View Single Post
Old August 31 2013, 03:33 AM   #156
Vice Admiral
Praetor's Avatar
Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
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).
We do know that Gene used U.S.S. but changed it to "United Space Ship" and later "United Star Ship," and that it was a "united service." Combined with Mr. Jefferies' notions about NCC, it does indeed seem to create a realistic impression of a United Earth spaceship. (UESPA, anyone?)

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
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).
An interesting notion, to be sure, that happens to fit. I think it might be a stretch to assume this was another intentional effort of internationalism, but it certainly doesn't hurt the cause.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
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.
You mean to suggest then that Mr. Coon's allegorical use of UFP as USA, Klingons as Soviets, and Romulans as Chinese was an intentional political agenda contrary to that of Roddenberry?

I don't think it was quite as deep as that. I think it was more likely he and the other writers wanted to do something relevant to the current political situation, and that's why this was done. Moreover, it was something familiar to viewers, and likely to illicit their viewership. Also, I would say that while Constitution is overtly American, other nations have had constitution documents too.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
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:

On August 8, 1967, Dorothy Fontana suggests to establish the names for the 12 ships of the Starship Class and provides a list with suggestions (Constitution is not on it). The next day ‘chief nitpicker’ Bob Justman responded, considered some of the proposed names, added a few of his own and insisted to have a Japanese name (at least we know where Kongo came from). And still the Constitution is not on his list…but Bob Justman refers to “Enterprise Starship Class”.

How this correspondence continued we do not learn from The Making of Star Trek, but at some point the Constitution was established to be among those 12 ships, too.
I'm with you so far....

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
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.
In doing so he disrespected the apparent intentions of the series’ creators, especially since he didn’t even bother to discuss what the creators could have meant with “Enterprise Starship Class” to try finding an excuse.
I don't think this one's that complicated either, nor do I think it's intentional disrespect. I think it's more likely that he knew about the Constitution class line/diagram, and possibly ever about the registry schema of Mr. Jefferies. He also realized that if flipped upside down, the list from "Court Martial" corresponded to an alphabetic listing which would, conveniently, begin with Constitution. I think it's a case where a series of coincidences lined up so well that he concluded that was how it was meant to be.

That said, I do agree with you that the registries derived from that list using this method are flat wrong.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
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.

Greg Jein’s weird theory was then adopted by (his friend) Bjo Trimble for her Star Trek Concordance and subsequently for Mike Okuda for his Star Trek Encyclopedia. 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.

If you do not or don’t pay attention the result is (and has been) inadequate research. And as a result of that we’re still stuck with this conjectural and/or erroneous “Constitution Class” for the TOS Enterprise.
Here again, I think the FJ thing is more easily explained. We know, as you said, that Bjo went with Greg's assertions, as did Okuda. We also know that FJ was writing his works with the aid his daughter and her fan friends. It's entirely likely that FJ's daughter red the concordance and concluded that Jein was right, and TMoST was incomplete and in some ways inaccurate. (Consider for example the issue of deck counts in the saucer versus those in Jefferies' diagram.)

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
And here is a fresh thought coming out of my writing as an effort to appease the “Starship Class” haters.

The bridge plaque aboard the TOS Enterprise correctly indicates “(USS) Enterprise - Starship Class” (i.e. the name giver and a starship of the Enterprise Class).
The correct bridge plaque of the USS Miranda would have read “USS Miranda - Starship Class” while for the Reliant it would have probably read “USS Reliant - Miranda Class” or “USS Reliant - Miranda Starship Class”

And Defiant’s (NCC-1764) would have been “USS Defiant – Enterprise Class” or “USS Defiant – Enterprise Starship Class”

In simpler words: A person of the 23rd Century would immediately understand that she or he is on the bridge of an Enterprise Class Starship because all it says is “USS Enterprise – Starship Class” and not “USS Enterprise – Enterprise Starship Class” (the latter one sounds redundant and odd, doesn’t it?)
That almost makes too much sense to be wrong and is one of the first original thoughts to explain the topic I've heard in a long time. I would argue that the other ships of the class wouldn't say "Enterprise Starship Class" but rather just have "Enterprise" in place of "Starship," both for simplicity and given the size of the plaque.

But yeah, that actually makes a crapton of sense, whether or not it was the intent.

Workbee wrote: View Post
However, production wise, I imagine that wasn't a consideration. At the time, they were just beginning to build this universe and introduce it to the audience. One MAJOR detail that would need to be accurately conveyed to the 1960's audience is that this spaceship travels to worlds in other star systems, not just to the moon or planets in our solar system. To help drive this point, a major emphasis was made on using the word STARSHIP instead of SPACESHIP or ROCKETSHIP (caps for emphasis, not for yelling). So I can this being the main driver at the time that plaque setpiece was made. This is a Starship. Different classes came later as the producers figured out the universe, and the audience became more familiar with it.
I think this, more than anything else, is probably why the distinction was made. Consider that Pike once referred to it as United Space Ship Enterprise in "The Cage" but this was later revised.

Unicron wrote: View Post
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?
I can fill you in on this one. According to "The Art of Star Trek" and a few other sources, when Mr. Jefferies was coming up with the registry of the Enterprise, he used an NC because it traditionally represented a plane registered in the US, and added an extra C to be different. He then realized the USSR was called the CCCP, so he thought it gave it a nice international flair.

Unicron wrote: View Post
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.
Great point there. I suspect the reason why Jein didn't use Constellation on the chart was the diagram/line from "Space Seed," plus the wacky 1017 registry.

Unicron wrote: View Post
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.
I've read about that too - and you bring up another good point, I think quite simply he was trying to take a set of models and a collection of sets and try to make them make sense as a "real" starship, regardless of what we think we saw on screen.

Unicron wrote: View Post
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.
Agreed, I would again mention the deck count in the description section versus Mr. Jefferies cutaway. One is right, the other is not. There are other instances of this - such as the descriptions of Romulans as honorable and Klingons as (essentially) loathesome, cruel, honorless monsters.

I think there was overall some overarching thought given to all this stuff, but obviously they did not try to overthink it and purposefully left it in flux so they could do whatever best suited the story. I think the problem is, when it comes to things like "Starship Class" we really don't know how planned that all was. Bob's idea though certainly makes sense if the Enterprise is her class ship.

You know... who's to say, as I think someone else mentioned, that she's not the only member of a Starfleet Enterprise class, not unlike CVN-65 in real life? This explains both the plaque (and the Defiant one) and the simulator sign in TWOK. All along, from TOS until her destruction in TSFS, she was the sole member of the Enterprise class. Then, the A was a member of the Constitution refit class. Further, the Enterprise class might make use of Constitution class phaser banks...

I actually think this might be the simplest solution to the whole thing, although I don't for a moment pretend that it's original intent. The sad facts are we really don't know how much of it was original intent, nor do I think we are really able to reliable discern it for certain.
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q
Praetor is offline   Reply With Quote