These Are the Voyages: TOS: Season One Info

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Reviews for These Are the Voyages: TOS: Season One:

4

Feb 25, 2017

Star Trek just turned fifty, and since Im a fan only a few years younger than it Ive soaked up enough of its history and trivia over my lifetime to qualify as a bridge officer on the USS Nerdlinger. Yet this book opened my eyes to all kinds of things about the show including debunking several myths Ive taken as Trek gospel.

It starts off as kind of your standard behind-the-scenes story of how a pilot turned cop turned TV writer/producer named Gene Roddenberry came up with the idea for a sci-fi Star Trek just turned fifty, and since I’m a fan only a few years younger than it I’ve soaked up enough of its history and trivia over my lifetime to qualify as a bridge officer on the USS Nerdlinger. Yet this book opened my eyes to all kinds of things about the show including debunking several myths I’ve taken as Trek gospel.

It starts off as kind of your standard behind-the-scenes story of how a pilot turned cop turned TV writer/producer named Gene Roddenberry came up with the idea for a sci-fi show, and then it describes the often painful process by which it eventually was brought to life by a dedicated cast and crew. That’s a fascinating story in itself, but by going through the production documents like script drafts, shooting schedules, and memos as well as drawing on personal recollections of those involved Marc Cushman also provides what becomes almost a daily diary of the initial creation and filming of each episode.

So we get a big picture view of things like how the television industry worked at the time so that the executives of Desilu Productions had good cause to think that shows like Star Trek and Mission Impossible might bankrupt the studio, and how Lucille Ball had to repeatedly step in to override her own board to keep them from being scrapped. We also drill down to the level of noting exactly who wrote each draft of a script and what changes were made as well as personal stories for all the guest stars and crew as well as the major figures like Roddenberry, Shatner, and Nimoy.

What emerges from all of the this is an intriguing picture of the controlled chaos that the production of the show frequently was. It also provides a lot of facts that contradict the general wisdom we usually hear about the original series. The story I always heard was that the show was low-rated at the time, cheaply done, and that the broadcast network NBC frowned on it’s progressive social messages and attitudes. In fact, the show had very respectable ratings in its first season against stiff competition from other networks, it was one of the most expensive made at the time, and NBC was actually encouraging things like diverse casting.

So why does nerd lore tell us something else? It was probably a variety of misconceptions and myths that grew up for a variety of reasons. Networks didn’t release ratings back in those days, and in fact might not want the producers of a show to know exactly how popular it was to prevent them from asking for more money. The show often looked cheap and slapped together because the technical demands had them constantly over budget and behind schedule. As for why NBC was often painted as a villain you could probably say that's due to Gene Roddenberry's habit of blaming NBC when he had to make an unpopular decision.

In fact, while Roddenberry certainly deserves a huge share of the credit for creating the show his behavior frequently caused issues that probably hurt it and helped lead to its cancellation after three seasons. His style of dealing with freelance writers and insisting on unpaid revisions which he would then rewrite himself rubbed many the wrong way, and he routinely pissed off NBC. Roddenberry would then spin these disagreements as examples of the network pushing back against his social messages when the reasons might be directly due to his more selfish motives. For example, Majel Barrett was cast as the first officer in the original pilot, and the story I’d always heard was that the network didn’t think a woman should have such an important role and made Roddenberry change it in the second version. In reality NBC balked at Majel Barrett because she was Roddenberry’s mistress at the time so it seemed like bad business, and it’s hard to fault them for thinking that.

At the same time we learn how the show was hiring people like Gene Coon, a veteran writer/producer who stepped in at a critical time and showed an amazingly quick ability to to write his own scripts and revise the problematic work of others. Dorothy Fontana was an aspiring screenwriter who initially took secretarial jobs to get her foot in the door of the industry which she first used to sell scripts to TV westerns as D.C. Fontana. Eventually she became Gene Roddenberry’s secretary, then a freelance writer for him, and finally took on the position of story editor which made her one of the most important Trek creators.

The only problem is that sitting down and reading about all these episodes in a row gets a little repetitive. The production of the show fell into a rhythm that the book captures, and that starts to feel monotonous after a while although there’s always plenty of amusing anecdotes like how they got an actor to be in the rubber suit of the lizard-like Gorn creature by calling the guy in at the last minute without telling him what he’d be playing.

So as a straight up reading experience it can get a little tedious after a while although I think any TOS fan would like the initial stories about the show’s creation and find it a great reference when revisiting individual episodes. ...more
5

Nov 03, 2013

After nearly fifty years, I thought there wasn't anything more to be said, or any more books that could possibly be mined, from the original Star Trek. Hasn't that show been talked about, and examined to death, down to every last detail?

You'd think so. But then along came These Are The Voyages: Season One by Marc Cushman and it may be the best book yet about the production of the series and one of the best books ever written about any TV show. It's a shame the book is presented as yet another After nearly fifty years, I thought there wasn't anything more to be said, or any more books that could possibly be mined, from the original Star Trek. Hasn't that show been talked about, and examined to death, down to every last detail?

You'd think so. But then along came These Are The Voyages: Season One by Marc Cushman and it may be the best book yet about the production of the series and one of the best books ever written about any TV show. It's a shame the book is presented as yet another fan-written curio for the diehard trekker...because it's a must-read for students of television, and aspiring TV writers, regardless of whether they watched, or liked, Star Trek.

These Are The Voyages is an exhaustively detailed look at the writing and nuts-and-bolts production of every single episode, from the first, failed pilot onward. Everything in the book, like a TV series, starts with the scripts...and Cushman walks us through every draft and every change, whether they were prompted by creative issues, budgetary concerns, production issues, or network notes.

