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

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Old October 2 2012, 06:23 PM   #16
Greg Cox
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Yep, that wouldn't make for the most scintillating thread:

"Anybody know the answer?"

"Nope."

"Okay, then. As you were."


Thread drift keeps things interesting sometimes.
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Old October 2 2012, 08:13 PM   #17
Captaindemotion
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Exactly. Life is a journey, not a destination.
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Old October 3 2012, 03:13 AM   #18
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

"Nobody knows?" We don't know that for sure. Perhaps GR told a secretary or somebody. But perhaps it is unknowable now.

2. If someone asked, "Why do you THINK GR changed the name..." then have at it, seriously. Discuss away. But I've run into this on this bbs when I really want to know an answer and then have to weed through many speculations. I can speculate myself, or seek some possibilities, but when you gotta know, you gotta KNOW; or find out that the answer is not known.

Like why Theiss didn't switch to a swatch (ok, bolt, I couldn't avoid the word play) that photographed green when the film cam back showing gold/buff. That answer seems to be unknowable. And I can live with that.
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Old October 3 2012, 04:22 AM   #19
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

plynch wrote: View Post
2. If someone asked, "Why do you THINK GR changed the name..." then have at it, seriously. Discuss away. But I've run into this on this bbs when I really want to know an answer and then have to weed through many speculations. I can speculate myself, or seek some possibilities, but when you gotta know, you gotta KNOW; or find out that the answer is not known.
First off, you're not the one who started this thread, so who are you to judge? Second, I did say in my very first post that the real answer was probably unknown.

Besides, sometimes the right "answer" to a question is that the question itself needs to be reformulated, that it's based on an unexamined assumption that isn't necessarily valid. This particular question, about the reason for the name change, seems to be based on the assumption that there needed to be a reason, that Roddenberry was initially committed to Yorktown and something had to happen to make that change. But early ideas are often quite rough, or are simply placeholders until you can come up with something better. And understanding that broader principle can be useful not only for this question, but for other questions about the creative process.

Given how many possible names we know Roddenberry went through for the captain before settling on Christopher Pike just days before shooting the pilot, I would think it very likely that he had a similar list of multiple possible names for the starship. He probably just put Yorktown in the pitch document because he needed to put something there, or because that was the one he happened to be leaning toward on that particular day. And it wasn't the only name in that first proposal that was changed; others included Captain Robert April and navigator José Ortegas, not to mention the "telecommunicators" (and of course the line about how the ship "rarely lands on a planet"). Why did he change any of those things? Because that's what often happens to first-draft ideas. Because what he put in the pitch document wasn't a refined version of the series concept, but only a rough approximation, an early stage of a work in progress. And that's most likely the real answer to the question -- but it's an answer that requires some background discussion about how the process works.
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Old October 3 2012, 04:48 AM   #20
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Christopher wrote: View Post
First off, you're not the one who started this thread, so who are you to judge? Second, I did say in my very first post that the real answer was probably unknown.

Besides, sometimes the right "answer" to a question is that the question itself needs to be reformulated, that it's based on an unexamined assumption that isn't necessarily valid. This particular question, about the reason for the name change, seems to be based on the assumption that there needed to be a reason, that Roddenberry was initially committed to Yorktown and something had to happen to make that change. But early ideas are often quite rough, or are simply placeholders until you can come up with something better. And understanding that broader principle can be useful not only for this question, but for other questions about the creative process.

Given how many possible names we know Roddenberry went through for the captain before settling on Christopher Pike just days before shooting the pilot, I would think it very likely that he had a similar list of multiple possible names for the starship. He probably just put Yorktown in the pitch document because he needed to put something there, or because that was the one he happened to be leaning toward on that particular day. And it wasn't the only name in that first proposal that was changed; others included Captain Robert April and navigator José Ortegas, not to mention the "telecommunicators" (and of course the line about how the ship "rarely lands on a planet"). Why did he change any of those things? Because that's what often happens to first-draft ideas. Because what he put in the pitch document wasn't a refined version of the series concept, but only a rough approximation, an early stage of a work in progress. And that's most likely the real answer to the question -- but it's an answer that requires some background discussion about how the process works.
This. Writing a series is a challenge that most people would/could never take on, primarily because the time and energy required for a such project is enormous. Most of my writing experience- excluding any writing I have done as part of my career- is limited to fan fiction, as I don't have the ability or the self-discipline necessary to write anything worth publishing. For me, one of the most challenging aspects of writing has been the creation of new characters, as I've often struggled with simple concepts such as their names, backgrounds, likes/dislikes, etc.

I've changed character's names several times before making a final decision. I don't pretend to know what Gene Roddenberry was thinking when he chose the name Enterprise, but I would imagine that he wanted to choose a name that would not only catch the attention of the television audience, but would also endure. Yorktown doesn't capture the imagination the way that Enterprise does.

It's possible that I would feel differently had Roddenberry kept the original name, but even looking at each name objectively, it seems clear that one is more awe-inspiring than the other.
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Old October 3 2012, 04:51 AM   #21
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

According to The Making of Star Trek, Roddenberry had a list of ship names, and Enterprise happened to be on that list. He could have chosen any of the others, or a different name entirely. But he made the correct choice, in my opinion, as it conveys the sense of something grand that people want to accomplish, and that wouldn't be dependent on people knowing the politics/history of the United States to appreciate it.
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Old October 3 2012, 11:39 AM   #22
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Wow, I was just explaining my challenged cantankeriness at people speculating when somebody asked if people actually knew something. I was joining in the "discussion." i still stand by my point, though, that if someone asks if you "know" something, you ought to respond if you have a well-warranted, factual answer; not just take guesses. But whatever. I'm not a fighter.

