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Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

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(written from a Production point of view)

Inside Star Trek: The Real Story is a reference book on the production of Star Trek: The Original Series written from the first-person perspective of the operational decision makers at the time, in this case the producers. Both authors, Herbert Solow and Robert Justman, a studio executive on the first two seasons and a producer on the near entire run respectively, were two of the most important decision makers on the show at the time. The book is liberally illustrated with production art and behind-the-scenes photographs, mostly originating from Justman's personal collection.

Summary Edit

From the book jacket
Before the actors were cast, before the U.S.S. Enterprise™ was designed, before the phenomenon exploded, there were three men who set about creating the Star Trek legend. Gene Roddenberry died in 1991. Herb Solow and Bob Justman now remain the only two people on the planet Earth who really know what happened in those early, heady days.
INSIDE STAR TREK is a comprehensive look at the development and life of a television and cultural phenomenon. It is also the story no one else could tell. Between them, Solow and Justman had a hand in virtually every aspect of the development and production of Star Trek – from the battles with NBC and the internal conflicts with studio executives to the behind-the-scenes decisions about actors and their characters, writers, scripts, directors, budgets, and the endless details of weekly television production.
Together, the two men debunk many of the myths that have developed around Star Trek in the last thirty years. At last, here is the fascinating and accurate account of a unique television series launched against astronomical odds – a television series that transported millions of viewers into another world and into an unprecedented, thirty-year, multimedia, multibillion-dollar cultural phenomenon.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Contents Edit

note: from the paperback edition
  • Who Are They?, pp. ix-x
  • Preface, pp, xi-xiv
  • Prologue: Riding the Red-Eye, pp. xv-xx
  • Act One – Genesis: The Two Pilots
    • 1 The Back Story: Boy, Could He Tap-Dance, pp, 3-12
    • 2 A Dreamer of Dreams, pp.13-24
    • 3 Get on Board, Li'l Chilun, pp, 25-42
    • 4 Magic Time: The First Pilot, pp, 43-54
    • 5 The Good Witch of the East, pp. 55-68
    • 6 Magic Time Revisited: Ihe The Second Pilot, pp. 69-86
    • 7 Strange New Worlds, pp. 87-96
    • 8 The Key to the Asylum, pp. 97-106
  • Act Two – The First Season:A Struggle For Life
    • 9 Another Fine Mess, pp. 109-122
    • 10 And The I Wrote, pp. 123-150
    • 11 New Faces of 1966: The Actors, pp. 151-158
    • 12 These Are the Voyages: The First Season, pp. 159-210
    • 13 Haute Couture, pp. 211-218
    • 14 Gene's Genes, pp. 219-230
    • 15 Who'd on First? The Pecking Order, pp. 231-246
    • 16 Flirting with Disaster, pp. 247-258
    • 17 Running on Empty, pp. 259-274
    • 18 On the Edge of Forever: Waiting for Harlan, pp. 275-290
  • Act Three – Death and Transfiguration: The Second and Third Seasons
    • 19 Saved by the Bell, pp. 293-314
    • 20 Money, Money, Money, pp. 315-328
    • 21 A Shoe Drops: The Second season, pp. 329-364
    • 22 If They Give You Any Trouble, Screw Them!, pp. 365-376
    • 23 First, the Good News: The Final Season, pp 377-410
  • Act Four – Rebirth: Star Trek Lives!
    • 24 Reborn in Reruns, pp. 413-424
    • 25 All Our Yesterdays, pp. 425-446
    • Epilogue: Live Long and Prosper, pp. 447-446
  • Acknowledgements, pp. 447-448
  • Author's Biographies, pp. 449-452
  • Index, pp. 453-458

