Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by neoworx, Jul 13, 2013.
I just think it's a cool little bit of cosmic poetry.
I found it mysterious from the time of seeing it in THE MAKING OF STAR TREK as a kid. It wasn't until the Internet era that I could find out it was a total coincidence, and both men were using their real names.
Did his friends ever call him "Kelley de Forest?"
Maybe they called him Woody.
Kellam de Forest Kelly.
Kellam de Forest Kelly's Heroes.
Kellam de Forest Kelly Girls.
Kellam de Forest Kelly Hu
Kellam de Forest Kelly Green.
I'll stop now.
Man, I had no idea the work schedule was so incredibly hectic on this show. It seems like they'd often finish one episode before noon and start up the next one immediately after lunch, with one director handing everything off to the next, like they were in a relay race or something.
Although I guess it makes sense given the incredibly tight budget they had to work with.
Still, considering how quickly the actors had to move from scene to scene, and from episode to episode, I can't help but be even more impressed with how strong and fluid the performances managed to be-- especially Shatner's, who seemingly had to convey a wide variety of reactions and emotions on very short notice.
It's also interesting to read about how difficult it was to pull off an episode like Balance of Terror, with Justman thinking they wouldn't possibly be able to afford it. Of course the episode is so stripped-down now that it doesn't seem like that big a deal, but it obviously took quite a lot of ingenuity to get it down to that point first (such as coming up with the cloaking device in order to cut down on the number of effects shots, and the helmets on the Romulans to cut down on the number of ear prosthetics).
^^^Actually, those kinds of changes/shortcuts are pretty common in film or TV production where money is an issue. It's all about "cheating" to get around the things you can't afford. It only seems extraordinary to people who don't know what the norm is. For instance, Star Wars :
Rewritten to get rid of the floating prison (later reinvented as Cloud City) location and all the action there was transplanted to the Death Star to minimize the number of sets, costumes and cost.
Changed in editing to reduce Luke and wingmen's two trench runs to one in order to trim down the number of visual effects (you can tell because some of the lines of dialog hint at the missing trench run, e.g. "They're coming in much faster this time. We can't hold them!").
And both had the practical benefit of streamlining the story and action and making the film better.
Yeah I realize it's a common practice, but I still imagine the TOS producers had a much harder time of it than most. They had to figure a lot of this stuff out for the first time, and deal with stories and concepts that were probably much more ambitious than what was normally seen on TV at the time.
Especially compared to something like Lost in Space, which usually only had to come up with different variations of their planet sets, or a new wacky alien costume every week. They didn't have to come up with space battles, viewscreen and transporter effects, time travel effects, or entire alien races like Trek did.
We laud GR for trying to woo established SF writers to write for Star Trek yet it's ironic that many of them had a challenging time to write for the show. They seemed to be stuck with the idea of writing for an anthology and had a hard time wrapping their heads around working in someone else's sandbox. And they could resent having their ideas rewritten to fit within the series format and what had already been established.
It could be they also dreamt big with a show like Star Trek coming onto the scene and needed to be reminded of the constraints of television including budgetary concerns.
Yeah I admit I'm kind of baffled by the attitude they seemed to have towards that. Surely they must have seen the importance of having the characters act consistently from episode to episode, and in having a set of established rules for this world to exist in.
You get the sense they saw the Enterprise as being just another generic spaceship, with a bunch of generic officers who only existed to serve the story they came up with. I don't think a lot of them really understood the kind of extensive world-building Roddenberry was attempting to do with this show.
I don't know if GR had any real clear idea of a world to build, but he understood enough that once something was established it made sense to try to stay consistent with it. And as the series progressed more and more things were being set in place.
I get that sense with some of the writers, others not so much. George Clayton Johnson, for example, had some interesting ideas that Roddenberry's re-write of 'The Man Trap' gutted.
After reading The Are The Voyages I found myself revisiting sections of another "making of" book regarding Mission: Impossible. There are a lot of parallels between Mission: Impossible and Star Trek.
- Both were considered ambitious and unconventional concepts.
- Both had creator/producers that gave studios and networks headaches.
- Both were produced by a struggling studio (well, the same studio).
