INSIDE STAR TREK by Herbert F. Solow

INSIDE STAR TREK

The Real Story
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A highly detailed account of the Star Trek phenomenon, written with affection but without zest by two men who were instrumental in the creation and production of that innovative show. Solow was ``responsible for the sale, development and production'' of the series; Justman served as Star Trek's co- producer. Together, they offer a chatty encyclopedia chronicling nearly every aspect of how the show was made. Fans of celebrity gossip will find some interesting (although generally familiar) material. For instance, the book explores, as it must, the brilliant yet flawed character of Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, and the competition between series stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. But the bulk of this volume concerns the technological and commercial aspects of producing the show. Justman and Solow recount in fervent detail how the lighting, special effects, music, costumes, scripts, and sets of the series were created. Desilu Studios, Star Trek's home, was not a wealthy operation, and the show's first season was an especially harried one. Scenes often had to be reshot because the studio's ancient arc lights popped and squealed. Only a few sets for scenes on alien planets existed; the same props were ingeniously altered for each new show. We learn, as well, about the studio personnel, about the corporate rivalries and in-fighting that typified television production in general and Desilu Studios in particular. (The anecdotes about Lucille Ball are wonderful, as are Solow and Justman's descriptions of the manic day-to-day business of producing a series.) To their credit, the authors are not mean- spirited, rarely pompous, and seldom self-righteous. Unfortunately, the narrative is listless and without a distinctive personality. The bland prose coupled with almost numbing detail make it slow going. Still, despite its flaws, Star Trek completists and fans certainly will want to read this book. (First printing of 75,000)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-671-89628-8
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996




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