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

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Old May 13 2008, 02:23 AM   #1
TheLonelySquire
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Roddenberry was a dirtbag

I'm rereading Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (Solow and Justman) and while he certainly did have a vision, he also was a complete lowlife scumbag.

How many women did he cheat on while married twice? Countless. His boozing and pill popping are legendary. He also was proud of his philandering ways.

He was just a man of low, low moral fiber.

Just sad.
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Old May 13 2008, 02:32 AM   #2
Mr. Fergy
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

^This doesn't surprise me, he slept with at least 2 of the TOS originals while cheating on his wife. One was Nurse Chapel (Of course he later married) 2.) Rumor has it was Nichelle Nichols, go figure! It must be great to be "The man" back in the day too bad it was immoral.
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Old May 13 2008, 02:32 AM   #3
James Bond
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

B-B-But Gene's vision. ... Utopia. ... Canon.

Don't rape people's childhoods TLS.
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Old May 13 2008, 02:34 AM   #4
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

James Bond wrote: View Post
B-B-But Gene's vision. ... Utopia. ... Canon.
Riiighht. And a letter writing campaign, that Gene had nothing to do with (Allegedly), led to TOS not being cancelled.
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Old May 13 2008, 02:38 AM   #5
MeanJoePhaser
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

So? Other people that some people call great were druggies, alkies and cheaters.

And besides, maybe if Roddenberry was a rottenberry, it was in his genes.
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Old May 13 2008, 02:48 AM   #6
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

Mr. Fergy wrote: View Post
^This doesn't surprise me, he slept with at least 2 of the TOS originals while cheating on his wife. One was Nurse Chapel (Of course he later married) 2.) Rumor has it was Nichelle Nichols, go figure! It must be great to be "The man" back in the day too bad it was immoral.
Like I say, people bag on Braga, but Braga was more true to Gene's personality than anyone else I can think of on the production team.
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Old May 13 2008, 04:22 AM   #7
darkwing_duck1
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

He was also an incredible opportunist when it came to money and stealing credit.

He wrote the infamous "lyrics" for the theme so he could steal half the royalty money from Alex Courage.

He came up with the "IDIC" and foisted it off on Leonard Nimoy at the last minute while filming "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" so he could sell duplicates through his private licensing operation.

In all his speachmaking down through the years after TOS, he virtually NEVER mentions the fact that most of the "most beloved" things in Trek were actually thought up by others. To hear him talk, you'd think he wrote the show singlehanded, as he doesn't mention his co-producers, his writers, etc. This tendency to glom onto credits (and often associated monies) wound up getting Paramount in trouble with the Writers' Guild during Next Gen, and is why DC Fontana and David Gerrald LEFT shortly after the first season.

For all he was quick to take credit, he was a lazy writer/producer when he wasn't being pushed...witness the story about Justman that when he needed to get something done from Gene he'd have to go stand on his desk (LITERALLY) until he'd get it done.

He could also be terribly vindictive if he felt himself crossed. Witness the way he turned on Franz Joseph after Paramount did an end run around him (Gene) to produce the Tech Manual. Witness the way he and his little brown-nosing remora fish Richard Arnold RUINED the tie-in products for nearly a decade with their ham-fisted restrictions.
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Old May 13 2008, 05:27 AM   #8
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

Well..he WAS a Hollywood Producer.... All the stories about "The casting couch" have a basis in fact throughout Hollywood from the 1910's at least till the 80's (and in isolated cases beyond that)..

So he was not all sweetness and light...neither are many people in Hollywood or beyond...


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Old May 13 2008, 05:33 AM   #9
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
To hear him talk, you'd think he wrote the show singlehanded [...] For all he was quick to take credit, he was a lazy writer/producer when he wasn't being pushed
Good thing he didn't write the show singlehandedly; else it would be nothing more than one "demented deity" story after another.
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Old May 13 2008, 05:39 AM   #10
Star Treks
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

I just want to jump in and say that there are plenty of people out there who were a lot worse than GR, and I think in the long run his contributions to the world outweigh whatever negatives might be ascribed to him. Hell, Wagner was an anti-semite, but that doesn't mean that he didn't make a huge impact on the history of Western music.

