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TOS episode 35 - The Doomsday Machine
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2022 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
I always felt badly that of, and in itself, his death inside the shuttlecraft he piloted into the planet killer didn't count for anything other than inspiring Kirk. I know, I know, it did lead to a solution to the destruction & saving of billions of lives, but poor Decker never realized it...at least in this life.

I tend to judge Decker even more harshly, Mike.

His act doesn't seem like a sacrifice which he desparately hopes MIGHT damage the Doomsday Machine — it's more like a deliberate suicide caused by his regret about killing his entire crew.

Your revised version is, of course, intended to change Decker from a foolish man who is racked with guilt, to an intelligent man who would willingly die to save his crew — but not join them in death to punish himself!


Pow wrote:
I included the saucer separation because I always enjoyed the effect on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bruce, knowing full well the special effects artists could not execute such a complex scene on the show back then.

Sadly, I must agree.

The FX in Star Trek never really managed to convey the size of the ships and space stations, and that's a crucial aspect of the special effect needed to pull off a saucer separation scene.

The saucer separation scene in Encounter at Far Point Station went to great lengths to make that moment truly epic. The FX were carefully designed make it look spectacular, and they used a sizable chunk of the title theme from Star: The Motion Picture to give that long scene maximum pizazz. Cool

Like you, I just can't image a saucer separation scene done back in the 60s that would have been very impressive.
Sad

_____ We watched the first saucer separation


__________

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Tue May 28, 2024 8:34 pm; edited 3 times in total
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scotpens
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2022 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
. . . The fact that the saucer does separate from the main body was a part of Roddenberry's concept back at that time, they just couldn't pull it off then.

I've always wondered if there was a way though to do this even at that time?

If the effects team had enough time and $$$ could they have managed such a feat? Then again, was the model of the Enterprise even built to have the saucer easily detach by the model makers, or was it fastened tight to the rest of the vessel knowing they'd never have to actually execute a saucer separation?

The 11-foot Enterprise model was built to be disassembled for storage, but it was never rigged for saucer separation as an effects shot.
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Pow
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2022 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marc Cushman's book. From NBC press release, issued on September 22, 1967:

A strange device that is programmed to destroy every planet in the galaxy also threatens the Enterprise, in "The Doomsday Machine" on NBC Television Network's Star Trek colorcast of Friday, Oct. 20.

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and some of his crew find the wreckage of another star ship, the Constellation. The only survivor is its dazed commodore, Matt Decker (guest star William Windom), who reveals that the alien machine attacked his ship.

Decker and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelly) are beamed back to the Enterprise, where Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has been left in command. Kirk and Scott (James Doohan) remain aboard the Constellation to attempt repairs. Decker, crazed with grief over the loss of his crew, takes over command of the Enterprise and orders an attack upon the destructive machine.

Sidebar: The TV Guide line that the Doomsday Machine "is programmed to destroy every planet in the galaxy," is certainly p. r. hyperbole.

As awesome this ancient weapon is, I sincerely doubt that it could ever achieve such a task, or anything close to it. We are talking about the entire galaxy...kind of vast in scale.

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Pow
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2022 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In an interview with Starlog Magazine, Norman Spinrad said that his original concept was : "it is not a machine, but a living organism with a nuclear metabolism.

Had they gone with Spinrad's original idea, it would have preceded "The Immunity Syndrome" living outer space being premise which was used on that episode.
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Pow
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2023 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starlog interview with author Norman Spinrad.

"I was told to write a part for Robert Ryan, an actor to whom they wanted to give a good role. So, I developed the idea of Ryan playing a Captain Ahab-type character. Then they got William Windom for the part and the character had to be adjusted to some extent. I had to make Decker a little softer and I think it might have taken some of the edge off of the story. In the original story, Decker wasn't slumped over in the ruined ship. Instead, they find him staring out through the viewscreen, and in a very bad mood."

Spinrad recalled, "There was the feeling that a guest star with that kind of presence would overshadow Captain kirk, and therefore his character had to be toned down and his lines reduced. There is a point where they have to give their lead characters prominence."

Sidebar: I can appreciate that the lead characters must not be outshined by guest stars. However, there is the problem of balance. If the guest star has a compelling role on an episode and a terrific actor is cast in that role, then the episode must reach its fill potential. In other words, if they water down a guest stars character, then doesn't the episode suffer and the audience lose out? "The Ultimate Computer" is made better because of the masterful performance of the superb William Marshall as the crazed genius Dr. Richard Daystrom. Had he not been allowed to give the role his all, the story is diminished. Everyone loses out to some degree.

I'm guessing that Marshall's talent (and size at 6' 5") were seen as a threat by Shatner. I can sympathize to a degree with Bill on that. Yet, if Marshall was directed to tone down his sensational performance simply due to another actor's ego & insecurities, we would not have had as powerful an episode as we did get. And from what I can see, Billy Shatner managed just fine as Kirk and he wasn't pushed into the background.

