Have you read the new Gross & Altman book?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by CrazyMatt, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Anyone here reading "The Fifty Year Mission" by Edward Gross and Mark Altman? It's actually the first of two parts, covering TOS, the abortive Phase II, and ST:TMP through The Undiscovered Country. The second edition, which focuses on TNG and beyond, will be out later this year.

    It's not chock full of new information, but there is enough to keep my interest. One highlight: a letter GR sent to Shatner and Nimoy (also to De Kelley, although more as a formality) in the middle of the second production season, excoriating both of them for their selfish behavior... going so far as to claim their bad attitudes were part of the reason for Gene Coon leaving.

    That's the only psudo-spoiler you'll get from me. But I do recommend this book.
     
  2. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I ordered it yesterday; glad to hear that it may keep my attention.
     
  3. ST-321

    ST-321 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm about 140 pages into it now & am enjoying it.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I've read some of it. It's a breezy read, for the most part, but I have some issues with it that I've posted elsewhere.

     
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  5. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Commodore

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    Where? :biggrin:
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Facebook, Twitter, and a bit here (which I've quoted).
     
  7. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Commodore

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    Ah, okay. I read your blog regularly and hadn't seen anything there.
     
  8. feek61

    feek61 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I sure wish YOU would write a book Harvey!!! There is no one I trust more than you to get the details correct.
     
  9. David Strickhouser

    David Strickhouser Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, that "letter" was worth the purchase price for me!
    We'd heard about that infamous "memo" for years, but to see it excerpted, ... terrific!
     
  10. ST-321

    ST-321 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yeah, that was some letter. I just finished the book and enjoyed it very much. There's a lot on various projects, story ideas and casting that never came about that I hadn't heard before. I'm really glad that the proposed guest star for Trek IV never came about.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I've just ordered this book along with Star Trek: The Official Guide To Our Universe.
     
  12. David Strickhouser

    David Strickhouser Commander Red Shirt

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    Amen to that! It'd been SUPERMAN III all over again. Star/stunt casting forsaking story.
     
  13. David Strickhouser

    David Strickhouser Commander Red Shirt

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    Finished the book. Still recommend it.
    Was unaware of Walter Koenig (Chekov)'s anger during the filming of ST VI. Very curious.
    Found out more tidbits concerning Harve Bennett's "Academy Years" storyline.
     
  14. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    My copy should arrive tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I actually got my copy this afternoon. I'm 107 pages in and finding this is a much easier read than the TMP book. This book seems better structured and easier to follow where I find the TMP book a slog at times with the content scattered all over the place with little relevance from one entry to the next.
     
  16. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    There is a candor to this book that is unlike anything I've seen before when looking behind the scenes of TOS.

    We're also reminded that Harlan Ellison and David Gerrold can't ket go of the past. And they're both jerks each in their own way. Ellison really strikes me as an egotistical asshole. And Gerrold is a bitter little pissant because TOS wasn't made in his vision after his luck with "The Trouble With Tribbles."
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
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  17. Esteban

    Esteban Commander Red Shirt

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    Read my Kindle version and I must say it started off slow with the authors gushing but then got better. Then a lot better. "The Letter" that GR sent to the principals was worth the $15 alone. Was he loaded when he dictated it? Does it matter? It's a Star Trek script in itself.

    But I have a question about the timing. They say the letter is dated August 17, Thursday. That would put it on the 5th day of production of I, Mudd. Assuming it was received on Monday, read, and wept over, there still lay ahead Tribbles, the Labor Day break, and Bread and Circuses.

    In the letter, Gene R clearly says Gene Coon is ill and leaving the show. That contradicts much of what we've read about Bread and Circuses being a bone of contention, about Gene R being away and involved another projects only to be "surprised" by the comedic direction the series was taking with Tribbles, and so forth.

    Harvey, sure would love a fact check on this. Waves and waves of time displacement.....

    PS: I skipped most of the stuff about the conventions, etc. I did greatly enjoy the parts about the first 6 movies, though. Although much of the ground on TMP has been well covered, I for one learned a great deal about the Harve Bennett years.

    Even some of the commentary by Berman Years creatives was fairly interesting. Not fascinating, but interesting.
     
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  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    There is a definite shift in GR from TOS to TMP. In TMP he couldn't accept much input and viewpoint from others anymore. I think GR and Harold Livingston as well as Paramount's indecisiveness each contributed to TMP's shortcomings.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    August 17, 1967 was the 4th day of shooting on "I, Mudd," actually. The episode shot August 14-18 & 21. These Are The Voyages suggest differently, but it's very wrong about the filming dates during "I, Mudd" and "The Trouble with Tribbles."

    Speaking of everyone's favorite Star Trek "historian," Cushman suggests in the Altman/Gross book that Roddenberry stepped away from the series for four weeks to write a Robin Hood pilot. Presumably, he's lifted this detail about the pilot from David Alexander's biography of Roddenberry, although as far as I know he's invented the four week figure to fit his narrative. He's also completely missed that Alexander strongly implies this script was written at night, rather than during any extended sabbatical from the series:

    (Roddenberry's letter quoted at length, though not completely, in the Altman/Gross book surely doesn't suggest someone who was taking a break from the series).

    John Meredyth Lucas' deal memo was dated August 30, 1967. I suspect that Gene Coon left the building a week later, contributing memos and re-writes from afar, but no longer being present in the office nor actually producing the series in any meaningful sense.
     
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  20. Esteban

    Esteban Commander Red Shirt

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    Makes sense, Harvey...after I posted I went back and re-read some things. One interesting tidbit was that tale about John Meredyth Lucas being shown around on his first day out at Bronson Canyon on the shoot for B&C, where Shatner sees Roddenberry and turns around and walks away...that everyone was mad at each other, etc. I guess The Letter either hadn't cooled down yet or, just perhaps, it was sent later than it was dated.

    That letter fascinates me. One, that it took 49 years to actually resurface, even though we knew of its existence in Gerrold's "World", and two that even now we only get excerpts. I wonder why, and who was Gross and Altman's source.
     
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