(written from a Production point of view)
The Westheimer Company was an an optical visual effects house, based in Hollywood, California, which provided the, what was at the time still called, special effects for all three seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series. As this production was the most effects laden television show of its day, Westheimer was one of the extra effects companies that was brought in early in the first season, to alleviate the workload on its primary effects vendor, Howard Anderson Company. Founded in 1955, the company was owned and operated by its namesake, Joseph Westheimer, who would run the company for thirty years.
The Westheimer Company was nominated twice for an Emmy Award for Special Classification of Individual Achievements for its work on Star Trek: The Original Series in 1968 and 1969. Twenty years later Westheimer was reacquainted with the franchise as it provided additional visual effects for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, as well as titles and opticals for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Among the employees at The Westheimer Company who were involved with Star Trek was Joseph M. Wilcots, who later became an Emmy Award-nominated cinematography, and Richard Edlund, who later became a multiple Oscar-winner. A later employee was the Star Trek award winning visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore, who got his break in the motion picture industry at Westheimer's.
Outside the Star Trek franchise, the company provided special effects for several television series, including The Twilight Zone and The Big Valley, and later worked on major films, such as Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). The last recorded credit were "End Titles, Optical Effects" for Love Hurts (1990), and the company seems to be no longer in existence, most likely due to the long illness and ultimate death in 1998 of its founder, Joseph Westheimer.
Emmy Award nominations Edit
The Westheimer Company, received the following Emmy Award nominations in the category "Special Classification of Individual Achievements: Special Photographic Effects" for their work on Star Trek:
- 1968 Emmy Award nomination for Star Trek: The Original Series, sole nominee
- 1968 Emmy Award nomination for Star Trek: The Original Series, shared with Howard A. Anderson Company, Van der Veer Photo Effects, and Cinema Research
Further reading Edit
- "Out-of-this-world Special Effects for 'Star Trek'", Rae Moore, American Cinematographer, October 1967, pp. 715-717
- "Where No Show Had Gone Before", Jan Alan Henderson, American Cinematographer, January 1992, pp. 34-40
- "Special Visual Effects", Daniel Fiebiger, Cinefantastique, Vol 27 #11, 1996, pp. 64-75