The Roddenberry Reputation

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Cap'n Claus, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Danger Ace

    Danger Ace Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think people are forgetting his considerable contributions. I think folks, through the back-and-forth of these threads, are striving to find and deal with the truth after decades of lies and misrepresentations with the ultimate goal of giving all concerned their rightful due.

    Is there some harshness to it? Yes, however, it is (IMO) a natural and measured backlash from feeling needlessly and unrepentantly lied to as well as the injury done to many innocent people and entities.

    When people start feeling someone willfully misrepresented things far more often then they were open and honest, well, the betrayal of trust becomes hurtful.

    Roddenberry villified NBC who in reality were more than fair to him by allowing him to make two pilots when the norm was one. They gave him three seasons despite poor ratings (wherein he abandoned ship, thereby, sabotaging the third season). He was routinely dishonorable in his dealings with others (under a variety of circumstances). So then the question becomes to what extent does the "good" outweigh or overshadow the "bad" (or vice-a-versa")? Where does one balance excusing GR's negatives while praising his positives?
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Three different chicks actual, but they were identical triplets.
     
  3. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    That's an excellent summation of what I think. :bolian:
     
  4. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    ^ Agreed, one of the better summations I've seen. Nicely done, DangerAce.
     
  5. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Identical triplets? Damn! One more entry on my bucket list. :D
     
  6. MrArcas

    MrArcas Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Yeah, agreed. Few humans are without flaws. And most often their flaws don't lessen the import of their achievements. I'd like to think Roddenberry had enough respect/decency not to force himself on an actress in his employ... and as said by others, I'd need to see proof, not just innuendo. But whatever the case, he was a human being.... just like you and me.
     
  7. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    So what? The first pilot was still better and Roddenberry was rightly pissed off that he had to Western-ify his Star Trek. When it comes to creative people vs. the studio I don't have to think twice about whom I side with and I certainly don't pretend that being a stubborn egomaniac (instead of a studio whore) is bad when you try to bring your vision onto the small or big screen.

    Balance? When people use words like dishonorable, villify and sabotage and then talk about balance they are just bullshitting. If you don't like the guy (based on what others said about him) don't beat around the bush and just say it.
    Thankfully I don't care one iota about what kind of a person he was. I care about his work.
     
  8. Zameaze

    Zameaze Commodore Commodore

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    We have always built idols so that some time in the future we could tear them down. Roddenberry is just one more example of this. When we elevate someone to the status of a god, and later relegate them to a position below us, we feel better about ourselves, we feel superior.

    To paraphrase Maslow, people have to eventually tear down their idols: looking up for so long makes the back of their necks sore.
     
  9. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    I'm curious as to what you mean by this. His pitch was "Wagon Train to the stars" and he was trying to duplicate the tone, style and attitudes of the "Adult Westerns" that were popular at the time.
     
  10. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    He pitched the thing as "Wagon Train to the Stars." Shame on naughty old NBC for giving him a second chance to give them what they paid for. :rolleyes:
     
  11. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Personally I have always loved WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE and it has been getting better the more I rewatch it, so I don't see the second pilot as a comedown at all ... more importantly, I think it also shows that the combination of an interesting notion and some measure of action was the ticket ... WHERE NO MAN doesn't have much more action than CAGE, but it sure SEEMS like it does.

    I have always been monumentally unimpressed with CAGE's casting, outside of John Hoyt and the guy with the ears (even the latter has plenty of room for improvement.) So WHERE NO MAN is a total upgrade for me.

    But in terms of westerniifying (nifty word, no sarcasm) ... what were the alternatives GR has to offer up to the network for pilot 2, in additon to Peeple's WHERE NO MAN:
    Here Comes the Brides (sorry, that was MUDD'S WOMEN, Stephen Kandel)
    The Patriot Act (THE OMEGA GLORY, GR at his worst or awfully close to it.)

    Geezus and Double-Geezus! You could have had David Lean shooting after William Goldman rewriting and these turkeys would STILL be turkeys! Those are like westerns, but really bad westerns!

    GR and everybody else should have been thanking the gods that the network chose WHERE NO MAN as pilot 2.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm going to get blasted for this but The Cage is overrated. The cast is almost uniformly bland and uncharismatic. The script is only okay. The money is on the screen, and the Talosians are cool, but it's nowhere near Star Trek's finest hour. WNMHGB is a much more dramatic story with far superior casting.
     
  13. Cap'n Claus

    Cap'n Claus Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What people either keep forgetting or ignoring is that Roddenberry himself rewrote a great deal of the scripts in the first two seasons. Harlan Ellison is the most famous example, while John DF Black apparently left because of it. Bob Justman and Herb Solow back it up that Gene was amazing at rewriting scripts, just not as good at generating his own from the ground up. He spent very long hours hammering away at them, as did Gene Coon and others. Again, when "Shore Leave" needed on set rewites, who was sitting under a tree on location making them? Not Coon or Fontana. Roddenberry.

