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William Ware Theiss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Ware Theiss
William Ware Theiss.jpg
Born (1931-11-20)November 20, 1931
Medford, Massachusetts
Died December 15, 1992(1992-12-15) (aged 61)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Costume designer
Years active 1960–1988

William Ware Theiss (/θs/; November 20, 1931 – December 15, 1992),[1] also called Bill Theiss, was an American costume designer for television and film.

His film credits as costume designer include Spartacus, Harold and Maude, Bound for Glory, Pete's Dragon (uncredited), Who'll Stop the Rain, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, The Man with One Red Shoe, and Heart Like a Wheel. His television credits include Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Costume Design.[2][3]

In the course of his career, Theiss was most famous for creating alluring female costuming that censors typically could not credibly forbid, employing what came to be called the "Theiss Titillation Theory": "The sexiness of an outfit is directly proportional to the perceived possibility that a vital piece of it might fall off."[4]

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  • Unboxing: Star Trek Costumes- Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier
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How's it goin', everybody! Sebastian here, bringing you a quick look at a brand new book that's just come out from my beloved Star Trek and that is Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier. But before I actually talk about his book, I think I actually need to slip into something a little more comfortable. [Cosmic whoosh] Much better. Now, as for the book, the book costs 60 dollars retail but I picked it up for 39 dollars on, which is quite a savings. Now, as for what this book covers, this book covers everything from The Original Series all the way through the 2 J.J. films. Now, that is all 6 Original Series movies, that's all 4 Next Generation films and of course those series themselves, plus Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. And that is a lot of Star Trek to cover, that's fifty years. Now, what I've decided to do to show off some of this to you guys is I've decided to pick a few of the costumes that are my personal favorites from all across Star Trek and show those off to you, and that's a lot. So let's get to it. Alrighty, guys, here we have the front of the book. Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann with an introduction by Robert Blackman. We have the TOS-era command officer's duty uniform up front and center with the captain's striping on the sleeves. Then along the bottom we have Captain Picard, Seven of Nine, Spock, Worf in his awesome suit from his wedding with Jadzia, and the J.J.-verse Uhura in the wetsuit from Into Darkness. And on the back we have a beautiful color photo of one of the Grecian gowns from "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Absolutely lovely. Then on the inside of the dust jacket we have the pattern from the J.J.-verse films the delta insignias inside the uniform itself. And along the front, "Star Trek Costumes" with the same pattern. Very, very, very nice. So let's pull the dust jacket aside and continue on our journey into this book. Now, I've marked off a few pages because I did mark off my favorite uniforms in particular, there's a LOT of stuff in this book. So let's get to it. First off, we have the Mirror Universe uniform. We have the captain's uniform and of course Mirror Universe Spock with the sashes, the special collars. Really, really cool stuff. Lovely production photo of them down at the bottom in their uniforms. Then the next set here, one of my favorites. This is Doctor McCoy's scrubs from TOS. I actually really, really like the look of his scrubs with the black shirt under the collar. Really, really nice. And awesome close up of his insignia, the science insignia. This is really, really cool stuff. Alrighty, next up, the uniform that was first introduced in Wrath of Khan. We have the captain's insignia here that went on the sleeve and on the shoulder strap. This, easily, my favorite uniform, next to the First Contact uniforms. I love the parachuted pants down at the bottom. Very clean lines, love the high collar. And again, just really, really nice clear photos. Alrighty, next up. Jumpin' forward into The Next Generation. We have production art, or at least the production designs, rather, of the uniform from Next Generation from season 3 onward. And I loved this one, I like this way more with the higher collar than with the low collar in the first few seasons. And, moving on to the Borg. Now, this was one area in particular--I mean, this is a beautiful photo of the Borg Queen here. Now, one of my gripes is that this book is NOT a book about the makeup of Star Trek, with Michael Westmore having done amazing work throughout the life of Next Gen all the way through Enterprise. But that's not to say that that takes away from this book at all, there are gorgeous photos of characters in full costume with full makeup on. And two, is the way some of the stuff is sectioned off in the book and this is perfect time to talk about that briefly. Now, Star Trek: First Contact was where my favorite Star Trek uniform, from Starfleet, was introduced, the black with the gray shoulders with the collars, with the colors and I'm trying to motion that but you can't see me, only my hands. Now, while the uniform is discussed and the creation of the uniform was discussed here, specifically on this page with the introduction of Star Trek: First Contact, that really doesn't come back at all until you get into the Deep Space Nine section where they do show the uniform with Miles O'Brien and his special insignia here from Deep Space Nine because he was a petty officer and not a Starfleet officer. But we have Kira's uniform here as well. Now, this is easily my favorite Starfleet uniform in all of Star Trek and I just love the Comm Badge, I love the sleek lines to it. But I wanted to mention that in particular, there is some strange structuring. Now, the size of the sections goes from TOS to Next Gen, and those are the two largest sections of the book. Then you move into the spin-offs, which Deep Space Nine is the third largest, and Voyager and the J.J.