That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

    Jun 16, 2005
    Capital Regional District
    I don't have much to add to the 1972-73 season, although it is nice to see more television, but I did want to point out that Regenesis IOTL is one of the fairly few excellent Canadian TV shows ever made (including a pre-Juno Ellen Page in the first season).

    Out of curiosity what's going on in foreign television and movies? I'd love to see some butterflies resulting in, say, a French New Wave influenced TV show leading to an American remake of it :).

    Edit: Whoo! Top of page 18. A small request: can you include the That Wacky Redhead wiki page in your signature or in posts? It was faster to scroll through page 17 to find the link than it was to search it and I like having a handy reference guide around… obviously, given that I made the original directory :).
  2. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

    Feb 22, 2006
    Collegium Vexillarum
    Ah good. A nice bite of an update to go with the drink

    Is it me or is US TV in this era starting to get good? ;)
  3. Kalvan Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2010

    No Happy Days probably means no Wonder Years, China Beach, That 70s Show or Everyone Hates Chris.

    So, is Burce going back to school to learn the Seven Animal Styles, or are they going to go with Wing Chung to start with (Despite it not being any sort of temple style in the mid-Ninteenth Century) and have Kwai Chiang Caine "develop" Jeet Kun Do over the course of the show?

    What about the "last gasp" of broadcast Westerns including Father Murphy, Gunshy, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  4. joea64 Unabashed Edwardian Era fanboy

    Feb 14, 2007
    A few miles south of Henry House Hill
    I'm mildly surprised that Happy Days doesn't get going in this TL. I don't know if the '50's nostalgia craze was sparked by the show or vice versa, but the Baby Boomer generation is probably going to want to see some shows about its childhood years (and then the next generation will, and so on), so I should still expect a series of "nostalgia" shows in the years to come. Also, considering that OTL both Ron Howard and Henry Winkler have become noted directors/producers, how will the non-existence of Happy Days impact their careers? (I already knew there probably wouldn't be a Laverne and Shirley, at least not in its OTL format, as Penny Marshall already has commitments.)

    And by the way, people wanting to express in a pithy fashion the moment at which an entertainment franchise has reached its sell-by date will have to find a new phrase, since Fonzie will probably never jump that shark...
  5. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Apr 20, 2005
    People may be assuming too much about ttl's Happy Days - so far this is very parallel to otl for Happy Days. Could still gain repreive after Love,American Style showig ala OTL. I was just hoping for a direct greenlight from Desilu, but they can't produce everything. Speaking of which - having Lee in The Warrior may butterfly his early death...
  6. TxCoatl1970 Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2009
    Out of left field as usual

    Very interesting. Kung Fu could have been loaded with a lot of commentary about the invisible but key role the Chinese laborers played in the Intercontinental Railroad getting built, etc.
    Being an Orientophile from way way back, anything giving Kung Fu more authenticity or input from Bruce Lee makes me salivate but YMMV.

    What might be tasty is a bunch of the wuxia film directors in Hong Kong directing episodes might be a tasty and affordable POD for Desilu to work with, but whether Lucille Ball or any other producers'd go for it, how well they'd play for American TV audiences, who knows.

    Since you've butterflied away Nixon going to China, could there be more impetus to work with Taiwanese/HK directors getting their entree to America via Kung Fu fifteen years earlier? :eek::D:eek::D
  7. vultan Defying Gravity

    Dec 12, 2008
    Somewhere Only We Know
    Oh heck yes. Great way to start an update. I practically grew up on Newhart.:cool:

    Hmm... along with me wondering where this goes, I wonder what happens to Roddenberry's myriad of other ideas that he had for TV shows back in the day (you know, the kind of stuff that became Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict). Does Gene become an early Joss Whedon (;)) or JJ Abrams, having a billion different shows having aired by the end of the 1970's?

    Also, Bruce Lee getting his own show is all kinds of cool. Keep it up, Brainbin!:)
  8. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Jun 20, 2009
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    That's my thinking, too. IMO, some of the success of "AitF" OTL was precisely because the Boomers identified with Mike (or, less, Gloria). "Happy Days" very much plays into nostalgia for their teen years. Being the biggest demographic... (It's also why pony cars & muscle cars sold so well.:rolleyes:)
    I'd say they'd both be less successful in the '70s, but Howard was well-established after "Andy Griffith", so he won't disappear. Does this mean he gets the "Eat My Dust" deal sooner? (Hopefully with a better script?:rolleyes:)

    IDK about Winkler; could be he never makes it. Which does mean one of my favorite bits in Mad never happens.:eek: ("I have enough cool to equalize any temparature.":cool::cool:) If he doesn't, this means his production company may not (doesn't?) get started, which IIRC impacts "MacGyver".:eek: (Don't butterfly it out!:mad: Tho if you can persuade Richard to keep doing the VO, you'd make me happy.;) {Using his full name is a PITA.:p Unless you don't know he's not worth $6 million.:p})

    It also means no "Joanie Loves Chachi".:cool: (Nor the Korean fail.:p)

    It suggests Morita doesn't do "Karate Kid":(...unless he works "Warrior".:cool:
    Who knew we actually needed one before that?;)
  9. Falkenburg CMII & Bar Monthly Donor

    Jan 9, 2011
    If Bruce Lee is obligated to 'The Warrior', what effect does that have on his films?
    Presumably The Big Boss went ahead but what about Fist of Fury?

    IIRC, production of FoF would have overlapped that of 'The Warrior' (although it might just have squeaked by).

