(written from a Production point of view)
|Stephen E. Whitfield|
|Birth name:||Stephen Edward Poe|
|Date of birth:||18 March 1936|
|Date of death:||6 January 2000|
|Place of death:||Reno, Nevada, USA|
|Roles:||Star Trek author|
Stephen Edward Poe (18 March 1936 – 6 January 2000; age 63) was a successful author who has written the very first specialized reference book on the behind-the-scenes aspects of a Star Trek production, The Making of Star Trek.
In 1966 Poe, employed at a Phoenix, Arizona-based advertising agency, was the account manager for model kit company Aluminum Metal Toys (AMT), serving as a consultant for marketing and communications purposes. In that capacity he was instrumental in brokering a deal between Desilu and AMT for the latter to acquire the rights to produce model kits based on the new Star Trek show, starting a decades long association between that company and the franchise. In return AMT was to help out the studio with the construction of set pieces when required. Also, Poe was given free access to the studio which in 1968 resulted in the publication of The Making of Star Trek, a book he wrote under the name Stephen E. Whitfield, his stepfather's surname. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry is credited as co-author for the book, although his contributions were minimal. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 402) For many years, this was the only book on the behind-the-scenes aspects of the production of Star Trek. Aside from writing the book, Poe has remained the primary liaison between the studio and AMT for the entire production run of the Original Series. Roddenberry has always been appreciative of Poe's contribution and has expressed this when he presented the second tooling master model of the D7-class studio model to Poe after the series wrapped, which he was forced to offer up for auction in 1998, in order to cover medical expenses.
During his stay at Desilu, he met and interviewed the show's Art Director, Matt Jefferies, eventually befriending him. Together with Jefferies, aside from conceiving the D7 model kit, Poe developed in 1968 the Strategic Space Command concept for Poe's account AMT, being a themed science fiction model kit line AMT wanted to introduce in order to capitalize on the huge success of their first two Star Trek model kits, the USS Enterprise (No. S921) and the Klingon Battle cruiser (No. S952). wbm The first model kit of the line, the Leif Ericson (No. S954), designed by Jefferies, was a commercial failure, and the project was dropped by AMT.
In this period Poe was also involved in an incident with Montgomery Scott actor James Doohan, which had comic overtures. Doohan took a shining to Poe's car, a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham, and vigorously tried to acquire it from Poe. Poe, claiming the car was "cursed" initially refused to sell it to Doohan, but ultimately relented. Within a year the car was involved in two costly (material) accidents and Doohan, now convinced that the car was indeed haunted, subsequently re-sold it. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 337)
Thirty years later, he published his second Star Trek book, A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, this time under his own name. While writing the book, Poe was already battling cancer, to which he would succumb two years later. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 84)
He worked with Alcoholics Anonymous, compiling A Concordance to Alcoholics Anonymous (published in 1990) with his wife Francis.
- "Stephen Poe's Books", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, May 2000, pp. 82-84