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This is the book Star Trek fans have been waiting for! The one and only authorized biography of Gene Roddenberry, the creative force behind the classic and increasingly popular science fiction show. 16-page insert.
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This readable biography sketches the trajectory of a man whose life might have served as the plot for one of his television dramas. The creator of Star Trek flew missions as a B-17 pilot during WW II, wrote speeches for LA's chief of police, and penned scripts for shows like Dragnet during television's Golden Age. Alexander succeeds in recreating Roddenberry's voice: As the official biographer chosen by Roddenberry, he provides correspondence written over the years to family, friends, and fans. But the author only shifts to warp speed when he discusses how Roddenberry launched the original Star Trek. The book lets Trekkers gorge themselves on the trivia of this cultural phenomenon and overhear backstage bickering. Production memos teem with such revelatory details as actors' contracts (Nimoy originally earned a fourth of Shatner's salary), casting decisions, and of course, the secret campaigns to save Star Trek (all of which Roddenberry inaugurated). Although Rodenberry's widow, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, states in the introduction that her husband wanted to be depicted ``warts and all,'' Alexander remains a friend throughout. Interviews with cast members are curiously absent and would have added depth to such incidents as the series'--and television's--first interracial kiss. According to Alexander, this met with only a single memo of protest from NBC; however, others have attested that network suits refused to let the scene be shot as originally written. To be fair, or provocative, Roddenberry's bouts of drinking, use of amphetamines, and frequent infidelities are recounted. The chance to create another Trek TV series, however, stirred him. While his bitter fights with veteran staffers marred the production, Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for seven years and remained true to its creator's optimistic belief in humanity. While this account swings too far between elegy and gossip, it successfully conveys the spirit of Roddenberry, who led us ``where no one has gone before.'' (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 100,000) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Alexander was editor of the Humanist when Roddenberry (1921-1991) chose him as his biographer. The result is a panegyric in the sharpest possible contrast to Joel Engel's Gene Roddenberry (Nonfiction Forecasts, Mar. 21). In tracing his subject's career in the Army Air Corps in WW II, as a Pan Am pilot and member of the Los Angeles Police Department, the author shows Roddenberry as a brave and adventurous man who proved to be hardworking and tenacious as well. While the original Star Trek series lasted for three years and lost money every year until 1969, when it was cancelled, by 1972 it was a huge hit in syndication. Then followed a series of movies starting in 1979 and another TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation , beginning in 1987, followed by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine . As for "warts," Alexander treats Roddenberry's compulsive womanizing as a lovable idiosyncrasy; he also presents without details a list of six science fiction writers who worked for Roddenberry on Star Trek but would no longer do so. Exhaustive but exhausting. Filmography. Photos not seen by PW. 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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