We sometimes get questions about the “No Smoking” sign we have in our Star Trek Phase II Transporter Room:
There were no “No Smoking” signs in The Original Series–neither on the bridge nor in the Transporter Room. Other than an appearance on the Earth-like planet in the episode “Miri,” the first appearance of a “No Smoking” sign (and fire extinguishers) is in the second Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan. Director Nicholas Meyer wanted to add a few touches that make the Star Trek universe and the people in it seem a little more real and a little more “like us” and not quite so idealized people of the future. In an interview, Meyer said:
“One of the reasons I did this picture was to make the people real. That’s all that interests me. Why can’t Captain Kirk read a book? Why can’t he do anything that we do? One of the things I had to back off on was having him smoke. There’s a sign in the simulator that says “No Smoking on the Bridge.” Somebody [well, it was Gene Roddenberry] said they’re not going to smoke in the 23rd Century. I said “Why Not?” They’ve been smoking for four hundred years. People haven’t given it up despite the Surgeon General’s warning. Why can’t they drink a cup of coffee? I kept thinking that the bridge was like the bridge of a destroyer with fog around and guys in pea jackets coming up with coffee.”
Indeed, the “No Smoking Anytime on Bridge” signage can be seen adjacent to each of the two turbolifts on the “Mark IV Simulator” during the Kobayashi Maru scenario.
Here it is next to the port-side turbolift (with a fire extinguisher on the other side of the door).
And the starboard-side turbolift has the same signage:
You can read the signage hiding back behind Captain Spock a little bit better in this shot:
Of course, this same set had to be used not only as the Bridge Simulator but as the Enterprise Bridge and the Reliant Bridge as well–so they had to make some changes each time the set was redressed. Even the red fire extinguishers from the Simulator were swapped out with silver colored ones for the “actual” Enterprise Bridge in order to make the sets look different. The “No Smoking” signage appears only in the Bridge Simulator, not on the actual Enterprise Bridge itself, and not on the Reliant Bridge. Here’s a shot of the Enterprise Bridge:
…and a shot of the Reliant Bridge:
You can also see that the signage wasn’t present in The Motion Picture at either turbolift:
And they aren’t present on the Bridge in The Search for Spock (and the fire extinguishers are gone, too):
So, when do we start seeing the “No Smoking” sign in the Transporter Room? Well, it’s not in The Motion Picture (since the signs started with director Nick Meyer in the second movie). Here are some shots of the Transporter Room from TMP–with no “No Smoking” signs in sight:
Some signage does appear in the Transporter Room in The Wrath of Khan. But this “Caution” sign has just two rules on it–“Place feet in center of pad” and “Keep extremities within transporter field.” (The word “Caution” is on the left and these two safety rules are one above the other over on the right.) But this signage doesn’t yet have “Rule No. 1: No Smoking.” You can see the signs on both the left and right side of the transporter chamber in the Transporter Room of “Space Laboratory Regula I:”
…and in the Transporter Room of the Enterprise itself (again with just two rules):
The “Caution/No Smoking” sign finally shows up in The Search For Spock. Two of them are in the Transporter Room identified in the script as “INT. SHABBY TRANSPORTER STATION.” Commander Uhura identifies the locale as “Old City Station.” (Which “Old City”–San Francisco? Philadelphia? Atlanta?) The signs can be seen on either side of the transporter chamber, and the word “Caution” is now on top and the three safety rules are below it:
…and one of them is in the corridor outside the “INT. SHABBY TRANSPORTER STATION” Transporter Room as well:
And then, finally, the “Caution/No Smoking” sign appears in the Enterprise Transporter Room itself a bit later in the movie–as the Klingons beam aboard the soon-to-be destroyed Enterprise:
We get a good look at the sign in the wraparound commentary with Gene Roddenberry that was shot for the special version of “The Cage” that was aired for Trek‘s 20th anniversary in 1986. It is Gene Roddenberry’s commentary shot around the time of The Search for Spock but appearing in the context of the release of “The Cage” that sometimes makes people mistakenly think that the signage actually appeared during “The Cage” itself.
So, that’s the deal on the “No Smoking” sign. Its one and only canon appearance on the Enterprise itself is during a brief shot in the Transporter Room in The Search for Spock.
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