Friday, June 12, 2015

Unseen Trek: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (FIRST DRAFT)

Still from workprint version of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (1965)
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
FIRST DRAFT, dated May 27, 1965
Report and Analysis by David Eversole
Originally posted at Orion Press

Peeples' first draft, amazingly, was changed relatively little — it is about 85% what was finally filmed. Some names are different — here we have Lieutenant Clark Mitchell, Lieutenant Leroy Kelso and Ship's Doctor Johnson (Johnson is only referenced by his last name once, the senior staff are simply tagged as Ship's Doctor, Ship's Engineer, Ship's Physicist, etc.).

Some differences between this script and what aired:
  • The action opens with the Kirk log detailed in my review of the shooting script, then cuts directly to the bridge; no introductory chess game between Kirk and Spock, no first meeting with Mitchell in the elevator.
  • There is no mention of stardates. One of Kirk's logs opens with, "Captain's Log, Report 197."
  • It is stated in the narrative that Spock is senior to Mitchell. Spock is described as red-hued, much as in Roddenberry's first series outline. Perhaps Peeples never saw "The Cage."
  • The Valiant was lost 132 years ago. The Valiant's recorder is brought into an engineering airlock by the tractor beam, not beamed directly onboard via the transporter.
  • Mitchell is even more flirtatious than in the aired version--he even refers to Yeoman Smith as "kitten." Spock is the one who knew and worked with Mitchell for years. Although friends, Mitchell and Kirk are not as close as in the aired version, and there is no talk of any shared history.
  • When the Enterprise passes through the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, everyone is enveloped in a greenish glow and bolts of green "electricity" shoot from their hands and feet.
  • A mass funeral is held in the Ship's Chapel (described as containing symbols such as the Christian Cross and the Jewish Star of David, as well as several unknown alien religious icons) and the bodies of the dead are consigned to space.
  • Much of the action then transpires as aired, though in this draft Kirk does not divert to Delta Vega with the intent of stranding Mitchell. Kelso and three others are strangled onboard the Enterprise, then Clark Mitchell, using his mental powers, diverts the ship to an unnamed planet which he beams down to with Elizabeth Dehner.
  • Kirk regains control of the ship, and, armed with a laser rifle, beams down after them. He makes his way across the mountainous terrain toward Mitchell and Dehner, suddenly finds that the blue sand he is crossing is quicksand. He sinks fast, but pulls a small gun, armed with a steel barb, from his belt, fires it toward a rock wall. A thin nylon-like rope shoots out and the barb embeds itself in the wall. Kirk drags himself free of the quicksand.
  • Using his power, Mitchell blocks Kirk's path with a wall of blue flames. Kirk, using his barb/rope weapon, swings over the flames, lands safely on the other side. Mitchell then attempts to stop him with a gale-force wind, but Kirk continues on doggedly, eventually confronts the two. Things play out as in the aired version, but in the final fight, there is no grave or tombstone. Weakened by Dehner's dying blast of energy, Mitchell is at the edge of a cliff, below him is a thousand-foot drop. He and Kirk fight, and Mitchell, weakened, is forced over the edge. Kirk extends a hand to him, Mitchell grabs hold, but he is too weak, lets go and plummets to his death.
  • Onboard the Enterprise, Spock agrees with Kirk that Mitchell and Dehner should be listed as casualties since they did not ask for what befell them. Kirk and Spock smile at each other, and for the first time there seems to be the beginning of a friendship between the two.
SAMUEL A. PEEPLES (1917-1997): Best known as the writer of Star Trek's second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," but some people forget that he also contributed an episode ("Beyond The Farthest Star") for the animated Star Trek series, and wrote an unused script for the second Star Trek movie (Worlds That Never Were) which discarded the character of Khan and, instead, involved two travelers from an alternate dimension facing off against Kirk and company. Peeples has an impressive array of credits on other television series as writer, series creator and producer. They include: Wanted: Dead or AliveBonanzaBurke's LawThe Legend of Jesse James (which he created), A Man Called Shenandoah, and The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon.

Editor's Note: Although this draft does have Kirk say, "Ship's log, Report 197" in it (on page 67) it also used the stardate system. For example, at the beginning of the script (on page 2), Kirk says, "On stardate 1312.6." Read more about the origins of stardates in this previous post.

Image courtesy of Trek Core.

This article was originally published by Orion Press and is reprinted by permission of publisher Randall Landers. All rights revert to the original authors.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Unseen Trek: "The Cage" (REVISED DRAFT)

Still from "The Menagerie" aka "The Cage" (1964)
Written by Gene Roddenberry
REVISED DRAFT, dated November 20, 1964
Report and Analysis by David Eversole
Originally posted at Orion Press

This 74-page script is very narrative heavy — everything is described and explained. Again, very understandable, it was setting the scene, describing the Star Trek universe for the first time.

It is noted that Spock's limp and the bandages on the various crewmembers are a result of the recent battle on Rigel VII, thus laying to rest all the speculation that Leonard Nimoy was limping because of a real life accident. In this draft, the captain was briefly renamed James Winter, before reverting to Christopher Pike in the episode as filmed.

The Orion Slave Woman scene as scripted:

                                                        VINA
                                                  (continuing)
                                       ... he must wonder what it would be
                                       like to forget all that.

EXT. ORION COURTYARD - NIGHT - MATCHING WINTER

The transition catching him still seated. He's startled by the SOUND of strange music and wild merriment. He is now on a pillowed floor at a long low table piled high with exotic foods. His attire is rich silk robes, almost like those of an Oriental potentate. And he becomes aware he is being anxiously attended, even fawned upon, by two who have something of the "slave" in their garb and manner. Their skin has a color like Mr. Spock.

                                                        SPACE OFFICER'S VOICE
                                       You used to be Captain of the Enterprise,
                                       didn't you?

CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal the speaker is a uniformed space officer (not from the Enterprise) seated at the table. The other man is an Earth trader dressed similar to Winter but less luxuriously. Each of these men is being served by a slave woman. Around all this, a scene of barbaric splendor with an almost Oriental flavor. The MUSIC comes from a quartet seated near a fountain pool, playing unusual instruments. Here and there in the courtyard are richly exotic plants with unusual shapes.

                                                        EARTH TRADER
                                       Matter of fact he was. Used to stop
                                       here now and then...
                                                  (smiles at Winter)
                                       ...and then send Earth 
                                       a blistering report...
                                                  (pretended report)
                                       "The Orion traders are taking shocking
                                       advantage of the natives..."

Good-natured laughter interrupting this.

                                                        SPACE OFFICER
                                                  (to Winter)
                                       Do any of you have a green one? They're
                                       dangerous, I hear. Razor claws, and
                                       they attract a man like a sensation of
                                       irresistible hunger...

Winter is perceptibly startled by the familiar term: "Irresistible hunger". And why had Space Officer emphasized the words, and why is he giving Winter that searching look? The Earth Trader is also giving Winter a knowing look. He indicates Winter to the Space Officer.

