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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 April 7 2014, 01:58 AM   #31
WisTrekFan
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Of all 700+ hours of televised Trek, "The Doomsday Machine" is my favorite episode. One of the things I like about this episode is the way the entire bridge set was used,i.e., Kirk standing on the upper level facing the helm as the Enterprise searched for the Constellation, and then at the end of the episode, Kirk and Spock conversing as they walked around the upper level. It is about the only episode where the bridge set was fully used like that.
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Old April 7 2014, 08:21 AM   #32
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Amazing reading in These Are The Voyages, Season Two. How Bob Justman literally pleaded with Gene Coon to not produce this episode, and how Coon actually came up with many of the key facets that made it the classic we know and love.
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Old April 7 2014, 08:55 AM   #33
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

CrazyMatt wrote: View Post
Amazing reading in These Are The Voyages, Season Two. How Bob Justman literally pleaded with Gene Coon to not produce this episode, and how Coon actually came up with many of the key facets that made it the classic we know and love.

Do you mean Justman wanted someone else to produce it, or that he didn't want this ep produced at all? And if the latter, does it say what he had against the script?
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Old April 7 2014, 09:54 AM   #34
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

He probably hated it because of its original title, "The Planet Eater", which sounds like an Irwin Allen production.
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Old April 7 2014, 04:19 PM   #35
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

I love the look on Kirk's face just before he is beamed back aboard the Enterprise. That look says "oh shit, I have finally pushed my luck too far, time to prepare myself for death."
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Old April 7 2014, 05:26 PM   #36
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
CrazyMatt wrote: View Post
Amazing reading in These Are The Voyages, Season Two. How Bob Justman literally pleaded with Gene Coon to not produce this episode, and how Coon actually came up with many of the key facets that made it the classic we know and love.

Do you mean Justman wanted someone else to produce it, or that he didn't want this ep produced at all? And if the latter, does it say what he had against the script?
He didn't want it produced, period.
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Old April 7 2014, 05:45 PM   #37
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Lol, yes I skipped right to "The Doomsday Machine" chapter myself when I got TATV vol.2

I see that I'm not the only one!
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Old April 12 2014, 09:01 PM   #38
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Warped9 wrote: View Post
People can say what they want, but I still love that rough hewn look of the original planet killer miniature. It probably looked like hell under normal lighting in real life, but as an alien looking device made of very unweildy material (neutronium) it looked great. Everyone I've seen trying to update this thing all ended up looking cartoony.

For me the original still rules.
Agreed.

I would love to see a glass blower attempt this ship.

I think the original concept was something that would have wound up looking like a ramscoop starship surrounded by a ring of laser guns along the scoop. I seem to remember some art of that...
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Old April 12 2014, 09:58 PM   #39
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Apparently Norman Spinrad was disappointed with the final filmed version. Yeah, he did envision something bristling with weapons. But in this case the "less is more" approach worked quite well and with the way it was filmed it looked quite alien.
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Old April 12 2014, 10:18 PM   #40
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

I dunno what Spinrad envisioned, but the written description of the titular machine in the script doesn't track with what he's claimed since.

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
Okay, since you have the script, how does the script describe the machine when it first appears?
We have Decker's description at Scene 31:

KIRK
(crosses in)
What does it look like, Commodore?

DECKER
A hundred times the size of a
starship... a mile long, with
a maw big enough to swallow a
dozen ships... it destroyes
planets... cuts them to rubble...

********

Then, we have this description at Scene 44:

44 INSERT - MAIN VIEWSCREEN

On the screen, looming large and seen head-on, we see
the Planet-Killer; a great funnel extended before its
huge metallic body
as if it were to devour the Enterprise.

SPOCK'S VOICE
An immense body... a large funnel-
mouth... It looks very much like
Commodore Decker's Planet-killer...
And it is pursuing us!

Then we have Scene 52--just as the boarding party is about to beam back to the Enterprise:

52 EXT. SPACE - QUARTERING SHOT OF THE PLANET-KILLER

We see the huge funnel mouth, with a blue-hot LIGHT
EFFECT glowing within. An ATOMIC BEAM EFFECT (a
solid beam of blue light) that seems to come from
within the funnel
lances out.

Later, at Scene 85:

85 EXT. SPACE - CLOSE ON THE PLANET-KILLER

We see just the huge funnel, from the side. Then,
dwarfed by the funnel, the Enterprise moves into the
FRAME.

