Will the real Wyatt Earp please stand...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Warped9, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Here's an interesting link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...gilante-portrayed-movies-new-book-claims.html

    In "Spectre Of The Gun" we see a portrayal of Wyatt Earp (and his brothers) that runs rather counter to how he was/is usually portrayed in film and television. Usually Wyatt is portrayed as a rather righteous and sometimes reluctant lawman. But in "Spectre Of The Gun" he was portrayed more as a sinister would-be killer. He certainly wasn't portrayed sympathetically.

    Is it just possible that TOS could be about the only time Wyatt was portrayed at least remotely more like the real person? I'm not saying the writers were out to deliberately correct history, but that just maybe their approach to the character just coincidentally leaned a bit closer to what the real man might have been like.

    Thoughts.
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    To put it in perspective of when "Spectre of the Gun" first aired, this was the popular image of Wyatt Earp in the minds of audiences at the time (I remember when this was on too):

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZgLmEdSfVQ[/yt]


    If embed doesn't work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZgLmEdSfVQ
     
  3. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't know I wouldn't say Wyatt came off as a "real person" here but that is partially because of the dream like nature of the episode (which I absolutely love, it's one of my favorites from season 3)

    However I did read that the reluctant and righteous Wyatt might have been a tall tale. After all history is kinder to the victors and I believe it was Wyatt who originally told the tale of Gunfight at Ok Corral.

    On another note this was Deforest Kelley's 3rd time in this story. He also played Ike Clanton in the TV series You Are There and Morgan Earp in the film Gunfight at the Ok Corral. I think he should have introduced the period they were in rather than Spock because of this, but oh well.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Earp lived long enough to actually meet and influence people in the film business, dying in 1929 at the ripe age of 80. Director John Ford had been told the OK Corral story by Earp personally, and later used Earp's version for his staging of the scene in My Darling Clementine.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    True enough, he wasn't presented as a "real" person, but what is interesting is that the whole sequence was patterned after Kirk's knowledge and view of history. What Kirk knew (or could recollect) was used as "the pattern of their deaths" as the Melkot put it. And here we see Wyatt Earp and his brothers (as well as Doc Holliday) in an unfavourable light. It could be seen as Kirk's view of history running counter to what is popularly believed today and even more so when TOS was in production.

    That said when you read up on the event and the people involved as well as what lead up to the event no one really comes across well. A lot of the Old West seems to be made up of bad men, badder men and a lot of those of dubious character. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  6. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    It may have gone a bit against the then-prevailing trend, but it wouldn't have been the first time the Earps were portrayed less-than-favorably. Portrayed more like the real person? No, that wouldn't be a terribly accurate statement, either. Wyatt Earp was neither the hero of one telling nor the sinister bad guy of "Spectre"; he was in a lot of ways a pretty ordinary human being, and only a temporary deputy marshal at the time of the historical shootout which occurred six doors down from the back entrance to the OK Corral.
     
  7. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    That's a ver cool photo down the article with Dee Kelly playing Morgan! I never knew that.
     
  8. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    In Hour of the Gun (1967) Wyatt was portrayed by James Garner as quite willing to go outside the law if need be, ostensibly in pursuit of justice but with a strong dose of revenge mixed in. Of course the main bad guy, Ike Clanton, was really bad. Good movie, nice Jerry Goldsmith score.

    The little-remembered "Doc" from 1971 has probably the most amoral Wyatt I've seen, played by Harris Yulin. He pretty much just wants to be "the boss" of the town and being a lawman is the best way to get there.

    I would be even better if whoever wrote the caption knew Burt Lancaster from Kirk Douglas.
     
  9. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I think it was somewhat subversive for Star Trek to contrive a situation in which American lawmen were the villains, although this is greatly softened by the fact that they were clearly presented as alien sock puppets.

    "Spectre" is an episode that really displayed the limitations of Stage 10. When lightning flashes, the trees cast shadows on the nearby sky cylcorama. The same problem can be seen on Lost in Space in "The Anti-Matter Man," which was pretty shocking because Lost in Space was usually the gold standard for believable science fiction.
     
  10. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You know thinking about OK Corral (the 1957 film) while Earp was definitely portrayed as a good guy, Kirk Douglas Doc Holliday was more gray. He was loyal and helpful to Earp but pretty nasty to the woman who was with him (almost in an abusive way). In fact I would say he was a pretty real character.
     
  11. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Uhm, what?
     
  12. Admiral James Kirk

    Admiral James Kirk Writer Admiral

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    Zap were you being ironic?
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    :wtf: Uh, in what alternate universe? LiS was known as what most people expected from sci-fi (silly escapist fantasy) particularly back in the day. At no point was it ever considered "the gold standard" for believable science fiction.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, in "Bread and Circuses" we also see a less than friendly parody of the US society, complete with policemen who wear what looks like US police riot control gear of the time and stand ready to gun down unarmed people at the whim of a tyrannical government...

    ...Or made the most of them, depending.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see showing American lawmen as sinister as overly subversive given since the '70s all sorts of branches of government including law enforcement agencies are often shown as sinister. It was certainly a major element in The X-Files throughout the series and numerous films over the decades as well.

    Hell in DS9 they've even given you a shadowy dirty tricks agency called Section 31.
     
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I haven't read it in 37 years, but there is a book called TRIGGERNOMETRY that really debunks and demythologizes the actual gunfighters. The one detail I remembes is William Bonney on a staircase shooting down at the back of a guy at the foot of the stairs, less than 9 ft away, not even under fire, and missing him completely, only wounding him due to lucky richochet.

    This thread was kind of neat timing, since I was watching ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST this morning and just got BITE THE BULLET on blu ray too.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    As I understand it the Old West guns were pretty much crap in terms of accuracy, and certainly nothing compared to modern handguns including revolvers.

    I think I once saw a Mythbusters segment on this very thing, too.
     
  18. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This may well be another "nitpick" from the episode that was in fact done completely on purpose. Like the switching of character positions between shots during the Earps' "trek" to the O.K. Corral.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Totally intentional. The anti-matter world was lit and shot in such a way that all of the limitations were made obvious; the ends of the set, the shadows on the walls, the glaringly fake mountains in the distance all shot from a high crane. It was one of the very few times they could shoot on the set and not worry about making sure everything was in the right proportion or angle.

    I suspect Spectre of the Gun was shot the same way. With the lack of budget to have full buildings or to shoot on a location, they decision was made to use the bits and pieces to make facades. Since it was an illusion and obviously artificial, this was played up. No film crew of any skill would have shadows of trees against the backdrop that obvious unless it was intentional. And the crews of both Star Trek and Lost in Space were very skilled pros. Irwin Allen only hired hacks when it came to scripts, not his technicians.

    But seriously, Zap, you were kidding about LIS being the gold standard for believable sci-fi. Right?
     
  20. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think Spectre of the Gun looked fantastic for something that was obvious low budget. It is an example of what you can do with a low budget in a creative way. It is the same with Empath for me. Those two episodes are definitely my favorites in terms of look & atmosphere.

    Spectre of the Gun is also my favorite of the alternative world episodes. Well I guess it wasn't pure alternative world because it was all in the mind, but that is why I liked it. Best explanation for doing a genre piece in Star Trek. And not to mention I always felt Trek already had a bit of a Western feel to it.

    Another nice thing about the episode is it included Scotty and Chekov instead of some no name character (plus Chekov not Kirk got the girl). :)