Gene Roddenberry, George, George Decay discussed on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory
Coast to coast AM with George Noory. Fifty years ago, gene, Roddenberry's visionary television series debuted on NBC was not an instant success at all. In fact, it was canceled just three years later, but a famously devoted fanbase kept the sci-fi epic alive. And it has since spawned numerous hit television spin offs and over a dozen blockbuster films. That have dominated the box office for thirty five years Star Trek lives long and prosperous on its fiftieth anniversary up next Mark secre. Share some stories with us and memories here. He is on coast to coast, Mark, Zicree. Marc. Welcome back. Great to be here, George. This is an exciting time fifty years of Star Trek fifty years. Yeah. Incredible. And and and it's amazing that so many wonderful Star Trek stories have been created by so many people over all these decades. And I'm sure we're gonna be talking a lot about it. We sure are what's new with you. Give us updates. Oh my gosh. We'll have land studio. I'm shooting space command and doing the tons of stuff. We shot the two hour pilot. We shot thirty minutes of. And to our story. We're now meeting with the networks both here and in England we're gonna set it up as a show. It's going to be something that everyone is going to be able to see and enjoy it's terrific. And I'm doing books, of course, as you said the new twilight zone companion, I'm pitching trilogy of novels and just on and on tons of stuff. You're happy with all this life is good for you. Oh my God. Yes. It's so it's so fun. When I realized that my audience could basically green light me thinks to the new models. I that's why shots the my audience green with me. They finance me. And and now we can go to networks having shot the two hours and save. This is what we have in mind. The next step is the network says, okay, we green light is a season. And that's very different from the way it used to be. So I'm thrilled. That would be exciting. Well, hey, you know, what nobody deserves it more than you, Mark. Thanks. All right. Let's talk a little bit about the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek. Let's go back a little bit. Because you've done some work on Star Trek. Yeah. Yeah. I wrote for both Star Trek the next generation and these space nine, and then I did start with George decay that got nominated for Hugo nebula awards, and and Star Trek been part of my life ever since I was a little kid the first debuted back in as you know, nineteen sixty six and before it even aired. They NBC commissioned a piece of artwork artists James James Bama and rent it for ten seconds is just a still station coming in the fall Star Trek, and I would see this planet, and this rocket ship lazing around the spaceship blazing on this planet and two guys. And it went by so quickly. This is before a video recorders. And I've watched this thing I'd sit right up against the screen waiting for this commercial. And it's like the guy that guy in the in the background you have pointed ears, and I couldn't wait to see the show. And then the first episode aired, and it was called the Mantrap written by my different George Clayton Johnson, and he'd been at twilight zone writer he will kick the can and nothing in the dark, a wonderful writer, and it was an amazing episode. And from then on I was hooked. It was just. That was that was really it for me. Did you ever think that you'd be doing some work on it? Well, you know, it's funny when when I was a kid a book out called the making of Star Trek, and this is when the show was on the air. It was written by Stephen Whitfield, and gene Roddenberry. And and was the first book I've read about how TV show was made. And that really planted the seed where I started thinking, we know I'd like to be a writer producer in television. And that kind of sent me on that path. And and so my dream was to create and run my own space playing science fiction show, and that was space command. That's exactly what I'm doing. And and so it's just a dream come true. But it was very much set in motion by gene Roddenberry created back back then and it only lasted three seasons. Yeah. And it's funny because you know, they were actually going to cancel it the second season and woman they've beat Joe Trimble started a letter writing campaign and a picketing campaign. I was part of that as a kid. I remember holding my little picket sign standing outside with a crowd outside NBC and writing my little letter a million letters were sent NBC and that convinced me to renew the show and it got its third season. And it's not for that third season. It never would have gone into. Syndication? It wouldn't have had enough episodes. And no one would have ever heard of it again. And in fact, when stocked with initially aired I was so worried it would never air again that I actually recorded on reel to reel audiotape as a kid case. Those F has never aired. I just love those machines. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Why didn't it succeed in the ratings? Mark. We, you know, the funny thing is back then the Nielsen ratings just registered book numbers. How many millions of people watching an episode the year after Star Trek when off the switchover something called demographics. Whether you check not only how many people watching it. But what group of people? Yeah. And the eighteen to thirty five demographic was the perfect buying demographic. And a year after star took when the round the demographics and the top rated show, the number one show for that eighteen to thirty five demographics that they all wanted with start all my God daily freak out the yes. Because if they if they had demographics the year earlier, they never would've canceled Star Trek. Oh my gosh. And they would have made money on that show. Right. That's right. Another funny thing. Another