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Mr. Trumbull had done some work for television as well.

[After 2001,] “...I set up my own little company, which was just in a little tiny room, and I replicated the animation stand from 2001 because I knew I could do graphics for television commercials and network identifications, and I came with this newfound understanding of photography and blurs and controlled blurs and the whole slit scan thing that I developed for 2001. I immediately started applying that to logos for television stations and commercials, so I was able to make a living at it pretty quickly.” 4

An example of this work was with ABC’s “Movie of the Week” opening.



“Barry Diller had this idea for made-for-television movies,“ says Harry Marks, then head of On-Air Advertising (promo).


“He named it "Movie of the Week" and created a new television format. He asked me to come up with a special title treatment for this new concept, and I enlisted someone I'd recently met, Doug Trumbull, whose last job was ‘2001: A Space Odyssey'.


"Doug had come to the office looking for work after working on 2001 for several years in England. I hadn't seen the movie, but he had the out-takes of the "Stargate" sequence with him. When I saw them I knew there had to be a way to transform Doug's brilliant abstractions into something that used typography. It worked and set the path for television graphics that followed.” 5.


Soon after 2001, Mr. Trumbull contributed to the opening and closing sequences of the movie Candy, 1968 Cinerama Releasing Corporation. Those scenes give the appearance of having been hastily inserted to capitalize on the success of the 2001. Candy is based on Terry Southern's satirical novel, a send up of Voltaire's “Candide“. Young Candy is a high school girl who seeks truth and meaning in life, encountering a variety of kookie characters and humorous sexual situations in the process.


In 1971 he did special photographic effects for the movie The Andromeda Strain, about a group of scientists investigate a deadly new alien virus before it can spread.

In 1972, Mr. Trumbull directed his first feature film, Silent Running. Its central theme is that man, even at the risk of madness, must be his own saviour. Bruce Dern stars as Freeman Lowell, adrift in the spaceship "Valley Forge", part of a fleet of ships which are in essence a Garden of Eden. Each ship has attached a number of huge domes, like sophisticated greenhouses, each one housing a different flora and fauna. These were intended to refurbish an Earth devastated by nuclear war.


The commentary tracks on the Silent Running DVD explain that George Lucas approached Mr. Trumbull to do the effects for Star Wars, because of Silent Running. Mr. Trumbull turned the job down (Lucas hired his father Don Trumbull, though). Lucas then told Trumbull that he really liked aspects of the film—particularly the "drones"—and asked if it was OK if he "did something similar" in his new movie. So, ultimately, R2-D2 is owed, in part, to Silent Running.


In 1973, Silent Running was nominated for the Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation.


Following Silent Running, Mr. Trumbull was a developing partner in the Canadian sci-fi series The Starlost devised by writer Harlan Ellison, but eventually bowed out before the project went into production. 6

1977 brought Close Encounters of the Third Kind to the world. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a science-fiction movie about UFOs, written and directed by Steven Spielberg. It’s about a line worker, after a encounter with UFO's, feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.


In 1978, the movie won an Oscar at the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Director, Best Effects, Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score, and Best Sound.

There will be more about Close Encounters later in this article, as it relates to Blade Runner.


In 1979, the movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released. It is the first feature film based on the original TV series (1966-1969).


The film was directed by Robert Wise. The special effects for the movie became one of the biggest production problems. Half way through production it was decided that original effects company working on the project, Robert Abel and Associates, were not up to the task of producing the large number of scenes. In March of 1979 Paramount offered Douglas Trumbull's effect company, Future General, a virtual blank check if they could get all the effects work done by the Christmas release date. Most of the work done by Robert Abel up to that point was scrapped (the wormhole sequence seems to be the only "Able" effects scene that made it into the final film). Trumbull went ahead with the job to re-visualize and rework most of the effects scenes, using the same crew and equipment from the just finished Close Encounters and even subcontracted work out to John Dykstra (Star Wars).


The entire segment of Spock entering V'Ger alone was filmed at the last minute (in June 1979) by Douglas Trumbull, who wrote and directed the sequence. The original sequence, showing Spock and Kirk entering V'Ger's memory core, had been in production but abandoned when it was determined that the sequence brought the movie to a halt and that the costs of the wire-removal and other effects would consume much of the entire effects budget for the film. 7.


Star Trek: The Motion Picture was nominated in 1980 for 3 Oscars, including Best Effects/ Visual Effects; another 2 wins, including the Saturn Award for Best Special Effects; and 15 other nominations.




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