What year does "City on the Edge of Tomorrow" happen in?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by MAGolding, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    What is the fictional date of the past events in "The City on the Edge of Forever"?

    That is not as easy to answer as one might think, because of the possibility that people in Edith Keeler's era might not use the same calendar era as most of us on this site use. Instead of counting the years from AD 1, the calendar era of the Anno Domini date system, they might count the years from some year that is before or after AD 1.

    After McCoy leaps through the Guardian of Forever:

    When Kirk and Spock arrive in the past:

    When McCoy wakes up in Edith Keeler's mission:

    This establishes that the present year in the calendar used by Edith Keeler is 1930.Since the Depression in the USA lasted from about 1929 to 1941, the year that Edith Keeler calls 1930 should be between about 1929 & 1941, and thus should have a calendar era between 1 BC and AD 11.

    Kirk and Spock discuss contrasting newspaper reports about Edith Keeler:

    Clearly Kirk and Spock are using the dates in the newspaper articles, which are not necessarily the dates used for this era in their own history books centuries later.

    And days later:

    So what is the evidence that the calendar used in this era might not count the years Anno Domini beginning with AD One, but count the years from a different calendar era?

    And:

    http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/28.htm

    In the year 1930 in Edith Keeler's calendar, call it 1930 EK, Edith Keller assumes that people who know who Clark Gable is.

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever_(episode)

    So when was Clark Gable actually a leading man in movies?

    The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) lists all of Clark Gable's movie roles.

    For North Star (1925) IMDB lists Clark Gable 6th in the cast. Second was Virginia Lee Corbin who turned 15 in 1925, and first was Strongheart the Dog. Yes, Clark Gable once played sixth fiddle to a dog!

    North Star (1925) was the second movie role that Clark gable was credited in, and the first where the character was important enough to be given a name. All his other early roles were as uncredited extras until 1931 when Gable was credited with 12 roles in various movies, billed between eighth in The Easiest Way and first in Sporting Blood.

    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000022/?ref_=tt_cl_t6

    So as far as I can tell in our alternate universe people would have started talking about Clark Gable movies sometime in 1931. Therefore, it seems logical to suppose that either:

    1) Star Trek is in an alternate universe where Clark Gable was already a movie star in AD 1930.

    or:

    2) Star Trek is in an alternate universe where a different calendar era was used in 1930s USA, so that the EK (for Edith Keeler) year was 1930 when it was AD 1931, AD 1932, or later.

    Here is a link to an image of a scene from "City on the Edge of Forever" showing a calendar for a month.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/1x28/cityontheedge_382.jpg

    In the lower left one can see a thin slice of a column with two parts of numbers in red. Thus the column with the red numbers should be the column for Sundays. Since the day one in the top row is in the fifth row, it should be on a Thursday, Friday should be the second, and part of a column beyond that should be Saturday the third. The unseen first Sunday should be the fourth, and then we see the fifth (Monday), the sixth (Tuesday), the seventh (Wednesday) and under the first day 1 the eight day which would be the second Thursday.

    The monthly calendar has only five rows for day numbers. Since there are three days in the top row the next four rows have spaces for up to twenty eight more days, thus this month can have twenty eight to thirty days total.

    There is an almost complete 5 in the bottom most Sunday, and then Monday the 26th, and Tuesday the 27th are visible. Thus the total number of days in the month are unknown. The next month should begin on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

    At the bottom left of the calendar is a fragment of a smaller monthly calendar, presumably either the previous or the next month. Careful study of the smaller calendar indicates that its day one is a Monday and its day 31 is a Wednesday, so that is consistent with the smaller calendar month being either the month before or the month after the main month on the calendar.

    So the main month of the calendar should be either:

    1) After a 31 day month, and thus possibly be January, February, April, June, August, September, or November.

    or:

    2) Before a 31 day month, and thus possibly be February, April, June, July, September, November, or December.

    But apparently the main month on the calendar can not be either March, May, or October.

