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Curt McAloney

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Curtis "Curt" A. McAloney (born 1955) is a cinematographer who has, around 2005, embarked on a mission to digitally restore film clippings that originated from the production of Star Trek: The Original Series.

At the time that the Original Series was in production, 1966-1969, it was in the entire motion picture industry neither commonplace to save or archive shot footage, that was either edited out in post-production, or never intended to be released in the first place, nor was it customary to record or save production history for posterity. The latter case was left to individuals, working on the production, to do so on their own accord if they were so inclined, like background performer William Blackburn, or Producer Robert Justman. This footage usually consisted of deleted scenes, test shots, bloopers, outtakes and rare production behind-the-scenes footage. Clippings of these were simply discarded, at least according to then Executive Producer Gene Roddenberry, resulting in that published behind-the-scenes visuals of the production, those in color in particular, are relatively rare, in comparison with the later franchise productions.

In those years however, Roddenberry, habitually collected, or stole as it turned out later, these clippings whenever he was able to and later, after production had wrapped, sold them, often cut up as framed production stills, in the late 1960s, early 1970s as merchandise through his company Lincoln Enterprises at Star Trek conventions. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, 1997, pp. 400-401) Two exceptionally rare reels of non-cast production behind-the-scenes footage, featuring the filming of eleven foot Enterprise model, the D7 class model, as well as the SS Botany Bay model, have been sold on 23 April 2003 as lot 135 in the Profiles in History's "The Ultimate Sci-Fi Auction" for US$1,000, having had an estimate of US$1,000-$1,500.

It should be noted that virtually all known color behind-the-scenes imagery of the Original Series originated from these clippings. It is perhaps insufficiently realized by post-World War II generations, reinforced by the increasing trend to digitally color movies and historical footage that were originally shot in black and white, that, while color still photography was around since 1900, it was at that time a costly proposition for the vast majority of ordinary consumers, due to the cost of chemical processes involved in developing a color film, as indeed it was for most television studios (though in all fairness there was no need for it as color television sets only became widely affordable from the mid-1960s onward), The Original Series being one of the first television series in full color, as it was emphatically marketed at he time. Of Robert Justman, for example, is known that he took behind-the-scenes pictures on a regular basis – most published behind-the-scenes pictures stemming from this era were from his collection –, but these, like other still photographs taken at the time, were all in black and white. It was not until the early 1970s that still color photography became more affordable for the "masses" and that color pictures became norm, rather than exception.

DY-100 and USS Enterprise studio models filmed at Film Effects of Hollywood, uncorrected image DY-100 and USS Enterprise studio models filmed at Film Effects of Hollywood
Damaged and color shifted image of the DY-100-class and USS Enterprise studio models and McAloney's, near identical image on the right, now corrected for damage and color shifting

It is exactly this color production material, McAloney specializes in, or as he had put it on an older version of his website, "The goal for this web page is to create a repository of restored images showing the production aspects of the original Star Trek series. This would include out takes, deleted scenes, close-ups of props, effects scenes and publicity photos.(...)These behind the scenes aspects of the series should be preserved for posterity before they disappear." As cinematographer, McAloney is acutely aware that the film material of the 1960s deteriorates over years. On his website, "StarTrekHistory.com", he invites owners of these clippings to submit their material for restoration for free. As form of payment, McAloney reserves the publication rights of the restored versions of the material that "can be used as startrekhistory.com sees fit, such as posting on the internet or used for any other venture". Several clip owners have taken up McAloney's offer, and his website currently features a growing library of unique Original Series production material.

McAloney has been joined by partners Dave Tilotta and Dave Rolf. Tilotta, who contributed many film clippings, is in daily life a professor of chemistry at North Carolina State University (an useful skill in restoring old film clips), whereas Rolf is the site's resident Star Trek history interviewer, researcher and video editor. It was on Rolf's initiative that the website was started to bring the work to the attention of the public at large. [1] Like McAloney, both men volunteer their efforts to the undertaking. In recent years, their work has been discovered by licensed publishers. Their restored material, usually fully credited, has appeared in, among others:

The article for Star Trek Magazine 120 was well received by its then Chief Editor John Freeman, who recalled, "My favourite feature this issue is probably our revamped Flashback feature, which covers the making of the ST: TOS episode "Space Seed" and features some great behind the scenes visual effects images. Some of these have appeared online but a guy called Curt McAloney has digitally restored them and they look terrific." [2]

Actually, in more than one way, McAloneys's "remastering" efforts did resemble those of Gerald Gurian (who, likewise had contributed as such to The Original Series 365), but it should however, concurrently be noted that both efforts are in no way whatsoever connected with each other.

A project on personal title, McAloney, works in daily life as Art Director, Graphic Designer, and Cinematographer, operating his own company, "Curt's Media, Inc.", mostly for Internet publishers and corporations.

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