                                                        EARTH TRADER
                                       Now and then comes a man who
                                       tames one.
                                                  (to Space Officer)
                                       He'd stumbled into this dark corridor,
                                       and then he saw flickering light ahead.
                                                  (to Winter)
                                       Almost like secret dreams a bored
                                       ship captain might have, wasn't it?
                                       There she was, holding a torch,
                                       glistening green...

Aware now the Talosians are definitely baiting him thru the images of these two men, Winter angrily rises. But his female servant is in his path. And in b.g., the male servant has moved to sound a NOTE on a hanging cymbal.

                                                        WINTER
                                       Get out of my way, blast you!

The MUSIC changes now -- louder, a slow throbbing rhythm. Winter's attention is attracted by an exclamation of astonishment from the seated space officer. He turns to see:

ANGLE - VINA

Wild! Green skin, glistening as if oiled. Her fingertips are long gleaming razor-edged scimitars, her hair not unattractive but suggesting a wild animal mane. She is moving out to the open rectangle in front of the table, eyes wild. We feel she's larger than before, immensely strong. The female slaves have hurried off, frightened. But one is slower and Vina suddenly pivots with a CAT SOUND, bars a frightened female slave's escape. Winter's male servant has grabbed a whip, leaps out to intercede and Vina turns, snarling at him. The man slave swings back to lash at her.

                                                        WINTER
                                       No!

Vina turns at the voice, eyes WINTER for a long moment.

CLOSE SHOT - WINTER

returning the look, fascinated.

ANGLE - VINA

Now, her gaze riveted on WINTER, she moves to the center of the rectangle, lets the slow-powerful beat of the MUSIC reach her, the slow surging beat forcing movement out of her as a reed flute takes possession of a cobra. She SHRIEKS (dubbed wild animal cry) and the rhythm moves faster, her movements following the barbaric MUSIC.

CLOSE SHOT - WINTER

unable to tear his eyes from her.

ANGLE - VINA 

Now dancing wildly, animal beautiful.

EMPHASIZING WINTER

as the Earth Trader looks up toward Winter, again meaningfully:

                                                        EARTH TRADER
                                       Wouldn't you say that's worth a
                                       man's soul?

Space Officer turns to eye Winter similarly.

                                                        SPACE OFFICER
                                       It makes you believe she could be
                                       anything. Suppose, you had all of
                                       space to choose from, and this was
                                       only one small sample of...

Winter tears himself from these words, turns and brushes past his retainers, hurrying into the exit door behind.

The rest is exactly as was shot.

Image courtesy of Trek Core.

This article was originally published by Orion Press and is reprinted by permission of publisher Randall Landers. All rights revert to the original authors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Orion Press Announcement and Plans for the Remainder of 2015

Behind the scenes photograph from the filming of "Amok Time" (1967)
You may have noticed that my output has slowed considerably this year. I've been busier both at work and at home, and carving out the time to research and write material for this blog has been a challenge. I've also been tackling subjects which have required much more research and analysis than almost anything I've written before. I'm proud of the two pieces I've written so far this year (if you haven't had the chance to read them, I think they're among my best work), but this has undeniably slowed my pace. 

In the next seven months, however, I'm hoping to grow the output of this blog considerably. Allow me a moment to explain...

I've been a member of the online Star Trek fan community for almost fifteen years. In all that time, I haven't visited a website more frequently for information about the making of Star Trek than Randall Landers' superlative Orion Press. For the past year and a half, I've had the pleasure of helping Orion Press complete its Unseen Elements of the Original Series webpage, which provides summaries and analyses of the stories and teleplays that went unused (in whole or in part) on Star Trek. It's been a great joy to be able to contribute to that project, which remains an ongoing interest.

Recently, I learned that after decades of publishing Orion Press – which has existed in print or online since 1979 – Randy will be stepping back to focus on Project: Potemkin and other fan films currently in the planning stages. Not wanting Orion Press' numerous pieces of non-fiction to disappear from the web altogether, Randy asked if I would be interested in migrating these articles over to my blog.

Today I am happy to announce that I will begin doing just that. Starting next week, I will begin re-posting articles from Orion Press on this blog alongside my own research, at a rate of one article per week.

These articles were originally published by Orion Press and are reprinted by permission of publisher Randall Landers. All rights revert to the original authors. In a few cases, some minor edits have been made by the original authors of these articles. In a few cases, I have inserted my own commentary (under the heading "editor's note") when my own research has been able to shed additional light on the story or teleplay being discussed.

Some of these articles are more than thirty years old. Although efforts were made to contact the original authors, some have long been lost in the mists of fandom. If any author of material being posted on this blog would like to have it taken down, please let me know, and I will happily remove it.

Film slate from "Shore Leave" (1966)
In addition to the migration of this material from Orion Press, I also have an ambitious slate of new material planned for the rest of this year:
  • A fact check of the various claims made by Richard Arnold about the making of the original Star Trek during his March 10, 2014 appearance on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.
  • A tribute to the late Grace Lee Whitney, debunking various myths that have circulated over the years, and providing some additional context from the archives about her short-lived stint as a regular during Star Trek's first season.
  • A sixth (and, at long last, possibly final) part to my ongoing series about the development and writing of what became the second season episode "A Private Little War."
  • A look at the multiple stories how William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley developed tinnitus after an on-set explosion, and my determination which version is the most believable.
  • A fact check of Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn's claim that Gene Coon, not Norman Spinrad, made the decision to kill Matt Decker in "The Doomsday Machine" late in the rewrite process of that classic episode.
  • An analysis of the claims in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story and These Are The Voyages that NBC made multiple on-air announcements that Star Trek would be returning for another season.
  • An examination of the infamous, original ending to "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn's claim that NBC had the scene scrapped shortly before it was scheduled to be filmed.
As always, however, I'm just as happy to postpone all my plans if it means being able to comb the archives in search of an answer to a reader question. So, if you have a question you want answered, please post it in the comments, or drop me a line using the contact form to the left. One of the great pleasures of writing Star Trek Fact Check has been my interactions with other fans who are as interested in rigorous, archival research about the making of the Star Trek as I am.

Images Courtesy of Trek Core.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

And On The Seventh Day: Conflicting Production Accounts of Star Trek's Second Season

Still from "I, Mudd" (1967)
In early 2012, a friend sent me a spreadsheet which listed the shooting dates for every episode of Star Trek (1966-69). It had been meticulously compiled based on hundreds of production slates which have appeared in film trims sold by Lincoln Enterprises over the years (such as this one, for example).

A few months after receiving this document, I prepared my own spreadsheet of production dates based on various documents (daily production budget reports supplemented by daily production reports and call sheets, when available) from the Gene Roddenberry Star Trek collection at the University of California, Los Angeles. These helped fill in a few gaps, and I have relied heavily on both spreadsheets since whenever I've written about the production history of Star Trek.

Flash forward to earlier this year, when I read Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn's These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (2014) for the first time. As with the authors' previous volume, a number of claims made in the book left me (pardon the phrase) raising an eyebrow. I couldn't possibly address all of those claims at once without ending up with a book of my own, so I hope you'll allow me to narrow my focus (for the moment) towards the book's "production diaries" (essentially, accounts of what scenes were shot when).

