Roddenberry sometimes did not credit the authors. Due to budget restraints, Roddenberry commissioned work from well-known sci-fi writers. But then he would rewrite the script until it was barely recognizable. Some writers had a problem with this. One such case is Harlan Ellison’s work, “City on the Edge of Forever.”
The final cut of that episode was so altered, the author requested a pseudonym be used for the credits. He was denied. Roddenberry included Ellison’s name in the credits. He was really peeved. He went so far as to publish his original 1967 script in 1995. He went to his grave with that grudge.
‘Star Trek’ was Quality TV, but at What Price?
Both cast and crew were convinced that the NBC network wanted to ax the show. Fans were concerned. The loyal following organized a letter campaign, and 100,000 letters came pouring in. The very first Trekkies pleaded with NBC not to cancel “Star Trek.” It worked. Because of this outpouring, the network aired it for another season, but it came with a price.
The already cash-strapped budget was cut by one-third, believe it or not. And, for all intents and purposes, the show was demoted. NBC moved it to the 10 pm, Friday night slot a.k.a. “the death slot.”
A Sign of the Wrong Timeline
“The City on the Edge of Forever” is a Trekkie favorite. In the story by Harlan Ellison, Spock, McCoy, and Kirk land in the United States during the Great Depression. With Dr. McCoy lost, the other two, dressed like homeless people, look for the doctor. Spock and Kirk end up at an apartment building. This is where the spacetime continuum hiccups.
There is a sign posted that we universally recognize as a radiation danger warning. Actually, these did not exist until the 1960s. So, the problem is, the Starfleet crew landed in the Great Depression, which has a 1930s timeline.
Scriptwriter Dorothy Fontana Was Disguised
Dorothy Catherine Fontana was an aspiring scriptwriter just trying to make it in Hollywood. She took secretarial work at the Star Trek set in hopes of making it. Her ideas impressed Roddenberry. She masterminded key episodes and was instrumental in developing Spock’s Vulcan identity. Yet, she was only tangentially recognized.
Things were different in the midst of the 1960s feminist movement. She went virtually uncredited. She wrote episodes under pseudonyms like “Michael Richards.” She said she used the gender-free “D.C. Fontana” credit to assuage Roddenberry and the network who, like the mainstream, weren’t gung-ho about women in important positions like television writing.
Who Owned All ‘Star Trek’ Merch Rights
Nimoy was paid two thousand dollars per episode. Truth be told, that was a solid paycheck back in the late 60s. But the show was taking off. Nimoy had created Spock out of his own inventiveness and his likeness was appearing on all kinds of merchandise, all over the world. In London, his mug appeared on Heineken beer ads. The man was resentful.
He tried rewriting his contract, but the network did not want to give him a drop more. It drove him to the therapist’s couch to deal with his frustration. Clearly, he had a lot to vent about.