Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fact Check: Richard Arnold on Mission Log

Screenshot of Mission Log Podcast website (accessed June 2015)
In 2014, Richard Arnold – a former assistant to Gene Roddenberry and research consultant on Star Trek: The Next Generation from 1989-1991 – recorded an interview with Ken Ray and John Champion for Mission Log, a weekly Star Trek podcast produced by Roddenberry Entertainment. Since that interview was released, I've been asked by several readers to fact check some of Arnold's claims, particularly those regarding the original Star Trek television series. It has taken a bit longer than originally planned, but I can finally present this piece, which fact checks a number of claims made by Arnold during the course of the interview.

If you haven’t listened to it, Richard Arnold’s interview can be streamed or downloaded from the Mission Log website. It can also be found on iTunes, along with every other episode of the podcast. Readers of this blog will be particularly interested in Mission Log's Discovered Documents section, which features scans of story outlines, memos, call sheets, ratings reports, newspaper clippings, and more from Gene Roddenberry's private archives, including material unavailable in the public collections at UCLA.

In the interest of full transparency, I should disclose that I've met Mission Log co-host John Champion a couple of times, and briefly corresponded with him online about writing this piece. To date, I haven't met Ken Ray, nor have I met Richard Arnold, although I have seen Mr. Arnold at a number of conventions run by Creation Entertainment over the years. Some of Mr. Arnold's comments below have been slightly edited for clarity. I’ve included the time stamp of each quotation for those who would like to follow along with the podcast itself.
Still from 'I, Mudd' (1967)
The Enterprise Crew
[Roddenberry] wanted it to be half men, half women from the beginning and the network said, ‘No, the audience would think there's too much hanky-panky going on.’ He said, ‘Okay, we'll make it a third women and two-thirds men, because a third healthy women could certainly handle two-thirds men.’ He did whatever he could to try and make it as fair as he could, but again, he was fighting censors, he was fighting [NBC], he was fighting [the] front office, so there wasn't a lot that he could do in the original series, but he did have Uhura in a traditionally male position – communications officer – in today's navy, rarely female. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 1:02:03 - 1:03:04
Arnold is repeating an anecdote that Roddenberry loved to tell (it can be heard on the 1976 Inside Star Trek album). In short, Roddenberry claimed that NBC asked him to reduce the percentage of women on the Enterprise from being one-half of the crew to a more palatable one-third. To date, however, I've been unable to find any archival evidence that Roddenberry ever intended the crew of the Enterprise to be 50% female.

The first time the gender breakdown of the crew was even mentioned in the writer-director's guide was the third revision, dated April 17, 1967. That version indicates that the ship "has a crew of 430 persons, approximately one-third of them female." Previous versions of the writer-director guide, as well as Roddenberry’s early pitch document (dated March 11, 1964, it references a 203 person crew) contain no specifics as to the number of women onboard the Enterprise.

Other archival evidence, such as an August 12, 1966 memo from Gene Roddenberry to Joe D’Agosta, the show’s casting director, lead me to be further skeptical of Roddenberry’s claim that NBC wanted the number of women onboard the Enterprise reduced (the subject line of the memo reads, “female extras”):
NBC has requested that, for purposes of believability, we use more pretty young females in backgrounds, corridors, and rooms aboard the Enterprise. Can we see that more young women extras are used in these areas?
Still from 'Who Mourns for Adonais?' (1967)
Gene Roddenberry and Religion
Directors and actors would sometimes make changes on the set... There were a couple of occasions on the original series where Gene's very clear instructions in the Writer's Guide [that] we do not support [or] condone any specific religion [were ignored]... I think there were notes on his copy of the script that he sent out to everybody for ‘Balance of Terror’ when we were in the chapel and they were getting married: ‘Absolutely no religious symbols or dialogue.’ It had to be as generic as possible so as not to offend anybody, or at the same time say, ‘We're this,’ or, ‘We're that.’ 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 17:02 - 18:38
No draft of The Star Trek Guide (one draft can be found online; all three revisions, as well as a plethora of related notes and memos, can be found in the collections at UCLA) contains any reference to religion whatsoever. It's possible that Arnold is remembering something from the Star Trek: The Next Generation series bible, although a version available online doesn't seem to contain any reference to religion, either.

Regardless, although on-set changes occasionally happened, they were strongly discouraged by Star Trek’s producers, as evidenced by several terse memos from Roddenberry to various members of the production staff early in the show’s run.

On the subject of 'Balance of Terror,' here's what the revised final draft (dated July 18, 1966, a week before the chapel scenes were filmed) says about the chapel:

INT. ENTERPRISE - CHAPEL - FULL SHOT

Simple... a chapel designed to accommodate all faiths of all planets... 

Of course, it's possible that Roddenberry sent out the more absolute dictum that Arnold remembers, but so far I have found no evidence of this at UCLA.
Originally, at the end of the episode, McCoy scans Carolyn Palamas and she's pregnant, and the question is, is it going to be human or God? Broadcast standards did not want that in the episode! That was cut. I can't imagine them convincing Gene that he had to put in something about one God being enough. I can't imagine it getting by him. I can't imagine him saying that that would be okay. That wasn't Gene at the time, it certainly wasn't Gene later. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 19:15 - 19:50
Kirk's line from 'Who Mourns for Adonais?' ("Mankind has no need for Gods. We find the one quite adequate.") may have conflicted with Roddenberry's point-of-view later in life, but it was certainly in the episode's shooting script, and I've found no evidence that Roddenberry objected to the line in 1967.  There's also no evidence that the line was inserted at the behest of NBC's Broadcast Standards department. The closest comment on the subject from Broadcast Standards that exists in the UCLA files is a letter from Jean Messerschmidt dated March 15, 1967, which approved the story, but cautioned the producers to make sure, "that the religious aspects be treated with dignity and good taste."

