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Harvey June 7 2013 12:51 AM

Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
I'm probably on record around here at least a dozen times defending Herb Solow and Bob Justman's making-of book, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, as the best book about the production of the original series currently out there. Having said that, the book is far from infallible. I thought it might be interesting to use the knowledge base of the posters here to ferret out all the mistakes -- large and small -- in the book. (And, if we want a real clusterfuck, we can do one of Shatner's books next.)

Maybe, like a doctor we all know, this thread will just end up with me talking to myself. But, I hope there's some interest.

Anyway, I'll point out one that I noticed, on account of a terrific gift I just received.

Quote:

Owing to his involvement at Fox arranging the music for the film Doctor Doolittle, Sandy could do only two of the first season’s episodes [‘The Man Trap’ and ‘The Naked Time’]. Nevertheless, owing to the ‘royalty’ issue, it’s no wonder Sandy Courage lost all enthusiasm for the series and liking for Gene Roddenberry. Despite my efforts to convince him to score second-season episodes, Sandy never returned to Star Trek.

--Bob Justman, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (1996), p.185
It's true that Courage didn’t return to score any episodes during the second season, but he did record thirty minutes of library music for it – some newly composed – on June 16, 1967.

On the royalty issue, the book reprints an October 3, 1967 letter from Roddenberry to Courage reminding the composer of the contractual arrangement allowing the executive producer to receive fifty percent of the royalties to the Star Trek theme music. That date was mid-way through the filming of the second season, and after all of the season's complete original scores had already been recorded (four partial episode scores were recorded later). Unless the letter was sent months after the issue first arose, its unlikely that the Roddenberry taking half the royalties had any effect on Courage's absence that season. More likely, he was still busy with his arranging duties on Doctor Dolittle and other projects at Fox.

And, contrary to the book's assertion that Courage never returned to the series, he did return during the third season to write scores for two more episodes – ‘The Enterprise Incident’ (recorded August 5, 1968) and ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’ (recorded October 25, 1968). Bob Justman had left the series by the time the last score was recorded, but he was definitely there for 'The Enterprise Incident.' When the book was written, nearly three decades after the fact, his memory must have been a bit foggy.

Lastly, in an interview recorded a few years after the book came out, Courage downplayed any rift between him and Roddenberry over the theme music royalties:

Quote:

There wasn’t any rift, really, with Gene. What happened with Gene was a I got a phone call once…it was Gene’s lawyer, [Leonard] Maizlish. He said, ‘I’m calling you to tell you that since you signed a piece of paper back there saying that if Gene ever wrote a lyric to your theme that he would split your royalties on the theme.’

Gene and I weren’t enemies in any sort of way. It was just one of those things…I think it was Maizlish, probably, who put him up to doing it that way, and it’s a shame, because actually if he’d written a decent lyric we could have both made more money.

--Alexander Courage interview conducted February 8, 2000

Praetor Baldric June 7 2013 02:40 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Questions: I read the book and therefore the lyrics GR wrote and they are pretty awful but was there ever any real indication that they might actually be used?

Christopher June 7 2013 03:58 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

Big Daddy wrote: (Post 8213827)
Questions: I read the book and therefore the lyrics GR wrote and they are pretty awful but was there ever any real indication that they might actually be used?

They were only used in the sales of sheet music. Back before CDs and MP3s, people who were interested in a work of music would often buy the sheet music so they could play it themselves on their pianos, guitars, whatever. Roddenberry wrote the lyrics so that he could get half the royalties from the sheet music sales. They were never intended for any other purpose.

However, Nichelle Nichols has performed the theme with lyrics on one or two of her albums.

Harvey June 7 2013 06:31 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 8214130)
Roddenberry wrote the lyrics so that he could get half the royalties from the sheet music sales. They were never intended for any other purpose.

To clarify, Roddenberry didn't just collect royalties from the sale of the theme music's sheet music -- he collected fifty percent of all the royalties related to the Star Trek theme music, including performance royalties.

Reading further, David Alexander's biography states that Roddenberry finished the lyrics in December of 1965 (Star Trek Creator, 1994, p.235). This lines up with Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, which states that Courage was contacted about the 50-50 royalty split "after NBC put Star Trek on its schedule" (p.185).

