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`Star Trek' Items Lure Fans

The memorabilia, part of a trove to be sold off next month, are shown in Beverly Hills.

September 17, 2006|John Spano | Times Staff Writer

In Los Angeles, "Star Trek" is definitely a family affair.

That was the case Saturday as dozens of aficionados flocked to Beverly Hills to see a collection of memorabilia that will be auctioned at Christie's next month.

People came to reconnect with the science fiction series that was first broadcast on American television 40 years ago and still exerts a hold that extends well beyond nostalgia.

The "Star Trek" franchise, which finished a run of five series in 2005, is one of the two most lucrative in movie and television history, along with "Star Wars." There have been 10 "Star Trek" movies, with Paramount now planning an 11th. More than 500 "Star Trek" books have been published, selling tens of millions of copies.

A bit of that luster was captured in a 44-by-27-foot showroom at the Beverly Hills auction house that held the center of attention: a modest group of artifacts from television and movies.

On display was one of Capt. James T. Kirk's scarlet military tunics, estimated to command a price of $8,000; a Romulan Warbird spaceship model for perhaps $15,000; and Mr. Spock's simple white cotton headband, good for an estimated $700.

For many of the dozens who came in the first several hours Saturday, the last of three days of public viewings, the "Star Trek" connections run deep.

Silvert Glarum of Valley Village brought his sons, 6-year-old Evan and 3-year-old Willy. Glarum has been a fan since childhood in the mid-1970s, and when he acquired a complete DVD set of one of the television series last year, his elder son followed suit.

"It's really interesting watching Evan getting into it," Glarum said. "He really identifies with the characters. Watching the show through his eyes shows how timeless the original show was, and how timeless those characters were."

Glarum said Evan reacted strongly to the theme of friendship between Kirk, the courageous leader of a deep-space expedition in the distant future, and Spock, his brainiac second in command.

Evan can't wait for Halloween. He'll be Kirk.

He gives a quick tour around the hall of his favorites: Kirk's uniform, the spaceship model, and a three-dimensional chess set. Evan says he likes to play checkers with his dad.

Amy Connolly and David Trotti of Pacific Palisades met on the "Star Trek" set at Paramount, where he worked as a first assistant director. She was visiting her mother, who also worked at the studio.

"He put me in a costume and used me on the background. It was a big thrill. We became friends, fell in love," Connolly said. They were married in 2001 and had a daughter, Chelsea, in 2003. The baby shower was held on the set, in the mess hall of the starship Enterprise.

Mark Clason started watching in the 1960s and has strong memories of sitting with his dad, watching the series "on a little black and white TV." Saturday's showing was "a little disappointing," Clason said. "This was pretty much what they had on display in Vegas [three weeks ago]. I was hoping to see more."

Clason, a self-described Christian deejay, said a fellow churchgoer once questioned his obsession, or his faith.

"He asked me, 'How can you be a Christian and enjoy "Star Trek?" ' I looked him right in the eye and said, 'Relax. It's fiction.' "

The Warbird model and uniforms are among about 30 set and production pieces that have been touring the U.S. and parts of Europe on their way to New York for the Oct. 5 auction, called "40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection."

It features more than 1,000 items drawn from the CBS Paramount Television Studios archives and is expected to generate $3 million in sales.

Colleen Meek, the Christie's executive on duty Saturday, confessed to little personal interest in the "Star Trek" auction.

"You can't be passionate about everything," Meek said. "But I appreciate it. And it's fun."

john.spano@latimes.com

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