Until recently, I presumed there was little reason to doubt the shooting dates offered in These Are The Voyages, but since conducting the research for that earlier post and now this one, I have become much more skeptical of Cushman and Osborn's production diaries. I first began to suspect that the authors' production diaries did not match my own chronology  after reading a passage from the chapter devoted to "I, Mudd." Regarding that episode, Cushman and Osborn write:
The consensus was that “I, Mudd,” with all the trick photography that was needed, would take longer to film than the usual Star Trek, so an extra day was allocated. A seven-day shooting schedule was a luxury for Marc Daniels, but he would need every minute. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014)
This brief passage stood out to me for a couple of reasons. First, as broadcast, "I, Mudd" doesn't have many trick photography shots in it. In point of fact, beyond six stock shots of the Enterprise, there are only three special photographic effects in the whole episode. One of the three is a standard transporter materialization — an expensive, but ultimately routine effect by this point in the series. The other two are split screen shots, which showcase a multitude of androids with the help of a locked off camera and an optical printer (and of course, twins). Incidentally, although Cushman and Osborn twice claim that these split screens were accomplished without an optical printer, my sources at Star Trek History have confirmed otherwise. I have included stills of all three shots below. Second, my own information (the spreadsheets I previously described) indicates that "I, Mudd" filmed over the course of six days, not seven, going before the cameras on August 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 21, 1967.

Still from "I, Mudd" (Scene 31, 1967)
Still from "I, Mudd" (Scene 39, 1967)
Still from "I, Mudd" (Scene 85, 1967)
Regarding the episode's use of trick photography, I consulted with the production paperwork for "I, Mudd" available in the Robert Justman Star Trek collection at UCLA, for more information. Although the final episode does not contain a great deal of special photographic effects work, I recognized the possibility that other effects may have been planned, only to be discarded during filming or editing. Therefore, I needed to find out how much trick photography was actually planned for "I, Mudd." To answer that question, I turned to the episode's special photographic effects memo, which was prepared just prior to production on August 10, 1967:
Scene 1: OPTICAL HOUSE - Standard Enterprise Flyby
Scene 10: OPTICAL HOUSE - Standard Enterprise Flyby
Scene 13: OPTICAL HOUSE - MATTE stars into shot shooting past Sulu. We may not need this shot, but if we do, one was made for "METAMORPHOSIS."
Scene 14: OPTICAL HOUSE - Standard Enterprise Turn or Peel Off.
Scene 24: OPTICAL HOUSE - Standard Enterprise Flyby
Scene 27: OPTICAL HOUSE - MATTE approach to planet onto Main Viewing Screen. Use the grey planet in Library.
Scene 30: OPTICAL HOUSE - Standard Enterprise orbit of planet.
Scene 31: STAGE - Tied down camera. Standard "STAR TREK" MATERIALIZATION. Actors should not overlap each other when in the materialization position.
Scene 39: STAGE - Tied down camera. This will be a SPLIT-SCREEN to create many Alice Androids. This will probably be a 3-way split in an attempt to show as many Alices as possible. The outside edges of the frame could have a girl on the frame line to indicate there are more. Please call Eddie Milkis & Frank Vanderveer when ready to make the shot for Scs. 39-50-85.
Scene 50: STAGE - Tied down camera. Shot made same as Scene 39 above.
Scene 85: STAGE - Tied down camera. Shot made same as Scene 39 and 50 above.
Scene 86: OPTICAL HOUSE: Standard Enterprise Flyby.
Based on this document, twelve special photographic effects shots were planned for "I, Mudd," only eight of which appeared in the final episode (scene 86, a stock shot of the Enterprise leaving orbit, became two stock shots). The special photographic effects shots planned for scenes 13, 24 and 27 were abandoned, but these were all intended stock shots. Ultimately, only one new special photographic effects shot planned for "I, Mudd" was abandoned: scene 50, a tied down camera shot (in which the camera was locked into place to allow for multiple shots to be taken that would later be combined into one shot by using an optical printer) that would have been similar to the effect used in scenes 39 and 85 (both pictured above). In light of that fact, it's safe to say that "I, Mudd" wasn't filled with time-consuming trick photography that would have slowed down the schedule. There's certainly no evidence in the files at UCLA that there was any "consensus" that the episode would need seven days to complete because of its special photographic effects needs.

What then, led Cushman and Osborn to conclude that the episode was planned as a seven day shoot, if there weren't plans for a plethora of time-consuming shots? Judging by the evidence in the archival record at UCLA, it was almost certainly the episode's shooting schedule that led the author's astray. To give you an idea what a shooting schedule from Star Trek looks like, I have reproduced the entire shooting schedule for "I, Mudd" below.








At first glance, the above schedule seems to confirm that "I, Mudd" was intended to shoot in seven days, rather than the usual six. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that Cushman and Osborn have overlooked a crucial piece of information: more than half of the schedule's first day  — 5 and 2/8 pages, to be exact — wasn't spent on "I, Mudd" at all. Instead, it was dedicated to picking up several scenes with Barbara Luna for "Mirror, Mirror" that had been postponed two weeks before when the actress developed a sudden illness.

Here is how Cushman and Osborn briefly describe the first day of filming on "I, Mudd" in the second volume of These Are The Voyages:
Filming began Monday, August 14, 1967, on Stage 9, for the Enterprise sets. William Shatner had the day off. Nimoy and Kelley were present for their brief encounter with Norman in the corridor. James Doohan was needed for his physical confrontation with Norman in engineering. Also shot was Norman in “Emergency Manual Control,” the upper deck of engineering. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014).
This account, along with the rest of the author's production diary for "I, Mudd," was almost certainly drawn from the episode's shooting schedule. Based upon conflicting information found in a number of film trims generously provided by Star Trek History, as well contradictory filming dates indicated in a February 10, 1968 post-production report sourced from the Gene Roddenberry collection, it's highly unlikely that Cushman and Osborn had access to the episode's daily production reports or call sheets. This makes sense, as (unfortunately) neither of these documents survive in the public files at UCLA.

Unfortunately, using a shooting schedule — a document prepared before production begins — to find out what actually happened during production is rather unreliable, to say the least. To draw an appropriate analogy, this would be like relying on a contractor's estimate as a precise account of the day-to-day construction of a building from the ground up.

William Shatner  filming a scene from "I, Mudd" on August 14, 1967 (courtesy of Star Trek History)

Indeed, Cushman and Osborn's chronology runs into trouble the moment you compare it to slates found in film trims from "I, Mudd." For example, the authors claim that William Shatner was given the day off on August 14, 1967; two film clips of slates dated 8-14-67 prove that Shatner was on set and working that day (see above). The authors also claim that the brief scene from the teaser between Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and Richard Tatro (as Norman) in the Enterprise corridor was filmed on August 14, 1967; another film trim shows that the scene was actually taken on August 18, 1967. In fact, none of the film clips provided by my friends at Star Trek History match the filming dates printed in Cushman and Osborn's book. Even the date on this clip, which actually appears in These Are The Voyages, does not line up with the authors' text!

