Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by subatoi, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    According to The Making of Star Trek, Roddenberry had a list of ship names, and Enterprise happened to be on that list. He could have chosen any of the others, or a different name entirely. But he made the correct choice, in my opinion, as it conveys the sense of something grand that people want to accomplish, and that wouldn't be dependent on people knowing the politics/history of the United States to appreciate it.
     
  2. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    Wow, I was just explaining my challenged cantankeriness at people speculating when somebody asked if people actually knew something. I was joining in the "discussion." i still stand by my point, though, that if someone asks if you "know" something, you ought to respond if you have a well-warranted, factual answer; not just take guesses. But whatever. I'm not a fighter.

    You are right, Christopher, whom I respect a great deal, that this wasn't my question to get irked about. Being a human, I get irked, though, and weighed in. My bad.

    In the spirit of the times, let me offer my guess. "Enterprise" IS a grand and a beautiful name, mellifluous and meaningful. "York" has that RK sound right in the middle of it that is homely. That is perhaps why GR changed it. Perhaps.

    Love to all of you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But my point was that I wasn't just making guesses. I was explaining the larger context that could give insight into the question. Because this is a bigger question than just one name change. The ship's name wasn't the only thing that was changed between the original series pitch and subsequent documents and productions. So the real question here is about how the early stages of the creative process work, and that's something that needs to be delved into in order to gain a real understanding of the matter.

    Sometimes a single fact in isolation isn't enough. Facts are of limited use without an understanding of the reasons underlying them, the context they fit into. Often, the better answer to a question about a phenomenon is to explain the broader theory (in the scientific sense) that explains how the phenomenon works, rather than just offering a single isolated data point without context or background. It's kind of like the "give a man a fish" vs. "teach a man to fish" thing. Teaching him to fish, giving him the "theory" of fishing so he understands the whole process and can apply that knowledge himself, is a better "answer" than just giving him an isolated result of that process.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    For what it's worth, I agree with you that it's irksome when fannish theories are put forward as though they were established facts. But, like I said, if people make it clear that they're just speculating, I'm inclined to let it slide . . .
     
  5. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In one of the documentaries (I don't remember which one), Roddenberry said he changed it because "I thought Enterprise was a better word". That's a direct quote.

    I have to agree. It does roll off the tounge better than Yorktown.

    Weither this is true or not, I don't know, but I heard it from Gene's own mouth.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's simplest when people say "I think" when expressing an opinion rather than saying it as if it's factual. It saves all the arguing.

    A quote from Roddenberry would be good, but until others can confirm it by seeing/hearing it, it's not a primary source.

    And, anyway, unless someone finds an old memo from the Desilu days that addresses the name change, then there will always be doubt about the actual reason, especially since Roddenberry's stories tended to change, and memory is fallible. (Aside: Speaking of internal memos, one of the TOS ones reveals the origins of the TAS life support belts.)
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There'd be no need for a memo, because as I keep saying, it's just the sort of thing that happens in the early, rough stages of a creative process. Let's be clear here: It's not like Roddenberry ever committed to the name Yorktown. It's not like he sold the series with that and it went into production under that name and then some big significant thing happened to change it. It was in one document, the very first thing he ever wrote down about the show -- a typewritten document that's full of spelling and punctuation errors, names the captain Robert April and the navigator Jose Ortegas, says Spock is "probably half Martian," says the time frame is somewhere between 1995 and 2995, says the ship "will rarely land on a planet," etc. The name Yorktown doesn't appear anywhere else, ever, except in this one document that's clearly extremely rough and tentative and that contains a lot of things that were very quickly changed.

    So that kind of name change that early in the process is so routine and normative that there wouldn't have been a need for a special memo to explain it. Especially since memos are for communication among the production team and the name was evidently changed before production began.
     
  8. SecretlyMrsKirk

    SecretlyMrsKirk Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I don't think it's a very attractive name, personally. Yorktown just makes me think of yorkshire puddings. But Enterprise...Now that's a sexy name!
     
  9. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Probably for three big reasons.

    1) U.S.S. Yorktown was known for having been sank by the Japanese at the Battle of Midway while Enterprise survived the battle and survived the war as the most decorated U.S. ship.

    2) The first (and at that time only) nuclear powered aircraft in the world was the U.S.S. Enterprise and had made a number of very high profile deployments.

    3) As stated above, "Yorktown" was overally Americancentric being named after the penultimate battle of the U.S. Revolutionary War. And it is even possible that G.R. even then was contemplating overseas marketing.
     
  10. Bubbles McGee

    Bubbles McGee Lieutenant Commander

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    I always thought this was the reason as well. It just fits with the whole spirit of the thing.
     
  11. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I doubt that had anything to do with it. Yorktown CV-5 was sunk at Midway but Yorktown CV-10 campaigned heavily in the Central Pacific offensive and by the time of Star Trek was serving off Vietnam. That would provide more than enough warship name recognition for most people. And it seems unlikely those who associated the name with Midway would find that a negative; indeed, making an important contribution to a major victory but not surviving is generally seen as a very honorable outcome. Not to mention that CV-5 was the most able, innovative and effective of the early-war carriers and the only one at Midway whose full air strike arrived over the enemy in one coordinated group.

    Justin
     
  12. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Speaking as a non American, I am glad that GR chose Enterprise as the name of the ship, mainly because it sounds all encompassing and universal.

    Its a great name.

    Yorktown just sounds so coloquial, if you are American, and ultimately is a shit name.

    That reason, to me, seems as valid as any other.
     
  13. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Enterprise is definitely better, but besides Americans there are probably some people in northern England that would disagree with Yorktown being called a "shit name."

    Justin
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed, when I did PBEM's several years back. And even trying to write my own novel. When I was creating the universe/characters things chopped and changed all the times. I would be watching something on TV and hear a name, and think that's a good name to use.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I can't walk through a cemetery without stealing good names from tombstones.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Why do you say that, as far as I'm aware there is no place called yorktown in the UK. There is a city called York though.
     
  17. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yes, Yorktown, Virginia was named after York in Yorkshire.

    Justin
     
  18. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not being from the North of England, I`m not fussed :cool:
     
  19. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Why not Zoidberg?
     
  20. Ensign Ricky

    Ensign Ricky Ensign Red Shirt

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