Besides, I think a lot of the negativity directed towards GR comes from those who don't buy into his frankly anti-religionist point of view (which I happen to agree with).

I'm not an expert on him or anything, but I don't think he deserves a stream of unabated bashing here on a message board dedicated to something that wouldn't exist without him. Dammit.
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Old May 13 2008, 06:41 AM   #11
number6
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

I think he was a typical Hollywood Producer of the 60s.
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Old May 13 2008, 07:35 AM   #12
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

Yeah, I've never understood the Roddenberry cult of personality, myself. I give him points for putting the thing together in the first place. I give him points for packaging it and selling it to the network.

I can't give him much credit for being an overly imaginative writer of SF-flavored television; 'Captain Kirk has a fistfight with God' wears thin fast, and 'crew visits planet which curiously resembles something out of Earth's history and can therefore be conveniently shot using sets, costumes, and props that just happened to be lying about the studio backlot' is a clever conceit from a TV production point of view but a little weak in SF/literary merit. I think the only one of GR's storytelling peccadillos that does not grow tiresome with me is his fascination with sex and beautiful women, because hey, I'm a guy.

And no, I can't give him a lot of credit as an admirable human being, for reasons already cited in the OP.

He was a TV producer, and one of middling quality at best; he was far better as a salesman. Seems to me that he got the message that no one was too interested in buying what he had to sell (literally and figuratively) after TOS; all he had to his credit was a string of pilots that never got off the ground. He caught lightning in a bottle with Trek, and the limit of his 'vision' seems to me to be that he recognized that people did like Star Trek, and since actually producing television programs was no longer a steady paycheck for him he could parlay being The Great Bird Of The Galaxy, The Visionary Creator Of Star Trek into a paying prospect. So he reinvented himself as the Great Humanist Dreamer.

The thing is, the vast majority of what I like about Star Trek happens to be stuff that other people dreamed up--Gene Coon, Dorothy Fontana, Theodore Sturgeon, et. al. If you want to know what pure 100% Roddenberry Trek looks like, watch "The Cage" (pretty good, but with clunky bits here and there), TMP (I like it, and a lot of other folks do, but it's far from universally beloved), and first season TNG (well, er, least said soonest mended). And I think part of that is because Roddenberry started buying into his own PR. There's kind of a steady downward slope you can plot by connecting those three points, and I suspect it's inversely proportional (if that's not mixing mathematical metaphors too egregiously) to how much he believed he was The Great Visionary. Star Trek went from being (intended as) a workable idea for an entertaining TV show, with a bit of substance at its core (Hornblower in Space/Wagon Train to the Stars, with the added wrinkle of using SF concepts to tell stories about socially relevant issues under the network radar) to being some kind of weird Gospel According To Gene about how wonderful and perfect (and therefore devoid of dramatic conflict or much useful storytelling potential) everyone will be in the future.

I guess I can't blame the man. Given the choice, I'd far rather be perceived by the public as this wonderful visionary prophet than as a womanizing, pill-popping boozehound of a TV producer, too.

But we all know that GR was only one of those two things, no matter how much he'd have preferred we believe otherwise (and how much some people still want to see him).
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Old May 13 2008, 07:46 AM   #13
PsychoDan
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

Star Treks wrote: View Post
Wagner was an anti-semite, but that doesn't mean that he didn't make a huge impact on the history of Western music.
Hey, I like Star Trek too -- well, some of it. But the implied comparison to Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Der Ring des Nibelungen, etc.? ... sorry, no. Not even close. That's like comparing The Monkees to Beethoven.

