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Star Trek (TOS) S1 - Narration on First 2 Episodes

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by ClassicTVMan1981X, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Message #1 of 22 Dec 19, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
    ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Supporting Actor

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    I'd been told by John80220 that the first two episodes (in order of broadcast) of the first season of Star Trek (TOS), "The Man Trap" and "Charlie X," had a slightly different version of William Shatner's opening narration, which usually goes: "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds... to seek out new life and new civilizations... to boldly go where no man has gone before." He also told me that there were actually only five episodes which used the original electric violin version of the theme song, and says thus the first episode in order of broadcast to feature the more common cello version was "The Enemy Within." He says that the electric violin version of the opening theme that was restored on the original five episodes (and inexplicably on seven others, all in order of production) when TOS first came out on DVD in 1999 was taken from either "The Naked Time" or "Mudd's Women."

    But back to the question of the narration... on the original NBC broadcasts of "The Man Trap" and "Charlie X," what exactly was different about the narration compared to "The Naked Time" and episodes thereafter?

    ~Ben
     
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  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hi- a friend whose a member of the Hoffman forum told me he saw the same question come up there. I’m a very long time fan, I know of the music difference in the first few episodes. Good thing the LaLaLand Records Star Trek TOS soundtrack set has both versions! The cello and electronic violin.

    But this thing about slightly different narrations from William Shatner for the Space: The Final Frontier monologue is a new one to me. The guy on the Hoffman forum said the first few episodes has a slightly different monologue from Shatner. You may be the same guy. :)

    My take on this is its hooey. :). I don’t think there is a different recording or different recording take used. Of course I wasn’t there so I don’t really know. But my guess is there is no difference.

    I offered him an alternative answer. The unearthed copy of the original unbroadcasted second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before does have a long Captain’s log from Shatner as the episode starts. I don’t know that log by heart, but he speaks about exploring the unknown space beyond our solar system. Found it on YouTube though! Maybe this is where the question comes from:



    I’ll explore this some more as it doesn’t answer the question of is there an alternate version the Space: The Final Frontier monologue. I’m dubious. But I would be delighted to find out there is an alternate version used. All these years of blu-ray, DVD and laserdisc releases, the audio has been altered and tweaked. So it’s possible they homogenized the opening titles.
     
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  3. Message #3 of 22 Dec 26, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
    ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Supporting Actor

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    Yes, I do post there too (same username).

    Yes, I have learned that it was simply a different recording. I also noticed he did not use a long "i" sound (as in "bite") on the word "civilizations" until around episode 17 ("The Squire of Gothos"). I originally picked up the "slightly different" from John80220's reply to my comment in this link (his exact words: "Originally, Episodes 1-2 had the electric violin music opening and closing, but Shatner's reading of the line in the opening was slightly different."):

    (this end title is from episode 18, "Arena")

    ~Ben
     
  4. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Ben, I know Canadian William Shatner at that time pronounced words differently then Americans did. Civilizations can be pronounced that way you mentioned above. I’ll check this out.
     
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  5. ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Supporting Actor

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    To clear things up on why I started this discussion, the "slightly different" came from John80220's reply to my comment on the Star Trek "Arena" end title; his exact words were:
    "Originally, Episodes 1-2 had the electric violin music opening and closing, but Shatner's reading of the line in the opening was slightly different."

    ~Ben
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the clarity Ben. If I have some time the next day or two, I’ll try to have a listen on my older sources. Including episodes I actually audio taped off the TV.
     
  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Last night, I selected a few of the 1999 first release Star Trek TOS dvd set’s with 2 episodes per disc. I watched five Star Trek episodes, just the opening narration, Charlie X, Miri, Conscience of the King, Menagerie and Balance of Terror. I also chose Miri because it was the 12th episode after a production break of a month or two. My thinking is that episode might have an alternate title monologue.

    To cut to the chase, I can not hear a difference in Shatner’s narration other then the music shift from the earlier electronic violin to cello. The way Shatner pronounced each word sounded the same. After about 10 listens, I had to stop because it was all sounding the same. So what this tells me is one of two things, the audio in the DVD’s were altered so the opening titles have the same recording that Shatner made. Or, there is no difference.

    I will have to look at the laserdiscs next. Then also old audio tapes I made from recording the series off the air during syndication. Short of this, if I had a time machine, I’d go back to 1966 September 8th. So I’ll do a little more digging with what I have on hand.
     
  8. Message #8 of 22 Jan 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
    Wiseguy

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    The first two NBC broadcasts of Star Trek featured a faster narration by William Shatner*. There was almost no space between "These are the voyages..." and the next line "Its five-year mission." The narration ended before the final note of the intro music and the swoosh of the starship. (These two episodes are also the only first-season episodes to feature the "Created by Gene Roddenberry" credit as in the second and third seasons.) After the next episode, the pilot with no narration, the next episode (Naked Time) continued with the original music but with a re-recorded narration (same words) that fit more closely to the intro music. The following episode (Enemy Within) featured the new music although at least one further episode (Mudd's Women) featured the original music.

