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

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Old May 27 2013, 05:59 PM   #1
pfontaine2
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"Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Is there a reason Spock, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov are referred to as "Mister" as opposed to their rank? We have ranked officers like "Captain" Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, as well as descriptive names like Doctor McCoy and Nurse Chapel. Was this Roddenberry's attempt to demilitarize Starfleet bt emphasizing "Mister" over ranks like Lieutanant Commander or Ensign?
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Old May 27 2013, 06:11 PM   #2
Greg Cox
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Honestly, I suspect it's just to add variety to the dialogue. Plus, "Lieutenant" tends to be a bit of a mouthful. When I'm writing the books, I tend to use a character's full rank the first time I mention them, or when they're being formally introduced to someone, then stick to "Mister Sulu" or "Scotty" or whatever for the rest of the book.

Saves me from having to keep typing "Lieutenant" or, worse yet, "Lieutenant Commander" over and over again.
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Old May 27 2013, 06:23 PM   #3
Mysterion
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Looks like the TOS writers based their usage off of that of the US Navy/US Coast Guard:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mister_...Military_usage

Although Kirk did continue to address Spock as "Mister" after he'd been promoted to full commander, IIRC.
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Old May 27 2013, 06:32 PM   #4
Greg Cox
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Yeah, I think it's a stretch to try to read any sort of anti-military message into that usage.
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Old May 27 2013, 06:40 PM   #5
J.T.B.
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Naval tradition, as mentioned above. It may sound odd to people today, but I think back then people were more familiar with that convention, through movies and such if not from actual experience. For instance, Mister Roberts, who was really Lieutenant (j.g.) Roberts. It used to apply to first and second lieutenants in the US army, too, and is sometimes used correctly that way in old cavalry Westerns. It is still officially correct to address a US Army warrant officer as "Mr." or "Ms."

From my dad's Bluejacket's Manual, issued 1965:

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Old May 27 2013, 06:55 PM   #6
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

pfontaine2 wrote: View Post
Is there a reason Spock, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov are referred to as "Mister" as opposed to their rank? We have ranked officers like "Captain" Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, as well as descriptive names like Doctor McCoy and Nurse Chapel. Was this Roddenberry's attempt to demilitarize Starfleet bt emphasizing "Mister" over ranks like Lieutanant Commander or Ensign?
"It was formerly the custom to introduce officers below the rank of Commander as 'Mister.' Now it is the custom to introduce all officers by rank, but you may speak to them or of them as 'Mister' when they are below the rank of Commander."

Like Kirk says in "The Wrath of Khan" (to Kirstie Alley's character): "Prayers, Mister Saavik. The Romulans don't take captives."
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Old May 27 2013, 06:59 PM   #7
J.T.B.
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Like Kirk says in "The Wrath of Khan" (to Kirstie Alley's character): "Prayers, Mister Saavik. The Romulans don't take captives."
Maybe a change in policy, there, for females? Because it was "Miss Uhura" a few times in TOS.
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Old May 28 2013, 12:03 AM   #8
Hober Mallow
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Like Kirk says in "The Wrath of Khan" (to Kirstie Alley's character): "Prayers, Mister Saavik. The Romulans don't take captives."
Maybe a change in policy, there, for females? Because it was "Miss Uhura" a few times in TOS.
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Old May 28 2013, 12:28 AM   #9
SchwEnt
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Based on current tradition then, Spock shouldn't have been called "Mister" at all and yet he always was.

Still seems odd to me, when the rest of the crew called him "Mister Spock", especially lower ranked officers like Chekov and Kyle and Sulu. Hell, everybody called him "Mister Spock".

To have an ensign call a commander (XO no less) "Mister" seems inappropriate.
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Old May 28 2013, 01:18 AM   #10
pfontaine2
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

Yes, these are my thoughts as well and what prompted my original question.
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Old May 28 2013, 02:28 AM   #11
J.T.B.
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
Based on current tradition then, Spock shouldn't have been called "Mister" at all and yet he always was.
Technically yes, but Spock's rank was kind of squishy for a while. Plus it had been "Mister Spock" clear back to the early drafts when he was a lieutenant, so it probably never occurred to anyone.

Still seems odd to me, when the rest of the crew called him "Mister Spock", especially lower ranked officers like Chekov and Kyle and Sulu. Hell, everybody called him "Mister Spock".

To have an ensign call a commander (XO no less) "Mister" seems inappropriate.
Well, maybe Starfleet's tradition was that all officers but the captain could be called "mister." If it's appropriate to address a lieutenant commander that way, being incorrect for the next grade up seems kind of arbitrary.
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Old May 28 2013, 05:44 AM   #12
Lance
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

I just don't think Kirk was too fussy on military protocol. I've always assumed he ran a pretty informal ship, in contrast to (perhaps) other more formally inclined captains of the era.
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Old May 28 2013, 05:53 AM   #13
C.E. Evans
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

A lot of the inconsistencies between Starfleet and the U.S. Navy go away if we go with the idea that Starfleet isn't the U.S. Navy. Sure, there are lot of similarities here and there, but Starfleet really can only be looked at as a totally different navy with its own way of doing some things. Some customs from the U.S.N. are observed, others are changed, while others are dropped entirely.
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Old May 28 2013, 03:28 PM   #14
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

It should also be remembered that Star Trek was based in part on Hornblower. During that time period (late 18th - early 19th centuries) everyone, from the XO down through the petty officers, was called Mister.
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Old May 28 2013, 04:07 PM   #15
scotpens
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Re: "Mister" Spock, Scott, Chekov and Sulu?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Like Kirk says in "The Wrath of Khan" (to Kirstie Alley's character): "Prayers, Mister Saavik. The Romulans don't take captives."
Maybe a change in policy, there, for females? Because it was "Miss Uhura" a few times in TOS.
There's no naval precedent for addressing a female officer as "Mister," and AFAIK, no other female Starfleet officer was ever addressed as "Mister." I assumed she was called "Mister Saavik" only because someone thought it sounded cute.
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