Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Warped9, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Interesting, though if that were the meaning behind the use of the phrase when The Cage was canned any double meaning seems to have gotten lost by the time the regular series memos were being done as it keeps getting used in contexts where it seems to just straight up mean "Not enough action" rather than anything else. When it comes to anything "Inapropiate", be it it terms of sexual or violent content, both Robertson and (more usually, at least in terms of what's quoted in the book*) standards and practices seem quite happy to speak completely plainly.





    *Though I suppose that's the key phrase.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think it's so much that they were using "cerebral" as a find-and-replace substitution for "sexy" or anything -- just that they were focusing on their concerns about its lack of action and rarefied storyline as a cover for their unvoiced concerns about its sexuality. They had both concerns, but played one up in official memos and saved the other for more private conversations. Or so I'd interpret what IST says.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    This is a great find. Where'd you uncover it?

    According to the figures I've found*, which are close to (but not the same as) Cushman's figures, the first season of Star Trek cost, on average, $198,299.18 per episode (that goes up to $218,097.70 if you include the two pilot episodes).

    When you compare it to the cost of Bonanza in 1966-67 (keeping in mind that Bonanza, a hit, became more expensive while the money given to Star Trek was slashed with each season) I think it's safe to say that not only was Star Trek "in the same ballpark budget-wise as NBC's top-rated series," but it was actually quite a bit more expensive.

    (At least starting out; by the second season the two shows were about on part budget-wise and by the third season Bonanza was certainly more expensive than Star Trek -- although it still wasn't as expensive as Star Trek was in its first season.)

    *Consider these working figures, though; I still need to compare the documentation in the Roddenberry files with the documentation in the Justman files (both at UCLA).

    --

    I was hesitant to post anything, but the THESE ARE THE VOYAGES Facebook page says that Cushman, John D.F. Black, and Mary Black will be doing a Q&A after a screening of "The Naked Time" at the Burbank Public Library on Jan. 30. Scott Mantz is hosting. On the one hand, I'd like to ask all sorts of questions, but I don't think I'd be very welcome! :lol:
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    By the way, has anyone else noticed the weird changes at the Jacobs Brown Press website? Robert Jacobs is gone from the staff page, and now the site lists a number of "Books By" the publisher that were clearly published by other outfits.

    --

    I'm confused here; is Cushman trying to claim that a piece of fan art is actually something official that was cancelled in the '70s?
     
  5. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    For all the talk of it being 'too cerebral,' Solow and Justman make the case that NBC almost certainly rejected "The Cage" mainly for it's sexual undertones, combined with the lack of action for a show billed as "an action-adventure show."

    According to their book, Solow recalled an NBC exec telling him when NBC agreed to fund a second pilot, (paraphrasing) 'and no more green dancing girls with the bumps and grinds, ok?'

    Justman also states in the book that Roddenberry already had quite the reputation at the time as being 'out there' with his sexual shenanigans. As I read somewhere else, NBC worried what GR would really try to produce with Star Trek were 'his sexual fantasies.'

    Roddenberry's attempts to excuse his failure to sell Star Trek with "The Cage" was simply one of many slights and insults directed at NBC leadership that (I believe), eventually led the network to sabotage any hope the series had of succeeding by sending it to the scheduling graveyard in Season Three.

    Once NBC had their fill of him, GR became Star Trek's biggest liability in addition to it's greatest asset. The motion picture side of Paramount would learn that lesson in the late 70's. Fortunately, Rick Berman et. al prevented the same sorry ending for TNG by providing the buffer that Gene Coon once provided TOS.
     
  6. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agree with a lot of what you say, but surely if NBC wanted to do in Roddenberry, they would have demanded Desilu/Paramount just fire him, or just cancel it outright after season 2?

    I just can't accept that NBC would deliberately sabotage Star Trek when it had invested so much in it.
     
  7. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, and he made that comment after I had already established and linked to the web page showing it was fan made. I'm not sure how much digging he did. A five minute Google search turned up the answer. I've suggested that if he doesn't know the source of something it may be best to leave it out of his book.

    Neil
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek isn't the only show with hardcore fans. :) There's an official Bonanza site with a ton of behind the scenes info, with everything from the stages and locations where it was shot to information about per season ratings and budgets, etc. Behold (link).
     
  9. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    p.388 : actor Sean Kenny was to be made a regular (DePaul) as a reward for putting up with the extensive makeup required to play the injured Pike in 'The Menagerie'. The reference is given as (100-3), but this number is missing from the "Quote Index".

    I have lost track of how many times I've gone to look for the source of a claim, and the number doesn't exist at all. :brickwall:

    Edit : also on p.397, a Joe D'Agosta quote praising Shatner as the "secret weapon" of Star Trek, despite Nimoy getting all the attention, is referenced as (43-4) - this doesn't have a corresponding source either.

    Edit 2 : p.410, a Shatner quote crediting Coon with bringing the show to life, and describing Roddenberry as more a background figure is given the reference number (156-1), which, you guessed it, doesn't exist in the quote index.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  10. M

    M Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Whoa, what? The guy really thinks those are legitimate covers? That boggles the mind. And it actually forces you to question everything written in the book. I mean, if he can't at least find the source for some images ... Those covers couldn't be more obviously created in Photoshop (or a similar software).

