Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

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

  1. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    Did Star Trek consciously avoid bringing back major guest stars within the same season, or can we only speculate on that? It obviously didn't affect minor characters like Kevin Riley.
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    re: Revisiting Starbase 11: I never had a problem with it at all. In fact, whether intentionally so or not, coming back to SB11 added to the verisimilitude of the show, as far as I was concerned, as I was willing to suppose that at that time that starbase was the one that the Enterprise was operating near/from.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Kevin Riley only reappeared because the actor was reused, though. The role in "The Conscience of the King" was originally a different character, but was changed to Riley after the same actor was cast.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Sure, but that's the point -- that the producers didn't have a problem with bringing back the same actor only a few weeks after, even for what was originally a different role. The question on the table is whether a '60s show's producers would have a problem with hiring a guest actor more than once per season.

    For what it's worth, I happen to know that season 2 of The Man from UNCLE had at least five guest actors that played two different character apiece in the course of the season. Although that struck me as unusual to do that so many times in one season. It was known to happen, but I think it was more typical for a recurring actor to be brought back no more than once a season as different characters.
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Right. Given the way Star Trek was produced (heavily reliant on freelancers, with at least one major staff writer - Black, Carabatsos, Coon, Fontana, Lucas - departing every thirteen episodes, episodes basically aired at the speed of post production - which didn't match production order) it makes total sense that when the show did a call back to previous episodes, it was usually a call back to something from the previous season.
     
  6. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Location:
    ssosmcin
    Quinn Martin used the same guest actors numerous times, some in the same season, as different characters. The Fugitive was rife with that.

    Irwin Allen did the same thing, using Paul Carr, John Hoyt, Malachi Throne, Kevin Hagen and John Crawford repeatedly in The Time Tunnel, which only ran one season.

    If that's relevant at all...
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Again, though, we're talking about casting, not writing -- about bringing back an actor as a new character, not about writing an older character into a new script. That's the point of the Bruce Hyde example, or the Barbara Baldavin example in "Shore Leave." In both cases, the character was scripted as a new character, but the same actor was hired, and it was only as a consequence of that casting decision that the character name was changed in the script.

    And in the Man from UNCLE examples I cited and the Quinn Martin and Irwin Allen examples Ssosmcin cited, we're talking about actors who did play two different characters in the course of a single season -- like Ed McCready playing two different roles in consecutive first-season episodes "Dagger of the Mind" and "Miri," or just two episodes apart in "Patterns of Force" and "The Omega Glory." Except with bigger actors more central to the episodes, like David Sheiner, Theo Marcuse, and Woodrow Parfrey in TMFU season 2, or the Time Tunnel guests mentioned in the previous post.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Sorry, I was mainly trying to follow up on Mel's point there. It is a pain in the as replying on my phone.
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    So, I've started posting the Orion Press content. If you haven't read these pieces before (the ones so far, all by our own Sir Rhosis), they're pretty fascinating, and not nearly as long-winded as my own writing!

    http://startrekfactcheck.blogspot.com/2015/06/unseen-trek-where-no-man-has-gone.html

    http://startrekfactcheck.blogspot.com/2015/02/unseen-trek-cage-revised-draft.html

    So this isn't all shameless self-promotion, I wanted to ask, how are these pieces so far displaying for everyone? Blogger is a somewhat limited platform in terms of formatting, but I've done my best to make it as clear as possible what's a script excerpt and what's commentary.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    The difference seems clear to me -- excerpts in normal text, commentary in italics. Although it's kind of weird in the case of the "Where No Man" post, where the whole item is in italics.
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Looks fine to me. I would suggest some sort of boilerplate intro slug to explain what these Unseen Trek pieces are.
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Quick question that I'm hoping wiser minds here can answer.

    Thanks to the generosity of the Los Angeles County Library system, this week I've taken upon the task of reading the third volume of These Are The Voyages.

    Not wanting to waste any time mucking up the historical record, after getting a newspaper quote out of his system, Cusman/Osborn open the book with his humdinger:

    "A television series saved from certain death by its fans. It had never happened before."

    I thought for sure the Shatner Memories book would include something along these lines, or maybe The Making of Star Trek, but after skimming both, neither make such a dramatic statement. My question is this -- is the notion that Star Trek's letter writing campaign and subsequent renewal was the first of its kind a claim that shows up in other Trek memoirs? Or is TATV simply breaking new (and, wrong) ground here?

    I've just done cursory research on this, but his week is shaping up to be a busy one, so I thought I'd ask.

