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"The City On The Edge Of Forever"

Mirrorgirl

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POSTS: 15692

Report this Aug. 10 2009, 1:31 am

Quote (MrSpock44 @ Aug. 10 2009, 6:07 am)
I agree that Roddenberry has his problems and I really haven't decided yet whether he was really "a visionary" in any way or just made a great tv show and others took it from there, but I haven't warmed up to Ellison either. ?He claimed that Star Trek was just a cop show, and I strongly disagree with that.

?Bottom line for me- ?Whatever valid point Ellison has about Gene Roddenberry is lost on me because of the way he expresses his point. ?He comes across not as a genius but as an angry and jealous guy who doesn't think he got enough credit, so when he doesn't get credit he trashes the franchise. ?Not saying this is right or that he isn't brilliant or whatever, but this is the way he comes across to most people (including me).

I think you make some good points here.

If Harlan Ellison is entitled to be paid royalites for the work he did in creating the numerous recognizable elements of 'City on the Edge of Forever' then I can see how he would want to achieve this (we all want to be paid for the work we do), however he does not help his own case by the words that come out of his mouth (if I was his lawyer, I would tell him to STFU), And he wins no friends or supporters by dissing Star Trek it very much makes him look like a jealous and irrational jilted lover, who wants to wreak revenge.

If he is owed money I hope he gets it and I hope he then can STFU about it, because frankly he is tarnishing his own brilliant creation in the process.

Nyackjohn

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POSTS: 5570

Report this Aug. 10 2009, 10:43 am

Quote (lion_tone @ Aug. 09 2009, 11:19 am)
What's funny is that Ellison was WAY ahead of his time regarding TV scifi. 60's TV just wasn't ready for Ellison's vision, even when it came to Outer Limits.

BSG was the one TV show that had many of Harlan's elements. The realism embedded in Sci-fi. The consequence of future science on humanity. The moral questions that arise with such technology. It's debatable whether 2004 TV was ready for BSG, but SYFY took the leap...

Star Trek were the Beatles or the Who, where Ellison was John Cage or Frank Zappa. Star Trek was palatable pop scifi with just enough innovation, depth, and morality to make it timeless, where Ellison was true boundary breaking innovation to the point of being a niche artiste.

They both have their place, but do not confuse them with each other:)

Yeah, all that silly racial equality stuff, women being seen as equals, the first African American woman in a non-maid, non-nurse role... yeah, that was SO standard on Network TV in 1966 - only selling drugs would have been REALLY innovative.

I'm sorry, but you are SO offbase by saying that Trek was NOT ahead of it's time and just pop pablum made palatable enough for it to be remembered. It was VERY innovative at the time... for goodness sake, COLOR TV was innovative at the time - all the neighbors used to come watch Trek on our TV, the only color one around.

Ellison reminds me of Stephen Sondheim - in his hubris at one point, Sondheim bemoaned that the greatest barrier to his genius was the human voice. Well, hello Stephen, you are writing FOR the human voice - it's NOT going to change for you, so you'd better grow up and learn to work with it. Network Television was (and to a large extent still is) not going to change all it's rules and regs for one avante-garde "artiste".  Ellison despite his remarkable story-telling is a spoiled brat.

His rights as a writer in the above suit are a different story - hopefully a court will decide whether they have been violated or not, and if so, compensate him.

I don't hate the guy. I've enjoyed reading some of his work, however, I DON'T think he's the be-all and end-all genius of science fiction - I'm afraid I would not put him in the same class as the ABC's of Science Fiction, Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke... a step or so below, yes.

WilburWood

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POSTS: 21509

Report this Aug. 11 2009, 1:58 pm

Quote (lion_tone @ Aug. 09 2009, 11:09 am)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 07 2009, 10:18 am)
Well, I got this in the mail yesterday and am going to start reading it over the weekend. But having leafed through the book (the teleplay takes up about half it's length), I think I can safely say two things. First, this guy HATES Gene Roddenberry with a PASSION!! :D Here's an example:

:O

Second, his story and this teleplay are almost NOTHING like what we see in the tv episode. For example, this excerpt is from just after Kirk, Spock and the landing party (with Yeoman Rand among them! ) beam down to the planet:

:D

Anyway, I'll be posting more excerpts from the book and teleplay as I get through it. Not sure how much GR-bashing I can take, plus there are "treatments" of the story from other writers included which might or might not be interesting, we'll see. But feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to answer them if I can.

