Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Harvey, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There aren't any quotation marks around Fontana's name in that memo (see The Making of Star Trek, p. 165). You may be conflating it with a memo referring to first-season story editor John D.F. Black, whom he referred to as John "D.F." Black and jokingly accused of ripping off Dorothy Fontana's initials. I can't seem to find the page that one's on, though.


    All I know is what's on the CD set, which I believe is correct: the first season used the electric-violin version arranged by Courage followed by the cello version arranged by Steiner, and the soprano version arr. Courage was used in season 2 and again (in a new performance conducted by Wilbur Hatch) in season 3. So this seems to be a case where Justman & Solow simply got it wrong.
     
  2. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Is it possible they confused a decision about the end title arrangement with the main title? There seems to be several variations on that as well.

    I'd check the episodes themselves, but my Blu-Ray sets are in storage (and their soundtracks are not quite the same as the original broadcasts; as far as I know those are only available on Laser Disc, which I don't have access to) and on Netflix the main title is the one newly recorded for the remastered versions in 2006.*

    *I think that's the right date.

    Solow repeats this story about dropping the soprano version in his Archive of American Television interview (from 2008).
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, the end title variations correspond to the main title ones -- after all, it would've made sense to record them in the same sessions.


    Sometimes people forget the order in which two things happened. A while back I saw an interview with Leonard Nimoy from a few years ago in which he talked about his time on Mission: Impossible, and one of the numerous factual errors in his recollections was his claim that Lesley Ann Warren was his co-star in the first of the two seasons he did, when in fact it was the second. Given the choice between an oral account decades after the fact and documentation from the time, you go for the documentation. The people who put together the soundtrack box set had access to the original master tapes, sheet music, documentation, and written records -- that's about as primary a source as it's possible to get. Solow just seems to have been going from memory. There were other claims in the book that he backed up with documents and records from the time, but this doesn't seem to have been one of them. The box set's ordering of the title cues is based on primary documents, so it's the more reliable source.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One thing I do like about Inside Star Trek is the almost casually conversational tone of the whole book. While you're reading it, you really do feel like you're at a table with Solow and Justman, just listening to their recollections of events.
     
  5. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The soprano was heard in the main title for the first pilot, but dropped until season 2. They probably just misremembered the timing.
     
  6. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're right, but for some reason, they switched back to the 2nd season end titles for the last few episodes of the 3rd season.

    Sadly none of the video releases restored the electric violin end titles to the episodes that had the e.v. main theme. When the DVDs stuck the first orchestration on the earlier episodes, they left the end credits as the cello version. Not counting Where No Man Has Gone Before, of course, which always carried it before TOS-R. I understand the DVD electric violin version placement isn't correct anyway.

    Strange they didn't have documentation for that. Or they were just so certain of their recollections, they didn't bother to check. However, it does seem they misremembered a few things about the music, specifically. Even though we have the CDs now, it was always easy to just pop in an episode to see what music went where and who composed it (i.e. Sandy Courage and the third season).
     
  7. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You are quite correct Christopher, I definitely appear to have got those two instances mixed up in my mind. It shows how easily it can happen though, I suppose. :)
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I case anyone is interested, I've spun off the idea of this thread into a blog. My current plan is to post a new topic once a week, work (and ideas) permitting.

    http://startrekfactcheck.blogspot.com/

    I've written a handful of things for blogs run by other people, but I've never run a blog myself, so input is always welcome.

    I currently have posts on "The Great Phaser Caper," "The Roddenberry-Courage Feud?," and "The Origins of the Stardate System" in the works.
     
  9. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Excellent stuff. One thing I wasn't expecting when I started my blog was how interactive it's become, not just with people commenting but also sending informations, scans of material I didn't have and even art inspired by a tounge in cheek attempt to create a rubbish meme. I've found it a good way of restoring my faith in people on the internet and hope you get you get to experience similar support with yours.
     
  10. SpHeRe31459

    SpHeRe31459 Captain Captain

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    Very cool :)
     
  11. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    I look forward to reading it weekly.

    Sir Rhosis
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks, everyone. The hardest part -- which I haven't been able to fully resist -- is not going back and tweaking the posts once they are up over and over again.
     
