Rare 1978 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Promotional Poster By John Berkey!

There is nothing greater than coming upon an interesting item from your past that you never knew existed, well perhaps their is a greater feeling and that is when I get to share this with everyone. What you see above is a 1978 promotional poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture that Paramount Pictures gave out before the film’s release in 1979. The artwork is by the late great John Berkey, notable illustrator for numerous Sci-Fi novels and poster artwork for Star Wars, The Towering Inferno, and Dino de Laurentiis’s King Kong!

I found this promotional poster for sale actually on Amazon.Com which states that Paramount Pictures is the one offering the posters though the seller is listed as Planet of Pop and includes this text and photo.

“Amazing Warehouse find! This is a 30 YEAR OLD Promo poster in MINT CONDITION and pulled from a brand new factory case (see photo in listing of actual poster pulled from factory case)! You get ONE (1) of these rare posters for this price. Poster features large graphic image of the Starship Enterprise along with color photos of the stars of the film including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, James Doohan, Walter Koenig and Stephen Collins. This iconic poster image was created by renowed artist, John Berkey (August 13, 1932 – April 29, 2008) who was known for his space and science fiction-themed works. Some of Berkey’s best-known work includes much of the original poster art for the Star Wars trilogy, Irwin Allen’s The Towering Inferno, Dino De Laurentiis’ 1976 re-make of King Kong and also the “Old Elvis Stamp”. You will not find this rare poster in better condition anywhere! Once sold out, they’re gone for good!”

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

So what do you think? Which is the better poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture? The promotional poster above or the actual theatrical poster?

Image courtesy of IMP Awards.

Image courtesy of IMP Awards.

Updated: Friend of the Retroist site, Earl Green, was kind enough to tweet some additional information concerning the promotional poster: “Berkey actually did this artwork for aborted ST Phase II series;FX shots were very late,so studio used it for early movie promo.”


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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7 thoughts on “Rare 1978 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Promotional Poster By John Berkey!

  1. vinvectrex says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Vic. I have always loved this poster more than the subsequent version. In fact, I first saw this as an ad in a comic book my aunt gave me when I visited her house. The comic book was okay, but I kept going back and staring at this poster. Later that evening, when we left, I slipped on the gravel drive – and the comic book was shredded. I was devastated that this image was torn up. I thin I’ll head over to eBay and rectify that traumatic experience.

  2. TheSixMillionDollarJedi says:

    That is a great poster. I do like the promotional poster better. It works better as a teaser poster and that is a very strong image of the Enterprise.

  3. A couple of things that give away the date of Berkey’s artwork:

    The Enterprise in the artwork has the “radar dish” deflector that became a big glowing disk for the movies; it also has the same colorful “NCC-1701” insignia that was part of the planned TV series paint job. This “hybrid” design, halfway between the TV series and movies, was intended for Phase II; in fact, the current fan-made series using the title Star Trek Phase II has “appropriated” this very design to distinguish itself from other fan productions in that increasingly crowded field. A large scale miniature model of this design was also in the works at Brick Price’s FX studio at the time Phase II was canned and became the basis for The Motion Picture; since the movie Enterprise would be seen much more up close and for longer shots (something of an understatement!), they started from scratch on the design and the miniature. Phase II was conceived as the cornerstone of Paramount’s attempt to launch a “fourth network” in 1977, long before UPN, but some strongarming from ABC, CBS and NBC kept advertisers from lining up for it, and thus it never hit the air.

    The other giveaway is that the screenplay is credited to Gene Roddenberry and Harold Livingston; in the finished movie, Livingston had sole screenplay credit, which was granted in order to get him to see the script through to the end (he hated working with Roddenberry, who would rewrite his script drafts at every opportunity).

    I think that’s probably more geeky detail than anybody ever needed!

  4. Bret says:

    Thank you, Retroist, for helping to spend my money. :) I had seen this poster before (possibly even on Amazon) but to know that it’s coming direct from Paramount helped seal the purchase. I like both versions for different reasons but will be very happy to have Berkey’s in my home.

  5. Sweet! Think I’ll pop on over and get one myself as well. I do prefer that earlier more Enterprise-centric promo poster. Emotes more of a 70’s sci-fi feel that you would see on old SF novels which makes sense given what you said about the artist’s experience in that field – and I’ve always loved that look. The later official poster never really did much for me.

  6. Earl, I absolutely bow down to your awesome Trek and Gaming knowledge, I hope you know that friend! :)

    If anyone gets their hands on one of these I think you should totally take a photo and share it with us!

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