You are right, Christopher, whom I respect a great deal, that this wasn't my question to get irked about. Being a human, I get irked, though, and weighed in. My bad.

In the spirit of the times, let me offer my guess. "Enterprise" IS a grand and a beautiful name, mellifluous and meaningful. "York" has that RK sound right in the middle of it that is homely. That is perhaps why GR changed it. Perhaps.

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Old October 3 2012, 02:26 PM   #23
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

^But my point was that I wasn't just making guesses. I was explaining the larger context that could give insight into the question. Because this is a bigger question than just one name change. The ship's name wasn't the only thing that was changed between the original series pitch and subsequent documents and productions. So the real question here is about how the early stages of the creative process work, and that's something that needs to be delved into in order to gain a real understanding of the matter.

Sometimes a single fact in isolation isn't enough. Facts are of limited use without an understanding of the reasons underlying them, the context they fit into. Often, the better answer to a question about a phenomenon is to explain the broader theory (in the scientific sense) that explains how the phenomenon works, rather than just offering a single isolated data point without context or background. It's kind of like the "give a man a fish" vs. "teach a man to fish" thing. Teaching him to fish, giving him the "theory" of fishing so he understands the whole process and can apply that knowledge himself, is a better "answer" than just giving him an isolated result of that process.
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Old October 3 2012, 04:45 PM   #24
Greg Cox
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

plynch wrote: View Post
Wow, I was just explaining my challenged cantankeriness at people speculating when somebody asked if people actually knew something. I was joining in the "discussion." i still stand by my point, though, that if someone asks if you "know" something, you ought to respond if you have a well-warranted, factual answer; not just take guesses. But whatever. I'm not a fighter.
.
For what it's worth, I agree with you that it's irksome when fannish theories are put forward as though they were established facts. But, like I said, if people make it clear that they're just speculating, I'm inclined to let it slide . . .
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Old October 6 2012, 03:46 PM   #25
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Christopher wrote: View Post

Although in this case, I would speculate that maybe Roddenberry or Herb Solow decided that "S.S. Yorktown" was too specific to American history, and Enterprise would be more universal. Although I'm not sure that's a good speculation, since they never seemed to have a problem with an American bias otherwise.

Perhaps it was that Enterprise is a name with a more extensive historical pedigree, with more ships bearing the name. Perhaps it was chosen because the USS Enterprise CVN-65, commissioned in 1961, was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, so they thought it was fittingly futuristic/pioneering.
In one of the documentaries (I don't remember which one), Roddenberry said he changed it because "I thought Enterprise was a better word". That's a direct quote.

I have to agree. It does roll off the tounge better than Yorktown.

Weither this is true or not, I don't know, but I heard it from Gene's own mouth.
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Old October 6 2012, 07:48 PM   #26
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

It's simplest when people say "I think" when expressing an opinion rather than saying it as if it's factual. It saves all the arguing.

A quote from Roddenberry would be good, but until others can confirm it by seeing/hearing it, it's not a primary source.

And, anyway, unless someone finds an old memo from the Desilu days that addresses the name change, then there will always be doubt about the actual reason, especially since Roddenberry's stories tended to change, and memory is fallible. (Aside: Speaking of internal memos, one of the TOS ones reveals the origins of the TAS life support belts.)
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Old October 6 2012, 10:14 PM   #27
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Maurice wrote: View Post
And, anyway, unless someone finds an old memo from the Desilu days that addresses the name change, then there will always be doubt about the actual reason, especially since Roddenberry's stories tended to change, and memory is fallible.
There'd be no need for a memo, because as I keep saying, it's just the sort of thing that happens in the early, rough stages of a creative process. Let's be clear here: It's not like Roddenberry ever committed to the name Yorktown. It's not like he sold the series with that and it went into production under that name and then some big significant thing happened to change it. It was in one document, the very first thing he ever wrote down about the show -- a typewritten document that's full of spelling and punctuation errors, names the captain Robert April and the navigator Jose Ortegas, says Spock is "probably half Martian," says the time frame is somewhere between 1995 and 2995, says the ship "will rarely land on a planet," etc. The name Yorktown doesn't appear anywhere else, ever, except in this one document that's clearly extremely rough and tentative and that contains a lot of things that were very quickly changed.

So that kind of name change that early in the process is so routine and normative that there wouldn't have been a need for a special memo to explain it. Especially since memos are for communication among the production team and the name was evidently changed before production began.
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Old October 7 2012, 12:18 AM   #28
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

I don't think it's a very attractive name, personally. Yorktown just makes me think of yorkshire puddings. But Enterprise...Now that's a sexy name!
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Old October 7 2012, 12:25 AM   #29
Knight Templar
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Probably for three big reasons.

1) U.S.S. Yorktown was known for having been sank by the Japanese at the Battle of Midway while Enterprise survived the battle and survived the war as the most decorated U.S. ship.

2) The first (and at that time only) nuclear powered aircraft in the world was the U.S.S. Enterprise and had made a number of very high profile deployments.

3) As stated above, "Yorktown" was overally Americancentric being named after the penultimate battle of the U.S. Revolutionary War. And it is even possible that G.R. even then was contemplating overseas marketing.
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Old October 7 2012, 03:49 AM   #30
Bubbles McGee
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Re: Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

EmperorTiberius wrote: View Post
C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I always figured than in addition to its historical context, Enterprise also meant "a bold undertaking" or "a forward venture."
Bingo. Most likely explanation.
I always thought this was the reason as well. It just fits with the whole spirit of the thing.
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