    Enter The Dragon must almost certainly be butterflied (either aborted or delayed).

    I really hope not. Maybe Warners' involvement ensured the film went ahead?

    My concern is not primarily because of Lee but because it would, perhaps, stall Jackie Chans' association with Golden Harvest.

    Maybe Lee could ensure that some Hong Kong performers gain preference for the stunt work on 'The Warrior'?

  10. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Jul 26, 2009
    The British Empire
    First things first: Thank you all so much for 50,000 views! I won't say that I never imagined it, because I am prone to flights of fancy; but I never thought it would actually happen! :D And thank you all for your comments in response to my latest update!

    Thank you. And in this age of Moonshot Lunacy and optimism for the future, nostalgia for the 1950s - that most repressive of decades, a very hard sell to the enduring hippie movement - won't be catching on without the right catalyst.

    Though I'm obviously aware of the program, I've never actually seen it or really have any idea what it's about. I had a feeling that you might, though. Glad to see that I'm right. And I thought the name had a little more punch than the OTL Genesis II.

    That's an excellent question, although most adaptations tended to be movies, based on existing pictures. This has always been an oddly common trend among French films, with prominent OTL examples including Three Men and a Baby (the #1 film of 1987, directed by one Leonard Nimoy), and The Birdcage (adapted from La Cage Aux Folles, a veritable institution). That said, if you (for that matter, any of you) have any suggestions or links to potential ideas, please feel free to provide them. My comprehension of the French language is good enough that I should be able to get the gist of it (at least, better than those meddling executives would!).

    Done and done. And thanks again for blazing the trail. I built the directory on the wiki page from the template you sent me, adding the few additional entries I've written since then. And though I was forced to delete that great Falkenburg quote (sorry about that, Falkenburg), I even have room in my signature for links to any other wiki pages for That Wacky Redhead which have yet to be created...

    Well, if you're watching "The Bob Newhart Show", I imagine that you must be drinking an awful lot ;)

    American television definitely hit its stride in this era, ITTL and IOTL, yes.

    And, needless to say, no "Laverne and Shirley", no "Mork and Mindy", and no "Joanie Loves Chachi" (not to mention the long-forgotten "Blansky's Beauties" and, arguably, "Out of the Blue")... to say nothing of the many atrocious cartoon spinoffs. And probably no "Family Matters", either. That show was essentially "Happy Days" for the 1990s. Indeed, much of what would eventually become the Miller-Boyett/TGIF lineup would suffer greatly. That show may have been even more influential than All in the Family :eek:

    [FONT=&quot] Lee's character will employ the martial arts that he himself developed, though I'm on the fence as to whether he'll have been "taught" them at some fictional, mystical school, or whether he adapts the techniques he was taught in response to the challenges of the Wild West. I definitely see them remaining as vague as possible on his abilities and skills, to avoid writing themselves into a corner.[/FONT]

    The Western isn't totally dead; like the Variety show about a decade later, someone will periodically attempt to resuscitate the genre. But NBC was the last network to have a major "block" of Westerns, all of which (including "Bonanza", the longest-running primetime show on the air at the time, and #1 for three straight seasons in the mid-1960s) were cancelled simultaneously. This collective abruptness allows for the sense of "the end of the Old West" to emerge. (It should also be noted that both "The Virginian" and "The High Chaparral" have actually run longer ITTL than IOTL, and they'll likely do better in syndication as a result).

    You make some very salient observations, as usual, and I'll respond to you as if "Happy Days" were going ahead without a hitch ITTL. For one thing, you're very right that there would not be a "Laverne and Shirley", expressly created as a vehicle for Penny Marshall (Garry Marshall's sister) IOTL. But as for Henry Winkler... I've mentioned before that casting is the most ephemeral aspect of television production, and we're now more than five years out from the POD. I can say with certainty that Winkler will not be involved with "Happy Days", in whatever form it might take ITTL. I expect a backlash. Swapping out Nixon for Humphrey is one thing, but getting rid of the Fonz? Like I said, I'm not writing a utopia :p

    Absolutely true. I still miss that site. There were some really great observations on there. Can't even get to it from either, because of the nefarious "robots.txt". But don't get me started...

    Way to let the cat out of the bag, Glen. Yes, you guys, he's right. Worry not; there's still a definite chance for "Happy Days" to find a place on the television landscape at this point :)

    I wouldn't bet against it. It'll be interesting, seeing an older Bruce Lee. Dying young, as is so often the case, really preserved his mystique.

    Good to see you again, txcoatl! You can definitely expect railroad workers to play a key role in the series.

    Also glad that you think my plot developments are "out of left field". At least I'm keeping somebody on their toes!

    Maybe. There is definitely the sense that Lee is going to have to tailor his martial arts and philosophy to American tastes, and create a more "syncretic" or "fusion" style. Hong Kong and Taiwanese audiences are going to watch "The Way of the Warrior" anyway, so the desire to appeal to them will not be quite so strong as you might be hoping. But there's certainly no reason not to engage them.

    When you say that, do you actually mean "The Bob Newhart Show", the 1970s sitcom in which Newhart plays a Chicago psychologist in an office surrounded by quirky clients? Or do you mean "Newhart", the 1980s sitcom in which Newhart plays an innkeeper in a small town in Vermont, surrounded by quirky townspeople? Or do you mean both? Because that was really vague and confusing :p

    Don't you worry, we'll be following Roddenberry's exploits; he, too, has to escape the long shadow cast by Star Trek.

    Thank you very much. I'll do my best :)

    The 1970s were also the last hurrah of drive-in restaurants and movies.

