In Space, No One Can Hear You Rot

What remains of the shuttlecraft Galileo, a prop from the original Star Trek series, sold in June for the incredible price of $70,000. Astonishing might be a better word, given its condition after being left outdoors in the rain.

The Galileo is constructed of plywood (you were expecting titanium?). It’s wedge-shaped, 24 feet long, 9 feet wide at the front, 14 feet wide at the tail, and 9 feet high. And empty as a barn.

Since the Sixties Galileo has had several owners. This video history [YouTube] says it was once displayed at Creation Cons. Later, the Galileo was acquired by fans with plans to do a full restoration. They hauled it from Palm Springs to Akron, Ohio and went to work in the spring of 1991. But they didn’t finish. Disappointed owner Lynn Miller writes, “We have spent over $100,000 over the years to store and restore this thing. Anyone that I hired let me down and each time I got something accomplished it was ruined by incompetent people I hired.” Especially the contractor who stored it outside.

When Galileo went up for auction last month bidders were offered the shell, the trailer it rides on, plus the other disassembled bits and pieces. Even though she’s no longer a beauty the vessel still commands some admirers with deep pockets — three rival bidders pushed the price to $70,000 in the last 90 seconds of the auction.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

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12 thoughts on “In Space, No One Can Hear You Rot

  1. I don’t know…with this. That’s bit of money to buy something so shabby. I suppose people want to be able to be close to the authenticity of their feelings.

    I have a copy of ROCKET SHIP GALILEO, first edition by Robert A. Heinlein. Ex Libris, from a high school. Someone gave it to me, knowing I read “the stuff”. It looks like it’s worth a dime, but I can see how many times it was checked out, and realise some kids read it over and over. That’s my sense of authenticity.

  2. I know what you mean. I still have a couple books I was given after they were finally withdrawn from circulation, like Simak’s Way Station, that have sentimental value.

  3. To bad its made of plywood… otherwise you could mount it on a GM or Ford frame and use it as a mobile motor home.

  4. There used to be a SoCal fan with a white van painted up like a shuttlecraft. I especially remember seeing him pulled aside for further questioning at the Canadian border when a bunch of us crossed through in Bruce Pelz’ van en route to the Vancouver Westercon in 1977.

  5. I can recall talking to a man who was kind of an agent for H.R. Giger. He worked for Penthouse Magazine. He took a good portion of the art show with Giger’s work. I asked him what happened to the Giger inspired sets of ALIEN. He said, “When the movie was done, the sets were bulldozed.”

    Well, this kind of casual manner is prevelant in Hollywood. Or was.

  6. The worst deterioration came from Paramount leaving it exposed to the weather on an outdoor storage lot for over twenty years. My understanding is that fans discovered it just short of a scheduled removal and destruction. It was strictly an exterior, with the interior of the shuttlecraft being a set on one of the sound stages. It would have to have had Time Lord technology for people to be filmed inside it as the “interior” was larger than the exterior mock-up.

    It may be that Ronald D. Moore’s BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Raptors were designed with the lesson of the GALILEO and other Starfleet shuttlecraft in mind, as the door on the Raptor was big enough for a steadicam camera operator to get inside and film over the ECM pilot’s shoulder as data appeared in real-time on the interior monitors.

  7. The van painted to look like a shuttlecraft was, I was told, owned by James T. Kirk, a fan in the L. A. area who was a Young William Shatner look-a-like who had his name legally changed.

    I saw it in a Westercon hotel parking lot, and it was in fact painted to be as close to the t.v. shuttlecraft exterior as possible. If Canadian border guards pulled him aside for questioning because of the van’s paint job, that was absurd and inappropriate. It they pulled him aside because his driver’s license was in the name of “James T. Kirk”, on the gripping hand, I can understand their concern and desire to check its authenticity.

  8. Ah, the Canadian Border gaurds get upset with you if they ask the question “where are you from?” and if you answer “America”; they make even more requests and inquire if they can search your luggage.

    The correct answer is “United States.” Canada is part of America.

    Happened to me.

  9. Are there really Canadians who identify themselves as Americans to people from other countries?

  10. Eh? Maybe. i traveled with someone who has spent time there, and that was his side of the story. Maybe they didn’t like my hair or my beard or both. I can recall the dialog of a few points (to me): “what do you do?”
    Me: Mark 2 operator. “what’s that?” “I work in the post office.” “What do you do?” “Canine Control Officer Stamford Connecticut.” “What?” “Dogcatcher.” “And what do you do? “I don’t do anything. I’m a student.” Then my friend produced his Diplomatic Passport (son of a Rangoon diplomat) and we were let in without the car being taken apart.

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