That same letter also instructed the producers that "Carolyn's pregnancy not be treated lightly or as commendable," but allowed the plot point to go forward, at least at that point. Contrary to claims in These Are The Voyages – TOS: Season Two (2014), there's no evidence that network censors stopped the filming of the tag scene at the last minute (more on this to come in a later piece, I hope). Broadcast Standards may have ultimately nixed the scene during post-production, but thus far I haven't found any proof of this in the archival record.
Unfortunately, Gene Coon and Gene Roddenberry were taking a break, and this is a story that Gene Roddenberry told me, [because] Coon had died before I came out to L.A. He told me that they had taken a break, and they came back, and they didn't even know that they had shot [the tag scene for ‘Bread and Circuses’] that way. Even though it was the end scene for ['Bread and Circuses'], it was something they shot at the very beginning before they got back, so it was already in the can. I seem to recall Gene having gone out to the location at some point. I don't think he was even aware that this had changed. 
It was one of those, ‘Oh, God, how did this get by us?’ Because when Uhura says that one of their commentators on the radio was trying to put down their religion, but he couldn't, and Kirk just doesn't get it. ‘It's not because it was the sun in the sky, it's because he was the son of God,’ and they all had that knowing, "ah" look. 
It's like, Lord, that is not this show, and of course it wasn't. It wasn't the only time that things got by. It was a story that Gene and Gene had written themselves. It's not something that either of them would have put in...I think that got changed on set by either the actors or the director...I don't think that's the script they handed the actors. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 21:58 - 23:20, 28:43 - 29:01
In actuality, the tag scene in 'Bread and Circuses' was shot exactly as it was scripted by Gene Coon and Gene Roddenberry. It's not something that was changed by the director (Ralph Senensky) or one of the actors. Roddenberry may well have told Arnold that the actors or the director were to blame, but it's not what happened. Compare these September 14, 1967 page revisions (my transcript reflects some hand-written deletions and changes, as the script was being re-written by Roddenberry as the episode was shot) to the dialogue as aired, and you'll see they are nearly identical:

ANGLE ON UHURA - AT HER CONSOLE

turning with interest to overhear:

                                                        SPOCK
                                       ... would evolve a philosophy
                                       of total brotherhood. Worship
                                       of the sun is almost always a
                                       primitive superstition-religion...

                                                        UHURA
                                                  (interrupting)
                                       I'm afraid you have it all wrong,
                                       Mr. Spock. All of you.

GROUP AT COMMAND CHAIR - INCLUDING UHURA

Kirk, Spock and McCoy turning toward Uhura questioningly.

                                                        UHURA
                                                  (continuing)
                                       I've been monitoring old style
                                       radio waves, heard them talk about
                                       this? Don't you understand? Not
                                       the sun in the sky... the Son,
                                       the Son of God!


                                                        KIRK
                                                  (half to self)
                                       Ceaser and Christ... they did
                                       have both. And the word is
                                       spreading only now.


                                                        McCOY
                                       A philosophy of total love, total
                                       brotherhood.


                                                        SPOCK
                                                  (nods)
                                       It'll replace their Imperial Rome.
                                       But it'll happen during their
                                       twentieth century.


                                                        KIRK
                                                  (nods)
                                       It would be something to watch,
                                       to be a part of. To see it happen
                                       all over again.
Still from 'The Corbomite Maneuver' (1966)
Production: Seasons One and Two
They started early, in the spring, shooting for September [of 1966]. They hadn't been on the air yet, and they were already through more than a dozen episodes, so that the people who were being brought in to write – and Gene wanted good, solid writers, and he wanted people from the science fiction community – there was nothing to show them. There were all the scripts they were working on, and the episodes they were cutting, but nothing had aired, nobody was a fan yet. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 12:56-13:22
Arnold's timeline is a bit off here. NBC’s pick-up of Star Trek as a weekly series was announced in Daily Variety on March 1, 1966. Writing assignments were handed out shortly thereafter, and the first story outlines were delivered by mid-March. By early April, John D.F. Black had joined the staff as an associate producer, and nineteen writers were working on eighteen different stories in various stages of development. On May 24, 1966, the cameras began rolling on 'The Corbomite Maneuver.' This was in (late) spring with an eye for a September premiere date, but it wasn’t particularly early in terms of television production. To draw a useful comparison, Mission: Impossible assigned stories at the same time that season, and began production only a week later than Star Trek, on May 31, 1966 (as reported in Daily Variety).

It is true that Gene Roddenberry sought out members of the literary science fiction community to write for Star Trek. Some, like Harlan Ellison and Jerry Sohl, had their work produced for the series. Others, like A.E. van Vogt and Robert Sheckley, were paid off for their proposed stories before having the chance to write a teleplay. When Arnold implies that the first season was through “more than a dozen episodes” and still bringing in new writers, however, he’s way off-track. The thirteenth Star Trek episode produced (counting both pilot episodes) was 'The Conscience of the King,' and it didn’t finish filming until September 21, 1966. By that date, 38 stories had already been assigned, including every story that became an episode of the first season with the exception of 'Arena,' 'The Devil in the Dark,' 'Errand of Mercy,' and 'Operation—Annihilate!' Three of those episodes were penned by producer Gene L. Coon, and the fourth by departing script consultant Steven Carabatsos. None were the work of freelancers (Fredric Brown’s after-the-fact story credit on 'Arena' notwithstanding).