    So if you don't hear the faster narration in Man Trap and Charlie X, you're not hearing the original audio. If you don't see the Gene Roddenberry credit, you're not seeing the original video. They both were featured in the original syndicated run (on film) in the seventies (also the episodes were shown in production order). When the series was transferred to video tape in the early 1980s only Where No Man Has Gone Before retained the original credits. All other original music episodes featured the Enemy Within opening (and the newer music was dubbed over the closing credits. Have no idea what is featured on various VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray releases.
    So there were at least five different opening credits in the first season:

    1 No narration/original music (Where No Man Has Gone Before)
    2 Fast narration/original music/Gene Roddenberry credit (Man Trap/Charlie X)
    3 Slower narration/original music
    4 Slower narration/new music/original pronunciation of "civilizations"
    5 New narration with new pronunciation of "civilizations"

    Also to make things more confusing some of the original episodes did not display the words "starring" above William Shatner's name and "also starring" above Leonard Nimoy's.

    *The same problem occurred at the beginning of the second season of the Twilight Zone. Rod Serling's original narration for the second season was the same as the shorter version heard at the end of the first season. But these words weren't enough to fill the space of the intro music of the new theme music so after the first couple of episodes, the words "whose boundaries are that" and "there's a signpost up ahead, your" was added.
     
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  9. Message #9 of 22 Jan 7, 2019
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    ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Supporting Actor

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    Thank you for solving this mystery about the way he narrated on the first two episodes!

    The first two episodes (in broadcast order) did not have "Starring" above William Shatner's credit. As you said, these two also had the speedy narration as well as Gene Roddenberry's name in the series title graphic.

    "Also Starring" first appeared above Leonard Nimoy's credit on "The Naked Time."

    And I think he changed the pronunciation of the word "civilizations" starting with the episode "The Squire of Gothos," which was the first episode to move Roddenberry's credit from the end of Act IV (as we first saw on "Where No Man Has Gone Before") to the start of the end titles.

    ~Ben
     
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  10. Message #10 of 22 Jan 7, 2019
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    Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    This is interesting in that I watched and audio taped the series during the 1970’s. With the advent of home video VHS tapes, laser discs and then DVD and Blu Ray editions, I’ve never gone back to my old tapes. I should still have the tapes. I just need a working cassette tape player. I’m curious to see if I can hear this difference. How quaint.

    I just find it hard to believe after having been a fan so long, to not notice this. But then it’s been so long we’ve had the home video editions. So I can see forgetting the differences if I even noticed it back then.
     
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  11. Message #11 of 22 Jan 7, 2019
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    ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Supporting Actor

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    I would also have to guess that in addition to "Mudd's Women" as being confirmed to still have had the older electric violin version of the theme (after "The Enemy Within," episode 1.5, that was the first to have the cello version), I want to say "Miri" and "Dagger of the Mind" (episodes 1.8 and 1.9 respectively) were likely the last two after that to do so; I do know "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", the episode that follows "Mudd's Women," had the cello version as it was scored during the same September 20, 1966 sessions for the episodes "The Corbomite Maneuver" (episode 1.10) and "Balance of Terror" (episode 1.14).

    ~Ben
     
  12. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    If this were the 1970s I would know for sure but as far as my memory goes now "Dagger of the Mind" had the original music but "Miri" didn't. Also, for some reason, the "Miri" title was displayed in a different font than other episodes. Note that the original theme music and the new music alternated somewhat in both the production order and the NBC aired order.
     
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  13. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe this coincides with the time Gene L. Coon became the producer and Gene Roddenberry became executive producer.
     
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  14. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I'm almost 100% certain that when Paramount began to release the entire series on VHS/Beta, that the first season credits were all the 'cello version (apart from "Where No Man Has Gone Before"). If you notice the Desilu endboards on the episodes, I think all of them have a copyright date of 1978, which they wouldn't have had in their original network and early syndication runs.

    I strongly suspect that everything was homogenised in 1978 for a new syndication run. The original syndication prints would likely be very battered by that point. They probably did some cleanup/remastering and one would assume, to save a little time, only remastered one set of credits per season. We've seen a lot of that these days on DVD (although for other shows, it's even worse, in that they often only remaster a new season's credits if there's a cast change, so other changes like theme tune and different cast photos, etc. get lost/forgotten about).

    For a TV series with such a rabid fanbase, one would've hoped there would've been a SuperFan or two allowed to act as consultants (unpaid, if they couldn't afford the Okudas) to help ensure they didn't miss anything. But, of course, this is penny-pinching Paramount we're talking about.
     
