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

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Old May 12 2014, 01:54 PM   #31
Shon T'Hara
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
Speaking of harsh, "...his very low standards"?! Glen Larson is a lot better than you give him credit for. His writing for the pilot movies of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers was arguably better than GR's script for "The Cage."
If the BSG pilot had just been the destruction of the colonies, I'd agree with you, but not when you throw in the final part with the survivors partying at a space casino and Starbuck thinking about quitting the fleet to become the manager for some disco singers. I have issues with the rebooted series, but I agree with Moore that the way Larson abandoned the premise within two hours is beyond ridiculous.
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Old May 12 2014, 02:06 PM   #32
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
Speaking of harsh, "...his very low standards"?! Glen Larson is a lot better than you give him credit for. His writing for the pilot movies of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers was arguably better than GR's script for "The Cage."
Arguably is right, Zap. Buck Rogers? I loved the series, it was goofy fun, and I still feel the pilot movie is a notch below what the regular episodes brought to the air. And nowhere near what Roddenberry was trying to do with The Cage. The humor was childish and the story transparent and unsophisticated.

I don't think Gene was TVs greatest writer by any yardstick, but his passion and the long gestation of The Cage probably accounts for the higher quality of his regular series work. He obviously spent more time crafting that teleplay than The Omega Glory or any other episode he originated.
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Old May 12 2014, 03:14 PM   #33
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

I just watched the relevant part of the interview and I will say: Solow doesn’t come off in the interview as someone with an axe to grind against a man who had been dead for twenty years at the point the interview happened. The man does come off as someone in complete control of his faculties. He doesn’t have any proof and is not willing to get into it. What he says exactly is:

So I, uh, we now had an order. We needed a script. And Gene wrote the script… which I have some strange doubts about but I’m not going to go into it here because it involves another person who has since died. Uhhh, ‘cause I believe that that guy did most of the script. Uhhh, and he would never admit it to me. He’s a friend of mine. He said, "I’d rather not go there, Herb." I said, "I understand. Fine. It’s fine.”
I think it’s more than likely that yes, Gene Roddenberry did the lion’s share of work on “The Cage.” But, things to point out:

Gene Roddenberry was the kind of man who would sell his own mother out for a buck. In order to get some money for the publishing rights of the Trek theme song wrote terrible lyrics and upset Sandy Courage in the process.

The man had a huge ego. A prime example of this is stated in Cushman’s These Are the Voyages: Season One:

Since it was now known that either this episode ["The Man Trap"] or "‘Charlie X" – the only two episodes ready, other than the second pilot film – would be the first to air, Roddenberry arranged for the opening title credit on both episodes to read “Created by Gene Roddenberry.” After these two programs, and some pressure from the studio, his name did not appear in the opening title sequence … until the next season when this became the norm.”
I don't believe it was general practice to do that in the 1960s. At the very least not at the top of the credits before the cast's names. I mean, on September 8, 1966, who knew or even really cared who Gene Roddenberry was? It comes off as a ploy to placate an ego.

As others have said, Samuel Peeples helped Roddenberry develop the concept. He also wrote the second pilot. They had an existing working relationship.

“The Cage” is a solid script. Roddenberry is not a solid writer. As others have said, he’s an amazing script editor. But his own scripts have always been mediocre at best. "The Omega Glory" is arguably the worst episode of the original series. The episode had been rejected many, MANY times before it reached air. Someone commented above that perhaps he had more time to work on "The Cage." Maybe. But I have another theory. If you’ve read the initial drafts of Star Wars, they’re horrible. And nothing like what we got onscreen. If you look at the prequels, you know George Lucas, when writing on his own, cannot write believable dialogue for the life of him. He did have help from Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck. Does the writing credit for Star Wars include those two names? Nope. Just Lucas. But the script was much better with their help. Point being, its not unheard of for there to be uncredited polishes on scripts.

Putting all of this together, I believe Roddenberry wrote the concept, the treatment, and the majority of the subsequent drafts of the script. BUT, I believe that either Peeples and/or other writers helped greatly in fleshing things out through notes, suggestions and possibly even an uncredited polish or two. While Roddenberry did keep impeccable records, because of the fact that he was a known, for lack of a better term at the moment, scoundrel, I could see him destroying those records showing others’ help along the way for the pilot, in order to keep Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry. That last part is pure supposition on my part and I do admit that. But I wouldn’t put it past the guy. Or maybe whoever Solow's friend is was just doing Roddenberry a favor. Or maybe Gene had something on Peeples or whoever helped write the script. Hollywood isn't exactly a moral place.
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Old May 12 2014, 04:18 PM   #34
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Campe98 wrote: View Post
I don't believe it was general practice to do that in the 1960s. At the very least not at the top of the credits before the cast's names. I mean, on September 8, 1966, who knew or even really cared who Gene Roddenberry was? It comes off as a ploy to placate an ego.
"The Fugitive....A QM Production. Starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble."

"The Invaders...A Quinn Martin Production. Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent."

