R.I.P Howard A. Anderson

Triem23Triem23 Moderator
edited November 2015 in Everything Else

If you have seen much 1950's through about 1990 TV and film, you know the work of Howard A. Anderson, who passed away recently at the ripe age of 95.

Howard Anderson, of course, ran the Howard Anderson company. One of several optical houses for 60's Star Trek, Anderson's house is one of only two to shoot the 11-foot Enterprise model. Most of the techniques used on Trek had never been done on that scale in TV, and much of it was brand-new, period. 

Marc Cushman notes in his fantastic "These Are the Voyages" books the sad story of how the crushing workload of doing unheard if levels of complex opticals on a 1960's budget and schedule drove Anderson into a nervous breakdown. Originally the sole contractor for Trek, the workload had to be broken up between four effects houses. 

Howard A. Anderson helped lay the groundwork for the next three decades of optical work, and much of what his company developed is still the basis for the approach of much digital workflow. Anderson refined much in the way of traveling mattes, as was able to perform some of the first of what we call "motion control" shots. 

Anderson was also an iconic title designer, including Twilight Zone, Mission Impossible, Brady Bunch, Wonder Woman, Love Boat and Cheers, among many others. 

Respect for a fallen master




  • I also add these.

    The Corbomite Maneuver is the first "Production" episode of Star Trek. As such, the bridge monitors still lack some graphics, uniforms are different, and this is the only time Uhura is in Command Gold.

    On the left, the Anderson Company. The right, the CBS Digital remaster under Michael Okuda. There is also some fantastic camera work in this episode. If nothing else, watch the beginning of part one for a fantastic high-angle shot. Remember, when shot that was intended as the very first time the bridge of Enterprise would be seen. 



    Of note: the Trek remastering is a rare one that doesn't tick me off. They just kept the look of the original and made it a little cleaner and more detailed without going crazy. 

  • I haven't watched it all yet but the Archive of American Television has a three hour interview with him.


  • @Triem23 Thanks for letting us know about Anderson's passing.  And thank you Aladdin4d for the link to the interview.  

    I had read many times about The Howard Anderson Company's involvement with the 11 foot model and the strain to meet deadlines for other effects, but I never realized how many more iconic shows Anderson had a hand in.    The Oxberry, wow!   That takes you back.

    Rest in Peace, Howard Anderson, Jr.  . . . and thank you.


Sign in to comment

Leave a Comment