In my mind, this casts further doubt over the claim that Courage departed the series over the royalty dispute with Roddenberry. NBC picked up the series in February of 1966; Courage didn't record his scores for 'The Man Trap' and 'The Naked Time' until August of 1966, a full six months later.

Maurice June 7 2013 08:57 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Hmmm. Ellison disputes some of their recollections about City, especially about him being drunk, since he doesn't drink. There are some other inaccuracies I spotted, but I can't think of any offhand. I'd have to go through the book again.

We should also be aware this is a memoir, so virtually every dialog in it is a best a paraphrase, because who can really remember exactly what was said in a conversation 30 years hence.

plynch June 7 2013 12:29 PM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Does the lyricist get credit when the tune is performed instrumentally?

I've never seen a single sheet music edition of "Theme from ST" from the Sixties. I have it in a modern (well, '90s) folio. It's just a piano arr. I'll find it and see if GR Is listed. Anyone know if sheet music was produced contemporaneously with the actual series thiugh?

Christopher June 7 2013 01:09 PM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

plynch wrote: (Post 8215264)
Does the lyricist get credit when the tune is performed instrumentally?

I think so. For instance, on the TNG soundtrack set that came out a while back, they include "The Big Goodbye"'s instrumental arrangement of the song "Out of Nowhere," and both composer Johnny Green and lyricist Edward Heyman are credited in the liner notes.

Lance June 7 2013 02:12 PM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

Harvey wrote: (Post 8213302)
(And, if we want a real clusterfuck, we can do one of Shatner's books next.)

Oh man! :lol: I remember reading Star Trek Memories and thinking it was all very familiar... then I re-read 'The Making of Star Trek' by Whitfield/Roddenberry and I realised Shatner had basically paraphrased every incident mentioned in that book. He added his own spin to it (putting himself front and center in the "bicycle gag" on Leonard Nimoy for example), but some parts of the book read almost like word-for-word recitations of 'The Making Of...', it was just unreal. :vulcan:

Movie Memories IMO came across a lot more strongly for the fact that Shatner (or ghost writer Chris Kreski) at least took the time to leave their house and research things a bit. Interview more people and get different perspectives on events. It was a much more credible book, although scenes like the one of a perplexed Shatner experiencing phantasmagoria while visiting Gene Roddenberry's office in the mid-1970s still reek of pure fiction on his part. :lol:

AtoZ June 7 2013 07:07 PM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Correct me if I am wrong (its been years since I read Justman's book from cover to cover) but didn't Justman leave production of TNG because of Leonard Maizlish, or something like that? Having just the right type of dickwad working "in your best interest" can sometimes ruin good workable relationships for you and around you, right under your nose. If I am thinking of the right guy, perhaps Maizlish did some fine damage all around....not to mention shade, perhaps some of Justman's recollections of certain events.

Christopher June 7 2013 07:45 PM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
^I know David Gerrold was driven out by Maizlish's behavior and attitudes, and was so bitter that he spent the next two decades or so finding ways to insult Maizlish in every book he wrote. I gather that Justman and Fontana chose to leave because of the way they were treated, but I don't know how much of that was Maizlish specifically and how much was just Roddenberry and his entourage in general.

I seem to recall that part of what made them leave was that Maizlish was doing script rewrites, something he shouldn't have been allowed to do under Writer's Guild rules. I don't have a source for that, though.

feek61 June 7 2013 07:54 PM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Susan Sackett has nothing good to say about Maizish in her book.

Harvey June 8 2013 02:00 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

Christopher wrote: (Post 8216446)
I seem to recall that part of what made them leave was that Maizlish was doing script rewrites, something he shouldn't have been allowed to do under Writer's Guild rules. I don't have a source for that, though.

Here's a source on that:

Quote:

[Maizlish had] become Roddenberry's point man and proxy, often writing memos on scripts and outlines, and sitting in on most story meetings, often without Roddenberry. He once fell asleep during a casting session, snoring loudly as an actress auditioned for her part. Sometimes he attempted to rewrite scripts. He worked on Michael Michaelian's 'Too Short a Season, Roddenberry admitted to [Robert] Lewin, 'just to help my thinking on it.' Inasmuch as Maizlish was a lawyer, not a writer or producer--or even on staff in any official capacity--this was a contravention of Writers Guild rules.

