Sunday, 8 June 2014

My First Merchandise...

So what was it? What was the first thing you ever had that had a link to Star Trek?

I've mentioned mine briefly in one of the early Trekollections series I've run here but it was only a week or so ago when I pulled this item out of a cupboard that I thought it was worth talking about.

It was a present from a relative in 1985 and by this point I reckon I must have seen The Wrath of Khan at least once; likely an edited daytime TV version since I would have been five. Receiving this set me on a path that continues today and I would never, ever let this item go even though it's not really age appropriate. However, if you have children then this might be a great way to introduce them to the classic movies.

I'm talking about the Book and Tape Read Along Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I listened to it a lot, I tried to draw the pictures from it. Even at the tender, innocent age of five this was brilliant.

Essentially it's the whole movie condensed (very condensed) into 24 pages comprising half a page text and a picture, as the cover announces, From the Original Motion Picture. I remember listening to every page totally engrossed, turning the page on the sound of the communicator bleep. I loved it so much I convinced my parents to let me get The Search for Spock version too some time later. At the time it was about £10 which in the mid-1980's was damn expensive.

For those of you who might be interested I've scanned in the whole book here - all 24 pages and the covers. It's focused totally on the Kirk vs Khan story and everything else pretty much goes by the wayside so I've also dropped in a few notes on what's missing. I only realised just how much had to be cut on a skim through when I found it again.

The story goes from Kirk meeting Spock to Khan capturing the Reliant to the "16309" battle, the Genesis cave and the final battle. Brief? Better believe it. This is action/adventure for the under six's all the way. There's no philosophical debate over the merits of rank and struggle of age either if you were wondering.

The Cuts

  • The Kobayashi Maru - all references, the simulator scene, the lot, even the "hours seem like days" code. In fact the first page has Kirk going straight aboard the Enterprise with dialogue from scenes earlier in the movie.
  • David Marcus. Don't bother looking for him or link to Kirk having a son. Carol gets a few lines here and there, mainly pre-"16309". In fact there are no pictures of David Marcus (apart from the back on the last page) in the book.
  • Terrell and Chekov are captured by Khan inside the escape pod the second they walk in - not as they attempt to leave nor is there any reference to SS Botany Bay.
  • Anything that happens on Regula One before the USS Reliant arrives.
  • Genesis. Aside from being a device and a planet, it's not really explained however you do get the hint that it's a super weapon.
  • Saavik - couple of shots of Kirstie Alley but nothing in the text.
  • Also note that in the images anyone outside of the main cast is blacked out. There are none of Khan's supermen in any pictures.
  • Uhura. She doesn't even make a single picture. Sulu gets a line at the least.
  • Terrell disappears after the scene in the Genesis cave where he and Chekov are tasked with killing Kirk. No mention that he kills himself. Definitely refined for a junior audience!
  • The images on pages 9 and 11 which are used for the "16309" scene are from the Mutara Nebula scene at the end of the movie. I've included those pages "updated" to the images I would have considered at the bottom.
And no, I don't still read it although I am considering uploading an audio track to accompany the pages below (any ideas for cassette to mp3?!). The voices used for the characters are close approximations to the "real" thing and there's even the requisite deep voiced narrator to lead you through the rest of the book.

I'll get on it and upload the Star Trek III booklet as soon as possible but out of the two, this is the stronger offering. I could waffle on for ages about this one but I'll let you have a read through yourselves first!

Here are my suggestions for the replacements on pages 9 and 11...

From this one book came a passion and a collection which, might, have got a little out of hand on occasion  but still grows. The Wrath of Khan book and tape still has its own little place in the shelf too...

So what was your first piece of merchandise? Did it entice you into the Star Trek universe just that bit more? Let us know below!

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