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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 19 2010, 05:11 AM   #1
James Wright
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Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Majel Barrett Roddenberry was first officer of the Enterprise in the first pilot episode of Star Trek "The Cage" and would go on to play nurse Chapel in later episodes of TOS.
Now my questions. If M.B.R. hadn't been cast as Chapel and TOS had run longer then 3 years do you think M.B.R.'s number one could've been transferred off the Enterprise and promoted to Captain of a starship? Would she have been a good Captain?
I'd have liked to have seen her as Captain of a starship on TOS!

James
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Old February 19 2010, 05:28 AM   #2
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Real world - I don't think it would happen due to prevailing prejudices.

In story - I would have loved to have seen her make Captain. She would have been great too imo - remembering that the 'cool, logical attitude', encyclopedic knowledge & instant recall we associate with Spock's character were really hers to begin with..
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Old February 19 2010, 05:39 AM   #3
Nerys Myk
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

James Wright wrote: View Post
Majel Barrett Roddenberry was first officer of the Enterprise in the first pilot episode of Star Trek "The Cage" and would go on to play nurse Chapel in later episodes of TOS.
Now my questions. If M.B.R. hadn't been cast as Chapel and TOS had run longer then 3 years do you think M.B.R.'s number one could've been transferred off the Enterprise and promoted to Captain of a starship? Would she have been a good Captain?
I'd have liked to have seen her as Captain of a starship on TOS!

James
Since the suits didn't like GR's mistress as Number One I cant see them giving the okay to use Majel for anything more than a reoccurring role like Chapel.
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Old February 19 2010, 06:32 AM   #4
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

I agree with previous comments from Nerys Myk, and especially Captain Pike.

1960s television was not fertile ground for a female command figure. The only way we got to see the female Romulan commander in "The Enterprise Incident" was in the context of a story that underscored her as a sucker for Vulcan men.

In-universe, however, I am shocked that I've never heard of any novels, comics or fanfic that ever capitalized on this opportunity. If "Number One" was first officer of the Enterprise when the ship first visited Talos IV, and that was 13 years prior to Spock returning the crippled Pike to the Talosian "Menagerie", then 2267-13=2254, which would suggest that by the time of TOS, providing "Number One" stayed in the Service, she could have easily rose through the ranks (presumably through other assignments).

Could she have assumed command of another unseen starship, starbase, deep space station, science vessel or other expedition elsewhere in the Galaxy, far away from the Enterprise? Why not?

It would be interesting to see who could be cast as "Number One", and if someone could be found to capture the "M. Leigh Hudec as Number One" look and voice.

It definitely could not have happened in the 1960's, but it would be interesting to imagine a TOS-era "prime universe" spin off of that character in a command role on some distant mission, maybe something like STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE ONE, set aboard a K-class space station. She could be the first commander of the Federation's first "deep space" series of frontier stations.
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Old February 19 2010, 10:05 AM   #5
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Given the sexist opposition to a woman in a command role in the sixties I was disappointed that the 21st century version of Trek left out Pike's first officer, especially when there were no other women in command roles shown anywhere in the movie (even T'Pau was absent). Obviously, they wanted to showcase Kirk and Spock but they could have injured or killed her in the battle at Vulcan to make way for Kirk and Spock.
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Old February 19 2010, 11:36 AM   #6
Nerys Myk
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

The opposition was to a mistress of the producer getting the role, not to a woman playing it. All GR had to do was recast the role. Instead he eliminated it and never tried to reintroduce a similar character.
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Old February 19 2010, 04:16 PM   #7
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Nerys Myk is right. According to Inside Star Trek, the network actually quite liked the idea of a female first officer, but they didn't like the married Roddenberry casting his mistress in the role. But Roddenberry couldn't admit that, so he claimed that he was forced to drop the character because of sexism.

After all, this was the time of The Avengers, where Emma Peel was every bit as tough, smart, and capable an agent as John Steed. Similarly, Agent 99 on Get Smart was the most competent character on the show. And on ST's sister show Mission: Impossible, Cinnamon Carter's primary role may have been as a vamp and seductress, but she was also shown to be smart, courageous, resourceful, and able to hold her own in a fight.
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Old February 19 2010, 04:40 PM   #8
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

