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

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Old April 10 2014, 01:27 AM   #31
trevanian
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

Indysolo wrote: View Post
ssosmcin wrote: View Post
Indysolo wrote: View Post

And that material is readily available at all times now!
Yeah and he does it again in A Private Little War, crediting the music in the final seconds to Gerald Fried, who he thinks composed it for the episode. It was, in fact, another library cue by Courage called "Captain Playoff No. 3 (Sad and Alone)." Honestly, I didn't even need the CDs to tell me it was Courage. The piece begins with a re-orchestration of the unaired version of the main theme for Where No Man Has Gone Before, which he heavily incorporated into The Naked Time. It wasn't the "Star Trek Theme" and seems a little too obscure for another composer to adapt (although it certainly would have been possible).

D'OH!
And this is the easily verifiable stuff! What about all of the material he had access to that we can't see? Are we to trust him with that? I can't do it, which is why I'm not reading these books.

Neil
Wow, you're not buying 'em either? Cool.

Hard to believe that he didn't recognize that end cue on PRIVATE, it is awfully damned distinctive and memorable from early season 1 (though just as effective here, just another example of how skillfully TOS scores are 'tracked.')
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Old April 10 2014, 03:23 AM   #32
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

I finally got mine this afternoon. So far I've read the beginning up to the beginning of the coverage on "Catspaw."

He's laying out the case in more detail of what he started saying in Volume 1, that NBC's beef was with Roddenberry and not Star Trek itself. But NBC displayed their escalating displeasure by taking it out on the show. Cutting the budget was one thing, but slotting the show into Friday evening time slot made something a lie of anything the network said publicly in support of the series. They couldn't well come out and say publicly what (or who) was really pissing them off so they simply made it more difficult for the show to succeed.

Oddly it appears the first letter campaign initiated by Harlan Ellison (at Roddenberry's asking for help) while successful also got the story started that TOS' ratings were soft, which apparently in first season they definitely weren't. And this is the story that became folklore and stuck with the show for decades.

But that Friday evening time slot for the second season was a clear move to make the show suffer.
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Old April 10 2014, 05:32 AM   #33
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

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But NBC displayed their escalating displeasure by taking it out on the show. Cutting the budget was one thing, but slotting the show into Friday evening time slot made something a lie of anything the network said publicly in support of the series.
First of all, the budget was cut by Desilu, not NBC. According to the Solow/Justman book, in the third season, NBC increased their financial commitment to the series, but it didn't matter, because Paramount shrunk their portion of the funds to the bare minimum.

Second of all, if NBC had a problem with Roddenberry, but liked the series, why didn't they show him the door? It wouldn't have been the first time -- nor the last -- that a network axed a series creator/executive producer who they didn't like.

Oddly it appears the first letter campaign initiated by Harlan Ellison (at Roddenberry's asking for help) while successful also got the story started that TOS' ratings were soft, which apparently in first season they definitely weren't. And this is the story that became folklore and stuck with the show for decades.
Cushman's argument about the ratings in volume one, to paraphrase another classic from the '60s, was not half-baked, it was completely baked. The season one ratings were soft. The Broadcasting Magazine article previously linked to clearly showed them in the middle of the pack -- not good, but not bad, either.

Cushman's narrow-minded approach on ratings by time slot in volume one is illustrative of his research methods -- he doesn't consider the big picture, and he's decided on his argument before gathering and considering all the evidence.
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Old April 10 2014, 06:37 AM   #34
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

I don't remember TOS ever being in the weekly top 25 Nielsens. The more I read about Cushman's claim that it was very popular show, just from what's being reported here, makes me wonder how much he's inflating everything else.
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Old April 10 2014, 07:37 AM   #35
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

From the chapter excerpt, it looks like "Amok Time" could have been absolutely terrible, a huge embarrassment, had it not been for the tremendous amount of shepherding given to the original Sturgeon script. We're lucky the producers were in such top form.
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Old April 10 2014, 08:08 AM   #36
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
From the chapter excerpt, it looks like "Amok Time" could have been absolutely terrible, a huge embarrassment, had it not been for the tremendous amount of shepherding given to the original Sturgeon script. We're lucky the producers were in such top form.
Same with "The Doomsday Machine." Gene Coon deserves a great deal of credit for many of the plot points that resulted in the final episode becoming a classic.
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Old April 10 2014, 04:27 PM   #37
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

Unfortunately we had only ever gotten Spinrad's take on DOOMSDAY, which, between what he told Gerrold and what he has since said about what Coon did to his Milton Berle script, is largely unfavorable.

