Sunday, December 22, 2013

CLAPPER OF THE WEEK: ENTERPRISE MODEL FX SHOT

During the run of the original series, a number of shots were taken of the Enterprise model. These shots featured various angles and details. They were shot in studio against a blue screen background and then combined with star fields or whatever was required. This week's shot has a paper clapper of sorts which reads "climb shot normal" and shows the Enterprise at a dramatic rear angle with the starboard engine in the foreground. No date is shown so we're left to wonder if this was done for general coverage or for a specific episode. As always, the model is shot showing the starboard side since the other side had the wiring harness on it which would show if filmed.

LLAP

Don

Saturday, December 21, 2013

BRINGING A KNIFE TO A GUNFIGHT: WHY LIARS SHOULDN'T BLOG

I know I'm onto something when I get verbally spanked by self-appointed "Emperor of Star Trek" and inveterate liar Alec Peters. Please keep in mind that the only way I'm going to call someone a liar is if I can back it up in court. If you don't know who Mr. Peters is, good for you. I wish to God I didn't, but, FWIW, he's a Star Trek collector, Blogger and former CEO of the now-bankrupt Propworx. Oh, and he made a Death Threat against me. Having Mr. Peters talk about ethics is like asking Charles Ponzi about investing.

Mr. Peters thought it would be a good idea to smack me in a blog post he wrote yesterday regarding my recent stories on the Star Trek TOS tunics that are, coincidentally, going up for auction today. I have been very clear about my views on these tunics: I believe them to be authentic production-made pieces, but find the claims of certitude that they were worn by main cast members to be dubious at best. They might have been worn by them, but Profiles doesn't say "might". They say "worn by" with total certainty. Nowhere in the auction text is anything remotely like "could have been" stated.

But Mr. Peters took the opportunity to spank me, saying:

 DON HILLENBRAND

One blogger,  Don Hillenbrand has attacked these tunics. Don is the same blogger who:

1) Attacked the TOS Kirk tunic last year despite absolute screen matching and authentication by every major TOS expert in the country.

2)    Attacked the TOS Phaser earlier this year depite a 100% screen match.

And why does he attack items?  Because he doesn't like the seller.  He hates me,  so he attacks my Kirk Tunic,  He hates Gerald,  so he attacks Gerald's Phaser,  and he hates Profiles,  so he attacks them.

There is no place for personal vendettas in prop authentication.  Authentication is a scientific process.  It is an emotionless one.  I was the last person to actually believe the TOS Kirk tunic was really Shatner's,  until I saw the screen match.

And Don hasn't spoken to ONE expert on TOS costumes.  He thinks he is an absolute expert,  so he doesn't do any research with the people who have handled these costumes for decades.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

I find the use of the word "attacked" especially enlightening. FYI: anyone who disagrees with Mr. Peters is an "attacker". But let's put that aside for now and concentrate on content.

1) Attacked the TOS Kirk tunic last year despite absolute screen matching and authentication by every major TOS expert in the country.

While I'll leave it to my readers to decide whether or not my story was an attack, I will certainly admit that I found the evidence of "Kirkness" lacking in the initial presentation (as did many others on various forums – you can check that for yourselves). I still stand by that, based on the lame "evidence" that we were given. It was only after much prodding by myself and others that Mr. Peters was able to finally produce a definitive screen-capture that proved the Kirk affiliation. Once that happened, I was very satisfied that the piece was indeed a Kirk and said so publicly. My comments about this are public record and no amount of rewriting of history by Mr. Peters will change that.

And why does he attack items?  Because he doesn't like the seller.  He hates me,  so he attacks my Kirk Tunic...

This is the most telling comment here and proves Mr. Peters to be the liar he is. In several venues – including his own forum – Mr. Peters stated that he used to own the Kirk tunic but he had sold it and was therefor no longer the owner. But above, he states specifically: "so he attacks my Kirk Tunic". Note the words "my Kirk tunic". God, this is like taking candy from a baby. 

As for hating him and his ilk, pity is not hatred.

