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

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Old January 1 2015, 10:58 PM   #1
Sham Mountebank
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A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

Robert Justman in an often quoted section of one of his memos said of Ellison's revised second draft of The City On The Edge Of Forever, "Page 14A caused me to become exceedingly cruel to my wife and children, the other night. And it is only one-eighth of a page."

Does anyone know what was on page 14A that made the Justman family suffer so?
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Old January 3 2015, 03:50 AM   #2
Harvey
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

Can't say, but here's the complete memo:

http://www.missionlogpodcast.com/dis...documents/028/
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Old January 3 2015, 04:14 AM   #3
Dennis
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

I think Justman's wrong about Verdun. It's one of the most charming bits in Ellison's original script, and I miss Trooper (a little) when I watch the show. It's really not any more important that the audience know the history than that Kirk does.
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Old January 3 2015, 12:15 PM   #4
Maurice
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

My guess is 14A relates to the business before McCoy leaps through the Guardian, based on his notes about story events preceding and following it.

I've read a lot of Justman's memos (thanks, Harvey) and on story points and suggestions he's right about 60–70% of the time, but by no means was he always right. He was wrong about Trooper. He was also wrong about the crowd scenes. The action in the script doesn't require anywhere near as many extras as he claims, as the recent comic book adaptation readily illustrates. On the other hand, he was dead right about the "limbo set", which would have stylistically incompatible with the series style.

As an aside, I've often wondered how Justman arrived at the very very high budget estimates he gave for this episode, and memos of this sort point to where that probably came from: the night shooting and the vehicles. That said, many of the scenes indicated as night could have been played in daylight with a very minor alteration.

Eliison's script are crammed full of excessive camera direction, and this one's no different. As much as I appreciate his storytelling abilities he never seemed to grasp the basic concept that you cannot really block for the camera on the page without seeing the set, especially not as specifically as he was wont to.

One of these days I'll read the first draft again and write down the notes I'd give were I producer on the script. That should be a fun exercise.
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Old January 4 2015, 03:02 PM   #5
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

^^^I look forward to that.

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Old January 4 2015, 11:42 PM   #6
Sham Mountebank
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

I've not seen that memo printed in full before. It's really interesting (I'll also have to check out the podcast).

I pulled out my copy of Harlan Ellison's book about The City On The Edge Of Forever, which annoyingly only prints the prologue and act one of the revised second draft without script page numbers. Going through Justmans memo comment by comment I came to the same conclusion as Maurice. I think page 14A is this bit just before McCoy jumps through the Guardian.

The pillar of light blazes and as Kirk turns to look, the CAMERA SHOOTS PAST HIM. In a moment there is movement in the light... a thickening... a rolling like oil...like quicksilver mixed with smoke...and a scene begins to TAKE FORM IN THE VORTEX. (Note: this and other scenes in Vortex will be MATT INSERTS).

CLOSE ON VORTEX - FEATURING MATT INSERTS (STOCK)

A scene of primordial times; great saurians; a woolly mammoth; steaming prehistoric jungle; reality!

It FADES OUT to be replaced by;

A scene in the days of the Clipper ships; something typical of the period; reality!


Even if the stock footage existed that sounds... expensive.

I'd agree Justman was wrong about Trooper and Verdun (even if he sincerely believed that most of their audience wouldn't know where Verdun was it's an easy script fix; maybe he was just angling to save some more money by dropping another speaking character from the cast list?) but I'm really impressed by his comment about the staircase fall sequence, and his suggestion to reverse it and have Kirk instinctively save Edith.
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Old January 5 2015, 01:44 AM   #7
Avro Arrow
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

Harvey wrote: View Post
Can't say, but here's the complete memo:

www.missionlogpodcast.com/discovereddocuments/028/
That was fascinating reading. Thank you for sharing.

There were a few things in the memo that left me figuratively scratching my head. I'll just call out one specific instance for now, since people are already talking about Trooper.

From page 5:

Bob Justman wrote:
I further submit that a good part of our audience knows nothing about Adolf Hitler.
What? Perhaps I'm completely wrong on this (and I'm not sure how to verify it), but I would suspect there are scant few North American adults *today* that don't know of Hitler. How can the same not be true a mere twenty-some years after the end of WW2? Granted, I was not even alive in the sixties... did Hitler's infamy only become more widespread after that decade?
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Old January 7 2015, 08:42 PM   #8
Commander Balok
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

Perhaps Justman felt that his audience consisted largely of children - who might not know of Hitler because they had not been educated sufficiently at that point in their lives. I was alive in the 60s (though very young) and I do not really remember when I learned about Hitler. It seems like the kind of thing I've "always known" although that must not be true.
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Old January 7 2015, 10:49 PM   #9
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

I wonder if from the context of the date in the past they'd found themselves, Justman was referring to something about Hitler's rise to power and 1930's Nazi Germany, which perhaps the audience wouldn't be as familiar as Hitler's actions in WW2.
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Old January 8 2015, 07:54 PM   #10
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

drt wrote: View Post
I wonder if from the context of the date in the past they'd found themselves, Justman was referring to something about Hitler's rise to power and 1930's Nazi Germany, which perhaps the audience wouldn't be as familiar as Hitler's actions in WW2.
Good point. By the 1960s, it was not uncommon to see academic or media references to Hitler focused on the war, with little in depth attention paid to his early years.
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Old January 8 2015, 08:11 PM   #11
Maurice
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Re: A fairly short question about The City On The Edge Of Forever

I further submit that a good part of our audience knows nothing about Adolf Hitler.
Not having access to the 2nd draft, I can't speak to exactly what Justman is commenting on here. However, if the dialog in question is much like the first draft, the details of Hitler's life wouldn't matter. Mere passing familiarity of who he was would suffice.

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