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

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Old April 3 2013, 02:24 AM   #91
Nerys Myk
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Well we're viewing Kirk through the lens of three seasons of TOS and six or seven movies. But if you look at the Kirk from those early season one episodes he's not all too different from Pike.
I must disagree. Without thinking of the rest of the series, movies, etc., just study his debut performance in "Where No Man Has Gone Before," where he jokes with Spock about his "bad blood," being irritated by Kirk's game and the turbolift interplay with Spock & Mitchell. Right out of the gates, Kirk was serious, but he was miles ahead of Pike in being warm and having a real personality.

Some argue the Talosian situation of "The Cage" and Pike's doubts as the reason for his humorless behavior in only one episode, so we do not know how the character woud have progressed. Okay, but I have to remind everyone that Kirk's debut situation surpassed that in terms of the pressure / grim tone, as he has to see his best friend as an enemy, eventually making the decision to kill him.

I would say the latter would sour a man more than being part of an alien zoo/breeding farm.

Even after that, he manages a light moment with Spock at the end of the episode. I think the long-standing claim that Shatner's Kirk went a long way toward selling TOS (along with the "two-fisted" action) is accurate, as the lead was magnetic, and would go a long way in appealing to as many viewers as possible.

I love Hunter's Pike, and the overall production of that pilot, but it is easy to see why on a creative note, a truly dynamic leading man was required.
That's just the difference between Shatner and Hunter and not really the difference between Kirk and Pike. WNMHGB could just as easily been about Chris Pike and his old pal Gary Mitchell. ( with Shatner in role even). I don't think they reimagined the Captain character when they changed the name to James Kirk or were writing him in a different way when putting together WNMHGB.
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Old April 3 2013, 03:59 AM   #92
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
That's just the difference between Shatner and Hunter and not really the difference between Kirk and Pike. WNMHGB could just as easily been about Chris Pike and his old pal Gary Mitchell. ( with Shatner in role even). I don't think they reimagined the Captain character when they changed the name to James Kirk or were writing him in a different way when putting together WNMHGB.
Right, as I pointed out earlier in the thread. Roddenberry changed the captain's name multiple times in the development process -- it was April throughout development, then briefly Winter, and was only changed to Pike about a week before filming started on the pilot. And then there was a list of about a dozen candidate names for the captain in the second pilot, with Kirk at the bottom.

Maybe Roddenberry did choose to change the name because he was hoping to recycle the pilot footage, or maybe he just felt that recasting the lead actor called for a name change (although that wasn't the case when he recast the returning Genesis II characters in the revamped second pilot Planet Earth years later). But we're talking '60s TV here, and that means that changing a character's name, even claiming he's a different character, didn't necessarily mean giving him a different personality. There were cases where different characters were specifically created to be completely interchangeable as far as the writing went. A notable case was the James Garner series Maverick. Originally it was meant to revolve solely around Garner's Bret Maverick, but production delays led them to add a second lead, Jack Kelly as his brother Bart, so that they could alternate stars and production crews on overlapping schedules to meet the deadlines. The characters usually appeared in alternate episodes and rarely together, and they were intentionally written to be completely interchangeable in personality, so that either actor could be dropped into any script as needed. The only difference between the characters was in how the actors played the lines -- Garner bringing more humor, Kelly playing it more seriously. Later on, when Garner left the show in a contract dispute, they brought in Roger Moore as his replacement, cousin Beau (ironically, after Sean Connery had declined the role!), and briefly added Robert Colbert as another interchangeable brother.

Not to mention all the interchangeable leads on Mission: Impossible. Jim Phelps was essentially the same character as Dan Briggs, though Peter Graves made him more amiable and benevolent; Paris was the same character as Rollin Hand; Cinnamon, Dana, and Casey were all pretty much the same too (except that Casey also inherited Rollin & Paris's makeup/disguise skills because budget cuts required shrinking the cast). And then you had Goober Pyle replacing Gomer in Andy Griffith, Baker replacing Kinchloe in Hogan's Heroes, etc.