Finally, here's a quote from Shatner on the back cover:

:cool:

First of all, Harlan had some very strong words for Roddenberry, but Harlan NEVER hated him, he just ran off at the mouth. In fact, Ellison attempted to write a TMP story with Roddenberry - they got along fine... The studio shot it down... not Roddenberry.

Uh, I'm reading it and, yes, he does, in fact, HATE Roddenberry. There are too many examples to quote, but trust me.

Quote
Strained...yes...HATE? No...

Yes, unadulterated hate. Read the book if you don't believe me.

lion_tone

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1140

Report this Aug. 11 2009, 3:10 pm

Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 11 2009, 1:58 pm)
Quote (lion_tone @ Aug. 09 2009, 11:09 am)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 07 2009, 10:18 am)
Well, I got this in the mail yesterday and am going to start reading it over the weekend. But having leafed through the book (the teleplay takes up about half it's length), I think I can safely say two things. First, this guy HATES Gene Roddenberry with a PASSION!! :D Here's an example:

:O

Second, his story and this teleplay are almost NOTHING like what we see in the tv episode. For example, this excerpt is from just after Kirk, Spock and the landing party (with Yeoman Rand among them! ) beam down to the planet:

:D

Anyway, I'll be posting more excerpts from the book and teleplay as I get through it. Not sure how much GR-bashing I can take, plus there are "treatments" of the story from other writers included which might or might not be interesting, we'll see. But feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to answer them if I can.

Finally, here's a quote from Shatner on the back cover:

:cool:

First of all, Harlan had some very strong words for Roddenberry, but Harlan NEVER hated him, he just ran off at the mouth. In fact, Ellison attempted to write a TMP story with Roddenberry - they got along fine... The studio shot it down... not Roddenberry.

Uh, I'm reading it and, yes, he does, in fact, HATE Roddenberry. There are too many examples to quote, but trust me.

Quote
Strained...yes...HATE? No...

Yes, unadulterated hate. Read the book if you don't believe me.

That's funny...because in the 1977 interview with Tom Snyder, where Snyder indicated some Roddenberry/Ellison friction:

"No...me and Gene are cool..."

WilburWood

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 21509

Report this Aug. 11 2009, 3:22 pm

Quote (lion_tone @ Aug. 11 2009, 3:10 pm)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 11 2009, 1:58 pm)
Quote (lion_tone @ Aug. 09 2009, 11:09 am)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 07 2009, 10:18 am)
Well, I got this in the mail yesterday and am going to start reading it over the weekend. But having leafed through the book (the teleplay takes up about half it's length), I think I can safely say two things. First, this guy HATES Gene Roddenberry with a PASSION!! :D Here's an example:

:O

Second, his story and this teleplay are almost NOTHING like what we see in the tv episode. For example, this excerpt is from just after Kirk, Spock and the landing party (with Yeoman Rand among them! ) beam down to the planet:

:D

Anyway, I'll be posting more excerpts from the book and teleplay as I get through it. Not sure how much GR-bashing I can take, plus there are "treatments" of the story from other writers included which might or might not be interesting, we'll see. But feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to answer them if I can.

Finally, here's a quote from Shatner on the back cover:

:cool:

First of all, Harlan had some very strong words for Roddenberry, but Harlan NEVER hated him, he just ran off at the mouth. In fact, Ellison attempted to write a TMP story with Roddenberry - they got along fine... The studio shot it down... not Roddenberry.

Uh, I'm reading it and, yes, he does, in fact, HATE Roddenberry. There are too many examples to quote, but trust me.

Quote
Strained...yes...HATE? No...

Yes, unadulterated hate. Read the book if you don't believe me.

That's funny...because in the 1977 interview with Tom Snyder, where Snyder indicated some Roddenberry/Ellison friction:

"No...me and Gene are cool..."

