Tuesday, February 01, 2011

STAR TREK: Lost and Rare ... and Silly

Not the Enterprise.

And -- get this -- Robert April was the Captain.

Way back in 1964, when Gene Roddenberry was pitching his "wagon train to the stars" concept, the original name for the Captain was to be Robert April. And the Enterprise was then named the SS Yorktown. If you knew this, then you are a TREK ubernerd. Like me.

TV shows go thru a lot of permutations before getting on air.

My friend Sean Kelly emailed me to let me know that there is a PDF of Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for STAR TREK. Also: an original series show bible is online - the booklet that would be handed to any would-be writer, explaining the show format. (And there's a lot more at this root directory.)

It's fascinating to look at that material and imagine what it was like back before we all knew what TREK was.

Here are a few great links to some rare and lost bits of TREK. Complete time wasting fun! OK, you've been warned.

Perhaps the best is STAR TREK HISTORY, a massive site about the series' production, with many includes rare behind-the-scenes photos, missing scenes, documents, and interviews. Above, Kirk's salute to the Romulan Commander from "Balance of Terror," cut from the final version of the episode.

Before THE NEXT GENERATION, there was gonna be PHASE II.

In the late 1970s, Paramount greenlighted a new STAR TREK series. Sets were built, costumes designed, scripts commissioned. The cast, except for Leonard Nimoy, was contracted to return. Suddenly, STAR TREK PHASE II, was killed. Paramount, seeing 20th Century Fox's STAR WARS success, decided to do a movie instead. Above: a photo from a PHASE II screentest for the Vulcan Xon, who was to be portrayed by David Gautreaux.

Mr. Gautreaux, perhaps as consolation for not playing Nimoy's replacement Vulcan, was given a small role in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE (see above). He gets clobbered, along with the Epsilon 9 Space Station, by V'Ger, early on in the movie. More info on the never-to-be PHASE II series (also called STAR TREK PHASE 2) here.

They aren't rare, but you may or may not know about some of the amateur takes on TOS. Take a look at the 2 teasers for these Web productions.

There are a number of fan-made films, the most prominent being STAR TREK PHASE 2, which imagines a fourth season of the original series (and taking the title of the proposed sequel series). Above: a teaser from one of their recent episodes. That's original series music in the background. James Cawley, the man behind the PHASE 2 Web series, continues to mount impressive looking shows with the blessing of Paramount - and the participation of some of the pros who have worked professionally on TREK.

My favorite fan-made series is STARSHIP EXETER, about another ship in the fleet during Kirk's time. Take a look teaser, above. Production appears to have halted, which is too bad.

A few more links. I could go on and on, but I have to stop sometime:

Steve Roby's informative Lost Books of STAR TREK page.

STAR TREK LOLCats-style parody here.

Related: a video round up of STAR TREK parodies.

Related: "Assignment Earth" TV show titles.

Related: STAR TREK NBC Previews & alternate pilot footage.


Brian Fies said...

I already thanked you for wasting my time and commented on your Facebook post, but also wanted to share my absolute favorite relevant LOLcat, which I mentioned in my blog here:


Brian Fies said...

...which I now notice I got from you in the first place. Sigh.