The author relies on extensive interviews with the show's surviving writers, producers, directors, and actors (and archival interviews with those who have passed away) and never-before-released memos, budgets, shooting schedules, and other internal documents. Best of all, Cushman manages to remain, with only a few slips, remarkably objective and scholarly about his subject, leaving the book refreshingly free of the kind of cringe-inducing, fannish drool that usually typifies books about "cult" shows and Star Trek in particular.

These Are the Voyages is a treasure trove of information and a fascinating look at how a TV show is written and produced...and all of the forces that shape it. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next two volumes ...more
3

Aug 26, 2013

This is certainly a monumental piece of research, the first truly comprehensive history of the original Star Trek since Whitfield's The Making Of Star Trek almost half a century ago, written at a time when those involved had to watch what they say because they were all still working together. Between then and now we've had dozens of memoirs by pretty much everyone involved, from Shatner and Roddenberry down to the second assistant grip (okay, that may be an exaggeration). But these accounts are This is certainly a monumental piece of research, the first truly comprehensive history of the original Star Trek since Whitfield's The Making Of Star Trek almost half a century ago, written at a time when those involved had to watch what they say because they were all still working together. Between then and now we've had dozens of memoirs by pretty much everyone involved, from Shatner and Roddenberry down to the second assistant grip (okay, that may be an exaggeration). But these accounts are often contradictory and rely upon decades old memories which have been recast through constant retellings at conventions. (view spoiler)[Case in point is Nichelle Nichols' famous story about Martin Luther King telling her to keep on the show. Nowadays she tells it as a personal meeting with Dr. King in which he told her she had to keep at it so she could be a symbol for the Civil Rights movement. But talk to fans who attended conventions in the '70s and they'll say her original version was much less grandiose, involving her merely wondering to herself what Dr. King would advise her to do when she was contemplating quitting the series. (hide spoiler)] Cushman goes back to the source, dredging up memos from both the original production, NBC and even the original Nielsen ratings. The result is an excessively detailed, episode-by-episode account of the first season.

Each episode gets at least a dozen pages, starting with the initial story treatment and going all the way through post-production and initial airing. Along the way we get exerts from memos by various members of the production staff and their network liaison, Stan Robertson. And despite decades of stories about Robertson being a thorn in the side of production, it's clear here that he was a (somewhat frustrated) supporter of the series who often provided sound criticism of scripts and treatments, pointing out when the series was getting too repetitive (What, another episode involving an evil twin/shapeshifter? That's four in one season!) and urging the writers to take the action off the ship more often. The person who did the most to reshape stories turns out instead to be Robert Justman, the production's bean-counter whose reaction to everything was, "Too expensive." Gene Roddenberry also, it turns out, liked to dip his toe into the writing process much more than is normally reported. In fact, his rewriting of scripts by big name sci-fi authors like Bloch and Matheson left his first executive producer, John D.F. Black to leave the show.

Not that the rewriting wasn't necessary. Reading through the chapter about "City on the Edge of Forever," one can't help but realize that whatever the merits of Ellison's original script, it was not right for Star Trek. Ellison's story begins with a drug deal gone bad leading one Enterprise crewman to murder another. After a trial, Kirk takes him down to an alien planet for execution by firing squad. I'm sorry, but that isn't Star Trek. Ellison makes fun of Roddenberry's utopian idealism, but while there's certainly room for criticism there, it is that idealism that makes Trek memorable while Ellison is mainly remembered as that asshole who groped Connie Willis at a convention. (view spoiler)[Reading Ellison going on about how awesome he is makes the CotEoF chapter a real chore to get through, unfortunately. (hide spoiler)]

But as impressive as the book is, it's not without flaws. Published by a small press, there are more than a few spelling errors that should not've made it through to the printed book. Worse still, anytime Cushman discusses a subject that's not Star Trek -- and specifically not the original series -- he gets his facts wrong, from claiming that Bill Gates invented the PC, to saying that TNG explained why their Klingons look different by saying the Klingon Empire contains multiple species.

Overall this is a must-have for any Trek fan, but it could've been much better with a competent editor. ...more
5

Aug 20, 2013

Meticulously researched and lovingly presented, the amount of work put into this book is apparent on nearly every page. To a serious fan of Star Trek, These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One will serve not only as an interesting reference, but as a time capsule of sorts. This is the sort of supplementary material that will not simply sit on one's shelf for years; rather, many people will find themselves consulting it often to learn more about their favorite (or not-so-favorite) episodes. This Meticulously researched and lovingly presented, the amount of work put into this book is apparent on nearly every page. To a serious fan of Star Trek, These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One will serve not only as an interesting reference, but as a time capsule of sorts. This is the sort of supplementary material that will not simply sit on one's shelf for years; rather, many people will find themselves consulting it often to learn more about their favorite (or not-so-favorite) episodes. This appears to be the definitive account of the first season of Star Trek, and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on volumes two and three.

Full review: http://treklit.blogspot.com/2013/08/t... ...more
5

Dec 25, 2013

Words fail me ... but I'll do my humble best. What you have here is the undeniable masterful result of years of interviews and research, along with unfettered access to the memos of the producers, writers and creators of STAR TREK during the three years of production. And it is an addictive read that will make you instantly want to re-watch Trek's first season.

Yes, that's right. This is only Volume One of Three. Over 2,000 pages or more will be on display at the close of the project (where upon Words fail me ... but I'll do my humble best. What you have here is the undeniable masterful result of years of interviews and research, along with unfettered access to the memos of the producers, writers and creators of STAR TREK during the three years of production. And it is an addictive read that will make you instantly want to re-watch Trek's first season.

