Doug Grindstaff died late last month, at age 87. It’s a loss for anyone who has enjoyed the Star Trek universe.
Who’s Doug Grindstaff, you say? He’s the guy who came up with all of those nifty sound effects on the original Star Trek — the beeps and bloops and whooshes that made the show a feast for the ears. The sssshhh sound when the doors from the turbolift to the bridge opened. The blurbling bleeps that were emitted when a communicator was opened. The puffing air that we heard when Dr. McCoy injected someone with some advanced medicine. And the kind of crackling, whirring humming that the transporter made when Scotty beamed the away team down to the surface of a new planet, where one of the anonymous red-shirted security guys was bound to meet his maker.
We forget about how important sound can be to TV shows and movies. But take a look at this snip from the beginning of the epic Star Trek “City on the Edge of Forever” episode — and then think about what it would have been like without all of those classic, memorable, and entirely fitting sound effects. It’s hard to imagine Star Trek without those sounds. We can thank Doug Grindstaff’s special form of genius and creativity for that.