These blinking tubes are the most important device in the universe

If you’ve ever heard of “the Whilhelm Scream” — an audio file of a man screaming, which has been used in literally thousands of movies and TV shows — this prop, with its blinking neon light tubes, could be the physical equivalent. It has appeared in dozens of science-fiction TV shows and terrible movies, and has become such a ubiquitous player in various versions of Star Trek that it should have its own trailer by now. According to a comment on this YouTube clip — which is part one of a three-part series — Modern Props owner John Zabrucky designed it, and it dates to about 1977 or so, but was updated several times.

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