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Feature Article
Strange New Worlds Issue 10 - Oct/Nov 1993

Lincoln Enterprises:
A Little Piece of Star Trek

An interview with the "First Lady of Star Trek," Majel Barrett Roddenberry
by Jo Davidsmeyer

I had the pleasure of meeting Majel Barrett this past May while enjoying the sun and warm breezes of the Caribbean on SeaTrek '93. But while partaking of the delights of fun in the sun, my mind kept returning to a cold December twenty-five years earlier. In the winter of '68, two small girls — myself and "little" Donna Arthur — discovered the magical power of four sheets of paper to ignite the imagination. To think that we could own a script of our favorite TV show, or hold in our hands a piece of the actual film! In that pre-VCR culture, this was nothing short of miraculous. By winter's end we had committed to memory the mimeographed pages of the Lincoln Enterprises catalog. We had re-enacted each episode, trying to decide which script to purchase. We had written our own original stories. More important to our parents, we had entertained ourselves through a dreary Long Island winter. And this wonderful flight of imagination began with a mere request for a photo from Lincoln Enterprises. . .

SNW: Majel, most Trek fans are well familiar with you, of course, as an actress, but many aren’t familiar with you as an entrepreneur. They don’t even know about Lincoln Enterprises. How long ago did you form this company?

MAJEL: Lincoln has been in existence for probably almost a hundred years. It was originally Lincoln Publishing and it was owned by another gentleman many, many years before. His attorney was Leonard Maislich. For some reason or another he gave the incorporation to Leonard. I don’t know how it basically happened, but it really belonged to Leonard Maislich until he gave it to me in the early eighties. It [Lincoln] was merely set up for Gene to handle fan mail for Star Trek. Isaac Asimov had once written a very intelligent question to Gene that had somehow or other ended up in the fan mail division. In answer to the question, Isaac received an autographed picture of the cast.

SNW: How wonderful!

MAJEL: So Isaac called Gene and Gene in a fit of rage and everything said, "We’re gonna handle this fan mail ourselves, darn it!" So he asked me if I’d take it over and that’s basically how it started. Then when Desilu no longer had enough money -- you know, they figured they had a dying show anyway -- they said "Well, we’re not going to give you any more money to send out pictures." But fans were still sending in and asking for them, so the thought was now that "Gee, we don't have the money for this, but maybe if they want it enough, they’d be willing to pay for it." So we would send a letter, "Thank you for your request," and so forth and would you be willing to do this, to pay for it, and they said YES! So we made just a small list at first and told them how much the pictures would cost, or a calendar, or a writer's guide, or whatever they wanted, and that’s how we got started. We also answered questions, whatever questions they had, at the same time. So that was how it started. From there on in it got a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger. But we were always still doing peer group promotions . . . people just like us talking with others just like us.

SNW: Have you expanded beyond the original intent of Lincoln?

MAJEL: We haven’t expanded beyond the original intent, actually, but we’re about to. We used to carry just memorabilia. If it didn’t exist in the show, we just didn’t carry it. In other words we weren’t into the games and things like that. We work with the Writers Guild so we can sell scripts exactly as they are used in the show. They look the same, they are the same. Page for page they are the actual script. We used to have [original] film clips which, of course, we’ve run out of. They were just little film clip frames, but everyone liked them so much because they were a little piece of Star Trek. And that was our aim, to let everyone have a small piece of Star Trek. That was basically how we kept the show on the air.

SNW: And I think you were rather successful at that.

MAJEL: It turned out to be much better than we thought. The first year when they did cancel us it made it so much easier to write a letter to the colleges and so forth, saying, Hey, we’re going to get canceled would you write a letter and here’s what you say on it and how you do it and who you say it to. And Bjo Trimble and her husband were very instrumental. They had a bunch of clubs organized. And so what appeared to be one of the miracles of the century really was quite carefully orchestrated. But it worked very well the first year. And it really did catch on. It’s not like we were responsible for every million letters that came in, but it was something that did catch on. But then the second year when we needed the same thing to happen again we already had a mailing list of five to six hundred thousand. So we asked them to please do it again. And, of course, they did and, of course, we stayed on for a third year. But that was kind of the end of it. So, yes, we [Lincoln Enterprises] feel fairly responsible for Star Trek being here in the first place. The rest is all history.

SNW: You said you were about to move the company in a new direction. What do you mean by that?

MAJEL: I’d like to get more commercial with it. I’d like to go in for the dolls and the plates, the games and the electronic parts and so forth. In other words, not just memorabilia, but merchandise.

SNW: Do you produce the merchandise yourself?

MAJEL: We've always produced the merchandise ourselves. When we handle the other stuff, we won’t be making the games, of course, the action figures, etc. Those we will buy from the wholesalers.

SNW: How large is Lincoln Enterprises, employee-wise.

MAJEL: There’s only two, three including myself.

SNW: How do you go about promoting the company?

MAJEL: We have never bought a mailing list in our lives. Just people find out about us, know about us, and write in to us. So we don’t have any unsolicited names and we also don’t sell our list.