But then there's "Turnabout Intruder", with Dr. Lester stating that starship captaincy was essentially a good ol' boys club. True there were female characters on certain TV shows and movies that were ahead of their time back then, but then there were never any female Federation commanders in TOS, and the context of that era also included Taylor's non-speaking love interest in PLANET OF THE APES.
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Old February 19 2010, 06:38 PM   #9
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Didn't we decide Janice Lester was just plain crazy, and shouldn't be paid any attention?
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Old February 19 2010, 06:52 PM   #10
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Wingsley wrote: View Post
But then there's "Turnabout Intruder", with Dr. Lester stating that starship captaincy was essentially a good ol' boys club. True there were female characters on certain TV shows and movies that were ahead of their time back then, but then there were never any female Federation commanders in TOS, and the context of that era also included Taylor's non-speaking love interest in PLANET OF THE APES.
Well, yes, it's not all-or-nothing, of course, because we're talking about a whole society and an entertainment slate produced by many different people. The point is that there are examples demonstrating that 1960s American media culture was not completely hostile to a strong portrayal of women.

And if anything, the relatively low status of women in TOS argues against Roddenberry's claim that he was a pioneer in gender equality fighting against a sexist network. My point is that if you look at the whole spectrum of portrayals of women in 1960s television, Star Trek was not the most progressive show out there.
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Old February 19 2010, 07:19 PM   #11
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

^ Agreed. Not the most progressive, but far from being blatantly demeaning as some examples I choose not to remember. And it is a positive testimonial that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. approached Nichelle Nichols and asked to stay on the show as Uhura, even though the character grew only in spurts.

I do like the idea of "Number One" being brought back in some form, maybe a comic or novel or fan film. I could see her being put in charge of a "Deep Space One" station on the frontier. I posted a link in the "Trek Tech" forum recently to Georffrey Mandel's K-7 blueprints. Look like the K--class space station has lots of potential for drama, just as DEEP SPACE NINE did.
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Old February 19 2010, 08:44 PM   #12
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Wingsley wrote: View Post
^ Agreed. Not the most progressive, but far from being blatantly demeaning as some examples I choose not to remember.
Well, there were some particular low points. "Mudd's Women" was particularly egregious in its objectification of women; if not for Uhura's token presence, you'd think the entire Enterprise crew was male and saw women strictly as sex objects. And "The Enemy Within" is frankly horrible in its attitude toward Evil Kirk's attempted rape of Rand -- first having Rand act like a total doormat afterward, saying "I can understand" and "I don't want to get you into trouble" to Kirk, and then at the end having Spock make a tasteless insinuation to Rand about the "interesting qualities" of the impostor who brutally assaulted her. The show got better, but right at the start, for a couple of episodes, it was really disquieting in the extent of its sexism.
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Old February 19 2010, 09:17 PM   #13
James Wright
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

in other words Star Trek(1966-1969), was ahead of it's time in some respects but behind the times when it came to showing women in command positions, aka starship captain's ? Some vision of the future, eh, just for fairness when was the first female captain referred to on TNG?

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Old February 19 2010, 09:39 PM   #14
Therin of Andor
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Wingsley wrote: View Post
In-universe, however, I am shocked that I've never heard of any novels, comics or fanfic that ever capitalized on this opportunity.
Then you haven't read John Byrne's recent three-issue comic mini-series, "Schism" for IDW, in which Number One is a featured commodore on a Constitution class vessel.

The omnibus collection containing it has just come out. It's called "Pawns of War" and collects "Alien Spotlight II: Romulans", plus a new-for-the-trade adaptation of the episode, "Balance of Terror", plus the two-part "The Hollow Crown", the aforementioned "Schism", plus a gallery of art and covers.

Also, Number One was slated to be an admiral sitting beside Robert April commenting on a televised event in the "Lost Years Saga" novel, "A Flag Full of Stars" by Brad Ferguson, but it was during a time of tight control and she had to be renamed Timothea Rogers, with no reveal that she was a promoted Number One.

In DC Comics' first annual (for their Series I line), Number One was to be Kirk's Number One, but there's an accident in the cargo bay that crushes her legs and Kirk must choose between Spock and Gary Mitchell as her replacement.

James Wright wrote: View Post
in other words Star Trek(1966-1969), was ahead of it's time in some respects but behind the times when it came to showing women in command positions, aka starship captain's ? Some vision of the future, eh, just for fairness when was the first female captain referred to on TNG?
First came ST IV, with the captain of USS Saratoga, in the opening scenes.

Then in TNG, Captain Tryla Scott ("Conspiracy"), end of Season One.
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Old February 19 2010, 09:47 PM   #15
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Re: Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
... anywhere in the movie (even T'Pau was absent). Obviously, they wanted to showcase Kirk and Spock but they could have injured or killed her in the battle at Vulcan to make way for Kirk and Spock.
People have speculated that the female Vulcan rescued at the katric ark was T'Pau!
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