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

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Old April 11 2013, 03:44 AM   #16
Harvey
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
Wasn't the major "clue" that tied GR to Whitney's forced oral sex the fact that she stated the person later apologized and gave her some homemade polished jewelry -- a hobby that GR was known for in those days?

That's the only thing her book says that can lead to idle speculation, iirc.

Sir Rhosis
I wasn't aware of that being a Roddenberry hobby, but that is indeed the apology from the unnamed executive described in Whitney's memoir the workday after the assault.

Some speculation that it was Roddenberry can be found here: http://atrahasis.proboards.com/index...lay&thread=316

It is just speculation, though. It probably was a mistake to bring up the issue in the first place.

--

On the subject of the OP, I don't have a problem demythologizing Roddenberry at all. He was a good writer who took a lot of credit that others deserved and often exaggerated his own accomplishments. Paramount only helped fuel these claims, since Roddenberry the creative visionary made for better marketing copy than Roddenberry the creative collaborator.

I'm frankly tired of reading "facts" about the series that are demonstrably false or highly suspect, in everything from popular journalism to academic articles. And a lot of that is tied into Roddenberry's myth making.
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Old April 11 2013, 04:18 AM   #17
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

I do admit, after reading her description of the event, it's hard to deny it sounds like him.

But I still think he's had more to do with the eventual success of Trek than simply "creating the series."
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Old April 11 2013, 05:02 AM   #18
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

I didn't know the man personally, but I can tell you all this. Beware of books that come out after someone's death claiming to "the truth" about what kind of person they are. Any accusations about someone's character should be made when the person is alive and can defend those accusations.

I did not know Roddenberry but I did meet him on several occasions and talked with him at length. Now while we know Gene cheated (the painful expression of Majel's face during Rod's psudo-documentary was evidence enough), I never saw any behavior to indicate he was as sex crazy as everyone portrays him to be.

If anything I would say he might have been a bit autistic, but that is purely my opinion.
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Old April 11 2013, 06:59 AM   #19
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

That thing about the gift of a polished stone is the smoking gun. INSIDE STAR TREK (Justman, Solow) talks about Gene's first wife having the hobby of polishing stones and mounting them as costume jewelry.
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Old April 11 2013, 04:26 PM   #20
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Anji wrote: View Post
I didn't know the man personally, but I can tell you all this. Beware of books that come out after someone's death claiming to "the truth" about what kind of person they are. Any accusations about someone's character should be made when the person is alive and can defend those accusations.
That's fine in theory, but when retaliation for whistleblowing is commonplace (and going by the way laws are being passed even now, it seems like whistleblowing is now considered to illegal by most Republicans and several states where you cannot go undercover to record the mistreatment of animals), it is damned hard to speak out.

GR threatened to blacklist Ellison if he insisted on keeping his pseudonym on CITY, and his attorney in later years was positively crazed, as has been attested to by pretty much everybody who had dealings with them.

It wasn't till after the death of GR and his attorney that Gerrold finally managed to settle (for a pittance, sadly) for some money over being screwed out of co-creator credit on TNG.
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Old April 11 2013, 09:33 PM   #21
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

trevanian wrote: View Post
GR threatened to blacklist Ellison if he insisted on keeping his pseudonym on CITY, and his attorney in later years was positively crazed, as has been attested to by pretty much everybody who had dealings with them.
Personally, I never believed Ellison's claim on that. Gene Roddenberry never struck me as having that kind of juice and Harlan had too many working relationships with too many other producers -some of whom (Sam Rolfe for instance) didn't care for Roddenberry and surely wouldn't join him in trying to "blacklist" anyone. Also, as litigious and "tough guy" as Ellison has been made out to be this claim of fearing a "blacklist" just rings hollow to my ears (and always has).
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Old April 11 2013, 10:33 PM   #22
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Harvey wrote: View Post
... And a lot of that is tied into Roddenberry's myth making.
To me though this serves as a valuable teaching tool by taking someone familier and allowing us to see the forces of human nature at work. Myth making is as old as our species on Earth (and possibly beyond!). Every leader of every movement of any kind did it (or at least their followers) - even Ghandi and his devotees (extra points for linking Roddenberry and Ghandi!).

