Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Beyond the Clouds: The Lifetime Trek of Walter "Matt" Jefferies, Artist and Visionary is the biography of Star Trek: The Original Series Set Designer/Art Director/Production Designer Walter "Matt" Jefferies. The book was written and published by his by eighteen months younger brother Richard L. Jefferies after the death of the art director in 2003. The book proffers the reader a complete overview of the life and works of Matt Jefferies.


From the inside front cover
"Legendary aviation artist Walter "Matt" Jefferies (1921-2003) is best known for his work as art director of the original Star Trek television series – and for designing the most widely recognized spacecraft of all time, the USS Enterprise.
In his lifetime, Jefferies worked on set and art designs for over fifteen movies and TV series, including Little House on the Prarie, Dallas, Father Murphy, Ben Casey and Love, American Style: he also produced many aircraft paintings and technical designs. His paintings have been exhibited in museums all over the world.
This beautiful, full-color biography goes beyond Jefferies' life as an artist. Jefferies was a charming and genteel Southerner whose eventful childhood and love of aviation propelled him to become a high-flying visionary. After his stint in the military, he still found time to take to the skies, flying his vintage 1935 WWACO YOC cabin plane throughout the rest of his life.
Illustrated with images of his striking paintings, Jefferies' story is enriched with a historical backdrop, personal anecdotes, and plenty of information on Star Trek, aviation, and set design. The unique fusion of art and aircraft is revealed through pages that trace the life and times of the aviation expert who helped shape the face of science fiction."

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.


  • Dedication, p. vii
  • Acknowledgments, p. viii
  • Introduction, p. ix
  • Genealogy, p. x
  • Chapter 1, p. 1
  • Chapter 2, p. 21
  • Chapter 3, p. 49
  • Chapter 4, p. 67
  • Chapter 5, p. 95
  • Chapter 6: p. 149
  • Chapter 7: p. 177
  • Chapter 8, p. 199
  • Chapter 9, p. 213
  • Chapter 10, p. 253
  • Chapter 11, p. 277
  • Tributes, p. 293
  • Matt's Feature Film & TV Career, p. 301
  • Brotherhood of Art Directors, p. 303
  • Contributing Artists, p. 307
  • Photo Index, p. 310
  • Bibliography, p. 314

Background information

  • Not being a writer by trade, Richard Jefferies revealed in an interview given to Larry Nemecek at the August 2008 Las Vegas Star Trek convention, that he was moved to write the biography on his brother upon meeting dozens of well wishing aviation and Star Trek fans outside the funeral home after the conclusion of the memorial service of his brother. In the talks he had with the well-wishers from both affiliations, the topic of a book about his late brother came up repeatedly. After clearing the issue with his brother's widow, Mary-Ann, he set to work with the book released five years later in a softcover edition. On its title, Beyond the Clouds, Richard had stated in the interview, "When my brother was a little boy, he said, "Some day, I'll fly away, way, way beyond the clouds." To promote the book, eighty-five year old Jefferies took to the aviation and Star Trek convention tour circuit for several years, [1] [2] as well as giving radio interviews. [3]
  • Never a science fiction fan, though mostly remembered for his work on Star Trek at the time, it was but a small part of Matt Jefferies' career, and he has always considered it as an assignment like every other one, albeit one he tackled with professionalism. It was aviation that has always been and remained his true passion, and this fact was reflected as such in the book. Only chapter nine deals specifically in any detail with the years he spent on The Original Series, whereas as chapters ten and eleven contain his brushes with the franchise in later life. As stated in the summary, the book is filled with illustrations Matt Jefferies produced in his lifetime and it includes the cover illustration of the USS Enterprise that was previously unpublished, and which he had painted in 1966 while the first season of The Original Series was in production.
  • Jefferies has provided the book throughout with side annotations, in order to help the reader keep track of the people and events mentioned in the work, also serving as a useful guide to the careers of the other Jefferies brothers, Philip and John. Michael Okuda, since Star Trek a NASA graphics designer and befriended to the Jefferies family, has designed and fabricated a special Matt Jefferies mission patch for the book.
  • Younger brother Philip incidentally, a successful Hollywood art director in his own right, has been assumed to have contributed to Star Trek – specifically the pilot episode "The Cage" – as well, among others on the motion picture website IMDb, [4] but that notion has been dispelled in the biography.

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