And here we get to the real issue – Mr. Peters had spent the last several years knocking Profiles (very much like I have, BTW) and apparently didn't want to be seen dealing with them. So he had one of his good buddies/sycophants act as his surrogate (and I know exactly who that was so let's not get cute about it). Now LEGALLY, he might not have been the owner. After all, if I sell you a house for a dollar to hide it from the bankruptcy courts, I technically no longer own it. Wink, wink.

Bottom line – the shirt was his (by his own admission) and I was messing up his sale. Which is why he spent DAYS trying to refute my story while also searching for better evidence, which he eventually found thanks in part (in my opinion at least) to my story. You're welcome, Mr. Peters.

For the record, the shirt eventually did sell, but only for the minimum bid, which was still HUGE money!

"And Don hasn't spoken to ONE expert on TOS costumes.  He thinks he is an absolute expert,  so he doesn't do any research with the people who have handled these costumes for decades."

I would have welcomed the chance to talk to "experts" on this, but let's take a look at his "expert" list from the same story:

Rob Klein (probably the # 1 expert on TOS costumes and owner of a large collection)

I am familiar with Mr. Klein and have actually bought from him. I find it difficult to believe that he agrees with Profiles' assurances of absolute "worn by" authenticity. I have not read anywhere were he does. If he does indeed have some type of "inside knowledge" that conclusively identifies these pieces to be as claimed (as Mr. Peters states), then why not just produce it? Why do we need a secret handshake to get information?

Gerald Gurian

Mr. Gurian was once called a "nutjob" by Mr. Peters himself for his refusal to even consider that some of his TOS props might not be authentic. But when Mr. Peters needed his help, suddenly he became an "expert". Got it.

James Cawley

Mr. Cawley was one of the team members who worked on the "Kirk tunic" authentication. It was one of Mr. Cawley's assertions about the so-called "double-gusset" construction of the shirt that led him to say that it was a Kirk, a claim that I  debunked in this story: THE DOUBLE GUSSET POSTULATE. Regarding the size, if Mr. Cawley can supply a list of all actors for which a gold Lieutenant's shirt was made that shows none of them to be the same size as Takei, that would be conclusive. Without that, it's a guess. (Take a look at the photo, right, and tell me other actors might not have worn the same size.) So when Mr. Cawley makes claims of 100% certainty about anything, I take them with a grain of salt. Any reasonable person would.

Roger Romage

I know of Mr. Romage by reputation and, again, I find it difficult to believe that he agrees with Profiles' assurances of absolute "worn by" authenticity. I have not read anywhere were he does.

"Now certainly,  Profiles didn't have to explain themselves to someone who didn't even bother to do any research,  but they did.  And there rationale is solid."

Of COURSE Profiles needs to explain itself! ALL SELLERS need to explain themselves! That's how the market works! A seller makes claims, we challenge those claims and hopefully buyers can come to an understanding of what, exactly, they are dealing with. To say otherwise is ludicrous. We're supposed to just take what they say and assume they are right? REALLY?!? What an idiotic thing to say.

As for research, my story is filled with it. Common sense research rather than "I know something that you don't and I'm not going to share it" research.

And finally, here's Mr. Peters' summation:

"There is no 100% certainty.  The Burden of Proof has been met,  but without a proper screen match,  you can't be absolutely sure.  So the question is are you,  the bidder,  OK with the level of confidence the experts have. If you are,  go for it!  If not,  let someone else win it. "

So he writes an article about what an idiot I am, only to come to the same conclusion as me:

"There is no 100% certainty."

I'm a fool for saying there's no certainty, but Mr. Peters then says the same thing and he's a genius. Oh, yeah, that makes perfect sense. (BTW, Mr. Peters, since certainty means "a fact that is definitely true" you can only have 100% or none).

There's no certainty here. There are possibilities. There are maybes.

After all his pontificating and name-dropping, Peters gives us nothing we didn't already know – they are the right sizes and show the proper rank and that's about it. If you think those facts are worth spending $18,000 on, that's your business. I write to inform as best I can. If, after reading my report, you think I'm full of crap, no problem. Unlike Mr. Peters, I've never told anyone what to do or how to think.

