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

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Old February 22 2013, 08:05 PM   #61
Christopher
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Redfern wrote: View Post
You are the one who keeps posting, "It doesn't belong! It doesn't belong!" So, simply as a mental exercise, just a bloody conjecture, how might have the writing staff of 1973 created an equivalent narrative, avoiding the legal hassles resulting from the Kzinti, ancient Slavers, stasis boxes, etc.
Sorry, I didn't mean that as a polemic. I was just talking about the ideas that come into play in the conversation. You mentioned "existing Trek lore," and I thought it was worth commenting on how the nature of what "Trek lore" is has evolved over the decades. I have a history degree, so I think of things in terms of their historical context. That's not about saying that X idea is right or wrong, it's just about considering all the historical factors that surround it. I think it's interesting to think about the evolution of how the Trek universe has been perceived and portrayed over the decades, and how different it was then than it is now. I think it's worth considering stories not just in terms of their in-universe content, but in terms of the real-world factors that shaped them.

Granted, I have a preference, but not in the negative sense you're suggesting. I'm not saying "It doesn't belong!" I'm saying it belongs perfectly -- in Known Space, a rich and important science fiction universe in its own right. Frankly I'm bewildered by people who say they like the Kzinti in TAS but have no interest in reading about the genuine article in the universe they were created for. I'm saying that if you like the Kzinti, you'll probably like them much better if you experience them in their home reality. Then it won't just be "The Slaver Weapon" with its skinny Kzinti in pink spacesuits; it'll be "The Warriors" and "The Soft Weapon" and the Ringworld series and, if you like, a whole 13-volume, not-entirely-canonical Man-Kzin Wars series by multiple authors. I mean, if you like Kzinti, you're really missing out by not reading Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers. Speaker-to-Animals is a much more interesting and well-developed character than Chuft-Captain or Flyer or Telepath, and you learn much more about Kzinti culture through him. (Also, Nessus, the Pierson's Puppeteer in "The Soft Weapon" who was rewritten as Spock in "The Slaver Weapon," is a featured character in the Ringworld novels as well.)
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Old February 22 2013, 08:49 PM   #62
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

On the other hand, taking those parts of Known Space that actually made it into Star Trek and then developing them in a uniquely Trek direction offers story potential as well. And while I understand the concept of cleaning up the "extraneous" (if not really superfluous) elements in the story, I find it difficult to see the motivation, either from the viewpoint of the 1970s presentation or from that of later development of the Trek universe.

The Slavers of TAS are extremely vague, their only relevant attribute being that they are explicit bad guys (and ugly, too). This gives the automatic excuse for there being spies who would want to resist them - or, if we want to cut corners, for these bad guys having devious spying gear of their own because of course spying is naughty. Either path can be traveled further, without the need to bring up the Tnuctip or the big mental weapon that killed them all. The Kzinti can be developed without having to mind Outsiders or their eugenics programs. The stasis boxes need not have anything to do with deep radar now, but their takes-one-to-know-one attribute opens all-new possibilities. Etc. etc.

Niven wrote enjoyable Kzinti. But he also got caught in a "Protector trap" of sorts, in which the great concepts he developed put great limitations on what further ideas he could or would introduce. Doing it all Trek style would dodge the trap, essentially doubling the fun we can have with the Kzinti.

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Old February 22 2013, 08:56 PM   #63
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Ah, I understand you a bit more clearly now, Christopher.

Niven's original material? I may not have ALL his books, but I do have a decent percentage. In the mid 80s a friend loaned me a lot of his books and pointed me to them at the local library. And it was through Filmation Trek's "Slaver Weapon" that resulted in that introduction. Later, I bought my own copies to have in my personal collection and when that friend moved, he gave me duplicates from his collection, at least those I didn't already have.

So, yeah, I've enjoyed the Kzinti and the other "Known Space" species in their "natural habitat" so to speak. And yes, they do work far better there.

I'd just like to know how Niven got involved with Trek in the first place and the circumstances that led to the Kzinti's inclusion. I mean, it sure has caused something of a legal "how do you do". Did he think this would be his only catch to see his material adapted to another media?

Sincerely,

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Old February 23 2013, 10:48 AM   #64
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Redfern wrote: View Post
I'd just like to know how Niven got involved with Trek in the first place and the circumstances that led to the Kzinti's inclusion.
As with TOS, where Roddenberry invited science fiction novelists to consult on concepts, and then to pitch episodes, DC Fontana encouraged Niven to contribute to TAS.

Niven supposedly hated the character of Kirk (IIRC) and only agreed to do a TAS script if he was able to omit the character? Hence, the whole ep is set on the shuttlecraft.

Ah, I guess you've seen this?:
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_...ry_Development
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Old February 23 2013, 05:47 PM   #65
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Ah, actually, I had not until you linked it in your post. So, D.C. Fontana was the catalyst (pun intended) for this story.

Purely supposition here, but I think if Niven had any idea Trek would later develop into powerhouse enterainment property it did, he might have resisted the pleas to include the Kzinti and the other Known Space elements. He possibly assumed in '73 that Trek would run a few years in syndication and then fade into obscurity.

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Old February 23 2013, 05:50 PM   #66
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

I think The Slaver Weapon serves as an excellent advertisement for Known Space.