For a complete account of these discrepancies, I have created the table below. "Film Clip" indicates the date found on production slates provided by Star Trek History, "Schedule" indicates the date planned in the shooting schedule, and "TATV" indicates the date described in the text of These Are The Voyages.


Based on the dates from these eleven film clips, it seems that the production actually followed the shooting schedule for "I, Mudd" fairly closely, with one notable exception — the eight scenes from the episode that had originally been penciled in for August 11, 1967. Those scenes ended up being delayed when filming on "The Deadly Years" went over schedule by approximately half a day. Rather than move on to "I, Mudd" after "The Deadly Years," as originally planned, the production opted to film the scenes with William Shatner and Barbara Luna needed to complete "Mirror, Mirror" instead. In fairness to Cushman and Osborn, These Are The Voyages does correctly note the August 11, 1967 overages on "The Deadly Years," as well as the scenes from "Mirror, Mirror" that were subsequently shot later in the day:
Day 7, Friday, August 11. The production [of "The Deadly Years"] was extended into the first half of a seventh day. For the last scene in sickbay, Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, and Doohan had to go through the grueling makeup process one more time. At the lunch break, Nimoy, Kelley, and Doohan were dismissed. Pevney checked out, too. Shatner had his old age makeup stripped away for his love scenes with the now healthy Barbara Luna, finishing “Mirror, Mirror” under the direction of Marc Daniels. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014). 
Beginning with its account of the very next day of filming, however, the chronology in These Are The Voyages starts to really run off the rails. Cushman and Osborn assume that the 2 and 7/8 pages for "I, Mudd" originally scheduled for August 11 were pushed until August 14, and that these pages occupied the episode's entire first day of principal photography. Neither the evidence nor common sense, however, support this view. For example, a film clip provided by Star Trek History shows scene 3 being shot on August 18 (in the completed episode, note that scenes 2 and 3 have been combined into one long take with no coverage, lasting from about 0:07 to 1:14).

Page 3A, "I, Mudd" Cast Sheet (August 1967; personal information omitted)

Additionally, a revised page from the episode's cast sheet (pictured above) shows the stunt engineers needed to film scenes 16, 18, and 19 scheduled for August 21, not August 14. Judging by the straightforward blocking of the eight scenes in question  — scenes 2-3, 4-5, and 17 were each accomplished in a single shot with no coverage; scenes 16 and 18-19 portray an action sequence with only five different set-ups  —  they appear to have been rushed. Tacked on to an already busy schedule (prior to these eight scenes being added, August 18 and 21 already had 16 and 5/8 pages planned between them), it's understandable that Marc Daniels chose to shoot the extra material as simply as possible. There was simply no time for multiple camera set-ups and complex staging.

However, even if this archival evidence did not exist, common sense would still call Cushman and Osborn's timeline into question. It is highly unlikely, for example, that associate producer Bob Justman would have allowed the cast and crew to spend an entire day filming less than three pages of material — material originally scheduled as only part of an 8 and 1/8 page day. The series could not afford such a lapse — it was struggling to finish episodes on time for air dates as it was. To illustrate this point in anther fashion, even "Amok Time," which at seven days was the most generously scheduled episode of season two, never planned to shoot less than 4 1/2 pages in a day — and that relatively low figure was to allow for the completion of the episode's complex fight choreography occupying its memorable climax. In general, most days on Star Trek had between 7-10 pages planned to go before the cameras.

Common sense calls other portions of Cushman and Osborn’s production timeline into question as well. Their most head-scratching account pertains to the work done in the INT. LOUNGE set, which they claim was done in half a day on Friday, August 18, 1967:
Day 5, Friday. Work continued on Stage 10, now in the “Interior Lounge” for numerous sequences including one complex scene which was left out of the completed episode… While the cast ate lunch, the company moved to Stage 9 where many Enterprise sets had been collapsed to make room for a new set, “Int. Control Room,” which involved Spock, Norman, and one of the Alice models. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages – TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014)
Quite frankly, when you compare this timeline to the shooting schedule, the numbers simply do not add up. In total, 16 3/8 pages were planned for the INT. LOUNGE set, several more pages than Star Trek ever filmed in a single day, let alone half of one. To give those numbers some perspective, consider the fact that "The Doomsday Machine," which was the only episode of the series planned for and shot in five days, scheduled its busiest days with 13 1/8 pages. It comes as no surprise, then, to find out that the INT. LOUNGE scenes were actually scheduled to be shot across two days (Wednesday and Thursday, August 16-17, 1967). Based upon production slates, filming apparently followed the pre-production plan for these scenes fairly closely.

Further complicating matters are the two scenes in the INT. CONTROL CENTER set, which Cushman and Osborn misidentify as "Int. Control Room." The authors' claim these two scenes occupied the rest of the episode's fifth day of shooting after lunch. However, scenes 44 and 44A  (marked with a letter because it was added to the shooting script after the scene numbers had already been locked) cover only 1 1/2 pages of material, a figure that surely would have driven Bob Justman and the studio up the wall if it actually took Marc Daniels half a shooting day to complete. Alongside all the other evidence, the fact that Daniels was asked back to direct four subsequent episodes of Star Trek strongly suggests this didn't happen.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have lunch while shooting Star Trek (circa 1967)
Another problem with Cushman and Osborn's "production diaries" is the way the authors are able to deftly identify which scenes were shot before and after lunch. This happens twice in their account of the filming of "I, Mudd," as well as more than twenty other times in These Are The Voyages – TOS: Season Two. This may seem like a minor point, but when you examine the daily production reports kept while Star Trek was being filmed, it becomes clear that even when these documents have survived (many are completely missing in the UCLA collection, while others are sadly incomplete) there's often no way to determine which scenes book-ended lunch. Occasionally, this information can be deduced based upon when actors were called to the set and what scenes were shot that day, but in many cases even that information won't give you a concrete answer. By constantly inserting details such as these into their books, Cushman and Osborn have created a better flowing narrative, but stands as a poor example of archival history.

I've included a portion of the production report for the second day of filming on "The Devil in the Dark" below to illustrate what can and cannot be ascertained from this paperwork. Unfortunately, the daily production reports for "I, Mudd" and a whole bevy of season two episodes do not currently exist in the Roddenberry or Justman collections at UCLA, but surviving paperwork indicates these reports were consistent during the show's three season run.

Excerpt from the daily production report for "The Devil in the Dark" (January 17, 1967)
These Are The Voyages' insistence that "I, Mudd" finished in seven days rather than six leads to a cascade of further complications when it comes to accounting for the production of "The Trouble with Tribbles," the very next episode produced. Confronted with a production slate indicating a scene from "The Trouble with Tribbles" shot on August 22, 1967 (when Cushman and Osborn claim "I, Mudd" was still filming), the authors suggest the following:
Bob Justman’s production reports state that the medical lab scene was shot on August 23, 1967. The clapboard, held by Bill McGovern as the camera began rolling says August 22. But “I, Mudd” was still filming under the guidance of Marc Daniels on August 22. A possible explanation: as production crews rush through filming, the white tape placed on a clapboard with the date written across it is sometimes accidentally left on from the day before … and it could be several camera “takes” before anyone notices. On a hectic TV production schedule, anything can happen...and quite often does. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages – TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014) 
There are multiple problems with this explanation, however.

