G & T Show Supplemental Log – Marc Cushman Returns
G & T Show Supplemental Log – Marc Cushman Returns is now available to download. Check it out here. This week Nick, Terry, and Mike sit down once again with Marc Cushman to discuss his latest book, These Are The Voyages Season 3, along with the first two books in the series, and even get a few hints regarding his next two books, including the fourth and final installment in the series and the biography about Lost In Space.
They kick off the show with the breaking news that Simon Pegg will be co-writing the next Star Trek film. They discuss the topic and Marc sheds some light into the Hollywood mentality regarding the hiring and firing of writers. Usually, when a writer goes, so does their script in order to avoid having to credit and pay them. They were surprised that they would have thrown out a script before or immediately after setting a firm date for the film’s release.
Marc explains that some of the best movies were made very quickly, including Wrath of Khan. Films that take a long time, are less likely to be meddled with by the studios. The longer a film has until the release, the more likely it will be changed by the studios. Marc mentions compares the production for the Motion Picture to Wrath of Khan and subtly drops the hint that he is working on a fourth book, before going into more detail on the subject. He describes how the films came about and some of the hurdles they faced.
Wrath of Khan was originally supposed to be a TV movie, but the script was so strong that they decided to go through with a theatrical release. The film was still produced with the television crew and tv schedule. Mike was concerned about the amount of time required for some of the big budge special effects that the new Trek films are known for. Marc suggest that as a result, the shortened schedule may require them to pay more attention to character rather than special effects. That excites all of them.
Terry appreciates Simon Pegg’s writing because his character work is great and special effects are cheap. Marc says that he prefers small films because the bigger the budget, the longer it takes to shoot, the worse it is. Hollywood will find the way to mess it up if they have enough money and enough time to throw into a film. He’s optimistic that the accelerated schedule could make the next film, a great one. Nick shares a story about Will Smith’s Wild Wild West. Marc talks about the original Wild Wild West.
Marc segways into the third book with a story about Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. That episode was rewritten a few days before production. It was still being rewritten when production began. Terry says that episode was the first episode she remembers and as a five year old, she completely got it. She shares her memories of that episode. Marc mentions the race riots that were going on all over the country during that time. Marc mentions how much Roddenberry was involved in the first sixteen episodes of the third season.
Mike mentions his progress through the book. He’s currently up to Day of the Dove. One thing he noticed throughout is all of the problems they encountered in the production of season three, including an actor rebellion during In Truth There Is No Beauty. Marc explains what happened with the rebellion, which was caused by Roddenberry adding a scene to the episode that the actors felt was out of place. There was another mini-rebellion in the Empath which caused that episode to go way over budget. Marc mentions that there is another blow out coming in For Whom Gods Destroy, which pitted Nimoy against Freiberger. Marc mentions that it was a happy set, but the actors cared about the characters and didn’t want to see them ruined.
Mike was pleased to see the proverbial ticking-clock in regards to the production costs and overages that the show was experiencing. The first two seasons were greatly over budget, which led to DesiLu’s collapse. Paramount required them to balance stay within budget. People were coming down to the studio and turning off the lights. Marc talks about Tholian Web. Ralph Sendesky was fired from the film mid-production and black listed for the next several years. He reveals that Ralph never knew the real reason he was fired from the show until he read the third book. They talk about the budget problems Star Trek experienced with the reduced budget, the charges Paramount levied, the salary increases, and everything else they experienced. If the show made it to a fourth season, it would feature the crew in the briefing room discussing the story.
The FCC came down to reduce the violence in the show. All of these things altered Star Trek during its third season. In Day of the Dove, the script had swords passing through bodies, which had to be cut from the script. When Nick mentions that that episode had Chekov threatening to rape a woman, Marc said that an earlier draft had Kirk doing it.
Roddenberry was still involved in the first half of the third season, pulling strings from a distance. Marc talks about a memo Roddenberry sent to Freiberger and Justman that talked about Freiberger as if he weren’t there. Freiberger was ostracized because the network was so angry at Star Trek and Roddenberry. Though the book comes across as sad, there is light at the end, because everyone knows that Star Trek continues. Nick loves Star Trek: Continues. Nick recommends everyone read Marc’s series. Terry describes them as enlightening. Her husband reads a chapter to her every night and is finishing up season two. She has even rewatched the episode after reading about it and seeing the episode in a new light.
Marc loves the discovery and the research. He has done it with other shows as well. He mentions that the quality of the episodes changed from one episode to another, not because they weren’t trying to make great episodes, but because NBC fought them and required them to change things. Marc uses Let That Be Your Last Battlefield as an example. They wanted to change the script when they realized that there was an interracial love scene in it. John Drew Berrymore ended up quitting when he read the script changes. Although, they were trying to do a good episode everything was going wrong.