In many ways, it's like a crossover episode.
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Old February 23 2013, 06:15 PM   #67
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Perhaps the four wars took place in cyber(sub)space. Why not?
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Old February 23 2013, 06:18 PM   #68
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Because you can't use a keyboard if you have claws, silly.

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Old February 23 2013, 06:52 PM   #69
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

The felinoid Kzinti just use their rodent appetizers as pointing devices.
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Old February 23 2013, 10:52 PM   #70
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

I love the episode, despite its limitations. The only thing that rankles about it is the pink uniforms.

Edit: Well from the link someone left above I found this!!

The Traitor's Claw (and the Kzinti space suits) was painted pink because the director of this episode, Hal Sutherland, has a kind of color blindness. D.C. Fontana later speculated that Sutherland had probably thought the pink color of the craft was a shade of gray. ("Drawn to the Final Frontier - The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series", TAS DVD)

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Old February 24 2013, 12:26 AM   #71
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Sutherland's infamous colour blindness is also why the tribbles and Klingon vests were also pink.

I'm red/green colour blind and - in the 60s, long before I knew what colour TV was - I could see vibrant greens in b/w cartoons. We didn't get colour TV in Australia till 1975, but I used to see Fred Flintstone mowing green grass with an inverted bird all through my childhood and didn't know any different.
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Old February 24 2013, 01:11 AM   #72
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Now that's the strange thing. Okay, so Sutherland was supposedly color blind. Did no one ever say to him, "Uh, Mr. Sutherland? You sure you want to give these 'bad guys' pink vests? The reference photos from the old program show them to be a kind of gold."

As the indident is described, one gets the impression Sutherland did everything, and we know that's just not possible. Or was he one of these guys who ruled the studio with an iron fist? "You gonna' tell Mt. Sutherland he selected pink for the spacesuits because I'm not! I gotta' family to support!"

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Old February 24 2013, 01:46 AM   #73
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Redfern wrote: View Post
Now that's the strange thing. Okay, so Sutherland was supposedly color blind. Did no one ever say to him, "Uh, Mr. Sutherland? You sure you want to give these 'bad guys' pink vests? The reference photos from the old program show them to be a kind of gold."
One of the first episodes completed was "More Tribbles, More Troubles". The 70s colourists were given xeroxed cels, a style sheet and colour-by-number little pots of paint. Only the colours they needed. They do not question anyone, they just paint as directed. Several people are painting similar cels at the same time. (In the 80s, here in Sydney, the cel painters at Disney would travel into the studio, collect their materials and paint at home.)

It's possible the cel painters had not even seen TOS, let alone have access to stills of the show. Remember the Gold Key comic artists had also never seen the show. Neither had James Blish when doing prose adaptations of TOS for Bantam.

Were Filmation's colourists even based in USA? They'd never get to meet Sutherland or Fontana anyway.

No one would have questioned pink/grey alien puff balls. Obviously, they were all one colour in this ep so they didn't have to track individual tribbles as they were animated. The Klingon vests are a strange choice but, again, to Sutherland, the vests were assumed to be grey/silver - and the choice of colour complemented the tribbles anyway.

Future Klingon appearances would have used the style sheets created for their first appearance.

As for the kzinti, would they necessarily see pink as a "sissy" colour?
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Old February 24 2013, 02:20 AM   #74
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
It's possible the cel painters had not even seen TOS, let alone have access to stills of the show. Remember the Gold Key comic artists had also never seen the show.
Alberto Giolitti never screened the series, but he worked from a stack of publicity photos from seasons one and two, which is why some famous poses of the series leads and Enterprise can be found among the line art.

Were Filmation's colourists even based in USA?
At the time of TAS' production, yes.
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Old February 24 2013, 03:36 AM   #75
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Were Filmation's colourists even based in USA?
Absolutely yes. In fact, just about every Filmation animated show was produced within a single building, with the writers on one floor, the recording studio on another, the animators on another, ink and paint on another, camera on another, and so forth. It was pretty much a self-contained assembly line, with an episode passing through the building from floor to floor until it was completed. Filmation was the last TV animation studio to produce its shows completely in the US even after everyone else had subcontracted the animation out to Asian companies. The only Filmation production that was ever done overseas was The New Adventures of Zorro in 1981, whose animation was subcontracted to TMS in Japan because Filmation had too many shows on its plate that year and couldn't make them all in-house. (But at least they went with the best.)


As for the kzinti, would they necessarily see pink as a "sissy" colour?
For that matter, Americans in the '70s wouldn't have seen pink that way. I've seen episodes of '70s TV shows like Mission: Impossible and The Rockford Files where big macho men like Charles Napier and James Garner wore bright pink shirts. Apparently it didn't have an "effeminate" stigma at the time.

For that matter, when the custom of color-coded blue and pink baby clothes first came into use in the 1910s-20s, it was pink that was the boys' color:
For example, a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.

In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.

Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way,” Paoletti says.


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-c...#ixzz2LmQTj8TO
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
(Well, that's new. The Smithsonian site somehow embedded an automatic link when I copied and pasted the text. I would've linked anyway, but I'm surprised that's technically possible.)
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