Friday, July 07, 2006

Trading Card Close-up # 1: "Fate of the Klingons"

I launched one of my new blog features yesterday ("Sci-Fi Characters I Love") and today I want to usher in another new brand of post. Trading Card "close-ups" will feature looks at - you guessed it - sci-fi card fronts and backs from years past.

I usher in the series with a card from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the year 1979. Card # 4 of the set, in fact, entitled "Fate of the Klingons."

I selected this card to begin with because of the unusual nature of these particular Klingons. You may recall, before Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Klingons looked like sweaty space pirates. No bumpy foreheads. Only goatees, mind-sifters and agonizers.

So when I first cast my young eyes upon this trading card (before I even saw the movie, I think...), I was fascinated by the transformation of the familiar alien race. Plus, these Klingons look really, really cool. Klingons in later Star Trek productions ended up looking a lot less severe and alien, don't you think? Mark Lenard, Spock's father, even plays the Klingon Commander you see in this card.

Also, "the fate of the Klingons" is what opened up Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The destruction (by V'Ger) of three Klingon cruisers remains the most exciting and cinematically interesting aspect of Robert Wise's picture, if you ask me. It was a special effects show-stopper in 1979, and a way to start the movie with a blast.

As a bonus on this card, the back features a "key" to the puzzle that you can assemble by collecting all 16 cards from puzzle "B!" Yep, it's the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, replete with Persis Khambatta, and Admiral James T. Kirk, here wearing his stylish two-tone uniform. The Star Trek crew never again wore these uniforms.

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