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Published: Monday, 5/11/2009

Star Trek glass collectibles aimed at geeky collectors

Welcome to the new Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

Paramount s faith in director J.J. Abrams to restore the life and prosperity of its Star Trek franchise was rewarded this weekend with a nearly $77 million opening-weekend haul by Star Trek.

Abrams reboot, which delves into the backstory of Kirk, Spock, McCoy et al, enjoyed the biggest opening ever by a Trek film, more than doubling the previous record of $30.7 million set by 1996 s Star Trek: First Contact.

Expectations were so high for the new film that Burger King did a reboot of its own by offering a set of four Trek drinking glasses, available for $1.99 each with the purchase of a value meal.

The new glasses are similar to the movie-themed collectibles sold at fast-food joints in the 1970s, 80s, and through the mid- 90s, only without the lead-based paint. They re also made of glass and not plastic, as has been the trend the last 10 years or so, until Burger King offered a set of glass collectibles for Shrek the Third in 2007.

Even without the toxic lead paint in the Star Trek glasses, you get the feeling nobody wants you to drink from them. The glasses aren t sold with a frosty-cold soft drink inside, as the glasses used to be, and are instead wrapped in a plastic sleeve and packed in a sturdy, colorful cardboard box itself suitable for shelf display. Clearly the fast-food giant thinks it knows the audience for Star Trek glasses: geeky collectors, and not thirsty consumers.

As I pulled out of the Burger King drive-thru with my Captain Kirk glass, I couldn t help but flash back to my collection of Empire Strikes Back glasses, also from Burger King. I acquired the four-glass set in 1980 as a kid, and kept them safe in a box hidden away I even forgot where the box was for more than a decade. Shortly before I left for college I discovered them and took them with me, thinking they would be safe an apartment fire started by two 10-year-old boys proved me wrong.

Thanks to eBay, I got a replacement set. And thanks to Burger King, I can start another collection. Only, this time I ll leave them hidden in a fire-proof box.

Check out the retro-cheesy goodness of this Burger King commercial for the original Star Wars glasses.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to kbaird@theblade.com or call 419-724-6734.



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