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Old August 31 2013, 02:17 AM   #154
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Re: Was the Enterprise A actually the Yorktown?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post

Right from the very start Gene Roddenberry made it abundantly clear and insisted that USS stands for “United Space Ship” and not “United States Ship”. His vision was that of an international crew and to give his words gravity, he approved Matt Jefferies mixing Soviet naval designations into the registry number (“NCC”) and changed the ship’s name from “Yorktown” (definitely an American name) into “Enterprise” (a more suitable name for a multi-ethnic ship).
I haven't heard of NCC being a Soviet influence or Enterprise being a more multi-ethnic name (as opposed to one of primarily English origin, which is why the U.S. has also used it) before. Can you provide more details on this?

What we could have concluded (had we seriously wanted it) from the actual onscreen dialogue is that alphabetic letters, much the way the Soviets did that, were used to differentiate what type of starship we are looking at (“The Menagerie”: “J-Class starship” and “F-Class shuttlecraft”, just as the series didn’t feature “Earth Class” or “Vulcan Class” planets).
I agree, and personally I think this approach is still valid. Many naval ships are classified this way, with a specific type/class name and a model number or letter to designate specific variants.

And then Gene L. Coon joined the production team. I don’t know the political agenda he had but obviously the Klingons became an analogy for totalitarian Stalinists and apparently he wanted to see traditional American name classes established for Starfleet vessels (e.g. “Constitution Class” in “Space Seed” script) instead of these Commy alphabetic distinctions.
But “Constitution Class” remained a footnote of a monitor display (!) and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It would have constituted (pun) a contradiction to what Gene Roddenberry, Matt Jefferies (and Bob Justman?) had intended from the beginning on. Sounds like a wild guess but that doesn’t really seem to be the case:
I'm not familiar with Coon's political leanings either, as I've never looked into that, but are you sure that Roddenberry or another member of the staff wouldn't have chosen to use the Klingons that way?

Fast forward to 1975 and Greg Jein’s influential treatise “The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship”. Greg Jein, just a Star Trek fan, then, published a theory how to match the official starship names with the numbers of the starship status display featured in “Court Martial”.

And he concluded from a passage in The Making of Star Trek that the Valiant mentioned among the 12 names, couldn’t refer to the USS Valiant (Oberth Class?) from “A Taste of Armageddon” because that had happened 50 years before TOS while the ships like the Enterprise were no older than 40 years. Now where did he get that from?

“The Enterprise-class starships have been in existence for about forty years…”

It is impossible that Mr. Jein missed “Enterprise Class Starship”. And, of course, it stands to reason that the “01” of Enterprise’s NCC registry indicated her to be the first ship of her class and therefore the name giver (equally suggested by Matt Jefferies).

But of course, this didn’t work for his weird theory, and rather than to make a theory based on facts, he “twisted” the facts to fit his theory and therefore didn’t even mention the “Enterprise Starship Class” reference/s.
Or perhaps he just chose to interpret that differently than you or others might choose to. I happen to disagree with Greg's theory for the Court Martial chart myself, with no disrespect intended towards his theory. But perhaps we can agree to disagree here, because I have trouble believing it's so black and white. I think some of the more influential fans are also human and prone to making mistakes too, as Bjo's Star Trek Concordance often referred to the Enterprise as being a Constellation class ship, because it had a lower registry number.

In the case of Franz Joseph Schnaubelt and considering how much he obviously based his work on The Making of Star Trek we cannot exclude the possibility that he missed those two “Enterprise Starship Class” references but this is highly improbable. It may or may not have been an act of disrespect, but it was definitely inadequate research.
Again, we might have to agree to disagree here. I think, given what I've read about some of the design processes that went into FJ's work, some of his resources weren't ideal or adequate. But although a lot of fans have pointed out that his deck plans in the TM aren't perfectly accurate, some of that was intentional on his part and not out of disrespect for Gene or anyone else working on the show. It was based on his real life experience as a draftsman who worked on actual blueprints, and his attempts to make the deck layouts make a degree of sense even if stuff was never seen on screen, or might have been planned when TMoST was published but ultimately not used.

TNG is a good example of this. A common criticism, especially in eps where the Enterprise-D goes into a fight, is that there are plenty of children onboard whose presence doesn't seem to fully mesh with the nature of the ship's missions. This is because when the TNG Bible was originally written, the ship was supposed to stay on the outer fringe of known space and not return to port for months or years at a time. Having families on board makes a lot more sense in that context, and the role that became the ship's counselor was intended to be a Federation representative instead. Their job was to advise the captain and command crew on how to resolve potential Prime Directive issues and other matters that their Starfleet training might not give them. To be the Federation's voice on policy. Of course, once the show was in production they realized this concept was harder to pull off as intended because it limited what kinds of scripts would work and how many familiar elements could be included.

Here I have to be blunt: If you remotely consider yourself to be some kind of Star Trek TOS expert, the reading of The Making of Star Trek is mandatory, IMO.
I think TMoST is a good read and I'd consider it recommended reading too, but I also think anyone who reads it should keep in mind what it actually is: a book that was published while TOS was still in production and with a lot of details still in flux, not only for TOS as a series but for many of later details that make up the modern franchise. I think it would be a mistake to interpret it as the end-all and be-all for what the production team wanted to do and how they felt the series should be interpreted, because a lot of stuff changed over time.

It's kind of like looking at some of the early concept art for Star Wars, and seeing ideas that got changed or discarded along the way. Originally lightsabers weren't unique to the Jedi or Sith, but were common weapons. The unused concept for the Millenium Falcon was modified to become the basis for the blockade runner model.

To this day, there are SW fans who insist that Geoffrey Mandel's 1979 set of blueprints for the Star Destroyer, which describe an "Imperator class" ship, are the authentic set and that's the correct name for the design. The problem is, those blueprints don't match a lot of the details for the model and are inconsistent with the set of basic statistics that are considered canonical (i.e. an Imperial Star Destroyer has both turbolasers and ion cannons, while the Imperator design has no ion cannons. This is because they weren't introduced until Empire Strikes Back). The Imperator design doesn't carry the same range of small craft and is far smaller (about 600-700 meters versus the canonical length of 1,600 meters). Strangely, most of the sites I've seen arguing for "Imperator class" ships don't use the specs from the blueprints, but instead use the canonical stats that came from later sources.

The way I see it, there are two ways to interpret Mandel's work. Either the Imperator could be considered a separate design that is a smaller Star Destroyer with the specific capabilities described, or it's an early description of the Imperial Class Star Destroyer that's been superseded by later work. Lucasfilm has confirmed that "Imperial Class" is the right designation while also acknowledging Mandel's work by saying the design was conceived as the Imperator class prototype and the name changed before construction started. Both explanations work for me as viable solutions.
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