Some have said that my requirements for proof are too difficult to fulfill. To that I say "tough!"  IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. If it weren't, every piece that came to market would be called a Hero piece that was used by/worn by a star. Big claims require big proof. If a seller can't stand some scrutiny of their pieces, they shouldn't put them on the market.

I never claim to be an expert on things I write about, for one basic reason – there's too much out there for ANYONE to be an expert on everything. I try to find out as much as I can and talk with those that know whatever is knowable. Only then do I reach a conclusion. I have no quarrel with most of the "experts" quoted by Mr. Peters. I simply disagree with their conclusions. I did not call them names or anything like that – I simply disagree and told of my reasons why in great detail.

That said, what I AM an expert on is common sense. I'm an ace at smelling bullshit and calling it out. And I'm especially adept at sensing liars. To whom it may concern: you might want to have a better advocate than Alec Freakin' Peters.

I and others have noticed that there's almost a mysticism that surrounds old Star Trek that seems to say "you're too stupid to have an opinion – only the elites can figure this stuff out." Well, in my opinion, "we know more than you do" is not a good sales tactic. Tell us what you know. Explain it to us. Only then can we be truly informed.

"There is no place for personal vendettas in prop authentication.  Authentication is a scientific process.  It is an emotionless one."

I could not agree more. And THAT is why I write my stories, and why I stand behind them.

You might want to review the scientific process, Mr. Peters. Apparently you're not very familiar with it.

LLAP

Don

Monday, December 16, 2013

PROFILES' RESPONSE TO THE GREAT TUNIC INQUIREY or NO SHIRT, SHERLOCK

After trying in vain to get Profiles' to tell me whether or not there was any better provenance on the TOS tunics that I've been writing about, I tried one last time via email. To my surprise I heard back from Brian Chanes.

Here's what I asked:

"While I am very interested in the two lots (430 and 431), the only proof of wear by James Doohan and George Takei that you cite is size and indications of rank braid on the sleeves. Those two elements are not remotely enough to prove use by those two actors. For me to bid, I need more definitive proof. Is anything else available? Is there any specific provenance available? Any additional information would be greatly appreciated."

Here's Brian's response:

"Both the George Takei and James Doohan costumes were part of a long-term collection from an individual who had top access to obtain the best of the best.  As you know from books like Bob Justman and Herb Solow's book, Inside Star Trek, the show was a low-budget series and Desilu was notorious for being cheap.  The production did not create numerous back up costumes, nor were stuntman tunics made.  If a stunt was required, they would use the actor's tunic for the stunt and then return it to the wardrobe rack.  If the crew visited a space station, they did not make 20 new tunics for the background.  Unless a tunic was completely destroyed, the production used every shirt they had available to get the sequences shot. Once a tunic received too much wear after repeated cleanings, the production would relegate old hero wardrobe to background crew members. We have handled many Original Series tunics in the past exhibiting studio repair to small tears indicating their desire to keep them in service as long as possible. Needless to say, today's production practices towards wardrobe are completely different.

The great majority of season one and season two tunics did not have the actor or characters labeled.  A testament to this was the Spock tunic we sold in December, 2012 that was won by the consignor in a 1968 "Star Trek Design a Costume Contest".  This tunic, complete with original braiding and insignia, came with a signed letter from Leonard Nimoy and a signed letter by costumer Bill Theiss, both referring to the recipient winning his "Spock tunic".  This Spock tunic has no interior label, yet remains the best documented Star Trek tunic in existence.  As stated in the catalog descriptions, both the Doohan and Takei tunics exhibit markings of the braiding indicative of their respective ranks. This, in conjunction with the general build of the actor, is the method of identifying the officer's tunics (unless you are lucky enough to screen match a signature marking on a particular garment).

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and holiday season.

Sincerely,

Brian Chanes
Profiles in History"

Here's the deal: I agree with most everything he says (but not everything). But I still don't reach the same conclusion that, because of these facts, the shirts are what they say they are.

Some of Mr. Chanes' comments are obviously wrong, for instance:

"If a stunt was required, they would use the actor's tunic for the stunt and then return it to the wardrobe rack."

No, they wouldn't. They would use whatever fit the stuntman. It MIGHT have been a shirt used by the character's actor or it might not have been. To say that in every case the main actor's wardrobe was used is not a provable statement. 

