Star Trek Auction 2006

When the buzz about what would replace DVDs was happening, two formats were vying for consumer acceptance - HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. HD-DVD had a lot going for it - it was region-free, backed by Microsoft and worked out-of-the-box. Blu-Ray was backed by Sony and didn't work out-of-the-box. It went through several profile changes before it worked properly. Disk load times were atrocious (and still are too slow today).

HD-DVD was also backed heavily by Toshiba. Their flagship HD-DVD release was Season 1 of Star Trek: The Original Series, remastered in HD, with updated special effects and sound track. Toshiba had financed CBS's restoration work on the series. I own the Blu-rays of Season 1 as well, and the HD-DVD editions have never been bettered in quality.

Sony didn't play fair in the format war though, and basically paid off Warner Bros. to support Blu-Ray and HD-DVD was killed off. Seasons 2 and 3 of TOS never got HD-DVD releases and only appeared in HD on Blu-ray some years later. But the quality was significantly lower than that of the first season.

But on that Season 1 HD-DVD was a documentary that never made it onto the Blu-ray release - the Star Trek Memorabilia Auction. The auction happened in 2006 and the documentary itself was hosted by Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock).

To quote the documentary's description:

It follows the creation, preparation and final execution of a highly-visible live auction of Star Trek props from all five series and movies by auction house Christie's.

The documentary starts with a brief overview of the Star Trek series and movies, and Nimoy then describes how Paramount Pictures decided to partner with Christie's to release and sell a multitude of valuable Star Trek props to the general public to celebrate the 40-year anniversary.

Over the course of the documentary, we follow Star Trek experts Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda as they peruse a big warehouse and uncover a variety of Star Trek props ranging from models of the ships, costumes worn by cast from all series as well as other things such as weapons, tricorders and masks. Intertwined in this documentary are short sections of interviews with notable cast and crew members such as Patrick Stewart, Nichelle Nichols and Rick Berman that describe the history of Star Trek, its cultural impact and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's vision.

In the later part of the documentary, we follow how staff members of Christie's prepare the selected props, photograph them for an auction catalog, display selected pieces at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas before they are finally being auctioned off in New York over a period of three days. The documentary ends with house-visits of a few of the high-winning bidders as they proudly show off their recently acquired items.


If you've never seen the documentary, it's well worth watching. It might even bring a tear to your eye!

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