Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unfortunate apparel of 1980:
The official Star Trek duty jacket

Oh my. This hilarious advertisement appears on the back cover of the March 1980 issue of the short-lived sci-fi magazine Future Life.

The official Star Trek duty jacket and T-shirt featured in this ad were truly "space-age" because they had ... embedded LED lights!


"AND ... fantastic in dark movie theaters or standing in line. Anywhere — everyone will stop and gasp when they see your amazing, magical light display. Requires no effort on your part; your hands are totally free at all times."1

If you had one of these jackets and you wore it to the disco, PLEASE contact me immediately. I need to hear your story.

Here is the full description of the jacket:
"The official STAR TREK — The Motion Picture Deluxe LED Duty Jacket ($95 plus postage & packing).2 An amazing space-age design using metallic, silver-fleck polyurethane as the reflective outer shell and soft, luxurious 100% nylon lining in matching silver.
The official STAR TREK United Federation emblem patch adorns the breast of the jacket; the right sleeve is embroidered with a sharp-looking rank band (from the new movie); and the back is printed with the new STAR TREK logo and the U.S.S. Enterprise. A dazzling array of tiny LEDS (light emitting diodes) are secretly built into the Enterprise, and at your command they can be made to flash and sparkle. This stunning, practical windbreaker is a real conversation starter — no one can fail to be amazed and impressed with it. Shoulders are stylishly padded; waist and sleeves are elastic for a snug, windproof fit. The black nylon piping and heavy-duty zipper add the perfect accents to this shimmering silver jacket."3

The other products available were:
  • The official STAR TREK — The Motion Picture Standard Duty Jacket, which cost $40 and was for "those who prefer a less costly item." It had no LED system or metallic flecks. It was basically an ensign-level jacket.
  • The official STAR TREK — The Motion Picture LED pullover shirt for $35. (This is the item pictured in the center of the advertisement.) "Secretly mounted across the full width of the saucer portion is a system of LED's which you can turn on and command to flash with dazzling ruby red flints that shine like stars."

Perhaps Star Trek: The Motion Picture is to blame for this jacket. It was a rather dull and cheesy affair, and maybe this piece of clothing reflects (no pun intended) that uninspiring film.

I wonder if they came out with Star Trek-themed clothing for 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Some threads inspired by Khan Noonien Singh and his gang of super-humans would have fit in perfectly in the Flashdance era.

* * *

Beam over to these other Star Trek-related Papergreat posts:

1. I hope Earth wasn't being silently judged by aliens when this jacket was unleashed upon the world.
2. The $95 cost in 1980 would be the equivalent of about $260 today. I don't know what the cost will be around 2266, when Kirk takes the Enterprise out on its five-year mission. And I probably won't still be blogging then.
3. "IMPORTANT: 9V battery required for each LED jacket or pullover; not included with clothing."


  1. I had the t-shirt!! Have spent years trying to find a picture of it to prove I'm not going senile. I believe I picked it up at a 1980 ST convention when I was 15yo. Thank You SO MUCH for posting this!!! :-)

  2. I posted a matchbook which also promotes the same a discount price!