Not sure of other shows putting them before the actors, but many other programs had "created by" in the opening credits. For example, Irwin Allen did it on all of his programs: "Created and Produced by Irwin Allen."

Sure, it was ego, but if the show's a hit, putting your credit at the top of the hour makes you an industry and household name. Sherwood Schwartz, Aaron Spelling, and many others. Roddenberry was a glory hound, but until this interview, I have never heard that anyone other than he had written The Cage. Does Solow have an ax to grind? Well, since Roddenberry pretty much muted any of his contributions after the fact and blasted the network from day one, I'd say that's fuel for resentment. Unless Solow wants to come forward with names and documentation instead of protecting this other deceased friend, I'm giving his statements little consideration.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old May 12 2014, 04:34 PM   #35
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Quinn Martin ran the production company behind many different successful shows in that time period. According to IMDB, he has exactly three writing credits prior to the creation of his company in 1960. Others actually created QM Productions' hit shows. It would have been like the title reading "Star Trek - A Desilu Production."

Does Solow have an ax to grind? Well, since Roddenberry pretty much muted any of his contributions after the fact and blasted the network from day one, I'd say that's fuel for resentment. Unless Solow wants to come forward with names and documentation instead of protecting this other deceased friend, I'm giving his statements little consideration.
And to me, I find it highly unlikely that anyone writes anything without a little help. A writer would be stupid to not ask for and get help in writing something along the way. Like I stated, I don't think Solow's friend wrote the whole thing or the majority of it. But I also don't believe Roddenberry's ability shows he could do it alone either. I do believe Roddenberry got help. That's all I'm saying!
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Old May 12 2014, 04:45 PM   #36
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Huyuck and Katz were script doctors who were compensated for their writing and given public acknowledgement for their contribution. On "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Peeples was a writer, paid and credited. There is no evidence that anyone other than Roddenberry was paid to write the first pilot. Peeples definitely advised Roddenberry on Star Trek, and was an important and often unrecognized contributor to the series because of this and the second pilot. But it just isn't believable that he wrote for free. Professional TV writers don't do that.
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Old May 12 2014, 05:18 PM   #37
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Well, look at how many decades it took to find out about other folks who wrote CLOSE ENCOUNTERS drafts besides Paul Schraeder? In the almost TOO-detailed MAKING OF CLOSE ENCOUNTERS book from several years back, we get lots of stuff from a guy who did a draft and did not even try arbitrating for credit, and there is a bunch about Jerry Belson making a huge issue and I guess getting a significant payout to keep his trap shut about what he wrote on the film ... all so Spielberg could get his 'written & directed by' credit.

A TV pro would know not being acknowledged for contributions to a pilot meant losing a ton of money ... but if it were out of friendship? Maybe.

And maybe not Peeples (though that is where my money would be if there was any fire to go with this smoke), but Sam Rolfe? He wrote the APRIL SAVAGE pilot that GR subsequently screwed the pooch on, but maybe there was a quid pro quo going on there? They have the HAVE GUN connection, and isn't that where the GR claiming 'head writer' thing got a head of steam because Rolfe never called him on it?
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Old May 12 2014, 05:18 PM   #38
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

The ingredients for a conspiracy theory are all here for anyone who wants to discredit Roddenberry. There's no proof and no real accusation from Solow, just a hint that suggests someone else might have had input. It's hard for me to believe that if Roddenberry had screwed Peeples on The Cage script that they would have worked together on anything else afterward. If you apply Occam's Razor the simplest answer is that Roddenberry wrote it. Could have gotten advice or help from a friend? Sure, but not so much to qualify for co-writing credit and there's no reason that I can see to think Peeples felt that way. I'm not a Roddenberry apologist by any means. The more I learn about him the less I respect him, but this accusation seems like a reach.
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Old May 12 2014, 05:21 PM   #39
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
Speaking of harsh, "...his very low standards"?! Glen Larson is a lot better than you give him credit for. His writing for the pilot movies of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers was arguably better than GR's script for "The Cage." Some episodes that followed were caca, but it wasn't about Larson having low standards; it was more that series TV can be a fast-paced sausage factory where the time to write things exquisitely just doesn't exist.
Sorry, but you'll never convince me that the guy who created Manimal and Sheriff Lobo was a gifted storyteller. He was a master of schlock, and BSG was the one thing he ever created that rose above schlock even in potentia. And as for his actual writing, even the good stories of BSG that he wrote tend to have terrible dialogue. Say what you like about Roddenberry's plotting, but at least he could write dialogue well.



