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

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Old July 8 2014, 05:38 AM   #436
Harvey
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
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.
The Dick Vany Dyke Show and Bonanza simply don't have the passionate fan followings that Star Trek does (few shows do). If a comparable book to Cushman's These Are The Voyages came out, I doubt the interest would be there to sell nearly as many self-published books (or to raise nearly $12,000 prior to publication on Kickstarter, something Cushman did for this series, which makes you wonder where all the money went).

I don't doubt there are other television histories out there with comparable low levels of scholarship. A PhD candidate I know once wrote a paper about The Monkees, and in the process of researching it, she discovered that every book about the series was absolute rubbish -- filled with total falsehoods, broad generalizations, etc. And these weren't self-published books she was looking at!

Of course, this problem isn't exclusive to television histories written by fans/amateurs. Television studies is still an emerging academic field, and there's a lot of sloppiness out there that wouldn't occur if you were, let's say, an Alfred Hitchcock scholar. Enough academics have tread over that ground that they know bullshit when they see it. But television scholars are still trying to get broad recognition from their peers, not unlike film scholars forty years ago, when the field was similarly sloppy. This sort of thing will work itself out, over time, but it takes a while.
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Old July 8 2014, 06:47 AM   #437
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Falsehoods accrete and get transmitted as fact. Fo sho.

As to publishing a book, you have a structure already: 60s TV; ratings services then; Star Trek's slot and competition; the old myth; Cushman's new, growing myth; your thesis and support; etc. Once you have the skeleton, then comes just the writing for a year or two.

It would take a book proposal either to agents or to publishers. But you have friends in the industry here. Not enough readers interested in Trek ratings to make a trad publisher gamble on it, though, I fear. You could maybe sell it on its interest to college libraries? That's still a market.

Otherwise you could self-publish. Unfortunately you then must become a book salesman/promoter. You coud speak at conventions if they have break-out sessions. If you do self-publish, I think I know just the people to edit and promote it: http://www.jacobsbrownmediagroup.com/
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Old July 8 2014, 12:14 PM   #438
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Low levels of scholarship were all over the recent Atari E.T. Landfill circus, where almost everyone printed the legend without really doing any independent effort to verify the story. Hell, even Snopes, in their article on it, got some key facts right but mixed it up with conventional narrative stories which are demonstrably false.

Sadly, the internet is often a sort of self-referential closed-loop, in which certain theories get disseminated ad nauseam because they make for good narrative ergo factual information has a difficult time displacing the bunk.
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Old July 8 2014, 04:41 PM   #439
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I'd actually like to see a solidly researched and accurate history of The Monkees.
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Old July 8 2014, 04:52 PM   #440
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Christopher wrote: View Post
I'd actually like to see a solidly researched and accurate history of The Monkees.
No kidding. A lot of books have been published since the mid-80s revival, but there's so much copy+paste nonsense (ex. "They never played their instruments!"), that one is better served by sampling from more than one source.
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Old July 8 2014, 04:53 PM   #441
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Those of us who were around when TOS was in first run (and were more than 5 years old), who actually remember how poorly Star Trek did in the ratings each season, will someday no longer be around to call Cushman's bullshit for what it is. At that point, his version will become accepted as fact.
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Old July 8 2014, 06:17 PM   #442
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

People believe emotionally first, then marshall evidence, or admit the evidence that confirms. Confirmation bias. Throw nature out with a pitchfork, she always returns with a vengeance.


Christopher wrote: View Post
I'd actually like to see a solidly researched and accurate history of The Monkees.
My favorites ever. Been reading interviews lately. Pete really better on git, "cast" as bass, ditto in reverse for Mike, Mickey ok on git, cast as "the drummer." He stands in front line now with the others.
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Old July 8 2014, 06:21 PM   #443
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Melakon wrote: View Post
At that point, his version will become accepted as fact.
I doubt that, because there are plenty of other sources out there, and plenty of other researchers who will be able to call out Cushman's errors as Harvey has done. It's not like Cushman's books are the only ones out there; ST is probably one of the most extensively written-about shows in TV history.

And let's not forget that there were a number of myths accepted as fact for decades until they were finally challenged -- like the million-letter fan campaign (more like ten thousand) that "reversed" the show's cancellation (which was probably not going to happen anyway), or the myth that NBC didn't want a female first officer. A lot of fans and a lot of article writers still accept these myths uncritically, but the counterarguments and evidence are still out there.
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Old July 8 2014, 10:50 PM   #444
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Fighting popular myth is difficult. In an interview a few years ago Matthew Weiner said he can't even get errors about Mad Men corrected on Wikipedia because said entries cite multiple sources for the inaccurate statements as references, but those webpages and articles are themselves unsourced or point to one another ergo the myths persist just because enough people have said so and point to each other in a circle.

(Actually, I long ago figured out the trick for defanging myths on Wikipedia...you don't edit them out, you just directly address them as controversial via a "however, other sources contradict this..." and cite the sources, as in the entry on Frank Gorshin which now addresses the oft repeated myth that he was nominated for an Emmy for his Star Trek appearance and points to the Emmy's website to refute it, a la, "Contrary to popular rumor and articles[9][10][11] Gorshin was not Emmy nominated for this role.[12]")
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Old July 8 2014, 10:57 PM   #445
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Gorshin was nominated for Batman.
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Old August 19 2014, 06:19 AM   #446
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I've been spending the past several weeks pulling a lot of documents, but doing very little writing. One of those documents was Steven Carabatsos' draft of "The City on the Edge of Forever," which is an interesting chapter in the development of that episode.

Dave Eversole was nice enough to do a lengthy review and summary of it, which I have made available here (it's also available on Orion Press, although the version on my blog has been slightly edited per Dave's wishes).

Haven't been able to find my white whale in regards to "City" yet (that would be Harlan Ellison's complete Dec. 1, 1966 draft; only the teaser and first act have been made available), but I'll keep looking.
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Old August 19 2014, 02:35 PM   #447
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Interesting read. I hadn't been aware of that draft. Unfortunately I'm not familiar enough with the earlier drafts to know what was new in this one.

It's actually rather disturbing, the idea that the hatemongering thug Keefer is the one on the right side of history. It casts America's role in WWII in a rather negative light, implying that it was just about beating up on foreigners. Which it probably was for a lot of people -- certainly there was some profound racism in American attitudes toward the Japanese -- but ultimately that kind of violent xenophobia was what we realized we were fighting against once we saw the horrors of Nazi genocide. Anyway, it's clear why they didn't go with this draft (even aside from the confusing name choice, Keefer/Keeler).
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Old August 19 2014, 03:24 PM   #448
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Thanks for sharing that Steven Carabatsos' draft of "The City on the Edge of Forever". Never knew about it.
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Old August 19 2014, 04:19 PM   #449
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Thank you, Harvey. I tried to post a comment on your blog but I couldn't.

I just want to say, wow that's bad. Compared to the original, what I've seen of it, or the final filmed version, this one is a stinker on all sides. I could see why Ellison would be angry if this is what he saw his story turned into. Ugh. I do really like the final filmed version, but this barely resembles it.
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Old August 19 2014, 05:11 PM   #450
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Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I wouldn't mind seeing a systematic list of all the known drafts, who wrote them, and what plot points they had that differed from one another. Something that would give a sense of what elements of the final episode came from which writer. But that might require a whole book to cover.
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