Your "last episode" and syndication cuts.

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Grant, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I do know the last time I ever saw a TOS episode for the first time: Oct 18, 1986 when I bought "The Cage" (uncut, partly b&w version) on pay per view.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    It wasn't shot with that in mind, and Roddenberry felt they would need to shoot extra material to make an acceptable feature out of it, hence him writing to Jeff Hunter about the idea.
     
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  3. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    IDK. Considering in 1964, The running time for an hour-long series was 50 minutes (not including credits); and the original cut of the cage shown to NBC was a little over 60 minutes, it's weird they would include all that extra footage if they're trying to showcase it as your average STAR TREK episode. I've been no way saying they wouldn't have had to shot extra footage, but I think the idea of turning it into either a "special TV film" (which wasn't really a thing in 1964 granted - but was something they might have been able to pull off); or a limited release 'feature film' In some markets was an idea they had from the start. I'm sure Herb Solo wanted to find a way to recoup Desilu's portion of the budget spent to create the pilot, if the pilot didn't sell to NBC.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    I've read the memos in the Roddenberry papers. @Harvey can attest to this.

    As far as we can tell it was scripted just to be a pilot to sell NBC on the series. Period. Pilots were often oddball lengths as they are sales tools. Had the show been picked up they would have just made a tighter edit and aired it as an episode. When it didn't get picked up then Roddenberry toyed with the idea of making it a feature while waiting for NBC to decide what to do. Desilu had taken a ~$430K bath on that pilot (with NBC paying $185,000 of the total cost) and had there been no second pilot order turning it into a feature would have been one way to possibly recoup some of those costs.
     
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  5. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The BBC made numerous cuts to the episodes over the years and for why, I don't know as they're not a commercial station? Or at least aren't at the moment! :devil: But they made lots of cuts in Arena, Court Martial, Archons and others and it was SO wonderful to see the excised scenes which turned up on the screens with the DVDs for the first time in 2004!!! :luvlove:
    JB
     
  6. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I started watching Star Trek because a channel here ran reruns after Saturday morning cartoons. To a kid in his footy pajamas still on a sugar high from his Pac-Man cereal and looking to keep the cartoon fun going into the afternoon, the space adventure show with colourfully garbed heroes was close enough. I was far too young to remember what episode I started on or what was the last one I saw to complete my viewing of the series, but they ran them for years, so I'd watched it many times through by the day in early 1987 when my father saw 9 year old me watching an episode and informed me that he'd read somewhere that they were making a new Star Trek show.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  7. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apart from it's debut on Saturday evenings here in the UK in 1969, Star Trek has virtually never appeared on a Saturday since here! The only exception I can think of was back in 1982 when The Savage Curtain replaced a sports programme or something or other!
    JB
     
  8. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    So, they never shot enough to fit a 90-minute network slot, as you sometimes hear. IIRC Inside Star Trek said that a TV movie fallback was a selling point to the network, but maybe that was more in the negotiating phase?
     
  9. Kinggodzillak

    Kinggodzillak Commander Red Shirt

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    Got into the original series through the BBC repeat run that started in late 1995 and limped slowly along to 1998. I don't think I missed an episode from What Are Little Girls Made Of onwards (which IIRC was about the 5th ep shown) until coming back from holiday on September 4th 1998 too late to see The Cloud Minders. Although I caught those early season 1 episodes again on subsequent re-runs (BBC, E4, Sci-Fi channel etc) I never got around to seeing The Cloud Minders until the blu-rays came along - even though I had the DVDs too! Not sure why I steered clear for so long, other than the oddly-appealing novelty of having an episode still to watch. Finished another TOS rewatch a few weeks ago and that was only the second time I've ever seen the episode, so it will probably never cement itself in my memory the way most of the other episodes have!
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    I’d ask for the specific quote from that book. Also, that book is not infallible. It contains a number of errors, but this is what you get when you write your recollections 30 years on.
     
  11. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Agreed, I just thought it may be an origin point for some of the 90-minute/B-feature business. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy, I'm relying on memory from a book I checked out of the library 20 years ago!
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    I've got the book here and a complete text dump of it and scanning the latter (searching for keywords) I am finding nothing to support the idea that a feature was in any way anticipated. So far all I can find is:

    After Justman read the latest script rewrite, he began the schedule and budget “breakdown” process. Not only was the film equivalent in length to any movie,* it was replete with enormously difficult production challenges, special effects and optical effects that had never even been attempted on a television schedule and budget. Some of the optical effects would require time-consuming tie-in elements that would slow the filming process.
    ...and...

    A year earlier, Jeffrey Hunter had rebuffed Roddenberry’s request to shoot added scenes to lengthen the pilot and attempt to get a theatrical release for it. There was no way Hunter would cooperate to redo it for a television episode.​

    *Debatable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  13. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'll bet the authors meant to say, "Not only did that rewrite appear to be feature-length..."

    You read a script, you can only estimate how many minutes it will translate to on film. So if that rewrite was longer than the final draft, and Justman's timing estimate was on the generous side, there you go.
     
  14. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    Don’t know about that, considering that, without including the 2008 TOS-R version, there are 6 known versions of “The Cage”, as can be seen in these videos:




     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Yes, it's always a guess. The "rules" are 45 seconds per page for TV and 1 minute per page for a feature, but many comedy scripts run much longer because the tempo is faster and the dialog is often machine-gunned. The script for What's Up Doc? is 148 pages, which the standard formula would make as being a hair shy of 2.5 hours, but the film is like a hair over an hour and a half. I think it clocks in at 38 seconds per page.

    The 1st pilot shooting script runs 73 pages. In standard TV terms that would be ~55 minutes in and era when an hour long show was 52 minutes (TNG was about 43 due being for syndication and changes in commercial break density and length). I've waded through the early drafts of this thing and it did run long, but the final script is not much longer than some episodes. It was clearly not intended to be feature-able.

    It's worth nothing that one reason pilot scripts often run long because everything that becomes shorthand in subsequent scripts has to be introduced and described since this is the first time we se them: ship, set, characters, etc.
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Justman calculated the actual page count at even less than that—69 6/8 pages—per the shooting schedule as of 11/23/1964.
     
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  17. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, "The Cage" is the last TOS episode I sat for the first time.
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Thanks for checking, I guess I mis-remembered. I've got to get a copy of that book...

    Sorry, I think I've missed your point.
     
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  19. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    If you look at the six pre-TOS-R different “Cage”’s, they were edited in different ways and in some cases included footage that was removed or moved around or cut differently from later edits. It would be nice to get Gene Roddenberry’s Complete 16mm workprint on DVD or Blu-Ray, even if it is in black & white, as that would be the full cut. But as those clips point out, the last time that was played was in January 1985.
     
  20. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    But did they shoot enough to get a ≈75 minute cut?