Customer Reviews: The Making of Star Trek
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on November 28, 2001
This is a classic. It is the first book of its kind, and probably the first book about Star Trek at all. But The Making of Star Trek is much more than any of the later books with similar names. This book doesn't idealize or simplify the making of the series. It doesn't enthusiastically praise everything and everyone involved in its production. It is an authentic and meticulous report on how TOS in particular and a TV series in general comes to life. It shows that it is a process of try and error, that aspects have to be taken into account the viewers wouldn't think of, and that the responsible persons don't always know exactly what they want ("I need some device that does something...").
The story how Stephen E. Whitfield (aka Stephen E. Poe) asked Gene Roddenberry if he could write a book about the series sounds like a fairy tale, but is true. The Great Bird was very forthcoming, and Whitfield was granted access to everything behind the scenes of the still running show, seemingly without any restriction. The book shows production schedules, budgets, private notes, script drafts, production sketches, all things that are usually kept secret or simplified for a larger public. I don't think that something like this would be still possible today. Compared to The Making of Star Trek, Whitfield's last book (he passed away in 2000) on Voyager seems rather superficial.
The Making of Star Trek may be over 30 years old, but it is of more than only historical value. It demonstrates that TV is a business that sometimes doesn't allow technical or artistic perfection. It also shows how many things we may take for granted and that are essential parts of the Star Trek Universe today have taken a rather surprising course change. Who would like Vulcans with names like "Spook, Spork, Splak, ..." as frequently suggested in the early days, or who would think that one race was originally described with the words, "Honor is a despicable trait.", namely the Klingons?
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on August 24, 2002
I read this in the Seventies and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I've bought it again and enjoyed it all over again. Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at TOS. You have to read this book to understand what a groundbreaking series Star Trek was. You also learn how grueling a TV series is to work on. This book is fascinating, and sometimes hilarious!
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on December 30, 1996
A classic book for those interested in television production, especially "Star Trek".
This is the first book that gave the details of the production of a particular television series, and has served as a model for similar books to follow.
The original "Star Trek" was still in production at the time this book was written, and the book has gone into many reprints.
A good primer for those who follow the current crop of "Star Trek" shows and movies, and are interested in finding out about the classic original.
This book is definitely a must-have for fans of the original series.
Co-written by the creator himself.
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on January 23, 2001
There are probably loads of 'Making of Star Trek' books out there, but this is particularly interesting as it was written in 1968, between the second and third series, before the show had become a phenomenon. Which is odd at first - everything is in the present tense, and there's nothing about the cultural impact of the show because that was all in the future. Doubly odd is the fact that all of the many quotes from Gene Roddenberry are reported IN BLOCK CAPITALS, giving the bizarre impression that he is not a television producer, but God Himself.
It's extremely detailed, and is as much about the making of any TV late-60s series as it is 'Star Trek'. There are bits from shooting scripts, set plans, photographs of noted theatre actor William Shatner in old-age makeup (looking nothing like he looks in genuine old age), profiles of production staff, and programme budgets which, translated dollar-for-dollar, would just about cover the catering bill on 'Star Trek : The Next Generation'. It's worth it for the stream of memos about Vulcan names alone.
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on May 8, 2008
Back when there was little else written about Star Trek, before David Gerrold's great "World of Star Trek" analysis or Franz Joseph's blueprints, "The Making of Star Trek" was the ultimate. I devoured it as a boy in the early '70s. To this day I don't think anyone can consider themselves a true original series die-hard without having read this book. It really does take you inside the making of the show, but keeps it on a professional level, without salaciousness. That's because the book wasn't written as something for the few Star Trek fans that were known of then, but as a book about how to write for TV, as older printings stated on the cover. That does leave some things out, but those details have been covered since by other books and memoirs.

Since this was written while the series was in production, it's a good view into how people felt then, even refreshing because Trek had yet to become a pop culture colossus, so the book doesn't have any of that built-in reverence. They were making a good TV show that aspired to be something better than most everything else on then, but in the end it was considered just another TV job, certainly not anything that would become legendary.