It's not just '60s TV, of course. There's The Dukes of Hazzard where Bo & Luke were temporarily replaced by indistinguishable cousins Coy & Vance due to another contract dispute. There's Cheryl Ladd replacing Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels. There's Selma being replaced with Flo on Night Court when the actress died (and when Flo's portrayer died a year later, they replaced her with a younger bailiff). And so on. These days, such replacement characters are generally given some differences from their predecessors, but in the '60s and '70s, they were often deliberately treated as identical.
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Old April 3 2013, 04:32 AM   #93
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Then there's the famous case of Bewitched, when Darwin-- I mean, Darrin Stephens changed from Dick York to Dick Sargent (due to York's health problems), and not even Samantha noticed the difference.
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Old April 3 2013, 04:49 AM   #94
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

^ But that was magic, so it doesn't really count.
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Old April 3 2013, 04:56 AM   #95
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

That Endora, what a wacky sense of humor.
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Old April 3 2013, 09:18 AM   #96
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
That's just the difference between Shatner and Hunter and not really the difference between Kirk and Pike.
Actors work from the script, character descriptions or template they recieve. From every analysis of the effect of "The Cage," once Hunter was not an option, Roddenberry did not wish to clone Pike, as he was not appealing enough--certainly not for a regular series lead. Kirk and Pike were anything other than interchangable personalities no matter the perfomer.

To his credit, Shatner picked up on the warmth / humor, but that was in the WNMHGB script for Kirk.

Interchangeable personalities occured to some degree on M*A*S*H, where uptight, snobby and judgemental Frank Burns was replaced by uptight, snobby and judgemental Charles Winchester--essentially born of the same need of an easily targeted foil for the leadback series leads.
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Old April 3 2013, 01:34 PM   #97
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

And yet Kirk will voice similar weariness as Pike did, when he says, "No beach to walk on." That Kirk is Pike by any other name is a great point.
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Old April 3 2013, 01:52 PM   #98
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

There's not a dime's worth of difference between Kirk and Pike in the two pilots - the fact that Peeples added a tiny bit more to the character doesn't transform him; many writers would continue to add new things, week after week, without making Kirk into someone other than Kirk.
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Old April 3 2013, 03:11 PM   #99
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Melakon wrote: View Post
Then there's the famous case of Bewitched, when Darwin-- I mean, Darrin Stephens changed from Dick York to Dick Sargent (due to York's health problems), and not even Samantha noticed the difference.
But that's a different phenomenon altogether. That's just recasting a single character. What I'm talking about are instances where one character was nominally replaced by a different character with a different name, yet the "new" character was written identically to the old one.



TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
Actors work from the script, character descriptions or template they recieve. From every analysis of the effect of "The Cage," once Hunter was not an option, Roddenberry did not wish to clone Pike, as he was not appealing enough--certainly not for a regular series lead. Kirk and Pike were anything other than interchangable personalities no matter the perfomer.
We've been through this already earlier in the thread. The differences in the characters emerged in the actors' performances, and over time, the writers began writing Kirk to reflect Shatner's performance. But we're talking about how Kirk was written in the second pilot and early first season. The Kirk who in "The Corbomite Maneuver" was as uncomfortable with a female yeoman as Pike was. Who in "Mudd's Women" was so ultra-serious and driven that he was the only human male in the crew who wasn't affected by the titular ladies. Who in "The Naked Time" was yearning for a simpler life free from the burdens of command exactly as Pike was. Who in "Balance of Terror" needed a pep talk from his doctor exactly as Pike did. (And McCoy was exactly the same character as Boyce too -- let's not forget that Roddenberry wanted DeForest Kelley as the doctor from the beginning.)

Remember what I said about Maverick. Every script was written with the assumption that James Garner would be playing it. There was nothing to distinguish the scripts that went to Garner, Jack Kelly, and Roger Moore except for scheduling; the hero was written identically in every case. And yet the three actors were perceived as three distinct characters -- Bret more comedic, Bart more serious, Beau more suave and gentlemanly -- based entirely on performance, not script. So you're giving actor interpretation far too little credit. The same script performed by two different actors can produce two very different characterizations.