Yes, that's right. This is only Volume One of Three. Over 2,000 pages or more will be on display at the close of the project (where upon Seasons Two and Three are examined).

As a young adult, I treasured books such as THE MAKING OF STAR TREK and THE WORLD OF STAR TREK, but I have to say ... this one has both of them beat.

And Robert "Bob" Justman, one of Trek's producers, should have a collection of nothing but his smart-ass memos collected. He's laugh out loud funny as he offers up suggestions, critiques, and worries regarding production costs of each and every Trek episode. I enjoyed his voice tremendously!

NOTE: Be sure to pick up the SECOND PRINTING which is expanded by at least 100 more pages, and corrects various typos and errors that slipped through in the first edition. ...more
5

Oct 08, 2013

4.5 Stars. Disclaimer: I am a personal friend of the authors of this book, and have met several of Star Trek principals, like D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold. So of course, I'd like to see the book do well, because they are all nice people and deserve it. HOWEVER, despite being imperfect (like Gene Roddenbery and the show itself), this book stands on its own merits. It's a must-have for Trekkies, and an excellent add to a non-fiction library for those who are NOT rabid Trekkies *raising own hand* 4.5 Stars. Disclaimer: I am a personal friend of the authors of this book, and have met several of Star Trek principals, like D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold. So of course, I'd like to see the book do well, because they are all nice people and deserve it. HOWEVER, despite being imperfect (like Gene Roddenbery and the show itself), this book stands on its own merits. It's a must-have for Trekkies, and an excellent add to a non-fiction library for those who are NOT rabid Trekkies *raising own hand* but can appreciate the tremendous cultural and scientific impact Star Trek has had on American culture, and on technological development of everything from computers to cellphones.



Where it excels

The exhaustive level of research and detail is tremendous. From the music to the costuming to the lighting to the casting to the special effects, and especially, the role of the studios and network, I came from this book with a much clearer idea of all the countless steps that had to be taken to produce this program. Few, if any, details of the cast, crew, writers, or production staff are left unexamined.

Many secrets of the show are revealed, for example, that the Enterprise bridge was built in twelve sections that could be pulled apart to facilitate filming from different angles.

There's detailed tracking of the scripts, and script analysis on whether the various rewrites improved or damaged the script. No writer enjoys being rewritten, especially the science fiction masters who contributed many of the first scripts. In a novel or short story, it doesn't cost any extra money to blow up a planet or fire twenty phaser bursts, or have crowds of people milling about. In a movie or TV show, those special effects and extras cost actual money. Reality is, if you continually make a product that costs more to make than you can sell it for, whether that's a p0rn flick, an automobile, or a television episode, you can only make so many before there ain't funds to make any more. So yes, wonderful stories were modified: to make them economically feasible to film, to bring the dialogue and actions in line with established characterizations, to create cliffhangers before each commercial break, and so on. And sometimes (in the author's opinion, you'll probably have your own) scripts were disimproved, rather than improved.

There's also an interesting look into the directors of these episodes, who was asked to return, and why (or why not). There's insight into what the actors brought to their roles. The focus is on William Shatner (Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock), of course, but also looks at Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand), DeForest Kelley (McCoy), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), James Doohan (Scottie), George Takei (Sulu), and even the "bit" players who had recurring roles. There's quite a bit of background on each of the guest stars, even those in secondary roles.



Pluses and Minuses:

Photos: While the text would stand alone without any photos at all, there are many, some quite rare, all presented in black and white. Some of them are marvelous, and add a wonderful dimension to the reading experience. Others appear so small or are so busy they become more an annoyance than a bonus, at least when viewed via my old-school (third gen) Kindle, especially the Nielsen ratings charts. Possibly the photos appear better defined in the hardcover and paperback versions. However, using my Kindle Fire HDX, and setting my Accessibility options to allow Screen Magnification, I was able to blow them up beautifully (just double-tap on the picture). You could probably do something similar using the Kindle Reader on a laptop or iPad. So, consider how you will be reading this book before deciding which version to buy if seeing detail on the photos is important to you.

The cultural callbacks. There's a section for each episode on what was going on in American culture: what songs were on the charts, what was going on in Vietnam, with the drug culture, with politics, etc. These are fascinating and add depth and color to the narrative, BUT, they are misplaced, IMO. They are targeted to what was happening at the time each episode was filmed. To use a birth/baby analogy, what would be more interesting would be either: 1) what was happening pop culture at the time the episode was written & edited (the effect of the culture on the baby), or, 2) what was going on in pop culture at the time the episode aired (the baby was born), which would reflect the mutual effect of the episode (baby) and the broader pop culture on each other. What was going on in the world during filming on those 12-hour days probably had LESS effect on the actors, directors, and crew than at any other time, so those nuggets, interesting as they are, felt like they were hanging out there in space.



Where it falls short:

There are "unnecessary quotation marks" here and there, and sometimes typos. The end note markers are BIZARRE, both in size and in numbering system (17; 101a; 160-1, RJ5-7) compared to other non-fiction books I have read, and I've read quite a few. And they aren't actually tied to specific sources in the extensive bibliography.

The beginning and other sections on Nielsen ratings rambled on and on. I get it - Nielsen ratings = advertising dollars = dollars necessary to continue making a show. So bad or mediocre ratings can (and have) cancel some excellent shows that simply hadn't caught on yet. The point - that contrary to popular legend, Star Trek did well in the ratings - is made, belabored, and beaten like a dead horse.

There's too much detail included even on people who didn't actually end up working on Star Trek, like the acting careers of women who auditioned (and didn't get) a part in Mudd's Women.