    Which means, yes, Roddenberry deserves a lot of credit for the success of the show: he rewrote scripts to make sure they fit his idea of the series he created. This is no way removes what everyone else contributed, but to suggest as some have that Gene "created the series, then sat back and let others do the work while he had sex with actresses" is ridiculous. However, others like Coon, Fontana, Black and so on deserve a huge share of the accolades too.
     
  14. JoeD80

    JoeD80 Captain Captain

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    I'm pretty sure this was covered upthread; Fontana did the final City re-writes.

    Black left because of the way he was treated personally. The story is in the Inside Star Trek book.

    He was doing work for sure; but he was also having sex with actresses. This is also covered in the book.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Roddenberry did many polishes and re-writes, but you shouldn't underestimate the number of re-writes (often, uncredited) that Gene Coon and Dorothy Fontana did during the first two seasons. According to Inside Star Trek, Steve Kandel was hired to so a couple of rewrites, too. (So was George Clyton Johnson, but he declined, leading "What Are Little Gitls Made Of?" to be shot as written by Robert Bloch. It turned out just fine.)
     
  16. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    There were no Western elements in "The Cage". He delivered his pilot, a typical 50s/60s kind of sci-fi story with a light psychoanalytical touch. For the guys from NBC it was too brainy and they wanted more action/adventure. So perhaps Western-ify is the wrong word and it is more precise to say that the two pilots rather show that this conflict between story depth and action has been with Trek since its birth.
     
  17. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Depends on what "Western elements" are. Heck, The Cage even has a horse in it and Pike is wearing jeans!!!!! ;) But on a more serious note, it has Pike fighting the Kaylar and choking a shapeshifting Talosian. He also threatens to blow the Talosian's head off and the crew uses a laser canon to blow the top of a mountain off. Its not exactly an hour of navel gazing. Both pilots feature "ESP" with the Talosians illusion powers and Gary's telekinesis. Both have their talky elements. Both even have "ice queen" characters. Both have captains in conflict. Pike over staying in the service and Kirk over having to kill his best friend. I've never been quite sure why The Cage is more "cerebral".
     
  18. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    I totally agree, it is a well-balanced story. But I guess it was perceived as too cerebral by the powers that were because of Pike's doubts, Number One and the sexual stuff about Vina wanting to be young again and so on (or rather the way this was handled, with cold distance). I think it is more a matter of overall atmosphere and The Cage was certainly THE Trek story which was most inspired by Forbidden Planet. I'd even claim that it tries to replicate its atmosphere.
    Talking about Forbidden Planet, it is as if somebody perceives Forbidden Planet to be too brainy because of the monster from the id or rather their ids. A tiny touch of vulgar psychoanalysis does not really make the story utterly brilliant or too difficult for anybody to understand but I can see why studio executives might think so.
     
  19. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The "two pilots was unheard of at the time..." has always been GR BS. BOTH "Gilligan's Island" and "Lost In Space" got second pilot attempts before they finally aired.

    GR also likes to claim he was the one who tried to make the cast "more inter-racial" for the second pilot, when in fact it was a general directive memo from NBC corporate that had more to do with it (based on marketing studies by advertisers at the time.) Also, Star Trek was NOT the first show to showcase inter-racial characters on NBC (or TV in general); as "I Spy" was doing it a full year/TV season before "Star Trek" aired. I have a feeling, had that memo not been circulated, we'd have had another WASP/Forbidden Planet-esque style, nearly Arian crew make up. ;)

    NBC also had NO PROBLEM with a "woman as second in command" per se; and informed GR that he could indeed keep "Number One" female IF he re-cast the role (the Execs knew about his and Majel's relationship (and BTW GR was still married to his first wife while all this was occurring), and aside from the fact they indeed didn't believe she had the acting chops to carry a lead role; they were MORE concerned (given the projected cost per episode of the series) as to what happen if/when Majel and GR split up. They didn't want a situation where a lead was now the 'Ex' of the show's Executive Producer. GR of course decided to not recast and combine Number One with the Mr. Spock character.

    Lastly, one of the main issues NBC had with the pilot WAS the cost (over 1 million dollars); and they were indeed concerned that Desilu couldn't/wouldn't be able to produce weekly episodes on a smaller budget; so one of the things the second pilot was - was a 'proof' to NBC that they could produce a workable/watchable and entertaining episode on what would amount to their smaller weekly budget.

    So, in the end the MAJORITY of GR's claims about the 'evil NBC network' wanting to dumb down his 'vision' (tm) are mostly fantasy. The network was the one footing the bill for most of this; so they wanted to be sure they got what was promised. If NBC were that 'evil' per se, I doubt they would have shown as much interest in the series as they did (and they did lot to make it happen as well as what GR was responsible for.)

    The interesting thing to me is that the second pilot honestly wasn't any more or less 'cerebral' per se. It still dealt with the human psyche and mental powers; and had about the same level of action -- Pike had the combat with the Kaylar, and Kirk the final hand to hand battle with gary Mitchell in the end (although I concede that the fact the fight came at the end was probably a more accepted plot structure in those days - and went over better with the Execs.)
     
  20. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^^ Add to that the casting of Shatner as captain. He had a better "range" and was already a known property in TV land. It's my opinion that Shatner sold the 2nd pilot.