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Phil Rhodes

The benefits of watching the credits

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Absolute trivia, but I'll plead it's been a long week.

On the credits for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan are three interesting names.

First is camera assistant Catherine Coulson, who also acted, and was famous as the log-carrying woman in Twin Peaks. Coulson died in 2015 but managed a career both in front of and behind the camera.

Second is Patricia Rose Duignan, ILM production supervisor, whose name appears several times on my bookshelf. She was still working in the field as recently as 2012.

Third is Edwin "Ed" Catmull, and this one is really nerdy, but his name appears in a lot of computer graphics software to this day in the form of Catmull-Clark sampling. I could go into it but it'd involve phrases like "bi-cubic spline" and "topological conformation."

Duignan and Catmull were very prominent ILM people with credits on all the big early stuff, and I guess I shouldn't be so impressed that they'd show up, but I thought the Coulson catch was interesting. I thought - it can't be the sa... but it is!

I also notice credits to Evans and Sutherland, presumably fresh from the extremely moderate success of Tron, who are credited for starfield effects and tactical displays.

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I think Coulson did a lot of behind the scenes on ERASERHEAD too. Not sure how good she was pulling focus on KHAN, there's a scene with Kirk at home where he is out of focus and the drink he is holding is in focus (don't think this was a deliberate choice.)

E&S created a planetarium program that Scott Farrar went to Utah to use for the film's starfields, especially the very dimensional opening credits. E&S was also the company that was supposed to solve all of the previs problems on the first TREK movie for Abel, but I guess it took forever to get their equipment and then to debug it ... when Trumbull came on, he didn't use any of that stuff.

I think the very nice graphic of the E that opens the Kobayashi Maru part of KHAN was also done on E&S, but there's some question about whether it was done for KHAN or done for by Abel for TMP and just not used till KHAN, as it seems to show the Enterprise in a slightly different form, like it was before Trumbull came on and it got rained on by the A/C.

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I used to have a book on computer graphics in the late 1980s that had full page images of those two KHAN graphics, credited to E&S. I say 'used to have' because I carved the book up to use those images for a book proposal. Really regret doing that now ...

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