The question of why NBC didn't force GR out is of REAL interest to me. They must have realized Coon was running the show and probably liked a lot of what he was doing, so it would have made sense for them to back him if there was a showdown.

That assumes Coon would actually have been willing to have such a showdown (he might have thought it unprofessional or at the very least unethical to go this route, so leaving & going to the Larson show was an easy way out.)

We've read that Coon had ideas for more comedy and more returning characters (Koloth at the very least), so some of his direction for the show was not followed up on (though I think JM Lucas did a very good job for the rest of 2nd season, bringing us back to the eternal 'why didn't they stick with him for season 3?' question, which has utterly usurped the 'ginger or maryann?' query that haunted my younger decades.)

Even with duds like OMEGA GLORY (and who do we have to blame for that?), I seriously enjoy 2nd season, and rewatch it more than any other batch of Trek in any incarnation, because even the dud shows still have character moments of interest. I don't attribute much at all of that to GR, though I suppose when you guys read this book you may get more info suggesting his level of involvement that could counter my view.
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Old April 10 2014, 04:43 PM   #38
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

At this point I'd be skeptical about any conclusions Cushman draws, outside of him reprinting whole memos verbatim. He's pretty well demonstrated that he doesn't do his homework properly.
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Old April 10 2014, 06:38 PM   #39
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

Melakon wrote: View Post
I don't remember TOS ever being in the weekly top 25 Nielsens. The more I read about Cushman's claim that it was very popular show, just from what's being reported here, makes me wonder how much he's inflating everything else.
I believe he mentioned in the book that it was around 37 and he compares it to other shows that were a success that were rated lower than 37. I can't remember exactly which ones but it seems "That Girl" and "My Three Sons" were a couple of them. He does say that during the second season that TOS never was in the number 1 position but was mostly in 2nd or 3rd place for the time slot. Apparently "Gomer Pyle USMC" was the number 1 show the entire season (for that time slot).
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Old April 10 2014, 06:45 PM   #40
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He does disingenuously include a ratings chart from early season one in volume one which has the series doing okay, but this doesn't account for the show's performance over the entire season, which saw its ratings decline along with its overall position (which was about 50th IIRC).
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Old April 10 2014, 09:53 PM   #41
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

3rd place in a three network world is NOT a success, it's last place.
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Old April 10 2014, 10:49 PM   #42
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

feek61 wrote: View Post
I believe he mentioned in the book that it was around 37 and he compares it to other shows that were a success that were rated lower than 37. I can't remember exactly which ones but it seems "That Girl" and "My Three Sons" were a couple of them. He does say that during the second season that TOS never was in the number 1 position but was mostly in 2nd or 3rd place for the time slot. Apparently "Gomer Pyle USMC" was the number 1 show the entire season (for that time slot).
But all of those were half hour comedy shows, and would have cost less to produce. "Gomer" and "My Three Sons" were already established shows with a following. "That Girl" started the same year as Star Trek and ran 5 years.
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Old April 11 2014, 06:10 AM   #43
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

I just finished this tonight (shot my whole evening in fact :/ ) and it was a good book. I'll be reviewing it shortly.

It reminded me why I love Star Trek. After running a Trek board for almost 10 years, sometimes I forget that I do love Trek.
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Old April 11 2014, 08:24 AM   #44
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

I've read most of the book now... and I am quite satisfied. Contents are similar to the extended and revised version of the first season edition.

There are a few errors I've detected, but those are more than counterbalanced by the mountain of background production information that I've never seen elsewhere. None on this information seems to contradict what is known from other trusted sources. A great example is the chapter dealing with the departure of Gene Coon--the author (using original interview material to buttress his conclusions) fills in a lot of the blanks while still, again, meshing with the information we knew from the Solow/Justman book.