It also isn’t true that there was nothing to show potential writers for the show. By mid-September of 1966, two episodes had aired and a half dozen other shows in various stages of editing could be seen. Even as early as March of 1966, when most of the show’s freelancers actually came on board, both pilot episodes had long been completed, and attendance records in the Roddenberry collection at UCLA indicate that dozens of freelance writers (including many literary sf authors) were screened at least one of the pilots. Prospective writers could also read the seventeen page writer's guide, the first draft of which was completed on March 15, 1966.
They always shot bridge first – same with [Star Trek: The Next Generation]. They would finish the bridge on any episode and then move on to the other sets. Meanwhile they're constructing whatever planet sets they need on their swing stage, and then they move there, and then they go back and start the bridge again, and so on. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 20:12 - 20:31
Shooting sometimes began on the bridge set, but this was not always the case on the original Star Trek. The schedule for 'Amok Time,' for example, began in the Enterprise corridor set and subsequently moved to Spock's quarters. The bridge wasn't scheduled to go before the cameras until the third day of production. 'The Deadly Years' started its schedule with planet exteriors, and then shot material in sickbay and the medical lab. The bridge wasn't scheduled until the second day of filming. 'I, Mudd' didn't shoot on the bridge until its final day of production. There are many other examples.
Film trim from 'Bread and Circuses' (September 12, 1967; source: Antiques Navigator)
With 'Bread and Circuses,' it's obvious they went off on location, but they shot all the bridge stuff first and anything else they needed on the ship for that episode. You don't go back to reshoot, not when you're under such pressure from the network to get the stuff out as fast as possible. They did not have the seven shooting days that [Star Trek: The Next Generation] had; they had six, and then eventually they were being almost forced to try and do it in five. It didn't happen often, but they tried [in] the third season particularly. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 20:32 - 21:02
Arnold is certainly right about reshoots; given the pressures of a television schedule, these were exceedingly rare on Star Trek, as they would have been on any weekly television series at that time. However, Arnold's other comments here are incorrect. A number of Star Trek episodes were shot in at least seven days – during the first season alone, when the studio was most lenient about overtime, a total of fourteen episodes took seven days (or longer) to complete. When Desilu became Paramount Television, the production was pressured to finish episodes at a faster pace – but at that point, they were trying to finish shows in six days, not five. In fact, the only Star Trek episode to be shot or scheduled for five days was 'The Doomsday Machine,' which was filmed before the Gulf+Western takeover that led to tighter shooting schedules.

The shooting schedule for 'Bread and Circuses' at UCLA is not complete – it only covers the first two days of filming – however, none of the scenes planned for those two days took place on the bridge (instead, the production planned to shoot in Bronson Canyon and the Paramount Test Stage). Although the daily production reports for 'Bread and Circuses' do not exist in the public collections at UCLA, film trims such as the one above suggest the shooting schedule was followed. In addition, revisions of the episode's "son of God" tag scene (by Roddenberry, who rewrote the troubled script as it was being filmed) include the dialogue as broadcast and are dated September 14, 1967 (the third day of production on the episode). All of the evidence suggests that Arnold's chronology of the production is simply wrong.
Still from 'The Empath' (1968)
The Gulf+Western Takeover and Reduced Budgets
When Charles Bludhorn, [at the] end of the second [season] and all the third, when it became one company, Gulf+Western, bought Paramount and Desilu, and they wanted to know why the show was costing so much. They were saying, Lost in Space or whichever series, I think it might have been Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, costs so much less, and Gene had to explain very patiently, and very detailed, [in] several pages, single-spaced, [that] they don't have to do this, they don't have to do that, they're set in the same time then we are now, we have to create all our costumes, etc. He explained why it had to cost more, but they still pared down their budget. It was pretty awful. I think they were doing it for just over a hundred thousand dollars an episode, which is horrifying now. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 21:03 - 21:56
The memo Arnold mentions here was written by Gene Roddenberry (based on detailed information compiled by Bob Justman) and sent to John Reynolds, President of Paramount-Desilu Television. It can be found in the UCLA special collections, but is more readily available on pages 298-300 of David Alexander's Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry (1994). In the memo, Roddenberry presents twenty-six reasons why Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea cost so much less than Star Trek (a budgetary comparison done by Justman at this time shows an episode of Allen's series coming in at $166,485, while comparable episodes of Star Trek totaled $189,696 and $195,674).

Additionally, while it's true that Star Trek's budget was cut further to the bone after the Paramount-Desilu merger (in fact, it was cut every season), Arnold's figure of "just over a hundred thousand dollars" is way off track. In actuality, the average budget per episode during the third season was a little over $179,000.
Still from 'Bread and Circuses' (1968)
Battles over Credit
[Roddenberry and Coon] turned the script over to a writer named John [Kneubuhl] and he added some things to it, and sent it back, and they said, ‘Okay, go ahead and do it in first draft.’ He did, and then he sent it back and they said, ‘Okay,’ and then he started to work on finalizing it, and it was just too much. His health wasn't good, and he finally said, ‘I can't do this.’ He turned it back to them and they then went back and started from their original story and Gene Coon took it through first draft, and turned it over to Gene [Roddenberry], who then kind of rewrote it and did the final version. The writing credits on it should have been story by Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon, teleplay by Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon. Gene [Roddenberry] never really battled that much for credit; he didn't need it. 
They find out that the Writer's Guild is going to do an arbitration on that script and they're, like, ‘Why?’ ‘Because John Kneubuhl wrote the script,’ and they said, ‘No, the one that he turned in and then turned back to us, we didn't use. We went back to our original and we went from there. We didn't use his script.’ Despite Gene making it extremely clear what the entire genesis of that script was, the Writer's Guild still went with John Kneubuhl and gave him the story credit, even though it was not his story, it was their story, and only gave Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon the teleplay credit. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 23:24 - 25:08
It is unlikely that Roddenberry and Coon were surprised by the WGA initiating arbitration for 'Bread and Circuses.' An October 2, 1967 memo from Gene Roddenberry to Adeline Reilly matter-of-factly indicated that, "Although there will be an automatic arbitration in regards [to] the original writer, neither Gene Coon nor I want any arbitration between ourselves." Arbitration is automatic when someone who is a production executive (per the WGA, this includes all directors, producers, and story editors) “is proposed for credit and there are other writers on the project who are not production executives.”

Arnold's account of the writing process does roughly match a September 19, 1967 letter from Gene Coon to Mary Dorfman (of the Writer's Guild of America, West, Inc.), in which the departing producer detailed the development of the story and script:
Gene Roddenberry and I sat down and developed the story idea, which you have in your possession at this time, included among other pertinent material.  We then called in John Kneubuhl, gave him the story, which, while not completely developed, was considerably developed.  John added a few pages to the story, we had it approved and then he went into First Draft; then into Second Draft.  But he had many personal problems and his health failed him, and one day John called me and told me that he simply could not finish the screenplay and requested that he be withdrawn from the project.

This was granted.  At this time, I went back to the original story, the one written by Roddenberry and me, and wrote a brand new First Draft, with different structure, dialogue, character development, and so on, which you will see in the first mimeographed copy of the script.  When I had finished with a First Draft, Re-Write and a Polish, Gene Roddenberry stepped in and contributed a complete Re-Write, with new structure and character, based upon NOT THE KNEUBUHL SCRIPT, but upon my script, which was, in its turn, a complete original and not a simple Re-Write of the Kneubuhl effort.
That said, to date, I have found no evidence in the files at UCLA that John Kneubuhl was awarded "story by" credit for 'Bread and Circuses' at any time during arbitration. The episode itself gives the "written by" credit to Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon, which matches the October 10, 1967 credit memo for the episode at UCLA.

Arnold may have been recalling the version told by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn in These Are The Voyages – TOS: Season Two (2014). In that book, the authors claim that, "After arbitration, it was determined Roddenberry and Coon would indeed share the “written by” credit. Surprisingly, considering the story originated with the producers, the Guild determined John Kneubuhl would receive a “story by” credit. Of this, Kneubuhl declined."

However, Cushman and Osborn's account makes little sense, as it would be against guild policy to award "written by" credit when another writer was to receive "story by" credit. If someone does have evidence that Kneubuhl was ever awarded screen credit and declined, I would love to see it. As it stands, I suspect that the WGA ultimately sided with Roddenberry and Coon, and awarded them the full "written by" credit they receive on the episode as it was originally broadcast.
We talked about the other one, ‘A Private Little War,’ where, again, they had turned it over to Don Ingalls, who did a good job on it, but it wasn't what Gene wanted. He wanted to make his comments on Vietnam, etc., so he ended up having to rewrite it, but did not try to get the writing credit for it, but Don Ingalls was so angry with Gene that he took his name off it and used the name ‘Jud Crucis’ – Christ on a cross – because he felt he'd been crucified by Gene, and didn't speak to him for years because of that. And yet he still got the money for it, as John Kneubuhl got to keep his money [for ‘Bread and Circuses’] even though they never used anything that he did.  
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 25:14 - 26:05
While it's true that Roddenberry did a complete re-write of 'A Private Little War,' it's an exaggeration to suggest that he didn't use anything that had been written by Don Ingalls (who, after arbitration, received story credit; Roddenberry received full credit for the teleplay). Ingalls' story outlines and first draft teleplay certainly have their differences when compared to Roddenberry's final, aired version, but the broadcast episode's premise, most of its characters, and many of its narrative turns come straight from Ingalls.

Additionally, although David Alexander's Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry (1994), claimed that the pseudonym Ingalls used on the episode, "Jud Crucis," was shorthand for "Jesus Crucified," Ingalls himself offered a different explanation for the pseudonym in the pages of Starlog:
His pseudonym, which he has only used twice in 32 years, comes from 'judicious crucis,' which he describes as 'a form of combat in which two kings would send out their two Paladins to battle each other, rather than two armies. Whoever won the fight, won the war.' 
--Lee Goldberg, Paladin in Blue, Starlog (June 1992), p.37
For what it's worth, that same feature in Starlog also claimed that Roddenberry and Ingalls' "differences on the script...hurt neither their abiding friendship, nor Ingalls' fond memory of the series."

Regarding Arnold’s comments about money, of course Kneubuhl and Ingalls were paid to write. Whether or not their work was produced in part or even at all is immaterial – Kneubuhl and Ingalls were professional writers with a contract; they were not working on spec. Stories that were cut off before they even had the chance to become teleplays were bought and paid for the same as stories that became the episodes we know and love. Residuals, on the other hand, were another matter. Since they were based on screen credit, Roddenberry likely received a healthy share of residual payments over the years for both 'A Private Little War' and 'Bread and Circ,' thanks to frequent re-runs of the series following its cancellation in 1969.
Still from 'Turnabout Intruder' (1969)
The Ratings
Star Trek was considered a failure by just about everybody. Only recently has NBC or Nielsen, somebody has finally released the actual ratings for the original series. They were better than they admitted. They basically were telling Gene that the show [was a ratings failure. That was] one of their excuses for cutting the budget, I'm sure. 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 41:05 - 41:28
In all likelihood, Arnold is thinking of the ratings conclusions of author Marc Cushman, which I've thoroughly examined and debunked previously. As evidenced by the Roddenberry papers donated to UCLA, as well as documents from the Roddenberry archives published on the Mission Log website, Roddenberry frequently saw Star Trek's actual Nielsen ratings during the run of the series, as well as ratings provided by Arbitron and Trendex. As a result, it would have been difficult for NBC to pull wool over his eyes regarding the size of the Star Trek's audience.

Additionally, it should be noted that NBC wasn't the entity that slashed Star Trek's budget during the show's third season – that was entirely Paramount's doing. NBC actually paid a larger license fee per episode during the 1968-69 broadcast season of Star Trek (the annual license fee increase was contractual).
[Gene Roddenberry] could have had it back on the air within a year. That was the first time they came back to him, when they discovered that the Nielsen ratings were actually wrong, and that the new demographics showed that it had been NBC's most popular show when they cancelled it – in the most important demographic, not overall, but in the 18-35. They said, ‘Congratulations, you just cancelled your most successful show.’ 
--Richard Arnold on Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast (2014), 51:42 - 52:10
Many sources have made similar claims, suggesting that NBC did not have access to demographic information when they decided to cancel Star Trek. Shortly after the show’s cancellation, the story goes, Nielsen began measuring demographics, and NBC realized it had cancelled its most popular show with young adults.

The problem with these accounts is that they’re not accurate. In truth, Nielsen not only measured demographics in the late 1960s, but the networks considered demographics when they renewed or cancelled programming. NBC’s vice president of research even cited Star Trek’s young demographic as the reason for its renewal in a 1967 interview, despite the fact that the show had low overall ratings (read more about this here). You can read more information about Star Trek and demographics in this piece at Television Obscurities, which comes highly recommended.

Images courtesy of Trek Core.

Editor's Note: Roddenberry Entertainment recently announced "The 366 Project," which "will see one piece of Trek history posted to Roddenberry Entertainment’s social media channel each day beginning in 2016." How cool is that?

Sources:


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Credit Where Credit is Due: Producing Star Trek's Second Season

Still of Gene Coon's on-screen credit for "Errand of Mercy" (1967)
This piece is in response to a conversation I've been having with several readers about (what else?) claims made by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn in These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (2014). Specifically, it is about claims regarding who should have received on-screen credit for producing several episodes during the middle of Star Trek's second season, when Gene Coon stepped down as the show's producer and was replaced by John Meredyth Lucas. As broadcast, 'Journey to Babel' has always credited John Meredyth Lucas, while 'Bread and Circuses' and 'A Private Little War' have always credited Gene Coon. According to These Are The Voyages, however, Gene Coon should have been the credited producer for all three episodes:
“Journey to Babel” was a rush job. It was the 15th episode produced for the second season, but the producers and NBC were so pleased with it that “Babel” was 10th to air. To meet the air date of the coming attraction trailer, one week before the episode itself, a different optical house had to be called in, which is why the effect in the trailer for the Orion ship speeding past the Enterprise is different than what appears in the actual episode. 
John Meredyth Lucas received his first Star Trek producing credit with this episode. It was a mistake; Gene Coon was the actual producer. However, by the time the production had ended and credits were added, Coon had left Star Trek . The name of Lucas, Coon’s replacement, was inserted by the post-production crew because of this staffing change. The error has never been corrected. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (2014), p.363-364
There are several issues with this passage. To begin with, there's no evidence in the Gene Roddenberry and Bob Justman papers at UCLA that 'Journey to Babel' was "rushed" to air because NBC and the producers were so pleased with it. In point of fact, all the existing correspondence about the episode pertains to D.C. Fontana's story and script; there's nothing indicating how either party felt about the completed episode. What we do know is that from the end of principal photography (September 28, 1967) to the show's first broadcast (in Canada, on November 15, 1967), the production had 48 days to deliver an episode of television. Although this marked the fastest turnaround of an episode during Star Trek's second season (the runner up, 'Obsession,' took 58 days from wrap to air), it's worth noting that 'Journey to Babel' contained only a few new visual effects and was tracked with previously recorded music, both factors that would have sped up post-production.

Stills from 'Journey to Babel' (1967) [Left: trailer; Right: final episode]
There is also no evidence that a second vendor was brought in to complete a temporary visual effect of the Orion ship darting past the Enterprise in time to include it in the trailer for 'Journey to Babel.' In fact, based upon a comparison of the trailer to the final episode (above), the shots appear largely identical — the difference being that the effect in the trailer had yet to be composited onto the Enterprise viewscreen. Even if the Orion ship was noticeably different, however, Bob Justman was the one who prepared the coming attractions trailers for Star Trek, and he was constantly looking for ways to tighten the budget, not grow it. Indeed, a February 26, 1968 memo from Justman to Roddenberry shows that one of the primary reasons Star Trek delivered trailers to NBC (the network did not require them) was as a cost-savings measure. A one minute trailer cost about $750 to produce; one minute of story material was inevitably more expensive. A scenario in which Justman negated these cost-savings for an unremarkable visual effect that wouldn't even be featured in the final episode itself is, frankly, absurd.

