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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 July 20 2014, 02:57 PM   #1
2takesfrakes
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Desilu

Desilu Productions is anchored onto The Original Series, of course, but it's very unclear - to me, at least - how much a part it directly played in bringing STAR TREK to television. Gene Roddenberry's battles with "The Networks" seem to dominate the discussions on TOS' orgins, whilst Desilu gets hardly a mention. Is it at all noteworthy - or is it just an obscure footnote in the history of this franchise?
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Old July 20 2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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Re: Desilu

Desilu produced the pilots, with the hopes of convincing the networks to buy it as a series, and provided production facilities until taken over by Paramount. The best source of information on those early years may be Justman & Solow's Inside Star Trek: The Real Story.
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Old July 20 2014, 03:21 PM   #3
Otto Harkaman
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Re: Desilu

Yes I really enjoyed "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story" it will explain a lot. I listened to the audio book and I was also was able to find a copy online of the Korean video production of the book. I most like the interview with Matt Jefferies where he showed a miniature of the sound stage setup. I didn't like however Justman's and Solo's attack of Gene's personal character, so what if he smoked a little pot and liked girls overmuch.
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Old July 20 2014, 03:24 PM   #4
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Re: Desilu

I can understand Justman's shock over Roddenberry's pot use though, the guy had been a cop, law and order and all that stuff.

Joe Friday on Dragnet in the early 50s made it sound like if you smoked pot, the next step was heroin.
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Old July 20 2014, 03:53 PM   #5
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Re: Desilu

Desilu was the television studio that made TOS up until its mid-second season when Paramount bought it up. The network simply bought and aired the show, and had creative input into it because they were paying for much of it -- but Desilu actually made the show, and was responsible for its existence in the first place. TOS was bought and its production overseen by Herbert F. Solow, Desilu's executive in charge of production. He also brought Mission: Impossible and Mannix to the air. TOS was filmed on Stages 9 and 10 of Desilu's studio facility and on the Culver City backlot owned by Desilu at the time, using Desilu-owned cameras and equipment and drawing on costumes and props from earlier Desilu productions (for instance, "A Piece of the Action" was written to allow reuse of costumes, cars, and gangster-era paraphernalia left over from Desilu's The Untouchables).

Desilu's studio was right next door to Paramount's, separated only by a wall. When Gulf + Western bought out Paramount and then Desilu, it combined the two studios into one under the Paramount name and tore down the wall between the studio lots. The westernmost 1/3 or so of Paramount Studios today, on the Gower Street side of the lot, is what used to be Desilu Studios (and before that was RKO Studios), and Desilu stages 9 and 10 are now Paramount stages 31 and 32. So all of TOS was made on what were originally Desilu's stages, using their equipment and most of their personnel, even after the studio was absorbed under the Paramount name.

So, yeah, Desilu is anything but a footnote. Star Trek wouldn't have existed without Desilu and Herb Solow.
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Old July 20 2014, 04:05 PM   #6
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Re: Desilu

Melakon wrote: View Post
I can understand Justman's shock over Roddenberry's pot use though, the guy had been a cop, law and order and all that stuff.

Joe Friday on Dragnet in the early 50s made it sound like if you smoked pot, the next step was heroin.
Well I think I saw somewhere that its thought a lot of his later health issues were brought on by cocaine use, so perhaps that isn't half wrong. But on the audiobook version Justman does some parodies of Gene that I felt should have been edited out.
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Old July 20 2014, 05:29 PM   #7
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Re: Desilu

^My impression is that Roddenberry's drug addiction problems in his later years involved prescription medications.
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Old July 20 2014, 05:35 PM   #8
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Re: Desilu

I've not been able to find my copy of Inside Star Trek for a while, but doesn't Herb Solow tell a story about finding Lucille Ball sweeping the soundstages in preparation for a party?
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Old July 20 2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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Re: Desilu

Melakon wrote: View Post
I've not been able to find my copy of Inside Star Trek for a while, but doesn't Herb Solow tell a story about finding Lucille Ball sweeping the soundstages in preparation for a party?
I think Justman talked about that. I think it happened at the end filming of the last second season episode? Lucy wanted to celebrate with a big party but the filming was going slow and she asked Justman how could she help. He said, I think sarcastically but she didn't get that, that if she would sweep in front of the camera dolly it would be a big help.

Oh I was totally wrong Christopher got it
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Old July 20 2014, 05:52 PM   #10
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Re: Desilu

Melakon wrote: View Post
I've not been able to find my copy of Inside Star Trek for a while, but doesn't Herb Solow tell a story about finding Lucille Ball sweeping the soundstages in preparation for a party?
It's not specifically attributed to Solow (not in bold type as the personal reminiscences are), but there's an account on p. 85 of how the last day of filming on the second pilot was met with delays because the sand on the set kept blowing over the camera dolly tracks, creating the risk that the production would have to run over schedule and budget.
Justman and Solow, seeing the problem, grabbed brooms and resolutely swept the scattered sand from the dolly track after each shot. Suddenly, they noticed another broom was in the act. They looked up and into the equally resolute face of Lucille Ball, as she determinedly swept away. Brandishing her broom, Lucy approached [director James] Goldstone. "What do I have to do to get you to finish?" Then she looked back at Solow and Justman and smiled. "What I won't do to get the wrap party started!"
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Old July 20 2014, 07:22 PM   #11
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Re: Desilu

I also remember a story that Lucy was first under the impression that Star Trek was going to be some kind of televised travelling variety show centered on guest stars. Something about entertaining troops?
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Old July 20 2014, 07:33 PM   #12
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Re: Desilu

sojourner wrote: View Post
I also remember a story that Lucy was first under the impression that Star Trek was going to be some kind of televised travelling variety show centered on guest stars. Something about entertaining troops?
Close, but not exactly. Given her background as an entertainer, what the title Star Trek suggested to her when she first heard it was a period drama about the movie stars who had traveled (trekked) with the USO to entertain troops in distant parts of the world during WWII. Not an actual traveling variety show, but a historical drama about traveling entertainers. It led to some confusion when she asked Solow about the USO-themed show he'd proposed and he couldn't remember proposing any such show. It wasn't until she mentioned the title Star Trek that he realized the source of the confusion.
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Old July 20 2014, 08:40 PM   #13
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Re: Desilu

Ah, there we go. I knew it was something like that.
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Old July 21 2014, 03:02 AM   #14
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Re: Desilu

Fantastic book that "Inside Star Trek". I just read it a few weeks back.

I thought Justman and Roddenberry were damn close?
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Old July 21 2014, 03:26 AM   #15
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Re: Desilu

EnriqueH wrote: View Post
I thought Justman and Roddenberry were damn close?
I'm not sure. But you can be close to someone without being blind to their faults or becoming an enabler. I think Roddenberry was probably harmed by the tightly knit clique of loyalists that protected him at all costs; people willing to confront him honestly about his faults and problems might have been able to do more to help him.
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