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Franz Joseph Gallery
by Karen Dick and Greg Tyler
Franz Joseph in Television and Film
Planet Earth

In 1974 Franz Joseph Schnaubelt contributed hand prop designs to a Gene Roddenberry-produced television pilot called Planet Earth.

Planet Earth was a 1974 revamp of a 1973 Roddenberry television pilot called Genesis II. In both pilots the lead character was called "Dylan Hunt." Both pilots featured characters named "Dylan Hunt", "Isiah" (both played by Ted Cassidy of The Addams Family fame), "Yuloff", and "Harper-Smythe." The name "Dylan Hunt" also found its way to Kevin Sorbo's character in the 1990s television series Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

The following excerpt from a 1999 interview with Karen Dick explains Franz Joseph's involvement with Planet Earth:

Based on FJ's work on the [Star Trek Blueprints] and [Star Fleet] Tech Manual,... [Gene Roddenberry] contracted FJ to produce detailed drawings of the props for Planet Earth. To get around the unions, GR told FJ to title the initial drawings as "communicator," "tricorder," and "medkit;" to label them as Star Trek pre-production drawings; and to back-date them (real honest, huh?) to 1970 (it was then 1974). Now that I think about it, the back-dating... would make them part of the work-up for the first aborted Star Trek revival series... not the original series.
When FJ was about to deliver the finished drawings and asked for final payment for the job, GR (through Norway Productions' legal team) demanded that FJ sign away all his rights to the work. FJ refused to sign until the assignment of rights was re-worded. (Apparently, FJ did not care about the design rights as they applied to the fictional movie/TV series, but saw possible real-life commercial and scientific applications for the medkit in particular and was not willing to sign away everything carte blanche.) The assignment of rights was eventually re-worded to everyone’s satisfaction, final payment was made, and the final drawings delivered, but not in time to build the detailed props for the movie. As a result, the props used in Planet Earth were little more than blocks of wood spray-painted silver and put together with hinges. I don’t believe FJ received any onscreen credit, either, although he (and my mother and myself) were invited to the studio premiere, where GR was very pleasant and magnanimous to us. GR intended to have the more detailed props built for subsequent movies, but Planet Earth did so poorly that subsequent movies never happened, and GR eventually sold his rights to the property.
Medikit / Medipak

Gene Roddenberry originally wanted the medipak to be a 22nd-century version of Doctor McCoy's medical tricorder and kit from Star Trek.
Figure 1
Original sketch for the Planet Earth medical kit. Note the Star Trek labeling at the top.

Another sketch for the Planet Earth medipak. The full page containing this image was drawn in a style similar to a page from Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual. A caption at the top left of the full page reads "PLANET EARTH - 2133 A.D."

The medikit / medipak as it appeared in Planet Earth.



Transceiver

Gene Roddenberry originally wanted the transceiver to be a 22nd-century version of Star Trek's communicator. The device was to have fit in a breast pocket.

A sketch of the Planet Earth transceiver. The full page containing this image was drawn in a style similar to a page from Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual. A caption at the top left of the full page reads "PLANET EARTH - 2133 A.D."

The medikit / medipak as it appeared in Planet Earth.



Multiceiver

Gene Roddenberry originally wanted the multiceiver to be a 22nd-century version of Star Trek's tricorder. Note that the "visual display screen" is meant to be folded. The screen apparently bends without creasing when closed. While this might have been a difficult prop to build in the twentieth century, the concept would certainly be possible in the twenty-second century.

A sketch of the multiceiver from Planet Earth. The full page containing this image was drawn in a style similar to a page from Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual. A caption at the top left of the full page reads "PLANET EARTH - 2133 A.D."
Illustrations and photos copyright Franz Joseph, Karen Dick, and/or Franz Joseph Designs unless otherwise noted.


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