He explains that in the book. Since it was only 8 years removed from series and he still wanted to work in TV in L.A., he played nice. But, trust me, in this 1995 book, he posthumously tears GR a BUNCH of new ones! :D

lion_tone

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1140

Report this Aug. 11 2009, 3:33 pm

Quote (Nyackjohn @ Aug. 10 2009, 10:43 am)
Quote (lion_tone @ Aug. 09 2009, 11:19 am)
What's funny is that Ellison was WAY ahead of his time regarding TV scifi. 60's TV just wasn't ready for Ellison's vision, even when it came to Outer Limits.

BSG was the one TV show that had many of Harlan's elements. The realism embedded in Sci-fi. The consequence of future science on humanity. The moral questions that arise with such technology. It's debatable whether 2004 TV was ready for BSG, but SYFY took the leap...

Star Trek were the Beatles or the Who, where Ellison was John Cage or Frank Zappa. Star Trek was palatable pop scifi with just enough innovation, depth, and morality to make it timeless, where Ellison was true boundary breaking innovation to the point of being a niche artiste.

They both have their place, but do not confuse them with each other:)

Yeah, all that silly racial equality stuff, women being seen as equals, the first African American woman in a non-maid, non-nurse role... yeah, that was SO standard on Network TV in 1966 - only selling drugs would have been REALLY innovative.

I'm sorry, but you are SO offbase by saying that Trek was NOT ahead of it's time and just pop pablum made palatable enough for it to be remembered. It was VERY innovative at the time... for goodness sake, COLOR TV was innovative at the time - all the neighbors used to come watch Trek on our TV, the only color one around.

Ellison reminds me of Stephen Sondheim - in his hubris at one point, Sondheim bemoaned that the greatest barrier to his genius was the human voice. Well, hello Stephen, you are writing FOR the human voice - it's NOT going to change for you, so you'd better grow up and learn to work with it. Network Television was (and to a large extent still is) not going to change all it's rules and regs for one avante-garde "artiste". ?Ellison despite his remarkable story-telling is a spoiled brat.

His rights as a writer in the above suit are a different story - hopefully a court will decide whether they have been violated or not, and if so, compensate him.

I don't hate the guy. I've enjoyed reading some of his work, however, I DON'T think he's the be-all and end-all genius of science fiction - I'm afraid I would not put him in the same class as the ABC's of Science Fiction, Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke... a step or so below, yes.

I never said Star Trek wasn't innovative. Of course it was. Did you even read what I wrote???

I compared it to the Beatles and the Who... Two extremely innovative bands within the pop/rock idiom. Their key was the ability to use eclectic elements within a mainstream genre - and still make it a commercially viable work.

I put Star Trek in the same category. However, using a black woman as a non-maid role is not "innovative" as much as it is culturally daring, and a simple statement of truth... Truth that people will be equal. Still, not innovative...

What was innovative about Star Trek was its ability to take cultural elements of the 60s and convert them to timeless morality plays.

Was Star Trek pop?? HECK YES. The go-go boots, beehive hair, mini-skirts (Janice Rand was Barbara Eden in Space), the John Wayne haymaker fight scenes, the Law/Drama storylines, that were all the rage in the late 60s, and Pavel "Davy Jones" Chekov.

Were the Beatles pop? YES! But the Beatles and ST were both selectively clever, and innovative at times - enough so to be highly sought after 40 years after their creation...

"Pop" isn't always a bad thing. Mozart was fairly pop for is time, and we remember him.

lion_tone

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1140

Report this Aug. 11 2009, 3:58 pm

Quote (Mirrorgirl @ Aug. 09 2009, 7:09 am)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 09 2009, 2:42 am)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 07 2009, 10:18 am)
this guy HATES Gene Roddenberry with a PASSION!!

Another example:

:D

Not that I am a big rap for GR (too many stories I've read about him), but this does seem like a rather obvious case of projection. Harlan is pretty-much describing himself as much as he is dissing GR...just a thought.

Can't wait for more of your report WW. ?:cool:

I agree here.

I have no doubt that Ellison is exactly how he comes across, irritable, mouthy, self-rightous, and probably miserable... And I bet he would admit it.

What he seems to be upset at, is while some of what he says might be projection, it probably is true about Roddenberry as well. Only Roddenberry (RIP), his wife, and the army of fans try to pass him off as George Washington. Which he was not...