It is by taking these small instances and fitting them into the bigger picture that we gain wisdom. So please folks, don't get angry by any of it or to cheat yourselves from the lessons it can teach ... use these to glean something good from it and pass on what you find. Use this event to give you the tools to look around and spot the modern day myth making.

Maybe start a thread in the appropriate folder to share thoughts and examples of this phenomenon.
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Old April 12 2013, 12:40 AM   #23
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

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trevanian wrote: View Post
GR threatened to blacklist Ellison if he insisted on keeping his pseudonym on CITY, and his attorney in later years was positively crazed, as has been attested to by pretty much everybody who had dealings with them.
Personally, I never believed Ellison's claim on that. Gene Roddenberry never struck me as having that kind of juice and Harlan had too many working relationships with too many other producers -some of whom (Sam Rolfe for instance) didn't care for Roddenberry and surely wouldn't join him in trying to "blacklist" anyone. Also, as litigious and "tough guy" as Ellison has been made out to be this claim of fearing a "blacklist" just rings hollow to my ears (and always has).
Taking into account the fact that Ellison was already persona non grata at ABC courtesy Adriam Samish and would remain so for another couple years, any such threat seems all too real to me.

Plus he just ain't got no reason to lie about it. If you think about it, just about everybody seems to have deceived Ellison during his trek experience, except maybe Nimoy & Kelley ... I mean DC Fontana didn't cop to rewriting him for decades, and I used to have an issue of CINEFANTASTIQUE that has a letter from her specifically denying her involvement in any rewriting on CITY.

I'm very big on Ellison's nonfiction writing, less so for his screenwriting by a little bit, with his fiction lower than that (still way up there though.) I've only come across a couple of instances where there seems to be any real inconsistency or sense of duplicity in his accounting and recounting of affairs, and I'd bet they were errors of memory rather than a sense of revisionism and making himself look good.

I'm pretty sure the guy respects THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALLANCE enough to never want to contribute to 'print the legend' they way so many others in the entertainment biz (and I include politics in that category) do.
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Old April 12 2013, 01:15 AM   #24
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
That thing about the gift of a polished stone is the smoking gun. INSIDE STAR TREK (Justman, Solow) talks about Gene's first wife having the hobby of polishing stones and mounting them as costume jewelry.
Just because I found it at the moment, the passage in question is on page 73 of the book. It indicates that polishing stones was a hobby of both Eileen and Gene Roddenberry.

--

I've seen Ellison in person twice, and he's struck me as a straight-shooter. Considering the fact that Ellison was always protective of his work -- he used the Cordwainer Bird pseudonym on a number of television episodes he was dissatisfied with -- the use of his real name on Star Trek is a bit odd, especially since he was vocally dissatisfied with the final episode.

In light of that, his is the only explanation that makes sense.
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Old April 12 2013, 09:18 AM   #25
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

trevanian wrote: View Post
Taking into account the fact that Ellison was already persona non grata at ABC courtesy Adriam Samish and would remain so for another couple years, any such threat seems all too real to me.
I don't doubt that Ellision may have been worried about his reputation and previous experiences limiting his future opportunities. I do not believe he feared Gene Roddenberry or placed much stock in any threat he may have made. Even what you say indicates he was more afraid of this being perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back and not GR per se.


Plus he just ain't got no reason to lie about it.
Nothing causes me to question something more than when they say that.

If you think about it, just about everybody seems to have deceived Ellison during his trek experience, except maybe Nimoy & Kelley ...
I'm sorry but Ellison was a seasoned pro, and I don't think he was decieved - at least to the extent some would put forth. You and others can believe as you wish.

