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Inside Star Trek: The Real Story Hardcover – Unabridged, June 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
As told by Solow, Star Trek's co-producer, and Justman, the executive in charge of production, this is arguably the definitive history of the TV show. After Solow was hired by Desilu Studios to find properties to sell to the networks, he met an ex-cop named Gene Roddenberry who had an idea for a science fiction series called Star Trek. Roddenberry was signed to a development deal. We see the series's genesis as it went through two pilots; how the actors were selected; its problems going over budget; and its launch on NBC in 1966. Although its ratings were low, Star Trek was renewed and would last through the 1968-69 season. With plenty of behind-the-scenes material that will be of interest to Trek fans, this book puts a good deal of emphasis on the show's business side, elucidating production difficulties, cost overruns and the seemingly constant debate with NBC over the show's future. A look at a historical TV series that Trekkies are sure to enjoy. Photos not seen by PW. Simultaneous S&S audio release.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA. A readable, fascinating look behind the scenes of Star Trek. The authors take readers from Gene Roddenberry's initial series idea in April 1964 through its demise in 1969. Solow, Roddenberry, and Justman boldly went where no one had gone before in the television galaxy. Well, as boldly as possible, besieged as they were by battles with NBC executives, squabbles within Desilu Studios, conflicts with the censors, budget constraints, production problems, personality conflicts, etc. This is "the real story," showing how a television show was conceived, developed, written, shot, edited, and finally aired. By taking off the rose-colored glasses, the authors give readers a glimpse into the human (though sometimes unflattering) side of the Star Trek personalities. A great choice for librarians that have a large "Star Trek" readership and also for those with a need for drama- or television-related materials.?John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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There is something in our psyche that craves a hero to worship. As William Shatner once remarked, and to paraphrase, Star Trek fandom is a spiritual experience. The moralistic story lines address the spiritual vacuum of the human heart. My religion may tell me to be kind to others, but it has little to offer about what to do on a long rainy evening. Hence the void that Star Trek has filled for many fans over the years.
Watching the crew deal successfully and handily with a different alien conundrum, week after week, I fell under the spell of the idealistic society portrayed. For a moment, it seemed very real. So it is interesting to read some of the actual behind the scenes machinations. It is important to realize that these memoirs have been written many decades after the fact, however actual letters and memos of the day tell the story as the people involved perceived it. at the time. There were multiple pressures at play. For a variety of reasons, an episode of Star Trek cost somewhat more to produce than the typical shows of the day, such as Westerns, The overarching concern was whether that investment would pan out financially. This concern bordered on an obsession. Then, as now, no one wanted to make a show that was not profitable, but each person involved had a slightly different view on how to make the show work.
There are some very interesting tidbits here. For example, Leonard Nimoy got a large raise in the second season, and by then he was worshiped by millions of adoring fans. He was finally making a good living in acting, after almost 20 years of bit parts, but he was already becoming unhappy with the Mr Spock role, although he had to some degree created it. Success was not what he had imagined it to be. He wrote a letter, essentially complaining that his character didn't get to do much. He complained that Mr Spock just did the same thing over and over (sounds like most jobs, doesn't it?) It is rather ironic, considering the major role that the Spock character played in the series and the fact that Nimoy never again had to drive a taxi or clean fish tanks in Doctor's offices for a living. Perhaps there is something in human psychology where we are never satisfied, and tend to see the downside of everything?
Some people have complained about the treatment of Gene Roddenberry in this book.There is much detail here about Gene's various sexual proclivities and dalliances, which some people will find offensive. Again, the human vulnerability of seeking to worship heroes. We have a hard time reconciling the fact that the people we admire don't always live up to our ideals. Things go on behind closed doors. After all, there were no bathrooms on the Starship Enterprise!
Roddenberry was a fairly typical upper-middle class male living in California in the 1960's. It was a groovy time and place to be alive. People were experimenting with different lifestyles, drugs were thought to be safe, even healthy, and fidelity in marriage was old fashioned and constraining. This was long before AIDS. Mr Roddenberry never tried to hide what he was doing, from what I have read, as he was not ashamed of it. At least we have an explanation for the wooden character of Nurse Chapel, an affront to real nurses everywhere. Majel Barrett was Roddenberry's paramour for many years before she became his wife, and demanded a recurring role in the series. Majel knew what she was getting in Gene, but even Lucille Ball complained about the "casting couch" going on in her studio. Gene was probably a narcissist, a severe character disorder. It seems a person can be a narcissist and still have a good idea for a TV show- or play the Captain of a Starship, for that matter, although opinions about William Shatner seem to diverge.
Overall, an excellent read for the fan who wants to know "everything" about TOS.
Solow and Justman give an honest, nothing held back about who really did what, who really created what and how Trek became Trek without falling into the failings of so many other recent books that look to have sensational elements take the forefront rather than the facts and first hand details. Solow is the man who helped Roddenberry take his outline for Trek and turn it into a pilot and he is the man who talked the network into doing the second pilot that launched the series and Justman toiled in the day to day trenches of making the show and making it what it was.
Someone told me that people were displeased with how Roddenberry was presented in this book but the authors were honest and very straightforward about his many, many contributions but also the contributions of others for which many have mistakenly given Roddenberry credit for. Yes, they also touch on Roddenberry's personal life, infidelity and his desertion of the series in the third year. They do this in a non-sensational way and many people know they could have told many other things about him but obviously chose not to.
I cannot recommend this book enough to any Star Trek fan. As I say in the headline, this is the definitive book on TOS.
It is INSANE that this book is out of print. It's shameful that the publisher isn't making this book available but luckily there are plenty of folks selling used copies. Buy it.
Most recent customer reviews
Different point of view from other books out there- most are from the actors pov-this is more on the TV...Read more