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

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Old April 4 2013, 07:01 PM   #121
Danger Ace
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Melakon wrote: View Post
Linville's explanation involved several factors. Hotlips wasn't his ally and confidante anymore, he felt he had done all he could as the character, and felt that Frank was only being used as a continual butt of the joke. Sounds like he was simply burnt out with Frank.
He may very well have said that, however, that attitude was a luxury brought about by his being woo'ed away with the promise of starring in his own series. If he (or Stevenson for that matter) hadn't had other opportunities dangled in front of them then they'd have tried to stay.
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Old April 4 2013, 07:35 PM   #122
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Hello Larry effectively killed Stevenson's career, and the same could be said for Linville and his forgettable series. Burghoff didn't do much of anything after MASH (pun intended).

Anyway.

Hunter may have been an acceptable captain, but the chemistry of the Big 3 would have been much different. Playing Spock and McCoy against each other with Kirk in the middle just worked. This mainly due, in my opinion, to a quality that Shatner possesses and employs very well. It's the ever present and barely concealed smirk, and the "twinkle" in his eye.

Shatner has been much underrated as an actor since he became Jim Kirk.

Again my opinion, but having Hunter leave was a happy accident that resulted in the Trek we all know and love. If he had come back for the second pilot there may never have been any Trek at all. At least not like we know it.
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Old April 4 2013, 07:52 PM   #123
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Shatner has been much underrated as an actor since he became Jim Kirk.
This just brought to mind a piece of trivia regarding the film "The Intruder" starring Shatner and directed by Roger Corman (excerpt copy and pasted form IMDB):

"Producer Roger Corman allegedly blamed star William Shatner's performance for the box-office failure of the movie, and the breaking of Corman's perfect track record of successes. Shatner jokingly suggested years later that the re-release title "I Hate Your Guts!" was probably aimed at him."

Again my opinion, but having Hunter leave was a happy accident ...
Well, not so happy for Jeff Hunter considering his ultimate fate.
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Old April 4 2013, 11:11 PM   #124
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Though if Hunter had done the series, circumstances of his later life would have been different, and he might not have died as young as he did.
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Old April 4 2013, 11:15 PM   #125
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

I'm amazed that Kirk doesn't have a ripped shirt in any of those pictures.
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Old April 5 2013, 01:24 AM   #126
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Christopher wrote: View Post
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After all, the name change to "Christopher Pike" happened very shortly before shooting began. For most of the development process, the captain was named Robert April (which eventually got used as the name of a separate character in the animated series)...
My understanding is that the April character in TAS was intended to be the original captain of the Enterprise, even before Pike. So the 1701 was launched, captained by April, then Pike, then Kirk.

ETA: Just checked the episode "The Counter-Clock Incident" and Kirk's opening log states that April was the first captain of the 1701.
But that was a retcon introduced by the writer of "The Counter-Clock Incident." Originally, "Robert April" was just an abandoned name for the character who ended up being named Christopher Pike. If you look at the first-draft outline for "The Cage" in The Making of Star Trek, it was a captain named Robert April who went through all the experiences that Pike went through in the final episode. But when NBC publicist and screenwriter Fred Bronson wrote "The Counter-Clock Incident" (under the pseudonym John Culver), he invented the idea that there had actually been a separate person named Robert April who had been the first captain of the Enterprise. That idea has been widely accepted ever since, but it did not exist before 1974.

I mean, it's not the only time that one of Roddenberry's rejected captain names ended up being used for a different character later on. As I mentioned back in post #32, one of his suggestions, "Captain Christopher," was used for a character in "Tomorrow is Yesterday," and another suggestion, Boone (in honor of Richard Boone, star of Have Gun -- Will Travel, for which Roddenberry was one of the most prolific writers), was used for the lead character in Earth: Final Conflict. (In fact, that character was named William Boone, probably in honor of Shatner as well.)
Ah well. Either way it's canon now!
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Old April 6 2013, 10:04 AM   #127
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Harvey wrote: View Post
I've read that Hunter didn't pursue the series because he wanted to act in movies, but that's not quite the same thing as him dropping the job because Desilu couldn't get him movie roles. Desilu didn't produce motion pictures; as far as I know, they were exclusively a television outfit.
Wrong on both counts.

Desilu did make movies; one of them was a movie starring both Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. called The Long, Long Trailer : another was Forever, Darling (produced as 'Zanra Productions') and the most well known was Yours, Mine and Ours, (the original 1968 film) which made a ton of money at the box office.