(1) At least one other film clip bearing the same date has surfaced, and it's from the filming of "The Trouble with Tribbles," not "I, Mudd." The scene in question (53, set up "K") takes place during Act III of "Tribbles."

(2) The aforementioned production slate pictured in the book shows Scene 33, set-up "A," take 2. This was literally the last scene planned to shoot during the first day of "The Trouble with Tribbles." Assuming the production stuck to the planned schedule (and every production slate made available to me by my friends at Star Trek History, as well as every post-production document in the Roddenberry files at UCLA, supports this assumption), the only way Cushman and Osborn could be correct is if the slate had the wrong date on it for the whole first day of filming on "The Trouble with Tribbles."

(3) As I've argued extensively already, post-production documents (see below) and production stills support the conclusion that "I, Mudd" wrapped production on August 21, 1967. It simply wasn't being filmed on August 22, 1967; by then, the production had moved on to "The Trouble with Tribbles."

In light of all these issues, it seems highly unlikely that Cushman and Osborn even had access to the daily production reports for "The Trouble with Tribbles," like they claim, especially since that documentation is no longer available in the UCLA collections. If they do, I'd sure love to see it.

Excerpt from season 2 post-production report (February 10, 1968)
Although Cushman and Osborn are savvy enough to recognize that they have to provide some sort of explanation for the August 22, 1967 slate for their chronology to work, they offer no explanation for the other slate which illustrates their chapter on "The Trouble with Tribbles." Unfortunately, the information on this slate also contradicts their narrative. Writing about the final day of filming before the labor day break, they put forth the following narrative:
Day 6. Wednesday, August 30. It is an old Hollywood tradition to shoot the fight scenes last, just in case one of the performers gets a black eye. On this day, still on the bar set, the brawl between “Earthers” and Klingons was filmed. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages – TOS: Season Two (eBook Edition, March 2014)  
The only problem with this account? Scene 41 takes place right in the middle of the bar fight which was scheduled to occupy the episode's final day of filming – and the date on the clapperboard is clearly August 29, 1967, not August 30. To date, no film clips from Star Trek with a slate dated August 30, 1967 have surfaced. The post-production report shown above clearly shows that filming was completed in six days, and wrapped on August 29. Given the preponderance of evidence, it's more than likely that the cast and crew of Star Trek weren't filming at all on August 30, 1967, but were instead enjoying some much needed time off during their labor day break.

Still from "The Trouble with Tribbles" (1967)
Ultimately, the so-called "production diaries" in These Are The Voyages (volumes one and two, at least – I haven't read a word of volume three) are simply too problematic for me to consider them reliable accounts of the making of Star Trek. They present pre-production information as representative of what actually occurred when the cameras were rolling, despite numerous examples of the production having to adapt to delays and other changing circumstances. They frequently ignore the information found on slates in film clips (in many cases, this even includes the film clips used to illustrate the book). In some cases, even when the daily production reports are available, Cushman and Osborn misunderstand or misrepresent what this documentation actually indicates. Such bad assumptions and, worse, outright invention have no place in what is supposed to be the definitive history book about the making of Star Trek.

--

Stills from "I, Mudd" and "The Trouble with Tribbles," as well as the behind-the-scenes image of Shatner and Nimoy at lunch, are courtesy of Trek Core.

The restored film clip from "I, Mudd" is courtesy of Star Trek History.

Special Thanks: The "I, Mudd" shooting schedule was carefully transcribed by the ever-helpful Sandra Bulk, who turned around the document in only a few days, while it took me several weeks to research and write the majority of this piece. David T. and Curt M. of Star Trek History generously provided a great deal of information about numerous film clips in their collection, and even granted me permission to use one of these rare stills here. Kevin K. generously donated his time and industry experience helping me understand and decode various production documents. Finally, I'd like to thank the small group of helpful readers who have donated countless hours proofreading and critiquing this and many other pieces that have appeared on Star Trek Fact Check. They are: Maurice M.David E.David T.Curt M.William S.William J.Neil B.Kevin M.Kevin K., and George N. Star Trek Fact Check started as a one-man operation, but it wouldn't have grown to where it is today without your help. Any errors that remain are entirely my own.

Author's Note: Unlike the print edition, the eBook edition of These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two is without pagination. I did not have the print edition available for reference while preparing this post, which is why the passages quoted are not identified by page number.

Sources:


Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy's first close-up as Spock in "The Menagerie" (1964)
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I'm not usually at a loss for words, but on the subject of Leonard Nimoy's death, I am almost speechless. For as long as I can remember, Star Trek and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock have been a part of my life. Now Nimoy is gone.

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Nimoy in person twice in my life  in the early 2000s, at a Seattle-area Star Trek convention alongside William Shatner, and more recently, at a Hammer Museum event where he spoke about his career as a photographer alongside fellow Star Trek (2009) actor Zachary Quinto. On both occasions, I was struck by the depth of the man's intelligence, the warmth of his sense of humor, and the genuine affection he showed for both his friends and his fans.

True to his character's now iconic salutation, Mr. Nimoy lived long and prospered, finding success as an actor, director, author, poet, singer, and photographer in a career that spanned seven decades. He may be most famous for portraying Mr. Spock on Star Trek (a role which garnered him three consecutive Emmy nominations), but Nimoy leaves behind a tremendous body of work far beyond this role. He'll be long remembered and deeply missed by many.

Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy.

Image Courtesy of Trek Core.

Friday, February 13, 2015

On Pickups and Lifts in 'The Man Trap'

Still from 'The Man Trap' (1966)
This one is in response to a question from blog reader Neil B., who writes, "In 'The Man Trap' chapter in These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season One, Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn say a shot of Nimoy in the command chair was postponed and done as a pick-up while shooting 'The Naked Time.' Isn't it possible that it's just a lift from 'The Naked Time' that was edited into 'The Man Trap' at a later date?"

Like many questions I get from readers, I didn't immediately know the answer, but I thought there was a good chance I could find out. For whatever reason, the production records for 'The Man Trap' are exceptionally intact in the Roddenberry and Justman collections available for public viewing at the University of California, Los Angeles. I traveled there a few weeks ago looking for answers.

