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Sci-Fi Television

How Las Vegas Missed Out on a Life-Sized Starship Enterprise 240

Posted by timothy
from the oh-the-the-huge-manatee dept.
T-Kir writes "Apparently 20 years ago, instead of the Fremont Experience, downtown Las Vegas was actually close to building a life sized version of the refit USS Enterprise, and would have — had it not been for the then studio chairman Stanley Jaffe nixing it at the final meeting. The project had support from Paramount licensing and then-CEO Sherry Lansing, the Las Vegas Mayor, and the downtown redevelopment committee, but not opinion of Mr Jaffe: 'I don't want to be the guy that approved this and then it's a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.' As a Trek fan, I'm saddened that this never got built because I feel that this would've appealed to a much wider audience than science fiction fans. Props to io9 for picking this story up."
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How Las Vegas Missed Out on a Life-Sized Starship Enterprise

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  • RAGE! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:01PM (#39614103)

    KAHN!!!

  • Enterprise A? Or Enterprise D?

    The images from the site aren't showing up. :(

    • Re:WHICH ONE?! (Score:5, Informative)

      by eobanb (823187) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:22PM (#39614207) Homepage
      D. The article makes reference to Ten Forward. Plus TNG was currently on the air at the time so it would have made the most sense.
    • by PPH (736903) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:23PM (#39614219)
      CVN-65 [wikipedia.org].
      • by Teancum (67324)

        Sadly, this one is schedule for decommissioning. The "Big E" may live on as another ship, but this one is going to be turned into scrap metal and sold to China (most likely).

    • Re:WHICH ONE?! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by owlnation (858981) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:35PM (#39614277)
      The images loaded for me -- it was the Enterprise A. And it looked great in the pics, it has to be said.

      Can't really see the issue they had. Everything in Vegas gets blown up after a decade or so. It would have paid for itself in that time -- especially if it looked as good as it does in the pics, and did inside too.

      If they installed working phasers they could have taken a lot of work out of demolishing casinos!
    • Re:WHICH ONE?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:39PM (#39614303)

      Enterprise NCC 1701-A and NCC-1701 are different ships. But they are the same design and look exactly the same on the outside. But have very different bridges. The 1701-A is filled with the backlight touch panels. NCC 1701 was destroyed in STIII. I vote for Enterprise 1701-A, since I thought it had the coolest looking interiors and exteriors, and was featured in Star Trek VI ( as well as ST-V, but that should not reflect badly on the ship, it was a fine vessel). If the Las Vegas 1701-A is staffed with a crew, have them wear the Star Trek II-VI uniform style which I liked better than any other style used on the entire series. It was very distinctive but not too cheesy.

      • Did I miss a book? Where did NCC1701 go from active service (TMP, newly refit) to training cruiser (TWOK)?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This would have been in LasVegas. All females would have worn the mini-skirts from TOS.

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:58PM (#39614369) Homepage Journal

      Enterprise A? Or Enterprise D? The images from the site aren't showing up.

      They're building a cloaked ship, whaddya expect?

    • TFS says "refit Enterprise". So that'd be the one from TMP (1979). No bloody A, B, C or D. As Scotty once said (TNG: "Relics". God I'm a nerd).

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Enterprise 1701 LV XXX
      Beam aboard for Baccarat at the captains helm.
      Replicator buffet 24/7.
      Non stop Holo-brothel.
      Shooting craps with the boys in engineering.
      Vulcan security guards.
      Romulan Cocktails......

      We are talking about Vegas

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:11PM (#39614139)

    While it sounds awesome, the guy who cancelled it is right on the money - it would have just sat there for some time languisingh after the novelty wore off for people.

    Vegas already had the coolest Star Trek exhibit/show I've ever seen (Qwark's bar and two really well done shows). That is gone now. If those great shows could not survive, no way the Enterprise would have lasted.

    • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerteNO@SPAMdrunksnipers.com> on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:15PM (#39614173) Homepage

      Just like the novelty of the Eifel Tower, Liberty Statue, Tower of Pisa, etc. have worn off?

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:34PM (#39614269)

        I would argue that each of those are more timeless and universal than the Enterprise would have been.

        All of them except for the Pisa tower are far larger than the Enterprise would have been.

        You know that the Enterprise would not have been built nearly as well as any of those things.