Background information Edit

  • While a reference book, also dealing with the operational managerial aspects, was already written as early as 1968, The Making of Star Trek (followed as recently with the 2013 book series These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, et al. and which heavily references Inside Star Trek), this work was mostly written from a third-person perspective, even though contemporary internal memos were literally quoted. Inside Star Trek, afforded the authors an opportunity to tell their side of the story in their own words, elaborating on information given in prior works by delving deeper into the subject matter at hand. It allowed them to dispense intimate information that authors of other works, including those written by former Original Series cast members, were usually not privy to, which included the everlasting balancing act the producers had to perform between the interests of the studio executives and their own creative staff. Much production information on the Original Series was divulged in this book for the first time. To date it, and its derivatives, remain some of the most important and influential works on the creation of The Original Series.
  • Three years previously, former Captain James T. Kirk performer William Shatner had written an autobiography covering the Original Series-era in which he also delved in-depth into the "making-of" aspects of the series. That book, Star Trek Memories, to which Justman had made considerable contributions, therefore shared similarities with the one Justman and Solow wrote. Ironically though, Shatner's book has never been quite recognized as a making-of reference book – even though he had interviewed several production staffers contrary to Justman and Solow, who had not, writing from their own first person perspectives, which, again ironically, makes their work actually the more autobiographically one – and as such was overshadowed by Inside Star Trek.
  • Actually, Shatner's book became part of the reasons why Solow embarked on his book project in the first place, "About three years ago, I began hearing about writers writing books about what went on during the original series' production. They didn't really know what went on with us [remark: implicitly admitted by Shatner by him interviewing third parties]. I was the one who was there and knew what really happened, so I thought I should write a book and put out the real story. One book out there seemed to say that I never came to work some days and didn't have any involvement in Star Trek whatsoever [remark: having had Oscar Katz mistaken for Solow]. I felt it had come time to write a book about my involvement in Star Trek, and what really happened, so I enlisted Bob Justman and we wrote a book." [X]wbm
  • As it turned out, Justman had already been planning for a similar book before he was approached by Solow, "Well, I had started to, with Steve Poe, and we never finished even writing a presentation, because Steve got busy with several other projects when Star Trek: The Next Generation [sic: Justman meant Voyager] started. So I put my research on the back burner. Then, later, Herb came by and said he was writing a book, and I said "What about me?" [X]wbm
  • It is for obvious reasons not commonplace in the corporate world to divulge specifics surrounding business deals, aside from general press announcements. This was also true in the case of the events surrounding the acquisition of Desilu Studios by Gulf+Western in 1967 and the cancellation decision(s) by NBC in 1968 and 1969 respectively, the latter of which in particular having given rise to much speculation and hearsay in Star Trek-lore, not in the least due to Roddenberry's spin-doctoring efforts in "Trekdom", as Solow has observed. While Justman was not privy to any of these events, Solow as Desilu executive was, and it was in this book that details surrounding these two events were disclosed for the first time, in the process dispelling some of the myths that had arisen in the intervening years. However, him going somewhat out on a limb for his former employer NBC in order to present a more even-keeled account of the events, as well as his debunking of Bjo Trimble's famous "spontaneous" fan letter writing campaign that saved The Original Series for a third season as being surreptitiously orchestrated by Roddenberry, did not sit well with the more partisan elements in Trekdom. [1] Nevertheless, the book has since then become accepted as an authoritative production reference source by the less puritanical elements of Trekdom.
  • The authors voicing for the first time a far more critical view on the series' creator, Roddenberry, than was hitherto commonplace, was in effect the other part of the reasons for Solow to embark on the project, as Roddenberry's spin-doctoring Star Trek history into the "Roddenberry Myth" in the 1970s-1980s Star Trek convention circuit, increasingly troubled Solow as he explained in the book (1997, p. 430), seeking to counteract it, "My displeasure grew over the years as he reinvented the origins of Star Trek, further enlarging the Star Trek legend and the Gene Roddenberry myth. While there is no denying that Gene created the root, the core from which the series grew, there were other important contributors to its growth: Gene Coon, Bob Justman, Matt Jefferies, and me [also crediting Spock performer Leonard Nimoy as the "brightest of all stars in the Star Trek universe"]. Unfortunately, the credit for our contributions was washed away in the wake of Gene's disinclination to honor them, and by doing so, he assumed their authorship." The hushing up of Coon's contributions by Roddenberry for instance, irked Solow in particular. Ironically, while Solow became Trekdom's scapegoat, very few fans dared to attack Justman, who was every bit as critical of Roddenberry as Solow was, due to his revered status in Star Trek history. [X]wbm
  • Leonard Nimoy was slated to write the preface for the book, but for unknown reasons that fell through. (Cinefantastique, Vol 26 #2, p. 17)
  • The audiobook version was abridged by George Truett.
  • A film version of the book, containing additional information not included in the print publication, was released in Japan in 1999 as an English language laserdisc. For this outing Justman did interview several former Star Trek production staffers.
  • In the period 1999-2003, Justman wrote a series of "From the Wormhole" articles for Star Trek: The Magazine in which he covered subjects he either had not touched upon in his book, or delved deeper into ones he had mentioned, and as such can be considered addenda to the book.
  • Like Justman, Solow has followed up on his writings for the book, with, aside from the filmed version, contributions to the 2007 reference book NBC: America's Network and the 2013 documentary, Star Trek: The True Story.
  • Upon completing the work of putting his recollections on paper, author Justman sold off his collection of Star Trek production material, which served as the basis of his writings, in two specialized Profiles in History Star Trek auctions; the 2001 The Star Trek Auction, the 2002 one that bore his name, The Bob Justman Star Trek Auction, and with the remainder of his Star Trek possessions auctioned off in the 2003 The Ultimate Sci-Fi Auction. Solow did the same after having co-written his book Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, selling off his collection in the 2001 The Star Trek Auction, like Justman had.

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