Jason White is one of the top prop & costume collectors in the country, who I met at the Christie’s Star Trek auction along with his brother. He is also a big Star Trek fan and a Star Trek Prop Forum member. He recently acquired a piece of Star Trek history and wrote about it on the forum. I asked him to publish it here.
A genuine antique hand carved throne chair used in numerous historic films and TV shows, the main one I was interested in was of course Star Trek. We also found it in an 1940 Karloff/Lugosi/Lorre movie so that was exciting. Who knows where else it will show up.
With numerous studio markings underneath from all the different prop houses it came from, started off in the RKO prop house, when the decline of RKO began in 1948 it was bought out by eccentric tycoon Howard Hughes, who eventually sold it to a tire company. It was soon purchased by Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz in 1957, who made it part of their “Desilu Studios.” Eventually, the RKO/Desilu property was swallowed up by its massive neighbor, Paramount Studios.
STAR TREK – THE ORIGINAL SERIES (1966-1969)
Errand Of Mercy ( Season One )
Used by John Abbott who played “Ayelborne” the leader of the Organians
When Kirk and Spock visited their world in 2266
YOU’LL FIND OUT (1940)
Starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre
The only pairing of these legendary actors
Puppets from King Kong and the un-finished Creation also appear in this film
CITIZEN KANE (1941)
Starring Orson Wells, Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead
THE SPANISH MAIN (1945)
Starring Maureen O’Hara and Paul Henreid
AT SWORD’S POINT (1952)
Starring Maureen O’Hara and Cornel Wilde
THE UNTOUCHABLES (1959-1963)
Return To Glory (Season One)
Starring Robert Culp, Bill Cosby and Dolores Del Rio
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1966-1973)
The search continues…
This was originally sold by Paramount when they liquidated some furniture at one of the top auction houses, the auction didn’t get much press as the auction house weren’t allowed to use the studio’s name which is why a lot of collectors missed the auction.
Didn’t make sense to me but bargains could be had if you did your homework. There were a lot of TOS Trek pieces sold at that auction as they used props from the old RKO prophouse. The goal is to track these treasures down. Most pieces have been scattered all over the world, mostly to antique shops as most of these items were rare one of a kind antiques.
There was another matching chair sold at the time which has been screen matched to an old episode of the 50’s Superman show. This chair here has been screen matched to the Trek episode.
You can see 2 chairs on screen at the same time in Citizen Kane and At Sword’s Point.
Thanks to Jason for the great information!