View Single Post
Old April 3 2013, 03:59 AM   #92
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
That's just the difference between Shatner and Hunter and not really the difference between Kirk and Pike. WNMHGB could just as easily been about Chris Pike and his old pal Gary Mitchell. ( with Shatner in role even). I don't think they reimagined the Captain character when they changed the name to James Kirk or were writing him in a different way when putting together WNMHGB.
Right, as I pointed out earlier in the thread. Roddenberry changed the captain's name multiple times in the development process -- it was April throughout development, then briefly Winter, and was only changed to Pike about a week before filming started on the pilot. And then there was a list of about a dozen candidate names for the captain in the second pilot, with Kirk at the bottom.

Maybe Roddenberry did choose to change the name because he was hoping to recycle the pilot footage, or maybe he just felt that recasting the lead actor called for a name change (although that wasn't the case when he recast the returning Genesis II characters in the revamped second pilot Planet Earth years later). But we're talking '60s TV here, and that means that changing a character's name, even claiming he's a different character, didn't necessarily mean giving him a different personality. There were cases where different characters were specifically created to be completely interchangeable as far as the writing went. A notable case was the James Garner series Maverick. Originally it was meant to revolve solely around Garner's Bret Maverick, but production delays led them to add a second lead, Jack Kelly as his brother Bart, so that they could alternate stars and production crews on overlapping schedules to meet the deadlines. The characters usually appeared in alternate episodes and rarely together, and they were intentionally written to be completely interchangeable in personality, so that either actor could be dropped into any script as needed. The only difference between the characters was in how the actors played the lines -- Garner bringing more humor, Kelly playing it more seriously. Later on, when Garner left the show in a contract dispute, they brought in Roger Moore as his replacement, cousin Beau (ironically, after Sean Connery had declined the role!), and briefly added Robert Colbert as another interchangeable brother.

Not to mention all the interchangeable leads on Mission: Impossible. Jim Phelps was essentially the same character as Dan Briggs, though Peter Graves made him more amiable and benevolent; Paris was the same character as Rollin Hand; Cinnamon, Dana, and Casey were all pretty much the same too (except that Casey also inherited Rollin & Paris's makeup/disguise skills because budget cuts required shrinking the cast). And then you had Goober Pyle replacing Gomer in Andy Griffith, Baker replacing Kinchloe in Hogan's Heroes, etc.

It's not just '60s TV, of course. There's The Dukes of Hazzard where Bo & Luke were temporarily replaced by indistinguishable cousins Coy & Vance due to another contract dispute. There's Cheryl Ladd replacing Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels. There's Selma being replaced with Flo on Night Court when the actress died (and when Flo's portrayer died a year later, they replaced her with a younger bailiff). And so on. These days, such replacement characters are generally given some differences from their predecessors, but in the '60s and '70s, they were often deliberately treated as identical.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote