Sunday, August 23, 2015

Out Now: The Unauthorized Guide To Trek: The Complete TOS Crew Book By James Van Hise



“A gem of a book...every Trekkie and sci-fi fan needs this on their shelf.” —Goodreads

The classic, complete guide to both the crew of the Starship Enterprise and the actors and actresses who brought them to life.

Written in the 1990s, this acclaimed book covers the all the members of the original crew: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Chapel. It’s filled with profiles of each character, biographies of the stars who played them, as well as in-depth conversations with the actors.

Trek fans will learn things they never knew, and gain new insights into William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett, and Walter Koenig.

The Complete TOS Crew Book is written by media journalist James Van Hise, creator of the much-beloved Enterprise Incidents magazine. Van Hise has been hailed by the Star Trek Expanded Universe Wiki as “The eminent Star Trek reference book author.”

You'll also find rare publicity stills and personal photos, taken by the author, of the actors themselves.

Bonus: Brand new caricatures of each crew member, especially commissioned for this book, by the award-winning political cartoonist and Filmation animator, Darryle Purcell. Plus a preface by Mr. Purcell on the role Star Trek played in his life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

21 Questions About Gene Roddenberry - How Many Can You Answer?


Fascinating Facts from Journalist James Van Hise's Roddenberry: The Man Who Created Star Trek

In this enthralling book, readers will learn:

1) What science fiction magazine most influenced young Gene Roddenberry?

(Chap. 1)

2) To which kind of magazine did he sell his first stories: crime, science fiction, flying, military, adventure, western, horror?

(Chap. 1)

3) Why did Roddenberry become a cop and how did it help start his career as a television
writer?

(Chap. 1)

4) What controversial stance cost him a chance to write for the big budget show Riverboat?

(Chap. 2)

5) What TV show did he create and produce featuring four future Star Trek crew members—and who were they?

(Chap. 2)

6) Why did he decide to write a science fiction TV show?

(Chap. 3)

7) Why did Desilu Productions decide to back Star Trek when everyone else had turned it down?

(Chap. 3)

8) What was the original preproduction shape of the Enterprise hull?

(Chap. 3)

9) Who orchestrated the letter writing campaign that changed the network’s mind about cancelling TOS at the end of the second season?

(Chap. 4)

10) What kind of wedding ceremony did he and Majel Barrett have?

(Chap. 5)

11) What controversial movie did he produce right after TOS ended?

(Chap. 6)

12) What incident made him decide to give the mutants on Genesis II two navels?

(Chap. 6)

13) What classic novel gave Roddenberry the inspiration for Genesis II?

(Chap. 6)

14) Why did Paramount fight against the Star Trek series being revived?

(Chap. 7)

15) Why did Leonard Nimoy refuse to appear in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and what changed his mind?

(Chap. 8)

16) Why didn’t Roddenberry’s name appear in the writing credits for Star Trek: The Motion Picture?

(Chap. 8)

17) Why did Leonard Nimoy want Spock to die in The Wrath of Khan and why did he decide to revive him in The Search for Spock?

(Chap. 8)

18) After all his battles with Paramount, Why did Roddenberry agree to be the producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation?

(Chap. 10)

19) Why did David Gerrold and D. C. Fontana both quit The Next Generation?

(Chap. 10)

20) What did William Shatner do to insult 16 year-old Will Wheaton that enraged Gene Roddenberry?

(Chap. 10)

21) Why did Roddenberry trust the Next Gen producers to be faithful to his vision after his death?

(Chap. 12)

How many could you answer?

1-5 Rank: Crewmember
6-10 Rank: Ensign
11-15 Rank: Lieutenant
16-19 Rank: Commander
20-21 Captain
You will learn the answers to all these questions as you read this book or you may skip to the end of the book and read the answers there.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why did Gene Roddenberry become a Cop and How Did It Help Launch His TV Writing Career?

From the forthcoming biography RODDENBERRY: The Man Who Created Star Trek by James Van Hise.


Throughout the late 1940s Gene continued to write for flying magazines. In 1949 the writing bug led him to quit his airline job and move to Los Angeles, "where I knew television eventually would be based. But I was a little early, and to make ends meet I joined the Los Angeles police department." He had come out from New York in 1949, "to see my dear and old friend, who was then Inspector William Parker in the Wilshire Division. He wasn't very enthusiastic about my plans. In fact, he did his best to talk me out of it." But Gene disregarded Parker's advice and joined the LAPD, following in his father's footsteps.