        Also ALL of the things you list are nationally beloved monuments to the respective countries they are in, meaning there is money from a whole nation to take care of each of those national treasures. Can you honestly say with a straight face that a crumbling Enterprise in Vegas would draw the nation in to repair it as was done with the Statue of Liberty?

        I mean, if you're going to go there then the parallel is that it would have been repaired by now, but you wouldn't be able to go to the bridge anymore. Well what the hell good is THAT???

      • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

        I don't recall those items ever being novelties, or casinos with poker tables and slot machines
        While the engineering and architecture to make a life sized Enterprise may have been a feat, it's raison d'être would have been as a mere attraction based on pop-culture.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        They could have hooked up laser lights to it. Then, have a helium-filled borg balloon in the sky, and a "phaser" would shoot out from the Enterprise. Pyrotechnics ensue.

        WHY DID THEY NOT BUILD THIS.

      • by mikael (484) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @07:00PM (#39614675)

        Each one of those was an original masterpiece designed to be something different and never seen before. Usually it was built from state-of-the-art materials and construction techniques. The Eiffel Tower wasn't even intended to be a permanent structure.

        A replica life size model of a TV series starship might work if it were part of an office block, startup incubator, luxury hotel or cinema multiplex. The exterior wouldn't diminish the functionality of the inside space, but the functionality would pay for the maintenance.

        The best location in my opinion would be as part of an airport hotel or conference center. Imagine having your flight coming in through the fog or haze and the first thing you see is a spaceship coming into view like something out of the Wrath of Khan.

        port.

    • You're more right than you think. Downtown Las Vegas until VERY recently(within the last 5 years or so?) has languished BADLY.

      If they built a giant Enterprise, it'd just sit there and become a giant eyesore.

      STILL, it would've been cool as fuck the first few trips down.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:29PM (#39614251)

        If they built a giant Enterprise, it'd just sit there and become a giant eyesore.

        If they built a giant Enterprise, they'd probably have trekkie fans all over the world visting downtown vegas. And moving to the city.

        You know that would still be a big attraction today. But in 40 or 50 years, yeah, it would eventually become a giant eyesore.

        • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Sunday April 08, 2012 @07:39PM (#39614893)

          You know that would still be a big attraction today. But in 40 or 50 years, yeah, it would eventually become a giant eyesore.

          TOS debuted in 1966, that's 46 years ago. It's as popular today as it ever was. At this point, it's safe to say it's a hallmark of science fiction. A life-sized replica would remain culturally relevant for much longer than 50 years. It's hard to imagine that people would ever look at it and say "what's that supposed to be?" and even if they did, it would be like looking at the Great Pyramid. Even though we don't really know what it originally meant, it's simply too large to be ignored.

          People often bring up the idea that a megastructure may become an eyesore over time. I can't think of an example where that's been true. As far as buildings go, if it's huge and strange looking, people will be impressed buy it. It doesn't matter how old it is.

          • by ShakaUVM (157947)

            >>even if they did, it would be like looking at the Great Pyramid. Even though we don't really know what it originally meant, it's simply too large to be ignored.

            1d4

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "it would have just sat there for some time languisingh after the novelty wore off for people."

      Much like the manned space race itself...

    • I dont think so. First part of it at least could have been a hotel and restaurant, casino, etc, and those things dont wear off. But i really think that the interest would have held up and would have become very popular, if it was lifelike enough,.

    • I checked out the exhibit and bar several years after it came out. It was still packed with fans. Pretty cool to see all that stuff up close.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2012 @10:21PM (#39615755)

      Vegas did indeed have the coolest Star Trek exhibit/show. It eventually turned into a very expensive and poorly managed coolest Start Trek exhibit/show. When you charge in the neighborhood of the admission price of a full theme park for what IN a full theme park would be a couple of shows, you're not going to attract non-geeks and the generally curious. I went there every time I was in Vegas while it was there and I'm glad I did, but I also watched the prices go up, the quantity of shows go down, Quark's Bar always inaccessible because of being booked for a wedding or some "special event" or just plain closed early because somebody wanted to save payroll. My first visit, which was several years after the attraction opened, I had to wait in decently long lines to get in. The last couple of years--barely any, and I STILL couldn't get in to have a drink at Quark's.