And the bottom line is that for whatever reason Gene Roddenberry as series' creator/executive-producer had every right to have Harlan's script re-written. He invoked that right - nothing wrong in that. Ellison really had no justification to over-react - especially to the extent I feel he has. He was a big boy (figuratively speaking).

I mean DC Fontana didn't cop to rewriting him for decades, and I used to have an issue of CINEFANTASTIQUE that has a letter from her specifically denying her involvement in any rewriting on CITY.
From what I've read, quite a few hands did re-write work on his Trek script. As for DC Fontana, I don't blame her. Ellison can, from what I've read, be a rather unrelenting, abrasive and argumentative person. Who wants that headache?

I'm very big on Ellison's nonfiction writing, less so for his screenwriting by a little bit, with his fiction lower than that ...
I've enjoyed his fiction and some of his television work. I've read only a few of his nonfiction pieces and have no complaints. In terms of talent, I think highly of Ellison.

... I've only come across a couple of instances where there seems to be any real inconsistency or sense of duplicity in his accounting and recounting of affairs, and I'd bet they were errors of memory ...
And I respect the fact we see things differently.
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Old April 12 2013, 09:42 AM   #26
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Harvey wrote: View Post
I've seen Ellison in person twice, and he's struck me as a straight-shooter.
I've seen him in person myself. He was very entertaining. Being blunt doesn't automatically equate to "straight-shooter," IMO.


Considering the fact that Ellison was always protective of his work ...
To varying degrees.

... the use of his real name on Star Trek is a bit odd, especially since he was vocally dissatisfied with the final episode.
Someone once said, "the best lies are the ones that are closest the truth." Now, I am not saying anyone here specifically lied, however, I do not believe, based on past accounts given, that Ellison was threatened by GR's "influence" or "reach" within the industry. Why would he flip him off at the WGA awards if he feared the wrath of Roddenberry? That makes no sense to me.

Now, if he said he feared Herb Solow then I'd buy it.

If he had said GR was livid and threatened to pound him into the dirt I'd believe it.

If he said that out of fear that this situation may have proved to be the "straw that broke the camel's back" in terms of finding future work in Hollywood then I'd buy that.

If he said, because of the building Trek mystique he feared fan backlash then I'd buy that too.

But Ellison tangled with others in tinsel town, what made Roddenberry so different?

Again, I think Harlan kept his name attached to Star Trek out of fear, but just not of the Great Bird.
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Old April 12 2013, 07:34 PM   #27
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Harvey wrote: View Post
Considering the fact that Ellison was always protective of his work -- he used the Cordwainer Bird pseudonym on a number of television episodes he was dissatisfied with -- the use of his real name on Star Trek is a bit odd, especially since he was vocally dissatisfied with the final episode.
Danger Ace wrote: View Post
Again, I think Harlan kept his name attached to Star Trek out of fear, but just not of the Great Bird.
As detailed in the Inside Star Trek book, Ellison did tell the Star Trek producers to use his Cordwainer Bird pseudonym. It was they who went to him to ask to use his real name.

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Old April 12 2013, 08:54 PM   #28
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Not to cast additional aspersions, but IST's stories regarding Ellison are only partly accurate, and even in correspondence with HE after the book was out were misreading his comments.
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Old April 12 2013, 09:04 PM   #29
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Danger Ace wrote: View Post
I do not believe, based on past accounts given, that Ellison was threatened by GR's "influence" or "reach" within the industry. Why would he flip him off at the WGA awards if he feared the wrath of Roddenberry? That makes no sense to me.

Now, if he said he feared Herb Solow then I'd buy it.

If he had said GR was livid and threatened to pound him into the dirt I'd believe it.
If GR had physically threatened him, GR would have gone down. With teeth in his throat. That is the kind of challenge he couldn't possibly have let stand.

