Original USS Enterprise Model Returns Home After Mysterious Disappearance


Returning triumphantly to its rightful place, the inaugural model of the USS Enterprise, made famous in the opening credits of the original “Star Trek” television series, has completed its journey across unexplored regions of time and found its way back to its creator’s family. Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, is elated to be reunited with the legendary piece, which mysteriously disappeared in the 1970s.

The transformative journey of this iconic model from its disappearance to its re-emergence on eBay last fall fostered an element of intrigue. Upon the sudden rise to the surface of this cultural artifact, the sellers hastily withdrew the listing and reached out to Dallas-based Heritage Auctions to verify the model’s authenticity. The auction house, skilled in navigating such interstellar commodities, oversaw the safe transition of the model back to its original homebase.

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Taking pride of place on Gene Roddenberry’s desk, the pioneer spaceship model is not destined to become a mere trophy on Rod’s shelf. Roddenberry, the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment, envisions an illustrious future for the commanding piece: “This is going to get restored and we’re working on ways to get it out so the public can see it and my hope is that it will land in a museum somewhere.”

The rediscovery of the model has sparked excitement, akin to uncovering a cherished relic. Joe Maddalena, Heritage’s executive vice president, spoke of the awe that followed its arrival at their Beverly Hills office: “We instantly knew that it was the real thing.” Many a heart soared at the sighting of this celestial icon, and there was a unanimous agreement that returning the model to Roddenberry was the only course to steer.

The historical chasm where the model vanished traces back to when it was lent to the makers of the “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in the 1970s. “No one knew what happened to it,” confessed Roddenberry.

The vanished prototype, a 3-foot (0.91-meter) replica of the legendary starship used in the show’s original pilot episode, served as a blueprint to construct the colossal 11-foot (3-meter) version featured in the series episodes. The larger model now enjoys an esteemed position at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Inaugurated in the late 1960s, the original “Star Trek” television series ignited a spiraling cosmos of cultural phenomena, from TV and movie spinoffs to fan conventions, fostering a cult following of ardent fans, who can’t help but hoard the iconic memorabilia.

Reflecting on the model’s value, Maddalena eyes its potential to fetch over $1 million at auction, while adding that the model’s actual worth can’t be quantified, “It is truly a cultural icon,” he acknowledges.

Roddenberry, who was merely a child when the starship model went missing, has vague memories of it, akin to experiencing a bout of deja vu. The sudden emergence of the model forced him to recognize its significance. Alluding to the circumstances surrounding the model’s disappearance, Roddenberry highlighted his curiosity about whether it was lost due to an innocent mistake or something far more sinister.

Despite the enigmatic narrative of the artifact, Roddenberry is relieved that its unearthing has quashed one unfounded rumor: the destruction of the model by him as a child. Grinning, he added, “Finally, I’m vindicated after all these years.”