Thursday, April 11, 2013

End of an Era: Drex Files Blog is gone

I recently discovered something sad – Doug Drexler's excellent "Drex Files" blog is no more. As Trek fans know, Doug worked on Star Trek productions beginning with TNG and going through to Enterprise. Arguably, his most famous contribution to Star Trek was his design of the NX-01 Enterprise. He later worked on the incredible Battlestar Galactica and is currently working on Defiance for SyFy.

Doug dressed as an extra for Enterprise
Doug was a rare bird in Star Trek production – he was actually a die-hard fan before he ever started working on NextGen. That's a VERY unusual thing, especially back then. Doug's fervent fandom-fired passion was evident in his work. From doing make-up on TNG (he won an oscar for being part of the Dick Tracy make-up team) right up through to his CGI work on Enterprise, Doug's work was excellent. As a designer myself, I have a special appreciation for what he brought to the mix.

When he began "Drex Files" several years ago, I was ecstatic. Doug used his Blog to tell the world about his behind-the-scenes experiences in the world of Star Trek and I, for one, couldn't get enough. We got great stories ranging from doing make-up touch-ups on Jonathan Frakes and working with legendary Trek contributors like Herman Zimmerman and Andy Probert to rummaging through the Star Trek costume warehouse and finding all sorts of amazing pieces going back to the Original Series. In short, his blog brought a unique wealth of fascinating insider information to his readers. And we dug it!

Over the years, Doug met just about everyone who ever worked on Star Trek, going back to the Original Series. He told us emotional stories about being friends with the great Bob Justman and working with Michael Westmore and Patrick Stewart. He became friends with TOS actors Michael Forest and Barbara Luna. It was like a pipeline to the past. And importantly, while telling us about these Trek greats, he never EVER came across as boastful or egotistic. He was honored to know these people and was pleased to tell readers a bit about the experience.

New Drex Files entries were becoming more and more rare as Doug's career no doubt took more and more of his time. Because of that, I was not surprised that he gave it up all together. (NOTE: see addendum, below). But Trek fans are poorer for it. Luckily, Doug is still doing intermittent Drex Files posts at, but not with the frequency of his old blog postings. Plus, all of his wonderful old posts are apparently gone as the old URL is no longer working at all.

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure to work with Doug in a small way. He was the art director for the "Star Trek Ships of the Line" calendar series and was kind enough to engage me for the 2011 version (I'm November!). It was a lot of fun and Doug let me go with whatever I wanted to do. That kind of creative freedom is rare in my business, and was much appreciated.

So Doug, whatever the future holds, I wish you well and thank you for all the great stories you shared with us over the years.

To you I definitely say Live Long and Prosper!


ADDENDUM: Doug has told me that his reason for ceasing Drex Files is due some of his VFX colleagues taking exception to his "Drex Files" watermark that Doug put on each image he posted in his blog. Apparently they felt Doug was taking unfair credit for other's work. Let me just say that as an avid reader I could NOT disagree more. Doug always went out of his way to give credit where credit was due. Rather than taking credit for other's work, I felt he CELEBRATED the great work of his fellow creatives in an open and honest way by showing it off for all the world to see. If ever a credit was missed, I'm sure Doug would have fixed it instantly had it been brought to his attention.

He doesn't NEED to steal other's thunder. He has enough of his own. At least, that's the way I see it.

He's considering how to address the concerns of his colleagues and possibly resume the Blog. I and many others sure hope that happens!



  1. A wonderful Star Trek resource has been lost, and so many wonderful stories! Doug's a great guy, I hope it's restored for posterity.

  2. Now that TICS ME THE HELL OFF! FRAKEN BUNCH OF WHINNERS! Because of "them" we loose one of, if not THEE BEST blog for info and research on Star Trek!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR Yes, I told Doug Drexler I will repost this where ever this subject comes up! I will do it every time, till those whinners get it thru their thick heads... DOUG DOES NOT LAY CLAIM TO WORK THAT IS NOT HIS!

  3. He will be back, he's just working out some problems with the guys that did the actual work on the shows. :p

  4. I have to say I'm sad. I loved how well Drex promoted the behind the scenes of Star Trek and other scifi ... giving us that rare chance to see some of his work as well as the work of others (great exposure for them, btw).

  5. I hope this isn't blowback for being supportive of Enterprise Netflix facebook page.

  6. Drexfiles really was a wonderful inside look at the history of Star Trek and the amazing people that made that fiction a reality. One of my favorite posts of his was how the New York World's Fair was influenced by the space race, and later influenced the look of decades of science fiction since so many creators of that look attended the fair in their youth. It put into perspective my work at the grounds of the Seattle World's Fair which took place just two years earlier.

    I hope this wonderful story Doug Drexler created on his blog through amazing images and passionate narrative is not lost forever. I look forward to its return.

    And as for the copyright issue, I always felt that Doug was protecting the work of the other artists by putting his watermark on everything, so that those images couldn't be stolen off his site. The site revolved around praising the work of others and giving them the credit they were due. By stamping the images he made sure they could always be traced back to a source that gave proper credit. The loss of the site breaks this system, potentially hurting the original artists more than keeping it up ever could.

  7. I also enjoyed Mr. Drexler's site for many years. In particular the story, with pictures, of the Enterprise sets being destroyed on orders from "a high up CBS exec" who supposedly hated Star Trek. The person telling the story was trying to arrange for a truck to pick up the sets but the person wouldn't wait and destroyed the sets.

    This is just one of many stories that possibly would never have seen the light of day if not for Mr. Drexler's site. I really hope his iste returns along with the archived stories and information.

  8. I hope this all works out. As you say, Doug was always keen to point out who's work he was praising. The fact that he put 'Drex Files' on the pictures was, I thought, more to do with letting other sites or such that used them know the source of the images. If he wanted to claim credit he'd have put his name, not a Pseudonym on them.
    In fact, I've just gone through the folder of images I saved from Drex Files, and there are several that show joint credit. Also, I seem to recall him always listing the artist/source in both the post title and description of every image he showed us.
    Some VFX folks appear to have inflated egos, but Doug is certainly not one of them.

  9. Wow, really these is just sort of ridiculous. It wasn't like many of his former colleagues were taking the time/energy of showing us behind the scenes stuff about art production like Doug did. We all knew Doug was never taking active credit for it all, that a team of vfx people make a show/franchise. Putting Drex Files on the pics was a simple reference for those curious of the source to find more good stories/eye candy, nothing more. This is a case of misunderstood posturing and Doug being too much of a nice guy...