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Old March 30 2013, 06:36 PM   #211
BillJ
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Yep, that line could be Singers or someone else involved with writing the script.
The "no female Starfleet captains" would also tend to make the Federation look ass-backwards when we saw a female Romulan commander a few episodes earlier.
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Old March 30 2013, 06:44 PM   #212
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

BillJ wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Yep, that line could be Singers or someone else involved with writing the script.
The "no female Starfleet captains" would also tend to make the Federation look ass-backwards when we saw a female Romulan commander a few episodes earlier.
That's why the Romulans laugh at them.
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Old March 30 2013, 06:50 PM   #213
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Here is a relevant portion from Roddenberry's story outline, dated May 8, 1968:

​As we’ll continue developing, Janice Lisette has become more bitter with each passing year over the fact she was born with what she considers disadvantages of a female body. Then suddenly on a minor expedition of a planet, she has discovered the answer -- a device which the ancients of this dead world once used to exchange the consciousness of two bodies. Very likely the device was conceived as a form of immortality whereby old bodies could be exchanged for young, new bodies. An incredible answer to every longing Janice has ever had -- an opportunity to place herself in not only the strong masculine form of a man she always envied, but also at the same time to exchange her life as an unimportant, middle-aged female scientist for the exciting life and prestige of a Starship Captain.

​(Helpful to our series, this situation allows us to emphasize as in few other stories that Kirk is one of an elite group -- one of only a few in the entire galaxy holding this rank. As Kirk, Janice will take over one of the most successful of such careers with promotions and futures even more exciting than the present.)
Although Roddenberry's story is rampant with sexist assumptions and pomposity over his work, I do not believe the idea that woman cannot be Starship Captains is ever explicitly stated in the outline. That line must be Arthur Singer's.
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Old March 30 2013, 06:52 PM   #214
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Harvey wrote: View Post
Here is a relevant portion from Roddenberry's story outline, dated May 8, 1968:

​As we’ll continue developing, Janice Lisette has become more bitter with each passing year over the fact she was born with what she considers disadvantages of a female body. Then suddenly on a minor expedition of a planet, she has discovered the answer -- a device which the ancients of this dead world once used to exchange the consciousness of two bodies. Very likely the device was conceived as a form of immortality whereby old bodies could be exchanged for young, new bodies. An incredible answer to every longing Janice has ever had -- an opportunity to place herself in not only the strong masculine form of a man she always envied, but also at the same time to exchange her life as an unimportant, middle-aged female scientist for the exciting life and prestige of a Starship Captain.

​(Helpful to our series, this situation allows us to emphasize as in few other stories that Kirk is one of an elite group -- one of only a few in the entire galaxy holding this rank. As Kirk, Janice will take over one of the most successful of such careers with promotions and futures even more exciting than the present.)
Although Roddenberry's story is rampant with sexist assumptions and pomposity over his work, I do not believe the idea that woman cannot be Starship Captains is ever explicitly stated in the outline. That line must be Arthur Singer's.
Thanks for doing the research Harvey.
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Old March 30 2013, 08:10 PM   #215
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Thanks Harvey! It may shift the blame off of Roddenberry's shoulders but it doesn't make me like the ep any better...
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Old March 30 2013, 08:20 PM   #216
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Not liking that episode is MMMMMMUTINY! MMMMMMUTINNNYY!
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Old March 31 2013, 02:13 AM   #217
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

May have been mentioned already, Roddenberry's prohibition against conflict amongst the series' regulars on TNG. I never understood it especially considering the success and dynamics of the Spock-McCoy relationship.
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Old March 31 2013, 02:59 AM   #218
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

I always took Lester's ramblings as that of someone who was plain crazy.
That's a logical way to rationalize it, but Roddenberry did allegedly state that it is meant to mean women aren't starship captains. Of course, if that's true, it's been rightfully ignored since Enterprise showed us female captains predating TOS.
Did Roddenberry have much to do with Star Trek by the time "Turnabout Intruder" was made?
No. I was just going by the Star Trek Chronology, which makes a note that the line about no female starship captains seems unusually sexist for Star Trek and offers alternate ways of interpreting (eg, Lester may have meant Kirk's duties as a captain didn't allow him to spend time with her) before finishing off with saying Roddenberry's intent was the line was to mean that there are no female captains.
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Old March 31 2013, 03:04 AM   #219
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

There is an especially good 1960s memo from Roddenberry encouraging the inter-crew conflict he would later prohibit in the 1980s. I will see if I can turn up the relevant bit later this week.
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Old March 31 2013, 04:37 AM   #220
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Never mind later this week -- found it!

TO: Fred Freiberger
FROM: Gene Roddenberry
DATE: May 23, 1968
SUBJECT: “Wink of an Eye” Story Outline 3/22/68 by Lee Cronin

(excerpted from a 3-page story memo)

I think also he will see that we don’t have enough inter-character relationships among our continuing people. We need conflicts, disagreements, rich personality relationship between Kirk, Spock, McCoy and others. Otherwise, our “television family group” becomes a rather uninteresting assortment of similar individuals who stand around throwing each other lines and generally agreeing with each other.
Of course, Roddenberry reversed his position on inter-character conflict twenty years later, which, ironically, caused quite a bit of inter-personal conflict behind the scenes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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Old March 31 2013, 05:12 AM   #221
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Harvey wrote: View Post
Never mind later this week -- found it!