      Point is: it's not good to say something failed because people didn't want it. Management or lack of it has a LOT to do with stuff like that.

    • by Xeranar (2029624)

      Honestly in 1992 if they had built a $150 Million dollar Enterprise (even if it was 30 or so years prior to the current universe they were promoting) would have kept Star Trek active a great deal longer. Instead of DS9 & Voyager on their own private UPN they would have probably landed on CBS or NBC. The benefit of it existing would drive trekkies into a frenzy so that not only would it make a constant revenue stream available but it would essentially cement Star Trek as a permanent part of reality. A

    • Hey this is Vegas. The full size Enterprise could have become a hotel (just how many crew staterooms ARE there on the USS Enterprise?). As a hotel it would have been booked solid FOREVER (who wouldn't want to stay there?) They would have had to build the turbo lifts oversized and have more of them then in the plans though, otherwise there wouldn't have been enough elevator capacity for all the guests. You know the real Enterprise (as per the published plans) had a bowling alley and a full size swimming

  • by ScooterComputer (10306) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:15PM (#39614169)

    Next we'll have an informer tell us that Mr. Jaffe has been busy secretly buying up property in Iowa.

  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:15PM (#39614175) Journal
    But if there was a "Life-Sized" enterprise in which I could book passage (rent a room) and visit 10-Forward or see the bridge, I would make the "trek" to vegas. I am sure I am not the only tight ass that would do this... Flop? I don;t thin it would be, espesially if they built the Emporer's imperial cruiser next door and they had weekly geek fights to see which would win. :-)
    • by DesScorp (410532)

      But if there was a "Life-Sized" enterprise in which I could book passage (rent a room) and visit 10-Forward or see the bridge, I would make the "trek" to vegas. I am sure I am not the only tight ass that would do this... Flop? I don;t thin it would be, espesially if they built the Emporer's imperial cruiser next door and they had weekly geek fights to see which would win. :-)

      That was my thinking. An Enterprise hotel that looked just like the sets on the inside would be a huge attraction. If you could build something as massive as the D model, then wow at the hotel possibilities, with a Ten Forward bar and restaurant, and quarters that looked like the ones from the series.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It wasn't a full life sized one, but the Hilton in Vegas had a fully built full size STTNG bridge as an attraction, along with turbolifts and such. It looked pretty much exactly like the TV show and they had actors in full costume. There was a bar and restraut with it as well, but it was more like the Star Wars cantina with Star Trek decorations.

      They shut the entire thing down about 2 years ago, it had been there for a long time before that.

    • There's a rumor that the American Physical Society is banned from hosting their conferences in Vegas because physicists don't gamble, don't have champagne parties with hookers, and drink considerably less then the average Vegas-goer. I'd assume that these points also applied to anyone getting excited about a Star Trek themed hotel.

      • There's a rumor that the American Physical Society is banned from hosting their conferences in Vegas because physicists don't gamble, don't have champagne parties with hookers, and drink considerably less then the average Vegas-goer. I'd assume that these points also applied to anyone getting excited about a Star Trek themed hotel.

        You don't know many physicists, do you?

      • by modecx (130548) on Monday April 09, 2012 @01:06AM (#39616553)

        Quite the contrary, as you know, physicists are big into experimentation. Vegas would love to have the physicists, except... Well, you know how people sometimes get a little crazy on the Las Vegas booze, hookers and drugs scene, and cause a ruckus; there was one year the Physical Society's meeting happened to overlap with the pharmacist's and psychiatrist's conventions...going on, oh about 50 years ago now.

        Now, some people are bound to call me a liar, or say I have a runaway imagination, but buried in a vault somewhere under Washington, there's a classified briefing my grand-pappy told me about--he was a fed you see--and if you go down to the FBI office and ask someone, they're going to deny it and look at you like you're some kind of lunatic. And if you press 'em on it, they're going to call the cops and people with white coats. That's when you know you've got 'em in a lie, it's right in the secret FBI training manual under Chapter 11, Deny, Divert and Attack! You know, so you'd better not. Ask anyone that is.

        Anyway, to make a short story long, many of the physicists, pharmacists, and psychiatrists shared the same hotel, and as is always the case in a large enough group of people, some of the pharmacists were into the...recreational side of their business, and the psychiatrists, well, you know how they always want to know what makes people tick.