  13. Mister Atoz

    Mister Atoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Wouldn't that mean also that Roddenberry and Courage would get royalties ANYTIME the Star Trek theme was even QUOTED throughout the score music composed by the other composers?? Bit and pieces of the main theme get quoted all the time, as we all know. But surely the royalties on the opening and closing themes are the highest.

    I am an ASCAP member myself, but I believe lyric music pays far higher royalties than instrumental music. I'm glad Roddenberry was able to make such an arrangement, despite its evident overtness. I'm sure the royalties from the music helped sustain him through the lean years of the 70s.

    It's funny, I have scanned Fred Steiner's large article "Music for Star Trek -- Scoring a Television Show in the Sixties" and I found no mention of the lyrics or the royalties in the Star Trek theme.

    ~ Mister Atoz
     
  14. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Lean years..I wonder how much he made from the Animated Series.

    Odd, since GR shoehorning his way into the theme must have come up on occasion.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sure, I wasn't saying the sheet music was the only thing he got royalties for. But at the time, nobody had any idea how successful the show would be, how often it would get rerun in syndication or how many movies and sequel series it would spawn that would reuse the theme. In fact, the whole reason he horned in on the theme music, so the story goes, was as a hedge against the show's failure. He didn't expect to make any profit from the show itself (or at least was cautious enough to prepare for the possibility that he wouldn't), so he added lyrics to the theme so that he could at least make a few bucks from sheet music sales -- which, if the show had bombed, would've been his only real hope of seeing any profit from it.


    Well, there's a credit for them on the CD box set notes whenever that theme is quoted, yes. Even on Courage episode scores, the cues that use the theme melody have an asterisk and a footnote crediting Courage and Roddenberry for the theme. And as a rule, being credited for something means getting a royalty/residual for it.
     
  16. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    Probably not much. Animated shows weren't covered by any guild agreements in the 70s, so it was entirely up to the production companies how much to pay. Also it only lasted 22 episodes, not enough to be stripped weekly. Without syndication fees, the show likely did not make much for itself either.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^TAS was syndicated here and there over the years. I definitely remember seeing it at various times after its network run ended.

    I always thought it would've made sense to add TAS to the TOS syndication package -- add 11 pairs of episodes to the 79 TOS installments (since "The Cage" hadn't been released yet) and have a 90-hour package. If that had happened, maybe audiences would've been more accepting of TAS as an integral piece of the whole. But I guess a lot of viewers wouldn't have been as interested in an animated show. And since TAS was produced and part-owned by Filmation, the rights situation would probably have been different. Although that problem would've gone away once Filmation dissolved and Paramount acquired full ownership of TAS.
     
  18. Mister Atoz

    Mister Atoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    What this in effect means is that (just about) anytime the Enterprise appears, the music royalties put money in Roddenberry's pocket. As I recall, one of the things that Steiner mentioned is that whenever the Enterprise appeared, the familiar 8 note phrase would be played in some form. That was in the compositional /music editorial rule book.

    ~ Atoz
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    At a certain point, Roddenberry's claim that he wasn't going to make any money from Star Trek doesn't hold water. As the show's producer during the first broadcast season (1966-67), he was paid $3,000 per episode and had an annual guarantee of at least $85,000. That doesn't include his payment for writing or re-writing scripts.

    It's reasonable to assume that Roddenberry was worried about his bottom line before the series was picked up, which happened in February of 1966, but isn't the income from sheet music sales pretty much zero when the music is for a television series nobody has seen (i.e. a failed pilot)?

    In other words, if the show wasn't picked up, the value of half the music royalties for the theme would be almost nothing. If it was picked up, Roddenberry's income was such that he was making a sizeable income from Star Trek. (Adjusted for inflation, his guaranteed salary alone would be almost $600,000 in 2012 dollars).

    You have to give the man credit, though. Given the show's success in syndication, Roddenberry's share of the theme music royalties must have been pretty helpful financially during the comparatively lean seventies.
     
  20. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    Pretty sure Gene was referring to what money he would be making once the show was over. Producer's fees are one time paychecks; no royalties with those.