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

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Old March 1 2013, 09:47 PM   #31
Harvey
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Christopher wrote: View Post
Ellison's pseudonym was Cordwainer Bird, which was partly in honor of Cordwainer Smith, the pseudonym author Paul M. A. Linebarger used on his science fiction. He used the Bird pseudonym as sort of his personal Alan Smithee, when he wanted to take his name off of something in protest. So it's odd that he left his real name on "City" when he's been protesting about it ever since.
Roddenberry apparently talked Ellison into using his real name on the episode (he managed the same thing with D.C. Fontana on "The Enterprise Incident"). Amusingly, an earlier draft of the episode was (jokingly) credited to Cordwainer Bird. That, obviously, was before Ellison's relationship with Roddenberry and Star Trek went south.
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Old March 1 2013, 09:52 PM   #32
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

feek61 wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
That was the first draft. I don't believe any subsequent drafts have been reproduced anywhere, other than the teaser of the second.
I thought in Harlan's book there were several different versions of the story. I may be mistaken; it has been a long time since I read it. In any case I do remember thinking that it was a good story but not good as a trek episode as originally written. In the book I believe that at least three others tried to rewrite it not including Harlan's own stabs at it. As a trek fan of course I prefer the filmed episode but it is always cool to see the beginning of such things.
It has two drafts of the story outline, but only one (complete) draft of the teleplay. In addition to the second, incomplete teleplay in the book, Ellison also wrote a third draft teleplay (because he so disliked Steven Corabatsos' re-write, as I recall).
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Old March 2 2013, 02:12 AM   #33
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

The book I have has the teaser and the first act. Plus the original and another draft.

I don't even think Harlan was a bad fit for tv, just not Star Trek. He wrote two Outer Limits episodes, and they were two of the best of the show.


Good enough for turning into Terminator.

Really, drug dealers and space pirates are not really Star Trek things. It makes me wonder if the space pirate version of the Enterprise inspired the Mirror Universe.
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Old March 2 2013, 02:39 AM   #34
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Marsden wrote: View Post
I don't even think Harlan was a bad fit for tv, just not Star Trek.
I have to take issue with that. We're talking about an episode that won a Hugo, and that is generally very highly regarded, by both Star Trek fans and non-fans alike. We just don't have this episode without Harlan Ellison, period.
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Old March 2 2013, 02:55 AM   #35
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Marsden wrote: View Post
The book I have has the teaser and the first act. Plus the original and another draft.

I don't even think Harlan was a bad fit for tv, just not Star Trek. He wrote two Outer Limits episodes, and they were two of the best of the show.
But he still needed Bob Justman to rein in his imagination to make it affordable to shoot. Ellison's "Demon With a Glass Hand" was supposed to be a chase across Los Angeles, and Ellison couldn't give them a draft that would be affordable to shoot, so they were on the verge of scrapping it altogether -- until Justman had the brainstorm to set the entire thing inside the Bradbury Building.


It makes me wonder if the space pirate version of the Enterprise inspired the Mirror Universe.
The original idea behind "Mirror, Mirror" wasn't about an evil Enterprise at all. Bixby's outline was just about a different version of the Federation with various differences -- Kirk was married, McCoy had a beard, and some technology was more advanced, but they didn't have phasers, and thus they were losing a war to hostile aliens (though Spock himself was more savage). Although it's possible Ellison's script may have influenced the decision to rewrite "Mirror, Mirror" with an evil-twin Enterprise instead.
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Old March 2 2013, 07:42 AM   #36
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

not sure if it is in his CITY book or a video magazine interview, but at one point Ellison indicated the reason Cordwainer Bird didn't stay on was that Roddenberry insisted on keepin the name for SF marquee value and the threat was that he would do what he could to blacklist Ellison. While that shouldn't carry much weight, remember that Ellison was already persona non grata at ABC over the two Adrian Samish incidents (Samish supposedly killed his BATMAN script around this same time.)
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Old March 2 2013, 08:04 AM   #37
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

trevanian wrote: View Post
While that shouldn't carry much weight, remember that Ellison was already persona non grata at ABC over the two Adrian Samish incidents (Samish supposedly killed his BATMAN script around this same time.)
Are you talking about "The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face"?

