There is a prop we saw four times in The Original Series. It’s a billfold-envelope-thing that Captain Kirk generally keeps in the “safe” in his quarters.
The script for “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” indicates that Mister Spock asks Captain Kirk “You’re going back down with the Command Pack?” To which Kirk replies “Mind your own business Mister Spock. I’m sick of your half-breed interference, do you hear?” So evidently this official document holder envelope-thing is called a “Command Pack.”
We see the Command Pack four times:
It’s in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” (It’s in Kirk’s left hand.)
(You can see that “Captain Kirk” removes a number of heavy-weight cards from the envelope and thumbs through them.)
It’s in “The Menagerie, Part 1.”
(It’s under Kirk’s left arm–which is the best shot of it at the TrekCore web site–although I was able to snag a shot from my DVD from a few moments later in the episode that’s a little bit better. Kirk places it on the tabletop between himself and the “log book” PADD-thing with the stylus. (It’s this appearance of the Command Pack from “The Menagerie” that some people overlook because it’s the one appearance where the Pack doesn’t show up in the context of Kirk’s wall safe in his quarters.)
It’s in “This Side of Paradise.”
And lastly, it’s in “The Tholian Web.”
This appearance of the Command Pack in “The Tholian Web” is a little bit different. In this episode, the Pack seems to have some kind of label or identification plate on the front of the Pack in addition to the command insignia.
Also, clearly identifiable in “The Tholian Web” when Mister Spock tosses the yellow “Final Orders” data tape card thing back into the Pack is the fact that the Pack actually has an envelope-style triangular flap back. So it isn’t just a bi-fold holder like a checkbook. It’s a leather or vinyl envelope:
So, here’s my leather Command Pack as seen in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” and “The Menagerie, Part 1″ and “This Side of Paradise.” (My earliest Command Pack that I cobbled together in haste used just whatever command patch I had lying around. Please forgive the inaccuracies.)
You can see that it has an envelope-style back:
Here’s the Command Pack in its “The Tholian Web” incarnation. (In “The Tholian Web,” the text on the label is just below the level of screen resolution, so this was just my fannish speculation on what it might have read.)
…and Captain Kirk’s “Final Orders” tape deck card:
And here are both styles of Command Packs together:
Shortly after making these Packs, Mr. James Cawley provided me some much more screen-accurate command patches.
My leather envelopes are from Executive Gift Shop: http://www.executivegiftshoppe.com. (They’d love to have your business.)
The patch is from—oh, I don’t know—somewhere on ebay, I think (that is, the pre-James patch).
The engraved brass name plate is from Halex Awards & Gifts: http://www.halexawards.com. (They’d probably love to have your business, too.)
In making the name plate, all I could really discern was that it appeared to be three blocks of text on the top row and three more chunks of text on the bottom row. A short time after getting my little name plate made up with my speculative “JAMES TIBERIUS KIRK / U.S.S. ENTERPRISE NCC-1701.” it dawned on me that even if the plate was below the level of even HD resolution in “The Tholian Web,” perhaps the shooting script contained some content that identifies what was to have been written on the label.
So, I consulted the “Sacred Texts” and pulled out the actual shooting script for “The Tholian Web” to see what, if anything, it says at the relevant scene. Indeed, it turns out, we got lucky and we have an answer. The action picks up with Scene 81:
81 ANGLE TO PANEL
as Spock takes out a leather envelope.
82 ANGLE TO McCOY
Yes, I have something to do.
Now, if the crew is to survive,
I have to find the antidote to
this space you have locked us
We will return to our duties as
soon as this responsibility is
Spock extricates a cartridge from the envelope.
83 CLOSE-UP LABEL (INSERT)
“FIRST OFFICER SPOCK, DR. LEONARD McCOY.”
No hurry, Mister Spock. The antidote
doesn’t concern you. Vulcans are
probably immune. So interspace
doesn’t affect you. Take your
Spock places the cartridge in place. The trembling of
his hand, the difficulty seating the tape is evident.
(You have noticed that Spock’s hand is trembling and he has a hard time getting the tape in its slot, haven’t you?)
So, the script indicates that the label reads “FIRST OFFICER SPOCK, DR. LEONARD McCOY.” And indeed, the word blocks in the screen shot (three blocks of text on each of two lines) would appear to match this text–better than my conjectured text matches. (And yes, it looks like they decided to label the envelope, rather than the tape itself.)
So I had a more accurate name plate made. (Actually, I had four of them made up–just to make sure we are covered for eventualities.) (For those of you playing along at home, the little name plate is one inch by four inches.)
And here it is applied to the envelope.
Like with all our props, I’m not sure when or even if we’ll see this Command Pack prop. As always, our scripts and the needs of the story will dictate whether or not we’ll ever see this item.
Once again, questions, comments, feedback, and, of course, “Shares,” “Likes,” or “+1s” are greatly appreciated. Also as always, this article would be remarkably uninteresting without the benefit of all CBS Consumer Products’ Star Trek images that I have shamelessly harvested from the TrekCore website. My thanks to them for all their valuable archival work, and for making CBS’s images available.
So, are you getting any educational or entertainment value from these posts? If so, feel free to send us a couple of bucks! (See the links below to donate.)