For reference, this is what it says in the revised and expanded edition of These Are The Voyages:
Day 2, Thursday. The first full day of production was also spent on the bridge, with the camera rolling between 8 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. Daniels was one-quarter day behind when he took his last shot. Two scenes had been postponed and would be filmed during production of the next episode -- "The Naked Time." One was the brief shot in the teaser, of Spock in the command chair and the unusual placement of Lt. Uhura and Lt. Leslie at the helm -- the plot for "The Naked Time" explaining why. With the addition of the Captain's log entry that opens the episode -- not in the shooting script, but written and recorded later -- Roddenberry felt the audience needed to see Spock on the bridge when Kirk refers to him. He was right. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season One (Second Edition, December 2013), p.199.
This is identical to the way the passage reads in the first edition of the book, except for one sentence at the end that has been omitted:
The second scene -- Kirk's first visit to the bridge in this episode -- features Bruce Hyde (as Lt. Kevin Riley) at the helm, a character introduced in the next episode. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season One (First Edition, August 2013), p.173
Although clunky — the book now refers to a pair of postponed scenes, but identifies only one — Cushman and Osborn were wise to omit this sentence. As previously mentioned on this blog, Bruce Hyde isn't in "The Man Trap" at all.

Unfortunately, just about everything the authors have left intact in this passage is wrong, too. Cushman and Osborn claim that the second day of production on "The Man Trap" — Thursday, June 23, 1966 — was spent shooting on the bridge, but this is incorrect. Per the daily production report, this day was actually spent filming in the botany section, the transporter room, the corridor, and in McCoy's quarters. Scenes on the bridge were taken on the first and fourth days of filming (Wednesday, June 22, 1966 and Monday, June 27, 1966).

Moreover, although the June 23, 1966 shooting call was at 8 o'clock in the morning, the first shot wasn't taken until 8:15. George Takei, Garrison True, and three unidentified extras were not dismissed until 7 o'clock at night, not 6:50.

Regarding the supposed pick-ups done a week later for the teaser, the first place I looked was the shooting script — revised on June 17, 1966 — which reads as follows:

"THE MAN TRAP"

TEASER

FADE IN:

1 EXT. PLANET (STOCK)

Rotates in space...

2 & 3 OMITTED

4 EXT. CRATER'S CAMP - DAY - WIDE ANGLE

ESTABLISHING Planet M-113. The planet largely barren, some unusual low vegetation. The Crater campsite is a crumbling remains of what might once have been a weird sort of temple. There is considerable sign of archaeological digging around it. In the far distance, barely seen, are other crumbling remains of a civilization which must have existed here once. Also a shed, a heaping of tools, supplies and archaeological artifacts, statues, carvings, and so on, leading to a doorway in the temple, a room of which has obviously been converted to Crater's living quarters. (TRANSPORTER EFFECT) as CAPTAIN JAMES KIRK, DOCTOR McCOY, and a Crewman DARNELL SHIMMER into existence. They look about them, reacting to the surface of this new planet. As they move toward the stone door opening to the living quarters:

                                                        KIRK
                                       Shall we stop to pick some
                                       flowers, Doctor? When a man
                                       visits an old girlfriend, she
                                       usually expects something like
                                       that.

Still from "The Man Trap" (1966)
As evident from this excerpt, no shots on the bridge were scripted for the opening scenes of "The Man Trap" —  or the rest of the teaser, for that matter — at least in the shooting script associate producer Bob Justman donated to UCLA, along with many other production files from the show.

By the time the episode's shooting schedule had been prepared (June 20, 1966), the earliest scenes on the bridge planned to go before the cameras were numbered 32-34. These moments were described in the shooting schedule as, "Kirk [sic] & Uhura argue-announcement from Landing Party re: death stuns Uhura-she exits." They were far removed from the episode's teaser. After examining the daily production reports for both "The Man Trap" and "The Naked Time," I found no evidence that any shots from the former were delayed and picked up during the filming of the latter.

When, then, were these shots aboard the bridge added? Post-production. On August 1, 1966, (Cushman and Osborn incorrectly date this as August 10, 1966) Bob Justman wrote to Gene Roddenberry about the state of the episode's teaser:
After viewing "THE MAN TRAP" with Sandy Courage this afternoon, I am of the opinion that we need Narration for the opening of the TEASER. The TEASER starts out with a shot of the Enterprise orbiting about a planet and then we DISSOLVE FROM that to an ESTABLISHING SHOT of planet surface and then from that to a shot of Kirk and his companions materializing on the surface of the planet. These three shots take quite a bit of time on the screen.
And since this is liable to be our first or second show on the air, I think it would be wise to establish where we are and what we are doing, over these opening shots. Therefore, feel free to write a lengthy narration for Captain Kirk. It could run as much as half a minute, if you wished it. 
Roddenberry's hand-written response was simple, "Agree. Am writing it." Justman's memo makes one thing clear: as of August 1, the beginning of the episode's teaser still matched the shooting script, dissolving directly from an optical of the Enterprise to an establishing shot of the planet surface. On August 4, 1966, seven pages of editing notes were delivered, and the newly revised teaser was scripted for the first time:
REEL 1
Teaser voice over begins over SHOT of ship in orbit.
                                                        KIRK'S VOICE OVER
                                       Captain's log Star Date 1513.1. Our
                                       position...orbiting Planet M-113, the
                                       home of an ancient and long-dead
                                       civilization. On the Enterprise,
                                       Mister Spock temporarily in command
                                       while ship's surgeon McCoy and
                                       myself beam down to the planet
                                       surface.
Voice over will carry through ESTABLISHING SHOT of Bridge, CLOSER ON MISTER SPOCK as he eyes the ship's viewing screen, ANGLE ON SHIP'S VIEWING SCREEN showing the planet slowly rotating there; then to ESTABLISHING SHOT of the planet surface which leads to materialization of the landing party.
These revisions were scripted at some point during the period of August 1-4, 1966. Marc Daniels simply couldn't have filmed the suggested pick-ups during "The Naked Time," which was shot from June 30-July 11, 1966. At that point, the revised teaser hadn't even been scripted.

When, then, were these pick-ups shot? As it turns out, they weren't pick-up shots at all, but editorial lifts from other episodes. The wide shot is from "The Naked Time," as Cushman and Osborn point out. The close-up, however, is from "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (which was filmed from July 28 to August 9, 1966, with the bridge material already in the can by the time Roddenberry and Justman were tweaking "The Man Trap"). The camera framing in "The Man Trap" is a little different than in "What Are Little Girls Are Made Of?" — suggesting it's an outtake — but the lighting, the folds on Spock's shirt, and the position of his hands all strongly suggest it's the exact same set-up. Compare the shots for yourself below.

Still from "The Man Trap" (1966)
Still from "The Naked Time" (1966)
Still from "The Man Trap" (1966)
Still from "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (1966)
Images courtesy of Trek Core.

Thanks to Neil B. for suggesting this post, and identifying the close-up of Spock in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" His suggestions helped improve this piece; any errors that remain are entirely my own.

Sources:

The Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection (1964-1969)

The Robert H. Justman Collection of Star Trek Television Series Scripts (1966-1968)

These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One (Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, August 2013)

These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One [Revised and Expanded Edition] (Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, December 2013)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fact Check: CBS Watch! Magazine (Star Trek Special Issue)

December 2014/January 2015 issue of CBS Watch! Magazine

If you've paid a visit to the supermarket this month, you may have seen the latest issue of CBS Watch! magazine, which is devoted to the original Star Trek television series. As I indicated last weekend, although the magazine is filled with beautiful and rare photographs taken during the production of the series, the text often leaves something to be desired. Rather than write a more traditional review, I've decided to do a fact-check of some of the magazine's more bizarre claims, in the order that they appear in the magazine. The text of each claim is quoted as it appears in the magazine, not paraphrased.

