Robert Friedstand on Star Trek: the Motion Picture and Racial Activism during the 1960s

MEMPHIS, TENN. | (Divine Army News)by Shariee Jones, Contributing Journalist | Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, Dr. Spock and Scotty...

MEMPHIS, TENN. | (Divine Army News)
by Shariee Jones, Contributing Journalist |

Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, Dr. Spock and Scotty were some of the faces on the front end of Star Trek’s franchise but Bob Friedstand was on the back end of the makings of the Star Trek Legacy. Friedstand sat down with me to discuss how Star Trek: the Motion Picture was developed and the controversy surrounding interracial dating scenes in the 1960s.

[Star Trek: the Movie 1979. Courtesy of Bob Friedstand]

Deep Space in Memphis

What is your job position at The Pink Palace?

I do in-house videos for promotions at The Pink Palace Family of Museums and am one of the digital technicians for the Planetarium. I worked the CTI Theater (formerly IMAX) until they changed it to digital. When Wesley (a former supervisor) moved me to the Planetarium, they called me a Digital Technician because he anticipated that the museum was going to have more and more need for digital content like videos and exhibits.

So how long have you been working for The Pink Palace?

I’ve been working in the Pink Palace since February 1995 when I was a part-time projectionist when it was called IMAX before it was digital. I’ve been working in the Planetarium for 3-4 years. I run the Planetarium shows twice a week, do commercial videos for marketing and in-house promotions like trailers.

Star Wars to Star Trek

I see that you have done work outside of The Pink Palace Museum, like your history with the Star Trek Movie in 1978-79.  

Well, Star Wars (the movie) had just hit. That really started the ball rolling on these big time science fiction and special effects movies. Star Trek was a real special thing because the TV shows (1966-69) had been off the air for over 10 years. So now they are making a full length movie with the original cast. Yeah, it was a real big deal.

[Star Trek Talks in 2017. Courtesy of Bob Friedstand]

I’m from Memphis. There was a company Downtown called Motion Picture Laboratory. This was one of the few film laboratories with 16mm film in the country. We had all kind of different services. It took a lot of different type to put a film together.

I worked in the department they called Optical Printing. Optical Printing was really a main stay of special effects. After working there for 7 years, I decided to send some resumes out to Hollywood. Star Wars just hit and I thought that this was a good time for this type of work. Optical printing was part of special effects. So I moved out there (Hollywood).

I got a job with another couple of companies (in Hollywood) for about a year and a half. Then I read that they were looking for people at Star Trek (the movie). I applied for that. They were really in need of people who knew (film) and they were on a deadline. They hired me to help. I worked on one of the cameras called down shooters. They shoot down on the table and (display) artwork. So we shot a lot of star backgrounds. We did all the computer read outs in the film, back then, it was done with animated artwork. So that was all shot on my camera along with three other people (cameramen) who worked on it, too. We had a couple of those cameras, so yeah, it was amazing.


Written by Shariee Jones, D.D.
With some musical influences of Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Hip-Hop legends, Shariee continues to strive toward excellence as an artist and writer. During her college years, she became the associate editor of StreetMaster’s Magazine based in Memphis, TN following her internship with The University of Memphis’ newspaper, The Daily Helmsman. She also covered the Dub’s Magazine Car Concert and Tour southern events annually as an invited journalist. Starting as her grad project, Shariee created HyPhaze, a fashion and entertainment online magazine, geared toward teens and young adults in hopes of becoming a positive voice in society. In 2009, she decided to let go of HyPhaze and created Model Definition Evangelical Interfaith Ministry before enrolling at Barclay College to study Theology. She is a graduate of The University of Memphis and Barclay College. Shariee is an urban visionary, writer, and entertainer. Profile


Spencer Harper in Activism

Leave a Reply