Peter David comic book story

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Noddy, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    There may have been. But that still doesn't negate what I said, Christopher. None of the people I knew wanted his job. They felt his job shouldn't exist.

    And no, it's certainly not always the implied corollary. I might think I could do a better job at being a Senator than Harry Reid, but I don't want his job in the slightest. I know I could be a better administrative assistant than the one my doctor currently has, but I do not want her job in the slightest.
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Every few days, he got to lead executive tours of the Star Trek sets for VIPs visiting Paramount Studios.

    He got to travel the world every weekend to show slideshows of upcoming episodes of TNG, ST V, ST VI, DS9 and VOY.

    He consulted with licencees (and still does, freelance) about their concepts for new Trek products.

    He got to rummage through the archives to find reference photos that fitted media and licensee requests. And, IIRC, he organised them into sensible order, too.

    He got to read every new script, and novel and comic manuscripts, and comment upon them - and yes, sometimes tell the editors that certain things weren't permitted. He also caught lots of continuity errors and had them corrected before we saw the result.

    Sounds like a fun job to me! And, from ST IV till September 1991, he got paid to do it. (His tour guide job he'd done as a volunteer from the late 70s till 1986.)

    To say his job shouldn't have existed is ludicrous. Imagine a movie studio that permitted no studio tours, or refused all requests for images.

    RA often showed conventions things that he was able to fix in time, such as when the media tried to print the Enterprise upside down, or when a comic was supposed to show the main cast, but had omitted Chekov, etc, or when too many novels in a row suggested that Kirk needed to go on a diet.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And what you said doesn't negate what I said, because I was talking about people in general and not your specific circle of friends. So what is there to argue over?
     
  4. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

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    Hey this is the Internet. There's always something pointless to argue over!
     
  5. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    Nothing. You're the one who took my one-off "funny, every fanboy I've ever known hated his guts" comment and decided to pick it apart down to its constituent sub-atomic particles. :lol:
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Is it necessary to go ad hominem? You said one sentence, and I said three short sentences in reply -- hardly "picking apart." You then chose to continue the discussion, and I simply responded in kind. At least, I thought it was a normal, civil discussion, but you seem to assume it's something more confrontational, and I have no interest in continuing it in that case.
     
  7. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    I'm not trying to be confrontational. I'm currently amused, and previously have been slightly annoyed at this conversation. I made a one-off comment, and you responded, but in such a way that you seemed (to me) intent on disproving or invalidating what I'd said. That naturally put me a little on the defensive. We've gone in enough circles that I'm beyond that emotion now, and I simply find the whole thing laughable.

    As ever, you take yourself too seriously, IMHO. :cool:
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I have no interest in disproving or invalidating you personally. I don't know you, and I have no reason to focus on you. I'm just participating in a general, public conversation about a topic of general interest. Just because I offered an opinion different from your own does not mean it was directed at you, a person I have never met. I was just examining the idea under discussion.
     
  9. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    Here we go again. Therin said that Arnold's job made him "the envy of fanboys." I replied that "funny, every fanboy I ever met hated his guts." You replied that "They aren't mutually exclusive" and more which seemed to imply my comment meant they were so. It didn't.

    Hence, the debate began. Felt like every time I spoke from my experience, you acted as if I were speaking on behalf of the whole fandom and were thus in error. I wasn't. Therin also said that I misunderstood him. I didn't. I was simply stating that my experience during the era in question was different.

    And here we are. Also, I tend to take responses that quote my post, or use a carrot to indicate my post, as pointed in my general direction. ;)
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Might I suggest we move on?
     
  11. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Yes, please do.
     
  12. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    I have a question, if I may. What did David Arnold actually do that got him in Roddenberry's good graces and allowed him to achieve his exalted position? And what did this guy do for a living that allowed him to pay his bills while he did volunteer work for the franchise? California ain't cheap. And if he had so much power over Trek, how did his ass get cashiered when Rod died? Who ended up with the power? I guess that's four questions, but...

