Star Trek Enterprise D Bridge Restoration
We're happy to talk with you here on Geek Girls. For readers who don't know, the "NEW STARSHIP FOUNDATION" is a project helmed by Huston Huddleston and Brian Uiga. Tell us what it is you're aiming to do!
Interview by: Leen Isabel|
Geek Girl Leen Isabel had a chance to interview Huston Huddleston, the incredible fan who is seeking to restore the actual set of the bridge from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Upon acquiring it from Paramount Studios, he hopes to make a fully interactive set that fans can visit! He currently has a Kickstarter project in full-swing and we’re reaching out to our readers in hopes that fans can help out, too!
We want to take the remains of this Paramount created full scale “Display Bridge”, which was made to put on tour after the Original TV Bridge set was “blown to smithereens” in ST Generations, and make our bridge Completely Interactive. With Touch Screen computers, as they were seen in the TV Show, but at the time the technology wasn’t possible. Then we can make our Bridge into a giant Video Game Simulator as well as create new programming in Science, Space and History, where we could feasibly teach an entire classroom of kids, and have them interact with the ship, to “fly the ship” to a wormhole or Mars or wherever! It’s a lot of work but it can be done and should be done, because there is NOTHING like that anywhere.
When I rescued the bridge in Dec 2011, no one really cared. I asked numerous “rich and famous” types for help, and they all said “Auction the chairs, throw out the rest” which was disgusting to me. So at ST Vegas this year, I met Ronald D. Moore, one of my heroes from TNG, DS9, Battlestar Galactica, etc., and he raised my spirits by saying “You’ve got to restore this!” and the next morning I had a eureka moment screaming “I’M GOING TO RESTORE THE BRIDGE ON KICKSTARTER!” It was really a scary, insane thought, but two days after posting my paltry Facebook page with a few photos, SyFy Channel’s Blastr did a story about us and we went totally viral. And that was only 2 months ago!
Now, I understand that a similar attraction was done in Las Vegas called "Star Trek: The Experience." How will your bridge differ from the one featured there?
Well number one, ST Experience was produced by Paramount with millions of dollars, plus they had HUGE restrictions, fire codes, disability restrictions, censorship, major overhead etc. Ours is by fans for fans “unofficially” having nothing to do with CBS/Paramount and will be THE EXACT TV BRIDGE, it will look as close as we can make it, in every way, actually better in some ways, because of today’s technology. The only way CBS (who now owns ST: TNG) is letting us do this, is by our not doing it “for a profit”. The first thing I did was make our company “NEW STARSHIP FOUNDATION” a non-profit organization, an Educational Museum. Once it’s finished and permanently displayed, in some big city somewhere, people can come and play, take photos, do meetings, watch movies, possibly even weddings, and totally free, with just donations, since we do have to pay the bills!
When I first heard about your acquisition of the Enterprise-D bridge, I believe it was still housed in your garage at the time. Since then, “The New Starship Foundation” has gained quite a bit of press and popularity! Have you attracted the attention from anyone who has worked on the show?
Some famous people came to us. Michael and Denise Okuda have been there from the beginning and are wonderful and brilliant. Herman Zimmerman, who physically created the bridge, will be helping us, Andrew Probert who designed the Enterprise ship as well as the Bridge, David Gerrald (Trouble With Tribbles), also Ronald D. Moore obviously, Grimm and CSI Producer Naren Shankar, actors Robert Picardo and Tim Russ have been very giving, and William Shatner, who shocked us all by donating photographs for our Kickstarter (which sold out the first minute!) Marina Sirtis is thrilled about us, but I still haven’t met the other Next Gen cast, here’s hoping they’ll help!
How did you stumble upon the bridge at Paramount studios? Was it just laying out for all to see or did someone let you know what was going on?
I had a friend who worked with Paramount and he told me about it, took me to a warehouse far outside of LA, and showed me the ruins of what once was a glorious set. It had been forgotten about, discarded and left outside in the rain and sun for 5 years!
How did you feel when you first saw it?
I was stunned and shocked and sickened and then I tried to be “logical” and figure out “What the hell can I do with this”. Put together it’s 35 feet long, 22 feet wide, 12 feet tall, that’s bigger than many houses, and it wouldn’t fit in my living room!
In what state was the bridge in when you had a chance to look it over?
Since it was made to “display” it was made out of fiberglass and metal, so it wasn’t great, but had it been the ORIGINAL SET, it would have been completely destroyed by now. It mostly needs touching up, some replacing, the floor is completely gone, the walls are mostly gone, one computer and chair is gone, but the ceiling is ALL there. So it’s about 80% complete.
Where do you hope to feature the completed bridge? Will it be open to the public permanently?
As we restore parts of it, we’re taking it to conventions starting with Wizard World Austin Texas and New Orleans in Oct and Nov 2012. By Feb 2013, Worf’s Tactical Horseshoe should be finished, we’ll take that to Gallifrey One in LA, then Emerald City in Seattle WA and MegaCon in Florida. The ENTIRE BRIDGE won’t be finished till late 2013, we’ll put it all together on a soundstage for all our big Kickstarter Event as well as a grand opening we’re hoping to do at the Paramount Lot! After that we don’t know where we’ll display it, but yes, we intend to open it for everyone.
Will we be able to meet you at any conventions in the near future?
Our only local one we know of is Gallifrey One in Feb at LAX.
Tell us about the Kickstarter project! How can fans help?
ANY donation is appreciated, from 1 dollar to a thousand, and it’s all completely Tax Deductible because we’re going to be a nonprofit organization. We have many toys, T Shirts, models and replicas from Entertainment Earth, Abrams Books, IDW Comics and autographs by Ronald D. Moore, William Shatner and others, and we’re adding more weekly. Plus Kirk’s Captain Chair replica, and a Producer Credit for our upcoming documentary. We also have “Shoot a Fan Film on the Bridge with a Star Trek Actor” and our infamous “Romantic Evening For 2 On the Bridge” which is pricy at $3000 BUT our set will be completely set up on a Hollywood soundstage, with a private butler, a beautifully laid out 4 course dinner with a personal chef, and movies to watch and complete privacy on the Bridge of the Enterprise for the entire night! And even if people can’t afford a donation, just spreading the word about us on Twitter or Facebook is INVALUABLE!
Where else on the web can we find out more about this?
And we LOVE feedback, and want everyone to chime in, because this is truly being made by fans for fans, without any greedy corporate executives telling us what to do. I hate to sound hippie, but it truly is all about the love!
Thank you very much for speaking with us today! As a backer of your Kickstarter, I wish you great success on your project! Live long & prosper!
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November 04 2012