Looking back on that time, Gene stated that he didn't think he made a very good policeman himself because he hated writing tickets. He was probably the only policeman in Los Angeles who was a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Yet he never regretted the five and a half years he spent with the Los Angeles Police Department. "It gave me a good look at life and death. Policemen see things that you just don't ordinarily run into during your life. In a few years in police work you see life really stripped bare. It's awfully good experience for a writer."


Since he had come to Los Angeles to write for television, he knew he needed an agent and soon hatched a scheme to secure one. Gene also knew that a well-known writer's agent drove through his beat each day, so he just patiently waited until the man committed a traffic violation. Instead of writing a ticket, he got the agent to arrange an interview at Four Star Productions.

Gene dressed casually for the interview, and as he became more involved in disclosing his concepts and story ideas, he removed his sports coat. After that the executives were really hanging on his every word. It was only later that he realized that under his coat, he'd been wearing his shoulder holster and .38 police special.

He sold his first script to television in 1951. At the time he wrote under the name "Robert Wesley" (a combination of his brother's first name and his own middle name) because the Los Angeles Police Department frowned on its officers moonlighting.

Falling back on his ongoing experience as a police officer, Gene Roddenberry sold a script to Dragnet. He also applied his experience to scripts for such shows as Mr. District Attorney.
Gene said, "Then one day my wife, Eileen, said, 'Look, Gene, your job as a policeman brings you $435 a month but your writing hobby is earning $1100 a month. Why don't you stick to your hobby?' We went to dinner, to a Chinese restaurant, to talk it over. I opened a fortune cookie and it read: 'A change of name will bring you fame.'"

Gene had been selling his scripts under the name Robert Wesley. "I opened another one and it read, 'Tomorrow is an excellent time to change jobs.' Intrigued and amazed, I opened still another one and this message read, 'You may be sure of it.'

"That did it!" he recalled. "I quit as a policeman the next day. I still have those fortune cookies framed and on my desk."




Announcing the publication of Roddenberry: The Man who Created Star Trek

“The eminent Star Trek reference book author .” —Star Trek Expanded Universe Wiki



Gene Roddenberry was both a very human man and a cosmic visionary. Hardheaded, single-minded, a good friend and a bitter enemy, Roddenberry was a creative genius who pursued his dreams single-mindedly. A man who envisioned a future where humankind had outgrown war, he often fought unnecessary battles in his own life. Though his every project was a failure (Star Trek was cancelled after only three seasons), he created the single biggest phenomena in media history and gave the 20th century one of its most universal myths.


Roddenberry is the story of an almost larger-than-life man whose flaws were as  outsized as his virtues.  Even actors he made world-famous stars and millionaires spoke of him with mixed feelings. Final redemption came with the rebirth of Star Trek on the movie screen and launching of a new Star Trek television hit, The Next Generation.


In Roddenberry: The Man Who Created Star Trek journalist James Van Hise reveals Roddenberry's career as never before, in both its triumphs and failures. More importantly, it tells the story of the man behind the public figure.


Also features:


Episodes to guides to all shows he wrote or produced.


Roddenberry’s original Star Trek proposal sold Paramount and CBS trying Star Trek.
Roddenberry’s original press release announcing the Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


Illustrated, with a bonus gallery of images.


Other bonus features.


“James Van Hise … takes readers … behind-the-scenes … a useful reference guide for writers and Star Trek fans.” —Trekdom 

Out now for Kindle - borrow for Kindle Unlimited, own for $6.99. Click here

Friday, April 17, 2015

How well do you know Roddenberry? Can you answer these 4 questions?

James Van Hise's biography Roddenberry: The Man who Created Star Trek is filled with hundreds of fascinating facts about the Great Bird of the Galaxy and answers many questions that have long puzzled fans.  Here are four examples.


  1. What TOS episode was so far behind, Gene Roddenberry write its final scenes sitting in a camper on the set as it was being filmed?
  2. What world famous character did Gene Roddenberry desert Star Trek to write a movie about during TOS’ final season?
  3. What did Gene Roddenberry do that made his Star Trek: The Motion Picture co-writer Harold Livingston quit the film in a fury three times?
  4. Even though he was only ten minutes away, which actor didn't attend the ceremony when Roddenberry became the first writer to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame?


 You will find the answers just below the cover.



What TOS episode was so far behind, Gene Roddenberry write its final scenes sitting in a camper on the set as it was being filmed?


