Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1978 article: The Making of ST Phase II

From Issue #12 of Starlog, published March of 1978, comes an interview with Gene Roddenberry on the progress of the then-planned TV series. The planning, designing and writing for the proposed series was finally moving along until it was scrapped in favor of a big budget movie, which had just happened after the interview but before press time. It's interesting to see the struggles they went through to get it going, and observing what would evolve into the movie, and beyond. Much of the stage was being set for what we saw in the movie at this point. Gene is to be commended for not simply throwing up his hands and walking off due to the frustrations and fights he was going through!
(Click on images to enlarge.)













Bonus: below, from the same issue, is Susan Sackett's report on the development of the series.


And below, also from the same issue of Starlog, is a report that looks at the development of the new Enterprise design. The inset box reveals the latest news that the series had been scrapped in favor of developing the two-part "In Thy Image" as a big-budget theatrical film, and as yet Nimoy was still not involved. Interesting stuff to look back on as history, or to remember if you haven't seen it in awhile.


As I read about Gene's struggle to make his vision and be in control of it, I get a little sad in retrospect how, after the movie came out with lukewarm reviews, they put someone else in charge of the next movie. Many see the second movie as the best of any of the movies, but we have to remember that the groundwork was laid and the path paved by Roddenberry, and others then built on that hard work. The Motion Picture may have lacked action, and the script may have needed more work before being pressed into production; but it was not a failure, and studios don't generally "throw good money after bad;" they only recognized that if another was to succeed, it would need to be more dynamic and exciting. Even during the series, Gene was a good producer, but not neccessarily a good writer. The studio felt that, next time, it needed more.

11 comments:

On Smash said...

I still have that issue after all these years and many other issues as well

Jackie T said...

Benefit of hindsight and all that, but I still find it astonishing that everyone seemed so casual in these articles at the prospect of continuing Trek without Nimoy. One might expect Roddenberry to display Nimoy-blindness, knowing what we now know about the antagonism between the two, and Susan Sackett was a Roddenberry accolyte. Yet most of us, I think, are fully aware of the impact and necessity of that character and therefore that actor to Trek. I believe that he finally got them to settle all his law suits in return for coming back. He at least knew his own worth!

Frederick said...

Jackie,

I sweat a bit thinking of a return to classic Trek with out Nimoy as Spock, but I think Roddenberry was just determined to move on and not stop the entire production because of one person holding out. I read some of his comments on Nimoy's beef with the studio, and he seemed to endorse his efforts to get what he felt was owed him. He probably had little to do with all that between Nimoy and the studio, and had to wait and see how it would turn out, all the while moving foreward. I guess the studio knew Nimoy's value, as they finally did what was neccessary to get him signed.

I remember a story about the head of Paramount telling his wife about the Spock-less plans for the movie, and she insisted they *had* to have him, making her husband do whatever they had to do to get him! :) We all know wives can be very persuasive...

Anonymous said...

ST TMP remains my favorite of the film series. It is millions of miles ahead of TWOK, an overheated space opera that ignores almost everything about Trek apart from the bare basics of the Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic.

david_b said...

Trek-TMP was ALWAYS my favorite movie as well, well above all the other films (well, III, VI and the latest are good..). It seemed to be the only film that actually 'went anywhere' we haven't been to before, and it's STILL a wonderful experience to watch on the big screen and surround sound, even after all these years, especially the 'Directors Cut' version. The uniforms were actually better than most have commented, and all in all it's still my favorite.

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Doug said...

Man, I love this blog. I printed this article out and took it with me on Thurs. to a local cafe where I have breakfast and grade papers a couple of times a week. It's a weird kind of nostalgia for me, b/c I'm just about a year or so too young to have encountered this article, or to start collecting Starlog... I was eleven when TMP came out, and started my own scouring of bookstores for sci-fi articles at around that time. It's great to see what my fellow geeks (said, of course, with love!) were reading just a few years before that. And what a time to be a Trek fan! To know that the cast and crew were reuniting, but to hear, year after year, that the project would be a movie, but now a TV show, but now a movie again... not to mention the constant delays... The first I heard about the film was the ad on the back of a comic book that you posted on your site some time ago. That fired me up so much I could hardly stand it. I don't know how fans in the seventies stood the years of anticipation before that!

Frederick said...

Doug,

Thanks for the comment, and thanks for sharing your own memories! It was an exciting time to be a fan, what with all the articles and such, and the rumors and stories of the various attempts to bring it back only stoked the flame. I don't remember being frustrated by delays, only excited and hopeful that it would happen sooner or later. But it did seem like a lo-o-o-ng time coming; but now a decade comes and goes in a flash!

Jackie T said...

I can't agree that ST:TMP was the best. I was there with everyone else waiting and waiting and riding out all the rumours, series, film, nothing, etc, and then finally, tickets to the press showing of the film. You don't get a bigger build up than that, but we got up at the end and said,"Is that what we've been waiting 11 years for?" It didn't do it for us, though it was so hard to admit. I grant that it's improved with time and perspective, but it wasn't the Trek we'd last seen with Turnabout Intruder. Those ingredients were back however with TWOK. I know I'm being nerdy, geeky and all the rest, but that's how it was for us, at the time,and I think that that's what counts.

Pierre said...

I've always loved this article because it gave a great glimpse into a trek that never was. All those images by Mike Minor, with the classic Enterprise in dry-dock to the storyboard drawings that you can just barely make out on the printed page, to a glimpse of the new bridge. Roddenberry's comments in the article are a wonderful read as well.

It really was a wonderful time to be a Trek fan with so much stuff being printed and classic Trek on the TV every night of the week in syndication. I've got a great huge binder of every Trek article I had from that period and it's a wonderful trip back in time to relive those days.

Pierre

Frederick said...

Pierre,

It's good that you saved them like I did! I hear from so many people that said they clipped a lot of items or bought magazines, but no longer have them for some reason; either they "grew up" and threw them out but regret it now, or some parent threw them out when they were away at college and such. I am glad that people enjoy coming here to relive old memories! Thanks for commenting, hope you keep enjoying the blog.