“Boldly go where no man has gone before”: the oral history of the Star Trek franchise.
Gross (Voices from Krypton: Superman on Film and in Comics, 2015, etc.) and Altman, a writer and producer, have done yeoman’s work selecting and chronologically arranging this massive compendium of hundreds of comments from over 200 actors, directors, writers and producers involved in creating Star Trek—a “franchise that has literally changed the world,” as Seth MacFarlane, who played Ensign Rivers of the first Starship Enterprise, proclaims in his foreword. The authors’ goal was to “tell the real history of Star Trek in a way that no one else would be able to.” As readers learn, it almost didn’t happen. Studios passed on Gene Roddenberry’s pilot script, and Desilu Productions executives would have if Lucille Ball hadn’t greenlighted it. Roddenberry had written some Have Gun—Will Travel scripts, and he specifically drew on Paladin’s passion, intelligence, and bleeding heart to provide Kirk, Spock, and McCoy with their major personality traits. Roddenberry was a Navy pilot in World War II and was “particularly fascinated by the story of the Enterprise…and wanted to use the name.” The original show lasted three seasons, until 1969. There would eventually be four live action spin-offs (e.g., The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine) and an animated series, the latter of which was produced before Star Trek became a big budget motion picture. Leonard Nimoy said of that film, it was a “trial for the actors.” James Doohan (Scotty) said it was “boring.” The reviews were harsh, but the fans loved it. This volume ends with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Some quotes are just lame, while others are priceless. The editors have written numerous notes, providing solid context to quotes and historical background information. The book warmly invites jumping in anywhere to just sample, but it’s best approached from the beginning to hear from those in the know how the phenomenon unfolded.
An absolute must for any Star Trek fan.