Two of fandom’s greatest benefactors are Adam and Leslie Schneider, the New Jersey couple who rescued the three-quarter scale Galileo prop and bought it from Lynne Miller’s auction. Galileo’s history is checkered – first delivered to Desilu by a division of AMT in exchange for manufacturing and marketing rights for the Enterprise and Klingon model kits (and later, other popular kits including the Galileo herself.) She arrived about the same time that STAR TREK went on the air, on NBC.
Here’s Spock checking out the port side engine cowl in “The Galileo Seven.”
Following the series, Paramount donated Galileo to a blind school. A collector bought steel and masonite ship and let it languish outdoors at his home in Palos Verdes (about an hour south of Hollywood.) Galileo underwent a partial restoration in the mid-1980’s, when a collector in San Diego bought her and sort of restored her – but then she languished in the desert.
Enter Lynne Miller. She bought Galileo and had her trucked from California to Ohio. In the late 80’s, I bought a small circular plywood piece of the Galileo from Lynne at an auction in Indianapolis – the only piece of her I thought I’d ever own. At his last STAR TREK Las Vegas appearance, I had Leonard Nimoy autograph that circular remnant (from inside one of the engine nacelles.)
Then, after another failed restoration, Galileo sat in a rented hangar space at the Akron airport. Later, she was spotted under a tarp at a scrapyard, also near Akron. Then she disappeared until Lynne offered her for sale.
Enter Adam and Leslie, who had a dream – bring the Galileo back to life with a comprehensive restoration/rebuilding effort that would culminate with a donation of the finished ship to a museum. Space Center Houston is the lucky recipient, and anyone who has seen her knows what a stupendous job the crew at Master Shipwrights (a REAL shipbuilding company) did with the inch-by-inch restoration. That followed a flood of the Shipwrights’ shop caused by Hurricane Sandy and related storm surge. Galileo was suspended in mid-air in the shop at the time and avoided sinking during the Sandy aftermath.
Several TPZ Members assisted with the restoration, providing photographs and fan-drawn blueprints of the craft. Of note, Feek61 built a “busy box” for the back of the rejuvenated Galileo that was exactly like the panel Spock accessed to work his magic in “The Galileo Seven” and “Metamorphosis.” I helped the restoration effort win some media coverage in USAToday.
Master Shipwrights" painstaking restoration included cleaning and painting the steel skeleton that survived on Galileo, but most of the masonite and plywood had deteriorated to badly that it simply wasn’t useable. Same goes for the corrugated Engine Cowls on the rear of the nacelles, which had rusted and split over the years of being indoors, then outside, then in the desert, and then exposed to the elements in the midwest.
Recently, I acquired one of the rusted cowls and created a display to showcase this TOS artifact. (Click on the image to see it in full-length.)
Thanks to Feek61 for helping with the correct Galileo font for my display…
The display is lit with LED’s and a translucent panel. Inside, I’ve placed the circular plywood support autographed by Nimoy and a tiny Galileo shuttlecraft replica…
Thanks to Adam for helping me add this terrific artifact to my collection!