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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    When in doubt, blame your agent.

    I'd be surprised, too, if I bought Cushman's argument. His reasoning, however, is a mess:

    --Cushman claims the Nielsen ratings were super-secret (this is quite overstated).

    --Although he presents Nielsen ratings for almost every broadcast of the series on NBC (I believe the initial run of 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' is omitted) there is very little information about how the series ratings compare to the rest of television in general (in other words, the numbers that informed ad rates).

    --The ratings presented in the book are a mix of two different figures: those measured in twelve major markets and those measured nationally. The former, more limited sample is weighted towards the audience that watched Star Trek. The broader, national figures show a smaller audience for the series.

    --The book repeatedly refers to Trendex with Nielsen as being the same (Trendex, Nielsen, and Arbitron were the three major competitors when it came to measuring ratings in the 1960s).
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Could he be selectively choosing ratings samples to support his argument that the series was a success? It certainly doesn't support anything I'd read back in the 60s or early 70s.
     
  3. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That's a small part of it, but I think it's mostly an issue of understanding and interpretation.

    --

    To spitball a bit for the ratings for a bit...

    Thanks to the files at UCLA, here are Nielsen ratings a bit more detailed than the ones Cushman presents for 'The Man Trap' (derived, the report says, from a 30-city sample). These must be the ones Cushman reports on a half-hourly basis, since the 8:30 and 9:00 figures are identical to the ones in the book.

    And here are the same 30-market Nielsens from 'Charlie X,' the next episode broadcast:

    These audience shares are different than the ones Cushman reports in the book (p.202), which give a larger share to the first half of 'Charlie X,' and then a smaller share to the second half.

    In fifteen minute increments, here's Star Trek's share of the audience over a two week period (using the archival figures):

    46.7 -- 43.3 -- 42.2 -- 39.8 -- 32 -- 31.5 -- 29.2 -- 26.6.

    Or, if you use the Cushman figures, here's Star Trek's share of the audience in thirty-minute increments over a two week period:

    46.7 -- 42.2 -- 35.9 -- 22.8

    Unfortunately, UCLA only has ratings for the first handful of episodes.

    (If that seems a little rambling and unfocused -- well, that's because it is. More, perhaps, later.)
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Heck, even I watched The Music Man that particular night, even audiotaping it on reel-to-reel. I didn't start watching Star Trek until several few weeks later.
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's actually fairly straightforward. Thanks.
     
  6. Stompy

    Stompy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    [​IMG]

    this is who I think they are talking to. If it is him he looks different in this episode
     
  7. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The guy appears to be a background performer named Budd Albright. I rambled a bit about that claim on my blog.
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That looks nothing like Bruce Hyde.
     
  9. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah I think he might be overstating things a bit with the ratings. Although it probably IS fair to say that the show was much more popular and highly rated than the conventional wisdom has always had it.

    Because before now, I had always heard that the show was a huge disappointment and finished nearly last in the ratings every year. Which always seemed strange to me given how bold and unique the show must have looked at the time.

    If nothing else, it's nice to know that the show at least wasn't a complete dud.

    And yeah, there's probably also some truth to the fact that the high cost of the show and Roddenberry's difficult ways played a big role in the show's cancellation as well.
     
  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    NBC committed to the show for three seasons. A program as expensive as Star Trek wouldn't have stayed on the air for the sixteen episodes NBC initially orered if it had been "nearly last in the the ratings." (One of Star Trek's time slot competitors, The Tammy Grimes Show, was cancelled after just four episodes which weren't even that bad).
     
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    There's a new interview with Cushman at Trek Movie.

    He repeats his version of 'The Alternative Factor,' but still doesn't provide a source.

    He says quite a bit more about the ratings, but it seems more apparent than ever that he doesn't know what he's talking about (there were only two ratings services in the '60s and '70s?).