It's kinda like, if they were going to erect a statue of GR, they would have his chest stuck out, looking heroically into the stars, with a writing tablet in his hand.

You could just as easily have a statue of him looking over his shoulder (at Majel) while he has another woman on his arm, with his other hand taking money out of Sandy Courage's pocket...

LOL.

WilburWood

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 21509

Report this Aug. 12 2009, 5:27 pm

Quote (Mirrorgirl @ Aug. 09 2009, 7:09 am)
Can't wait for more of your report WW. :cool:

Well, to be honest, I quickly grew weary and, frankly, bored with Ellison's rants about GR and HIS script, not to mention his unabashed loathing for Trekkies in general. Just too repetitive and uninteresting, so I skipped ahead to his original teleplay.

Anyway, after reading it, I was like "AND????" For some reason, I expected to be swept away by its supposed grandeur and the fact that it was so ahead of its time, but in truth? I got bored with it, too! Maybe it's because the "City" WE know is such a GREAT episode in every way possible. But THIS??? I mean, I can see why Ellison got upset, because other than the ideas of the GOF, an act in the past altering the future, and that Edith Keeler is the focal point in time, his original teleplay has almost NOTHING to do with what we see on the screen.

And the dialogue? Except for his "We are the Guardians of Forever. We have been here since before your sun burned hot in space, before your race came into being" lines, NO dialogue from the original script made it onto the screen. Why? Because it was just NOT lines that we would ever hear coming from Kirk's or Spock's (ESPECIALLY Spock) mouth. EVER!!!!

And while there is included in the book a portion of a revised draft he wrote on 12/1/66, where he substituted a poisoned McCoy (some lab animal bit him) for the drug-dealing crew member (it WASN'T Scotty) he originally had go through the time vortex and change history, that's IT!!!

To be honest, don't know what all the hub bub was all about. VERY disappointing.

Cynic321

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POSTS: 8588

Report this Aug. 12 2009, 11:28 pm

Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 08 2009, 11:42 am)
Quote (WilburWood @ Aug. 07 2009, 10:18 am)
this guy HATES Gene Roddenberry with a PASSION!!

Another example:

:D

This part:

Quote
the path of fulfilling Gene's dream and vision of himself as the incarnation of his wearyingly repetitive god-surrogates (Adonis [sic], V'Ger, Charlie X, The Squire of Gothos, Nomad and Q, just to reprise a mere half-dozen of the Deity-as-Demento that Roddenberry either wrote himself or forced into the work of others)...


doesn't even make sense.

Gene's dream and vision of himself as the incarnation of his wearyingly repetitive god-surrogates (Adonis [sic], V'Ger, Charlie X, The Squire of Gothos, Nomad and Q, just to reprise a mere half-dozen of the Deity-as-Demento

Gene dreamed of himself as a God-as-Demento?

No one is half as clever as Ellison thinks he is. Just watching the guy in interviews is enough to make your teeth ache. I have no doubt that Rodenberrry was a cut-throat customer in the T.V. production biz. The way he screwed Alexander Courage out of half of his royalties for the TOS theme is well documented.

But to hear Ellison tell it, Rodenberry is some strange malevolent dark angel of Hollywood, rather than just another player on the stage.

I've always wanted to see Ellison and Todd McFarlane (creator of the 'Spawn' comic series) locked in a glass vault. Just to see which egomaniac could suck all the oxygen out of the room first.

EDIT: W.W. The excerpts are fascinating. Please continue!

Acuda4me

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POSTS: 251

Report this Aug. 13 2009, 12:15 pm

Hey now! HOLD THE PHONE!
If I am reading this correctly, H.E. did NOT, in fact, come up with the idea of the Guardian of Forever (a living machine standing guard over a gateway to the past) but instead came up with the GuardianS of forever ( a bunch of old men standing guard over a gateway to the past) and thus has no real claim of ownership of the concept of the current Guardian. If he changed it from GuardianS to Guardian after feedback from the studio, doesn't that just make the studios point?