What I did that was especially fun

At the risk of sounding like a Kindle HDX commercial, I would read a chapter about an episode, then use it to stream the episode. This gave much more depth to watching the show, which in turn gave more richness in reading the next chapter. I would notice the lighting effects that had been written about, or look for the occasional continuity oopsies. It made my personal Trek slower but much more satisfying.



There are thousands of mini-stories within the stories of each episode; which writer's nose got bent out of shape and why, the effect of the casting couch, internal staff memos, fan letters, TV Guide features, guest stars interviews, and much more. So for any serious Trekkie, or even someone interested in what is television and fandom history, this book and the two scheduled to follow it, are a treasure trove of Trek trivia. ...more
5

Sep 30, 2016

Marc Cushman has written the book I wish I had written. He was granted access to the master files, so he could read the drafts, the memos. notes, and correspondence so you have a true sense of how Star Trek went from 1964 premise to 29 first season episodes.

Carefully, he explains who is who from directors like Marc Daniels and Joseph Pevney, to Steve Carbatsos, and even the production, music, and editing teams. You gain a true sense of how many people worked tirelessly to get the show on the air Marc Cushman has written the book I wish I had written. He was granted access to the master files, so he could read the drafts, the memos. notes, and correspondence so you have a true sense of how Star Trek went from 1964 premise to 29 first season episodes.

Carefully, he explains who is who from directors like Marc Daniels and Joseph Pevney, to Steve Carbatsos, and even the production, music, and editing teams. You gain a true sense of how many people worked tirelessly to get the show on the air week after week.

For anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes making of the series, and how television itself was produced in the 1960s, this is a treasure trove of insights and information. ...more
4

May 05, 2015

Nietzsche has said that the gravest insult you can give anyone is to picture their ideal. This is the Robert Caro approach to Star Trek. It is obsessive and took twenty years and is full of insane and beautiful detail. Have you ever been really, really interested in why Steve Carabatsos did not "fit in" with the Star Trek writing staff? Have you ever wondered about the exact layout of Desilu Stage 9 and 10? I am not feeling too great right now and this book is essentially like concentrating a Nietzsche has said that the gravest insult you can give anyone is to picture their ideal. This is the Robert Caro approach to Star Trek. It is obsessive and took twenty years and is full of insane and beautiful detail. Have you ever been really, really interested in why Steve Carabatsos did not "fit in" with the Star Trek writing staff? Have you ever wondered about the exact layout of Desilu Stage 9 and 10? I am not feeling too great right now and this book is essentially like concentrating a season of Star Trek into pill format and swallowing it. Highly recommended to the sorrowful. I intend to read all of them. ...more
4

Sep 02, 2013

To borrow a familiar word: Fascinating. An _incredibly_ in-depth and copiously researched look into the creation and production of the original series. The sole problem is that it seems it could have used another editing pass or two, with numerous spelling or formatting errors, and occasional odd errors when venturing beyond the boundaries of the original series (the differing looks of Klingons over the years was not explained during _The Next Generation_, nor was it due to there being To borrow a familiar word: Fascinating. An _incredibly_ in-depth and copiously researched look into the creation and production of the original series. The sole problem is that it seems it could have used another editing pass or two, with numerous spelling or formatting errors, and occasional odd errors when venturing beyond the boundaries of the original series (the differing looks of Klingons over the years was not explained during _The Next Generation_, nor was it due to there being "different species" of Klingons). Still, even with that minor gripe, the amount of detail contained in this textbook-like tome, much of it sourced from original production documents given to the author by Gene Roddenberry himself in the 1980s, is wonderful for the die-hard fan. Looking forward to the coming volumes two and three, covering seasons two and three, respectively. ...more
5

Mar 16, 2015

I began this book, the first of a trilogy, which follows the production of Star Trek The Original Series from its germination though its final production about a month ago. The anthology is organized by episode in the order they were produced, which varies from the order in which they were aired. As I read each entry, I watched each episode, courtesy of Netflix. Watching the episodes, especially the first season in the order whey were produced is an eye opener as you can watch each actor begin I began this book, the first of a trilogy, which follows the production of Star Trek The Original Series from its germination though its final production about a month ago. The anthology is organized by episode in the order they were produced, which varies from the order in which they were aired. As I read each entry, I watched each episode, courtesy of Netflix. Watching the episodes, especially the first season in the order whey were produced is an eye opener as you can watch each actor begin to make their character their own, watch the Star Trek world evolve, and gain a deeper appreciation for the efforts of the behind the scenes folks (writers, producers, cinematographer, etc)to make this one of the most ground breaking shows of its era. If you are a Star Trek: TOS fan you need to own this trilogy!

Started Book II (Season II) immediately! ...more
5

Nov 06, 2013

I'm one of those old Original Series fans. Sure I like Next Gen, etc.... but they never held a candle to the Original Series.

I've been reading "Making of Star Trek" books since I was about 10 years old. So in 30 years of reading this very tight sub-genre, this is hands down the best of the bunch. It's amazing well researched and doesn't have an agenda to promote (as many of the actor written books do). By far the most amazing thing it does is shatter the myth that Star Trek was failing in the I'm one of those old Original Series fans. Sure I like Next Gen, etc.... but they never held a candle to the Original Series.

I've been reading "Making of Star Trek" books since I was about 10 years old. So in 30 years of reading this very tight sub-genre, this is hands down the best of the bunch. It's amazing well researched and doesn't have an agenda to promote (as many of the actor written books do). By far the most amazing thing it does is shatter the myth that Star Trek was failing in the ratings war (in reality it was NBC's highest rated Thursday night show).

Amazing read. ...more
5

Sep 04, 2019

Originally published online at BORG.com.