Joel Engel, Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek, 1994, p.238

Harvey June 8 2013 02:33 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

Maurice wrote: (Post 8214841)
Hmmm. Ellison disputes some of their recollections about City, especially about him being drunk, since he doesn't drink.

Skimming Ellison's book, it seems he mostly agrees with the Solow/Justman version of events. However, Ellison draws exception to this passage at the end of Solow and Justman's chapter dealing with 'The City on the Edge of Forever':

Quote:

Some years after receiving the Writers Guild award, Ellison was in a bar when he ran into writer Don Ingalls. 'Fandango,' a script Ingalls wrote for Gunsmoke, was one of the four other contenders that lost out to Ellison's script. Ingalls had also written for Star Trek, and they discussed not only the series but Ellison's award-winning script. After a few drinks Harlan boasted that, before submitting his own final draft for consideration, he had 'polished it up a little bit to make it even better.' To this day, Ingalls remains amused by his friend Ellison's award-winning stratagem.

--Herb Solow and Bob Justman, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (1996), p.289
Quote:

...this anecdote never happened.

Not any part of it.

Not a bar, not me being drunk, not hoisting a few with a guy I barely knew, not doctoring up my teleplay so I could enrich my chances to win. It's all bilge and rat-puke.

--Harlan Ellison, The City on the Edge of Forever (1996), p.73
Ellison goes into more detail, but the long and short of it is that he doesn't drink, barely knows Don Ingalls, and still has the copy of the script he submitted to the WGA, which is exactly the same as the one he turned in to Star Trek.

(Tellingly, Ingalls -- who wrote 'The Alternative Factor' and 'A Private Little War' -- was a good friend of Gene Roddenberry. The two worked in the LAPD together before becoming writers.)

CoveTom June 8 2013 03:38 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
Quote:

Lance wrote: (Post 8215489)
Quote:

Harvey wrote: (Post 8213302)
(And, if we want a real clusterfuck, we can do one of Shatner's books next.)

Oh man! :lol: I remember reading Star Trek Memories and thinking it was all very familiar... then I re-read 'The Making of Star Trek' by Whitfield/Roddenberry and I realised Shatner had basically paraphrased every incident mentioned in that book. He added his own spin to it (putting himself front and center in the "bicycle gag" on Leonard Nimoy for example), but some parts of the book read almost like word-for-word recitations of 'The Making Of...', it was just unreal. :vulcan:

Movie Memories IMO came across a lot more strongly for the fact that Shatner (or ghost writer Chris Kreski) at least took the time to leave their house and research things a bit. Interview more people and get different perspectives on events. It was a much more credible book, although scenes like the one of a perplexed Shatner experiencing phantasmagoria while visiting Gene Roddenberry's office in the mid-1970s still reek of pure fiction on his part. :lol:

Both Memories and Movie Memories contain extensive passages from direct interviews with the people involved. However, I've always found the interview passages in Memories to be a bit odd.

In Movie Memories, all of the interviewees refer to Shatner in the second person. They say things like "then you and I went to see Roddenberry," or "I remember meeting with you and...," etc. But in Memories they all speak of Shatner in the third person, like "Bill was on the set one day" or "that's just how Bill is," as though someone else was conducting the interview. Yet, in both books, Shatner consistently speaks of himself conducting the interviews personally.

At first, I thought it was just a stylistic choice, but there are one or two interviews which deviate and use the second person. Nichols' comments toward the end of the book, for example, and she references that interview in her book and verifies Shatner conducted it. It makes me wonder if most of the interviews weren't, in fact, conducted by Chris Kreski, or some other third party, and then Shatner claimed credit for them.

Christopher June 8 2013 04:08 AM

Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story
 
^Interviews are often edited/paraphrased for clarity, grammar, and the like. Maybe the editor/coauthor of the first book felt their anecdotes would read more smoothly if the references to Shatner were changed to third-person, while whoever did the other book felt differently.


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