(written from a Production point of view)
Craig O. Thompson (born 26 September 1944; age 76) is an author, speaker, educator, and anti-terrorism expert, who from 1966 through 1969 has worked as office manager post-production on Star Trek: The Original Series, while employed by Desilu Productions, which later became Paramount Television, first under the auspices of Post-production Executive Bill Heath and subsequently under Post-production Supervisor Edward K. Milkis after the latter took over all the post-production supervising duties from season two onward. In an interview given by him to William S. McCullars in 1997, originally for McCullars' now defunct website The IDIC Page, he has described his duties in post-production, "Production is everything from conceptualizing to actually filming a show. But the minute the film is pulled from the camera, it becomes the property of the post production office. That means we handled all the physical dailies through shooting, as well. Then, when the film left the camera, we would handle all of the film processing, cutting , editing, SFX, sound editing, music editing, and commercial integration, right down to the contract prints that were sent to the network."
Years later, now working as a college teacher, Thompson became re-acquainted with the franchise when he organized a publicly accessible exhibition for the college with had as theme the space program of NASA, in order to pay for a guest lecture by noted science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Through a series of chance contacts (involving among others former executive producer Herb Solow), Thompson was given the opportunity to have the original eleven-foot studio model of the USS Enterprise included in the exhibition as well. Only too happy to help out a former colleague, the studio allowed the college to arrange the shipping of the model to the institution, were it was reassembled and on display for several weeks in April 1972, arguably the very first time a Star Trek studio model was on tour.
The McCullars interview has been, in edited form, published in Star Trek: Communicator issue 120.
Career outside Star Trek
Hailing from Los Angeles, Thompson interrupted his education to work for the U.S. Peace Corps as the first 18-year old volunteer to serve overseas in Sri Lanka, before he took on his position at Desilu. His responsibilities were not restricted to Star Trek, but were also applied to the other productions, Desilu was involved with, Mannix, and Mission: Impossible. Apart from his duties in post-production, Thompson also worked as producer/artistic director at Lucille Ball’s Studio Theater. He left Desilu after The Original Series wrapped and completed his education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona with a degree in education. After graduating Thompson did not return to the motion picture industry, but opted to pursue a career in education as teacher, his first teaching job being at the Navajo Reservation. In 1971 he took on a position at Golden West College, Huntington Beach, California as director of student activities. It was here that he organized the Enterprise model to be exhibited.
Over the next decades, Thompson developed a growing interest in the threats of nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological warfare and the potential effects of terrorism on democratic soils and has specialized in these subjects, giving lectures and speeches for a multitude of institutions and organizations, concerned with these themes, as well as writing a multitude of articles about them. On 10 September 2001, one day before the 9/11 attack on New York City, he gave a three hour radio interview on KFI radio, Los Angeles, predicting a major terrorist attack while identifying Al Qaida as a likely perpetrator. In 1999, Thompson published his first fiction novel, Omar, which deals with global terrorism.
Star Trek interview
- "Starship '72, The forgotten detour of the NCC-1701", William S. McCullars, Star Trek: Communicator issue 120, December 1998/January 1999, pp. 16-17, 77