Literally hundreds of books and journal articles have been written on the three seasons of Gene Roddenberrys Star Trek. What more can be said about the making of this series? After all, there is a well-maintained website chronicling seemingly all you would want to know about the original series called Memory Alpha. Plus, nearly every major player involved with the creation of Star Trek has written a book on it, from Herb Solow and Robert Justmans Inside Originally published online at BORG.com.

Literally hundreds of books and journal articles have been written on the three seasons of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. What more can be said about the making of this series? After all, there is a well-maintained website chronicling seemingly all you would want to know about “the original series” called Memory Alpha. Plus, nearly every major player involved with the creation of Star Trek has written a book on it, from Herb Solow and Robert Justman’s Inside Star Trek to William Shatner’s Star Trek Memories, Gross and Altman’s Captains’ Logs, to Stephen Whitfield’s The Making of Star Trek, Allan Asherman’s The Star Trek Compendium to the more recent entry Block and Erdmann’s Star Trek: The Original Series 365. But what writer/researcher Marc Cushman’s new These Are the Voyages – TOS: Season One does is pull information from all these sources plus resources like Starlog, Daily Variety, and TV Guide articles as well as delve into an archive of production work papers from the UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections never before tapped for such an exhaustive work on the series. These Are the Voyages is a treatise on Trek, a comprehensive history of a crowning achievement in science fiction, but also a history of television itself in the 1960s.

These are the Voyages delves into each episode in a level of detail that has not been reached before. For each episode the author gives a brief picture of where the U.S. stood via pop songs on the radio and national events. Cushman then introduces a plot summary and nicely extracts the critical theme of each episode—separating Star Trek from frivolous weekly episodes of competing series with each episode’s focus on some weighty issue for mankind. Pulling margin notes, memos, and script drafts together with interviews, both old and new, Cushman recreates the making of each episode from a production standpoint and–even more illuminating—he recreates the development of each story into the final script. Who was responsible for the romance between Edith Keener and Captain Kirk in City on the Edge of Forever? (Not Harlan Ellison). When did Gene Roddenberry’s rewrites contribute to or take away from the story writers’ original vision? What would NBC let the production get away with (like William Ware Theiss’s many actress costumes) and what did they censor (such as how brutally red-shirts could be offed)? Why did Romulans wear helmets in Balance of Terror? How much of those famous introductory words to each episode were actually penned by Gene Roddenberry, and how many takes did William Shatner need to get it right?

Cushman also records here for the first time in context the puzzling Nielsen’s ratings that supposedly ultimately prompted NBC to drop Star Trek altogether. Here we see another story emerge: Did NBC simply disregard Star Trek’s significant margin share, hidden from the public back in the late 1960s? Could they just not get past the idea that a genre TV series could survive?
We also get to see something we never get to see—the actual salaries and per-episode pay given to each major Star Trek actor. We get to see the time and sweat poured into getting each story as perfect as the deadlines would allow, the aggravation and toll on cast and crew of long days and work schedules. Where past works on Star Trek give a single perspective on decisions, These Are the Voyages presents many views of the most controversial and lets the reader decide. Why was Grace Lee Whitney really cut from Season One so quickly? Why were the episodes created in one order, only to be presented differently, with many episodes not re-broadcast in syndication for several years? Which episodes were the most costly? How did the producers swing building a prop shuttlecraft Galileo for no out-of-pocket cash?

These Are the Voyages intersperses in its narrative a treasure trove of black and white behind-the-scenes images, most never before published. Here you’ll find clapperboards galore, views of sets all the way to their off-camera boundaries, on-location images, producers and other creators with series stars, guest stars in their many futuristic costumes preparing for filming, and much more cut footage.

Professors of the history of technology or the history of television will find here material that will amplify their teaching and studies of this period, all anchored by the weight and influence of none other than Lucille Ball and Desilu Studios. Everyone’s favorite classic comedienne was even onsite late hours pressuring the production to meet its schedule. Readers will also encounter hundreds of other television shows in this first volume as Star Trek relied in great part on the creative talents behind so many classic series, but also movie creators, too. What key role did the cinematographer of Gone With the Wind play in establishing the lasting look of the universe of Star Trek? What actors would appear in the original series and come back in later Star Trek series?

Challenges for the next two volumes covering Season Two and Season Three are many. So much content in Season One revolves around the trials of getting the production off the ground. What similar challenges will we find facing the production in Season Two? With a Season Three that is full of episodes hardly as compelling as those of the first two seasons, how will Cushman hold our interest through the end of the series? As much as you can pack into such an immense work, fans will always want more. William Ware Theiss and Wah Chang created costumes and props for the series, and Cushman includes a few comments by these creators, including that fact that Theiss felt forthright enough to comment on the substance of scripts to Roddenberry himself, but readers will want even more from these creators in future volumes–if more is available (we’re a greedy bunch).

Co-written by Susan Osborn, Volume One clocks in at a hefty 580 pages, with a foreword by John D.F. Black and Mary Black. If book one is any indication, Star Trek fans will have another thousand pages of densely packed content to sift through in the coming months as later volumes are released. A three-book boxed set will be a must.

If you already have a shelf full of the 40 years of non-fiction books written about Star Trek, you may not think you need another book on the original series. However, if you don’t, and even for those who think they know everything about Star Trek, you will find These are the Voyages TOS: Season One an exhaustive, indispensible resource and a most compelling and interesting read. ...more
4

Nov 07, 2018

This was a fantastic read. I learned so much about the creation of Trek and the first year production. Lots of stuff I didn't know previously.