Moving on to the matter of the credits, after examining the production files at UCLA, there's no question who should have been credited as the producer of 'Journey to Babel.' According to the cast sheet for the episode (dated September 19, 1967), John Meredyth Lucas was the show's producer:
Cast sheet for 'Journey to Babel' (September 19, 1967)
The episode's shooting schedule (undated, but probably September 19 or 20, 1967) also lists Lucas as the show's producer:
Shooting schedule for 'Journey to Babel' (approximately September 19-20, 1967)
The show's credits memo (dated October 13, 1967), which was approved by Ed Perlstein, an attorney with Desilu's business affairs department, lists the following credits for producer and executive producer:
Credits memo for 'Journey to Babel' (October 13, 1967)
The opening and closing titles for every Star Trek episode were based on credit memos like this one. Cushman and Osborn suggest that crediting John Meredyth Lucas as the episode's producer was a mistake made by "the post-production crew" when the titles were added to the episode, but in fact, crediting Lucas was a decision made when this memo was written in early October of 1967. A memo from Ed Perlstein to Bob Justman written on September 21, 1966 makes it clear who created Star Trek's credits — not an anonymous member of the post-production crew, as Cushman and Osborn seem to suggest, but associate producer Bob Justman (other memos make it clear that the credits were prepared in consultation with Gene Roddenberry, Desilu Business Affairs, and NBC Standards and Practices):
As I indicated to you today, our obligation to John D. F. Black for Associate Producer credit should only be with respect to those programs on which he rendered services, subject, however, to granting credit to Steve Carabatsos on those shows on which he performed services as Script Supervisor. 
In my conversation with you today, we agreed that John was not to receive credit with respect to the program MIRI [sic] as he did not perform any services whatsoever on this show. 
In making up your credits, please take this memo into consideration.
The final nail in the coffin in Cushman and Osborn's claim about the credits is John Meredyth Lucas' Star Trek deal memo, dated August 30, 1967 (the day after 'The Trouble with Tribbles' finished filming, which also marked the beginning of the show's Labor Day hiatus). The one page memo lays out which episodes Lucas would receive credit for in black and white. It says, in part:
We have engaged JOHN MEREDYTH LUCAS to act as Producer of Episodes #15, 17, 19, 21, 22 of "STAR TREK". 
His services will commence on September 5, 1967. He is to receive the sum of $3,000 per episode for Episodes #15, 17, and 19.
For his services in producing Episodes #20, 21, and 22, he is to receive $1,500.00 per week. 
Upon completion of principal photography of Episode #19, Paramount has an option to extend LUCAS' employment for the balance of the season at $1,500.00 per week. In the event that Paramount does not wish to extend said employment, it must notify LUCAS of its said election, in any event, at the time of completion of principal photograph [sic] of Episode #19. 
In the event that LUCAS writes an original teleplay during the term of this employment, he shall be entitled to "top of the show". In the event that he directs an episode of "STAR TREK", he shall be entitled to "top of the show". 
As producer, he is entitled to single card credit on each episode of the series on which he renders his services. In the event that he writes or directs, he is entitled to the appropriate credit.
Episode 15 — Lucas' first episode as the new producer of Star Trek — was 'Journey to Babel.' It should be noted that this deal memo has at least one typo in it, since the first paragraph does not mention Lucas producing episode #20, but the third paragraph does. It also manages to introduce a new mystery, since it does not name Lucas as the producer of episode #18, even though Lucas would ultimately be credited as the producer of that episode.

On August 31, 1967 — one day after the ink dried on Lucas' deal memo — Daily Variety ran a news item announcing the staffing change. This same story was reprinted in Weekly Variety on September 6, 1967:

Weekly Variety (September 6, 1967, p.43)
In These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two, Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn offer their own version of Gene L. Coon's departure from Star Trek and his subsequent work in Hollywood:
Days after his release, and weeks before he would actually leave the Star Trek offices, Coon made arrangements to go to work for Universal, where he had helped develop McHale’s Navy and other series in the early 1960s. As Daily Variety reported, his first job, once he cleared Star Trek, was to write a feature film script for his new employers -- the western Journey to Shiloh, based on a novel by Will Henry (aka Henry Allen), and starring James Caan. After that he would be put back to work as a writer/producer in television, with Glen Larson as his associate producer, on It Takes a Thief, slated for a midseason premiere on ABC in early 1968. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (2014), p.327-328 
Unfortunately, this account does not line up with the facts. Gene L. Coon did adapt Journey to Shiloh for Universal, but it was not his first job after being released from Star Trek. According to Daily Variety, filming began on the William Hale-directed Western on March 28, 1967. By July of 1967, production on the film had been completed, and the cast and crew moved on to other projects. It's not clear when Coon penned the screenplay for the film, but it was certainly before he left Star Trek.

Coon eventually did join It Takes a Thief as a writer and producer, but Cushman and Osborn neglect to mention that he did not do so until midway through the program's first season. Variety reported that Coon had joined It Takes a Thief in its January 16, 1968 issue (the same day the second episode of the series was broadcast). Reflecting this late start, Coon did not receive a producing credit on the show until its eighth aired episode. Additionally, during the first season, his associate producer was Mort Zarcoff, not Glen A. Larson. Larson wouldn't assume the role of associate producer until the program's second season; during the first season of It Takes a Thief, he was just a freelancer who wrote a single episode.