As with the first season edition, the real benefits of this book are the production memos and the interviews. I learned more about how my favorite episode, "The Doomsday Machine," actually came to be the episode we know and love, than I had previously from any other source.

I know some on this board don't like this author and would encourage you not to buy this book. That's their right. I'm not going to worry about what the ratings meant and whether the author has the composers correct for each episode. The former doesn't matter much to me and the latter I can find out by reading Jeff Bond's superb book (or listening to the superb LA-LA LAND soundtrack).

Bottom line: For the fan who's interested in how the series was produced from initial story pitch to final product, there is no other product that matches this book. I give it my endorsement without reservation.
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Old April 11 2014, 11:38 AM   #45
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Re: Anyone receive "These Are The Voyages..." Season 2 yet?

CrazyMatt wrote: View Post
I've read most of the book now... and I am quite satisfied. Contents are similar to the extended and revised version of the first season edition.

There are a few errors I've detected, but those are more than counterbalanced by the mountain of background production information that I've never seen elsewhere. None on this information seems to contradict what is known from other trusted sources. A great example is the chapter dealing with the departure of Gene Coon--the author (using original interview material to buttress his conclusions) fills in a lot of the blanks while still, again, meshing with the information we knew from the Solow/Justman book.

As with the first season edition, the real benefits of this book are the production memos and the interviews. I learned more about how my favorite episode, "The Doomsday Machine," actually came to be the episode we know and love, than I had previously from any other source.

I know some on this board don't like this author and would encourage you not to buy this book. That's their right. I'm not going to worry about what the ratings meant and whether the author has the composers correct for each episode. The former doesn't matter much to me and the latter I can find out by reading Jeff Bond's superb book (or listening to the superb LA-LA LAND soundtrack).

Bottom line: For the fan who's interested in how the series was produced from initial story pitch to final product, there is no other product that matches this book. I give it my endorsement without reservation.
I have to say I largely agree with this.

The other thing I'm finding of interest are the details and workings between GR, NBC and the studio. It was interesting to learn that Desilu suits were (mostly) the ones not enamoured with Star Trek. And it's interesting to see NBC's claims of support through Stan Robertson (and others) even as they made decisions that hurt the show. I'm also amused over many of the things the network and censors would fret over that no one would blink at in the slightest today.

In regard to the ratings. I'm not accepting that TOS was a breakout hit (and Cushman doesn't actually say that), but it did better in first season than many of us have been led to believe for all these years. The show was reaching its target audience. But other forces were at work to hurt the show. To a point GR was right in what kind of series he seemed to hope for and it's admirable that he would resent and resist efforts to water it down. But he also couldn't resist picking a fight with people who could have been allies. Not all of NBC's feedback was bad, but network suits are not just machines and they could easily get irritated with someone who could be difficult to work with to the point of hedging their support and promotion of a quality show any network should want in their stable. We're learning that not everything we've heard all these years was a lie, but we weren't hearing the whole truth either. As time went on softer than hoped ratings were not in themselves the cause of the show's demise even as they could serve as justification. Other shows doing worse continued to get picked up. But also NBC didn't help the cause by scheduling the show where practically no series could flourish no matter how they spun it.

Regarding GR's rewrites. I have to say that it's easy to vilify GR, but often enough his changes could be for the better. No one is really a saint or complete villain in this. It's a bunch of talented people not always agreeing on how to make something work. No one was always right or always wrong. Not all Gene Coon's or D.C. Fontana's ideas were brilliant either.

The other inescapable issue is how while Star Trek could be admired and praised by many few seemed to really appreciate what it took to make such a series. Of course the studio had a right to be concerned with its finances even as they had a show that simply couldn't be done right on the cheap. As fans we can bitch and moan and obsessively nitpick the series and individual elements to death even forty years after the fact, but it's quite apparent a lot of people were making a genuine effort to make it the best they could under brutal conditions. One simple aspect of this were the post production effects. TOS needed something approaching feature film resources to do the show justice, but time and budget and resources available conspired against that. Today many can laugh at and dismiss certain elements of the show's production, but they do so in ignorance of the conditions that production operated within.

It is interesting that NBC didn't try to force GR out, but then maybe it's just as well they didn't. Even though he could be a pain he still had something to bring to the show, and that something could well have been missed if he were gone.
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