    Still need to write that "Unseen Trek" intro. Busy, busy.
     
  13. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    I have not read it in some time, but I thought The World of Star Trek covered the letter writing campaign?
     
  14. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    I just dug through some newspaper archives (Boston Globe, NYTimes, Washington Post, Google News Archives) and couldn't find anything that said it was the first of its kind.

    Educated guess: Most book sources seem to stop short of saying "Star Trek was saved by fans" and tend to use vaguer language suggesting that fans contributed to the renewal of Star Trek.

    The newspaper articles are worded a bit differently and tend more toward crediting the role of the fans, but some are just as vague as most books.

    Pop culture websites, on the other hand, treat the idea that Star Trek was one of the first show to be "saved" by fans as a priori knowledge.

    Presumably at least some of the discrepancies here have to do with differences in the rigor of the editorial process for books, periodicals, and websites. I'd guess Cushman ran a quick Google search of "first show saved by fans" or something similar and found Star Trek on several lists and ran with it.
     
  15. Karzak

    Karzak Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I seem to recall Allan Asherman's STAR TREK COMPENDIUM book (the black cover edition, going up to STAR TREK V) suggesting that the fan letter-writing campaign was responsible for saving the show, but I can't back that up at the moment as I don't have my copy in front of me.

    It's also possible there's a mention of it in Takei's biography TO THE STARS. I had very few "making of" or "behind the scenes" books growing up, but I had those two and feel like I might be remembering this notion from one of them.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    As I understand it, the whole "ST was saved by the enormous fan letter-writing campaign" meme is a myth anyway. The "grassroots" campaign was orchestrated by Roddenberry, and it was far smaller than reported, a couple of orders of magnitude below the alleged million letters. Also, there's no proof that the show was actually in danger of cancellation to begin with. Its fate may have been undecided at the time of the letter campaign, but there's no evidence whatsoever that it wouldn't have been renewed anyway without the campaign. The fans did not "save" ST from cancellation. The announcement NBC made about the show's renewal was not "Okay, you win, we've changed our minds about cancelling the show" as it's been alleged to be in the myth; it was "Look, we're not going to cancel the show anyway, so stop wasting your time and ours with these unnecessary letters." Roddenberry manufactured the myth that the fans saved the show because he enjoyed the support of the fan community (and the money they paid to Lincoln Enterprises for Trek merchandise) and wanted to make them feel important.

    And really, if you think about it, every show that succeeds is "saved" by its fans, or at least by its audience in general, because they give it good ratings by watching it.
     
  17. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    I have the 1981 and 1993 editions in front of me and in both he stops short of saying that the fans were primarily responsible for the renewal but implies that they played a role in the decision.

    He cites a number of sources when re-telling the letter writing story, including a report from Newsday in which NBC admits receiving 16k letters of protest. Roddenberry claimed 6k a week. The same article has a quote from Roddenberry denying network accusations that he was responsible for the campaign.

    There's also a report from the NYT, cited by Asherman, that reports that the NYC affiliate interrupted a ST broadcast in 1969 to report election results and was flooded with calls. No numbers on how many though.

    The only reference he has with numbers for in person protests is a 1968 Newsweek article about 500 students from Cal Tech demonstrating at the NBC offices in Burbank.

    So, yeah, no evidence in the Compendium to support even 100k letters of support, and any in person demonstrations were relatively modest.

    Whether or not Roddenberry was behind the letter writing...maybe? Seems like that could be a rumor NBC started to discredit him (but why would they do that?), or he was behind it, or it was totally independent. That particular topic has been beaten to death, though, so there's no need to go into a detailed re=hashing.
     
  18. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    , i
    Some of the information above mirrors passages in The World of Star Trek (1973), including NBC telling TV Guide it had received 200,000 pieces of mail, Bjo Trimble informed that the overload of mail was so great, it was too much for NBC's machines to handle, but at the end of it all, on page 168, Trimble said:

    So, if one chooses to believe the Gerrold book and the references within, the letter-writing campaign was not organic, but orchestrated, whether Roddenbeerry admitted it or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    Justman and Solow seemed to think that Roddenberry was behind it per their book, Inside Star Trek.
     
  20. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2001
    Location:
    Sunny California
    All of this is fascinating, but the question still remains, "...is the notion that Star Trek's letter writing campaign and subsequent renewal was the first of its kind a claim that shows up in other Trek memoirs? Or is TATV simply breaking new (and, wrong) ground here?"

    Neil