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.



  1. Thanks, as always, for your scrupulously well researched posts. I'd rather have "These Are the Voyages" than NOT have it, but thanks to you, I know to take it with a grain -- or two or three -- of salt.

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  3. Another fantastic scholarly research about a great episode!