For years Ive been well aware of the hundreds of making of reference books on Doctor Who, but I was totally gobsmacked to find out that there were these sorts of books covering the original 1966-69 Star Trek series too.

I discovered this book one day in November 2017 while perusing Amazon.ca for some new reading material. Taking a look at the books This was a fantastic read. I learned so much about the creation of Trek and the first year production. Lots of stuff I didn't know previously.

For years I’ve been well aware of the hundreds of “making of” reference books on Doctor Who, but I was totally gobsmacked to find out that there were these sorts of books covering the original 1966-69 Star Trek series too.

I discovered this book one day in November 2017 while perusing Amazon.ca for some new reading material. Taking a look at the book’s overall concept and what it covered, I was fascinated—this was definitely something I’d like to read.

the authors are to be commended for writing such an engaging and informative book, I do have to mention that sadly such a wonderful book as this is let down by poor layout and binding. The book contains several typographical mistakes; the text on the page is off centered, with numerous instances of text on the left margins coming perilously close to being cut off. Much of the layout is also off centered and printed at a diagonal, while the overall page layout comes across as a badly made experiment in self-publishing. I was disappointed by the publisher’s lack of attention to these details, and it’s really too bad a book of such high calibre has been let down by sloppy and blatantly amateurish execution.

Despite these complaints, this is definitely a book for the seasoned, and even the newbie, Star Trek fan.

(Read the full review in the first issue of Chromakey) ...more
4

May 05, 2018

Every year I try to read one hefty tome about some aspect of pop culture history, and this was it for this year. It was indeed hefty, as it went through both the conception of Star Trek and the writing, filming, and reaction to every episode from season one. It also had a lot of interesting tidbits about the television industry of the early to mid 1960's, when every show on TV was a western and there were shows called things like "The Alcoa Hour" because the three networks and sponsors Every year I try to read one hefty tome about some aspect of pop culture history, and this was it for this year. It was indeed hefty, as it went through both the conception of Star Trek and the writing, filming, and reaction to every episode from season one. It also had a lot of interesting tidbits about the television industry of the early to mid 1960's, when every show on TV was a western and there were shows called things like "The Alcoa Hour" because the three networks and sponsors controlled everything. It's interesting to look back and see how episodes whose effects look laughably terrible now were budget-busting for their time, and how it was the sheer expense of filming the show at a high quality that would end up being its downfall rather than the low ratings that seem to be the generally-accepted story. ...more
3

Mar 01, 2017

This book was somewhat disappointing. It started off okay, with some interesting production and scriptwriting details but it too quickly devolved into this repetitive pattern for every episode with attempts to justify different script decisions that frankly didn't really hold up to my scrutiny as a reader or as a fan of the TV show. There is too much focus on the backgrounds of the minor actors, particularly people who came on for very limited exposure. By this, I mean they were given detailed This book was somewhat disappointing. It started off okay, with some interesting production and scriptwriting details but it too quickly devolved into this repetitive pattern for every episode with attempts to justify different script decisions that frankly didn't really hold up to my scrutiny as a reader or as a fan of the TV show. There is too much focus on the backgrounds of the minor actors, particularly people who came on for very limited exposure. By this, I mean they were given detailed backgrounds and talked about at length without really giving me any information on why they were chosen or how they were affected. In some cases, that information was presented but overall it felt like filler. I've ended up deciding not to continue reading the other books after this. ...more
4

Sep 24, 2018

As a kid I devoured as many books about my favorite show that I could. The Making of Star Trek, The World of Star Trek, The Trouble with Tribbles. I had a Star Trek Compendium. I had a Starfleet Technical Manual. I had the blueprints. I was, to say the least, a fan. I was never a "Trekker", I was and always will be a "Trekkie".
Cushman's book is a worthy companion to those aforementioned. Detailing the process of every episode it goes into less about the nuts and bolts than Whitfield's book did As a kid I devoured as many books about my favorite show that I could. The Making of Star Trek, The World of Star Trek, The Trouble with Tribbles. I had a Star Trek Compendium. I had a Starfleet Technical Manual. I had the blueprints. I was, to say the least, a fan. I was never a "Trekker", I was and always will be a "Trekkie".
Cushman's book is a worthy companion to those aforementioned. Detailing the process of every episode it goes into less about the nuts and bolts than Whitfield's book did but it manages to goose nuggets about the entire show from stem to stern.
If you are a Star Trek fan, this is something you should dive into.
I look forward to the next volume. ...more
4

Apr 24, 2018

Lots of interesting well researched information

Good read with lots of information on the nitty-gritty of the making of each episode. Did not appreciate the author's constant commentary on which episodes were good and what was bad -- did not agree with many of his assessments. Also I would just skip the paragraphs of what was popular the day a particular episode started filming, it felt like not needed filler. Still, really good if you care about Star Trek and/or old TV production
3

May 14, 2018

This book straddles the area between a true work of academic research and an exhaustive dump of fan fuel. I loved the behind-the-scenes stories and extensive detail. But damn this thing is long. I don't know what I would have chosen to leave out or cut back on. But I'll have to recharge my batteries before undertaking the Season 2 volume.
3

Mar 25, 2019

I didnt read every word and absorb every instance of crew overtime, but there are some fascinating anecdotes and a lot of great quotes - contemporaneous and looking back later - from the people involved. I didn’t read every word and absorb every instance of crew overtime, but there are some fascinating anecdotes and a lot of great quotes - contemporaneous and looking back later - from the people involved. ...more
5

Jan 23, 2019

I really enjoyed this look at the making of Star Trek season one and I look forward to the next two volumes. It is very detailed and interesting. I enjoyed reading about how the show was made. It goes into details about the writing filming, adding effects and music. I can't recommend it enough.
4

