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Dan Murphy

The Total Man Package: Phasers on Stun -- I'm on Star Trek!
by Dan Murphy

November 2004

I have boldly gone where no man has gone before. No, I'm not talking about one of the many Pharmaco guinea pig studies I've done for cash where I take a drug that is being tested for the first time in man. I'm talking about serving as Security Officer on the STAR TREK SHOW "Starship Exeter." This show follows the adventures the Starship Exeter crew, which is set in the same timeline as the original series with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.

"Starship Exeter" is the brainchild of Jimm and Josh Johnson. The show is shot like the STAR TREK of the Sixties. The sets and effects are superb. They even had DENNIS BAILEY, who has written two episodes for STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION ("Tinman" and "First Contact") help write the story. Dennis has a background in professional screenwriting and has written a number of scripts.

Objective of the show from starshipexeter.com: "The planned STARSHIP EXETER movies, 'The Tressaurian Intersection' and 'The Atlantis Invaders', are an attempt to create bigger, better STARSHIP EXETER adventures in the familiar 1960's science fiction style. The motivation for these movies is simple: We want to see a quality, new, action-adventure show based upon the universe and ideas of the 'Original Series'. We don't believe we are alone in this desire. The response received by STARSHIP EXETER 'The Savage Empire' is proof that there exists a multitude of fans yearning for a retro-style show based on the 'Original Series'.

"It is our hope that the successful completion of this project will generate such an overwhelming response, it will prove to 'the powers that be' that a show like STARSHIP EXETER, based upon the unique look and feel of the 1960's 'Original Series' has unstoppable potential and should be produced as a regular television serial or as a series of big-budget motion pictures."

Here's the synopsis for this episode from starshipexeter.com:

"STARDATE: 5013.1 (Thursday 3PM) - Starbase 16 is destroyed and Captain Garrovick's old ship, the U.S.S. Kongo, is missing. On a hunt for the perpetrators, the Exeter encounters a strange ghost out of Garrovick's past -- the Tressaurians: a savage race responsible for stranding Garrovick on planet Tangaro as a young cadet. Now, the Tressuarians are tampering with a deadly new technology. Can the crew of the Exeter uncover its secrets in time, or will this discovery lead to an even greater threat?"

I've been a fan of STAR TREK since I was little kid, so when I got the casting call in late May I was stoked. I watched the reruns covertly whenever I could. I say covertly because if my mother caught my older brother and I watching it she'd usually come in and make us shut it off. There was something about the show that terrified my mother. She'd come in saying, "Oh, this is just creepy! It's just space junk! It's gonna get you all Geared Up!"

Yet my mother had no trouble with me watching Pro Wrestling. I guess the moral complexities of STAR TREK were harder for her to follow than wrestling. My mother also wouldn't let my brother and I watch the campy '60s BATMAN.

I read for the TRANSPORTER CHIEF part. As I was walking into the room, the Assistant Director, RHONDA ABRONS, told me I had a good look for the part. Whatever good look and goodwill I garnered was destroyed, however, when I went in and did my Chuck Norris performance. The problem with my audition was that the part didn't call for an emotionless, ass-kicking, automaton from Planet Norris. This might have worked to my advantage if the role called for a Vulcan Transporter Chief. Unlike a Vulcan though, Chuck isn't suppressing his emotions. Needless to say, I was pretty sure I bombed.

To my surprise, they called me for a Callback. About a week later, they called to cancel my callback. They decided to go with someone else. And I had just memorized my lines. The good news was that they still wanted to use me as an Extra.

In June I went to ALLISON MILLER's apartment - Costumes and Wardrobe- to get fitted for my Starfleet Uniform. It was a riot. Only one uniform would fit me. The only uniform that would fit was pretty tight and Allison said they might have trouble getting me past the censors. I reassured her that although the Starfleet pants were very tight I believed they were a Dark enough shade of Black to conceal my circumcision.

Also, the only shirt that would fit was a Yellow Command Shirt. This was good news, because now they can't kill me instantly when beaming down to the planet like Red Shirt Security Personnel. This all changed when shooting began from July 16th-30th at the Austin Studios. I spent the majority of my time wearing the Red Shirt Security Officer uniform. I also did a couple of scenes in a Repair Crewman's outfit.

I had no lines. Most of my scenes consisted of shaking violently and being tossed around on the bridge in the Red Security Outfit. The local News 8 crew came out one day to film a segment about the show. The News 8 Morning Girl even put on a Starfleet Uniform and reenacted a scene with the Exeter Crew on the bridge.

This made me consider hanging out at the airport-turned-studios for several hours. News 8 (I think) runs their show 24/7 at the former Mueller Airport and also has the habit of running the same stories over and over and over and over. So, I thought I might get recognized in the Star Trek piece.

Never made it to the airport though. When I got back from shooting, I left my VCR on EP record. After fast forwarding through 4 hours of tape, I found News 8 only ran the story once.

The hours were long and it was hot at the Austin Studios. They have no air conditioning. Call times were usually from 6:00 p.m. to around 6:00 a.m. to make the temperature more bearable. I'm not complaining because I enjoyed every minute of it. This was the absolute best time I have ever had working on a project. The people were excellent, and I got to watch the whole process of making the show from the production aspects to the directing. I even got to operate the lights on a probe in one scene.

One major plus was speaking to DENNIS BAILEY for about an hour one night. As I mentioned, Dennis has background in professional screenwriting. What a pleasure! He put up with all my questions about Star Trek and writing. He's also one of the few Star Trek fans I've met who likes the new Star Trek UPN Show "Enterprise" like me.

This whole production is absolutely TOP NOTCH! You've got to see it to believe it. Go to
starshipexeter.com and click on "The Tressaurian Intersection" link on the homepage for all the details and pictures.

My only hope now is that the show will take off, I will become a big Star Trek Star, do Saturday Night Live and shout at you 9 to 5 Ham and Eggers TO GET A LIFE (like William Shatner did). Besides, you morons don't think I'm going to be a Security Officer forever, do you? I plan on advancing. I'm not going to be sitting around for years licking Kirk's boots like the rest of those lackeys (Sulu, Chekov, Uhura).

If I'm not a Commander within a few seasons they're going to have a loose cannon (or phaser) on their hands. They are going to go from "Trouble With Tribbles" to "Trouble with the Transporter Chief." What are they going to do if I start randomly transporting Klingons onboard? Or, better yet, I'll get together with my friend DAVID DACY who played a Romulan in the movie STAR TREK NEMESIS. This might make a good episode: "THE ENEMY WITHIN"!

Worst-case scenario I can still probably work The Star Trek conventions signing autographs as the Red Shirt from The Tressaurian Intersection Episode. I'll be like Sam Rockwell and his character Guy Fleegman / Security Chief 'Roc' Ingersol in GALAXY GUEST.

Oh hell, I got to go. My mother just came in. She's making me shut off Star Trek. Yeah, I'm 36, single and still live at home. I guess this kind of thing happens to you if you're a Trekkie.

Next Month: The TMP and my old Tag Team Partner Jesse "The Mind" Ventura take over the Presidency.

TAKE CARE! The Total Man Package!
WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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