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

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Old September 8 2009, 10:23 PM   #31
CaptainStoner
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

JustKate wrote: View Post
In fact...weren't a lot of the male regulars referred to this way? Mr. Sulu, Mr. Chekov...pretty much everybody but the captain and McCoy. They weren't called "Mr." as regularly as Spock and Scotty were, but they were called that a lot, weren't they?

The reason I remember is that I used to wonder why he never referred to females as Miss or whatever. I always kind of assumed it was because TPTB didn't want to fuss about whether they were married or not - Ms. was neither well-known nor accepted in those days.

Hey - maybe this answers the question in that thread about female yeomen? It gives the captain a little variety in his dialog?
Yes, I think the idea was to avoid using ranks much, except "Captain", and "Captain Kirk" with its alliterative goodness.
We see it a fair amount in TNG also, and indeed, it gets confusing when we hear "Commander" a few too many times. Mr. Data. Mr. Worf. Occasional Lt. or Commander.
It also makes sense simply because if you're wanting to get Data's attention, "Commander" is insufficient input unless you're standing in his field of view.

I imagine that this had to have been in the TOS writer's guide, in order to better establish the character's actual names.
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Old September 9 2009, 12:04 AM   #32
J.T.B.
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

Chaos Descending wrote: View Post
J.T.B. wrote: View Post
US Navy practice until the early 1970's was for commanders and above to be addressed with their rank, lieutenant commanders and below (down to WO-1) to be addressed as "Mister (last name)," or mrs. or miss, or as "doctor" or "nurse" or "chaplain," "father" &c. as appropriate. As we know, Spock was considered a LCdr when the series began, despite his rank stripes, so "Mr. Spock" would be OK by USN tradition.
Until the early 70's nothing. It's still common practice now.
I'm not surprised. It became official to use the rank title then, but those things die hard. In my time ('88-'92) everybody called their Div-O "Mister (whatever)" but I can't remember ever hearing a female officer called miss, mrs. or ms.

IIRC, it's not in the rules, it's more Naval tradition.
Pretty much. Here are some things about the subject from official sources:


From The Naval Officer's Guide, 1944, the period when the most navy vets in TOS's day had served:
In oral communications, officers below the rank of commander may be addressed as "Mister ______," and in the case of the officers in the Medical Corps as "Doctor ______." Otherwise, their title is used to preface their name. It is generally considered improper to address a lieutenant commander as "Commander." However, the phrase "the Commander" designates the Executive Officer of the ship and him alone, even though there might be other commanders attached to the same ship.
The Bluejacket's Manual, 17th edition (1963-1967):
Naval officers with the rank of commander and above are addressed by their titles. Lieutenant commanders and below are addressed as "Mister," except women officers, who are addressed as "Miss" or "Mrs."

Medical officers are addressed by their titles or as "Doctor," if of commander rank or above, while those of the rank of lieutenant commander and below are addressed as "Doctor."
[...]
The correct response to a woman officer is "Yes, Lieutenant" or "Yes, Miss (Mrs.) Brown." Note that the title, no matter what the rank, may be used alone, while "Miss" or "Mrs." must be used with the last name.
[...]
As a general rule, use the officer's title and name. It is better to say "Yes, Commander," "No, Doctor Moriarty," "Yes, Mister Franz," than to say "Yes, sir" "No, sir." However, in long conversations you can break the monotony by using "sir" from time to time -- except with women officers who should be addressed as "ma'am."

You may address "the captain" -- that is, the commanding officer, whatever his rank -- as "Captain" without using his name. You may also address "the commander" -- that is, the executive officer, whatever his rank -- as "Commander" without adding his name.
From The Naval Officer's Guide, 10th edition (1991):
Navy regulations Art. 0810 states that, except as provided in the succeeding paragraph, every officer in the naval service shall be designated and addressed in official communications by the title of grade preceding his or her name.

In official spoken communications, officers will be addressed by their grade (as distinct from the custom prior to 1973, when officers of the grade of commander and above were addressed by their grade and those below commander were called "mister").
Whether or not it was the only reason, my guess would be that the writers did a little research, asked around, or paid attention to movies like The Caine Mutiny and got the idea that most navy officers on a ship, except the captain, were called "mister."

--Justin

Last edited by J.T.B.; September 9 2009 at 12:17 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old September 9 2009, 12:11 AM   #33
JustKate
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

^ There would have been no shortage of movies showing naval protocol - if nothing else, there were all those WWII movies and plays set on ships and submarines. Hollywood went to town on those through the 1950s at least. Oooh, "Mr. Roberts" for example.
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Old September 9 2009, 12:49 AM   #34
Captain Robert April
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

You usually don't hear a full rank unless it's from a higher ranking officer who's reminding the lower ranking person of their position (a minor irritant from the B5 pilot when everyone and their uncle is addressing the first officer as "Lieutenant Commander").

A nifty example of it being done properly was in an episode of JAG where Raab is getting a little hot under the collar over the case at hand and Admiral Chegwiggen pulls him aside and addresses him as "Lieutenant Commander Raab", as a little reminder that he's mouthing off to a two-star admiral and his commanding officer.
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Old September 9 2009, 02:15 AM   #35
Chaos Descending
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

Yeah, when a higher ranking officer calls a LTJG "Lieutenant Junior Grade" or LCDR "Lieutenant Commander", it's the equivalent of your mom calling you by your first, middle, and last names.