Jan 02, 2015

I read "The Making of Star Trek" back when I was in middle school and really liked it. As this book makes clear in the introduction, it distinguishes itself from that work as it is a much more detailed episode-by-episode account of the making of the series and the relationships of the various particulars with one another. A lot of emphasis is put on the scripts and the evolution of each particular story. The author had access to original script drafts for each episode and does an excellent job I read "The Making of Star Trek" back when I was in middle school and really liked it. As this book makes clear in the introduction, it distinguishes itself from that work as it is a much more detailed episode-by-episode account of the making of the series and the relationships of the various particulars with one another. A lot of emphasis is put on the scripts and the evolution of each particular story. The author had access to original script drafts for each episode and does an excellent job of tracing the evolution of each story and recounting the trials and tribulations of filming and post-production.

Given the focus on the episodes as whole entities, the main characters are less Shatner and Nimoy (though they clearly figure prominently) than Roddenberry, Robert Justman, J.D. and Mary Black (given co-author credit on the book), D.C. Fontana, and Gene Coon, together with the various writers for each episode. There aren't many repeat writers outside of the show staff members, and the reason seems to be that in general it was tough to come up with interesting science fiction premises that could be filmed within the show's budget and time constraints. The conflict with the show's producers and some of the authors turns into open warfare at times, especially and infamously with Harlan Ellison for the last episode of the season.

Items that have puzzled me for over 40 years are definitely clarified by the book. For example, I now realize why I have never completely understood the plot of “The Alternative Factor”. The answer seems to be that the script never came together and was being continuously re-written even during filiming, and that the actor who plays Lazarus was handed the part at the very last minute.

The book has an "ultimate Trek trivia book" feel to it. The author is meticulous about letting you know when minor characters such as Mr. Kyle or Mr. Leslie first appear and how many more times they appear on screen. He lets you know what other shows each episode’s guest stars have to their credit, and in the vast majority of cases he includes a statement from them about how they felt about their appearance on the show. Many of these are not much more than the predictable formula, "I am pleased and surprised that people remember this part fondly" in the actor's own words. However, there are some insights into how the actors approached different roles and what they found challenging.

The author provides his own mini-review of each story, with which you either agree with or don't. For me, the biggest point of disagreement was when he waxed eloquently about the episode “Shore Leave.” Last time I tried to watch it I couldn’t get past the white rabbit in the teaser. But in general, his assessments seem fair and realistic, pointing out where episodes were good in the day and haven’t stood up in subsequent years.

The only real flaw I can point to in the book is in its meticulous context-setting. The author's formula for the story of an episode includes a paragraph about the top albums, singles, and TV shows of the particular week that the episode started production. After about 2 or 3 of these I found them boring and repetitive: I'm (marginally) too young to remember the 60s and most of the references didn't mean that much to me. I don't think it's important to know that Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had the #2 selling album in America the week that they filmed "This Side of Paradise.”

Finally, you should be aware that the book ends on a cliff-hanger. The author sets up the conflict between NBC and the show for the second season, but doesn’t discuss any of the resolution. However, if you make it to the end of the book you’ll likely be hooked for the next one anyway: I know I was! All in all a good read and an excellent reason to revisit a series that I know so well it feels like an old friend. ...more
5

Sep 05, 2014

Astonishingly good, and absolutely by itself justified our $9.99 a month Kindle Unlimited payment!

Cushman was given access to internal memos and other materials of the production of Star Trek (The Original Series), as well as being granted interviews...but then, was clearly able to write without being directed as to what to say.

This gives great insight into how any TV series might come together. There is a mythology that creativity is a solo endeavor, but this book shows how the memos from Star Astonishingly good, and absolutely by itself justified our $9.99 a month Kindle Unlimited payment!

Cushman was given access to internal memos and other materials of the production of Star Trek (The Original Series), as well as being granted interviews...but then, was clearly able to write without being directed as to what to say.

This gives great insight into how any TV series might come together. There is a mythology that creativity is a solo endeavor, but this book shows how the memos from Star Trek employees greatly improved stories presented by the freelance writers.

In many cases, those memos came from Gene Roddenberry, and they were commonly creative suggestions. Many of the things I liked best about episodes came from those suggestions.

Others came from perhaps the best writer on Star Trek: producer Bob Justman. :) Justman's memos, typically driven by expense considerations, are sometimes hilarious. For example:

"On page 10, the Earthmen reel back as the behemoth bulk of a giant wooly mammoth bursts out of the foliage within the time vortex device. At the same time, Bob Justman reels back in agony, as he does not believe there is any color stock film available on mastodons bursting out of foliage. Or even giant wooly mammoths..."

I would read a book just of Justman's memos, but we get a good, well-rounded picture here. During production, we may literally get a day by day account. If a cast member had a cold, we know it.

Cushman also does a good job of setting the stage for us, telling us what was top at the box office and on the radio when they are producing the episode.

We also see the actual Nielsen ratings...putting to rest the idea that Star Trek was poorly rated and "misunderstood by the masses", as some geeks (and I'm a proud geek) like to think. The network had a lot more issues with Gene Roddenberry than with the show.

Generally, the book is well produced. I found very few proofreading errors. I think the only stand out was referring to "Snoopy vs. the Red Barron" instead of "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron". Behind the scenes photographs were also a significant enhancement.

If you know the episodes inside out, I highly recommend this book. It would also make a great gift for someone who does. If you don't...you may want to watch them first, since this will all have a lot more relevance (and fewer spoilers) if you have. ...more
5

May 30, 2015

If you read only one book about the creation and production of Star Trek, read this book.