I recall that on one of the shows, 'Shore Leave,' I was rewriting the show sitting in a camper while the actors were acting it. That was a pretty exciting and harrowing and nervous thing.” (Chap. 4)

What world famous character did Gene Roddenberry desert Star Trek to write a movie about during TOS’ final season?

“In 1968, at the behest of producer Sy Weintraub, Gene thought about a Tarzan motion picture, and considered the problems of a new … theatrical motion picture treatment of the lord of the jungle.” (Chap. 5)

What did Gene Roddenberry do that made his Star Trek: The Motion Picture co-writer Harold Livingston quit the film in a fury three times?

Although Livingston was being paid $10,000 a week by Paramount, he quit three times over Gene's constant interference [with the script]. Each time Livingston would be talked into returning by either Robert Wise or Jeffrey Katzenberg.” (Chap. 8)

Even though he was only ten minutes away, which actor didn't attend the ceremony when Roddenberry became the first writer to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame?


Due to work commitments, William Shatner was unable to attend. He was ten minutes away at the Burbank Studios lot filming T.J. Hooker. Most of the Star Trek actors have received stars on the Walk of Fame, but to date the only ceremony Shatner appeared at was his own.” (Chap. 9)

You will find the answers to these and hundreds of more questions about Gene Roddenberry in journalist James Van Hise's fascinating biography Roddenberry: The Man who Created Star Trek.






About James Van Hise




James Van Hise is a well-known journalist specializing in film, television, and comic history. A long-time fan turned media historian, Van Hise’s credentials as both writer and editor are extensive. He was the editor of the pivotal comix zine Rocket Blast Comic Collector (1974-8) and the pioneering Enterprise Incidents: The Magazine for Star Trek Fans (1976-85). In the comic field he has written stories for Dread of Night, Green Hornet, Ray Bradbury Comics, and Real Ghostbusters, among others. As a journalist Van Hise has authored books on Batman, Dune, Conan, Star Wars, The Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy, Stephen King, and Star Trek.
  

 


 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roddenberry Bio by Media Journalist James Van Hise to be Published in May 2015



Digital Parchment Services and well-known media journalist James Van Hise have signed an open-ended agreement to bring his now classic journalistic examinations of the Star Trek phenomenon back into print. The first five books in the series will be published throughout 2015.
The entire series will appear under the title "The Unauthorized Guide to Trek".The new edition of Mr. Van Hise's books will feature additional photographs taken by him personally during his three decades chronicling the shows, movies, and the cultural phenomenon Star Trek became.

Beginning in June, DPS will release the following books under the Unauthorized Guide to Trek series title:

Gene Roddenberry: The Man Who Created a Phenomenon

Leonard Nimoy: The Man Who Was Spock

The TOS Years (1966 - 1969)

The Movie Years (1979-1991)

The Complete TOS Crew Book: The Characters and the Actors

The first book issued, fittingly enough, features a look into the private life and public accomplishments of the man responsible for the vision that became Star Trek.
Readers will learn:


  • the childhood circumstances that led to Roddenberry's passion for science fiction;
  • how his early days as a police officer gained him entry, later in his life as a writer, into the newly burgeoning field of television;
  • about the bitter behind-the-scenes battles to keep the Star Trek true to Roddenberry's vision of a diverse and pacifistic future where conflicts were solved more often with brains than weapons;
  • the reasons for the constant scene and plot changes in the movies as they were being shot;
  • which actors loved him—and which...not so much—and why;
  • how Roddenberry trained the next generation of Star Trek television producers to realize his vision after his death, and how that training influenced Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and beyond;
  • and much much more.

Look for more news about The Unauthorized Guide to Trek and Gene Roddenberry: The Man who Created a Phenomenon, coming soon from Digital Parchment Services.


James Van Hise is a well-known journalist specializing in film, television, and comic history. A long-time fan turned media historian, Van Hise’s credentials as both writer and editor are extensive. He was the editor of the pivotal comix zine Rocket Blast Comic Collector (1974-8) and the pioneering Enterprise Incidents: The Magazine for Star Trek Fans (1976-85). In the comic field he has written stories for Dread of Night, Green Hornet, Ray Bradbury Comics, and Real Ghostbusters, among others. As a journalist Van Hise has authored books on Batman, Dune, Conan, Star Wars, The Lone Ranger, Dick Tracy, Stephen King, and Star Trek.