What geek could not love Huston Huddleston? This man found part of the Enterprise bridge in the trash and instead of hoarding it an ultra geeky man cave decided he needed to share it with the world. His idea? A Science Fiction Museum. At Stan Lee’s Comikaze he was giving fans what they want–a chance to sit in the captain’s chair or (for a donation of $5) a chance to sit in the “Back to the Future” Delorean.
The place’s working title is the Hollywood Sci-Fi Museum (at HollywoodSciFi.com) and Huddleston, an incredibly humble man, was at Stan Lee’s Comikaze, promoting his nonprofit organization, New Starship, an educational foundation because science fiction is making movies and that’s a part of Hollywood history. Huddleston has support from TOS Star Trek cast members who have become social media stars: William Shatner and George Takei. He also has the support of some high rolling collectors. The Delorean and the KITT, which were both on display at Stan Lee’s Comikaze, come from private collector’s.
Huddleston was also talking about possibly receiving those life-size models of superheroes such as the Hulk.
What fan wouldn’t want to take a photo of that? It sounds like the museum will be selfie heaven.
Huddleston has been a Star Trek fan and collector when he chanced upon the remains of the captain’s chair for the Star Trek Experience theme park in Las Vegas. Only four replicas were made of Jean-Luc Picard’s bridge and his chair. The actual set was destroyed when the last movie’s script called for the Enterprise crash-to land on to Veridian III. After the theme park was closed in 2008 and the Star Trek: World Tour ended in 2003, the sets ended up at a warehouse in Long Beach. Paramount, retained the movie rights, but Viacom split into two part–Viacom and CBS Corporation with CBS holding the rights to the TV shows. As with the original Star Trek series, the bridge was headed for the dumpster and Huddleston paid nothing for the props–except the $7,000 for shipping to his Sherman Oaks home.
Huddleston has traveled to other conventions with restored chairs, giving fans a chance to be photographed in his rescues pieces including Riker and Troi chairs. All the time raising money. Of course, he also did a very successful Kickstarter campaign to “Save the Bridge” and raised $68,000.
Now he got quite a few people on board. His Board of Directors includes the designer of the USS Enterprise for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and the DeLorean time machine, Andrew Probert ; script writer for Star Trek TOS including the infamous “The Trouble with Tribbles,” David Gerrold; Oscar and Emmy award-winning Battlestar Galactica visual effects artist, Doug Drexler; author of “ST: the Next Generation Companion” and “Starfleet Archives: Stellar Cartography,” Larry Nemecek; screenwriter and TV producer for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Voyager,” and “Deep Space Nine,” Ronald D. Moore; designer for “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Serenity” and “Firefly,” Timothy Earls, Huddleston’s mother who once performed with Neil Diamond and Frank Sinatra, Nancy Adams Huddleston; Star Trek fan Aubry West who serves as the organization’s secretary, and NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and award-winning project manager Elizabeth LeBlanc who works on major museum exhibitions.
According to Huddleston, “The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has land in North Hollywood. There’s nothing in North Hollywood but there is the subway and the TV Academy. They want our museum to be the coolest thing in North Hollywood.” How? Huddleston explained “We are re-inventing the model of the museum.” And it’s not that studios don’t care. “The Studios care about what the fans want.” In the near future, Huddleston promised an announcement of a major studio giving the museum its support.
While one might say that show business is in Huddleston’s DNA with his father working as a songwriter for Disney films and his mother singing with Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee, Huddleston claims, “What is in my DNA is making people happy.”
“This is a perfect time to do this (museum). We have more and bigger conventions and in TV and films most of the successful projects are science fiction. Sure you can call them superhero movies, but they are science fiction. All the stars are converging.” To donate to the cause, visit the museum’s website.
This weekend, all the fans have been converging at the Los Angeles Convention Center and if you can, here’s your chance to imagine what it would be like to command the starship Enterprise or go Back to the Future in style. Stan Lee’s Comikaze continues until 5 p.m. today at the L.A. Convention Center.