You're in trouble.
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Old September 9 2009, 03:14 AM   #36
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

Could also be Roddenberry's insistance that starfleet (some how) was not a military organization.

Kirk was the captain, also his job position. McCoy was doctor, his job position. Scott was refer to simply as engineer many times. At least Spock was never called number one.

And how would Spock have handled that old british military tradition.

"Only first names in the officer's mess, except for the captain."
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Old September 9 2009, 03:51 AM   #37
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Could also be Roddenberry's insistance that starfleet (some how) was not a military organization.

Kirk was the captain, also his job position. McCoy was doctor, his job position. Scott was refer to simply as engineer many times. At least Spock was never called number one.

And how would Spock have handled that old british military tradition.

"Only first names in the officer's mess, except for the captain."
Which brings up the thought that McCoy called Kirk almost exclusively by his first name - except when he was trying to make some sort of point (or being a smart ass )! And even being an extremely formal Vulcan, Spock started calling Kirk 'Jim' quite a bit. And we all know Scotty called his captain 'Jim', exactly ONCE - under extreme dire circumstances in the mirror universe.
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Old September 9 2009, 08:54 AM   #38
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

The only plausible explanation that I have for it is that Spock is also the senior science officer aboard Enterprise and thus open to be called "Mister" Spock.
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Old September 9 2009, 09:39 AM   #39
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

I always figured Spock had a name like Mr. T. No matter who you were, you called him Mister Spock.
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Old September 9 2009, 10:09 AM   #40
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

Except they call him Mr. S!
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Old September 9 2009, 10:21 AM   #41
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

Regarding Chapel's rank, it would probably be a good idea to consider her an Ensign during TOS. While her rank is never mentioned or put in braiding during that show, TAS gives her a single Lieutenant braid on her long-sleeved uniform, and confirms this with an ID card spelling "Lieutenant" out'n'loud in "Mudd's Passion". Yet she clearly remains a nurse there.

Thus, the officer rank shouldn't be argued to have been due to her achieving a Doctor's degree, but should be something she already carried while nurse, most probably in TOS as well as TAS.

We have met several pipless, enlisted nurses or medtechs in the TNG era where Ensigns stand out clearly due to their collar pips. Yet the prominent head nurse of Dr. Crusher, Nurse Ogawa, was an Ensign.

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Old September 9 2009, 08:06 PM   #42
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

I'm late to this thread, but I have always wondered about this as well, because sometimes it does seem very informal. This has been a very interesting thread.

As another instance of what I would consider improper address, I would point out Mr. Styles in BOT.

At one point he mutters under his breath(regarding the coded Romulan transmission), "...give it to Spock...", and then Captain Kirk made him repeat it.

Now, granted, Kirk dressed him down publicly, in front of the whole bridge crew, but not for the way he addressed the XO, but for perceived bigotry, assuming a Vulcan should be able to understand a Romulan code, by virtue of race.

But his dressing down did not appear to be for addressing the XO only by his last name without a Mister or Lt. Commander, or anything.

At the very least, he should have been put on report for this, if not relieved of duty, pending a disciplinary hearing.

Even though I love this ep, I have always questioned why Styles was allowed to remain on duty and not in the brig after the way he was insubordinate.

In fact, now that I'm typing this, I remember Styles also addressed Mr. Spock simply as "Vulcan" right at the end, when he was manning phaser control, "This time we'll handle things without your help, Vulcan".

He should have been court-martialed right then and there.

Walk the plank, Styles!
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Old September 9 2009, 09:20 PM   #43
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

There is no reason to believe that a starship crew in the 23rd century has to follow the contemporary protocols of the American military.

This isn't a historical document.
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Old September 9 2009, 09:33 PM   #44
JB2005
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

I Don't know if this has been mentioned. But in the movies, there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for calling Scotty and Spock "Mister"

Because they were both Captains, naval tradition is that only the commander of a ship is called captain, anyone else of the same rank is referred to as mister...
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Old September 9 2009, 09:50 PM   #45
Red Ranger
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Re: Mr. Spock instead of Sir or Commander

I can remember only a handful of eps where Spock is either called, "Commander," or "Commander Spock." The three that come to mind are Amok Time (Vulcan Space Central asks for him as "Commander Spock"); The Ultimate Computer (Commodore Wesley calls him, "Commander"); and in Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (Bele says, "Are you blind, Commander Spock?" when he makes his comment about why he and Loki are opposed).

It does seem there's a slight amount of informality in terms of addressing senior officers other than the captain, as most rarely refer to Scotty as Commander Scott.

Here's another interesting difference. In The Tholian Web, when Spock is in command, eventually Scotty, and I think Chekov, call Spock, "Captain," which of course is naval tradition to refer to the person in command of a ship.

TNG was more formal. There are only a few times Picard calls Riker, "Mr. Riker," most notably in A Matter of Honor. Everyone else calls Riker, "Commander," which is more appropriate given his status as first officer. Data is often referred to as "Mr. Data," and Data often formally introduces himself as "Lieutenant Commander Data."

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