    Yes, he was - as a child actor. Even in the early 1970s, the success rate of child actors transitioning into adult careers was perilously low.

    He won't. Sorry :(

    All right, phx, this is where I have to put my foot down. Everyone is required by law to refer to him as Richard Dean Anderson, in full, at all times. I don't want anyone to snitch on you, but I can't be held responsible for their actions ;)

    Apparently that was grossly exaggerated, and invented by some wag who happened to notice the similarity after the fact.

    Pat Morita wasn't really involved with "Happy Days" for very long IOTL anyway. He left after one season and then stayed gone for almost the entire run. He only came back right before The Karate Kid anyway. On the whole, I would call that a wash.

    Tough question. He could always make movies during the off-season, but his primary responsibility from mid-1972 onward is going to be to "The Way of the Warrior". It's nothing new for Lee, who has television experience, and obviously he was willing to make the sacrifice IOTL.

    Well, there's certainly a large enough Asian-American community living in Los Angeles. Bringing stunt people in from Hong Kong will be difficult to justify. And Lee might compromise - as long as Asian-Americans are getting work, why quibble and insist on actual Asians? In fact, I imagine that doing such a thing might result in complaints from the local Asian-American communities.

    The next update - our final look at Star Trek for quite some time - will be ready in a few days.
  11. Falkenburg CMII & Bar Monthly Donor

    Jan 9, 2011
    No worries. For everything there is a season. ;)

    That sounds intriguing. :D

    Possibly a very marketable fusion school of martial arts could grow from this.
    Rattlesnake Style. Buffalo Stance. Sidewinder Strike. Swooping Vulture.

    The Cactus Kung Fu School. "Helping you deal with all the Pricks in life." :p

    ITTL, though, Lee will be the Star and may feel more committed to the project.
    Especially if he can influence the fighting style and choreography.

    Depends on how much of a stake Bruce feels he has in the Show, I suppose.
    The skill levels and work ethic (not to mention willingness to take hard knocks) of Hong Kong practitioners are legendary.

    'Insisting' on a (largely) HK stunt team would be more a case of holding out for the best, rather than simply 'ethnic nepotism'.

  12. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Jun 20, 2009
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    My mom loved "Bob Newhart". (And we only had the one TV...;) tho I wasn't as impressed.) She was also a big fan of the Darryl & Darryl Show (which, thankfully, I never had to watch.:eek:)
    Let me heartily second that. (I should've said as much myself.:eek:)
    I could (maybe) see it needing HK stunt players, since Hollywood stuntmen really weren't ready yet for martial arts stunt fights. It could give Jackie his chance. IMO, it's likely to give him an earlier-than-OTL shot at a Hollywood film.
    Huh. I wouldn't have thought the cultural change was so large yet. Enough "Happy Days" isn't a big success, but not enough to keep it off-air.
    I can't think of a TV adaptation. After "Breathless" (which had Valerie Kaprisky:cool: & a reprint of the Surfer's debut, so I'll overlook Richard Gere), "The Driver" (IIRC), & "Birdcage", there seem to've been none. (BTW, if the film was supposed to be set around 1960, the original Surfer would have been too late anyhow; that reprint was about 15yr later...)
    For me, this era (up thru '81 debuts) saw some of the best TV ever made.
    That saddens me a little (tho I confess, never a particular fan).
    If that means we're spared Steve Urkel & the Jaleel White Vanity Show, so much the better.:rolleyes: (Never a fan of the original, but looking at the WP page, it looks like it could've been good, if they'd stayed on-message...)
    I agree on the first point. On the second...:eek: I can't imagine anybody else in the role, myself.
    Quite right. For me, the question is really the same one as for Jackie Chan: does he become a "serious actor", or is he more/less locked into the action films? Or, perhaps more accurately, does Hollywood allow him to be anything else...?:rolleyes:
    As I recall it, OTL "Kung Fu" shied away from any real social commentary. I don't think Bruce & Lucy would be so shy about it. (In particular when Chinese laborers were getting the most dangerous work...:eek: It's said, for CPR, there's one dead Chinese for every mile of track.:eek:)
    TBH, I'm not seeing the connection.:confused:
    It was. It is. Am I wrong & he did nothing between "Andy Griffith" & "Happy Days"? I got the sense he was still working, if not real steadily.
    As noted, I'd be sorry about that.:eek:
    I'm not worried. I have one or two powerful friends.:p (And a strong claim for mistaken identity.:D)
    :mad: Another urban legend.
    Funny, I felt like he'd been there all along. Which might be because I only casually watched...
    Community is one thing, trained stunt players something quite else. How many Asian-American stuntmen were there? How many were trained in martial arts stunt fighting? Not a lot, I wager.
  13. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Jul 26, 2009
    The British Empire
    It's very possible. Lee himself devised the Old West setting, feeling that it was the only one appropriate for the kind of show he wanted to make. Obviously he had an admiration for their style. We'll probably have the obligatory Barroom Brawl in every episode, in which his character deftly dispatches the assorted saloon-goers. He'll also have to very agile and flexible, to dodge gunslingers.

    I won't even dignify that with a response :rolleyes:

    He'll have to sell the idea to the man controlling the purse-strings: Bob Justman. He's not quite so indulgent as Herb Solow was, though Lee does have one powerful bargaining chip: ratings. "The Way of the Warrior" is going to finish in the Top 30 for the 1972-73 season, Desilu's highest-rated show. With that taken into account, Solow might persuade Justman to give Lee more of what he wants.

