Kirk's John Hancock
June 28, 2006 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Star Trek TOS: what were those things the attractive ensigns would bring Captain Kirk to sign in some of the episodes? He never read them, he'd just sign them, smile at the eye candy, and go back to whatever he was doing. Was this just an excuse to get eye candy on the screen or is there a real world analogue?
posted by lord_wolf to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Real World Analogue: executive secretaries used to (and perhaps still do in some formal corporate culutres) present their bosses with "signature books" full of types correspondence for them to put their John Hancock to.

The execs would put their handwritten scribbles in them for the secretaries (or the typing pool) to transcribe for later signature, and thus the cycle was completed.

Remember, we're talking about how 1966 saw the future.
posted by briank at 9:35 AM on June 28, 2006


(oops, hit the button too soon)

So, I have always assumed Kirk is signing off on written orders for a variety of administrivial things aboard ship and sizing up which chicks from the interstellar tying pool to hit on at the water cooler later.
posted by briank at 9:36 AM on June 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


I'd say it was an excuse to get some eye candy in front of the guy in charge and, yes, that is the real world analog.
posted by Nelson at 9:43 AM on June 28, 2006


Yep, Briank hit it right on.

If you watch TNG and DS9, a number of episodes opened with the leader doing paperwork alone in his office/ready room, which is the modern analog.
posted by SpecialK at 9:44 AM on June 28, 2006


At least in the episode of DS9 where they visit the original Enterprise, Kirk is handed a duty roster, although presumably it can be many other things.

(The official name for the device in all of the post-TOS series is PADD, although whether you want to retcon that to TOS is at your discretion.)
posted by cacophony at 9:51 AM on June 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


I always assumed it was the electronic version of paperwork that required the signature of the ship's captain, sort of like those LCD things FedEx and UPS carry and have you sign. In "The Deadly Years," (TOS) Kirk signs it and subsequently refers to it as a "fuel consumption report."

(I can't believe I know this)
posted by fandango_matt at 10:14 AM on June 28, 2006


Also, in "Mirror, Mirror", the "Captain's Woman" on the I.S.S. Enterprise was an electronic-clipboard-carrying hot babe aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. So those clipboards were almost certainly devised to get hot babes on screen. I don't think I ever saw a male crewmember ask Kirk (or anyone else) to sign one of those things.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:19 AM on June 28, 2006


This gets me to wondering what the secretarial pool looks like on the Enterprise. This could be the start of an entirely new spinoff for the Star Trek universe.
posted by JJ86 at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


Time sheets. Everyone had to have the time sheets signed by Friday. If Kirk was on a planet sexing up green alien babes, Spock had signature authority.

In TNG, they starfleet moved to SAP and its all done online.
posted by birdherder at 10:51 AM on June 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Isn't it the Captain's Log? Doesn't he sign one after his voice over?
posted by ewkpates at 11:21 AM on June 28, 2006


The captain's log was always audio; there were episodes where you saw him press a button at one of those 8" teevee screens on a table and start delivering his log.

A ship's captain, especially when there's 100s of people on the ship, has to deal with a lot of paperwork. I would think that there would be coxwains, quartermasters and subordinate officiers to deal with most of that. I would like to believe that the clipboards were used to give a sense of realism to the show, but some director/producer along the way said "hey, yeah! we can use that for parading a skirt in front of the camera!"
posted by Mozai at 12:28 PM on June 28, 2006


"This gets me to wondering what the secretarial pool looks like on the Enterprise. This could be the start of an entirely new spinoff for the Star Trek universe."

Clerks... IN SPACE!
posted by SpecialK at 2:15 PM on June 28, 2006


(actually, that would be ... OFFICE SPACE... IN SPACE!, I just got confused momentarily and then had already hit "Post". :-P )
posted by SpecialK at 2:15 PM on June 28, 2006


This gets me to wondering what the secretarial pool looks like on the Enterprise. This could be the start of an entirely new spinoff for the Star Trek universe.
I'm sure the fan-fic crowd has already covered it. "Janice Rand - Captain's Whore"
posted by Thorzdad at 2:33 PM on June 28, 2006


There was a great (serious) episode of TNG called 'Lower Decks' in which the peons were the main characters, and the usual stars were portrayed as powerful and mysterious creatures to be feared more than respected.
posted by bingo at 3:03 PM on June 28, 2006


With regard to SpecialK's observations, there's little doubt that the clipboard must hold TPS reports.
posted by mwhybark at 4:10 PM on June 28, 2006


JJ86 : "This gets me to wondering what the secretarial pool looks like on the Enterprise. This could be the start of an entirely new spinoff for the Star Trek universe."

Not quite, but :
"Operators are standing by
Talking about their portrayal
On the TV where an actress sits
With a headset in outer space."
posted by Pinback at 6:33 PM on June 28, 2006


I assumed that although he recorded the log in audio, he had to sign the log by hand.

While this doesn't make alot of sense, I think he signed things after every log... I mean, people could have run in with things for him to sign right after logs were recorded, but this seems even more unlikely than my suggestion that he's signing the logs.
posted by ewkpates at 6:00 AM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


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