    I know he was fired. But I don't know who fired him. I'm wondering, while Arnold ran the show and dicked people around, who was really in charge, and why those people allowed him to do what he did but then fired him after Gene died, if indeed those were the same people all along. And didn't he somehow find himself doing a lot of Trek stuff even after getting fired?
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Richard Arnold.

    I don't think it's any kind of secret. When I first met Richard in January 1984, he was a senior bellboy at a Los Angeles Hotel. That was his regular dayjob, and he was a volunteer tour guide at Paramount on his days off. On weekends, he was a Trek fan. In the early 70s, he ran a fan club for Grace Lee Whitney, attended conventions, got friendly with the actors, Bjo Trimble, Susan Sackett and the Roddenberrys - and proved his worth as having a very good memory for Star Trek trivia, which made him a rather useful go-to person when the only reference book was Bjo Trimble's "ST Concordance".

    Similarly, when I ran a large Trek club here in Sydney in the 80s, Australia, I was often the person getting urgent, weird calls from the media, at all hours of the day and night, asking really dumb Trek questions because I usually knew the answers.

    But it is filled with hotels.

    He was paid to read all ST tie-in proposals and manuscripts on behalf of GR, so that GR didn't have to, and to relay comments to the licensees. That was one part of his job. It was the huge financial success of ST IV, and the coming of TNG, that convince Paramount that a ST Archivist paid position was required. Prior to that, I know Susan Sackett had read all the Bantam novels' manuscripts for Roddenberry.

    Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek Office on the Paramount lot was closed when Roddenberry died in September 1991. Susan Sackett, who had begun with Gene as a secretary in the early 70s, was fired immediately, as was Richard. No boss = no job. Ernie Over, Gene's chauffeur and personal assistant, had already been moved across to Roddenberry's own payroll about six months earlier when GR was too ill to be driven to the office on a regular basis, and Ernie continued as Majel Barrett's chauffeur and personal assistant for about a year.

    Responsibility for vetting the manuscripts fell to Paula Block, then-head of CBS Consumer Products. Her office had read all manuscripts back from the Viacom days. ie. from the early 80s, all ST tie-ins were vetted by both the Star Trek Office (representing GR's interests), and Paula's team, representing Paramount's interests.

    The old position of of Star Trek Archivist (doing duties such as supplying official images to the tie-ins and the media) was downgraded, and held by Guy Vardaman, who had acted as RA's assistant for several years.

    The Office was closed. His job vanished.

    No, he was simply "Star Trek Archivist".

    Imagine all the gross errors he caught. Literally thousands, I imagine.

    Contractually, Roddeberry was allowed to scrutinize the licensed tie-ins and ensure they represented Star Trek. And so was Paramount/Viacom/CBS.

    Yes, AFAIK, Richard still does actor liasion for conventions and freelance advice to tie-in licensees who seek out his services.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  14. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks, Therin, that was much more detail than I've seen in what I remember of Arnold posts some time back. I had been of the understanding (erroneous now, I can see) that he worked for Paramount when in reality he worked directly for Roddenberry, so yeah, I can see him being out of a job when Paramount rolled up Rod's office. But I remember reading tales on the BBS about Arnold being difficult to deal with (and read a rumor that he had been brusquely escorted off property the day after Roddenberry's death), which if true would help explain why Paramount didn't find him a suitable position, which it looks to me like they then filled with Guy Vardaman. But now that I have more background on his position and his relationship with the Roddenberrys, comparing that knowledge with earlier stories about Arnold's way being the only True Way, was he genuinely relaying what he got out of scripts, proposals, et al to Gene and taking Gene's feedback to the authors and creators, or was he just making decisions in Roddenberry's name without really consulting him? I don't know what kind of a "hands-on" guy Roddenberry was while Arnold was working for him, whether he trusted Arnold's take on the material or whether he just didn't want to be bothered with it. I mean, as a Trek reader it doesn't have any real bearing on reading current Trek books, but there's been some uncomplimentary things said about him on the BBS and I'm curious if they're accurate as well as placing them in proper historical context. FWIW, even if I were paid to minutely examine every Trek proposal and manuscript that crossed my desk (and surely some of the truly bad ones got weeded out before even hitting Arnold's desk...), I might get a little surly and demanding myself while dealing with exceptionally shitty ideas.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I think Richard's position was at least part-paid for by Paramount. Roddenberry convinced them an Archivist was needed when ST IV made so much money.