As for Hunter not wanting to be on the show, Hunter did want to be on the show; and expressed quite a lot of interest in his character, even going so far as to say that the show 'was based on the predictions that the Rand Corporation had projected for the future' (according to an article about Hunter in Starlog many years ago.) If it seemed that Hunter didn't want to be on Star Trek, it was because his wife though that he was too big a star for TV (the same wife that would later divorce him and take him to the cleaners!)
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Old April 6 2013, 06:36 PM   #128
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
As for Hunter not wanting to be on the show, Hunter did want to be on the show; and expressed quite a lot of interest in his character, even going so far as to say that the show 'was based on the predictions that the Rand Corporation had projected for the future' (according to an article about Hunter in Starlog many years ago.) If it seemed that Hunter didn't want to be on Star Trek, it was because his wife though that he was too big a star for TV (the same wife that would later divorce him and take him to the cleaners!)
It's hard to know for certain given the lack of concrete details recorded. There's no doubt that Hunter's wife was prominent in his negotiations and that Roddenberry didn't care much for her manner. We don't know if Hunter was dictating what he wanted to his wife and she passed them on as-is or if she "revised" things to suit what she wanted. I too read about how Hunter suffered some serious financial depletion from his divorce, which kind helps support the depiction of his ex-wife as a ruthless money monger.

If the interview was sincere, it does reflect a Jeffrey Hunter that saw "grand scheme" appeal to Star Trek. He seems to have "got it." But then, his responses could have been tailored to suit what was wanted, rather than what was real. Who knows.

One thing we all get hung up on is this small slice of Hunter's acting on The Cage. We don't know how he was directed on that shoot, how much the failure of Pike's previous mission would impact his demeanor of the character. In going by what I've seen of Hunter's other work, I never really found him as implicitly "warm and personable" as Shatner. Could he have grown into the role? Who knows... it's all speculation. He was a talented actor. Perhaps under the right direction, a more appealing personification of Pike would have emerged. We'll never know. But my money is still on Shatner having been the better choice (of course, that's easy too--we already know how it turned out).
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Old April 6 2013, 09:39 PM   #129
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
Desilu did make movies; one of them was a movie starring both Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr. called The Long, Long Trailer : another was Forever, Darling (produced as 'Zanra Productions') and the most well known was Yours, Mine and Ours, (the original 1968 film) which made a ton of money at the box office.
You are certainly correct that Desilu produced a few movies. Beyond the three comedy vehicles for Lucille Ball you have listed, there was also the I Love Lucy movie in 1953 and Mission: Impossible Versus the Mob in 1969. Both of those were television episodes edited together with a little new footage. The first was shelved until the home video era. The second, distributed only in Europe, probably credits Desilu because the episodes combined to make the movie were produced before the studio was sold to Paramount.

So, I was wrong when I said Desilu was exclusively a television outfit. Having said that, three Lucille Ball vehicles and two compilations of television episodes which were barely distributed doesn't make them much of a motion picture outfit. For Jeffrey Hunter in the mid-1960s, Desilu didn't have any movie roles to offer.

As for Hunter not wanting to be on the show, Hunter did want to be on the show; and expressed quite a lot of interest in his character, even going so far as to say that the show 'was based on the predictions that the Rand Corporation had projected for the future' (according to an article about Hunter in Starlog many years ago.) If it seemed that Hunter didn't want to be on Star Trek, it was because his wife though that he was too big a star for TV (the same wife that would later divorce him and take him to the cleaners!)
Hunter signed a five-year contract to appear on the series in 1964. He declined to sign that same contract in 1965. The quotes from Starlog, reprinted from a publicity interview the actor did while waiting for a series pick-up in 1965, are hardly indicative of his interest (which, obviously, changed over the course of a year; whether that was because of his wife or because of him is not something that can be said definitively).
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Old April 6 2013, 10:50 PM   #130
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

