(written from a Production point of view)
|Birth name:||Joseph R. Jennings|
|Awards for Trek:||1 Academy Award nomination|
|Roles:||Art Director, Production Designer|
|...with former protégé Mike Minor (l) on the set of The Wrath of Khan|
Joseph "Joe" R. Jennings, sometimes simply credited as Joe Jennings, was an art director on Star Trek: Phase II, the project that was to become Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which ultimately earned him an Academy Award nomination. He was co-designer of the refit USS Enterprise for the film, after he was brought in on recommendation of Matt Jefferies, along with Michael Minor, Andrew Probert, Douglas Trumbull and Harold Michelson. Prior to this assignment he was Jefferies' assistant on the second season of Star Trek: The Original Series, where he befriended Jefferies. (Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series, p.26) He was also the production designer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, partially responsible for the design of the Miranda-class studio model.
While working on the two Star Trek features, Jennings enjoyed a particularly close and enduring working relationship with former protégé Mike Minor, for whom Jennings had arranged one of his first jobs in the motion picture industry on the television show Gunsmoke. Brought in on the Phase II project and its follow-up by Jennings, an appreciative Minor later stated, "We worked together like Rogers [sic.] and Hammerstein." (Cinefantastique, issue 44, Vol 12 #5/6, p. 58)
Jennings was less than pleased with Nicholas Meyer's ideas to make Star Trek more militaristic in Star Trek II, and thought the torpedo bays were simply ridiculous – as they should be fired directly from storage. In an interview on the Star Trek II Director's Edition DVD, he said that seeing the ensigns with hooks pulling the grating off the torpedo conveyor before launching it drove him crazy, since any real ship that took that long to load weapons would probably be destroyed in about ten seconds.
On 27 September 2009, Joe Jennings, together with fellow designers John Jefferies, Herman F. Zimmerman and Scott Chambliss, were honored for their Star Trek contributions in a media event called the "Star Trek Designers Talk Trek History At Art Directors Guild Event" at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, and in which all designers discussed indepth their work on the franchise. The event was moderated by another Star Trek alumnus, Daren Dochterman. 
Career outside Star TrekEdit
Besides Star Trek, Joe Jennings' additional art direction credits included the television shows Gunsmoke and Project U.F.O. and such films as Kansas City Bomber (1972, featuring Georgia Schmidt) and Gone with the West (1975, starring Robert Walker, with makeup by Fred B. Phillips). He was also production designer on the films Yellowbeard (1983, starring Kenneth Mars) and Johnny Dangerously (1984, starring Joe Piscopo and Ray Walston), the 1986 mini-series North and South, Book II (starring Kirstie Alley, Mary Crosby, Jonathan Frakes, Jim Metzler, Leon Rippy, William Schallert, Jean Simmons, Kurtwood Smith, David Ogden Stiers, and Anthony Zerbe, with costumes by Robert Fletcher), and the television movie Ironclads (1991, starring Virginia Madsen). The 1992 television movie The Jacksons: An American Dream, was Jennings' last recorded motion picture credit.
Apart from his Star Trek Academy Award nomination, Jennings also received Emmy Award nominations for his work on the mini-series Roots (1977, starring LeVar Burton, Thalmus Rasulala, John Schuck, Madge Sinclair, and Ben Vereen) and Shogun (1980, featuring John Rhys-Davies and W. Morgan Sheppard and narrated by Orson Welles; with cinematography by Andrew Laszlo). He shared the latter nomination with set decorator Tom Pedigo.
Academy Award Edit
Joe Jennings received the following Academy Award nomination in the category "Best Art Direction-Set Direction":
- 1980 for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, shared with Harold Michelson, Leon Harris, John Vallone, and Linda DeScenna