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STAR TREK CONTACT SHEETS

Updated: December 08, 2022

So whose job was it to cast all those 'redshirts' (and stunt people) we celebrate here? Who figured out which actors were needed for each scene, which extras needed to be hired (and how much they would get paid), and which props were needed for each scene as it was filmed, in addition to the distributing copies of the scripts to all and sending them updated scripts as needed along with what time everything had to be in place for the cameras? All of these duties and more are usually the job of the second assistant director. The Star Trek set (and those of most television series) needed more than just the main director or even the first assistant because several scenes were usually being filmed at the same time. One of the most personable and popular second assistant directors who worked on the set of 'The Original Series' was a young man by the name of Charlie Washburn. He was also known as Charlie Star Trek because one of his duties was to answer the phone on the set. When it rang, he crisply answered Star Trek Charlie! The crew began calling him 'Charlie Star Trek' and it stuck as long as he worked there.

Charlie was hired as a trainee on "Star Trek" for the second season. During his trainee period, he worked under the assistant director. (Shapiro had previously worked on "My Favorite Martian". "Star Trek" immediately hired him as a second assistant director. Charlie He was always proud of the relationships he had on the set, from the directors on down to the stage hand and electrical workers. Charlie was known and loved by everyone for both his courteous manner and his professionalism. In an article that appeared on the Directors Guild online quarterly newsletter, he was quoted as saying: "Not a single day passed by that I didnt greet every single crew member by name and ask about their families, he shares. Im proud to say I was the first AD to be goosed by an electrician on "Star Trek" when I was up on the rigging one day putting together the call sheet. After it happened, [gaffer] George Merhoff smiled and said: Hey, Charlie. Now youre part of the group.

Charles Washburn and Nichelle Nichols were hired during the tumultuous period of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and the expansion of opportunities for minorities was in its infancy. Charlie often mentioned in interviews that when he first started working for "Star Trek" in 1967, there were only three black people who were usually on the Desilu set. He, Nichelle Nichols, and the guy who ran a food truck in the morning. Charlie even has a 'Trek' crewman named after him. In The Doomsday Machine, we see Lt. Washburn (the science officer above) as part of the landing party investigating what happened to the Constellation. He and two others ran a structural and control damage analysis of the disabled ship, then he was the one who delivered the report to Scotty and Kirk.

Years later, Washburn was one of the production people asked for by Gene Roddenberry to work on his new series, 'The Next Generation'. He served as a first assistant director during the first season. Washburn stayed connected to "Star Trek" even later, although it was an unofficial 'Trek' fan production. He was hired to work on James Cawleys "Star Trek: New Voyages" as the first assistant director.

Charlies last years were spent at the Screen Actors Home in a small apartment. Charlie stayed as active as possible, considering his kidney dialysis treatments. He organized screenings and shows for the residents there as long as he could. But Charlie lost his battle with kidney disease at age 73.


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