    I never really watched either one all that much, actually. Popular and critical consensus has it that the first one is better, though.

    Thank you :)

    Most of what people remember him for was actually done pre-Hollywood, including all of his most elaborate stunts. He became popular to Western audiences based on that reputation, which he utterly failed to live up to when he started making Hollywood movies (probably because Hollywood has much tighter restrictions and standards than Hong Kong does).

    We'll be discussing societal changes in the next several updates. We're finally shifting gears!

    Your cut-off date is way too early. The 1980s have also produced some of the all-time greats.

    You're too old to appreciate Urkel, I'm afraid. For people in the right age group (myself included), Urkel was the Fonzie of his time.

    And how can anyone hate this? :D

    Don't forget, the role was originally a minor bit part. The odds of Winkler being cast in the role are negligible at this point.

    Seriously? You would want Jackie Chan to become a serious actor? He would probably be even worse at it than Schwarzenegger or Stallone, and that's saying something! Besides, he has never indicated a desire to go "legit" IOTL, so why ITTL?

    There will definitely be social commentary in "The Way of the Warrior", continuing in the vein of Star Trek.

    Just making a neutral observation.

    He may well have been working, but he still hadn't escaped his type casting. That's an important distinction.

    Most of the time, the guy running Arnold's was an Italian-American named Al Delvecchio.

    We'll have to see if Bruce Lee can win with that argument.

    I hope to have the next update - the final production appendix for Star Trek - ready in the next couple of days, but it should definitely be ready this weekend. Until then!
  14. Kalvan Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2010
    True, but it produced some all time stinkers, like Dad's a Dog, American Girl, and Thicke of the Night, the utter copycattedness of Family Ties and Growing Pains (Just switching around the gender and birth order {but not the respective political stances} of the teenage children), plus terribly overated Made-for-TV Movies that tried to substitute soundtrack for plot.

    And he jumped his shark when he turned into Stefan Urkel.

    Are you calling his interviews in Kung Fu/Tai Chi and Black Belt in the wake of The Forbidden Kingdom and the First Emperor trilogy complete lies?

    (Okay, The Forbidden Kingdom, instead of being a straight-up version of Journey to the West was derailed into being The Karate Kid meets Warriors of Virtue, but that appears to have been the fault of the casting director being related to Shia LeBeof, and forcing the screenwriters to write around it. But his First Emperor trilogy was the real deal!)

  15. joea64 Unabashed Edwardian Era fanboy

    Feb 14, 2007
    A few miles south of Henry House Hill
    I just had a rather horrifying realization as a result of something Brainbin said in his most recent reply. He came right out and said that Henry Winkler won't get his big break ITTL with Happy Days. That means Winkler, if he doesn't get a break somewhere else, won't be able to establish himself as a director/producer later.

    Follow this chain here:

    1) No MacGyver, at least not in its OTL format (Winkler was the executive producer on that show).
    2) That means Richard Dean Anderson doesn't hit it big as MacGyver.
    3) If Stargate the movie ever gets made, and then later turned into a TV series, though that's way, WAY out of the self-imposed limit Brainbin has set - I believe he still plans to wrap the TL up at Lucy's retirement in 1986 as foreshadowed/lampshaded in the OP - that means Anderson will never be Jack O'Neill.

    Oh, Brainbin - what have you done?!?! :(:eek::eek:
  16. vultan Defying Gravity

    Dec 12, 2008
    Somewhere Only We Know
    Wouldn't decades worth of butterflies in the entertainment industry (ESPECIALLY in science fiction programming) probably preemptively kill off Stargate anyway? Heck, less than three years' worth of butterflies in my timeline necessitated giving the original Stargate movie a completely different cast.
  17. ChucK Y Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    St. Louis, MO
    I think that far more challenging than butterflying away OTL stars and hit shows will be creating alternate hits, with stars that are unknowns IOTL. Pop culture success in any TL is so contingent on low-probability events that it would be hard to make an ATL feel plausible.
  18. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Apr 20, 2005
    Well, Brainbin, sorry to be your Devil's Advocate again - honestly, I was just curious as to what alternate history Winkler might have absent being the Fonz.

    Problem is this - Gerry Marshall will still be involved in TTL's Happy Days. He is the one who wanted the Fonzie character as a foil to Ritchie. Here's the thing - Marshall totally planned for this to be some sort of muscle-bound Italian guy, but despite this, Henry Winkler still auditioned for it (implying he went after this), and his performance completely won over and changed Gerry Marshall's whole concept for Fonzie. So here's the thing - unless you get Henry Winkler a serious acting gig that would interfere him auditioning for this show, I think you get OTL Fonzie. Now, as mentioned, a lot of things can happen given the time of the POD, but I think this is something you are going to have to want to do and not something that flows naturally from the POD. So, what is the story of Henry Winkler ITTL? He's going to need one...
  19. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Jun 20, 2009
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    I did not know that.
    We both know it wouldn't be a Western without one.:p (Make-work project for stuntmen, all too often.:rolleyes:)
    I think it was, but never watched the later one, so...
    I won't argue that. (Safety standards alone would put restrictions on him.:eek:) I'll also say I've never been a huge fan of his films, just an admirer of his ability.
    I'd be interested in knowing which ones you have in mind. After "HSB" until "West Wing", I don't recall one. (I'll admit my recall is far from perfect.:eek:)
    Fair enough. (It'd get butterflied out in any TL of mine, you can bet.;))
    And how can anyone hate this? :D
    I do recall that.;) And it was his casting IMO that changed it.
    I don't. He did. I only ask, "Does he get the chance?"
    I've heard he wanted "straight" roles. (Don't ask where...:eek:)
    Noted, & a fair point.
    Never made a strong impression on me...;)
    Your causality chain is correct as far as it goes. Except: RDA was an established actor before "MacGyver", so he could get cast for a similar show. He could also get cast for a different show, which makes him a big enough star to do *"Stargate". Even if there's no "Stargate" movie TTL, the idea of wormholes & such isn't unknown to SF, so *"Stargate" could still happen: "Sliders", frex? Or At the Narrow Passage? (Doubtless there are other variations.)
    Well said. Think about this, too. The producers of "The Godfather" didn't want the cast Coppola did. They did extensive screen-testing. Who did they end up with? The cast Coppola had asked for from the start...:rolleyes::p
    With breath bated.;)

