Dave Bakke: 'Star Trek' fan Les Blain is an Enterprising guyI have been waiting for a reason to write about Les Blain's "Star Trek" room at his Springfield home. I found it. This year is the 50th anniversary of the debut of the original "Star Trek" on NBC.
A whole bunch of conventions and commemorations are scheduled throughout 2016. We are going to hear a lot about the "Star Trek" golden anniversary in the months to come. Les was ahead of the curve.
It started when he built a replica of Capt. James T. Kirk’s chair from the bridge of the Enterprise.
"I went to an exhibition, I think it was called 'The Star Trek Experience' at the science center in St. Louis," says Les. "They had Kirk's chair. I looked at that and it went through my mind, 'I wonder if I can do that?' I gave it about a week to go away."
But the idea didn't go away. Les, a medical equipment repairman by trade, is mechanically inclined. He has a garage and a workshop at home and that is where, in the summer of 2013, he built the command chair.
"I thought I was done after that," he says, "but then I would get another idea, build that and think I was done again. Then I'd get another idea. ..."
He has since built Mr. Spock’s Enterprise science station with LED lights and backlit marbles to make it look authentic. He converted a window into the Enterprise’s video screen, showing a view of outer space from the captain’s chair. Another chair is draped in a huge Starfleet uniform shirt.
Les is a full-on Trekkie (you probably guessed that already) but doesn't usually attend the various conventions around the country. The ones he has gone to allowed him to meet a few cast members, of which he says Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) was the kindest and most accessible.
Once Les's family and friends found out about his "Star Trek" passion, they knew what to give him on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. "It's like if you study Eskimos or whatever it is," says Les, "you get something about it on every gift-giving occasion."
And what does his wife, Janet, think of all this? She's in. "Oh yeah," she says. "We've both been Trekkies since the beginning."
She has aided and abetted her husband's hobby, accompanying him to a couple of conventions and giving him a few models of the Enterprise.
Les's son, John, gave him "Star Trek" glass coasters. Les was afraid he would break them, so he built a rack and incorporated the coasters into it so he doesn't have to handle them.
What else does he have in his room? Oh, a Starfleet emblem, a "Star Trek" lunchbox, autographed photos of several cast members, diagrams of the Enterprise, a mug printed with a portion of the iconic "Space. The final frontier..." introduction and several views of the stars (backlit by LED lights).