"If the crew visited a space station, they did not make 20 new tunics for the background.  Unless a tunic was completely destroyed, the production used every shirt they had available to get the sequences shot."

This seems to mean that they made shirts for the main cast and everyone else got hand-me-downs. Again, while they certainly reused the main cast's wardrobe, they also had general wardrobe created specifically for guest or background actors. They had to because at the beginning of production, for example, there weren't any wardrobe pieces to hand down. Also, this would seem to mean that every Redshirt we see would be wearing James Doohan hand-me-downs. All the security guys or Engineering extras had Doohan shirts? Were they all the same size? Obviously not.

So, apparently there are no whiz-bang revelations or ultra-secret details that can lead any expert – no matter who they are – to have definitive proof that the two shirts in question are without a doubt Doohan and Sulu pieces with 100% certainty.

There's a huge difference between fact and opinion. If you can't prove it, it's an opinion.

I only buy on facts.

LLAP

Don

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"SIR, YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR DEPTH" – COMMENTS FROM THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL

I've been taken to task in the past by sellers of very expensive Star Trek items for not accepting some of the claims that were made about the pieces. As it turns out, I've been called on the carpet yet again regarding my recent story (found HERE) on the TOS Tunics being offered by Profiles in History. I expressed the opinion that the Profiles claim that the two shirts were worn by main cast members – specifically James Doohan and George Takei – was unfounded and with little merit. A reader by the name of Jennifer Smith (owner of a Blog called Red Kryptonite) took exception to that finding. In the public "comments" section she said the following:

"So basically, you're just another armchair "expert" with a pause button. Your skepticism is admirable, but as you said yourself, you have not personally examined these items. You do not know who is selling them, or the circumstances of their provenance. This is exactly why most high end Trek collectors keep their trading private. Some fans can't handle items that come up for auction for high dollar amounts, so they must attempt to prove that something is "fake." I believe that in this case, sir, you are out of your depth."

I found these comments interesting in a number of ways.  Let's take them one by one.

"Your skepticism is admirable, but as you said yourself, you have not personally examined these items" 

This is absolutely true – I have not handled the pieces. But in my story I stipulate that I believe the pieces to be authentic production-made tunics. My only issue was the attribution to specific actors and no amount of handling will conjure up the truth about what actor wore a shirt 47 years ago. If I'm mistaken about that, I'd love to hear in what way.

"You do not know who is selling them, or the circumstances of their provenance."

Well, duh, no kidding! The lack of this knowledge goes to the very heart of the matter. But she writes as if it is in some way my fault for not knowing the seller and the piece's provenance. To the contrary, I would LOVE to know who the seller is and the piece's history! But Profiles didn't tell us either of those things. If they had, there might not be an issue here. But they didn't and I'm not psychic. 

"This is exactly why most high end Trek collectors keep their trading private." 

So "high end Trek collectors keep their trading private" because of what? Questions might get asked by the great unwashed? Proof of claims might be required? This is a nonsensical statement to me.
If a piece can't withstand scrutiny, it doesn't deserve to be recognized as authentic, period. I would hope that high end Trek collectors would be the FIRST to require absolute specific proof of authenticity before they themselves put out their hard-earned money for something. If they didn't, they're lousy collectors, in my opinion.

"Some fans can't handle items that come up for auction for high dollar amounts, so they must attempt to prove that something is "fake." "

Ah, the "jealousy" defense. I have news for Ms. Smith – far from being jealous of those with great pieces, I CELEBRATE great pieces whenever possible, whoever their owners might be. When the original Phaser Rifle from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was brought to auction earlier this year, my stories lauded the great piece's place in Star Trek history. Of course, the reason I could do that was because there was no doubt about its authenticity. After all, it was be sold by its maker who had kept it for 47 years! I, myself, was able to match scratches on the existing piece to details on a PR photo with William Shatner himself holding the piece in his hands. THAT is provenance. THAT is proof. And THAT is exactly what the so-called "Scotty" and "Sulu" tunics lack.

