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Featured CED VideoDisc No. 14 - Fall 1999


Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture CED This was the first Star Trek movie available on CED, being released in the first year of production. It was followed by the second and third movies, and there were also twelve episodes of the original Star Trek series available on CED, with two episodes per disc. The second and third movies were in stereo, but Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP) was only released in mono, even though the worm hole scene from the movie was featured on RCA's Stereo Demo Disc. RCA had planned to release all the original Star Trek episodes on CED, but poor sales may have prompted them to cancel this plan, as the Star Trek discs stopped appearing long before CED production ceased. I chose this movie to be the Featured CED as I'm writing another piece on the Voyager Interstellar Record and the two topics relate to each other. The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft both carry grooved records of images and sounds of Earth that people sometimes mistakenly believe are CED's, and though the mythical Voyager 6 seen in Star Trek: TMP doesn't have one of these records, it does have a plaque mounted in the same location, and that plaque figures prominently in the plot of the movie. The cover illustration of Star Trek: TMP reminds me a lot of the CED rainbow RCA later used on their fanfare for CED titles released in the 1982 time frame.


Star Trek: TMP Easter Egg This is an interesting Easter Egg buried in the sequence where Spock is drifting through V'Ger's inner chamber. This scene begins at 2:18 into Side 3 of the CED as Spock is uttering the phrase "The Epsilon 9 Station stored here with every detail." It shows a likeness of Darth Vader similar to that in the background on the Star Wars CED Cover, and immediately below him is a smaller likeness of Miss Piggy.


Star Trek: TMP Voyager Plaque This is a view of the Voyager 6 plaque beginning at 20:53 into Side 3 of the CED, showing the plaque mounted in the same location as the Voyager Interstellar Record on the real Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. The three small images seen to the right of Kirk's hands are actually from a plaque mounted on NASA's LAGEOS 1 Satellite launched in 1976. This satellite has an extremely high circular orbit and will orbit Earth for about 8 million years. The LAGEOS plaque represents a "time capsule" for Earth's inhabitants of that epoch. The center image shows the Earth's continents as they appear today, while the top image shows them 268 million years ago, when they were much closer together, The lower image shows them 8 million years in the future, at the approximate time the satellite may be recovered. The LAGEOS plaque was designed by Carl Sagan, who was also instrumental in the design of the Voyager Record and the plaques placed on the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. One of the images on the Voyager Record is a rendition of the LAGEOS plaque.


Star Trek: TMP Voyager Spacecraft This is an actual picture of one of NASA's Voyager spacecraft, photographed with a black background to simulate what it looks like in interstellar space. The gold-plated cover of the Voyager Interstellar Record can be seen near the center of the picture. Unlike the LAGEOS plaque, the Voyager record is intended to carry information to other parts of the galaxy. The record is made of gold-plated copper, and barring the unlikely event of a major collision, should last for a billion years or more. The spacecraft also carry a stylus cartridge and pictorial instructions for playing the record. It's interesting to compare this real Voyager spacecraft with the pretty accurate mock-up used in Star Trek: TMP. The spacecraft first appears at 19:10 into side 3 of the CED.

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