As for the flipping off thing, hey, it was the last laugh. The show was done, badmouthing HE after he won for his version of the script would have made GR look a fool twice over.

Just for the record, I really like CITY as aired. I think that's due to Coon in part - I have a tendency to credit him with everything I like about TOS, which I admit is a bit overboard, but w/o Coon, I don't think you even get season 2, let alone syndication or movies or internet boards.

But I really don't think the omission of HE's Trooper was in any way merited by the demands of making it a Trek story. The other changes, to one degree or other, yeah. But not that.

And to back up and go over the Fontana thing again ... if somebody is your friend, and your friend for some period of time -- and I'm not saying acquaintaince, I mean 'friend' in the sense of someone who has put it on the line for you, or done you solids without thought of return on that -- you don't lie to them about messing with their work, and certainly not for decades. If you've read Ellison and Gerrold, you'll see that they had ups and downs, same for Koenig and Ellison, and probably everybody and Ellison. But if the friendship is real, and they are ethical parties, the relationship holds. Why Fontana seems to have wilted on this point is just really troubling to me. I remember feeling bad for badmouthing her Trek novel, because I admired her in many ways, but this one thing has kind of cast a lot of doubts about her in all directions.
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Old April 12 2013, 10:11 PM   #30
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Re: The Roddenberry Reputation

Just for the record, I really like CITY as aired. I think that's due to Coon in part - I have a tendency to credit him with everything I like about TOS, which I admit is a bit overboard, but w/o Coon, I don't think you even get season 2, let alone syndication or movies or internet boards.
I absolutely, 100% agree with the above. I tend to credit much of what I found compelling in TOS to stem from Gene Coon's pen. I too liked "City on the Edge of Forever" as aired.

But I really don't think the omission of HE's Trooper was in any way merited by the demands of making it a Trek story. The other changes, to one degree or other, yeah. But not that.
I guess here is where we may differ.

First and foremost, It was up to GR to be the ultimate arbiter of what he felt was or wasn't in keeping with his vision. He was Roddenberry the creator.

Ellison had no right, moral or otherwise, to try and dictate to the executive-producer what his series' should be. None. Whether it was Trooper or the drug angle it was GR's ship to captain and for Ellison to do his job without complaint.

Secondly, I trust Justman's account on the price-tag issue as it was his job to budget out the episodes. On this point, I feel HE has zero standing or credibility.

Thirdly, For me to fully believe Harlan Ellison's version, as he presents and frames his case, I would have to believe all attached to TOS were rotten SOB's (save Nimoy and McCoy). I simply do not believe that.

All those with influence over TOS wanted to embrace Ellison's script. They looked forward to it - anticipating it would be magic and production ready. Robert Justman stated he loved it but couldn't make the math work - I believe he sincerely tried his best and was an honorable human being.

And to back up and go over the Fontana thing again ... if somebody is your friend, and your friend for some period of time ... you don't lie to them about messing with their work, and certainly not for decades.
Again taking into account all the various stories regarding HE's temperment and personality why did he put Fontana in a spot wherein she felt she had to tell a falsehood? He knew her job duties. Harlan knew it was part of her job to work on other peoples' scripts as directed, why did he cross-the-line and make it an issue that could and would affect their friendship?

For me, considering Harlan had probably re-written others in previous jobs then it is pure hokum to raise a fuss when he got re-written. He was a pro and he knew the deal.

If you've read Ellison and Gerrold, you'll see that they had ups and downs, same for Koenig and Ellison, and probably everybody and Ellison. But if the friendship is real, and they are ethical parties, the relationship holds.
Way back when, I agreed with Mark Hamill regarding Ellison being the Don Rickles of science-fiction -That's his schtick. He kept all this "City on the Edge" thing going because it sold and he milked it for all it's worth (and more). Like a pro-wrestler he strove to turn his fans into "marks."

And again, it was unethical and unprofessional for Ellison to put Fontana in the spot he did.
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