Did Roddenberry Really Write "The Cage"?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by CoveTom, May 10, 2014.

  1. Campe98

    Campe98 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. Campe98

    Campe98 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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!
     
  5. Campe98

    Campe98 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why not? Solow's still alive. If one had the right connection, those questions could be asked.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But there is still no proof. We can ask all the questions we want. But are we going to trust the answers without proof?
     
  7. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Eyewitness testimony is sometimes the least reliable. Even if Solow's not grinding an axe it sounds like a suspicion on his part that can't be taken too seriously. Without any kind of documentation you end up playing Glenn Beck's game of connect the dots. Again, I have no reason to defend Roddenberry or belittle Solow it's just that there doesn't seem to be anything really substantive here.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    We like to assume that other people -- and we ourselves -- behave in consistent and predictable ways, so if someone does something that seems out of character -- like, say, writes a script that's much better than his usual work -- we have a hard time believing they could've really done it. But sometimes people are harder to pin down than that, and there's more to them than we thought we knew. If the only "evidence" Solow has is that he doesn't think Roddenberry could write that well on his own, it isn't really evidence of anything but Solow's beliefs about Roddenberry. We'd need another source before it would be worth taking seriously.
     
  9. Campe98

    Campe98 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    *shrugs* Fair enough. :)
     
  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    With Close Encounters, those writers may not have been credited, but they were paid. Nobody was paid to write the first pilot except for Roddenberry.

    I'm not sure I see the quid pro quo of Roddenberry messing up a pilot sale, lying about his position, and getting a free draft out of Rolfe.

    I see Peeples providing the help we know he gave out of friendship, but actually writing for free? I don't see it. And, if this complaint had any merit, one would think Engel would have included it in his biography.

    One last point. Earlier in the thread, I wrote that Solow was probably confused. This seems to have been interpreted as "senile," but that was not my intention. My intention was more along the lines of what Christopher was saying.
     
  11. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I'd concede Solow could be confused ... he sure didn't seem to understand the whole Ellison/Ingalls thing as (mis)reported in IST.

    But the fact that he mentions this other writer in such a specific fashion kind of, well ... begs explanation.

    Nobody was paid to write the pilot but GR ... well, if it were an under-the-table thing, he'd be writing the check or paying out cash to the unnamed party, just like any other kind of subcontracting done in any industry, whether it happens to be legal, ethical or otherwise.

    Solow's website, which I guess was about selling or pitching scripts, seems inactive since 2006, and I don't have access to imdbpro anymore, so I don't know how one would go about contacting him. Any ideas, anyone?

    The way I considered the Rolfe thing (which I wrote up as I came across it, not with any real thought, admittedly) was that he could have done GR the favor of looking at or touching up or however you want to describe the supposed help on CAGE, with an eye toward GR producing a project of his. That just all nestled in place in my mind when I saw his credit for writing APRIL SAVAGE (had no idea he wrote that till this morning, I looked him up mainly because of the HAVE GUN stories.)

    Sometimes when we get some new nugget, I can't help but do a minor league equivalent to what is referred to in SE7EN about Morgan Freeman's character getting interested in a case, the 'don't even get your big brain going on this.'

    In part that's because in dramatic terms, this would be something bigger than ROSEBUD to hang a history of Trek or GR biopic on, and the idea of doing something with more depth than say RKO 281 has some appeal for me. I've already had one utter mess of a screenplay that I've kicked around for a very long time (not the formation of ILM one, that is actually edging toward completion) that is a wholly fictitious spin on Wise and Welles in the late 70s, where the Wise character gets his 'comeuppance' by being stuck on a huge disaster of a studio project.

    To show how nothing goes in a straight line, the idea is actually a bastardization of a QUANTUM LEAP story I tried to write, with a politically motivated Welles-like director in 1964 (I was thinking Kubrick but with Welles' self-destructive tendencies) who can either make his dream project and destroy his career or take the safe road and be set for life.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Everyone seems to ignore that Gene won a WGA Award for an episode of Have Gun, Will Travel (link), so he wasn't exactly talentless, even if some of his later Star Trek and post Trek work wasn't exactly great.

    Here's something interesting. It appears that the only aired episode of his The Lieutenant that Roddenberry has screen credit for as writer is the final episode. And that episode was expanded into a feature for international sale by shooting additional footage, sort of like the idea apparently floated for turning The Cage into a feature.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  13. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So would I get excoriated here if I suggested that I actually thought Larson's writing on Knight Rider was well above the "schlock" level? :) I'm speaking specifically about the pilot, "Knight of the Phoenix," because even though he was credited as executive producer for the entire run, Larson himself admits he had little involvement in the show after the first few episodes.

    I'm not prepared to argue that Knight Rider rose to the level of writing in "The Cage," but I wouldn't classify it as schlock either. I thought it was actually quite good, and the dialogue (since you mention dialogue specifically) seemed reasonably well-written to me. Yes, the show was full of that trademark 1980's action/adventure quality, but I wouldn't call it schlock.
     
  14. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    10/10 for the imagination...but for the demonstration itself....I mean there's not strong connection, only a link between the Sollow's impression and the GR's "bad reputation" or perhaps your idea about him. (Damn, I feel like the police chief/chief editor who doesn't believe the hero.)
     
  15. Campe98

    Campe98 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks for the compliment... I think. ;) I really do wish I had the time to look into this a little more deeply. But I don't have the time or the resources to dig and really try to get to the bottom of it.
     
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Are there any serious resources on HAVE GUN? I wondered about the show for years, then spent a ridiculous amount of money getting a couple dozen of them on VHS in the 90s, and found some quite good, others not so much. i'm wondering about his win show, whether there's any indication how or if it was rewritten by staff. I only bring it up because if Gerrold had gotten another half-dozen votes for TRIBBLES in the Hugos, I'm guessing he'd've charged up there and given half the credit to Gene Coon (at least that is what he does in that TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES book.)
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Roddenberry was Have Gun Will Travel's most prolific freelancer.

    I know there are a ton of papers related to the series in the LA area, but I haven't gone through them.
     
  18. ToddPence

    ToddPence Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Funny that you used that phrase in connection with a conspiracy theory. Just the other day, I was having an argument about the JFK assassination with a conspiracy theorist and also invoked Occam's Razor, saying that the simplest explanation is that Oswald acted alone.
     
  19. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    That's too simplistic to be the simplest explanation.

    It just doesn't take into account too many aspects (time to fire the shots, position, head wound, Connelly's or the House Select Committee finding that there were FOUR shots (shades of CHAINS OF COMMAND there.)

    Also, once you decide there was a conspiracy, it stops being simple, because you're adding so many variables. I gave up on the notion of Oswald shooting anybody -- even the officer -- well before JFK came out, and was probably clear on him not shooting Kennedy when coming out of a theater playing EXECUTIVE ACTION, which came out back when I was a teenager.
     
  20. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So, did Beria killed Stalin?