'Star Trek' Wax Figures Get New Mission: Helping Museum - NBC Chicago

'Star Trek' Wax Figures Get New Mission: Helping Museum

"This is kind of a holy grail of Trek fandom," the museum's founder, Huston Huddleston, said



    Lady Gaga Brings In R. Kelly For New Single
    File, AP
    File - This undated file photo shows actors in the TV series "Star Trek," from left, Leonard Nimoy as Commander Spock, William Shatner as Captain Kirk, DeForest Kelley as Doctor McCoy and James Doohan as Commander Scott. The Hollywood Science Fiction Museum recently purchased life-size wax figures of all seven crew members from "Star Trek" in an effort to raise funds.

    The starship Enterprise has a new five-year mission: to boldly go and raise money to help a quirky museum live long and prosper.

    The Hollywood Science Fiction Museum recently took possession of life-sized wax figures of all seven crew members from the original "Star Trek" TV series, including Capt. Kirk.

    The figures and a replica of the Enterprise bridge had spent a decade in storage.

    "This is kind of a holy grail of Trek fandom," museum founder Huston Huddleston said in an online museum video.

    "Star Trek" Beams Up Big Bucks At The Box Office

    [NATL] "Star Trek" Beams Up Big Bucks At The Box Office
    The Sci-Fi blockbuster debuts in the top spot. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" plunges to second place. The other big newcomer, "Next Day Air", opens in sixth place.
    (Published Monday, May 11, 2009)

    The figures were crafted for the Movieland Wax Museum, a Buena Park tourist attraction. Around 10 years ago, the defunct museum auctioned off its contents, including the figures that had drawn generations of Trekkies.

    "As far as anyone knew, it was lost," Huddleston said Wednesday of the Trek tableau. "It was either in a rich person's house and never seen again, or it was destroyed...nobody knew."

    In fact, the intrepid crew had been rescued.

    At the museum auction, Steve and Lori Greenthal ponied up $40,000 for Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Uhura, Dr. "Bones" McCoy, Chekov and Engineer Scott.

    They wanted to keep the set from being broken up.

    "We took them home and put them in our dining room," Lori told the Orange County Register.

    'Tonight': How Black Women Helped Stop Roy Moore

    [NATL] 'Tonight': Yamaneika Saunders on How Black Women Helped Stop Roy Moore

    "Tonight Show" correspondent Yamaneika Saunders tells Jimmy Fallon her back and every black woman's back across America hurts from carrying the weight of the election in Alabama. She says black women are as excited as Roy Moore would be if he was allowed back into Limited Too. 

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    Steve didn't like the way their life-like eyes stared.

    "We put paper bags over their heads," he said.

    Steve called a buddy, Chris Liebl of Anaheim, and they hatched a plan to make money from the figures. Liebl offered to pay half the purchase price and together they spent another $40,000 building a 20-by-30-foot mockup of the Enterprise bridge, complete with sounds effects from the TV show.

    They took the set to Las Vegas for a 40th Star Trek anniversary gathering and sold about 800 photographs of people posing with the figures. George Takei, who played Sulu, and Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Uhuru, even stopped by to pose with their alter egos.

    But the venture didn't make money and the setup was cumbersome.

    So the figures eventually were dismantled and the wax heads and hands placed in cold storage. The bridge set was stored in a hangar at the Fullerton airport.

    'Tonight': Jaboukie Young-White Performs TV Stand-Up Debut

    [NATL] 'Tonight': Jaboukie Young-White Performs TV Stand-Up Debut

    Jaboukie Young-White makes his TV stand-up debut with jokes about how his race changes city to city, why millennials are broke and how Donald Trump's presidency makes everyday tasks revolutionary.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    However, the airport now needs the hangar for other things.

    Three months ago, the owners donated the set and its wax crew to the museum. On a recent weekend, they held a party to say goodbye.

    "I've been on an emotional roller coaster," Lori Greenthal told the Register. "I'm happy they're going to be together and on display. It brings such joy to so many people."

    The museum held a successful Kickstarter campaign to pay for about $14,000 to cover the expected costs of restoring the figures.

    "Most of them are great shape," Huddleston said. "The only damage is their hair was messed up over the years and also 30 years of really harsh light on them had made their paint fade off."

    Spock's figure already has been restored. Among other things, that meant removing a "terrible, tacky wig" that someone had stuck on top of the figure's original hair, which was composed of individual strands painstakingly punched into the wax, Huddleston said.

    'Late Night': Black Women Axed Moore and Omarosa in 1 Night

    [NATL] 'Late Night': Black Women Got Rid of Roy Moore and Omarosa in 1 Night

    "Tonight Show" correspondent Amber Ruffin says "you're welcome" on behalf of black women for the Democratic win in Alabama's Senate race. She enthusiastically says black women not only got rid of Roy Moore, but they also got rid of Omarosa, "both in one night!"

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    The nonprofit museum, which has no permanent home, plans to take the figures on a five-year North American tour beginning later this year in Los Angeles, Huddleston said.

    The tour will help raise money to give the museum a home in North Hollywood.

    Meanwhile, the Spock and McCoy figures will be introduced at the Wondercon convention in Anaheim that begins Friday, Huddleston said.

    Huddleston called the figures "true pieces of art."

    "I'm living a nerd's dream," he said.