Shon T'Hara wrote: View Post
If the BSG pilot had just been the destruction of the colonies, I'd agree with you, but not when you throw in the final part with the survivors partying at a space casino and Starbuck thinking about quitting the fleet to become the manager for some disco singers. I have issues with the rebooted series, but I agree with Moore that the way Larson abandoned the premise within two hours is beyond ridiculous.
Actually I think that's unfair to the pilot. To quote my review:

Now, people often complain that the pilot lost its way when it got to Carillon and became about a space casino instead of about the struggle to survive and cope with tragedy. I’m not sure I entirely agree. Sure, there was some cheesy stuff in the casino sequence, but it served a purpose in the story, an allegorical temptation for the survivors. They’d lost everything and were enduring hardship, and here was an evident paradise threatening to lead them astray, like Odysseus’s crew in the Land of the Lotus Eaters. There’s actually some pretty tense stuff as Commander Adama plots secretly with Colonel Tigh in order to undermine the hedonistic Sire Uri’s (Ray Milland) plans for disarmament. So it’s not that they completely abandoned the concept of the refugees’ struggle for survival halfway through the story, since the space casino was a deliberate counterpoint to that theme. (Also, I’m sure it has some parallel in the Book of Mormon, since the whole premise was basically Larson retelling that tale as a space opera.)

No, I think where they really started to lose their way was in “Lost Planet of the Gods.” This story follows pretty immediately on from the pilot, but any sense of struggle or deprivation or loss is pretty hard to find. It opens with the main characters having a cheerful dinner party to announce Apollo and Serina’s engagement, followed by the lower-rank pilots’ shenanigans as they arrange a bachelor party. There’s lip service paid to supply shortages, but only barely. Then, the fighter pilots are taken down by a random disease that spread because two scouts were too excited by the bachelor party to go through decontamination — not because there was starvation in the ranks or because too many pilots were lost in the invasion or anything that would actually remind the viewer of the massive tragedy these people were supposedly recovering from. One of the music cues from this episode was actually titled “Another Day on the Galactica.” That’s how mundane things have suddenly become, despite the nominal premise.


ssosmcin wrote: View Post
"The Fugitive....A QM Production. Starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble."

"The Invaders...A Quinn Martin Production. Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent."
As Campe98 says, that's a producer credit, not a creator credit. Roy Huggins created The Fugitive and Larry Cohen created The Invaders.
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Old May 12 2014, 05:27 PM   #40
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Christopher wrote: View Post
ssosmcin wrote: View Post
"The Fugitive....A QM Production. Starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble."

"The Invaders...A Quinn Martin Production. Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent."
As Campe98 says, that's a producer credit, not a creator credit. Roy Huggins created The Fugitive and Larry Cohen created The Invaders.
You're both right, my bad. I had Irwin Allen Syndrome on the brain....
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Old May 12 2014, 06:50 PM   #41
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
The ingredients for a conspiracy theory are all here for anyone who wants to discredit Roddenberry. There's no proof and no real accusation from Solow, just a hint that suggests someone else might have had input. It's hard for me to believe that if Roddenberry had screwed Peeples on The Cage script that they would have worked together on anything else afterward. If you apply Occam's Razor the simplest answer is that Roddenberry wrote it. Could have gotten advice or help from a friend? Sure, but not so much to qualify for co-writing credit and there's no reason that I can see to think Peeples felt that way. I'm not a Roddenberry apologist by any means. The more I learn about him the less I respect him, but this accusation seems like a reach.
Well, let's just point out this very simple fact. Solow was there. We were not. He had a very involved position on the creation and production of Star Trek. Its possible he still has an axe to grind, but come on... Why bring it up 20 years after Roddenberry's passing if there's not some basis to believe that maybe, just maybe there were other parties involved? I don't believe from what I've read of Solow that he'd ever be quite that vindictive.
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Old May 12 2014, 06:54 PM   #42
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

The Solow of 1964 was there. The Solow of 2014 is a different person trying to decipher messages from that earlier Solow. Even with total mental clarity, memory is mutable and rewritten every time we summon it. The past is another country.
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Old May 12 2014, 07:05 PM   #43
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

A fair point. Nonetheless, the Solow of 2014 is a lot closer to the Solow of 1964 who was closer to the production than we'll ever be. I'm not saying that we should believe this blindly. There are a lot of question marks here.
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Old May 12 2014, 07:30 PM   #44
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Campe98 wrote: View Post
A fair point. Nonetheless, the Solow of 2014 is a lot closer to the Solow of 1964 who was closer to the production than we'll ever be. I'm not saying that we should believe this blindly. There are a lot of question marks here.
There are question marks, but I'm treating like any conspiracy. Some reasonable questions, some interesting anecdotal evidence and suppositions but no real proof. To me, there's no way to answer the question, but if someone wants to (further) discredit Roddenberry I guess this is one way to do it, but I think there's more than enough concrete evidence of other transgressions without piling this on.

ETA: this reminds of a classic Perry Mason episode where a washed up hack Hollywood producer was going to make a comeback with a really great script, but then was murdered. Once Perry got to work defending his innocent (of course) client, he smelled a rat because the script was too good to have been written by the dead man who had made a career out churning out schlock. It turned out the script was written by the guy's nebbish assistant who was played by John Fiedler whom I'm sure everyone remembers as the nebbish Mr. Hengist from a "Wolf in the Fold". Once Perry figured out who wrote the script, it didn't take much to figure out who had the real motive for killing the victim!
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Old May 12 2014, 09:21 PM   #45
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Re: Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
To me, there's no way to answer the question...
Why not? Solow's still alive. If one had the right connection, those questions could be asked.
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