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"Star Trek" Memories Paperback – November 15, 1993
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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I HIGHLY recommend "Inside Star Trek - The Real Story" by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, the original producers of the show. That was both funny and eye-opening.
There won't be much that is brand new information to serious Trekkers. In addition, it was written more than 20 years after the series ended. Memories fade, and events that do stick in memory are often exceptions and not the day to day routines.. One episode that Shatner remembers well is The Devil in the Dark, during which he received word of his father's unexpected death. He describes this as his favorite episode. No doubt, emotions were heightened.
Good read, despite some of its' flaws. It isn't in the depth that some fans would hope for, but again, I don't think such a book has been written or could be written now, even if all the actors were still alive. It has been way too long. So we have to be content for little glimpses of history and be thankful for the creative efforts of a group of dedicated people some 50 years ago that against all odds, survived into syndication.
Countless years ago, I also read THE MAKING OF STAR TREK, by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry. Though my memories of that reading are only of diagrams and salt shakers, I cannot imagine it being anywhere near as interesting as STAR TREK MEMORIES. Whitfield's book may have some technical details that Shatner omits, but Shatner does not neglect technicalities. He writes about scripting, camera work, lighting, special effects, props, models, budgeting, and probably some other things that I forget. Yet the book is mostly about people.
He mentions the lighting crew, the guy who wired the bridge, the guy who made the phasers, and the guy who designed the set. But the story is really about STAR TREK producers, directors, writers, and cast, and the more prominent the person is, the more attention Shatner gives him. He gives a brief biography of Gene Roddenberry, including the quasi myth about how Gene acquired an agent. And he says a good deal about other important STAR TREK men; for example, Robert Justman, Gene Coon, and Fred Freiberger. Though it is only fair that Shatner and Leonard Nimoy receive more attention than other cast members, all who played reasonably prominent roles are mentioned: Majel Barrett, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Grace Lee Whitney. For me, the most striking bit of information was about Whitney, who played the photogenic blond yeoman Janice Rand.
Like Nimoy and Nichols, Shatner is too free with superlatives such as "wonderful," "great," "certainly," "absolutely," and "extremely." Maybe that's because actors and actresses are emoters, not thinkers. But most readers do not want to be bothered with such literary finery. A more serious condemnation is the absence of an index, which would accommodate readers wishing to refer back to all this inside-Star-Trek information. Still, this book contains so many good things, I do not want to diminish it in the eyes of the many persons who I am sure would be interested in reading it. Therefore, five stars.
I was really leery about reading a book by Shatner because I have read so much about his having a major ego. Therefore, I was afraid that it was going to be "Me, me, me." I was very wrong. Shatner wrote a very entertaining and informative book about "Star Trek," its origins, and the people who not only acted in it, but many others who made the show run.
Being a major "Star Trek" fan, I already knew some of the things about which he wrote, but I learned a lot, too. For instance, I didn't know that they created the character of Checkov because "The Monkees" was so popular at the time, and they wanted a character who looked like one of them!
The book is a fun read, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about "Star Trek."