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Art Binninger's STAR TRIX: Of Clay And Cardboard

6. Up In Smoke: STAR TRIX III

Home | 1. Pre-Trix: Getting from There to Here | 1a. Tom Vs. Joe La Rita Filmography 1970-1972 | Tom Vs. Joe La Rita Episodes 9 - 16 | Tom Vs. Joe La Rita 17 - 24 | 2. Airman Art | 3. A Starship Is Born | 4. The Changing Scene | 5.The Second Time Around: STAR TRIX II | 6. Up In Smoke: STAR TRIX III | 7. Out of Uniform, Into the World | 8. The New Trek Begins | 9. Sidetracked and SMEGed | 10. Building Sets And Momentum | 10a Sliding Into Space | 11. Lights! Camera! Stop-Action! | 12. Kitchen Counter Cinema | 13. STAR TRIX: THE FLICK | 14. STAR TRIX: THE FLICK Reel 2 | 15. Silly Art, TRIX Are For Lawyers | 16. Moving On | 17. ESCAPE FROM VEGAPINTO | About Me | Favorite Links | Contact Me

Ending The Series With A Bang

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The Tropics Apartments, not quite the Barracks

   After finishing the soundtrack recording on STAR TRIX II, which was the final step in my process as mentioned earlier, I was swept up in the exodus from the old barracks. I was given the choice of moving to the Mods and taking on a roommate or moving off-base to an apartment with two roommates. I chose the latter and joined Airmen Al Folaron and Ed Rudnicki (the voice of Sterno the Klepton) in a 2-bedroom apartment in Lompoc around October of 1974. We managed to acclimate ourselves to singles living without too many conflicts but my filmmaking activities were curtailed for a while.
   Al left us for married life not long after the Christmas holidays so I had a little more room to attempt some new projects. By about May of 1975, Ed wanted to move to a better place but we needed a third roommate to be able to afford the apartment he had in mind. The Air Force paid us a certain amount of money for off-base quarters until the new dormitories were built but it wasn't enough for one person to live on his own, hence the coupling and tripling of roommates. One of the other by-products of this arrangement was that the base chow halls were losing silverware, salt and pepper shakers and other articles to the G.I. households.
   About August of 1975, I started the final STAR TRIX short at our new place. The story had been written in November 1974 during a temporary duty assignment with several other Mopic lab personnel at Norton AFB in San Bernadino. Since my films were generally a one-man band affair, I never storyboarded anything. Just a few pages of written out dialogue and settings was all I needed. The STAR TRIX III script, which I still have, is only five and one third pages long. It was going to be subtitled "Spaced Out" but I never got around to making the title card.

Dick Firth observing the bridge destruction.
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   It was a relatively quick shoot using established sets and characters. Also, most of the starship scenes were already done so I only needed shots of the ship composited with the blue planet slide. The unknown factor was the final sequence where the sets were burned before the Fulton's Folly self-destructed. Richard Firth, the captain's voice, generously allowed me the use of his garage and the laboratory Quality Control supervisor Ben Bosserman handled the pyrotechnics. Ben brought along different types of gun powder that burned at varying rates and sprinkled trails of it around the sets. He placed some piles that would flare up dramatically when the flames would reach it. Occasionally, the Yashica's auto-exposure would start to shut down when the sparks got extremely bright but it managed to capture the spectacle quite well.

The viewscreen gets toasted.
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   The film moved at a nice pace and my experience with shooting and syncing the dialogue was much improved over the first STAR TRIX. The only lag in the pace came during the fire sequences. Due to Newsfilm Laboratory having a 200 foot minimum charge for prints, I tried to pad the film a bit to get my money's worth. Music for this sequence was pulled from the American soundtrack album for the Beatles film HELP!. Ken Thorne's rendition of Wagner's Overture to Act III of "Lohengrin" complimented the scenes of flaming cardboard quite nicely. Since these films were not intended for commercial release, I didn't see any problem with using copyrighted music. This would cause some headaches years later.
   At first, I was going to attempt a total destruction of the sets. However, there was interest expressed by the Base Information office (I was doing cartooning for the Vandenberg newspaper THE MESA MISSILIER at the time) in doing a short film using the STAR TRIX characters. Although I refitted the sets, the project got mired in politics and eventually was dropped. I gave the sets away to a young airman at the Photo Squadron before I left the Air Force on May 3, 1976. For all I know, they may still be sitting in an attic or basement somewhere after 30 years.

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Mr. Scotch enjoys a snort while Crewman Allthums checks the self-destruct device.
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Allthums invites Scotch to check her work.
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It looks fine to the bleary-eyed Scotch.
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Green light! The self-destruct mechanism is armed!
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An annoyed Klurk is waiting for Mr. Specks.
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"...playing strip poker with the medical computer."
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The food synthesizers are picking up messages to the bridge.

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Specks informs the captain that the self-destruct mechanism is on.
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Klurk orders the self-destruct device to turn off but is razzed by the machine.
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Allthums and Scotch are ordered to shut down self-destruct.
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The self-destruct device shuts down Allthums.
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Scotch reacts with grace and reserve, then bolts.
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Scotch arrives on the bridge with the troublesome news.
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When the captain demands to know where Allthums went, Scotch tells him "where no man has gone before". 

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Pastafazoola interjects "We're approaching planet Vega-Pinto".
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Scotch is unable to stop it. Less than 10 minutes to detonation.
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Klurk leaps into action.
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The captain calmly explains the impending disaster.

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The bridge crew also reacts with grace and reserve, then bolt.
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Inside the transporter room, the crew prepare to abandon ship.
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The self-destruct panel does it's self-destruct thing.
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Farewell to the Fulton's Folly.
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On the planet surface, Klurk gives Scotch a tongue-lashing.
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All is not lost as Specks pitches a new series.

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