    When Roddenberry passed away, they let Richard go and Guy Vardaman (who'd been his assistant) held the fort, finding images for the "Star Trek Fact Files", etc.

    Richard and Susan were "locked out" of the office the day after Gene died. This is normal procedure in showbiz, to stop disgruntled employees sabotaging things. A friend of mine was a clerical assistant of a big wheel in cinema distribution - for almost 20 years and she was "locked out" - and escorted off the premises, possessions in a box - when her boss got forcibly retrenched.

    Exactly.

    GR was getting very ill by the end of Season One of TNG. I guess he found someone he believed would steadfastly examine each piece with GR's philosophy in mind.

    Approach Richard at a convention and talk to him. He enjoys talking to fans. ;)
     
  16. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Then you would suck at your job and shouldn't be doing it. There's no excuse, none, for unprofessional behavior. I've been a professional editor for 25 years, and I've dealt with a lot of crap in my time. I never bitched people out publicly nor did I treat anyone the way Arnold treated several Trek novelists and comics writers. His behavior was appalling, and the fact that he allowed himself to develop the reputation he developed means he did his job poorly. Any surliness and demanding-ness (which is totally not a word) should be kept to oneself, and problems should be dealt with politely and professionally.
     
  17. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    SicOne, you might find this an interesting read. It's the short story of how Richard Arnold totally butchered the novel Probe.
     
  18. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    So did Arnold actually have any professional training to be doing any of this stuff? Because it sounds like he was literally some dude off the street who happened to be friends with Rodenberry, and was just handed the job. I have to wonder if perhaps they wouldn't have been better off with someone with some kind of literary/creative analysis training.
     
  19. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    Yes, first he took exception to it cos it featured some author-created characters that had appeared before in an earlier Trek novel, and then he went ballistic at a character in a rewrite that he took as an attack on Roddenberry.
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I have no idea if Richard has university training as a "literary/creative" analyst", but one of his jobs was to read proposals and manuscripts and pass his comments back to GR, and write memos to the licensees. How much training does that need? He was a fan with a very good memory for Star Trek trivia, and that's what GR wanted. It's not a talent that many professionals with "literary/creative analysis training" necessarily have, or would be interested to cram. And having RA around meant they didn't have to keep diving into Bjo Trimble's "Star Trek Concordance" every few minutes.

    RA wasn't the only port of call re the tie-ins. He was reading things so that GR didn't have to read the whole thing himself. GR was simply too busy. Media tie-ins are bought and read by 2% of the general audience.

    We know he did the vetting of tie-in manuscripts after Susan Sackett and others got too busy to do it. Susan is a professional writer, but she wasn't when started off in Trek - as GR's secretary, with a teaching degree behind her.

    The proposals and manuscripts were already being examined by the licensees' editors and the representative of then-Paramount/Viacom Consumer Products. RA didn't have to be creative, just advise on problems he perceived. (He made some enemies doing that, certainly, but it was a group of angry writers and supporters who started publishing quotes from his memos on the Usenet and GEnie electronic bulletin boards. Normally, fans wouldn't have been privvy to such internal information.) I believe RA also looked at the scripts and Paramount's media releases, and again found many, many errors that others didn't.

    Margaret Clark and Paula Block started out as Star Trek fans too, you know. I assume they've had training as editors, but perhaps not. Many, many professionals playing in the Trek sandbox - writers, actors, makeup artists, SPFX people, etc - got their start as enthusiastic, amateur fans who were in the right place at the right time, or knew someone who knew someone.

    I've been a professional editor myself - I did it for five years - with no specialist training in that area whatsoever. (I still don't know or use all the correct markup symbols.) I was employed because I knew the topic being covered, not because I knew literary/creative analysis. And I received many accolades for the work I did, even increasing circulation from 2000 to 3000 copies over my time there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013