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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old December 20 2013, 06:15 PM   #1
smalltalk66
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TOS Vietnam POW story

I remember reading somewhere once about a group of prisoners in 'Nam who survived by acting out TOS episodes while in captivity. Can't remember details, though. I'd like to know the whole story--whatever happened to them?

Happy holidays, everyone!
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Old December 20 2013, 07:21 PM   #2
TOSalltheway
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

I doubt it. Maybe discussing Trek but acting it out ? Each episode had been shown once with maybe one summer repeat. I don't think it entered syndication until 1972.
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Old December 20 2013, 07:42 PM   #3
J.T.B.
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Yeah, I'm not saying it's impossible but it seems a little unlikely. The odds of getting together a number of prisoners familiar enough with "Star Trek" episodes to act them out, in the 1966-1973 time period, seem pretty long. Some markets had it in syndication but most people would have seen episodes once or twice. Aside from that, the audience was not that wide compared to westerns, comedies, old movies and so on so there was a lot of material that would be easier to find in common knowledge than "Star Trek."
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Old December 21 2013, 12:49 AM   #4
Rayna
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Maybe not word for word, but they could have remembered the story lines… There are some episodes I've only seen once that I remember well enough to roughly improv.
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Old December 21 2013, 02:22 AM   #5
Sir Rhosis
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Are you sure you're not misremembering a story James Blish told in an introduction to one of his episode adaptations? He spoke of a letter he had received from an actual captain in the U.S. Army named Kirk, who, while serving in Vietnam, used call signs, etc., from the program for members of his command. IIRC, Kirk said he used them once when they knew the enemy was nearby and they beat a hasty retreat.

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Old December 21 2013, 02:34 AM   #6
Botany Bay
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Damn, I wish I could remember where I read this, but I have heard this story too.

Could it have been from the Gerrold book? I can't recall its title, but he wrote a lot about the fans, and offered a lot of opinions on where he believed the show could have been made better. It may have been one of the Shatner memoirs from the mid-90's.

Sorry guys, all my pre-2000 Trek non-fiction is in boxes, I wish I could remember where this came from.

And happy holidays to you too, smalltalk66.
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Old December 21 2013, 04:07 PM   #7
TOSalltheway
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Trek is usefull in many ways. I am a professional and teach many courses to members of my profession. My powerpoints have a generous helping of TOS quotes and images that help prove the lesson plan.
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Old December 22 2013, 03:32 AM   #8
smalltalk66
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Okay, I found this online from a fan named Anthony Pascale at Vegas Con 2007:

Shatner recounted a moving story I had not heard before about a former Vietnam POW who told the actor how he and his fellow inmates would re-enact Star Trek episodes in order to ‘keep sane.
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Old December 22 2013, 06:29 AM   #9
The Old Mixer
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Sounds like the Shat might be trying to come up with his own Dr. King story....
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Old December 22 2013, 07:38 AM   #10
M'Sharak
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

smalltalk66 wrote: View Post
Okay, I found this online from a fan named Anthony Pascale at Vegas Con 2007:

Shatner recounted a moving story I had not heard before about a former Vietnam POW who told the actor how he and his fellow inmates would re-enact Star Trek episodes in order to ‘keep sane.
Here's that piece:

http://trekmovie.com/2007/08/09/vega...braces-change/

Looks like the Shatner story was among footage from an older film, an excerpt from which was screened at the 2007 VegasCon.
Justman showed a portion of a film made by the National Air and Space Museum for a Star Trek exhibition in 1992. From the looks of it, it is a great documentary. It had clips from the series and featured interviews with Justman, Gene Roddenberry, William Shatner, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Nichelle Nichols Harlan Ellison, and DeForest Kelley. Much of the discussions centered on the significance of Trek in its era. Shatner recounted...
I think there are probably at least a couple of people here who visited the NASM while that exhibition was running. Wonder if anyone recalls seeing the film.
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Old December 22 2013, 07:52 AM   #11
Silvercrest
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
Are you sure you're not misremembering a story James Blish told in an introduction to one of his episode adaptations? He spoke of a letter he had received from an actual captain in the U.S. Army named Kirk, who, while serving in Vietnam, used call signs, etc., from the program for members of his command. IIRC, Kirk said he used them once when they knew the enemy was nearby and they beat a hasty retreat.
Pierre D. Kirk of the 363rd Transportation Company. There was a thread about it here a few years ago. There was also a poster named Colonel Kirk who said he was that person.

That thread contained some skepticism about whether the incident really happened. A casual Google verifies that was the name of a real officer and unit. I can't imagine an Army officer making up that incident just to send a snail mail fan letter to James Blish — what would be the point? (Remember, kids, this was in the days before email, internet, and blogs, so you couldn't just post any old unverifiable crap and have an instant audience.) So I'm inclined to think it's true.

As to whether Colonel Kirk is the same person: I've spotted other message boards with correspondence between Pierre Kirk and former 363rd members within the last 10 years. He was obviously online and active in the same timeframe as the poster here, so why not?

Never heard of the POW incident, though. Perhaps Shatner heard some version of the Blish letter and went the "Dr. King" route with it. There are some pretty wild variations of the Blish story online that are obviously second- or third-hand retellings.
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Old December 22 2013, 08:50 AM   #12
Botany Bay
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Re: TOS Vietnam POW story

Well I was about 1/3 right - the Shatman is the teller of the story, but apparently he wrote about in his 2008 autobiography Up Till Now, which I have never read, so I am guessing it has been told elsewhere, earlier.

Anyway, from the publisher's press realease for Up Till Now :

...it will include the story of Star Trek; how it came about and how it affected him—and fans—concluding with the story of a taxi driver who told Shatner he’d been a prisoner in Vietnam and that pretending they were the Star Trek crew kept him and his fellow inmates sane.
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