Elaborating further on Coon's departure and the reactions of the staff, Cushman and Osborn offer the following:
Perpetuating the “official story” 30 years after the fact, Robert Justman went on record in his book with Herb Solow (Star Trek: The Inside Story), saying, “I wrote my last memo to Gene Coon on September 5, 1967, one day after the Labor Day holiday. He left the show that week, exhausted; he had come close to a complete nervous breakdown.” 
Ande Richardson-Kindryd disputes Justman’s claim that Coon was having anything close to a breakdown. And while it is true that Justman began addressing his memos to Roddenberry and Lucas after September 5, with “cc” to Coon, it is also true that Coon was still the series producer, and held that position for another month. There was a different reason for Justman’s memos not going to Coon. 
To Justman’s thinking, Coon was abandoning Star Trek. Further, he was turning over his job -- as top producer -- to someone who barely knew the show and, as Justman would write in numerous memos, was not proving to be a good Star Trek writer. Worse, Coon had not even considered offering the job to Justman, which would have advanced the talented and hardworking associate producer to being the series’ primary producer. 
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (2014), p.327-328  
It's not clear to me how Justman was perpetuating the "official story" when, thirty years later, he wrote that Coon left the Star Trek offices exhausted on the week of September 5, 1967. The account given to Variety at the time — that Coon wanted to take time away from TV to work on a feature film script and would work on the series for an additional five weeks — would seem more appropriately the "official story."

Cushman and Osborn's explanation for Justman directing memos to Lucas with Coon on carbon copy makes even less sense. For one thing, Cushman and Osborn omit the fact that D.C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry (the rest of the show's small staff) also started directing their memos to John Meredyth Lucas around the same time, with Gene Coon on carbon copy (or not on copy at all). For another, in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (1996; Cushman and Osborn misidentify the title of the book in this passage), Bob Justman is very direct about being hurt by the fact that Gene Roddenberry chose Fred Freiberger over him to produce Star Trek's third season (in addition to confessing hurt that Roddenberry didn't involve him in the production of Star Trek—The Motion Picture at all). Why be so honest about his hurt feelings in these cases, but leave out being hurt over John Meredyth Lucas being hired? More likely, I think, is that Justman wasn't expecting a promotion like that in the midst of the show's second season.

Returning to the matter of screen credit, Cushman and Osborn go on to offer the following description of the closing credits for 'A Private Little War,' the next episode produced after 'Journey to Babel':
In the end titles of the episode, Janos Prohaska is credited with playing the “gumato.” This was actually the mugato. In the script it was called a “gumato,” which is why it is listed that way in the credits. But DeForest Kelley had trouble pronouncing the name, so it was changed during filming.
Also in those end titles, as Gene Coon’s credit appears, we see the Enterprise orbiting a different planet than before. The continents and oceans we had previously seen are missing and the planet is now smaller, darker, and presented in various shades of blue. The reason for the switch: the company that prepared the titles for Star Trek had made a mistake. Gene L. Coon was supposed to receive the producer’s credit here, as well as on “Journey to Babel,” but the title card read John Meredyth Lucas instead. When “Journey to Babel” was aired on November 11, 1967, someone noticed that Lucas was listed as the producer. Roddenberry was notified of the mistake and discovered the same error with “A Private Little War.” Before shipping the latter episode to NBC, the end title card from “Catspaw” crediting Gene Coon, was spliced in, replacing John Meredyth Lucas’s name.
--Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (2014), p.383
Once again, there are issues with this account, although Cushman and Osborn are right about the "mugatu" being an on-set name change. In Gene Roddenberry's September 25, 1967 re-write of the episode, the creature is called the "gumato" throughout, a spelling which was later reflected in Bob Justman's November 11, 1967 credit memo:
Credit memo for 'A Private Little War' (November 11, 1967)
Also reflected in Justman's credit memo? Gene Coon's producing credit:
Credit memo for 'A Private Little War' (November 11, 1967)
Additionally, it should be noted that 'Journey to Babel' premiered on NBC on November 17, 1967 (not the eleventh, as Cushman and Osborn incorrectly claim in this passage), which means that the credit memo listing Coon as the producer of 'A Private Little War' actually preceded the broadcast of 'Journey to Babel.' For this reason, it is highly unlikely that 'A Private Little War' ever carried a producing credit for John Meredyth Lucas instead of Gene L. Coon.

The one piece of paperwork at UCLA that might have led Cushman and Osborn to conclude that 'A Private Little War' carried the wrong producing credit is the cast sheet for the episode, dated September 29, 1967. That document credits John Meredyth Lucas as the show's producer rather than Gene Coon:
Cast sheet for 'A Private Little War' (September 29, 1967)
It should be emphasized, however, that on-screen credits were not based on cast sheets. As such, it's unlikely this error would have been reflected when the episode was aired (especially since the credits memo contains the correct producing credit).

Even if Cushman and Osborn's scenario was correct, and an incorrect credit on 'Journey to Babel' tipped off Roddenberry that a change had to be made to 'A Private Little War,' there's no reason for the final effect to have been rushed. 'A Private Little War' aired months after 'Journey to Babel' did, on February 2, 1968, which would have left the production plenty of time to fix one bad title card.