thing about Star Trek with is incredibly colorful, you know, what those beautiful red and gold and blue uniforms in a very colorful enterprise bridge. Well, the the network that aired Star Trek was NBC and its parent company was RCA television. And so they wanted to sell color TV's, and one of the reasons they Greenland starts like was because of those bright primary colors because people would buy color TV's just to see Star Trek may actually run ran RCA color TV advertisements for Star Trek. So showing them on color TV's and run them in all the national magazines. I have I have some of those ads. I save since then we've had on the program here William Shatner, you brought us George Takei. Yes. And I think that was it just those two. Yeah. Well, they're they're they're great. I mean, they were unforgettable their distinctive actors and wonderful. And again that speaks the diversity of Star Trek because again when Star Trek debuted in nineteen sixty six you didn't have African American actress in the lead like the shell Nichols are Asian American actors in the lead like George decay these were characters were damaged. They were going on adventures. They were they were treated with respect by captain Kirk and Mr. Spock and Dr. It was like a surrogate family of people all getting along all out across boundaries of race and ethnicity to each other. When you think about it Star Trek aired during the nineteen sixties. This is the height of the civil rights era. It was the Vietnam war was going on the moon landings were happening. I mean, there's an incredibly politically active time, very fulfilled, a political and social turmoil and upheaval and change. It was just the perfect time for that show debut. What a tragedy a few months ago when Anton Yeltsin the Star Trek actor died in that freak accident when his Jeep roll down in crushed him. I know crazy. At he works in a medium where we get to see his worth and enjoy it, and it was a wonderful actor and again Li start for characters, and he starts like actors are so distinctive is so memorable and the walls are catered pass torch to Anton Yeltsin, and he could do, you know, the checkup so memorably he'll definitely be remember, I think we had Walter onto. Yes. And he's any another very distinctive guy in a wonderful actor, and and each starts at character is so distinctive when I wrote world enough in time. It was quite Sulu all of the characters and they all speak differently from each other. They all have different viewpoints Spock line will not work for Kirk from Koi. Vice versa. They all are very distinct themselves, and that's why they've lasted and the didn't we have James Doohan deci ashes sent off into space roddenbury's where to I went to a major Garrett roddenbury's a house whenever courted her for the computer voice in world enough and time and Roddenberry's ashes where they've they've been sent up in the state shuttle and then brought back and so every fitting testament, so again, what was it like being? On that Star Trek set when you were kid. Well, you know, I was giving a Christmas present of a trip to Star Trek set when I was a kid gray the greatest president ever. And it was the last episode of the original Star Trek ever shot if I'd gone a week later that show would have been gone, and it was an episode called turnabout intruder in which kirks personality is swapped with a woman a woman scientists, and and it was a William Shatner there that Dan Mitchell bears who played there's chapel and and of force Kelly, Dr McCoy, and it was amazing walking the sense they were so phenomenal. And and it was fascinating. Because one of the stagehands said Lascaux the season and under her breath Mitchell Barrett said last show ever and the irony was the decades later, I recorded her as a computer voice for the Star Trek episode. I did thirty years later. And so so she was not only wrong about last show ever on on Star Trek. She was wrong even herself because she would continue on Star Trek in later incarnations on Star Trek next generation and in the features and so forth. So just phenomenal. You and George went to Japan at a convention in you, we did. Yes. Well, when when we did world enough and time, and and that's what I did with him. And you can actually watch it on my my website, Mark, Zicree dot com in its entirety and. After we shot that up. So we went to the world science fiction convention in Japan, we screened to an audience of three thousand people we got a standing ovation with the crowd with with with tears streaming down their faces. And then the next year we were nominated for the top award and science fiction, the Hugo award, which is given out of the world science fiction convention. So it was just an amazing honor. And to be there in Japan with George he's fluent in Japanese. And so we were answering questions I would be fielding questions in English, and he would be answering in Japanese, and I just saw him the other day where there was a big starts convention in Las Vegas to celebrate the fifty that if I went to and and George, and I were able to reconnect, and I very much want him in command. So we've been talking about a role. He'll be playing space. Command was Shatner there. Yes. I mean, it's amazing because he's eighty five years old, and you could never tell. Yes, he doesn't look not at all. And and his energy level. He seems like a much younger, man. He's phenomenal as as as George decay. George doesn't seem like a guy pushing eighty either these are amazingly vital and vibrant people, and it's a nominal actors and Star Trek just wouldn't have been the same. Without that group. No, it was a very special group. It was it was lightning in a bottle. You know, it's amazing because you know, twilight zone ended in nineteen sixty four and then the two two years later Star Trek debuted, and gene Roddenberry was very much a friend and protege of rod sterling's..