    Memory Alpha says:

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever_(episode)

    But as nearly as I can tell the main month on the calendar must either follow a 31 day month or be followed by a 31 day month. Since May is itself a 31 day month and follows April, a 30 day month, and isfollowed by June, a 30 day month, it seems that May can not be the main month on the calendar.

    And since May is a 31 day month, May can't be the main month on the calendar if there is a still photo or a clip showing the main month with only 30 days.

    In AD 1925 January and October have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo.
    https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1925&country=1

    In AD 1926 April and July have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1926&country=1

    In AD 1927 September and December have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1927&country=1

    In AD 1928 March and November have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1928&country=1

    In AD 1929 August has day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1929&country=1

    In AD 1930 May has day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1930&country=1

    In AD 1931 January and October have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1931&country=1

    In AD 1932 September and December have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1932&country=1

    In AD 1933 June has day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1933&country=1

    In AD 1934 February, March, and November have day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1934&country=1

    In AD 1935 August has day 1 on Thursday as in the photo. https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1935&country=1

    There is one other thing that I noticed about the calendar. The Sundays are marked in red, and two other days are marked in red. In the main calendar Wednesday the 14th is marked in red, and in the smaller calendar in the lower left the day I think is Tuesday the 30th is marked in red.

    The only holiday celebrated in the USA on the 14th I can think of is St. Valentine's Day on February 14th, an unofficial holiday. I haven't found any holidays celebrated in the USA on the 30th of any month. Thus the holiday on the 30th could be an important movable holiday like Easter of Thanksgiving.

    American Thanksgiving is always celebrated on a Thursday in November, while Easter is celebrated in March or April.

    Thus one possible theory may be that the main month in the calendar is February and the month in the lower left corner is the next month, March, when Easter is celebrated on the 30th. But Easter is always celebrated on Sunday.

    So possibly "The City On the Edge of Forever" happens in February 1930 EK which is the same as February AD 1935. This implies that year one EK is, or overlaps with, year AD 6.

    Since "The City on the Edge of Forever" was filmed in February, 1967, an actual 1967 or earlier calendar was probably used for the calendar prop.

    And a better picture of the calendar prop would be very useful in deciding when "The City on the Edge of Forever" actually happens.
     
  2. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kirk and McCoy's ignorance of Clark Gable is not unsurprising as television and motion pictures were no longer a thing of the twenty third century we discover and could you name some of the actors (other than Gable) from that era now, without the help of a computer? :wtf:
    JB
     
  3. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    My children don't know who Clark Gable is. But they also don't know how film camera works which both Kirk and Spock did.
    Maybe film cameras make a resurgence in TOS time while Gable's movies do not.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Parallel realities. Just as with Albert Einstein who in the Trek reality seems to be an authority on quantum electrodynamics, or Elon Musk who seems to be a big name in space travel even though all his promises have been preempted by the Trek 1990s already. Clark Gable probably became a comedy hit in the 1920s but then faded to obscurity, while Gary Cooper is remembered forever for his big role as Rhett Butler and the four Oscars he got for best male lead, best lead, period, best male, period, and best on-the-stage single-handed rewrite of awards-winning movie.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The month on the calendar in COTEOF is June, the red letter date is Flag Day (June 14), and the red letter date in the previous month is Memorial Day (always celebrated on May 30 up to 1970.)
    The year 1967 was a year where Flag Day fell on a Wednesday and Memorial Day fell on a Tuesday so the source of the calendar page is probably from that year. The closest year to 1930 where this pattern occurs is 1933.
     
  6. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I have a perpetual calendar (on paper) that runs from 1700 to 2108, and that checks out.

    But the calendar used as set decoration doesn't square with the dialog. The only in-universe explanation is that, for some crazy reason, Edith left a calendar hanging, untouched, from June 1922. And if you look at it, the calendar looks extremely old, like it's falling apart. I think it's been moldering on that wall since mid-1922, in universe, and therefore tells us almost nothing.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x28hd/thecityontheedgeofforeverhd478.jpg

    Note that there's nothing about the rotting calendar that couldn't be from 1922.