Without further ado...

Selections from Roddenberry's RIT lecture can be found on Inside Star Trek (1976)
Claim: At a lecture at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976, Roddenberry joked about the original failure of his dream. "The first pilot was rejected on the basis of being too intellectual for all you slobs out in the television audience," he said. "It did go on to win the international Hugo award, but I suppose many things turned down by networks would win awards." (Page 12)

Verdict: False. Although it incorporates much of the footage from the first pilot, "The Menagerie, Parts I and II" was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1967, not Roddenberry's original pilot. Star Trek's only two-parter beat out "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "The Naked Time," which were also nominated, along with Francois Truffaut's adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 and Richard Fleischer's film, Fantastic Voyage.

The impressive bridge set built for "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: "We spent more on those sets [for the first pilot] than any studio in television had ever spent before in building a comparable thing. I think probably we spent more than even any motion picture had spent," Gene Roddenberry later said in Star Trek: The Making of the TV Series, which he co-wrote with Stephen E. Whitfield. (Page 14)

Verdict: Partly true. Although the first pilot was enormously expensive for television -- the final budget came in at $615,781.56 -- this number simply doesn't compare to the money being spent on contemporary A-pictures. Consider the costs of films like 1963's Cleopatra ($32 million), 1962's Mutiny on the Bounty ($19 million), and 1959's Ben-Hur ($15 million), the cost of producing television sets (even for an expensive show like Star Trek) just doesn't compare.

Ricardo Montalban in "Space Seed" (1967)
Claim: "I don't think Gene had ever written science fiction before," [Samuel] Peeples told author Joel Engel for the biography Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek. (Page 16)

Verdict: False. Roddenberry's familiarity with science fiction before Star Trek is debatable, but he had written science fiction at least once prior to Star Trek. Roddenberry's script for “The Secret Weapon of 117,″ part of the anthology program Stage 7, first aired on March 6, 1956. Although the episode is not currently available for public viewing, it reportedly stars Ricardo Montalban "as one of a pair of aliens trying to assess whether or not Earth has the technology to retaliate against infiltration and invasion by their species" and was definitely science fiction.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: Nimoy's Spock was one of the few crossovers from the original pilot to the later incarnation of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Verdict: Partly true. Although a few performers from the first pilot (Edward Madden, Jon Lormer, Robert Johnson, Majel Barrett, Janos Prohaska, and Malachi Throne) later appeared as different characters in subsequent episodes, Nimoy was the only actor to reprise his role from the first pilot in a subsequent episode. Although the character of Christopher Pike appears in "The Menagerie, Parts I and II," he's played in those episodes by Sean Kenney, not Jeffrey Hunter.

Still from "Arena" (1967)
Claim: "Arena," most memorable for its battle sequence, was adapted by scriptwriter Gene L. Coon from a short story by popular science fiction writer Fredric Brown. (Page 18)

Verdict: Partly true. Although Brown gets screen credit, Coon wrote "Arena" as an original teleplay. Credit was awarded to Brown only after de Forest Research pointed out numerous similarities to Brown's short story that could result in litigation against Desilu. Chalk it up to a case of cryptomnesia on Coon's part.

Jeffrey Hunter in "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: After his role as Christopher Pike, Hunter returned to feature film acting. While filming a movie in Spain in 1969, Hunter was severely injured, and he died during surgery on May 27, just a week before the airing of Star Trek's finale. (Page 21)

Verdict: Partly true. Although the story goes that Hunter turned down the second Star Trek pilot to focus on feature film roles, he continued to work in television thereafter, even going as far to star in another pilot (Journey into Fear) in 1965. Hunter was seriously injured during the filming of ¡Viva América! (1969), but his death actually happened several months later, when he fell at his home in Van Nuys and hit his head on a banister.
Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek pitch document (1964)
Claim: Roddenberry's pitch even included some eerily familiar ideas for future episodes, including "The Day Charlie Became God," which saw one of the Enterprise crew members given incredible powers, much like the second Star Trek pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." (Page 22)

Verdict: True. Roddenberry's original pitch document, available here, includes six one sentence story concepts and nineteen longer story ideas, a number of which became the basis of later episodes. "The Day Charlie Became God" was later developed into a teleplay by D.C. Fontana called "Charlie's Law," and produced as the first season episode "Charlie X."

John Hoyt as Dr. Philip Boyce in "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: Dr. Phillip "Bones" Boyce, played by John Hoyt, whose nickname would carry over to DeForest Kelley's Leonard McCoy... (Page 24)

Verdict: True. Although Boyce isn't identified by his nickname in any final dialogue, Roddenberry's aforementioned original pitch document from early 1964 identifies the doctor as, "Captain April's only real confidant, 'Bones' Boyce considers himself the only realist aboard, measures each new landing in terms of the annoyances it will personally create for him."

Still from "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: For the production of "The Cage," the southern California desert became the planet Talos IV--known as Clesik to its native inhabitants. (Page 27)

Verdict: False. Behind the scenes photos (which can be seen on birdofthegalaxy's fabulous flickr page, here and here) show that the exterior of Talos IV was actually built on a soundstage with a painted backdrop, which is pretty obvious in the episode itself. Pages 6-10 of Bob Justman's shooting schedule (available here) confirm these "exteriors" were actually shot on stage 16 at Culver Studios.

Leonard Nimoy and Peter Duryea in "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: Leonard Nimoy's Spock looks on as Peter Duryea's Lt. José Tyler fires his phaser... (Page 28)

Verdict: False. Dedicated fans know that the term "phaser" wasn't coined until after the first pilot was completed. Captain Pike and company carry "Laser pistols" according to the revised teleplay dated November 20, 1964, and dialogue in the complete episode refers to "hand lasers." The same caption also refers to Number One leading an "away team," a term which wouldn't be used until Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek instead referred to "landing parties."

Majel Barrett in "The Menagerie" (1964)
Claim: Her [Number One's] presence was one element of the pilot that caused NBC to pass on it, asserting that it wasn't "believable for a woman to be in charge." (Page 32)

Verdict: Probably false. Roddenberry often repeated this claim, which can be found in print in The Making of Star Trek (1968) and heard on Inside Star Trek (1976), but Herb Solow vehemently denied it in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (1996) and elsewhere. Recalling NBC's response after the first pilot, Solow says the network told the production, "We support the concept of a woman in a strong, leading role, but we have serious doubts as to Majel Barrett's abilities to 'carry' the show as its costar" (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, page 60).

