1. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. Otto Harkaman

    Otto Harkaman Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. Otto Harkaman

    Otto Harkaman Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^My impression is that Roddenberry's drug addiction problems in his later years involved prescription medications.
     
  8. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  9. Otto Harkaman

    Otto Harkaman Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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 :)
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  13. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, there we go. I knew it was something like that.
     
  14. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    I thought Justman and Roddenberry were damn close?
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Isn't it common to be friendly with some people at work without actually being "friends"?
     
  17. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    Based on this work as well as several other reliable sources, Gene Roddenberry was apparently a person with a few significant personality flaws: a little fast and loose with the truth, someone who on occasion took credit for the work of others, etc.

    Justman and Solow were both instrumental in bringing Star Trek to the small screen and keeping it there, at least for the first two seasons. It's obvious that Roddenberry's tendency to not readily publicly acknowledge the key roles of others (Gene Coon included) has hurt some feelings over the years.

    Personally, I think Justman and Solow are simply telling us their vantage of the whole story of GR, rather than the simplistic "Roddenberry is the wonderful altruistic idealist visionary who thought up everything having to do with Star Trek" so common in fandom sources.
     
  18. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In the last few months of reading, (again, I've been binge reading tons of non-fiction Star Trek books this year), I've read a bit about Roddenberry taking credit for stuff.

    But I've also read and heard (in interviews) Roddenberry giving credit to other writers for enhancing and adding to the world of Star Trek.

    So I'm a bit confused as to why there's a massive amount of criticism aimed at Roddenberry for refusing to credit others, when I've actually read/heard Roddenberry giving that credit.

    Can someone illuminate me here?

    At this point, I have to believe that while Roddenberry may have AT TIMES taken credit, there have also been occasions when he has given that credit.

    So I have to believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    :vulcan:
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Sometimes he was generous, for instance, giving Harlan Ellison sole credit for "City on the Edge of Forever" (though that may have been about taking advantage of the prestige of Ellison's name among science fiction fans). But on the other hand, in an ideal world, the creator credits for ST:TNG would say "Created by Gene Roddenberry, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, and Robert H. Justman," or something like that.

    I don't think that Roddenberry really intended to deny others fair treatment. But he did tend to aggrandize himself, which he may not have realized was often to the detriment of others.
     
  20. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    There was a 70s era LP called Inside Star Trek (I think) where it was just Roddenberry talking about the show. One moment I remember is him discussing the invention of the Klingons. He doesn't specifically say Gene Coon invented them, only that "we' did. It did seem a bit odd to me, though maybe there was a bullpen session before Coon came up with the story.