For another example, watch different actors' interpretations of Shakespeare, or different performances of other plays. A few years back I watched two different versions of Hamlet, the 1980 Derek Jacobi one and the more recent David Tennant one. Their Ophelias were delivering the same lines but couldn't have been more different in personality -- Lalla Ward's 1980 Ophelia was so weepy and pathetic that it was a relief when she went mad and finally seemed to be having some fun, while Mariah Gale's 2009 version was so strong, assertive, and canny that I wondered if she was faking her madness as a ploy just as Hamlet did. Not to mention that Sir Patrick Stewart played King Claudius in both versions, yet even the same actor delivering the same lines created two diametrically opposite characterizations 29 years apart: The younger Stewart rushed through Claudius's lines and gave a superficial, shallow performance, while the more mature Stewart gave him so much depth and gravitas that you admired him even though he was the villain.

So really, there's far more to it than just what's scripted. The actor can completely transform what's on the page.


To his credit, Shatner picked up on the warmth / humor, but that was in the WNMHGB script for Kirk.
The potential was there, but it was there in "The Cage" too. Imagine Shatner and Kelley having the exchange about doctors and bartenders.


Interchangeable personalities occured to some degree on M*A*S*H, where uptight, snobby and judgemental Frank Burns was replaced by uptight, snobby and judgemental Charles Winchester--essentially born of the same need of an easily targeted foil for the leadback series leads.
Wow, you're just incredibly off the mark there. The whole reason the producers replaced Frank was because the show had grown more sophisticated, the characters more nuanced, but Frank had become an irredeemable caricature of incompetence and just didn't fit the show anymore. So they replaced him with a more three-dimensional character who worked for what the show had become. Charles was superficially an obnoxious foil like Frank, but he was supercompetent in contrast to Frank's ineptitude, he wasn't lovestruck over Maj. Houlihan the way Frank had been, he was a culture snob rather than a petty bigot like Frank, and though he had his rivalries with the other doctors, he also had admirable qualities and sometimes found himself allied with the others in a just cause.

Indeed, M*A*S*H is one of the leading counterexamples to the pattern of identical replacements, because all its replacement leads were quite distinct in personality from their predecessors. Trapper John was a womanizer like Hawkeye, but BJ was a devoted family man. Blake was a drafted civilian who was uneasy with authority and would've been lost without Radar, but Potter was a career military man and proud of it. And when Radar left, they didn't bring in an equivalent character but had the very different Klinger take over his job. Not to mention how much the leads who stayed changed over the years, with Hawkeye becoming more serious and thoughtful, Margaret becoming more nuanced and sympathetic, etc.
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Old April 3 2013, 09:44 PM   #100
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Christopher wrote: View Post
We've been through this already earlier in the thread. The differences in the characters emerged in the actors' performances, and over time, the writers began writing Kirk to reflect Shatner's performance. But we're talking about how Kirk was written in the second pilot and early first season. The Kirk who in "The Corbomite Maneuver" was as uncomfortable with a female yeoman as Pike was. Who in "Mudd's Women" was so ultra-serious and driven that he was the only human male in the crew who wasn't affected by the titular ladies. Who in "The Naked Time" was yearning for a simpler life free from the burdens of command exactly as Pike was. Who in "Balance of Terror" needed a pep talk from his doctor exactly as Pike did. (And McCoy was exactly the same character as Boyce too -- let's not forget that Roddenberry wanted DeForest Kelley as the doctor from the beginning.)
Yours is a case of putting the cart before the horse: your refereces all followed the humor and warmth deliberately written for Kirk in WHMHGB. There's no getting around that. His debut set the tone for the characterization, and explains why it was not simply the work of Shatner, as he could not know how Kirk would be handled as the script was in the development stage.

This strongly suggests TPB made a conscious decision for Kirk to be something different than the morose Pike--in other words not simply a name change once Hunter was no longer associated with the production.

The potential was there, but it was there in "The Cage" too. Imagine Shatner and Kelley having the exchange about doctors and bartenders.
No, its not there. In the cabin scene, Boyce is trying to pull Pike out of a funk, but the captain is only mildly amused, sticking to his depression. Even at the story's conclusion, his little jab at the doctor still comes off as a stern leader simply ending a line of conversation he found uncomfortable.

The script for WNMHGB featured an open, joking relationship out of the gates, to let everyone know this captain is tough, but approachable, even fun.