As for my supposed inability to "handle items that come up for high dollar amounts", Ms. Smith is  unaware of the fact that I did so much research so that I could decide whether or not pursuing the pieces was worthwhile for me. To have an original tunic worn by a main cast member is one of my holy grails. But I want one that is a proven example, not something backed by mere conjecture.

Ms. Smith goes on to say this:

"However, if you were aware of the Trek collections that are protected by a handful of longtime fans who have owned these pieces for decades, you would quit trying to be the King of Trek...that position has been taken for some time now. "

So apparently, unless I have a pedigree of some type – like being a collector for decades – I cannot offer a worthwhile, informed opinion on anything. Evidently, it takes decades to absorb the type of knowledge required to know that the "Sulu" tunic is indeed a "Sulu" tunic despite nothing specifically proving it to be the case. I guess that, with time, I'll develop a sixth sense that requires no actual proof, but rather will permit me to magically divine the true nature of a piece.

I had not idea. I truly live in ignorance.

And just as apparently, because I'm a collector who writes passionately about Star Trek, I'm setting myself up as the "King of Trek"? Ms. Smith missed my sidebar wherein I state:

"I'm just a guy who enjoys talking about – and learning more about – Star Trek. I know a little about a lot, and a lot about a little – I value accuracy and always appreciate the knowledge of others. If you find anything that you think is wrong, please drop me a line and let me know."

Put more simply – "if you know something that I've gotten wrong, please educate me!" Unlike those that call themselves "Star Trek authorities" I am painfully aware of my shortcomings, so I actively solicit information from anyone willing to share it.

And since she states that "that position has been taken for some time now", Ms. Smith is apparently acquainted with whoever IS the "King of Trek". Sadly, she did not share that information, and Googling "King of Trek" just gives me stuff about bikes. Dammit.

But wait – there's more! Ms. Smith adds (in another entry):

"Profiles knows exactly who is offering up these items, and their reputations as authorities in the field. These people are not, as you say, "hacks who offer things up at top prices." I don't mean to call you out on your page, but do you know very much about the auction business at all? You seem to think that original costumes are like jeans from the Gap or something; they will always come complete with a name tag (and this is especially not the case with original series materials). If all departments of history operated in the Draconian manner that you insist upon, nothing would EVER be "authentic." "

Profiles profiled a fake on their cover.
I won't bother breaking this down, but suffice to say that Ms. Smith is evidently saying "Profiles is satisfied so you should be too". And her question as to whether or not I know anything at all about the auction business is especially ironic, given that it is being asked by someone who is themselves apparently devoid of any real understanding of said business, based on her blind trust in anything Profiles says. Right now, Profiles has a hat attributed to John Wayne in "In Harms' Way". Not only does the hat not match anything seen in the film, but it doesn't even match the screen cap they place right next to the hat's photo as some type of proof of authenticity! And I guess Ms. Smith missed the time that Profiles put an item ON THEIR FRONT COVER that was not only not authentic, but was laughably incorrect. They showed a Statue of Liberty head that was supposedly from the famous climax of the original 1968 version of "Planet of the Apes". An incredibly cool piece – if it had been real. Instead, it was from the 2004 Tom Hanks movie "The Terminal". If they couldn't do due diligence on a piece they featured on their front cover, what's the likelihood of them doing any real research on the hundreds of other items listed in their various catalogs? Wake up and smell the catalog, Ms. Smith. It's rather pungent.

And now we get to the heart of the matter. While calling me out for my uninformed opinions and "inflammatory, un-researched rants", Ms. Smith had absolutely nothing to offer by way of corrections to my addled ramblings. Despite my pleadings to be set straight, she offered no insight as to why my meanderings were actually wrong. She did not offer any additional evidence to support the claim that the tunics were worn by Doohan and Takei. In short, she brought NOTHING to the table, while telling me "you are out of your depth". 

So again, I'll make the same request to Ms. Smith that I made previously – please tell me why these shirts are what Profiles claims them to be. Explain to me where my analysis is flawed. I genuinely want to know! THAT is what the comments section is for. To inform with concrete, measurable facts. You have yet to provide any. If your collector friends (the consignors) have proof positive of the claims that Profiles makes, I would applaud it! Why wouldn't I? I'll do an entirely new Blog story trumpeting it to the world!

