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

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Old July 6 2014, 08:26 PM   #421
Harvey
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Terrific article. Have you considered publishing a book of your own based on your blog? It's excellent research that deserves a wider audience.
To paraphrase Trek, I have considered it. But I know very little about publishing, am busy at my day job, and (unfortunately) feel like Cushman has somewhat cornered the market with his crummy books. Perhaps one day. Happy to converse more via PM.

The discussion of the real meaning of the "TVQ" ratings was interesting. So even though ST wasn't watched by that many people, those who did watch it tended to be loyal viewers. Not surprising, but nice to see codified.
If you look at the numbers, it also demonstrates how strong Star Trek's youth following was, since the audience with the highest TVQ numbers was 6-11 years old. The series may have been designed as an adult drama, but it really took off with kids.

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Old July 6 2014, 08:49 PM   #422
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

That's a great piece you've written there! I'm glad someone is taking an honest, more scientific look at the available ratings data. And it's good that someone is contesting the views expressed in Cushman's book(s).

I, too, would love for you to consider making this research a book. I for one would buy something like that in a heartbeat.

Something I found interesting:
Unfortunately, the archival record at UCLA is incomplete – picked over by unscrupulous visitors when the library's reading room wasn't as well-monitored as it is today – but this data helps fill in a few blanks without having to absorb the cost of licensing ratings information form Nielsen.
Do you know how much it would actually cost to get those ratings information from Nielsen? Would it be possible to crowdsource the money for something like that? I would love to have a complete overview of how the show fared in terms of the ratings and I'd be willing to even pay for something like that.
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Old July 6 2014, 09:02 PM   #423
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

M wrote: View Post
Something I found interesting:
Unfortunately, the archival record at UCLA is incomplete – picked over by unscrupulous visitors when the library's reading room wasn't as well-monitored as it is today – but this data helps fill in a few blanks without having to absorb the cost of licensing ratings information form Nielsen.
Do you know how much it would actually cost to get those ratings information from Nielsen? Would it be possible to crowdsource the money for something like that? I would love to have a complete overview of how the show fared in terms of the ratings and I'd be willing to even pay for something like that.
I just sent an email to the generic "contact us" page at Nielsen. We'll see what they say. If that doesn't work, I may go the "friend of a friend of a friend" route at work.

All I really know about the cost is what Cushman has said in interviews -- that just getting the thirty market ratings set him back a bit -- but we'll see. I suppose it's wise to take what he says with a grain of salt, but everything I've read about Nielsen has suggested that they're not cheap.

Speaking of which, yikes, he's getting a Saturn Award for his These Are The Voyages books, which their site calls "one of the great achievements of 2013/2014 in literature."
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Old July 6 2014, 09:19 PM   #424
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Great article. Cushman's theories have never made sense to me, as I was watching the show during first run and keeping track of its progress and visibility. I don't know what he's basing his information on, but it isn't like any history I remember.
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Old July 6 2014, 09:23 PM   #425
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Harvey wrote: View Post
Speaking of which, yikes, he's getting a Saturn Award for his These Are The Voyages books, which their site calls "one of the great achievements of 2013/2014 in literature."
Low standards for scholarship and writing. I'd love those books to be great, but from what I've read he muddles factual sourced info with opinion and speculation far too liberally for it to be considered a definitive work.
Melakon wrote: View Post
Great article. Cushman's theories have never made sense to me, as I was watching the show during first run and keeping track of its progress and visibility. I don't know what he's basing his information on, but it isn't like any history I remember.
He's basing it on wishful thinking, apparently. He wants it to be true, ergo...
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Old July 6 2014, 11:11 PM   #426
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

It's THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE again, folks. What is it, 'when the legend reads better than the truth, print the legend?'

They're printing the legend, and now they're honoring the legend-propagator.

That's got to be up there with giving the VFX oscar to BABE instead of APOLLO 13 ... no, it's worse because this is more than just a matter of bad taste. It's bad journalism.

Hope they have a protest outside.
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Old July 7 2014, 05:02 AM   #427
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

trevanian wrote: View Post
It's THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE again, folks. What is it, 'when the legend reads better than the truth, print the legend?'

They're printing the legend, and now they're honoring the legend-propagator.