    One other thing: Have you thought at all about the shows that would survive TTL that didn't OTL, & what happens to them & their stars? I stumbled on this, & it made me wonder if it, or shows like it, would last TTL. (This one doesn't strike me as a survivor anyhow, but...) To be clear, I'm not suggesting you reconstruct the entire TV schedule every year,:eek::eek: just if you had any passing comments.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
    Electric Monk likes this.
  20. Threadmarks: Appendix A, Part VI: Star Trek, the Show That Wouldn't Die

    Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Jul 26, 2009
    The British Empire
    Appendix A, Part VI: Star Trek, The Show That Wouldn't Die

    And here we are with the sixth, and final, production appendix for Star Trek. This is the second of two "epilogue" updates with regards to the development, history, and legacy of Star Trek ITTL. (As always, editorial notes and comparison points to OTL will be highlighted in RED and placed in brackets.) This post will chronicle the beginnings of the show's legacy, and the long shadow it will cast over everything that comes thereafter; or, what I like to call the "TV Tropes approach"


    "Fans love to argue whether Star Trek is about the Big Three or the Big Four. But I have to say that both groups are wrong. The real command crew behind the many adventures of the Starship Enterprise are four men and one woman – the Big Five, if you will. And no, they're not the men and woman you think they are – though Nichelle Nichols is a very lovely lady, without question."

    David Gerrold, The World of Star Trek, 1973

    In 1972, one of the biggest hits on television was Star Trek. This may seem peculiar to the uninitiated, knowing that the show had ended the previous year. But the series had become a smash success in syndication; much like another Desilu production, I Love Lucy, did over a decade earlier, and had remained ever since. It helped that the sale of Star Trek into syndication had coincided with the enactment of the Prime Time Access Rule, which gave the network affiliates one full hour between the national news and the beginning of primetime, to schedule as they saw fit. This hour was the most valuable for the network affiliates, as it had the most viewers of any timeslot under their direct control. (Even IOTL, the present two highest-rated syndicated series – "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" air from 7:00 to 8:00.)

    Summer reruns of the series had consistently performed very well during the show's original run, with excellent demographic retention, to boot. Starting in the fall of 1971, all 135 syndicated episodes were "stripped" into a 27-week, five-days-a-week rotation. The first-season episodes, never widely seen during their original run, were rediscovered; considered hidden gems, they met with widespread approval, despite their obvious limitations. Ratings were gangbusters, and by the beginning of the 1972-73 season, Star Trek could be seen at 7:00 PM in nearly 200 markets across the United States. (There are 210 media markets in the USA - the largest of which is New York City, and the surrounding area; and the smallest of which is Glendive, a small town in Eastern Montana: population 6,300 in 1970, and even smaller today.) Under the terms of a previous agreement between Desilu and NBC, those stations owned and operated by the Peacock Network were given the first opportunity to buy the syndication rights to Star Trek within their specific markets; many of them would indeed avail themselves of that opportunity. The same agreement forbade stations owned and operated by the other two networks (ABC and CBS) from buying the syndication rights to the series, unless there were no other interested buyers within their market. These two clauses, taken together, resulted in the majority of stations airing Star Trek having an affiliation with NBC. This arrangement had become so prevalent that advertising promoting "Star Trek at 7:00 weeknights on NBC" was produced by the network, and shown nationwide.

    Fans of Star Trek were myriad, and were known for their devotion; they had became popularly known as "Trekkies", and would devise many novel ways of celebrating their fandom. (Star Trek fans are more numerous, more diverse, and more mainstream than their OTL counterparts at this time. The atmosphere isn't nearly as conducive to an elitist "hardcore", and therefore the terms "Trekker" or "Trekkist" will never emerge ITTL.) Perhaps the most notorious
    and certainly the most elaborate of these, were the Star Trek Conventions: massive congregations of fans in a single space, in a short period of time (usually a few days at most), featuring a wide variety of events: these included costume contests, scene re-enactments, script readings, re-watching reels of episodes, and, above all, meeting with the cast and crew. They were already a regular occurrence during the show's original run, with many of the people behind Star Trek actively participating in the larger and more centrally-located events. (The development of Star Trek conventions were more organic ITTL, with promotional events gradually evolving into full-fledged conventions. The early OTL lore of some yahoo deciding to throw something together and receiving thousands of unexpected visitors will not be present here.) Some of them took to these conventions more than others: David Gerrold, himself a fan before joining the writing staff (and who, accordingly, was sometimes described as "the first Trekkie"), found himself serving as the primary liaison between the production team and the fans. (The same position he held IOTL, more or less; though obviously, given his longer and more integral association with the program ITTL, it carries a lot more weight.) Of the cast members, James "Scotty" Doohan embraced the conventions most enthusiastically, always happy to meet with fans, and eager to entertain with song and story. (Just as IOTL.) His rapport with the fandom no doubt contributed to the hotly contested notion of Star Trek as being about the Big Four, rather than the Big Three. (Along with Scotty's more prominent role ITTL, though they obviously don't have that perspective.) From very early on, these congregations would attract people in very large numbers. The most successful of the early conventions, held during the show's original run (though just barely), was the "Summer of Star Trek" Convention, which took place on June 25-27, 1971, just one week prior to the airing of the series finale in July. The entire cast and crew was present at the event in Los Angeles, attended by tens of thousands of people. Among the special guests were Doctor Who actors Jon Pertwee and Connie Booth, whose own series would begin airing stateside in September, in the timeslot being vacated by Star Trek.

