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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old February 25 2013, 06:56 AM   #1
Ktrek
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City on the Edge snafoo?

My wife and I watched City on the Edge of Forever again tonight for the umpteenth time and I caught an error by Harlan Ellison in his story.

Edith Keeler tells McCoy that he is in the year 1930 and she is on the way to a movie with Captain Kirk to see a "Clark Gable" movie. Since I own a run a site for fans of classic films this caught my attention. It so happens that Clark Gable was in many bit parts and most of them not credited but he was not a star in 1930. So Harlan got a little historical fact incorrect. He didn't have any real star billing until he was cast with Greta Garbo in Susan Lennox in late 1931. Oops!

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Old February 25 2013, 07:42 AM   #2
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

Good catch, but this "snafu" has been known for years.

Here's what http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_...de)#Continuity has to say about it:

Clark Gable, who was by no means a leading man in 1930, was not the original choice of reference. The final shooting draft of this script has Edith reference "a Richard Dix movie", but the crew on the set felt Dix's name wouldn't be familiar to viewers in the 1960s.
So, evidently, there was a little poetic license involved.
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Old February 25 2013, 07:42 AM   #3
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

That error has been known for a very long time. Also, given how many times the script got rewritten by the Trek writing staff it's not fair to pin that on Ellison. There's certainly no such reference in Ellison's first draft, so far as I remember.
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Old February 25 2013, 08:13 AM   #4
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

"SNAFU" -- Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.
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Old February 25 2013, 09:14 AM   #5
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

When I was little, my father explained the term as "...all fouled up." I hardly think he would lie. So it might be time to correct the historical record on that.

Also, I'm not at home to check, but I think the STAR TREK CONCORDANCE (1976) covered the thing about Clark Gable not being a star yet, but it said Edith may just have had a very sharp eye for upcoming talent.
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Old February 25 2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
When I was little, my father explained the term as "...all fouled up."
That ain't the word they use in the army, son!

The Clark Gable reference isn't the only anachronism in "City on the Edge of Forever." There's the scene in which Kirk and Edith are walking together and the song "Goodnight Sweetheart" is heard playing on a radio in the window of a radio repair shop. That song was first recorded in 1931.

EDIT: Oh, that's already mentioned on the Memory Alpha page.
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Old February 25 2013, 10:29 AM   #7
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

So obviously, the story transpires in 1931 and it is the Guardian who is miscalibrated! (I know, I know—Edith tells McCoy "1930.") Yet no one mentions the obvious paradox of the Enterprise and that entire history going missing.
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Old February 25 2013, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

Metryq wrote: View Post
So obviously, the story transpires in 1931 and it is the Guardian who is miscalibrated! (I know, I know—Edith tells McCoy "1930.") Yet no one mentions the obvious paradox of the Enterprise and that entire history going missing.

With all the promiscuous, event-altering time travel that has taken place in the STAR TREK universe, it's a wonder that the "1930" which Kirk visited was even close to the real thing.
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Old February 25 2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

scotpens wrote: View Post
That song was first recorded in 1931.
Edith's wall calendar is also out of date by several years. IIRC, David R George III covered this in his "Crucible" novel, explaining that Edith had deliberately stopped turning pages on it when her father passed away.

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
it's a wonder that the "1930" which Kirk visited was even close to the real thing.
Floyd's barbershop from Mayberry even swapped location.
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Old February 25 2013, 11:56 AM   #10
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

Saying Harlan Ellison made a mistake is liable to get you a personal ass-whoopin'. Ellison don't make no mistakes.

Don't believe it? Just ask him.
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Old February 26 2013, 01:49 AM   #11
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Saying Harlan Ellison made a mistake is liable to get you a personal ass-whoopin'. Ellison don't make no mistakes.

Don't believe it? Just ask him.
No, he'd just have one of his famous tirades that segways into people being illiterate.
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Old February 26 2013, 02:14 AM   #12
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

Kamdan wrote: View Post
Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Saying Harlan Ellison made a mistake is liable to get you a personal ass-whoopin'. Ellison don't make no mistakes.

Don't believe it? Just ask him.
No, he'd just have one of his famous tirades that segways into people being illiterate.
Yeah, that's what I said.

Oh, and a "segway" is one of them two wheeled gyroscooter thingies.
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Old February 26 2013, 03:13 AM   #13
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Re: City on the Edge snafoo?

Thanks for the replies guys! I didn't know that oversight had been caught before. I used to own the Nitpickers guide and I imagine it was in there too. I was also wondering about Goodnight Sweetheart but didn't check it out.

Kevin
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