That's got to be up there with giving the VFX oscar to BABE instead of APOLLO 13 ... no, it's worse because this is more than just a matter of bad taste. It's bad journalism.

Hope they have a protest outside.
What legend? The accepted "legend" is that the ratings we're crummy and that's what everyone accepted for decades.
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Old July 7 2014, 06:41 AM   #428
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

He means Cushman is peddling a legend (a new one) and it's being eagerly embraced by fandom because it reads better, even though it's demonstrably incorrect.
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Old July 7 2014, 07:29 AM   #429
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Outstanding work (as usual), thank you for your research. I say let Kushman have his 15 mins of fame and then publish your own much better researched book down the road a bit :-)
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Old July 7 2014, 01:21 PM   #430
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Maurice wrote: View Post
He means Cushman is peddling a legend (a new one) and it's being eagerly embraced by fandom because it reads better, even though it's demonstrably incorrect.
I know what he's saying, but what Cushman is saying isn't a new legend. It's what he thinks is true and anyone is free to dispute him. It certainly hasn't become legend.

If nothing else Cushman has raised questions that it wasn't as straightforward as everyone has accepted for years.
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Old July 7 2014, 02:32 PM   #431
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Selective use of facts, mixed with speculation, can be a spur to great journalistic investigative endeavours -- especially when the facts becomes more in dispute the digger you deep, as is the case with some legit research by those wrongly ID'd as conspiracy theorists.

In this case, however, it is just a lot of crap, as HARVEY clearly demonstrates. By virtue of seeing print and seeing so much praise, this is WELL on its way to becoming the accepted legend passing for truth, like all those remarks indicating TUC's klingon blood color was done to avoid an R-rating, when it was strictly a plot and artistic call, just because Rick Berman was quoted as saying it was so.

As the squadroom boss in 48HRS says, "just cause you say it with conviction, it don't mean shit to me!" (esp coming from somebody who had no influence on that particular production.)
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Old July 7 2014, 03:35 PM   #432
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I wonder how much different these books are to others of this type? Star Trek is under such scrutiny by fans and scholars alike that every new piece of evidence at this point is heavily gone over and discussed. But what if these books were about Bonanza or The Dick Van Dyke Show? Would they be universally accepted as fact? Or would we have fans going through the archives to confirm because something doesn’t seem right? Are those other books as rife with errors that people just accept? Trek fandom is a lot more exacting the thorough, I think. A book on The Time Tunnel came out, using many of the same research tools. Fans of that series just loved it. An interesting comparison, if nothing else.

I like these books a lot for the detail and behind the scenes stuff from the memos and other easily confirmed tidbits. It’s distressing to see him so wrong on other things (the music stuff which is too easily checked bugs me), but for the most part, I love reading them and will snap up season 3 when it comes out.
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Old July 7 2014, 04:22 PM   #433
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

A great article, it's hard to present something so technical while keeping it readable.

As far as Shatner's salary goes, this New York Times website biography for Robert Conrad says he got $5000 a week for the first season of Wild, Wild West (1965-66), and he had a four-year series starring run behind him (Hawaiian Eye, 1959-1963).

I haven't been inclined to buy the Cushman book, but it is now free to borrow with Amazon Prime so I started it. I don't know how far I'll get. Fact-checking aside, I have seen Xeroxed fanzines with higher editorial standards. If it comes to be thought of as a "definitive" history of TOS, it's a sad commentary on something.

Last edited by J.T.B.; July 7 2014 at 05:03 PM.
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Old July 7 2014, 09:44 PM   #434
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" yet some fans seem to fall all over themselves to embrace Cushman's idea that the series was a hit despite the sketchy evidence he presents.

As to "the legend", Cushman is creating a new one to join the ranks of long debunked tall tales like NBC not using demographics, NBC not wanting a woman first officer, Gene having to fight for an interracial crew, et cetera, which many fans repeat to this day as gospel.

I think fans eagerly repeat such stories in part because they want them to be true, because they fit a classic and satisfying Us v. Them narrative where we the fans grok the things the muggles don't, and our heroes fought great odds to make what we love. Our tribe is special, donchaknow.
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Old July 7 2014, 09:51 PM   #435
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Great article, Harvey. I look forward to any follow-up you do when you have access to more data.
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