And Now It Can Be Told…

If you look in Wikipedia under “Blue Pear Records” you will see mention of an album produced in 1975 of outtakes (“bloopers”) from the original Star Trek TV series. I was the person who produced this album. Someone liked my company name, I guess, and has produced a series of bootleg albums of off-broadway shows. I had nothing to do with any of these except the first “Trek Blooper” album. Allow me to tell the story.

My girlfriend at the time, Sandy Sarris (her name has since been changed again) obtained some 10.” reels of recording tape in boxes marked “Star Trek”. They were found in Hollywood in a garbage can and were heading to be bulk erased and sold as blank tape, but the ‘Trek’ markings made them more valuable.

I often ‘hung out’ with my friend Lester Chin who, at the time, worked in a high-end hifi store. We would often go play in the store after hours. They had a machine that would take 10 .” reels, so I played back the tapes. Sure enough, they were the on-set recordings of many of the later 3rd season episodes of Star Trek. I dubbed all the reels onto cassettes. (These original cassette dubs are currently in my basement somewhere.) Sandy sold the original 10.” reels to a major Trek collector (do not recall the name) in New York where I assume they reside to this day.

Because of the popularity of the Star Trek “blooper reel”, shown at conventions by Gene Roddenberry and surreptitiously copied, and since this blooper reel only covered the first two years of the series, I realized that even audio recordings of the third year would be quite valuable. Since the tapes were full takes, from the slate ID through “Action” to “Cut” of the director, it would be very easy to select the funniest, weirdest of these. And this is precisely what I did, dubbing from cassette to cassette in Lester’s hifi store..

I had my brother do the artwork for the cover. His initials MDL (Michael D. Lampen) are mentioned in the Wikipedia article. On the label of the LP itself, I put a series of drawings my brother did of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) giving the “Live Long and Prosper” salute. The idea was to put a strobe light on the record as it rotated. At the perfect strobe frequency, this would appear like a little cartoon (some would call this a ‘zoetrope’) of Spock. (I have never obtained a strobe light to see if this actually worked.)

I then sent the cassette to Keysor-Century, a pressing plant in Saugus (outside Los Angeles) and had them press 500 copies (all I could afford). Because this was the third-generation copy of the original, I asked them to add +3 dB at 5 kHz as the transfer was made to add to the intelligibility. Clearly, the operator missed this note and read it as the master was being cut. You can clearly hear, a few minutes into the recording, the EQ being added as I requested.

In 1975, Paramount Studios, owners of “Star Trek”, was at its height of sueing everyone who had even the most minor unlicenced “Trek” items. They even sued the “Federation Trading Post”, a store in Berkeley crowned by Sandy and her ex-boyfriend Chuck Weiss (with whom I am still in contact). One of the key targets of Paramount was a gentleman in Longwood, Florida (name escapes me). Since I did not wish to be on the “target” list, I invented the name of Blue Pear Records, obviously a pun on “blooper”, and put down the address as Longwood, Florida. Clearly, nobody has figured out that this was me. Nobody when backwards tracing the master number on the records to Keysor Century to me. Keys Century went Chapter 11 and out of business in 2002-03, so I assume those files are now gone. I have never been contacted by Paramount or anyone else, even though I sold all 500 copies at Star Trek and science fiction conventions and fan gatherings.

I have one copy left among the few LP’s I saved. (At one point I had over 6,000 LP’s.) Anybody got a strobe light? See if that zoetrope actually works! One of these days, I will load the entire unedited collection somewhere online.