Star Trek - lights under display

Tim B

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Remember the original series? On the bridge under the main viewer there were a series of small rectangular lights that would light up in rapid sequence from left to right accompanied by a sound effects that sometimes sounded like "BE-BEEP..... be-beep be-beep be-beep be-beep" and sometimes like "TWEEE weee wee wee wee wee."

I have seen all episodes several times each and I don't ever remember them explaining what these lights were for. Does anyone know their purpose or have any guesses?
 

Vinniec5

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They're called chase lights, they didn't always operate at the same speed. Possibly indicated magnification levels or visual indication of ship speed. check star trek memory alpha web site maybe some info there
 

Mr Bigglow

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I seem to remember some relevant jokes that Shatner made as the moonbase commander in one of the Airplane movies. Happens I haven't seen that one in the last 10 years but, with obvious references back to said Star Trek series, didn't he comment about how they were all obviously meaningless?
 

DIΩDΣ

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Big fan of ST (probably ST:TNG is my favorite), never really thought of what those lights actually meant though! And it wasnt just the original series that had them. An interesting question, but I'm sure it was just for some extra effects.
 

JohnR66

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I recall reading somewhere that it functioned by having a stage hand run a wire over a row of nails that was connected to each light. Its purpose was probably to represent some sort of "scanning" by by some instrument. Its real purpose is just set decoration for the show.
 
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