    Edit: Edith Keeler is clearly an upper-class, patrician do-gooder, and I think the "team of horses" on that calendar was probably painted by her brother the published artist, or something along those lines, and that's why she left it up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  7. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    @ZapBrannigan My post was informational only, with no conclusions about why a June page was used there. @MAGolding was having trouble IDing the holidays. Except for the 1936 references, the year 1933 would have been a better fit for the dialog, especially the Clark Gable call-out. As for the calendar art, there is something familiar about it. It reminds me of the sort of gung ho art found in history texts used in American schools. You know, Boone on the Wilderness Road, that sort of thing. Though, maybe about the Civil War. I dunno...
     
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  8. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    My interpretation is that the calendar is from 1930 EK (the year 1930 in what I call the Edith Keeler calendar era, though no doubt it has a different official name) which is the same year as AD 1933. For some reason the USA and maybe the rest of the world has chosen to count the years from a calendar era of AD 4 instead of AD 1 in this alternate universe. Thus the future year 1936 EK, where Edith Keeler will meet with President Roosevelt, should be the same as AD 1939, and the US entry into World War II thus happens later than in December AD 1941.

    It seems quite possible that in the alternate universe of Star Trek World war Two began later than in our timeline and the USA also entered the war later than in our timeline.

    Looking at the picture, I am not certain that that there is a physical connection between the painting and the calendar. They may be separate.
     
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  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

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    Isn't the problem that Gable wasn't that big of a star in 1930, so a "Clark Gable picture" wasn't really a thing.
     
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  10. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    In those days remember: Movie theaters KEPT and rotated existing films and often re-showed older films.
     
  11. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

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    Not sure how that helps. Gable wasn't a star in 1930. The first movie he could be said to be the star of came out in May of '31. His work in film prior to 1930 was as an extra.
     
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  12. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    It's an alternate 1930 where/when Clark Gable is already household name, and "Goodnight, Sweetheart" is playing on the radio about a year too early, and people do their hair and makeup in 1960s style.

    Kor
     
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  13. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    DOH - Now I get what you were saying. But hey, Edith Keeler was good at predicting the future. ;)
     
  14. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Or 3) Someone was responsible for this screw-up in the show's production? Props on the wall are one thing, but written dialog is another. Someone wrote: "newspaper article 1930" and "Clark Gable movie". Was this Gene Coon or Harlan Ellison? Does anyone have a copy of Ellison's original teleplay?
     
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  15. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Premium Member

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    @Maurice ? @Harvey ?
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    @Maurice and I are already working on a project regarding to the story development of "City."

    I'll put this in my notes to check, but don't have the time at the moment to comb through the various drafts we have to see if we can find the origin of this anachronism. It seems like the sort of thing that de Forest Research would have caught, but there isn't a full research memo for the script on file at UCLA, only a partial one.
     
  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    It was a lot harder in 1967 to put your finger on little tidbits of information, and you couldn't let that stop you from telling a story. Studio researchers like Kellam DeForest and Lillian Farber had rooms full of reference books, but there was no IMDB or Wikipedia to tell you in a heartbeat "by what year could Clark Gable be considered famous?" And the TV audience had no idea anyway, so it was cool to cheat a little.
     
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  18. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Don't think the episode could be in May or June as Kirk points out Alnitak, in Orion, in the early evening sky. That could be February or maybe March or April, but not as late as May.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
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  19. Henoch

    Henoch Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    They were wearing coats in New York City; they seemed cold. Could be March or April.
     
  20. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    As I recall the whole Clark Gable thing didn't show up until the after Carabatsos left the show, so maybe in the Coon outline or Fontana's draft. I didn't add that data point to the spreadsheet I created to track the evolution of the script, so I'll have to look again.