Originally, Gene Roddenberry asked Spinrad to design the Doomsday Machine. According to the outline dated March 6. 1967, it's "a kind of cylindrical 'living atomic rocket' at least 10 times the size of the starship Constellation . . . with a posterior rocket and a great anterior funnel-mouth big enough to swallow a ship. In addition, there are a cluster of atomic blaster beams and tractor beams around the funnel. It is not a machine, but a living organism with a nuclear metabolism."

"Whatever they used to make the Doomsday Machine was absolutely ridiculous," sighs the author. "I don't know what it was supposed to be."

Sidebar: I've always liked how alien looking the Doomsday machine was for this episode. It looked nothing like Starfleet technology at all. I guess I'd have to see a drawing of the design Spinrad had in mind, but it sounds rather lame to me. Like a poor comic book concept. His "cylindrical rocket" shape harkens back to the 1950's science fiction films and television shows. Isn't that the type of ideas that Trek was attempting to reinvent with the 1966 TV series? They wanted to go in a fresh, new approach as to the looks of spaceships and not simply repeat what had gone before them.

The Doomsday Machine remains one of the finest episodes produced and is personal favorite of mine. And to think it was created by Norman Spinrad in order to help the series save money on their budget. Amazing!
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2024 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some ST novels & fan theories regarding the Doomsday machine.

The planet killer was constructed by the Preservers from "The Paradise Syndrome." Mr. Spock states that they were a highly advanced civilization that existed long before the Federation of Planets ever existed. They passed throughout the galaxy rescuing primitive cultures in danger of extinction, and seeding planets.

The planet killer was built by the preservers to be used against the Borg. The Borg designated the Preservers as species 4672. The Borg ultimately vanquished the Preservers.

A living being/pilot is locked into a crystalline stasis chamber and merged to the doomsday machine.

The doomsday machine/planet killer contains a core known as the Repository of the creator's souls, or a computerized version of their minds. It serves as the guiding force of the vessel, however, a physical living being is required to unite them all in their purpose.

The planet killer eradicated planets that the Borg assimilated.

The planet killer can achieve warp 10, but it is rarely used by the gargantuan machine.

One story has that it was built 50,000 years prior to the Federation encountering it. Another story says it is billions of years old and came from outside our galaxy.

Once the Enterprise rendered the doomsday machine inoperable, it was secretly moved to a facility called "The Yard" in order to have the leading scientific minds study it.

It was later moved to Epsilon Sigma 5, nicknamed "Trophy World<" and converted into a Starfleet museum.
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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2024 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the beginning of this episode, we see the communications officer (not Uhura, guest star Elizabeth Rogers as Lt. Palmer) report to Captain Kirk that "heavy subspace interference" is making it impossible to send out any messages to Starfleet.

Not long afterwards, Lt. Sulu reports that he has scanned the area and no other starships, other than the Enterprise & Constellation, are present. Wouldn't the same subspace interference in this area that is preventing sending any communications back to Starfleet also cause issues with the Enterprise's sensors?
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2024 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

______________________________________________

Wow, Mike, I certainly enjoyed your great posts! Thanks. Very Happy

Concerning the whole idea of the saucer section separting, we don't actually share the same emotional response to that concept. You obviously love it . . . but I've never cared much for the idea.

Please understand, Mike. My lack of enthusiasm is not based on logic! Sad

I guess it has more to do with my artistic temperament. Call me crazy, but it troubles me to think of a beautifully designed starship coming apart and spoiling the majesty is possesses when it's intact! Shocked

As I said, it's definitely an emotional reaction, not a logical one.

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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2024 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, I'm a sucker for any kind of sf vessels that have separation capabilities. Always looks so darn cool to me.

The Enterprise, Thunderbird 2, Skydiver & Sky One, the Federation starship Prometheus from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. All vehicles had sections which could detached from primary body of a craft. The Prometheus could split into 3 different ships! Of course, I want a logical explanation for the reason these crafts need to separate, no matter how nifty it looks.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2024 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

______________________________________________

Wow, I'd forgotten about the Prometheus! That was indeed a pretty cool ship.

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scotpens
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2024 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
. . . The Enterprise, Thunderbird 2, Skydiver & Sky One, the Federation starship Prometheus from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. All vehicles had sections which could detached from primary body of a craft.

And don't forget Fireball XL5!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2024 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fireball Junior!
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2024 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

______________________________________________

I guess I just prefer the idea that the main ship can deploy smaller craft to venture out and do the things which don't require the entire spacecraft.

That's why my novel, Sail the Sea of Stars, features the GSC Candlelight, (seen here, rising up from inside a hurricane! Read the novel, please). Rolling Eyes






The Candlelight includes several stellascouts which can be launched from the starship, the way fighter aircraft can be deployed from aircraft carriers.





To me, a ship that can launch smaller craft is like a parent who can send out it's grown offspring to do something noble and important for the family! Very Happy

Conversely, a ship which breaks apart . . . seems impersonally.

It makes me think of a Swiss army knife.

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