And we can't assume that Hunter's public statements of enthusiasm about the series are necessarily representative of his state of mind; even if he was less than thrilled about being in the show, he'd still probably speak about it positively in the press as long as his income might depend on its performance.
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Old April 6 2013, 11:33 PM   #131
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Exactly my point. At a recent convention, Patrick Stewart was asked if he believed publicity statements he made in 2002 about Star Trek: Nemesis being the best of the features. His reply was that, "I lied." Because, of course, why would an actor in his position jeopardize the success of a project by speaking ill of it?
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Old April 7 2013, 04:14 AM   #132
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
As for Hunter not wanting to be on the show, Hunter did want to be on the show; and expressed quite a lot of interest in his character, even going so far as to say that the show 'was based on the predictions that the Rand Corporation had projected for the future' (according to an article about Hunter in Starlog many years ago.) If it seemed that Hunter didn't want to be on Star Trek, it was because his wife though that he was too big a star for TV (the same wife that would later divorce him and take him to the cleaners!)
I doubt your version. According to Herb Solow (who would know) Jeffrey Hunter became very hard to get a hold of once they tried to contact him about doing a second pilot. Finally, when they were to talk face-to-face his wife showed up (saying pretty much what you write in your post).

Not the behavior of someone who wants to be a part of the "Star Trek" family.

And again, teevee science-fiction (especially "space opera") was not generally held in high-regard at that time - it was considered a career killer. I always had the impression that Shatner (due to some poor career choices) only signed on because he was desperate for the dough.
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Old April 7 2013, 03:22 PM   #133
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Danger Ace wrote: View Post
Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
As for Hunter not wanting to be on the show, Hunter did want to be on the show; and expressed quite a lot of interest in his character, even going so far as to say that the show 'was based on the predictions that the Rand Corporation had projected for the future' (according to an article about Hunter in Starlog many years ago.) If it seemed that Hunter didn't want to be on Star Trek, it was because his wife though that he was too big a star for TV (the same wife that would later divorce him and take him to the cleaners!)
I doubt your version. According to Herb Solow (who would know) Jeffrey Hunter became very hard to get a hold of once they tried to contact him about doing a second pilot. Finally, when they were to talk face-to-face his wife showed up (saying pretty much you write in your post). Not the behavior of someone who wants to be a part of the "Star Trek" family.

And again, teevee science-fiction (especially "space opera") was not generally held in high-regard at that time - it was considered a career killer. I always had the impression that Shatner (due to some poor career choices) only signed on because he was desperate for the dough.
It was a quote from an interview that he gave in 1964-1965, and it may have been truthful, for all we know; after all, he did star in Temple Houston two years previous.

As for Shatner, maybe doing movies like I Hate Your Guts and Incubus caused this to happen, as did the failure of his starring role in For the People in 1965.
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Old April 7 2013, 08:07 PM   #134
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
It was a quote from an interview that he gave in 1964-1965, and it may have been truthful, for all we know; after all, he did star in Temple Houston two years previous.
Temple Houston was a western series. Westerns were very big business even in the early-to-mid 1960s, was held in relative high-regard and could lead to other things. "Space opera" was not thought highly off and many feared it could stop a career cold.

And again, many actors (even today) do pilots they hope will never be picked up or seen for the upfront money and to keep their faces in front of potential employers (you can't say "no" to everything).


As for Shatner, maybe doing movies like I Hate Your Guts and Incubus caused this to happen, as did the failure of his starring role in For the People in 1965.
Shatner, in many interviews, has stated he made some mis-steps and his career wasn't were he wanted or needed it to be (especially considering he had a family to support), therefore, he was saying "yes" to everything.

The Original Series cast didn't gain financial independence until they started making the films. Even then it took some longer than others.
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Old April 7 2013, 10:27 PM   #135
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Re: Why Did Gene drop Christopher Pike?

Danger Ace wrote: View Post
...According to Herb Solow (who would know) Jeffrey Hunter became very hard to get a hold of once they tried to contact him about doing a second pilot. Finally, when they were to talk face-to-face his wife showed up (saying pretty much what you write in your post).

Not the behavior of someone who wants to be a part of the "Star Trek" family.
This was discussed before in this thread.

According to Herb Solow:
HERB: We had an option on Jeff Hunter for a series, but not for another pilot...we looked forward to running the completed pilot for our star...Gene and I waited in the Desilu projection room for him to arrive. He never did. Arriving in his stead was actress Sandy Bartlett, Mrs. Jeff Hunter...the lights came up, Jeff Hunter's wife gave us our answer: "This is not the kind of show Jeff wants to do, and besides, it wouldn't be good for his career. Jeff Hunter is a movie star." Mrs. Hunter was very polite and very firm,

--Inside Star Trek (hardcover), p. 63
Which doesn't exactly say he was "hard to get hold of", unless you are citing another reference or page.
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