I was terribly saddened to hear the news that Gregory Jein had died.
He was one of the greatest modelmakers of all time—with credits including various Star Trek incarnations and Close Encounters of the Third Kind—and beyond that was an absolutely wonderful man.
See a little bit with him in the interview above. That’s exactly how he was: sweet, soft-spoken, passionate, reasonable.
I met Greg during one of my first visits to L.A., when Mark Banning took me to his model shop. It was like, WHOA, this is where the magic happens! I don’t even remember what they were building but they had real Star Trek ships—because, of course, Greg built the real Star Trek ships—and it was just awesome.
I later learned that Greg was the one responsible for rescuing the classic Original Series music masters from oblivion. He did not fish them out of a dumpster, as has become urban legend. He told me at some point he saw an ad in the L.A. Times from somebody who had, somehow, acquired them, and wanted to sell them. (Since this is decades later, and who cares anyway, I might as well say that this other party was an L.A. sound editor named John Detra.)
Greg bought them—along with a large number of the ADR reel (additional dialogue recording—the “loop lines” from the actors) and kept them safe over many years.
Then circa 1990 Greg provided them to Neil Norman GNP/Crescendo, who used them on several albums, and eventually provided them to La-La Land Records for the 15CD box set.
And today I’m happy to say that everything has been returned to CBS for proper archiving.
So Greg was just an absolute mensch as well as a terrific talent and I’m truly sorry to hear of his passing. I’m also happy to spread the word about how much respect and affection I have for him.