    But conventions were far from the only means fans had of expressing their appreciation. Fan literature was ridiculously common, with newsletters and fan magazines very widely disseminated. These would typically contain articles discussing episodes and characters, editorials on the quality and direction of the show (while it was still running), and essays on its legacy, and on the completed story arcs for various characters and events (after it had finished). Fan art was also commonplace, with subjects ranging from head shots of the characters, to re-creations of famous scenes, to more speculative drawings of events mentioned but never explicitly shown on the series. Many of the more talented artists would even hawk their wares, often at Star Trek conventions; though they would have to be discreet doing so, to avoid flouting copyright laws. Desilu, in turn, did their best to maintain a veneer of plausible deniability.

    And then there was fan fiction. The concept was actually an ancient one (later revisions of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest surviving work of literature, are in fact fan fiction, loosely speaking), but it was Star Trek that re-defined the term for the modern, copyright-bound society, finishing the work started by Sherlock Holmes. Fan fiction writers relatively young and disproportionately female (Fan fiction has always been a female-dominated venture, which has informed many popular trends therein. Not that men don't write fan fiction, of course.) tended to use the device to explore alternative interpretations of their beloved characters, or more notoriously to insert representatives (or avatars) of themselves into the Star Trek universe to share adventures with the Enterprise crew. These characters, generally speaking, were all of the following: improbably young; female; attractive, often in a very peculiar way; possessed of unbelievable skills or talents; and either related to or the romantic interest of Kirk, Spock, Bones, or Scotty. Their ilk came to be known as "Mary Sues" after a fan fiction author named Paula Smith wrote a satirical story featuring such a character by that name in 1973. (This is the exact origin of the term "Mary Sue" IOTL. I kept the name because Smith no doubt disliked it, and may well have nursed such a grudge against it for some time perhaps even going back before the POD. Note that, IOTL, the "Mary Sue" type can be found in fan fiction of all works, not just Star Trek, and is usually known for traits analogous to the ones described above. In the early 1970s, many "Mary Sue" characters were known for tragic deaths, typically in the form of heroic sacrifices; but this trait is much more rare today.)

    Just as controversial as the "Mary Sue" phenomenon was the tendency by many authors to presuppose traits
    or relationships that were not said to exist in canon. In particular, the notion of a homosexual subtext between Captain James T. Kirk and his First Officer, Mr. Spock, had dogged both characters almost from the very beginning; though discussion about the topic was given the intolerance of such relationships in the era highly guarded. But subscribers to this theory were highly tenacious, and it continued to simmer, finally boiling over once the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973. Even once it became acceptable to advocate the theory out loud, however, it met with strong opposition; many were insistent that Kirk and Spock were simply good friends. Fiction concerning the relationship between Kirk and Spock thereafter had to be classified as being about the friendship between them, or "Kirk&Spock", or the romantic love between them, or "Kirk/Spock". The slash representing this interpretation quickly came to define it, with the word "slash" becoming a shorthand for a depiction, or even interpretation, of romantic love between them, with adherents becoming known as "slashers". (Yes, IOTL, the term "slash fiction", meaning "contains gay relationships", literally originates from that slash between Kirk and Spock. It demonstrates how profoundly influential Star Trek has been on the core concepts of fandom.)

    A far more benign, though just as fiercely debated, pastime among the fans was deciding which of the 135 or so episodes of Star Trek represented the show's very best. Polls were very common throughout the early 1970s, and many yielded similar, or even identical, results. Below is a list of the ten most frequently appearing episodes on "best-of" lists:

    • "The City on the Edge of Forever"
    • "Amok Time"
    • "The Trouble with Tribbles"
    • "Journey to Babel"
    • "The Enterprise Incident"
    • "Joanna"
    • "Yesteryear"
    • "The Sleepers of Selene"
    • "The Borderland"
    • "These Were the Voyages"
    (Only the first two of those episodes are made in substantially the same form as IOTL. The next three are superficially similar, though with moderate differences, mostly for the better. All subsequent episodes were not made IOTL, though "Yesteryear" loosely resembles the animated series episode of the same name. Among those episodes that just missed the cut: "Balance of Terror", "Mirror, Mirror", "The Doomsday Machine", "The Tholian Web", and "Bondage and Freedom". Unlike IOTL, "The City on the Edge of Forever" is not widely regarded as the best episode of the series; the greater diversity in subject matter of those most acclaimed episodes hamper any consensus, but "These Were The Voyages", by virtue of being a suitably grand finale, probably gets the overall nod.)