        As a prank, and to get the physicists to loosen up, the pharmacists slipped a bunch of amphetamines and the psychiatry researchers' LSD into the physicists' punch bowl. Nobody knows how they did it, but the hopped-up and wigged-out physicists spent the next five days straight in the conference room where they built at life size, fully functional replica of Big Boy, right there in Sands Hotel.

        Now, this was also about the time the Roswell aliens escaped Area 51, the aliens kidnapped the atom bomb and held Las Vegas as ransom for their flying saucer and took Humphrey Bogart hostage...but I digress. That's a whole 'nother story, and if I told you I'd have to kill you. So, in a nutshell, that's why LSD research was banned, because when you mix physicists with amphetamines, LSD, and spiked punch, doomsday almost happens, and aliens fly off with Humphrey fucking Bogart. We just can't take the chance.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      yea every nerd would do it a time or two and once the novelty wore off your left with a undesirable building sucking up space

  • oh forget that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:25PM (#39614225)
    sure it would look like the Star Trek Enterprise on the outside but once you get inside it then it will be like any other Las Vegas casino = full of slot machines, roulette wheels, blackjack tables etc...etc...etc... which would ruin the whole thing

    http://i.imgur.com/kezWj.jpg [imgur.com]
    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      The it couldn't be a hotel or a casino, as that would take business away from the downtown area (which it was intended to help).

      • They add new casinos and hotels to vegas all the time. I dont think it would necessarily take away business as it would bring in more people. For a business perceptive, it would be just another resoirt, which many have been added over the years. the Primary attraction of vegas is the resorts, otherwise, its just a desert.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      ...which means that you could just get the same effect with some mocked up stuff inside of a regular casino. They even kind of did that for awhile but they never took it far enough.

  • OP said he was saddened it wasn't built, but the real question is would he have actually gone to Vegas and left money there in the casino?
    That's all that matters to casinos, Enterprise ships or not.
  • by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:36PM (#39614281) Homepage Journal
    What size we are talking about here. I don't know about you, I don't know offhand the "real" size of the Enterprise.

    From wiki:

    Length 642.5 Meters

    Width 467.0 Meters

    Height 137.5 Meters

    This is not trivial. There are no structural integrity fields in the real world. 150M$ for that? Doubtful.

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      They were talking about the original Enterprise, which would only have been 305 meters long.

    • The 1701-A is smaller, only 200 meters or so. Which would be more doable. the D would just be enormous.

    • by swalve (1980968)
      For comparison, the Pentagon (the world's largest office building by square footage) is 23 m tall, and each of the five sides of the building is 281 m long. Which works out to the saucer section being about as big as the Pentagon. That would definitely be a sight to see. Even the original Enterprise would probably take up about the same footprint as the Pentagon. I say we build it.
      • Even the original Enterprise would probably take up about the same footprint as the Pentagon. I say we build it.

        Kickstarter anyone?

  • by sprior (249994) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:43PM (#39614325) Homepage

    Nothing sits for long after it stops being popular/profitable, they implode it and build something else.

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @05:51PM (#39614347)

    I think 1701-A of 1701-B would look best with a crew staffed in ST II-VI uniforms. There could be a hotel inside, as well as restaurants, all themed like the real ship.

    I was never fond of 1701-D or nor the crews unform from that era, though, the STNG series was well written and well executed. I always wished they could couple the story line quality of STNG with the styles of the 1701-A or 1701-B era. I found the tight fitting uniforms of D to be cheesy and the ship too cheesy as well.

    Another factor is the 1701-A was a much smaller ship than the D, the D is just a huge thing that might be completely infeasible to build, if they want to build the thing to spec, it would be enormous.

    I imagine this thing could have rather than a mock up, could have been an entire building, including a built in hotel and so on. But the saucer section raises quistions on structural support, I am not sure if it would be possible to construct an unsupported, hanging saucer section without some sort of supports from below, in a feasible way. Having support columns from below for the saucer section would take away from the whole thing. Probably the main hull could be fully occupied hotel and attraction space and they might have to settle with a shell for saucer, with some places inside being built, such as the bridge and so on, unless a way can be found to build the saucer.

