Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not letting Joe go unnoticed

We lost Joe Pevney at 96, the veteran director behind many of Star Trek’s classics, even before Bob Justman passed away. But since we were just getting BL rolling at the time (May 18) I didn’t want to let him go unmentioned here—especially because I regret never getting to go meet him at his Palm Desert home, near Palm Springs.

Many fans were surprised to learn he was still around, but while I’d met a friend of his a few years ago who was in touch and offered to set us up, it just never happened—and those are the ones you really regret letting get away.

And how: Pevney alternated shows most of the second season with Marc Daniels; I mean, try out this list for size—and while most of them fell his way just by the luck of the draw, just look at what he gave us, especially under the conditions they had to work under: "Arena," "The Return of the Archons," "A Taste of Armageddon," "The Devil in the Dark," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Amok Time," "The Apple," "Catspaw," "Journey to Babel," "Friday's Child" (my prize for the most underappreciated original ep—it has it all!), "The Deadly Years," "Wolf in in the Fold," "The Immunity Syndrome"—and yes, "The Trouble With Tribbles."

But today, beyond the name and the resume, you can still get deeper into the man if you know where to dig: he’s among many interviewed by William Rotsler in his 1982 Star Trek Interview Book from Pocket—out of print now, but you can still find it. Stephen (Poe) Whitfield's classic The Making of Star Trek from Ballantine has a great photo of him (opposite p. 257) while on location shooting "Friday's Child."

There’s also the little-seen 1998 DVD Inside Star Trek, which yielded the mid-90s era photo I used here. Based on Herb Solow and Bob Justman’s book of the same title, it has interview soundbites with him along with many others—including Alexander Courage, who died just teh day before at 88, and will forever be known as the original Star Trek theme composer. Among his bits there, Pevney talks about seeing fuzzy, feathery "purple thing" on a keychain at a drug store, and telling propmaster Irving Feinberg about them as a cheap quickie source of tribbles!

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