    Probably the most revealing thing about Cushman is when he says, "Lucille Ball lost her studio because she sponsored Star Trek, and was determined to put it on the air." That kind of thing is rather indicative of what you'll find in these books in that it both exaggerates the importance of the series and totally ignores important things that were happening outside of it in Hollywood.
     
  12. Zameaze

    Zameaze Commodore Commodore

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    Very interesting stuff, but I thought that Star Trek was done on a shoestring and even had to borrow some of their "creatures/aliens" from "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." Is this incorrect?
     
  13. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I pretty much doubt it. Irwin Allen's shows were too busy borrowing props and costumes from each other to be able to rent them out.
     
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that sort of claim makes no sense at all. Lucille was nearing 60, she owned the studio personally, and perhaps she was just more comfortable as a performer than running a business after the marriage to Desi was officially over. She certainly didn't stop working. After selling Desilu, she immediately formed her own Lucille Ball Productions and started in on Here's Lucy.
     
  15. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    Marc Cushman really did himself no favors by rushing this book to press without having it thoroughly proofread for accuracy (to say nothing of spelling and grammar). While I have yet to find any glaring errors in his discussions about the main topics--the pre-,during and post-production details for each episode--they certainly exist for some of the "scene setter" filler.

    I've already touched upon the "Hogan's Heroes" error in misnumbering the camp which the story took place in. Last night I discovered that he's also mischaracterized the prisoner of war camp as a concentration camp. That's a bit more of a glaring error than labeling Stalag 13 as Stalag 17. Imagine that, a sitcom about a concentration camp. Don't you think even a proofreader unfamiliar with the show should have caught that and said to themselves, "that can't be right."

    I have been a staunch defender of this book, and still support it to the point I would recommend it--the revised version, that is. But I understand why DC Fontana told Cushman, (paraphrasing) 'You better let me review the second season edition before you go to print with it.'

    And don't get me wrong--I'm not a Hogan's Heroes fan who's simply upset about those errors mentioned above. Quite frankly, I don't like that show (maybe because I somehow have developed a visceral dislike of Bob Crane over the years) and rarely watch it (and yet even I can identify the errors made).

    I'm still looking forward to the season two and three books, but I will have a more skeptical view if errors like these appear in them.
     
  16. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    Why do I suddenly hear these words coming out of GR's mouth?
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I have no idea if the series rented creatures that had been previously used on that Irwin Allen series, but it certainly wasn't "done on a shoestring." Star Trek was an expensive, prestige production. As it went along, and the studio lowered the budget while the cast and others got contractual raises, there was certainly less money to go around.
     
  18. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    An editor can shape your book and your sentences. A proofreader does grammar. Since writing about the entertainment industry, he would need a fact-checker from that realm, someone who knows about Arbitron and Desilu and Stalag numbers. Kind of like what Kellam DeForest did for Trek science.

    I didn't have the budget for a fact-checker for my book, though there would be several knowledgeable folks about Satchmo who would've known the facts; and many more who can recognize a potentially-wrong fact and research it. I had to -- as best as I could -- recognize anything I might have gotten wrong, and double- or triple- check it. Even then, I am afraid some expert is going to instantly see something wrong, which will undermine the rest of it. One does what one can.

    But with so many errors easy for knowledgeable readers to see, it certainly calls into question other facts and conclusions about which we do not know. Why don't some of you offer to proof or fact-check his next volume? (I think I already did upthread.) I'd do it for a modest fee; probably there are kind souls with time who could crowdsourcedly check it for him. Might be a nice IDIC-ish thing to do.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    After the review I wrote, I doubt Cushman or his publisher would be at all interested in my services as a fact-checker. :lol:

    But, let's be honest -- for a modest fee, I'd do it.
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ I'd say a lot depends on your approach. You are sincerely interested in this kind of materiel and you'd like to see it done justice. It's one thing to say, "I think this is suspect" and saying, "This stuff is crap." If you'd really like to do it---and in the process have your name attached to something you're really interested in---then you could approach him with a good balance of deference and candor.
     
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