(written from a Production point of view)
|Birth name:||Walter Matthew Jefferies|
|Date of birth:||12 August 1921|
|Place of birth:||Lebanon, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Date of death:||21 July 2003|
|Place of death:||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Awards for Trek:||1 Emmy Award nomination|
|Roles:||Art Director, Production Designer|
|Jefferies in the 1960s|
Walter Matthew "Matt" Jefferies (12 August 1921 – 21 July 2003; age 81), brother to fellow Star Trek designers Philip and John Jefferies, was the art director and production designer on all three seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series, and has done some preliminary work as such on Star Trek: The Motion Picture (or rather its immediate predecessor, Star Trek: Phase II), albeit uncredited.
Serving as art director and designer for The Original Series, it was Jefferies who designed the original Enterprise studio model with its saucer-shaped hull, engineering hull, and two nacelles, as well as the type 1 and type 2 phaser designs seen in The Original Series, for which he, along with brother John, did the design drawings. His involvement in the Star Trek franchise started in 1964, when Gene Roddenberry asked Jefferies to design a starship for his new TV series. His signature design survived to influence starship designs in subsequent Star Trek productions. As influential as his starship designs was his bridge design. Apart from these, he designed numerous sets, landscapes, props, and other ships (most notably the Klingon D7-class) for the original series.
Jefferies worked as production designer on the two Star Trek pilots, then became both production designer and art director, starting with the first season in 1966. He worked with fellow art director Rolland M. Brooks on the first season and the beginning of the second. After Brooks left the series, Jefferies became the sole art director for Star Trek. Very much one of the most influential production staffers on the visual look of The Original Series, Jefferies was held in high regard by producers Roddenberry and Robert Justman throughout his tenure at the franchise, since then attaining a near legendary status, at least where the Star Trek community is concerned.
The series of interviews with Jefferies for the 2000 run of the publication Star Trek: The Magazine were the most elaborate ones, he has given on his work on Star Trek, and has helped to clear up some of the misconceptions that had evolved over the years on some of his work in Star Trek lore, such as the origins of the USS Enterprise's registry number and the raison d'etre for the D7-class studio model. Jefferies, along with his brother John, sold off virtually all of their Original Series production items, including all of his design art, still in their possession in the Profiles in History The Star Trek Auction of 12 December 2001, in order to raise funds for the charitable organization "Motion Picture & Television Fund". Prior to the auction, most of Jefferies' Star Trek design art was published in Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook and the interview issues of Star Trek: The Magazine.
Matt Jefferies has confessed to a lack of enthrallment for all post-The Original Series reincarnations of Star Trek, having stated in a BBC interview, shortly before his death in 2003, in regard to The Motion Picture, "I went to the first movie. I was invited to the screening. I fell asleep. John Dwyer noticed it from across the screening room and said, "Matt, wake up." Fortunately nobody else in there knew me.", and in regard to Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Gene asked me how I liked the show, and I said that he had taken the bridge of my ship and turned it into the lobby of the Hilton. And I have just never watched any of them since. I’m lost." 
Nevertheless, it was in his honor that the crawl spaces on all Starfleet vessels are named Jefferies tubes, a reference used throughout the entire Star Trek franchise. Likewise, the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "First Flight" mentioned Captain Jefferies, who was also named in honor of Matt Jefferies. Aside from this, Jefferies became revered by numerous later Star Trek staffers, especially by those working in the art and visual effects departments, such as Doug Drexler, Michael Okuda, Bill George and many others.
Career outside Star TrekEdit
Hailing from the East Coast, Matt Jefferies developed a passion for aviation in the interbellum years, and joined the United States Air Force to serve a bomber pilot over Africa (surviving a mid-air collision with a German fighter plane) and Europe during World War II. His brush with death in the war did not dampen his enthusiasm for aviation after the war and he personally restored his own plane, a 1935 Waco YOC. Its registry, NC17740, has in Star Trek lore given rise to a decades long myth that the USS Enterprise received its registry from his plane, a notion Jefferies finally dispelled himself in 2000. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 26) Directly after the war Jefferies became an illustrator at the Library of Congress, and in the 1950s he was hired as set decorator at Warner Brothers.
Though mostly remembered for his work on Star Trek, at the time, it was but a small part of his career. Before Star Trek he worked on such productions as The Untouchables, Ben Casey, and Mission: Impossible (from which he was unexpectedly pulled by his then employer, Desilu, only to find himself working on the new Star Trek show), and afterwards on productions such as Little House on the Prairie and the 1980s Dallas television series, his last recorded motion picture work. He particularly enjoyed working for Little House and was not willing to give up his job there when he was sounded out by Roddenberry to come back for the the Star Trek: Phase II project, though he did some preliminary work on the redesign of the Enterprise. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 84)
Both Roddenberry and Jefferies died of congestive heart failure, after a fight with cancer. Matt Jefferies had a third sibling, Richard, who has written a biography on his brother, published in 2008 (see below).
Emmy Award Nomination Edit
Matt Jefferies was the only television Star Trek production illustrator of visual effects ever considered as such for an Emmy Award, even though the title did not yet exist in the franchise at the time, due to the fact that the distinction between visual effects and special effects only came into being during the early 1990s.
- 1969 Emmy Award nomination for TOS Season 3 in the category Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Scenic Design, shared with set decorator John Dwyer.
Star Trek interviewsEdit
- "Behind the camera: Walter M. Jefferies", interview by D.C. Fontana, Inside Star Trek, issue 4, October 1968, pp. 2-5
- Movie Magic, Season 1, Episode 11: Models and Miniatures–A Model of Perfection, 1994
- Inside Star Trek - The Real Story, 1998
- "Behind the Scenes; Designing the Starship Enterprise", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, February 2000, pp. 24-30
- "Behind the Scenes; Matt Jefferies: Inside the U.S.S. Enterprise", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 11, March 2000, pp. 20-27
- "Behind the Scenes; Matt Jefferies: Shuttles and the Shuttlebay", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 12, April 2000, pp. 20-25
- "Behind the Scenes; Designing the Klingon Battle Cruiser", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, January 2002, pp. 66-71
- Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD–special feature: "A Tribute to Matt Jefferies" (archive footage), 2004
Further reading Edit
- The Making of Star Trek, 1968
- Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, 1997
- Beyond the Clouds: The Lifetime Trek of Walter "Matt" Jefferies, Artist and Visionary, Richard L. Jefferies, Brown Books Publishing Group, March 1, 2008
- "Where no Artist had gone before" (retrospective), Dwayne A. Day, Star Trek Magazine issue 162, July/August 2011, pp. 18-27
- ↑ For other pilots among Star Trek personnel, see Gene Roddenberry, James Doohan, Franz Bachelin, and Michael Dorn.