TO: Fred Freiberger
FROM: Gene Roddenberry
DATE: May 23, 1968
SUBJECT: “Wink of an Eye” Story Outline 3/22/68 by Lee Cronin

(excerpted from a 3-page story memo)

I think also he will see that we don’t have enough inter-character relationships among our continuing people. We need conflicts, disagreements, rich personality relationship between Kirk, Spock, McCoy and others. Otherwise, our “television family group” becomes a rather uninteresting assortment of similar individuals who stand around throwing each other lines and generally agreeing with each other.
Of course, Roddenberry reversed his position on inter-character conflict twenty years later, which, ironically, caused quite a bit of inter-personal conflict behind the scenes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Love the memo excerpts. Is there an online source or some type of collection available to the public? Would enjoy reading more.
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Old March 31 2013, 05:22 AM   #222
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

A Few documents are available in various places online -- the teleplays to a few episodes, a couple of memos, the original pitch, a few story outlines -- but I haven't been able to find a hell of a lot. The great treasure troves are in archival collections: the Gene Roddenberry, Bob Justman, and Harve Bennett papers at UCLA; the DeForest Kelley papers at the Academy Library; the Nick Meyer papers at the University of Iowa. You have to make an appointment to see these, but they are all available to the public.

I have transcribed or scanned between two and three hundred documents from these collections, and occasionally remember a bit pertinent to the conversation here. I have been thinking about starting a website or blog to share some of this stuff, actually, but I am hesitant because of copyright issues. (Not to mention that it would be hard work!)
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Old March 31 2013, 07:13 AM   #223
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
maneth wrote: View Post
Granted, Roddenberry originally wanted a female XO, but that was turned down by the network execs as too radical.
Nah, they objected to Roddenberry casting his mistress in the part. If he had recast rather than eliminating the character, there would have been a female XO in the show.
That's right. The truth as I understand it went like this:

- Gene gave a plum co-starring role to one of the women he was cheating on his wife with, Majel, who wasn't very good on screen.

- NBC execs liked the idea of putting a woman in such a prominent spot, but said a better or more charismatic actress would be needed.

- Gene lied to Majel to spare her feelings, saying that NBC wouldn't allow a woman to hold a high rank.

- In order to keep up that pretense, Gene had to nix the idea of a female executive officer. This ended up being very good luck for Leonard Nimoy-- and searingly bad for gender equality in STAR TREK going forward.

- Gene's lie to Majel, which had to be preserved for the sake of their relationship, took on a life of its own, becoming a well-publicized and self-aggrandizing story of Roddenberry fighting the male chauvinist pigs at NBC as much as he could, but just not winning. The actual executives, who had been all in favor of a strong female co-star on STAR TREK, felt slandered by this, but they apparently never tried to make their case publicly. The fan community just wasn't high enough on their radar, I'd guess.
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Old March 31 2013, 10:09 AM   #224
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
That's right. The truth as I understand it went like this:

- Gene gave a plum co-starring role to one of the women he was cheating on his wife with, Majel, who wasn't very good on screen.

- NBC execs liked the idea of putting a woman in such a prominent spot, but said a better or more charismatic actress would be needed.

- Gene lied to Majel to spare her feelings, saying that NBC wouldn't allow a woman to hold a high rank.

- In order to keep up that pretense, Gene had to nix the idea of a female executive officer. This ended up being very good luck for Leonard Nimoy-- and searingly bad for gender equality in STAR TREK going forward.

- Gene's lie to Majel, which had to be preserved for the sake of their relationship, took on a life of its own, becoming a well-publicized and self-aggrandizing story of Roddenberry fighting the male chauvinist pigs at NBC as much as he could, but just not winning. The actual executives, who had been all in favor of a strong female co-star on STAR TREK, felt slandered by this, but they apparently never tried to make their case publicly. The fan community just wasn't high enough on their radar, I'd guess.
Right-on. Excellent post.
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Old March 31 2013, 10:14 AM   #225
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Harvey wrote: View Post
A Few documents are available in various places online -- the teleplays to a few episodes, a couple of memos, the original pitch, a few story outlines -- but I haven't been able to find a hell of a lot. The great treasure troves are in archival collections: the Gene Roddenberry, Bob Justman, and Harve Bennett papers at UCLA; the DeForest Kelley papers at the Academy Library; the Nick Meyer papers at the University of Iowa. You have to make an appointment to see these, but they are all available to the public.

I have transcribed or scanned between two and three hundred documents from these collections, and occasionally remember a bit pertinent to the conversation here. I have been thinking about starting a website or blog to share some of this stuff, actually, but I am hesitant because of copyright issues. (Not to mention that it would be hard work!)
Great information, thank you. And thank you for sharing what you can - all very interesting.
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