StarTrek.com has a fascinating article on Lincoln Enterprises. Gene Roddenberry’s first company which sold “Star Trek” merchandise directly to fans. We urge you to go and read the full article. But our favorite bit is this section on items from the catalog:
The Star Trek Interstellar – “This is it- the direct line to Star Trek!” For the low sum of $3.50 in annual dues, a fan could become a member of the official Star Trek fan club. Included in the kit were a “personalized” letter from Gene, a Federation citizenship certificate, Star Trek stationary and stickers, a membership card, and 6 issues of the official newsletter, “Inside Star Trek.” Quite a bargain!
Flight Deck Certificate – This 8 x 11” certificate came ‘signed’ by Captain Kirk and Gene Roddenberry and granted the bearer honorary membership to the USS Enterprise. Available in a standard blue version for $.50, or a deluxe version printed on parchment paper with insignia sticker and two-color ribbon for only $1.00.
Star Trek Format - This “collector’s item” is truly one of the greatest bargains in the entire catalog. For only $1.00, a fan could own the original format description that sold Star Trek to the studio. Included in this format are Roddenberry’s original descriptions of the series along with many of the original story ideas. A fascinating read even today.
Star Trek Scripts – In perhaps a television first, Gene and Majel decided to sell scripts directly through Lincoln Enterprises. These scripts were manufactured exactly as they were used in the show, all final shooting drafts with mimeographed pages and color covers. The cost per script was $5.50, or “super-fans” could order entire seasons of scripts at a discounted rate.
Film Clip Frames – Undoubtedly, the coolest piece of merchandise available in the catalog were the 35mm film clip frames. In another brilliant merchandising move, Gene took the original first print dailies from the show, cut them into individual frames, and sold them through the Lincoln catalog. The film clips were sold in sets, with each group consisting of 8 shots of the designated character or object. No two frames were alike, and some frames actually contained behind-the-scenes images and deleted sequences not seen in the televised version of the show. At only $1 per set, this was easily one of the most popular items in the catalog. A fan felt like they truly owned a piece of the show when they purchased these film clips. Although many of the items carried in the catalog would be carried for years after the show went off the air, these film frames were only available for a relatively short time due to their unique, limited nature.
Fun stuff. But not that cheap in late sixties early seventies coin. Still for fans half the fun of this catalog was reading the entries … and dreaming … ah, to be a “Star Trek” fan in those early days!