    Even a show as beloved as Star Trek was not without flaws. A few episodes were generally considered flawed to the point of having no redeeming qualities, and the five that appeared most often on "worst-of" lists are as follows:

    • "The Alternative Factor"
    • "Catspaw"
    • "A Private Little War"
    • "The Paradise Syndrome"
    • "The Savage Syndrome"
    (All of the first four episodes were made in substantially the same form as IOTL; the fifth was never made. Note that "The Alternative Factor", in this editor's opinion the only real clunker of the first season, was ruined by miscasting: the original actor for Lazarus did not report for work, and the actress chosen as Lt. Masters was black; thus the planned romance subplot between them was scrapped, with nothing to fill the void. Unlike IOTL with "Spock's Brain" – never produced ITTL there is no universally agreed-upon "Worst Episode Ever".)

    And then there were the people actively involved with the making of Star Trek, all of whom would spend the rest of their lives dealing with the long shadow that its legacy would cast over them. Some of them would do so with more flair than others, of course. In retrospect, with hindsight being 20/20, many of them would have very different opinions about their lives and their impact on popular culture than they did in the early 1970s, as it suddenly became clear that Star Trek would be much more than a five-year mission for them

    Leonard Nimoy spent most of late 1971 in rehab for his alcoholism, hoping to turn his life around after his tumultuous years on Star Trek. Mr. Spock, who had won him three Emmy awards, was the most iconic on the program, and Nimoy was very ambivalent about his success. Though he admired the ideals of the series, and the depth and appeal of his character, he was not Spock. After his stint in rehab had ended, he sought solace and spiritual guidance in his faith. (As Nimoy has done throughout his life IOTL. It seemed only logical that he would do so ITTL, after having hit rock bottom.) The one temporal activity that had stirred his passions in recent years had been directing, and he opted to continue with that, rather than acting, once he got clean. (Simple cause-and-effect: he gets into directing earlier, he decides to stick with it. His relative youth
    he is only 40 years old in 1971 combined with this being the height of the New Hollywood Era helps.) He managed to get some assignments on other Desilu shows, thanks to his close association with Solow and Justman; and he soon discovered that he had a real knack for comedy. (As he does IOTL. What does it mean, exact change?)

    DeForest Kelley entered into semi-retirement. With great reluctance, due to his personal shyness, he did participate in the convention circuit, largely to pad his nest egg and pay for the additional creature comforts. In contrast to the incredible turmoil facing some of his former castmates, he took great pride in his peaceful and serene life, and was known to brag that he was "alive and well and living in the valley with the very same wife". (He often made this boast IOTL as well – he remained married to his beloved wife Carolyn, till death they did part.) As was true during the run of the series, he remained on good terms with the cast and crew of Star Trek, refusing to participate in the rather vicious gossip and rumours clouding the rest of the major players.

    James Doohan embraced the convention circuit like none other. His acting career was effectively over with the end of Star Trek, for he,
    like so many of his castmates, had become profoundly typecast. To his surprise, though, he was offered work – in his native Canada; the CBC had invited him to host an informative series about space exploration (Think Cosmos, but on a lower budget, and with a much stronger emphasis on present and potential future means of space travel. Moonshot Lunacy in action.), and even offered him a flexible schedule to maintain his US residence and continue his convention rounds. This was not enough, however, to prevent the breakdown of his second marriage, which ended in divorce in 1973. (It ended in 1972 IOTL – I'm going to allow that being Mrs. Scotty had more allure ITTL.) Doohan was also able to sway the court of public opinion against William Shatner; with his vividly-told horror stories, he served as something of a star witness for the prosecution. The feud between the two Canadians became the stuff of legend.

    Nichelle Nichols, a double minority – black and female – was contacted by NASA, up to that point a white man's club. They invited her to participate in minority recruitment efforts, a task she handled with aplomb. (She also served in this role IOTL. We'll see the fruits of her labour soon enough.) She served on several committees promoting diversity and racial integration, optimistic that she could, in some small way, work to continue the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man she had known personally, and deeply admired. (He had convinced her to remain on Star Trek, IOTL and ITTL.) Her awareness of her position as a role model for young black women precluded several of the opportunities presented to her: Playboy had published nudes of Nichols, taken earlier in her career, and had even invited her to return; though she quickly rebuffed this obvious publicity stunt. (Yes, Nichols really did pose for nudes in the early-to-mid-1960s, which can easily be found on the internet.) She also declined the offer to star in many Blaxploitation films, as she personally found the genre abhorrent.

    George Takei was perhaps the most successful of the entire cast in the early 1970s – with the proviso that his achievements were in a very different occupation from the one for which he was known. It was fitting, given that his career trajectory matched that of the Governor of California, former B-movie actor Ronald Reagan. Takei served as a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention, re-nominating the incumbent President and Vice-President on that party’s ticket. (Takei was chosen as an alternate delegate IOTL; his greater fame serves as a more robust springboard for his political advocacy, and it also helps that the Democrats hold the White House.) He also campaigned vigorously for Hubert H. Humphrey, helping him to (narrowly) win the Golden State in the election that year. Intensely interested in civic planning, Takei decided to run for the Los Angeles City Council, winning the 10th District seat in a landslide in the election of 1973, at the age of 36. (He came in second IOTL, losing the vacant seat to David S. Cunningham, Jr., by about 1,600 votes. He never sought elected office again.) His campaign was not without controversy, though not for any of the typical reasons; KNBC, the LA-area station which aired syndicated reruns of Star Trek in that market, suspended all airings of episodes featuring Takei for the duration of the campaign in accordance with the FCC Equal-Time Rule. (Something similar happened IOTL;
    the animated Star Trek series, airing in first-run at the time, had to reschedule an episode which featured his character because of it.) Mr. Sulu was absent from only 29 out of 135 shows, which would become immortalized as the "Campaign Episodes". (About half of those episodes are from the second season, during which, as IOTL, Takei was on leave, filming The Green Berets with John Wayne.)