Indeed, if you compare the final title cards from 'Catspaw' to those from 'A Private Little War,' it's clear that they are completely different shots (note also that the planet in 'A Private Little War' does in fact have continents and oceans, and is roughly similar to the planet seen in other shots, contrary to Cushman and Osborn's description):

Stills from 'Catspaw' (1967)
Stills from 'A Private Little War' (1968)
Interestingly enough, although there's no documentation in the UCLA files supporting Cushman and Osborn's claim that 'A Private Little War' and 'Journey to Babel' carried the wrong producer credits at any point, there is a January 24, 1968 letter from Emmet Lavery (at the time, Vice President of Paramount's business affairs department) to Gene Roddenberry, which suggests that the producer credit on "The Immunity Syndrome" was possibly incorrect when first broadcast:
I have been advised by John Meredyth Lucas' agent that the episode of STAR TREK entitled "Immunity Syndrome" which ran Friday, January 19, 1968, carried a credit for Gene Coon as producer when in fact John Meredyth Lucas was the producer. 
Will you please verify whether this occurred and will you please investigate what the situation is on credits on up-coming episodes. 
To maintain good relations, it might be advisable, if the above situation has been accurately stated to me, to publish a trade story correcting the credit.
Unfortunately, there's no further correspondence about the matter in the UCLA archives, and I have been unable to find a retraction in one of the trade papers (although I haven't done the exhaustive research necessary to rule out the possibility of one having been published). However, since the credit memo for the episode (dated November 6, 1967) correctly lists Lucas as the show's producer, I doubt that Coon ever received screen credit for 'The Immunity Syndrome.' On home video, the episode has always credited John Meredyth Lucas as its producer. If there was an error, it was quickly and permanently corrected.

Once again, These Are The Voyages has presented a version of history based on incorrect assumptions and statements which appear to have been invented out of whole cloth. If Cushman and Osborn have other sources to support their narrative, it would certainly help their case to present them. As it stands, there's no evidence in the production files at UCLA, contemporary trade papers, or the final episodes themselves that any of the screen credits for 'Bread and Circuses,' 'Journey to Babel,' or 'A Private Little War' were ever incorrect.

Certain images courtesy of Trek Core.

Sources:

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

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

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

These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two (Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, March 2014)

Monday, August 3, 2015

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

Still from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (1965)
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
FINAL REVISED DRAFT, dated July 9, 1965
(with further revised pages inserted, dated July 14 & 15, 1965)
Report and Analysis by David Eversole
Originally posted at Orion Press

This one matches the aired pilot pretty closely with one major and a few small exceptions.

The major one — a page and a half opening teaser (which I understand is on the alternate version of the episode which was prepared for the execs).

The Teaser (for the record, Peeples (or the studio typist) misspells a couple words, but I've typed them as was):

FADE IN:

PHOTO PLATE - TIGHT ON EARTH'S GALAXY

CAMERA PULLING BACK to establish the saucer-shape, the vast cloud of suns and planets.

                                                        KIRK'S VOICE
                                       This is our galaxy -- a gigantic cloud of 
                                       suns and planets, in which our Earth is
                                       but a pinpoint, one speck of dust. The
                                       galaxy is so vast that even traveling at
                                       millions of miles per hour it would still
                                       take millions of years to cross through it.

Then CAMERA PANNING along the photo plate away from Earth's galaxy to reveal the gulf of empty, black space dotted only by a few milky spots of phospherescence which mark other galaxies millions of light years away.

                                                        KIRK'S VOICE
                                       And yet, as incredible as it seems, it is
                                       itself only one of untold billions of other
                                       galaxies, each separated by voids of
                                       emptiness so vast that time, matter
                                       and energy may not even mean the
                                       same out there.

EXT. SPACE - U. S. S. ENTERPRISE (STOCK)

Our starship APPROACHING CAMERA through fairly dense star background, at first only a pinpoint in the distance, then flashing into view and PAST CAMERA.

                                                        KIRK'S VOICE
                                       The U. S. S. Enterprise. Until now its
                                       task of space law regulation, contact
                                       with Earth's colonies, and investigation
                                       of alien life, had always kept the vessel
                                       within galaxy limits.

EXT. OUTERSTELLAR SPACE - U. S. S. ENTERPRISE

moving AWAY FROM CAMERA, but now using only a single PLATE of star motion -- our combination of this and the preceding scene giving the impression of the U. S. S. Enterprise moving out of the galaxy and through thinning stars toward that black void of emptiness beyond.

                                                        KIRK'S VOICE
                                       But on star date 1312.4, its massive
                                       space-warp engines brought it to the
                                       edge of that black void. 
                                                  (pause) 
                                       My name is James Kirk...
                                       commanding the Enterprise. Our
                                       mission -- a probe out into where
                                       no man had gone before.

As the U. S. S. Enterprise moves away and out of sight, TITLE ZOOMS INTO FULL FRAME:

"STAR TREK"

OUTERSTELLAR SPACE STOCK (to be selected).

OPENING CREDITS

FADE OUT.

Mitchell is shown walking along a corridor, nodding to passing crewmen, passes Yeoman Smith, gives her a "special male approving look." Then he dashes for the elevator with Kirk and Spock.

No mention of who the first officer is.

Kirk's gravestone is described as a simple white cross like those that adorn the graves in national cemeteries. His initial is "R" as in the aired episode.

After Spock tells Kirk that he too felt for Mitchell, he continues with: "I hated every minute of being logical about it."

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: A different version of Kirk's narration excerpted above can be found in the workprint release of the second pilot, available on the season three Blu-Ray release, and in these segments on YouTube.

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.

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.