    • But the saucer section raises quistions on structural support, I am not sure if it would be possible to construct an unsupported, hanging saucer section without some sort of supports from below, in a feasible way. Having support columns from below for the saucer section would take away from the whole thing. Probably the main hull could be fully occupied hotel and attraction space and they might have to settle with a shell for saucer, with some places inside being built, such as the bridge and so on, unless a way can be found to build the saucer.

      You realize, of course, that this analysis defeats the whole engineering model for the ship itself - ostensibly designed to handle the stresses of battle, which can easily exceed the pathetic 1G that the Earth would exert on it. :)

      I always did think the engineering design of the Enterprise was a bit dicey for a military system - too much weight hanging out on skinny spars. But, having said that, I think it would be doable in the sense that one could build something that could handle the the weight, wind st

    • If you were going to build the "D", I think you'd take advantage of the idea that the saucer section is detachable, and build it separate from the engineering section.

      This gives much better vertical support for both sections, and also improves your flexibility with land use footprint.

  • Then you can pack more gamblers inside, than it appears outside. The dream of every casino owner.

    And if the house starts to lose big time . . . just skip back in time, to before the bets were placed.

  • Holodeck Whorehouse.

  • by eepok (545733) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @06:38PM (#39614591) Homepage

    I'm not super-trekkie, but I know from personal experience that the Hilton in Vegas through away massive amounts of convention/conference business when it closed down Quark's. =\

    I miss my Moogie's Choice Pasta and Warp Core Breach

    • Yes, I was lucky enough to visit it while it was still there. I miss it and if it was still there I'd be going to Vegas at least once a year instead of once a decade for conferences.
  • Seriously this would have gotten me to make regular visits to Vegas just to see the whole damn thing. Also if they bundled this with actual science type things it would have been fantastic. Hell I bet even Neal deGrasse Tyson would have done one of his talks/shows/etc from the bridge if they worked things out right. It'd have been a boon for education, science, and future dreamers. The money draw in would have been huge.
  • As a Trek fan, I'm saddened that this never got built because I feel that this would've appealed to a much wider audience than science fiction fans.

    Are you new here? Stop whining about what somebody else shoulda oughtta done and put your efforts where your conviction is: throw a proposal up on Kickstarter or similar and then wait for the millions of dollars to roll in from all these alleged Trekkies-in-the-closet. If you're not just nuts, then you get to build the Enterprise, and if you are just nuts, then you'll have it confirmed in a way you can't ignore....

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @07:20PM (#39614787)
    The powers that be in Vegas refused to license Fizzbin tables.
  • by greggman (102198) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @09:27PM (#39615493) Homepage

    I wonder if there is a big enough market for a geek hotel in Vegas. Maybe shaped like the enterprise but with as many geek oriented things as possible. Lan parties, demo scene parties, techno music? (maybe that's my bias), arcades, VR stuff, video games, board games, card games, figure games, game competitions, hack-a-thons, maker studios, hi-tech rooms, gadget stores,

    I suppose one problem would be keeping it ahead of the tech curve but maybe they could get various corporate sponsors or have the guest themselves help upgrade stuff. (the open source resort so to speak)

    • I'd rather put it into California. Make it a conference hotel and invite every half way on-the-edge tech conference over. It's no secret that a fair lot of the tech people are big into Star Trek (hell, when I was with a not-so-unimportant IT-Security company my boss was one of the biggest trekkers I ever met. Imagine your boss coming in at Halloween in full Klingon war gear, and even having the body to actually look impressive in it). That should make it fairly simple to stay ahead of the tech curve if you

  • CSI (Score:4, Funny)

    by shentino (1139071) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @09:48PM (#39615607)

    I guess it was just

    *shades*

    Too much of a gamble

  • It's a good thing they never built this full-sized Enterprise replica. By now it would be looking pretty shabby. It would have been become cheesy and embarrassing. At its best, Star Trek was kitsch (in a good sense). Kitsch on a scale like this, in Las Vegas, would have pretty much spoiled a great experience.

    Big things in Las Vegas tend to end up looking small and sad. I'm a fan of the place, honestly, but whenever it tries to assimilate pop culture of a vintage later than the Rat Pack, it always ends

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's moving as quickly as possible away from family friendly. Turned out catering to peopel on a tight budget, with special needs for kids, and don't drink as much doesn't make as much money as young people with excess cash and a desire to break the house.

      A family around a pool in a casino is nothing but lost revenue.

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