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. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    In "The Conscience of the King," Spock pulls the shirt out of Kirk's rotating dresser-thing in his search for the phaser on overload. In "This Side of Paradise," it's seen sitting in Kirk's "Flight Bag" as he's packing up his belongings, getting ready to beam down for the last time.
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, forget what I wrote above. I misremembered some of it, but just checked the book again.

    Roddenberry sent a memo to Coon about his concerns of Masters betraying Kirk in a similar fashion as McGivers betraying Kirk. His objection comes about not so much because of the story element of betrayal, but because the two stories ("Speace Seed" and "The Alternative Factor") were in the works at the same time and he didn't like using the same gimmick twice or at least one so soon after the other. Both story outlines were submitted the same day, August 29th, 1966, so both stories were in-the-works concurrently.

    Stan Roberton's objection early on was in regard to an early story element in "The Altenative Factor" that had Kirk meet his mirror universe double. He didn't like it because we had already seen a Kirk double twice in "The Enemy Within" and "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

    NBC didn't balk about the romance until the actress to play Masters was hired and then folks at NBC started making "off the record" phone calls to Desilu. Then it became "drop the romance" or "recast the actress." This was late in the game and so they decided to keep the actress and drop the romance.
     
  3. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    And yet there's some kind of record of these "off the record" phone calls?
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I stand corrected. Good eye!
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Checking the writers reports I transcribed from UCLA, it appears that NBC got the outline for 'Space Seed' first. Wilbur delivered his draft on 8/29; by 9/2 it was awaiting NBC approval. Ingalls delivered his draft on 8/30, and was asked to make revisions first (which were delivered on 9/12).
     
  6. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

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    Terrific! Thanks!
     
  7. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed. This is what the book has to say about the issue:

    There's no memo cited to support this claim (and when I perused the files for this episode at UCLA, I certainly didn't see anything backing this up). There's no interview cited as a source, either. However, it's not presented as the author's conjecture, speculation, or anything of that sort. We're to read this as fact.

    Earlier, the author presents a memo from Roddenberry to Coon pointing out that:

    To this, the author says:

    This is a fine bit of speculation, but the memo being quoted doesn't actually indicate one way or another. I think, ultimately, that both are cases of the author passing off his conjecture as fact. Considering the back of the book hides under the cover of it being "a work of journalism," I have to strongly question the author's credibility.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It seems odd that NBC would have no issue with a dark-skin man/light-skin woman romance (Space Seed) but would have an issue with a light-skin man/dark-skin woman romance (The Alternative Factor).

    Or did NBC have issues with the Khan/McGivers romance?
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    There's nothing about it in the book, I don't think, but I'll check.

    Considering the stink Roddenberry made about NBC's censors, the Standards and Practices reports for the series make for surprisingly tedious reading. Make a cut for offensive language here, no open mouth kissing here, be mindful not to have shocking violence here, and that's pretty much it.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Another little tidbit that comes to light although I found this in a book covering Mission: Impossible but also mentions Star Trek as well. This book repeats some of the myths and accepted "truths" that have been repeated for decades regarding TOS. But it mentions one interesting item applying to both Mission: Impossible and Star Trek: that both shows were sold to their respective networks under budgeted, possibly as a means to make these high concept series look more appealing financially.

    Mission: Impossible appears to have had a greater tendency for going over budget per episode, and often enough seriously over budget. They were bleeding money to a degree that makes TOS look responsible budget wise. But both series called for greater budgets than had been negotiated intially. Furthermore those running the store over at Paramount were not doing very well in producing enough successful (profitable) feature films. Hence cuts had to be made and television budgets were considered easy targets for Paramount management to make up the shortfall in regard to films.

    And another similar situation seemed to playing out between both series and their respective networks. Both NBC and CBS appeared quite happy with their shows, but Paramount and Desilu executives were not so enamored---understandably because the studio was picking up the tab for the production overruns while NBC and CBS were quite happy with what they were getting for the price they were paying.