- Both got going with Lucille Ball's blessing.
- Both were f/x heavy and could be costly in post production.
- Both often ran behind schedule in production because of challenges for directors to adapt to the shows.
- Both were a challenge for writers to adapt to.
- Both initial pilots really impressed their respective networks (NBC for Star Trek and CBS for Mission: Impossible). One difference, though, is that Star Trek's first pilot sold the idea but not the series yet NBC did give Star Trek another chance for a second pilot. Mission: Impossible's pilot sold right off although like Star Trek there were concerns over whether the quality could be maintained.
- Both laboured under tight budgets and it didn't get any better (it actually got worse) when Gulf & Western bought out Lucille Ball and Desilu was rolled into Paramount. And both Star Trek and Mission: Impossible lost a powerful ally in Herb Sollow when he decided to bail not long after Desilu was sold because he didn't like working under the new arrangements.
Yeah it sounds like Johnson's version would have been a bit more interesting. Although in general I find myself disagreeing with Black and some of the others who criticized Roddenberry's writing.
Sure he might have been a bit sex-obsessed, and could be a bit ham-handed with the dialogue at times, but he also came up with a lot of really beautiful and eloquent dialogue at times too. Like Kirk's line about wishing he was "on a long sea voyage", or McCoy's speech to Kirk about all the millions of galaxies and Earth-type planets, ending with "Don't destroy the one named Kirk."
I wonder what difference it would have made to Star Trek if Mission: Impossible had not sold at the same time. Perhaps if Star Trek were the only "risky" venture for Desilu in 1966, the studio heads would have supported it better.
I liken these two series to twins... one gets the better grades (think ratings) and thus gets cut a little more slack from mom and dad... and sometimes the other twin is unfairly overshadowed.
One thing's for certain... if anyone had suggested in 1969 that Star Trek (heading for cancellation after a poor third season) would spawn a dozen movies and several spin-off series, and be considered much more of success than M:I (which in '69 was still getting high ratings and had three seasons left to run), they would have been committed!
The interesting difference is in the attitude of the two networks. NBC handled Star Trek and Roddenberry their own way, but CBS and Paramount, in their frustration over the money spent, wound up installing Bruce Lansbury as producer in place of Bruce Geller, who disregarded budgets completely (in contrast to the Trek staff tried very hard to spend wisely). Lansbury was a "company man" and brought in solid shows responsibly (he proved his worth on Wild Wild West), but the cast and crew were loyal to Geller.
Over at NBC, when Roddenberry was on the way out, Freiberger was, apparently, his own choice to line produce. It makes me wonder if Trek were on CBS, would the network or Paramount had taken steps to keep the series going with their own producer choices. Of course, I'm sure the overall ratings difference had a lot to do with it.
^^ Among the reasons I'm looking forward to the next volumes dealing with Seasons 2 & 3. We might learn some details we're presently unaware of.
It's no secret NBC was getting fed-up with GR even during the first season. Maybe if GR had been smarter and realized NBC weren't the bad guys he was making them out to be they would have cut him and the show more slack. As was mentioned in the book decisions aren't always based on sound business---there's often a lot of personality and personal agendas and bias involved, things that can blind someone from making more rational choices.
Agreed, he was extremely short sighted. Had he played ball even just to the point of stroking a few network egos, his other transgressions might have gone down a little easier. Instead, he played the blame game. I hear you, the next two volumes can't come out fast enough. So much interesting stuff here, even that which was already known.
Based on this book, the Solow/Justman book, and a couple of other sources, GR seems to have had a pronounced antagonistic side, and was also quick to blame others for what he perceived as their shortcomings.
Just look at his attitude towards NBC. Remember, in regards to Star Trek, NBC was Desilu's customer... and by extension, GR's customer as well. Business people who antagonize their customers tend to not stay in business for long.
This attitude culminated in Paramount sweeping him aside after ST:TMP. Even during TNG--produced without having to deal with a network--many members of the original production and writing teams had left before Season 3. The difference here is that, with GR's failing health, there was a gradual transition in power to the Berman/Piller leadership. With GR less and less involved in production matters, his personality shortcomings became much less of a factor.
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