    Walter Koenig had three children with his wife Judy Levitt: two sons, both born during his run on Star Trek, in 1968 and 1970; and a daughter, born in 1973. (Only the first son, Andrew
    – later known as Boner on "Growing Pains" – and the daughter, Danielle, was born IOTL. The couple's stronger financial security and the increased optimism of the early 1970s result in the decision to have one more child.) Koenig gamely attempted to continue his television career after Star Trek, with predictably limited success; he increasingly spent his time acting on stage, along with writing, which began as a mere hobby. (Koenig wrote the animated series episode "The Infinite Vulcan" IOTL, among other things. His more comfortable lifestyle ITTL avails him the opportunity to try his hand at writing as a semi-professional early on.)

    Oddly enough, perhaps the only actor whose stint on Star Trek had little net effect on his overall career trajectory was John Winston, whose character of Mr. Kyle was far and away the most shallowly defined of the regulars. Winston himself, a regular on the convention circuit, was known to remark that the character was "little more than a job description". (More or less what Winston thinks of Kyle IOTL. It was work, he liked the people – not much else to say about it, in his mind.) He made many appearances on television, both stateside and across the pond, in subsequent years, with viewers experiencing the familiar "Hey! It's That Guy!" reaction whenever they would see him.

    Without a doubt, the biggest reality check was written out to the star, William Shatner, who found himself utterly unable to find work after Star Trek had ended. His reputation as a bloated, narcissistic egotist – perhaps the biggest working in television, which was certainly saying something – preceded him. His third and final album of spoken-word "music", The Enterprising Man, bombed upon release, with even die-hard Trekkies avoiding it like the plague. For all the veneration bestowed upon his iconic character of Captain James T. Kirk, it did not extend to him personally. Even his one supposedly unimpeachable virtue
    – his status as a family man and beloved father – was challenged when his wife, Gloria Rand, took him to the cleaners in a very messy, and very public, divorce, toward the end of the show's run. (Shatner and Rand divorced in 1969 IOTL– his greater success has postponed the inevitable. But as IOTL, once it becomes clear that Star Trek is finished, Rand wants out. What changes is that the divorce goes from the mere footnote of OTL to a major story in the supermarket tabloids ITTL.) Before too long, he was reduced to shilling for margarine and grocery store chains.

    Most of the "Big Five" did their best to move on, as many of them had wanted to do for several years already, by the time the show came to an end. Gene Roddenberry almost immediately set to work developing the series that eventually emerged as Re-Genesis, which would begin airing in September 1973; Gene Coon retired from the hectic life of active production and started a consulting business; D.C. Fontana found herself awash with offers from employees eager to hire a woman with ample experience in science-fiction; her most interesting offer came from the producers of Doctor Who. Herb Solow, of course, continued to work for Desilu, having become known within the industry as "Lucille Ball's secret weapon" (a term which That Wacky Redhead herself often uses ITTL); he hired Justman to serve as his lieutenant in order to better pinch the studio's pennies, the better to counter the spendthrift nature of Ball's husband, Gary Morton.

    David Gerrold, after the end of Star Trek, went primarily into writing books
    – both fiction and non-fiction. His duties as chronicler culminated in the 1973 tome, The World of Star Trek, considered the definitive reference book on the series. (The Star Trek Concordance, written by Bjo Trimble, served this function in the early years of OTL. However, ITTL, Trimble does not get her springboard into fandom infamy – the OTL letter-writing campaign to renew the show for a third season – and remains obscure.) Gerrold was able to pull a few strings and get Desilu to officially authorize the book, in exchange for a cut of the profits. It was another classic example of the studio showing their responsiveness to fan interest, without losing sight of their bottom line. (The ever-frugal Justman suggested "authorizing" the book.) Gerrold also made it his mission to write "revised" editions of many existing episode novelizations, which were made using obsolete scripts; Desilu again allowed this, knowing that certain fans would happily purchase both versions of each book. Merchandising revenue from Star Trek was already the studio's life-blood. (As IOTL – the difference being that Desilu actually cares about Star Trek.)

    The glory days of the "Big Five" would not last, sadly, with the first major casualty to hit Star Trek striking in late 1973; Gene Coon, a lifelong chain-smoker, died of terminal lung cancer. He was 49. (Coon died on July 8th of that year IOTL; because of his success with Star Trek, he's able to live out the last two years of his life in greater comfort, and he dies on October 24th ITTL.) A close friend to all four other members of the Big Five, and a mentor figure to Gerrold, his death hit all of them very hard. Star Trek would never be the same without his incalculable guiding influence. All future editions of The World of Star Trek would be dedicated to his memory.


    Thus ends our in-depth coverage of Star Trek, and my longest update, to boot! Thank you all for reading; I hope that wasn't too much of an ordeal. Now you know the complete story of Star Trek ITTL, and my interpretation of the best it can be, while also resembling, as strongly as possible, the Star Trek of OTL. To answer this question, posed to me over four months ago:

    There is your answer. That is how. There you go :)

    And, following in the footsteps of my fictional interpretation of a (still living!) historical figure, who may yet discover this thread and completely contradict everything that has been said: I hereby dedicate the entirety of Appendix A to the memory of Gene L. Coon. I hope that this timeline has helped, in some small way, to ensure that he is no longer "the forgotten Gene", now or in the future.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012