My offer also goes for the consignors. Show me proof positive and I will sing the praises of your items. Do you have a letter from James Doohan stating the shirt was gifted to him? Great! Do you have a screen-match that proves without a doubt that the gold shirt was worn by Takei? Excellent. That is the kind of proof that is required here. Nothing less will do. Imprints showing rank braid don't cut it.

I have always believed that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, so unless said proof is forthcoming, I will stand behind my views. I don't need to be a meteorologist to know when its raining. And I don't need to own a TOS tunic to know when a claim has not been proven.

I'll close with one last comment from Ms. Smith:

"You remind me of a Tellarite. As Sarek once said, "Tellarites do not argue for reasons. They simply argue."

I believe the phrase is meant to say that Tellarites argue without purpose. But unlike those piggy little aliens, I have a simple, basic purpose. Truth. Not some great profound thing, but a very basic, common-sensical type of truth – are these Star Trek items indeed what they are claimed to be? In Ms. Smith's world, that is apparently not a worthwhile question.

Thankfully, I live on a different planet.

LLAP.

Don

Monday, December 2, 2013

PROFILES WANTS TO SELL YOU THE SHIRTS OFF SCOTTY'S & SULU'S BACKS? DOUBTFUL!

Profiles in History is at it again. Their latest catalog "Hollywood Auction 62" is out, complete with the usual blend of half-truths and warped accuracy. This time out they have some very cool Star Trek items. Unfortunately, not content to stick to the facts, Profiles has made some rather absolute statements that incorrectly paint a picture about some key pieces – a picture skewed to impact the monetary value in a very significant way.

Here's the two items I'm talking about:

"Scotty" tunic – PIH photo
430. James Doohan “Scotty” Starfleet duty uniform tunic from Star Trek: The Original Series. (Paramount TV, 1966-1969) This velour Starfleet operations division tunic was worn in the second season by James Doohan as Chief Engineer “Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott” in Star Trek: The Original Series and features the original Starfleet insignia on the chest. No interior label is present (typical for tunics from the series), though the subtle marks in the velour indicate single-row with “dashes” (lieutenant commander rank) braid that was applied to each sleeve making this a “Scotty” (the Chief Engineer was the only crewmember aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise who wore this rank in the red operations division). Braiding was always removed by the studio prior to dry cleaning. Exhibits a minor half-inch tear in the back (could be easily repaired); otherwise, in very good production used condition with vibrant color. This is the only known second season Doohan “Scotty” tunic to come to auction. A rare, signature costume from one of the most revered characters of this groundbreaking science fiction series. $15,000 - $20,000

"Sulu" uniform – PIH photo
431. George Takei “Sulu” Starfleet uniform from Star Trek: The Original Series. (Paramount TV, 1966-1969) This two-piece Starfleet duty uniform was worn by George Takei as “Sulu” in Star Trek: The Original Series. The velour command division tunic was worn in the second season and features the original Starfleet insignia on the chest. The interior bias label is blank (typical for tunics from the series), though the slight size and subtle marks in the velour indicate single-row (lieutenant rank) braid was applied to each sleeve making this a “Sulu” (braiding was always removed by the studio prior to dry cleaning). Completing the ensemble are a pair of Original Series Starfleet black gabardine pants with metallic glint marked “Geo. Takei” in white ink and internal Paramount dry cleaning tag. Following their use in the Original Series, the studio added pleated cuffs for use in the failed continuation series Star Trek: Phase II. Exhibits minor 2.5 inch detachment at the seam near the left cuff; otherwise, in very good production used condition. A rare, signature costume from one of the main characters of this groundbreaking science fiction series. $15,000 - $20,000

At first glance, these look like cool pieces of the original series that were actually worn by two well-known characters. That's why you should NEVER accept a Profiles description at first glance. To begin with, we're not given any shots of the construction of these shirts so that we can indeed confirm that these are true Original Series (TOS) tunics. But let's assume for the sake of argument that they are genuine TOS pieces. Let's move on to the evidence that these are actually pieces worn by "Scotty" and "Sulu".