    Ah, okay. Thanks for that. That might be a good reason to buy the book after all. I've been holding out because of the relatively high price.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, he didn't "fail" to sell ST with "The Cage." On the contrary, he succeeded in getting them to order a second pilot, which was virtually unprecedented. As Inside Star Trek explains, the main issue was that "The Cage" wasn't so much a pilot for the series as a demo film for Desilu. At the time, Desilu didn't produce any shows except one simple sitcom, The Lucy Show, so they had to prove they were capable of mounting an elaborate science-fiction production. So they pulled out all the stops to make "The Cage" the most lush and cinematic pilot film they could. Which proved they were capable of making the series, but it also meant that "The Cage" did not give a good indication of what the budgetary and logistical needs would be for a typical episode. And that's what a pilot needs to do in order to let the network assess how much they'd need to spend on a series. So once Desilu proved themselves with "The Cage," they still needed another pilot as an exemplar of a typical episode. So it wasn't a failure, it was just a two-step process. Certainly there were things Roddenberry failed to deliver for them in "The Cage"; notably, it lacked the multiethnic cast he'd promised them, and wasn't action-driven enough. But those were just course corrections.

    Botany Bay is right -- a network probably wouldn't be so impractical as to sabotage an expensive series just to slight one person. Countless shows have had their showrunners replaced and continued under new leadership.

    As I said, the decision to keep or cancel a show isn't exclusively about the show itself. It's about the entire schedule, the entire programming strategy. Shows often get cancelled for reasons that aren't about them at all; the decisions are made to benefit other shows, to improve the overall lineup, and the cancellations are just collateral damage.
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ But that sort of context is nice to have. It certainly goes down better than putting across the idea a show is a ratings failure.

    Regardless of what one might think of Cushman's book overall I welcome the new things we're learning. And we may be seeing that the notion accepted all these years---the show initially being a ratings failure---isn't strictly true, and the later success TOS had when it went into broader syndication bears that out. For myself I find it odd that a show could be deemed a failure while in production but then a year or two later starts going gangbusters in reruns.

    Of course there have been films that weren't received all that well when initially released yet they manage a staying power to become quite popular in later years. I believe Casablanca is one of them as well as It's A Wonderful Life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  13. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That's a terrific little site. Good find!
     
  14. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

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    Here's the entire conversation from facebook.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I can't trust this author. He even backtracks in his answers. Note that he says, "Thanks for helping to clear up something that was a mystery to me and others, including Richard, who I was responding to." He wasn't responding to Richard! Both times his responses are to me!

    Neil
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Those responses are just weird. How can he call it a hoax when the artist freely acknowledges it's not real and no attempt is made to conceal the facts about its origins?

    Besides, the cover art on that "Arena" book is clearly a photograph with a Photoshop filter applied -- not a technology that would've been available to a 1960s cover artist.

    And "Real or fake? You decide"? That's just dishonest, when he knows for a fact that it isn't real. Kind of belies his claim that he's looking for the true story. The true story is right in front of him and he's still doubting it!
     
  16. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

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    I've now read up to "The Man Trap". While "The Enemy Within" chapter does talk about the editing, I don't agree with the example chosen. The book says an example of the "esoteric" editing is the moment Kirk and Spock walk into the turbolift, the doors close and the evil Kirk's hand comes into frame. That seems more like a directorial decision, since it was shot intentionally for this effect. That's not something that can be created in editing.

    What it doesn't talk about regarding "The Enemy Within" (and I was hoping it would) was the decision to restructure the first act. The entire thing was changed around in editing, and with access to scripts it would seem like this would be worthy of inclusion in the book. Notice they're investigating Yeoman Rand's quarters before they talk to her in sickbay. The transporter room scene with the alien dog was supposed to end Act 1, not be in the middle of it. As it currently is, Spock and Kirk seem very slow to realize the transporter duplicated him. Act one now ends with Spock saying they have an impostor aboard, something he shouldn't say knowing the transporter is creating evil duplicates.

    I'd love to know who came up with the decision to do this. I suspect it's because the sickbay scene is a stronger end to the act than the transporter room scene.

    Neil
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Looking at the finding aid, it's hard to say if the Roddenberry collection has any documentation about the editing of the episode.

    But the Justman papers include 4 pages of projection room notes and 2 pages of editing notes. They're probably the best bet for an archival answer, if it exists.
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I believe what Indysolo means is that Cushman doesn't even address the changes, even to say "this author was unable to find any documentation as to why the scenes wee rearranged, but perhaps it was to _____".

    I'm a little unclear about the faux paperback cover. Did Cushman print it in the book?
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    It's in the revised edition.

    It's disappointing to see these sort of things crop up as it undermines the good stuff in the book, the step-by-step development of each episode. From what I'm seeing what he really needs here is someone with something of a dispassionate eye going over this and pointing out what needs to be fixed before going to print. He might have spent six years researching this, but its compiled in something of a rushed manner.

    Indeed I would hold off printing the next two volumes until they've been thoroughly and properly proofread and factually checked. And then do the same with the first volume again. If my name were attached to something I had such a passion for I'd do my damndest to make sure everything in it was as nailed down as I could make it. I certainly couldn't see someone like Harvey making these kind of mistakes.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    (RE: Maurice) Oh, I got that. I was just pointing out where the answer might be found.

    By the way, the image is not in the first edition's chapter on "Arena."