For instance, "The Defenders," one of the highest praised, most thoughtful and well-written dramas of the '60s, is scarecely remembered by anyone not old enough to have seen it. Part of the issue with that series had to do with rerun-rights issues, but another part had to do with the times then, when TV was still rather young, and shows were thought of as rather disposable, coming and going without much of an afterlife except for "Lucy" and "Honeymooners" reruns. When you think of it in that context, it's easy to see why Gene Roddenberry bailed on Star Trek after it became clear NBC was out to kill it, even though the letter campaign forced them to bring it back for a third year.

The pics and blueprints within the book are cool but may not be as impressive today. At least the blueprints, while not "accurate" by today's standards, were drawn by Matt Jefferies himself. Remember, though, for a long time this was all the reference stuff available. However, if you want what is still a good insider's look into the making of the show, plus Gene Roddenberry's take before even he got sucked into the myth, this is a must-read.
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on January 14, 2014
This book is without question the most important book for any fan of the original series. It gives the reader a behind the scenes look at the goings on of trying to get the show off the ground, production notes and memos of the writers and staff...and of course, of Gene Roddenberry himself.

Including some great pictures of props, the actors and the special effects.
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on April 9, 2015
What can I say, never have I read a more through account of probably the greatest SCFI show of all time the original Star Trek Series from the 1960's. Roddenberry was not only a master of detail and a genius but a visionary as well. Whitfield's exhaustive research bodes him well as one of the finest television historians out there. What I really love about this book is that it is written AS THE SHOW WAS STILL ON THE AIR. We get a glimpse as to where the show was headed prior to the third season cancellation. Oh to imagine where it would have gone, though we do get a glimpse with the Animated Season as major STTOS writer D.C. Fontana stated that some of her ideas were used for a proposed fourth series but used with the Animated Series. All I can say is this book gets a "24 Phaser Salute".
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on May 1, 2016
bought this originally for around $.75 straight from bookseller when i was around 10 years old. ST was already in syndication at that point, and was one of the most positive influences of my young life on every level. i read "Making of" almost to tatters, not just because i was a fan of the show, but because it truly a fascinating in-depth behind-the-scenes glimpse of the nuts and bolts of television production, the thought and care put into a ground-breaking science fiction concept, and a very close insider perspective. a bounty of trivia about production decisions for questions you may never have thought to ask, such as where they obtained McCoy's medical instruments, and why those decisions were made, as well as scripting, casting, special effects, sets, costumes, and moreover the amount of real thought roddenberry and his crew put into so many elements that made ST the enduring classic and ubiquitous cultural influence that it has become (think of that the next time you walk into a supermarket through those automatic doors).

i wish i'd hung onto my copy but it disappeared over the years, so i'm purchasing a replacement. i've never read a "making of" book since that was as information and yet as fun to read. INSPIRED. and i love that it was written while the show was in production, before it became a cultural phenomenon; it's not inflated by adoration, yet written with care and respect.
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on September 26, 1997
I was 5 yrs old when this book was written. This book was originally published in 1968, for I have one of the original paper back copies. I have become over the years a BIG Star Trek fan and love anything related to Star Trek. This book gives you an up close look at the making of the original Star Trek pilot throught the two seasons of the series. It gives you a lot of trivia which I really enjoyed. How lucky we are that the show got off the ground at all. Stephen Whitfield did a great job making you feel like you were there during the ups and downs. It's great to see just how far Star Trek has come from that beginning. It was a great book.
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on July 12, 2011
Covers details of production with some technical details of the fictional Trek universe. First book to describe the various decks of the Enterprise and have diagrams and cutaway views. Formed the basis of the later equally famous Franz Joseph USS Enterprise deckplans. This was one of the first Trek books on the market so it covers only TOS (The Original Series). But since it is "old school", that also means there is little flash and tons of hardcore information.

If you have more than a passing fancy for Trek (especially TOS), then this book is a must-have.
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