Star Treks wrote: View Post
Besides, I think a lot of the negativity directed towards GR comes from those who don't buy into his frankly anti-religionist point of view (which I happen to agree with).
I'm a hard-core atheist, actually (although I think Roddenberry took it too far sometimes; I'll certainly acknowledge religion's contributions to our culture). But religion really doesn't enter into it for me. Admittedly, I'm somewhat iconoclastic when it comes to Roddenberry, but when someone has been deified to a ridiculous extreme as he has been by some Trekkies, it takes some bashing just to achieve a balanced and honest perspective.
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Old May 13 2008, 07:59 AM   #14
Star Treks
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

PsychoDan wrote: View Post
Star Treks wrote: View Post
Wagner was an anti-semite, but that doesn't mean that he didn't make a huge impact on the history of Western music.
Hey, I like Star Trek too -- well, some of it. But the implied comparison to Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Der Ring des Nibelungen, etc.? ... sorry, no. Not even close. That's like comparing The Monkees to Beethoven.
Unfortunately, your response commits almost the same egregious insult to Beethoven by implying a comparative level between him and - P'Tagh! - Wagner.
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Old May 13 2008, 09:12 AM   #15
blaXXer
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Re: Roddenberry was a dirtbag

ElScoob wrote: View Post
Yeah, I've never understood the Roddenberry cult of personality, myself. I give him points for putting the thing together in the first place. I give him points for packaging it and selling it to the network.

I can't give him much credit for being an overly imaginative writer of SF-flavored television; 'Captain Kirk has a fistfight with God' wears thin fast, and 'crew visits planet which curiously resembles something out of Earth's history and can therefore be conveniently shot using sets, costumes, and props that just happened to be lying about the studio backlot' is a clever conceit from a TV production point of view but a little weak in SF/literary merit. I think the only one of GR's storytelling peccadillos that does not grow tiresome with me is his fascination with sex and beautiful women, because hey, I'm a guy.

And no, I can't give him a lot of credit as an admirable human being, for reasons already cited in the OP.

He was a TV producer, and one of middling quality at best; he was far better as a salesman. Seems to me that he got the message that no one was too interested in buying what he had to sell (literally and figuratively) after TOS; all he had to his credit was a string of pilots that never got off the ground. He caught lightning in a bottle with Trek, and the limit of his 'vision' seems to me to be that he recognized that people did like Star Trek, and since actually producing television programs was no longer a steady paycheck for him he could parlay being The Great Bird Of The Galaxy, The Visionary Creator Of Star Trek into a paying prospect. So he reinvented himself as the Great Humanist Dreamer.

The thing is, the vast majority of what I like about Star Trek happens to be stuff that other people dreamed up--Gene Coon, Dorothy Fontana, Theodore Sturgeon, et. al. If you want to know what pure 100% Roddenberry Trek looks like, watch "The Cage" (pretty good, but with clunky bits here and there), TMP (I like it, and a lot of other folks do, but it's far from universally beloved), and first season TNG (well, er, least said soonest mended). And I think part of that is because Roddenberry started buying into his own PR. There's kind of a steady downward slope you can plot by connecting those three points, and I suspect it's inversely proportional (if that's not mixing mathematical metaphors too egregiously) to how much he believed he was The Great Visionary. Star Trek went from being (intended as) a workable idea for an entertaining TV show, with a bit of substance at its core (Hornblower in Space/Wagon Train to the Stars, with the added wrinkle of using SF concepts to tell stories about socially relevant issues under the network radar) to being some kind of weird Gospel According To Gene about how wonderful and perfect (and therefore devoid of dramatic conflict or much useful storytelling potential) everyone will be in the future.

I guess I can't blame the man. Given the choice, I'd far rather be perceived by the public as this wonderful visionary prophet than as a womanizing, pill-popping boozehound of a TV producer, too.

But we all know that GR was only one of those two things, no matter how much he'd have preferred we believe otherwise (and how much some people still want to see him).
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TheLonelySquire wrote: View Post
I'm rereading Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (Solow and Justman) and while he certainly did have a vision, he also was a complete lowlife scumbag.

How many women did he cheat on while married twice? Countless. His boozing and pill popping are legendary. He also was proud of his philandering ways.

He was just a man of low, low moral fiber.

Just sad.
I'd love to hang out with THAT Gene far more than with Utopia-Gene(tm), seriously, sounds like a fun guy
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