New Book about TOS: These Are The Voyages

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by neoworx, Jul 13, 2013.

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  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    It's too bad Cushman didn't interview any of the de Forest Research people for this book. Their input is mentioned a few times, but mostly in the context of legality issues (i.e. the potential plagiarism in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" and "Arena") rather than the creative input they often had.

    Obviously, this is my own pet area of research, but it irks me to see them once again overlooked. Almost as much as it irks me to read "Kellum De Forest" (it's "Kellam de Forest") and "The Kellam de Forest Research Company" (by this time it's simply "de Forest Research").

    I know -- picky, picky.
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. That's stuff I'd like to see.
     
  3. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    I personally would like to see more production and pre-production detail. I found it interesting to read that the main sets of the Enterprise were collapsed to make room for other sets in "Miri," "Return of the Archons" and other episodes. I always assumed that the sets on stage 9 were somewhat permanent and remained in place and all other sets were done on the planet set but not so. It was also nice to see my theory that the engineering room set was not present before "The Enemy Within" confirmed. In "TEW" section they talk about the expense of creating that set for the episode (which also apparently included the end of the corridor which was not seen before that episode).
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Just finished reading about the mid season period and the making of "Shore Leave."

    I can't help but wonder how much simpler their lives would have been if they'd had cell phones and email back then. They spent so much time writing memos---pages upon pages of memos and notes to each other. And working on several scripts at a time---it must have been an insane atmosphere. I like seeing how the stories evolved from initial conception to filmed episode.

    I do like this book for giving us a glimpse of how things more likely were back then. I find it amusing how so many television commentators and critics really didn't get the show or seemed to be against it because it didn't suit their expectations. Nonetheless the overall viewing audience seemed to be quite taken with Star Trek in its first season.
     
  5. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah I remember wondering about all those memos while reading Whitfield's book as well. You got the impression these guys almost never got in the same room together to discuss the show or something, and were forced to do all their communicating through their secretaries! Lol

    I guess it's just one of those TV traditions. Or they just found it a lot easier to think problems out that way.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    There are frequent references to actual meetings in the production memos (the Stan Robertson letters always mention a phone call or meeting), but I imagine getting things on paper was important given the massive workload.

    Also, no doubt people were busy (especially Bob Justman) running from the stage to the edit suite to the dubbing studio to the office that coordinating time for face to face meetings was a challenge.
     
  7. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    That team was comfortable with the memo approach.

    Compare that with early TNG. I think the memos drove Hurley crazy, because he wanted to talk stuff through in person. Then again, maybe nobody wanted to be in the same room with him (or GR at that point, or Maizlish.)
     
  8. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I'd guess (and that's all it is) that sending memos was the preferred Desilu/Paramount way to get key info/guidance/instructions to multiple specific people all at once.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Late last night I got through the section dealing with "The Alternative Factor."

    I can't really counter anything here. I, too, think the essential story was a good one, but then Murphy got loose and ran riot at Desilu. Everything that could go wrong pretty much did. I think some of the bigger hurdles could have been overcome, but so much went wrong along with a lot of smaller missteps that it's a wonder anything intelligible came out of it. Mistakes were compounded by a director (and most everyone else for that matter) who just wanted to get the thing over with. I think it would indeed have been the smarter idea to have pushed production back to work out the problems better.

    I do agree with Stan Robertson that having Masters betray Kirk and the ship would have seemed too much like McGivers helping Khan even if the ultimate ends were completely different. They might have gotten over that hurdle---in fact they even rewrote it---but then NBC balked because of the interracial issue. Yeah, it seems really silly now, but back then with racial tensions being what they were you could see some getting nervous about potential fallout. I suspect if NBC had been daring enough to go for it the fallout would actually have been quite minor. I also think if Robert Brown had had more time to prepare and had had better direction he would have been perfectly fine as Lazurus. Looking at John Drew Barrymore's pictures he doesn't look to have the animalistic quality that Brown has.

    One thing this book makes clear is all the balls these people had to juggle just to get something done. It's amazing anything decent could come out of such an environment. And it really isn't so much new ground TOS was breaking, but more the scale of which they were doing it. Most of any of TOS' visual f/x were not hard or insurmountable in themselves, but the sheer amount of what they needed was near beyond what television resources could handle back then.

    The f/x issue could be fairly representative of the problems TOS faced back then, in that they were pushing people to go beyond the norm and break convention in terms of how science fiction on television and film was generally perceived. Essentially what was considered good enough before just wasn't good enough for what Star Trek was aiming for. Even established SF writers struggled with this, at least in the beginning, since next to nothing had been seen onscreen yet. I think the SF writers were also still thinking in terms of anthology stories for The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone. This partly explains their aggravation at having their work rewritten extensively to fit Star Trek's format---they just didn't get it yet. Harlan Ellison is merely the most well known example of what others also went through.