There are other Planet-Killer related scenes--like when Decker takes the shuttlecraft down its maw, and when the Constellation meets the same fate. All the descriptions are the same (and no more informative) than the above scenes.

If Mr. Spinrad had something else in mind other than what was scripted, he didn't so indicate--or he indicated it only in earlier drafts of the script. As I read what little is in this script, it seems like what was created is pretty consistent with what was requested.
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Old April 12 2014, 10:44 PM   #41
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

On one issue, Spinrad's memory may be a bit a faulty... perhaps even intentionally so.

Spinrad was asked several years back about the James Blish novelization of "The Doomsday Machine," where Decker doesn't die but instead survives to tell Kirk rather lamely that will resign/retire after repeating his 'error in judgment.' Spinrad claimed that Decker's suicidal death was in every version of the script, all the way from the first draft Spinrad submitted.

I accepted this on Spinrad's word, having read in various places where Blish, having only early draft scripts to use to create his novelizations, would make changes to stories on occasion to resolve story problems in order to have "his version of the episodes" make sense. But I never could understand why Blish would erase Decker's death; what possible improvement to the story would that plot change bring?

Fast forward to the Season two edition of "These Are The Voyages," which credits Gene Coon with adding that plot point in one of the later re-writes, reflecting Decker's death wish mentality and further stating that the new twist served the double purpose of giving Kirk a clue as to how to defeat the planet killer.

So what's the truth? From my dispassionate viewpoint, I lean towards giving Coon the credit. Cushman had copies of the draft scripts, in addition to memos between Coon and Spinrad. There's no reason I can think of why Cushman would want to switch credit to Gene Coon if the documents didn't support that.

However, there may be a reason that Spinrad might not want to give Coon credit for such a major change. Turns out that Spinrad was furious with Coon for re-writing Spinrad's next story submission, "He Walks Among Us." Spinrad wrote it as a very serious piece, and Coon completely re-wrote it as a comedy. Spinrad ended up appealing directly to Gene Roddenberry to not produce the story if Coon's version was to be used. GR in fact did as Spinrad requested, and the story was never produced.

Spinrad wouldn't be the first writer to hold a grudge for decades over a re-write he felt ruined a good story of his. For a great example of that, Google "Ellison, Harlan."
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Old April 12 2014, 10:45 PM   #42
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

But that looks like it might be a shooting script, Maurice. Is there a copy of Spinrad's original outline or first draft available? Justman probably took one look at it and thought it would be too expensive to pull off.
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Old April 12 2014, 10:52 PM   #43
CrazyMatt
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Melakon wrote: View Post
But that looks like it might be a shooting script, Maurice. Is there a copy of Spinrad's original outline or first draft available? Justman probably took one look at it and thought it would be too expensive to pull off.
After reading Spinrad's initial submission, DC Fontana went as far as to write in a memo (paraphrasing), 'The cost of the opticals and miniatures will drive us to the poor house. No, we'll probably have to walk to the poor house.'
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Old April 12 2014, 10:55 PM   #44
Harvey
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Spinrad's first draft* story outline (http://www.missionlogpodcast.com/dis...ddocuments/035) would be a useful place to start. I'll take a look at it, unless someone beats me to the punch.

Edit 1: Spinrad's description of the Planet Eater:

...the Constellation was attacked by a huge metallic creature, which Decker refers to as the "Eater" -- a kind of cylindrical "living atomic rocket" at least ten times the size of the Constellation, apparently from beyond the Galaxy, with a posterior rocket and a great anterior funnel-mouth big enough to swallow a ship with a cluster of atomic blaster beams and tractor beams around the funnel, not a machine, but a living organism with a nuclear metabolism.
Edit 2: Spinrad's description of Decker's fate:

The shuttlecraft and Decker along with it are totally destroyed -- but it bothers the Eater no more than a fly would.

As he watches on the viewscreen, we hear Kirk mutter: "What a waste..." But then we see his face change expression, we see that he's suddenly gotten an idea, as we FADE OUT.
Is Cushman asserting an earlier draft of the story outline than this (March 6, 1967)? And alleging that Coon wrote this version of the story outline (which only has Spinrad's name on it)?

*Judging from my research records, this is probably a revised draft of the story outline, although I don't have any evidence that it is anything but Spinrad's.
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Last edited by Harvey; April 12 2014 at 11:28 PM.
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Old April 12 2014, 11:10 PM   #45
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Re: The Doomsday Machine love

Maybe Spinrad's"bristling with weapons" is his partially remembering his verbal pitch before they gave any feedback and said write it.
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