-verse movies sort of sharing about the same size. And then you get into Enterprise, which has the thinnest section, but for me had some of the most beautiful costumes; the Suliban, the flight suits from Enterprise--and we'll talk about that-- and, of course, the Xindi costumes as well. Now here we have, from Deep Space Nine, Worf's uniform or his suit, rather, that he wore when he was getting married to Jadzia. And we have a nice photo of Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell together from a production photo here. Lovely close-ups of all the ornamentation, the jewelry, the belt buckle. This is absolutely gorgeous stuff and this is the stuff, for me, that makes this book absolutely worthwhile. Here's Jadzia's wedding dress, a traditional Klingon wedding dress. Very, very nice. And another lovely photo of Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell and their crowns. And that's also a great episode of Deep Space Nine, if you ever get a chance to watch it. And here we go into Voyager. Here, we have Captain Janeway and the uniforms that were introduced in Deep Space Nine first and used in Star Trek: Generations and then carried over into Voyager. We have Nelix, and should be coming up on Seven of Nine, and this is the iconic uniform Seven of Nine was first introduced in when she became human. And they also have a great photo of the suit that she wore-- Jeri Ryan wore--when she was a Borg. So really, really cool to get a look at that. And we also have Chaotica's dress--sorry--the "Bride of Chaotica" episode and this is the Queen Arachnia's dress from the episode. Very, very cool to see and that was an all black and white episode when they did the Holodeck scenes, but awesome to see this very cool retro sci-fi-style dress make it on the show. And here we go, we're now into Enterprise for a little bit. The Xindi costumes--the Xindi reptilians, which had these great cages on their shoulders, very reminiscent of the uniform worn by Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis. We have a great shot here of Scott Bakula in the environmental suit. We have some of the patchwork here: Security Division, the M.A.C.O and the Starship Intrepid construction patch and the flight suit itself with Travis Mayweather here up front. And then, lastly, I wanted to move right into the section that involves the J.J. reboot and there's some really, really nice photos here, too--a good cast photo. And I wanna move into some of the cool Klingon detailing because they had some of the more interesting costumes of the film. The helmets worn by the Klingons in both films. And of course, the redesigned uniforms. And they talk a little bit here about sort of transitioning from the Original Series uniform--the dress-- into the modern version which became sleeveless. And of course, some of the more dress uniforms here. And finally, Khan's coat. Now, whether or not you liked the film and, despite my personal opinions, Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor and the suit design--the costume design--for Khan, very, very fascinating decisions made. And I especially love his collar, which is very reminiscent of the collar that Ricardo Montalban's Khan had in Wrath of Khan, on his vest. Really, really cool stuff. And again, the anecdotes in this book--absolutely fantastic. Here is the wet-suit, the Starfleet wet-suit, and some of the production artwork here from Into Darkness as well. There is a wealth of information in this book for costumers or just fans of the series. So, thank you very much for watching this, guys.This is a great, great book. Thank you very much for watching, guys. I hope you enjoyed this video and I hope you enjoy this book if you decide to pick it up. Even if you're a Trekkie, if you're a cosplayer, if you're a fan of costume design or if this is just for the Trekkie in your life, I don't think this is a book to be missed, especially for the price you can get it on Amazon. And there will be a link down below in the description to that. And beyond that, I would love to see a book series like this continue. I would love the Props of Star Trek, The Makeup of Star Trek--Michael Westmore's work alone on the series from Next Gen all the way through Enterprise is amazing. And this book does a really good job of not only mixing anecdotes from the production of the stories but just an insight into the people who made all of this possible. Awesome, awesome book. Please check it out, and thank you once again for watching. And hey, if you like this video, leave a comment down below. I would like to hear from you: What is your absolute favorite Star Trek costume? It can be from all of the series, the movies, animated, maybe some fan films, I know they've got stuff like Anaxar out there, they've got new voyages. Lemme know! I wanna hear from ya. And thank you, once again, guys. I will catch you next time. And, as always, Live Long and Prosper.