Nick mentions the easter egg Marc dropped earlier regarding the fourth book in the series. Marc admits it will feature the animated series, but much more than that. The book will be about the 1970s. There wasn’t enough in regard to the animated series to fill a book, so he expanded it to encompass the films, conventions, syndication, and more in addition to the animated series. Originally, it was supposed to be the final chapter of book three, but turned out to be so long that he decided to turn it into its own book. He shocks them with the revelation that NBC wanted the show back on the air less than a year later. Paramount said no because they were making so much money from syndication, and didn’t want to take away from it by producing a new show. Instead, they gave NBC the animated series. Terry mentions that NBC is also getting ready to produce a Dolly Parton series.
Mike states that the new book will deal with the 1970s and will include the animated series, the films, and asks if conventions will be included. Marc clarifies that it will deal with the explosion of Star Trek. Nick admits that Marc has caused him rage, whenever people mention that Star Trek’s ratings were bad. Marc states that the ratings information is in his books and he offers some new data that he’s found that shows that Star Trek performed even better than he had even reported in the earlier books. If he ever revises the books, he will include this new data, however, he’s not planning to do so any time soon. He shares that he’s meeting with CBS licensing this week to discuss the possibility of a three book set with possible exclusive supplemental content to be included that could be released in time for the fiftieth anniversary.
Marc shares some of the reactions he got from the people involved in the show regarding his series. The biggest take away that he had gotten from the guest stars was the revelation of what was going on in the other room. Through his books many of the actors and guest stars discovered the reason behind some of the things that had driven a wedge between them. Terry admits that she would love to see everyone get along. Marc wants to see Shatner and Takei hug things out.
Mike appreciated that in this latest book, we get a closer look at some of the behind the scenes stuff such as the sound editing process as well as the special effects. When asked about it, Mike admits that he put Marc in touch with Doug Grindstaff’s granddaughter regarding the interview. Nick attributes it to the G & T bump. Marc thanks Mike for it. As the books came along, he was able to expand into other aspects of the show’s production. Mike points out another section in the book, where Mike Minor hand etches every frame in order to create the web as seen in The Tholian Web. Marc sheds some more information about it. He speaks about Specter of the Gun and Sue Osborn’s contribution to the book series.
Nick asks if he lost track of time while working on the project. Marc responds that he never stopped that early in the day. Mike adds that the love and effort put into the books is there. He’s not simply stating facts, but presenting it in a very interesting way. Marc says that its a biography of a TV Show. Marc admits that he’s working on a biography for Lost In Space. He’s enjoying the discovery and the light-heartedness of Lost In Space, since Star Trek was so serious.
Terry asked what was it in the third book that he liked the most. He admits that the third book was his favorite of the three. The conflict the people went through made the project interesting and it only ramped up with each season of the show. He shares some of the stories that helped illustrate the conflict and tension they experienced. Freiberger did his best, but midway through, he had had enough and described the way the studio treated him as sadistic in an interview. A lot of shows went through this, but it was even worse for Star Trek. NBC was determined that there would not be another season and were doing everything they could to kill Star Trek, and yet, a year later, they were begging for Star Trek to return.
Nick would love to see Marc do the Marc Leonard biography. He tells them about his experience in Star Trek and how he got Marc Leonard as Sarek into his episode. They talk about Marc Leonard for a while. He, then, tells about book four. It covers the time from ’69 to ’85. He doesn’t share all of the details, but shares a portion of a story about Roddenberry had to trick Paramount in order to get his money from the studio. He and Shatner didn’t get their money until 1985. It even includes discussion of Phase II, the animated series, the Roddenberry pilots, and even includes a chapter on Space 1999 and Fred Freiberger’s role over there. They discuss Space 1999.
Nick says there should be a network that features classic science fiction television shows, like what SciFi channel should be. They talk about whether it could work, if the network would make enough money doing it. Marc says they would make enough money and it would work, but the reason they don’t do it is attributed to greed. Marc suggests that they should start the channel and those old shows could be obtained for next to nothing. Terry wonders if they can do it using Kickstarter. They discuss the possibilities of doing a scifi superstation. They could even play The Munsters, The Adams Family, and Dark Shadows. Marc suggesting talking with the people at the Saturn Awards. Nick would leave his job to work for the station. With that Saturn TV was born. Nick has an idea for a show he’d like to do. Marc has an idea for a show that he’d like to do for some of the original programming they would come up with. They are now looking for funding and will have a Kickstarter for it soon.
Terry starts to winding things up. Nick suggests that these are books you must get in hard cover. Marc rants about Kindle and the way they format the book and makes the books accessible to pirates. Getting the books directly from the publisher, Marc will personalize the book for you. Nick asks one last question about whether he’s a dog or cat person. Marc is a dog person and shares what he likes about them. He goes on to share a story about a squirrel. Nick invites him back to for a discussion of a Star Trek episode. They agree to do The Enterprise Incident. Marc decides that he will speak with Joanne Linville to see if she’d like to join them for the discussion.
Quickly, Mike asks if the Season 3 hard cover will be appearing on Amazon any time soon. Marc suspects it should be available soon. In the meantime, you can get them autographed by Marc from his website and directly from the publisher, Jacob Brown. The third book should be available on Amazon by the beginning of February. Marc is excited and will be looking into making SaturnTV happen soon. They wind up the show.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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