Wow, you're just incredibly off the mark there. The whole reason the producers replaced Frank was because the show had grown more sophisticated, the characters more nuanced, but Frank had become an irredeemable caricature of incompetence and just didn't fit the show anymore.
Incorrect: Larry Linville was offered a two year contract extension at the end of his 5 years, but he declined; it had nothing to do with the producers taking the series in another direction would not suit the Burns character.

The producers would have been glad to keep the character in the same slot for as long as possible (and i've seen no indicators Burns was to "evolve" if Linville accepted the contract extension), as they needed a stuffy, uptight foil.

It is no coincidence that Linville's replacement (Winchester) had the same prime character traits as Burns (noted above). Above all else, the antagonistic, stuffy man disrespecting the jocular habits of his fellow surgeons.
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Old April 3 2013, 10:43 PM   #101
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
Incorrect: Larry Linville was offered a two year contract extension at the end of his 5 years, but he declined; it had nothing to do with the producers taking the series in another direction would not suit the Burns character.
True. Linville and Stevenson left to take roles in their own shows. Wayne Rogers left over money and the shift from co-star to second-banana. Burghoff just wanted to move-on. In all instances the producers took the departures as opportunities to shake-up the dynamics.

With respect to Maverick, the initial reason for bringing in Bart Maverick was as a hedge on the rising animosity between James Garner (Bret Maverick) and Warner Bros.Television as William T. Orr, executive-producer, was especially known for signing actors to onerous, one-sided contracts that led to many rebellions.
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Old April 3 2013, 11:01 PM   #102
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Roddenberry wanted Hunter back. But he couldn't get him, cause he became a major movie star when PT.109 came a major hit movie.
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Old April 3 2013, 11:10 PM   #103
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

yenny wrote: View Post
Roddenberry wanted Hunter back. But he couldn't get him, cause he became a major movie star when PT.109 came a major hit movie.
I do not believe that to be true. Hunter's career was actually on a downward slide having lost much of its luster from his heyday of "The Searchers" and "King of Kings." Though he took to television for the money he always felt himself above the medium - he was a "movie star." Also, wasn't he in Spain working on low-budget spaghetti westerns at the time of his demise?
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Old April 3 2013, 11:14 PM   #104
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

TREK_GOD_1 wrote: View Post
It is no coincidence that Linville's replacement (Winchester) had the same prime character traits as Burns (noted above). Above all else, the antagonistic, stuffy man disrespecting the jocular habits of his fellow surgeons.
No.

The producers of M*A*S*H had a tendency to replace characters, when necessary, with new characters that would occupy the same function but in many cases were opposites in personality to the character being replaced. Making a vague generalization like "stuffy" about Burns and Winchester just papers over their extreme differences.

The function both served was as an antagonist and foil for Hawkeye and B.J.

Frank Burns was reflexively conservative and insecure, a mid-westerner who sought after professional and military status but was regarded as a mediocre surgeon at best. He was a whiner. He invariably came out on the short end of jokes.

Winchester, OTOH, was a Bostonian, born to status and wealth, very well educated and anything but insecure - he knew exactly how good he was and was aware of the virtues as well as the limitations of the other characters. He was a highly skilled, expert heart surgeon who could instruct doctors in the unit, and finally he not infrequently turned the tables on his tent mates' attempted practical jokes.

Burns was always a step behind the others, Winchester often a half-step ahead.

There are similar sharp contrasts between Blake and Potter, and Trapper and B.J., and all were by design.

OTOH, there's nothing that Kirk says or does in WNMHGB that would have been "out of character" for Pike because so little character was established for either of them at that point. Roddenberry simply replaced one handsome leading man of a certain apparent age with another.
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Old April 4 2013, 12:06 AM   #105
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
Burns was always a step behind the others, Winchester often a half-step ahead.

There are similar sharp contrasts between Blake and Potter, and Trapper and B.J., and all were by design.
It reads to me that you are off-point. The fact there were differences in characters doesn't seem to be the point but rather what motivated those changes.

OTOH, there's nothing that Kirk says or does in WNMHGB that would have been "out of character" for Pike because so little character was established for either of them at that point. Roddenberry simply replaced one handsome leading man of a certain apparent age with another.
On this I agree. Again, the Horatio Hornblower influence was the dramatic line in the writting of the captain character - whether it be Kirk or Pike - coupled with different style of the particular actor (Shatner or Hunter).
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