    And none of this was helped by GR periodically being an asshole.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I don't get the furor over the lack of an index. I understand someone wanting one, sure, but to NOT buy the book, and miss all this fantastic info, just because of it?

    Get the book, read it with a highlighter, stick post-its on pages you want to remember, whatever. This is too good to miss.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    This book could use a little more polish. There are spelling mistakes, I don't think the word Enterprise is ever italicized and small factual errors in terms of references often not directly related to Star Trek itself. Small things that a solid proofreading could fix.

    In terms of presentation there are misses. This is a small scale and unauthorized (I guess) work and as such forgoes some things that would have made the book more appealing. One is the hotly discussed photographs issue---get permission, attribute proper credit and print the images larger even if it means having fewer of them. And if this had been an authorized book with a larger initial printing run then they could have sported for a better cover.

    Even so, as is, I think this book might well belong alongside The Making Of Star Trek, Inside Star Trek and The Star Trek Sketchbook as definite recommended reading for anyone interested in learning more about TOS.


    And after the next two volumes then what we'll really need is Harvey's book about what all the others got wrong. :D
     
  12. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I kinda have to agree with the author about Gene's rewriting of scripts. While there are some exceptions (like Matheson's much more emotional and affecting version of The Man Trap), in general it seems like Gene's final rewrites and script polishes were the ones that really made these episodes work, and feel like the "Star Trek" we know and love. Especially when it came to defining the characters and relationships.

    And speaking of The Man Trap, I continue to wonder about the impression this must have made as the first episode America saw. Yeah it's a good story, and there was a "monster" to fight, but it still doesn't seem like the best introduction to the characters or concept. The main focus of the story is on the doctor, and we don't even get a good look at the Enterprise or bridge until well into the episode.

    I can definitely understand why so many critics were just bewildered by the whole thing. Why the network didn't decide to go with the much more epic and accessible Where No Man Has Gone Before as the first episode, I'll never understand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  13. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not related to TOS. I notice that references to later series are invariably wrong -- there's the claim on the back cover about "Sarek" being the first TNG episode to feature TOS characters, and his evidence that Roddenberry didn't have a falling out with Sam Rolfe is that Rolfe penned an episode of DS9.
     
  14. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well to be fair, a lot of people seem to forget about that little McCoy cameo at the end of Farpoint. It was a quick scene, and he's completely covered in old age makeup. And Roddenberry was gone by the time DS9 came around, so I can see why Rolfe wouldn't have had a problem coming back then.

    Although I do agree, there are some unfortunate typos and editing mistakes in the book (missing punctuation, random underlined sentences, etc).
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    It's a strong episode, and I always start with it, but I can understand their reasoning. McCoy and Rand aren't in it, the color isn't as vibrant, and the production design and art direction aren't quite there yet. You want to lead with an episode that will give people a good idea of what the series to come will be like.

    A shame 'The Corbomite Maneuver' wasn't ready.
     
  16. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Even with the obvious Balok puppet this episode is quintessential Star Trek.
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Cushman also mentions the TNG episode Rolfe wrote -- although that came in season three, and elsewhere in the book Cushman says that Roddenberry gave up control after season two. Better evidence would be that Roddenberry was at a party at Sam Rolfe's house in the 1980s, which is mentioned either in the Engel or Alexander books. Also, elsewhere Cushman claims that the Rolfe pilot Roddenberry produced -- 'The Long Hunt of April Savage' -- was picked up, but dropped after a contract dispute by Rolfe (which would seem to invalidate the Solow/Justman claim that Rolfe was mad that Roddenberry did a bad job producing which resulted in a non-pick up).

    Yet Cushman doesn't mention either of these things when trying to disprove the claim the two had a falling out. It's not a major point of the book -- the claims about 'The Alternative Factor' and the ratings are the major claims I don't fully buy -- but it's oddly lazy.
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^That doesn't seem to jive with what Inside Star Trek said about April Savage. I loaned my copy to Middyseafort, otherwise I'd look it up.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    ^^
    Oh, not at all. Solow/Justman contend that Roddenberry was totally lazy during the production (I believe Engel makes the same claim) and that the pilot wasn't picked up as a result. Let me grab the book for the quote.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Here's the quote:

    I thought it said something about the pilot not being picked up, but it seems my memory was wrong there. In any event, Rolfe and Roddenberry never worked together again, but they must have patched up their personal relationship at some point down the road.
     
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