The First Star Trek Movie

Bringing the Franchise to the Big Screen, 1969–1980

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About the Book

The story of Star Trek’s resurrection between the 1969 cancellation of the original series and the 1979 release of Robert Wise’s Star Trek—The Motion Picture, has become legend and like so many other legends, it tends to get printed instead of the facts. Drawing on hundreds of contemporary news articles and primary sources not seen in decades, this book tells the true story of the first successful Star Trek revival.
After several attempts to relaunch the franchise, ST—TMP was released on a wave of prestige promotion, hype, and public frenzy unheard of for a film based on a television show. Controversy surrounded its troubled production and $44M budget, earning it a reputation at the time as the most expensive movie ever made. After a black-tie premiere in Washington, D.C., its opening in 856 North American theaters broke multiple box-office records—a harbinger of the modern blockbuster era. Despite immediate financial success, the film was panned by both critics and the public, leaving this enterprise nowhere to boldly go but down.

About the Author(s)

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer and librarian, and the head film critic for SF Weekly.

Bibliographic Details

Sherilyn Connelly
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7251-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3819-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: The Redefinition of Unwarranted 1
Prologue: Star Trek—The MacArthur Premiere 11
1969: The Network’s Knife Cares Not for the Show’s Cry 25
Star Trek Dies 25
1970–1972: What’s in Reruns Is Prologue 30
Star Trek Has Risen from the Grave 30  •  The Long Con
Begins 31
1973–1974: Choose Your Televised Pain 37
Genesis II v. Planet of the Apes 37  •  The Animated Series
Is ­Pre-Rejected by the Fans 38  •  The Animated Series Is
Barely Accepted by the Fans 41  •  Roddenberry on Tour 44
1975: Magicam to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad 49
Star Trek II Is Announced; Expectations Are Managed 49  •  Rumored Redford 53  •  Star Trek II Is Denounced; Expectations Are Mangled 55
1976: The War Within the Script, the War Without 58
Harlan Ellison v. Star Trek 58  •  The 743 Speak 59  •
The Isenberg Cometh; The Trektennial Begins 61  •
Look Now! It’s Bryant and Scott 66  •  Kaufman
Commissioned 67  •  A Log … of the Stars! 70  •
Enter Eisner 73
1977: The Battle of the Binary Star Treks 75
Captain Kirk Almost Meets John Galt 75  •  Of Cygnans
and Spiders; Kaufman Keelhauled 79  •  The Fourth Network
Awakens 84  •  Here We Are Now, Entertain Us the Way We
Tell You To 87  •  Shatner Says “See Ya Never!” 90  •
“Robot’s Return” Returns 93  •  Roddenberry Ruminates 97  •  The New Kids on the Bridge; Whither Leonard? 99  •  Collins Conferred; The Fourth Network Sees Its Shadow 103
1978: Into the Luminescent Powerfield I Go 108
Roddenberry Recaps 108  •  The Starship of the 1970s
Future 110  •  Collins Cleaved; Wise Wrangled 113  •
Star Trek—The Massive Presser 114  •  Magicam Can’t,
but Abel’s Able 119  •  To Boldly Pump the Brakes 120
1979: Will You Take My $44M Hand? 127
Star Trek—The Marketing Problem, Part I: The Nerve of
Steel 127  •  Star Trek—The Marketing Problem,
Part II: The Purview of John Askew 130  •  Star Trek—
The Marketing Problem, Part III: Set Printers to “Tilt” 134  •  Star Trek—The Marketing Problem, Part IV: Brrap Brrap
Pew Pew! 140  •  Star Trek—The Marketing Problem,
Part V: ­Ready-to-Spacewear, Everywhere 144  •  Star Trek—
The Marketing Problem, Part VI: A Wagon of Trailers Full
of Stars 148  •  Star Trek—The Manifest Procession, Part I: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida 154  •  Star Trek—The Manifest Procession, Part II: Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas 160  •  Star Trek—The Manifest Procession,
Part III: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota 162  •
Star Trek—The Manifest Procession, Part IV: South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah and Arizona 164  •  Star Trek—
The Manifest Procession, Part V: Washington, Oregon, Nevada
and California 167  •  The Shakedown, Part I: Acceleration 170
1980: The Vulcan Goodbye 177
The Shakedown, Part II: Deceleration 177  •  One Brief, Shining Sequel Set in … Camelot! 179  •  A Moving Analog Image
Transferred from a Magnetic Medium 182  •  V’ger’s Gait 183
Epilogue: Star Trek—The Mathematical Phantom 185
Chapter Notes 193
Bibliography 209
Index 221

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Connelly’s writing is so lively and littered with humor”—Psychobabble