Still from "The Savage Curtain" (1969)
Claim: In July 2014, former Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Bar Rafaeli [sic] made a bit of a blunder when she posted a quote attributed to President Lincoln to her Instagram feed. not realizing that the words were Gene Roddenberry's from "The Savage Curtain" script, not really Lincoln's. (Page 39)

Verdict: Partly true; partly unknown. Bar Refaeli did quote from the script to "The Savage Curtain" in a July 16, 2014 Twitter post, mistaking it for a genuine Abraham Lincoln quote. However, the teleplay to "The Savage Curtain" was written by Gene Roddenberry and Arthur Heinemann; without examining the various script drafts of the episode, it's hard to say if the quoted words were Roddenberry's alone, as the magazine claims.

Lucille Ball
Claim: Lucille Ball, the comedy legend and star of I Love Lucy, was a producer on Star Trek because of her position at the studio and, because she was a big believer in the show, was instrumental in helping Roddenberry keep it alive. Using her pull as a studio head -- a rare amount of power for a female in the 19960s -- Ball was able to convince the higher ups to give Star Trek a second chance. (Page 46)

Verdict: False. Ball was the head of Desilu, and in that position, instrumental in getting Star Trek made, but she was not in any useful sense of the word a "producer" on Star Trek. Also, according to Herb Solow, Ball had little to do with convincing NBC to order a second pilot. In Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, Solow recounts a meeting with Mort Werner, held soon after the NBC schedule was announced for the fall of 1965 (and Star Trek wasn't on it):
Mort, Grant [Tinker], and Jerry [Stanley] were still taken by what we'd accomplished. And Mort had a complaint: 'Herb, you guys gave us a problem.'
'Sorry, Mort, we tried our best.'
'That's the problem. I didn't think Desilu was capable of making Star Trek, so when we looked over the pilot stories you gave us, we chose the most complicated and most difficult of the bunch. We recognize now it wasn't necessarily a story that properly showcased Star Trek's series potential. So the reason the pilot didn't sell was my fault, not yours. You guys just did your job too well. And I screwed up.'
I shook my head in awe. No, no, this wasn't a network executive talking to me. This was the Good Witch of the East come to lay gold at our feet. I conjured up all my good thoughts. 'So let's do another pilot.'
'That's exactly why we're here. We'll agree on some mutual story and script approval, and then, if the scripts are good, we'll give you some more money for another pilot.'
-Herbert F. Solow, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (1996), page 60
It appears that this myth about Lucille Ball first originated in an online piece by Will Stape in 2007, and has been repeated in several other places online since, including this piece from blastr in 2013.

Leonard Nimoy in an early Star Trek publicity photo (1964)
Claim: Nimoy used these small parts as stepping stones to bigger television roles, including a memorable guest spot on Gene Roddenberry's The Lieutenant in 1964, where the writer and producer was already starting to cast the nascent Star Trek. (Pages 57-58)

Verdict: False. Nimoy's guest appearance on The Lieutenant, in an episode titled "In the Highest Tradition," first aired on February 29, 1964, and probably was filmed in late 1963. Roddenberry's written pitch for Star Trek wasn't completed until March 11, 1964, and he didn't have a meeting (or sign a deal) with Herb Solow at Desilu until April of 1964. Whenever Roddenberry began considering Nimoy for the part, he certainly wasn't starting to actually cast the series when Nimoy guest starred on The Lieutenant. Moreover, actor Gary Lockwood claims he's the one who suggested Nimoy for the part to Roddenberry, but only after The Lieutenant was off the air (the last episode of the series aired on April 18, 1964).

Gene Roddenberry, DeForest Kelley, and Jake Ehrlich, Sr. (1960)
Claim: [DeForest Kelley] worked steadily in TV and film until 1960, when he auditioned for a Gene Roddenberry-directed pilot called "Sam Benedict." The role ultimately did not go to Kelley, but Roddenberry kept him in mind for future roles and invited him to the premiere of "The Cage." (Page 63)

Verdict: False. Gene Roddenberry never worked as a director in film or television, and he never wrote a pilot called Sam Benedict. Roddenberry did write a pilot in 1960 called 333 Montgomery, based on a book about famous lawyer Jake Ehrlich, which starred DeForest Kelley. Ehrlich's life later became the inspiration for the short-lived series Sam Benedict, which aired during the 1962-63 season, but that show didn't involve Roddenberry or Kelley. 333 Montgomery is currently available on YouTube in three parts: here, here, and here.

Walter Koenig as Chekov in "Catspaw" (1967)
Claim: In 1965, the Soviet media had criticized the "utopian" Star Trek's marked absence of Russians. Agreeing that the other space power of the day should be represented on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Roddenberry began the search for a suitably Slavic ensign. (Page 67)

Verdict: Contested. Roddenberry did write a letter to the editor of Pravda on October 10, 1967 in which he said, "about ten months ago one of the stars of our television show, STAR TREK, informed us he had heard that the youth edition of your newspaper had published an article regarding STAR TREK to the effect that the only nationality we were missing aboard our USS Enterprise was a Russian." Whether or not the editorial in the alleged youth-edition of Pravda actually existed remains an open question, but Roddenberry's letter suggests the story was more than a publicity stunt. More can be read about the issue at Snopes.

Still from "Plato's Stepchildren" (1968)
Claim: [Recalling "Plato's Stepchildren," Nichelle Nichols says,] "That is how the first interracial kiss happened on TV." (Page 68)

Verdict: False. This myth was pretty thoroughly debunked by The Agony Booth last month, and I offered some additional comments regarding the scene here.

Still from "The Trouble with Tribbles" (1967)
Claim: It wasn't until the first episode of the second season, "The Trouble with Tribbles," that the [Klingon] race began to emerge as the perfect foil to Kirk and Co. (Page 76)

Verdict: False. The Klingons, established in season one's "Errand of Mercy," first re-appeared in season two's "Friday's Child," the third episode produced for the second season and the eleventh to air. The Klingons actually make their third appearance on Star Trek in "The Trouble with Tribbles," which was the fifteenth episode aired during season two, and the thirteenth produced. As for the first episode of the second season, "Amok Time" was the first episode to be aired in season two, and "Catspaw" was the first produced.

Lawrence Montaigne in "Amok Time" (1967)
Claim: [Lawrence] Montaigne, who was originally considered for the role of Spock before Leonard Nimoy decided to leave Mission: Impossible for Star Trek, played the Vulcan Stonn in "Amok Time" as well as the Romulan Decius in "Balance of Terror." (Page 98)

Verdict: False. Although Desilu did have Montaigne at the ready in early 1967, in case contract negotiations with Nimoy for the second season fell through, there's no evidence that Montaigne was in the running for the role of Spock in 1964 and Nimoy never left Mission: Impossible for Star Trek. Indeed, Nimoy didn't appear on Mission: Impossible until after Star Trek was cancelled, when the actor joined the cast as Paris for two seasons from 1969 to 1971.

Special thanks to blog reader Neil B. for loaning me his copy of the magazine for review, and suggesting this article in the first place.

Select images courtesy of Trek Core.

Sources:

The Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection (1964-1969)

The Making of Star Trek (Stephen Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry, 1968)

Inside Star Trek : The Real Story (Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, 1996)

CBS Watch! Magazine (December/January 2015)