    Roddenberry liked to make NBC look like the heavies when his own studio bosses were giving him more grief (and so he couldn't really say much about someone standing right over his shoulder). Much the same could be said about Bruce Geller and his relationship with the studio. A key difference is that Geller openly didn't give a shit about the budget. In his mind "it costs what it costs" to get the best results. Unlike Star Trek, though, Geller resisted using stock inserts to cut costs (but if you watch the series you can clearly see some reused footage particularly in the opening scenes where Dan Briggs or Jim Phelps get their assignments).


    In terms of concept I can see where Mission: Impossible was the more generally accessible of the two shows. It was more familiar and easier to understand particularly in light of the popular spy craze going on at the time. Certain things played in M:I's favour that allowed it a measure of leeway that Star Trek wasn't afforded.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  11. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It was interesting to read that Coon and the rest were generally pretty happy with the Alternative Factor story at first (and when you look at the basic idea, it does seem like a promising one). But it appears the director was so confused by the plot that he just kind of mailed it in for this episode, and didn't do a good enough job making the action understandable to the audience.

    And of course the lackluster effects didn't really help matters much either.


    On another note, I just can not get enough of Robert Justman's memos. That dude was freakin hilarious, and I almost wish we could get a book devoted solely to him. :D
     
  12. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've never really seen much of the original Mission: Impossible. What was it that made the show so dang expensive? Was it the cast salaries, or all the location work they were doing or something?

    I can't imagine it was the effects.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Geller was a stickler for making things look believable, much like Roddenberry for that matter. It often wasn't enough to make things look believable (which being science fiction TOS had to do) he wanted it to function believably onscreen. Thats means post-production was fabricating a lot of gadgets for the show. In one instance it wasn't good enough to create the illusion of a three-story elevator he wanted it to actually be three stories to look right.

    Another expense was all the camera repositioning and relighting for the show's numerous quick cutting shots. For example if you just show an explosion or someone removing a ventilation shaft panel it can be over in a few seconds, but if you want to make it interesting you shoot it from several different angles and cut them together in editing to create a more exciting visual sequence. That eats up a lot of time and money. To that end they had two crews working at the same time: one filming the generally conventional scenes and one filming all the inserts to be cut into the main footage in editing.
     
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    They did a ton of location work, and the cutting of Mission: Impossible was faster than just about anything else on television (which meant more set-ups). It was also a series dependent on a lot of detailed insert shots, which were often shot later. Basically, the show took a lot longer to shoot than it was scheduled for.

    EDIT: What Warped9 said, essentially.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Checked the 'Space Seed' chapter. The book doesn't say anything about this.
     
  16. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They (the network, people, whatever) had issues with black/white, not "dark/light." Cuban Desi and "Whiter and White" Lucy were married and parents for years before Star Trek. When they talk about the first interracial kiss, they're not thinking about Montalban and Rhue. It wasn't "dark skinned" people who were being singled out. It was blacks.
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yet another reason I want to get this book... those were a highlight from TMoST, particularly the memos referencing names of the starship class and reference to the "person calling themselves D.C. Fontana." :rommie:
     
  18. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ok yeah, that makes sense. Vince Gilligan talks about how long it takes them to shoot those montage sequences on Breaking Bad, with all the different camera setups it requires. So I can only imagine how much more time consuming that kind of thing was back in the 60s.
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but you've expressed it better and more succinctly.
     
  20. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Good points, but you also have to consider the cost of most pickup shots like this, inserts and cutaways of hands and objects, don't require the presence of costly on-screen talent OR a large crew; they can be picked up easily and quickly in most instances, and even for special rigging (like say the MI tape recorders), you're not tying up significant resources while shooting it.

    By way of comparison, look at TMP vs TWOK (and I wasn't the first one to write about this; I think BEST OF TREK or ENTERPRISE INCIDENTS did an article about this 30 years ago); TWOK is absolutely loaded with interesting cutaways (and a few lameass ones), whereas TMP's are pretty much limited to full-frame viewscreen/monitor shots. Yet TWOK obviously was done much more economically. So while there are lots of factors that drive the cost on any given show, using a plethora of insert shots are not typically a significant factor.

    Note I'm not talking about the 'we need a montage' type sequence, which usually DOES require plenty of lead performer shooting and even some elaborate camera moves. Those are certainly quite costly.
     
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