioned in "The Man Trap," I think) subsequently followed.
Old 08-15-2016, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mbh View Post
You run into this in other areas.

According to the Star Wars wiki, the Imperial uniforms were olive green.
I always perceived them as gray.

World War II-era U.S. Army uniforms had a dark olive drab jacket and light olive drab trousers.
In paintings from the era, the jacket was often depicted as brown, and the trousers as gray.
Ditto on the Star Wars uniforms. I always thought they were grey to make them look more like SS uniforms.

As for WWII US Army uniforms, depends on which ones you're talking about. I always thought the M-1941 Parsons jackets that Saunders and crew wore on Combat! were khaki; turns out they were a light shade of olive drab. The M-1943 field jackets that replaced them were a darker shade of OD that was obviously green. The woolen trousers that went with the Parsons jackets always looked dark brown to me; the cotton ones I used to buy at military surplus stores were very green.

The Ike jackets and tunics worn as dress uniforms were dark brown, though lighter khaki versions of the tunic were worn by officers in the summer. (I think US Navy officers still wear khaki today.)

The lighter woolen dress trousers worn by officers started out as khaki but often faded to grey and sometimes even pink because of the dyes that were used.

I've read on one site devoted to US Army uniforms that the dark brown Ike jackets were originally intended to be worn under the OD M-1943 field jackets in cold weather, but they looked so sharp on their own that GIs began wearing them as part of their dress uniforms.

If you want to get an idea of the variation in WWII US Army uniforms, watch The Dirty Dozen. I drool every time I see the wardrobe in that movie!

As far as I'm concerned, the new Civil War--chic Army uniforms with the berets are hideous. US Army uniforms started going downhill in the '80s, when khaki cotton shirts were replaced by lime-green polyester monstrosities. Yeccch!

Last edited by terentii; 08-15-2016 at 03:13 AM.
Old 08-15-2016, 03:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
Yes, the wrap-around tunic always looked cheap and ridiculous, like Uhura in a red tutu.
I always thought it was an attempt to hide Shatner's girdle.
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