News Introducing Fact Trek

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Harvey, May 9, 2020.

  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I just watched the film tonight, in fact. Robards is good as Doc Holiday, but I felt Garner was miscast as Earp. Unable to turn on his signature charm, he’s relentlessly grim in the part. Garner would play Earp again about twenty years later, in the flawed, but enjoyable Sunset. There, much more of his charm is on display.

    Some sources claim that director John Sturges wanted DeForest Kelley to reprise his role as Morgan Earp in Hour of the Gun (he had played the part in Sturges’ The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957), but Star Trek meant he was unavailable.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm... I wonder how many TOS episode titles were allusions to movie titles we've largely forgotten. I think "Spock's Brain" was probably an homage to the book and movie Donovan's Brain, which was pretty well-known at the time.
     
  3. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    An intentional or accidental play? The archive (at least what's left in the archive) seems to shows the progression of the title from "The Last Gunfight" to "The Spectre of the Melkot" to "Spectre of the Gun." This last change especially seems to follow naturally, and "The Spectre of the Melkot" is not at all allusive of "Hour of the Gun." Also, Spock refers to the bullets as spectres in the fourth acts of both the final and revised final drafts, so "Spectre of the Gun," in the very basic sense, references the illusion of the bullet in the gun.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't have any evidence, but I have a suspicion that "___ of the Gun" may have already been a common title formula for Westerns back then, even before Hour of... came out.
     
  5. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "I, Mudd" is obviously from Asimov's book I, Robot.

    "The Trouble with Tribbles"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trouble_with_Harry

    "Requiem for Methuselah"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_for_a_Heavyweight

    "Turnabout Intruder"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnabout_(film)

    "Patterns of Force" suggests that John Meredyth Lucas took an anthropology course in college:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Benedict#Patterns_of_Culture
    That fits the episode pretty well.

    I also have an incomplete memory (or a false memory) suggesting that "Mudd's Women" is a play on "Somebody's Women" in a book or movie title, but I can't think of the somebody. Or maybe I'm just thinking of Little Women.
     
  6. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The novel Donovan's Brain, 1942 has been adapted to other media several times:

    Once when Donvan's Reef, 1963, was on television, my father said it was one of his favorite movies and I couldn't help wishing that Donvan's Brain was on instead.
     
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  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, I thought of another one: the title "Turnabout Intruder" was a reference to the 1931 novel and 1940 movie Turnabout, a comedy in which a husband and wife switched bodies and got to see how the other half lived. That one was pretty blatant.

    More of a reach, but I wonder if "Charlie X" could've been an allusion to Doctor X, the 1932 horror film about a mad doctor performing sadistic experiments on people. Although I always figured it was in the sense of using "X" to mean "unknown," as in The X-Files later on (and The Uncanny X-Men contemporaneously, to a degree).

    "The Galileo Seven" could almost be a nod to The Magnificent Seven, though the stories have nothing in common. "Mudd's Women" sounds like it could be an homage to some earlier title, but I can't think what. "The Trouble with Tribbles" could be a nod to The Trouble with Harry.

    Moving on to TAS, "One of Our Planets is Missing" is overtly a nod to the 1942 British film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing. Apparently that title gets homaged a lot.

    Of course, lots of Trek episodes are blatant allusions to things like classic literature or Shakespeare ("Dagger of the Mind," "The Conscience of the King," "This Side of Paradise," etc.), but I'm looking specifically for what might be forgotten allusions to then-popular movie titles and the like, references that would've been clear to audiences at the time but go over our heads (like DS9's "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" probably will for later generations).
     
  8. plynch

    plynch Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've always assumed "Charlie X" was an allusion to Malcolm. Our stupidifying of history has boiled down the Civil Rights Movement to one man, but Malcolm was hugely famous, and had only been killed the year before the ep aired (and less than that, of course when the story was developed).

    Was the original Charlie's Law? I seem to remember that from a Blish adaptation.

    And I assumed Mudd was allusion to "I, Claudius," since Mudd is a ruler on his planet. Sort of.
     
  9. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Christopher, why are you pointedly ignoring my post (#205), which you should have been notified of as a direct reply to yours? I listed "Turnabout" as part of my answer to your question.

    I also listed The Trouble with Harry, Requiem for a Heavyweight, and Patterns of Culture.

