Star Trek visual effects pioneer Howard A. Anderson. Jr. passes away

The man who created some of the original Star Trek's most iconic images has beamed off the planet.

According to MeTV, visual effects artist Howard A. Anderson Jr. died on Sept. 27 at the age of 95. Anderson and his brother Billy were responsible for several key visual elements of the classic Star Trek series, including the transporter's beaming effect, the constantly moving starfields seen through the viewing screen or in space, and perhaps most famously, the image of the Enterprise whooshing through space at warp speed in the show's opening credits (an explanation of creating the moving starfields effect, which took three days to shoot, can be found here).

Special effects were apparently in Howard A. Anderson Jr.'s blood: His father, Howard Anderson, ran a special effects shop, The Howard Anderson Company, at which the younger Howard began working until he was called to the Navy during World War II. When he came back in 1946, he returned to the shop and eventually took it over with Billy in 1954.

Title sequences seemed to be their specialty, as they created openings for a galaxy of immortal TV shows, including I Love Lucy, Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables, The Brady Bunch, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, My Three Sons, The Fugitive, That Girl, The Twilight Zone, Happy Days, The Love Boat, Wonder Woman, Cheers and many more.

Meanwhile, his son, Howard A. Anderson III, carried on the family tradition, doing visual effects for 1975's Rollerball and operating the camera on 1978's Superman with Christopher Reeve.

So the next time you watch the Enterprise flash past the edge of the screen on its way to "where no man has gone before," remember you have Howard A. Anderson Jr. to thank for it.

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