All I know about it, I just found out by Googling:
http://www.66batman.com/cgi-bin/yabb...num=1239570180
http://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=wyu-ah06851.xml

This one below, a bit more on the rumor side, led me to those above:
http://about-faces.livejournal.com/7...thread=1584375
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Old March 2 2013, 08:22 AM   #38
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

I some years ago pointed out that Ellison's first draft didn't contain significantly more characters or sets than the finished episode, so I think Justman didth protest too much (and I say that as a professional Producer). Until we're privy to Ellison's later drafts it's all he-said stuff based on a few memos, memories and snarky comments. I frankly think both sides of the story are factually incorrect and overdramatized.

Trevanian: when you say "remember that Ellison was already persona non grata at ABC over the two Adrian Samish incidents", the presumes said incidents are common knowledge...I think it's safe to ay they're not, so I think some illumination is in order.
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Old March 2 2013, 02:44 PM   #39
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Once again we need to keep the realities of what producing a show is like. Stuff like Justman's memo probably survived more or less as fluke. Certainly no one was thinking in C.Y.A. terms in case of future blowups. No one could have known that COTEOF would become a classic episode and that TOS would become such a classic series where every incident would analyzed and broken apart. Certainly even Ellison with his grudge holding and egomania, I'm sure had better things to do than to document his role in writing a script for a marginally successful (at the time) TV series. Any documentation that would definitively settle the matter had I'm sure long since gone down the nearest memory hole long before the matter became a topic of interest to Trek fandom. It is fascinating to me that with such an acclaimed script is one that no one can really show who did what to it. I also find it somewhat interesting that just about everyone involved ended up hating each other with differing "Rashoman" style versions of what happened.
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Old March 2 2013, 07:31 PM   #40
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Well, that's not entirely true. Although some of the drafts held at UCLA do not credit the author, the collection there does include Ellison's two drafts of the story outline and three drafts of the teleplay, as well as the re-written teleplay by Steven Corabatsos which Ellison hated.

Who knows what else the Roddenberry estate has that it hasn't released to the public. The Justman memo, for example, isn't in the UCLA collection.
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Old March 2 2013, 09:02 PM   #41
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

^^^That settles it. I need to go read those scripts!
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Old March 3 2013, 05:57 AM   #42
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Harvey wrote: View Post
Well, that's not entirely true. Although some of the drafts held at UCLA do not credit the author, the collection there does include Ellison's two drafts of the story outline and three drafts of the teleplay, as well as the re-written teleplay by Steven Corabatsos which Ellison hated.

Who knows what else the Roddenberry estate has that it hasn't released to the public. The Justman memo, for example, isn't in the UCLA collection.
Fascinating! It's hard to believe that such material would survive, but it would seem so and I certainly have no reason to doubt you. However, I will stick to my position that no one at this point and time can be trusted to be telling the whole "truth". As I mentioned there has to be a Rashoman type of effect at work after all these years. TV script writing is an inherently messy process and sorting out which is the hero or the victim in the eternal pissing match between Ellison and GR strikes me as an amusing, but ultimately futile exercise.
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Old March 3 2013, 06:15 AM   #43
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

You can use use the finding aid to see what else has survived in the UCLA collection: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf5z09n9vr/

They also have the Robert Justman papers: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf038n99s7/

From my experience, the finding aids of both are up to date and reflect the material that is currently available in them. Of course, they are both missing plenty of material that we know about, and likely much that we don't.
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Old March 3 2013, 03:58 PM   #44
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

As to snarky memos - remember these are two guys who'd been working together a while and probably liked to kid around. It's not like Justman was a low-level minion sending a wise-ass memo to a big-wig CEO; it was two work-friends having the written equivalent of a meeting, goofing around a little.
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Old March 4 2013, 01:58 AM   #45
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Re: Notes re. The City On The Edge Of Forever....

Forbin wrote: View Post
As to snarky memos - remember these are two guys who'd been working together a while and probably liked to kid around. It's not like Justman was a low-level minion sending a wise-ass memo to a big-wig CEO; it was two work-friends having the written equivalent of a meeting, goofing around a little.
It actually doesn't take long for this sort of goofing around to start. If you sense other people get your sense of humor, it can happen almost right away.
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