Damien

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1484

Report this Aug. 13 2009, 1:50 pm

Quote (Acuda4me @ Aug. 13 2009, 12:15 pm)
Hey now! HOLD THE PHONE!
If I am reading this correctly, H.E. did NOT, in fact, come up with the idea of the Guardian of Forever (a living machine standing guard over a gateway to the past) but instead came up with the GuardianS of forever ( a bunch of old men standing guard over a gateway to the past) and thus has no real claim of ownership of the concept of the current Guardian. If he changed it from GuardianS to Guardian after feedback from the studio, doesn't that just make the studios point?

Probably. Also the fact that it has taken this long implies that  the studios are correct as well.


I have learned from watching LOTS of special features that a series will buy a story idea then do what they call 'Story breaking' which basically is how can they use the idea and make it fit into the series they already have. MANY times the final script and episode bear very little resemblance to the original idea.

Sounds like that's what happened to Harlan's story and he has been pissy about it for over 42 years now.

BTW are they EVER going to fix the episode guide here

WilburWood

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POSTS: 21509

Report this Aug. 13 2009, 2:44 pm

Quote (Acuda4me @ Aug. 13 2009, 12:15 pm)
Hey now! HOLD THE PHONE!
If I am reading this correctly, H.E. did NOT, in fact, come up with the idea of the Guardian of Forever (a living machine standing guard over a gateway to the past) but instead came up with the GuardianS of forever ( a bunch of old men standing guard over a gateway to the past) and thus has no real claim of ownership of the concept of the current Guardian. If he changed it from GuardianS to Guardian after feedback from the studio, doesn't that just make the studios point?

Well, this is how the GOF is described in Ellison's revised draft of the teleplay:

Quote
And as the CAMERA PANS AROUND we see, for the first time, THE GUARDIAN OF FOREVER. The shot continues a beat and then CAMERA ZOOMS IN on "him." For that beat, he had looked almost like another sparkling rock in the stone walls. But as CAMERA CLOSES in the ZOOM we see "he" is something quite different: The GUARDIAN OF FOREVER is pure thought. Resting in a shallow bowl on a pedestal, he looks like a globe of flickering light ... like a shimmering handful of fog ... like something totally alien and omnipresent. (Construction of the Guardian should combine a minimum of expense with a maximum of ingenuity.)

CLOSING SHOT -- KIRK & SPOCK

as they move toward the Guardian. Spock moves in behind Kirk and the others follow, fanning out. They move closer, awed (for it is an awesome presence).

Spock (softly): It's alive.
Kirk (with wonder): The power, Mr. Spock. Can you feel the power coming from it?

There is the SOUND of a deep, sepulchral VOICE OVER. A voice that rings out of the rocky enclosure, seeming to come from nowwhere and everywhere at once. It is the VOICE of the GUARDIAN.

Guardian (a voice of power): I am the Guardian of Forever. Welcome.
Kirk: You live in the city?
Guardian: Once. Before we became pure energy. A time before your sun burned hot in space. Before your race was born.
Spock: This place is dead, empty. Why do you stay?

As the Guardian speaks, movement within the fog, light, mist, the substance of "him," changes, glows, dimds, sparkles, changes color ... whatever EFFECT has been opted for.

Guardian: Because I am the last of my kind.
Kirk: The last?
Guardian: The city is empty. Built to last even after I am gone.
Kirk: We followed some sort of radiation to this planet ... it damaged our vessel--
Guardian: You wandered into the time-flow. This world is the center of the universe.
Kirk: The center? I don't--?

CLOSER SHOT -- ON GUARDIAN

as his form shimmers and pulses.

Guardian: Only on this world do the million pulse-flows of time and space merge. Only here do the flux times of Forever meet.

(beat)

Only here can exist the gateway to the past, where the Time Vortex of the Ancients can work.

(beat)

My race was set to watch the Time Vortex, so many hundreds of centuries ago that even I do not have clear memories of it.
Kirk: The gateway to the past? A time machine?
Guardian: Not a machine. A creation, a vortex.

WedgeBob

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POSTS: 436

Report this Aug. 13 2009, 5:18 pm

I'm probably thinking of watching this again in "Starfleet Access" mode this time (if you own the Blu-ray version of Season 1, you probably know what I'm talking about).  Perhaps they can discuss about how this episode was put together.

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