Early life

Theiss was born in Medford, Massachusetts, the son of Harold Hetherington Theiss and Helen Theiss, and was named for his paternal great-grandfather, William Hodgson, and his paternal great-grandmother's family, Ellen (Ware) Hodgson.[5] He attended Lowell High School in San Francisco.[citation needed] He attended Art Center College of Design at Stanford University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts,[6] minoring in sciences, biology and chemistry before a four-year stint in the United States Navy. He eventually moved to Los Angeles.[citation needed] His first Hollywood job was as a personal secretary to Cary Grant,[6] whose ex-wife, actress Dyan Cannon, Theiss cited as having considerable influence on his career.[7]

Illness and death

Theiss died of complications from AIDS on December 15, 1992, age 61.[6]


Following six months at Revue/Universal Studios as an apprentice artist in the Advertising Art Department, Theiss worked at CBS in the Wardrobe Department on two televised soap operas. The film The Pink Panther (1963) was his first as a designer,[citation needed] although he is credited as "wardrobe consultant". He returned to television as a wardrobe man for shows including Hollywood Palace, My Favorite Martian, and The Farmer's Daughter. In autumn 1964 he was costume designer for "The World of Ray Bradbury" on stage.

In 1964, he was brought to the attention of Gene Roddenberry by Dorothy Fontana, his friend. Roddenberry then hired Theiss as costume designer for Star Trek. The "Theiss Titillation Theory"—which claims that "the degree to which a costume is considered sexy is directly proportional to how accident-prone it appears to be"—is named after him.[8] A key example of this idea in practice is the female android costume in the Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" in which the revealing top portion consists only of two crossing straps of material that connect in one piece to trousers, and—Theiss's personal favorite—the gown featured in the episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?": a backless dress in which the front of the dress was held up by the weight of the train which fell over the shoulder to the floor.[9]

In the 1970s and early 1980s, he designed costumes for at least a dozen TV movies, including Genesis II and The B.R.A.T. Patrol, as well as for over a dozen motion pictures, including three Academy Award for Costume Design nominations for 1976's Bound for Glory, 1979's Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, and 1983's Heart Like a Wheel. His final credit was as costume designer for Star Trek: The Next Generation, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series for the episode "The Big Goodbye".[2][3]


  1. ^ US Social Security Death Index for W Thiess
  2. ^ a b "Emmy Winners Who Got Awards Saturday". Los Angeles Times. August 29, 1988.
  3. ^ a b COSTUME DESIGN FOR A SERIES "Outstanding Costume Design for a Series 1989". "Primetime Emmy Awards nominations for 1989". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Reeves-Stevens, Judith (Nov 1, 1995). The Art of Star Trek. Simon & Schuster. pp. 28–31. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  5. ^ The Hodgson, Ware, & Theiss Genealogy available from Darren McMannis
  6. ^ a b c "Theis, William Ware "Bill"". official website. CBS Studios Inc. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  7. ^ Solow, Herbert F. and Yvonne Fern (1997). Star Trek Sketchbook The Original Series. Pocket Books. p. 116. ISBN 0-671-00219-8.
  8. ^ Whitfield, Stephen E. (1968). The Making of Star Trek. Ballantine Books. p. 360. ISBN 978-0-345-23401-8.
  9. ^ Whitfield, Stephen, and Roddenberry, Gene. The Making of Star Trek (New York: Ballantine Books), 1970. ASIN: B0015HW8N4

External links

This page was last edited on 9 October 2018, at 18:37
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