SNW: I’m sure your fans appreciate you protecting that information. God knows we get on enough mailing lists.

MAJEL: Isn’t it awful! That’s why I decided, no, no! We’re never gonna do that.

SNW: What’s the most interest that your customers, clients have. Is it photos, scripts, what?

MAJEL: Since we have the only legal place in the world to buy Trek scripts I would say that they do want a lot of scripts. But everything varies. There’s a lot of jewelry and the pins and the communicators and stuff that is worn; there’s a lot of interest in patterns, for example. We sell patterns to the costumes so fans can make their own. There are places that make them, but they’re terribly expensive and we’ve always kept our prices down way, way, way low because Gene felt as though he wanted everyone to be able to have them. So we’ve kept it way down. We really haven’t geared ourselves in all these twenty-seven years toward a profit and we’d like to change that.

SNW: You’re certainly deserving of it at this point. Is your son associated with this enterprise at all?

MAJEL: No, no, not all.

SNW: Too busy with his school work?

MAJEL: Yes, and with girls.

SNW: At his age he should be. Any new items available through Lincoln?

MAJEL: We have a new insert we’re putting in highlighting all our Deep Space Nine products: the Bajoran pin, the Bajoran communicator pin, and the Bajoran pip that’s worn on the collar.

SNW: Do you have the earrings as well?

MAJEL: We will soon.

SNW: Great. I know those are hard to come by at a lot of the conventions.

MAJEL: They’re not difficult to make but they do have to be made up. We do have a new item, which has just gone real well, it is like the communicator pin rhinestone earrings they’re really, really brilliant, very colorful. And there’s an accompanying brooch that goes with them. We also have a pendant. Very, very colorful, very interesting, very unique. Out of colored stones.

SNW: Simulated emeralds?

MAJEL: Yes. We’re working on a brand new catalog, too. But I can’t promise when it will be out.

SNW: I noticed on the cruise [Seatrek '93] you had those wonderful hats. Did you make those yourself?

MAJEL: Yes! I just had a marvelous time doing it. I saw this great hat once. I liked it right away, and I asked how much it was. And, oh! It was far too much! I walked away from it. It took me two more times walking past it until I said I’ve got to have one. I was looking at it, and looking at it carefully, and I said, "I can make them cheaper than this, for heaven’s sake. Of course I can!" So I went downtown to all the wholesale houses and I bought the hats, I bought the ribbons, I bought the beads, and everything. Then I sat down to make one. Well, the first one I think took me about eight hours. It still takes about 2-1/2 hours. I’ve since found out that , no, you can’t make it cheaper than what I bought it for. There’s just no way. And, of course, when I pushed them off on my helper, she took one look at ‘em and said, "Not me, boy!" All those little coins that you see on them there, those have to be put on one by one, jump ring by jump ring, onto the loop on the braid. So I do it on airplanes, just from one place to another. I get ‘em done quite easily there as a matter of fact. They really didn’t have anything to do with Star Trek, but I managed to put an insignia on ‘em and so they became Star Trek hats

SNW: Each one lovingly made by hand.

MAJEL: Yes, consequently, none of them are the same. And all of them are way under priced, I can tell you, for the amount of time I put into them. But it’s gotten to the point of where they expect them now. And I’m just not into letting people down. So I just keep on doing it. I could kick myself every year, but I do it anyway.

SNW: Well, they were a wonderful addition to the cruise, people just loved them.

MAJEL: Thank you.

SNW: Thank you very much and it was such a pleasure meeting you on the cruise.

MAJEL: I hope you had a good time.

SNW: I had a wonderful time! I’m ready to sign up for the ’95 cruise.

MAJEL: I am, too! It was a ball. And I hadn’t been to any of those places either, so it was a particular joy for me.

. . . Long ago the possibilities presented to me in a four-page catalog also brought me to places I had never been. What a particular joy that was for me and the hundreds of thousands of other fans who also dreamed of being transported to new worlds.

In the present, that dog-eared catalog is long gone. The film clip we ordered is lost. My companion on those flights of fancy has since grown, married, become a mother, and been carried away by the drift of time. But the memories and the dreams remain. l

For a color catalog write toto:

PO BOX 691370
Los Angeles CA 90069

Lincoln Enterprises carries a variety of Star Trek memorabilia including posters, embroidered satin jackets, patches, pins, costume patterns, jewelry, and insignia. They are the only authorized source for Star Trek scripts.

For customer service call 818-989-4978 between 9:00 am and 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

STAR TREK TM & ã Paramount Pictures. Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures

Up Next

 Browse these Star Trek items
that you can purchase online:

bulletStar Trek Toys (action figures and vehicles)
bullet Star Trek video games
and Strategy Guides
bulletComplete Star Trek Theme music -
music for piano, solo instruments,
bands, and orchestras
bulletEpisode DVDs at
bulletStar Trek : The Original Series on DVD
bulletStar Trek : The Next Generation on DVD
bulletStar Trek : Deep Space Nine on DVD
bulletStar Trek : Voyager on DVD
bulletStar Trek : Enterprise on DVD
bullet Star Trek Comics from
bullet from Star Trek posters from



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