Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

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

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Those of us who were around when TOS was in first run (and were more than 5 years old), who actually remember how poorly Star Trek did in the ratings each season, will someday no longer be around to call Cushman's bullshit for what it is. At that point, his version will become accepted as fact.
     
  2. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    People believe emotionally first, then marshall evidence, or admit the evidence that confirms. Confirmation bias. Throw nature out with a pitchfork, she always returns with a vengeance.


    My favorites ever. Been reading interviews lately. Pete really better on git, "cast" as bass, ditto in reverse for Mike, Mickey ok on git, cast as "the drummer." He stands in front line now with the others.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I doubt that, because there are plenty of other sources out there, and plenty of other researchers who will be able to call out Cushman's errors as Harvey has done. It's not like Cushman's books are the only ones out there; ST is probably one of the most extensively written-about shows in TV history.

    And let's not forget that there were a number of myths accepted as fact for decades until they were finally challenged -- like the million-letter fan campaign (more like ten thousand) that "reversed" the show's cancellation (which was probably not going to happen anyway), or the myth that NBC didn't want a female first officer. A lot of fans and a lot of article writers still accept these myths uncritically, but the counterarguments and evidence are still out there.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fighting popular myth is difficult. In an interview a few years ago Matthew Weiner said he can't even get errors about Mad Men corrected on Wikipedia because said entries cite multiple sources for the inaccurate statements as references, but those webpages and articles are themselves unsourced or point to one another ergo the myths persist just because enough people have said so and point to each other in a circle.

    (Actually, I long ago figured out the trick for defanging myths on Wikipedia...you don't edit them out, you just directly address them as controversial via a "however, other sources contradict this..." and cite the sources, as in the entry on Frank Gorshin which now addresses the oft repeated myth that he was nominated for an Emmy for his Star Trek appearance and points to the Emmy's website to refute it, a la, "Contrary to popular rumor and articles[9][10][11] Gorshin was not Emmy nominated for this role.[12]")
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  5. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Gorshin was nominated for Batman.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I've been spending the past several weeks pulling a lot of documents, but doing very little writing. One of those documents was Steven Carabatsos' draft of "The City on the Edge of Forever," which is an interesting chapter in the development of that episode.

    Dave Eversole was nice enough to do a lengthy review and summary of it, which I have made available here (it's also available on Orion Press, although the version on my blog has been slightly edited per Dave's wishes).

    Haven't been able to find my white whale in regards to "City" yet (that would be Harlan Ellison's complete Dec. 1, 1966 draft; only the teaser and first act have been made available), but I'll keep looking.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Interesting read. I hadn't been aware of that draft. Unfortunately I'm not familiar enough with the earlier drafts to know what was new in this one.

    It's actually rather disturbing, the idea that the hatemongering thug Keefer is the one on the right side of history. It casts America's role in WWII in a rather negative light, implying that it was just about beating up on foreigners. Which it probably was for a lot of people -- certainly there was some profound racism in American attitudes toward the Japanese -- but ultimately that kind of violent xenophobia was what we realized we were fighting against once we saw the horrors of Nazi genocide. Anyway, it's clear why they didn't go with this draft (even aside from the confusing name choice, Keefer/Keeler).
     
  8. telerites

    telerites Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks for sharing that Steven Carabatsos' draft of "The City on the Edge of Forever". Never knew about it.
     
  9. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Thank you, Harvey. I tried to post a comment on your blog but I couldn't.

    I just want to say, wow that's bad. Compared to the original, what I've seen of it, or the final filmed version, this one is a stinker on all sides. I could see why Ellison would be angry if this is what he saw his story turned into. Ugh. I do really like the final filmed version, but this barely resembles it.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I wouldn't mind seeing a systematic list of all the known drafts, who wrote them, and what plot points they had that differed from one another. Something that would give a sense of what elements of the final episode came from which writer. But that might require a whole book to cover.
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Steven Carabatsos draft is bad, no question.

    Having read two different treatments by Ellison, it's obvious that some of the blame for the script's troubled development does land squarely at the feet of the writing staff. Ellison's first draft script is pretty much what his treatment is, so they got what they approved story-wise. My guess is that at the point Ellison did his treatments they hadn't quite figured out the tone of the show and by the time his script came in they had settled on some things which the staff found incompatible with the story they'd bought. For instance, if they had a problem with a drug dealing crewman on the ship they could have squashed it back at the first treatment stage, but they didn't. They changed their minds after approving the story.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, surely that's their prerogative, to refine the show while they work on it. I'm sure similar issues crop up with first-season scripts on many shows, while the writers try things out and feel their way toward what the show will be.
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not saying it isn't their prerogative... it's part of the process certainly, but from these documents one can see the seeds of the script's troubled history and bad blood, e.g. why Ellison would get P.O.ed at Roddenberry for his later tall-tale telling about "he had my Scotty dealing drugs!"... as if he'd come up with this unacceptable thing when they had approved a drug dealer character in the first place.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    From what I can tell, though, the "Scotty dealing drugs" thing wasn't said until 1987, twenty years after the fact. When I was growing up, all I ever heard anyone involved with Trek say about Ellison's "City" was that it was a beautiful, brilliant script that simply couldn't be filmed on a TV budget. And yet Ellison's complaints about the writing process on the episode, and his attacks on the producers of ST, date back to the '60s. At first he was one of its staunchest supporters, but after "City," he was denouncing it as just one more piece of television schlock.
     
  15. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    I don't know how accurate this is but this is what Cushman has published:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What can you guys tell me about Steve Carabatsos?

    As I recall, Shatner's Trek Memories featured an interview with Majel, who stated that he "functioned well" but something was off. Now, mind you, this is from my memory of the audiobook, which I've heard on a few occasions, so the book may elaborate and I might need to consult it.

    But do any of you have any more info on this? So far, the books I've been reading haven't really explored this.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thanks, but I was more interested in the content of the drafts, what story elements and differences they had.
     
  18. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    ^^^That would be a good article... Maurice, Harvey?

    Sir Rhosis
     
  19. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Carabatsos. Not much info is out there. He's still alive, around 75, really didn't write a lot of television. Thirteen or so credits (this is as a writer, not credits for his staff positions). He did write the only episode of THE BIG VALLEY that I ever rewatch, entitled "Court Martial" -- good piece of television, far superior to the Trek episode of the same title. I believe it is on Youtube.

    Sir Rhosis
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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