Its claim to fame, or at least how it first got my attention, was that it dispels the decades-old folklore that the show suffered from bad ratings from the start. Cushman went to painstaking effort to uncover and examine Nielsen ratings which destroy that myth.

But Cushman blows away other myths, and does so much more. As a lifelong fan of the series, I've read many behind the scenes books about the show, and If you read only one book about the creation and production of Star Trek, read this book.

Its claim to fame, or at least how it first got my attention, was that it dispels the decades-old folklore that the show suffered from bad ratings from the start. Cushman went to painstaking effort to uncover and examine Nielsen ratings which destroy that myth.

But Cushman blows away other myths, and does so much more. As a lifelong fan of the series, I've read many behind the scenes books about the show, and most trot out and rehash a variety of myths, largely perpetrated by show creator Gene Roddenberry, who comes across as a kind of Orson Welles of television, a man touched by vision, but plagued by ego and failure. Trekkies have long perpetuated Roddenberry's mythos about himself, producing this strange gospel complete with attendant angels and demons, mostly the latter.

As a result of Cushman's intensive research of unpublished records, numerous interviews with the primary players, and expert synthesis and analysis of previously published memoirs, a much more nuanced and interesting narrative emerges. The show was not the creation of one man, and that the studio and network were not the villains Roddenberry would make them out to be in later years. Trekkies like to slam certain players as villains and others, mostly "the great bird of the galaxy," as heroes, but the truth is they were all human beings with great creative talent and the ability to make mistakes, cut corners, or succumb to greed or hubris.

There's a lot of stuff here that I've never heard, and I've read a number of behind the scenes books about the show. I won't spoil them, but just say that it is interesting to see how much the actors, and random participants, had a hand in creating what are now considered the essentials of the show and its (God help me) canon, and how much was from accident or convenience, and indeed, the creators were well aware of when they had a stinker of an episode on their hands.

I haven't read the succeeding volumes on Seasons Two and Three yet, but I am sure there is even more to learn. Reading this has been a joy. ...more
5

Jun 12, 2015

One of the most annoying things to me about Star Trek is the near religious tone that people use when discussing it. As a Star Trek fan, I have become more and more disenchanted with the culture surrounding Trek and, despite enjoying it immensely, had no interest in any more fluff, behind the scenes pieces where people talk about it "changing their life". Day to day production on a TV show is stressful and difficult. Everyone couldn't possibly have been walking around in a blissful state (though One of the most annoying things to me about Star Trek is the near religious tone that people use when discussing it. As a Star Trek fan, I have become more and more disenchanted with the culture surrounding Trek and, despite enjoying it immensely, had no interest in any more fluff, behind the scenes pieces where people talk about it "changing their life". Day to day production on a TV show is stressful and difficult. Everyone couldn't possibly have been walking around in a blissful state (though they would have you believe it). What really happened?

That story is here.

These Are the Voyages is the most candid, well researched look into the daily production of the original Star Trek that has ever been compiled. Cushman has gathered interviews (both new and archived), memos, and just about any other kind of primary historical document you can imagine to give you an unprecedented peak behind the scenes. It's engrossing. When I stared this book I only knew the actors and Gene Roddenberry. By the time you are done, you'll look forward to reading Justman's memos on submitted scripts and hearing about how angry the script writer was with Gene Roddenberry. Its a slow start but if you stick with it you will find it completely engrossing.

Things I learned:

1. Gene Roddenberry was a hard working, visionary, adulterous jerk. I found myself bouncing back and forth between despising him and respecting his work ethic. The stories he has told about Star Trek seemed designed to manipulate people and to cast himself as a lone visionary in a sea of predatory TV executives. He was certainly one of those executives.

2. Star Trek was enormously successful. It was the behind the scenes drama caused by Roddenberry that actually got it cancelled. Well, that and the expense.

3. TV production is hard work. Much harder than anyone on the outside realizes.

4. DC Fontana is my hero.

5. Harlan Ellison sounds like a hilarious guy who I wouldn't want to work with.

6. I can't wait to read the next book. ...more
4

Feb 10, 2015

This is an astonishing and exhaustive piece of media scholarship. It's by no means a casual read, but I can't recommend it enough for anyone with a serious interest in the history of television production. It's more of an encyclopedic secondary source than a casual read, so anyone with just a general interest in Star Trek's production history might be better served by one of the older and shorter books out there.

But if you want a case study of the interplay of studio and production finances, This is an astonishing and exhaustive piece of media scholarship. It's by no means a casual read, but I can't recommend it enough for anyone with a serious interest in the history of television production. It's more of an encyclopedic secondary source than a casual read, so anyone with just a general interest in Star Trek's production history might be better served by one of the older and shorter books out there.

But if you want a case study of the interplay of studio and production finances, post-WW2 acting career trajectories, Hollywood politics micro and macro, this is the book (or at any rate, the first of three) for you. Every assistant director, every extra, has a full career biography presented. One of the most interesting things about the book is the running tally of Trek's cost overruns and their relationship to the financial survival of Desilu Studios - it doesn't sound terribly exciting, but in presentation it's like a ticking time bomb.

A lot of the myths about Trek are debunked at length here: Trek's ratings were actually excellent, and better than a number of classic 60s TV shows. The network wasn't fighting a battle against Roddenberry's race- and gender-progressivism, and didn't kill the character of Number One from the pilot because they didn't want to see a woman second in command.

This is an amazing bit of scholarship: the author has interviewed *everybody,* and seen every piece of paper ever associated with the series production. Which, as above, makes it a better reference than a read. I'm not sure if I'm interested enough to make it through the next volumes, though. ...more

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