The auction states: "No interior label is present (typical for tunics from the series), though the subtle marks in the velour indicate single-row with “dashes” (lieutenant commander rank) braid that was applied to each sleeve making this a “Scotty” (the Chief Engineer was the only crewmember aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise who wore this rank in the red operations division)."

Now, technically, the description is correct – Scotty WAS the only lieutenant commander in red aboard the Enterprise. But that doesn't mean that other actors never wore this same type of shirt.

Stunt double Scotty takes a tumble
Court Martial Lieutenant Commander
In "Who Mourns For Adonis?", Scotty is part of the landing party that is being toyed with by Apollo. At one point, Apollo lashes out and strikes Scotty with a bolt of lightning, sending our intrepid Engineer hurtling backwards from the blast. This scene undoubtedly used the talents of a trained stunt double for actor James Doohan. He's wearing the same red shirt and we can clearly see he's got gold braid on his sleeves – there's no reason to think they aren't the solid/broken stripes of a lieutenant commander. And while Doohan would not have needed a stunt double as much as Shatner or Nimoy, he would certainly have had a stunt double occasionally over the three year run of the show. And all those stunt guys would have worn a tunic just like Scotty's.  Technically, since they were playing the Scotty character (even though it was only for a stunt sequence) the shirt would have still been worn by "Scotty", though not James Doohan as the auction states.

Aside from stunt use, background players wore a lieutenant commander red shirt as well. In "Court Martial", when Kirk enters the Starbase bar, numerous background players are milling about, including one gentleman wearing the style in question.

I think there's little doubt that James Doohan would have been the wearer of this style the vast majority of the time. After all, as the auctions correctly states, Scotty was apparently the only officer on board the Enterprise who wore red and had the LC rank. But he was by no means the ONLY actor to ever wear this style of shirt as the auction also states. So I think the best that can be said about this piece (without a screen-match which is very difficult and unlikely) is that it is possibly a Scotty. But possibility is not certainty. And Profiles is asking buyers to spend a minimum of $18,000 ($15,000 plus 20% buyer's premium) with no guarantee of certainty.

Then there's the Sulu piece. Unlike the Scotty, this piece includes pants, and while I would need to examine them in person to know for sure about their authenticity, all the information that PIH gives is accurate to a real pair, including the way the name was put on.

But the shirt is another matter altogether. Like the Scotty, the tunic has no name inside: "The interior bias label is blank (typical for tunics from the series), though the slight size and subtle marks in the velour indicate single-row (lieutenant rank) braid was applied to each sleeve making this a “Sulu”."

So this is determined to be a "Sulu" because of the rank bands it once had as well is its "slight size". Even more so than the Scotty, this claim is ludicrous. It means that in the three years of the show's run, no other actor ever wore the single Lieutenant's braid on a gold shirt that was similar in size to actor George Takei.

Here's the problem with that claim: since the character of Chekov wasn't added until Season Two, every week there was a new Lieutenant sitting next to Sulu – and sometimes even in place of Sulu! Then there's the dozens of background players that walk the halls or are seated in the mess during crowd scenes. Gold Lieutenants are everywhere! Take a look at this image, especially the first guy who is standing right next to Sulu. Their shirts look to be of a very similar size. And this is just a fraction of all the various appearances of Gold Lieutenants.

Gold Lieutenants abound!
I know that words like "probably" and "perhaps" don't sell things as well as making absolute claims of authenticity. The fact that these words are accurate seems to be lost on Profiles. Their claim of authenticity cannot be supported by the facts they have given, period.

While I can't say for certain that these are genuine TOS shirts without an inspection, they seem to be genuine based on the photos. But specifically attributing these to Doohan and Takei is a real stretch, especially with the "Sulu". Without some type of specific provenance PROVING these were worn by those actors is just a guess. Or a hope.

I don't spend $18,000 on hope. If Profiles could show a screen-match of these two pieces, only then would I recognize their claim. Without a screen match, I think these are worth a fraction of their starting price, given that their histories are, for all intents and purposes, unknowable.

Maybe one of these days I'm going to open a Profiles In History catalog and I'll be shocked because they will not make unproven claims about Star Trek stuff. Unfortunately, this isn't that catalog.

Caveat emptor.

LLAP,

Don