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Old April 12 2013, 10:11 PM   #30
Danger Ace
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Just for the record, I really like CITY as aired. I think that's due to Coon in part - I have a tendency to credit him with everything I like about TOS, which I admit is a bit overboard, but w/o Coon, I don't think you even get season 2, let alone syndication or movies or internet boards.
I absolutely, 100% agree with the above. I tend to credit much of what I found compelling in TOS to stem from Gene Coon's pen. I too liked "City on the Edge of Forever" as aired.

But I really don't think the omission of HE's Trooper was in any way merited by the demands of making it a Trek story. The other changes, to one degree or other, yeah. But not that.
I guess here is where we may differ.

First and foremost, It was up to GR to be the ultimate arbiter of what he felt was or wasn't in keeping with his vision. He was Roddenberry the creator.

Ellison had no right, moral or otherwise, to try and dictate to the executive-producer what his series' should be. None. Whether it was Trooper or the drug angle it was GR's ship to captain and for Ellison to do his job without complaint.

Secondly, I trust Justman's account on the price-tag issue as it was his job to budget out the episodes. On this point, I feel HE has zero standing or credibility.

Thirdly, For me to fully believe Harlan Ellison's version, as he presents and frames his case, I would have to believe all attached to TOS were rotten SOB's (save Nimoy and McCoy). I simply do not believe that.

All those with influence over TOS wanted to embrace Ellison's script. They looked forward to it - anticipating it would be magic and production ready. Robert Justman stated he loved it but couldn't make the math work - I believe he sincerely tried his best and was an honorable human being.

And to back up and go over the Fontana thing again ... if somebody is your friend, and your friend for some period of time ... you don't lie to them about messing with their work, and certainly not for decades.
Again taking into account all the various stories regarding HE's temperment and personality why did he put Fontana in a spot wherein she felt she had to tell a falsehood? He knew her job duties. Harlan knew it was part of her job to work on other peoples' scripts as directed, why did he cross-the-line and make it an issue that could and would affect their friendship?

For me, considering Harlan had probably re-written others in previous jobs then it is pure hokum to raise a fuss when he got re-written. He was a pro and he knew the deal.

If you've read Ellison and Gerrold, you'll see that they had ups and downs, same for Koenig and Ellison, and probably everybody and Ellison. But if the friendship is real, and they are ethical parties, the relationship holds.
Way back when, I agreed with Mark Hamill regarding Ellison being the Don Rickles of science-fiction -That's his schtick. He kept all this "City on the Edge" thing going because it sold and he milked it for all it's worth (and more). Like a pro-wrestler he strove to turn his fans into "marks."

And again, it was unethical and unprofessional for Ellison to put Fontana in the spot he did.
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Danger Ace

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