    Also, although I would never have guessed this, Gene Roddenberry apparently said at some point that "Charlie X" was an allusion to how illiterate people make a mark, such as an X, when asked to sign their names. I would have gone with the "X for unknown quantity" idea, but that wasn't the intention.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't see why that would be. Charlie wasn't a civil rights activist or anything like that. And "X" had a long history in science fiction of being associated with the unknown and mysterious, based on the use of x for an unknown variable in mathematics -- "Planet X," X Minus One, The X from Outer Space, the X-Men, etc.


    One of the titles, but not the first. It came from a story seed in Roddenberry's original 1964 series prospectus, "The Day Charlie Became God," and Memory Alpha says the first outline was called "Charlie is God." Dave Eversole's analysis says that "Charlie's Law" was the title of Fontana's first draft, though Memory Alpha claims it came from Blish and was a pun on Charles' Law from physics ("citation needed").


    Quite possibly, but I'm looking for more obscure references to things that would've been pop culture in TOS's day but are largely forgotten today.
     
  11. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Christopher:

    Now you're making it obvious, so I'll ask again: Why are you pointedly ignoring me?

    And I already mentioned-- in my reply to your earlier post-- that "I, Mudd" is a reference the Asimov novel I, Robot.
     
  12. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    If he has you set on ignore, he won't see your question asking why you're being ignored.
     
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  13. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks. If that's the case, I can't imagine why he would do that. And it's making him look incredibly evasive and insecure.
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    A quick advanced Google Books search doesn't turn up a lot with "...of the Gun" in their titles.

    A cursory IMDb search turns up 34 "of the Gun", only three of which predate Hour of the Gun:
    • The Texan episode (TV Series) "Law of the Gun" (1958)
    • The feature Law of the Guns (1966)
    • Tightrope (TV Series) "Night of the Gun" (1960)
    ..and I mean CURSORY because that search doesn't even turn up "Spectre of the Gun".
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I'd say a cursory search producing three whole examples predating it pretty much proves it didn't originate it.
     
  17. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Writer and occasional starship commander Premium Member

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    Three cursory examples may prove it didn't originate the title form but that doesn't mean it was "common title formula for Westerns," as stated previously.

     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    And just who was claiming Hour of the Gun originated it? No one, that's who. That's moving the goalposts.

    The fact of the matter is the film was about the aftermath of the so-called O.K. Corral gunfight and released in the USA on November 1, 1967, 8½ months before the episode got renamed "Spectre of the Gun", so it's not totally unreasonable to think the film's name was in Hollywood consciousness re the gunfight at the time the episode's final title was being hammered out.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Just a matter of degree. My point was that I believed the formula might predate Hour of the Gun, and it does.

    However, if the small sample turned up in a cursory search produces three examples, that implies they're common enough to be easy to find. If you were panning for gold and found three pieces of it in your first pan, it's more likely that there's plenty more to find there than it is that you just happened to collect the whole amount on your first try.


    I just meant that there are other possibilities we should be open to. It could have been an influence, but it could also be that both titles were referencing an earlier pattern. It's always the temptation to see two similar things close together and assume one was referencing the other, but it's always wise to look back further and consider the possibility that they're both derived from something even older. In my experience, they usually are.
     
  20. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    If you limit your results for a title search ("of the Gun") by release date from 1900 to 1968, "Spectre of the Gun" shows up amongst the results. IMDb isn't perfect, but I would consider this to be a fairly comprehensive title search for film and television.

    https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title="of+the+gun"&release_date=1900-01-01,1968-12-31

    Among the 50 results that appear, only *eight* actually show titles that end with "of the Gun" or "of the Guns." And of those five television episodes, two feature films, and one educational film, only four (including the Star Trek episode) could be considered Westerns. ("The Drowning of the Gun" was co-written by Gene Roddenberry, which is irrelevant to the conversation, but an interesting tidbit.)
    1. Star Trek: "Spectre of the Gun" (1968)
    2. Hour of the Gun (1967)
    3. Law of the Guns (1966)
    4. Red China: Year of the Gun? (1966)
    5. Tightrope: "Night of the Gun" (1960)
    6. The Texan: "Law of the Gun" (1958)
    7. West Point: "The Drowning of the Gun" (1957)
    8. The Ford Television Theatre: "The Sermon of the Gun" (1953)
    This seemed like a fairly safe assumption, but given the sheer quantity of Westerns that were produced for film and television on or before 1968, the fact that only four have a title that ends with "of the Gun" suggests this wasn't a common formula for Western titles at all.
     
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