  15. Message #15 of 22 Jan 10, 2019
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    ClassicTVMan1981X

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    And you would think that Paramount would have restored the electric violin version of the end title theme (as used on "Where No Man Has Gone Before") on the 1999 DVD prints of these season 1 episodes as well: "The Man Trap," "Charlie X," "The Naked Time," "Mudd's Women," and "Dagger of the Mind." But on these early DVDs, the presence of the same early version of the main title theme on the main title of the episodes that didn't use it originally -- "The Enemy Within," "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Miri," "The Corbomite Maneuver," "The Conscience of the King," and "Balance of Terror" -- continued to have us Trekkers scratching our heads as to proper preservation of the franchise.

    ~Ben
     
  16. Message #16 of 22 Jan 12, 2019
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    ClassicTVMan1981X

    ClassicTVMan1981X Supporting Actor

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    And how many of you believe that "The Man Trap" and "Charlie X," when originally on NBC, actually first used the unique main and end title themes from the original unsold 1965 TV movie version of Where No Man Has Gone Before? That's in addition to the faster narration these first two episodes (in broadcast order) had.

    If what I said above is true, then I would guess the electric violin version (as first heard on the re-edited "Where No Man Has Gone Before") first got on these two episodes after the series first went into syndication in 1969.

    Therefore, when first on NBC, these were the main titles:
    Episodes 1-2: fast narration, 1965 "Where No Man Has Gone Before" title theme
    Episode 3: no narration, original electric violin version of title theme (is the only unaltered presentation since 1984)
    Episodes 4, 6 and 9: slower narration, original electric violin version of title theme
    Episodes 5, 7-8, 10-16 and 20: slower narration, new cello version of title theme
    Episodes 17-19 and 21-29: slower narration (new pronunciation of "civilizations"), new cello version of title theme

    ~Ben
     
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  17. Message #17 of 22 Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Well guys, I took a little time to listen to my cassette audio tape recordings I made of the syndicated broadcasts of Star Trek off the air. These tapes were made in the early to mid 1970’s. I know for sure they were recorded prior to 1978. I believe this was on KTVU channel 2. These are using an external mic plugged into a tape deck pointed at the TV speaker. I’m surprised the tapes still work! I used a Sony ghetto blaster for the playback today. This is from about 1981 or so amd it barely can rewind the tape. Pretty neat, it’s a AM/FM portable receiver with a player for cassette tapes and two speakers built-in.

    I found tapes for Charlie X, Mudd’s Women, Tomorrow is Yesterday and Galileo Seven. I also tried City on the Edge of Forever.

    Well, I’ll be gobsmacked. I discovered there really is a difference.

    1. On Charlie X, the theme is the electronic violin. For the narration, the difference is subtle, but I could hear it;

    Space; the Final Frontier. Pause. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, no-pause, it’s five year mission, pause. The big difference is no pause after, These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. He goes right into, It’s Five Year Mission. But he reads it sort of low key. Not sure if it’s from the editing room or his reading. He pronounces civilizations as: civi-la-zations

    2. On Mudd’s Women, it’s the electronic violin version of the theme. Longer narration, and he says, civi-la-zations.

    3. On Tomorrow is Yesterday, it’s the cello version of the theme. This is the longer narration ans when he reads, It’s five year mission, it’s a similarly low key reading like Charlie X.

    4. Galileo Seven, cello and longer narration and civi-la-zations.

    5. For The City on the Edge of Forever, it’s the cello theme. He reads, It’s Five Year Mission with heavier emphasis on Five Year amd more up tempo. Plus he actually pronounces; civi-li-zations. More like the English do. This is probably the final version.

    So without an actual film on hand of the opening titles, I have audio proof. Wish I had film to see the visual difference. This is pretty subtle stuff and in my mind, it shows the production staff doing their best to fine tune the opening. Maybe it’s was Roddenberry who wanted to improve it, or Justman. This is like alternate takes for a song you’ll hear on a special edition remastered box set.

    Edit: I found The Man Trap tape and the narration does sound the same as the Charlie X tape.
     
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  18. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys, I’ve been thinking about this thread topic a lot since I posted the post above. It’s really surprising to me to discover this. I admit at first that this seemed like a very trivial thing if true. And it’s the kind of thing that is sort of like UESPA vs United Federation of Planets, the series was just developing things as it went along. Most people know of the change from electronic violin to the cello used in the theme. So things changed as the series progressed. It’s just over all the decades, it never occurred to me before. Since the 1980’s, we’ve had home video editions, so it’s all what most of us have as hard copies of the series. And those have been edited too to homogenize them as was said in an earlier post above. So that’s what I’d become used to.

    So those early syndication prints are more then likely very hard to find. Unless they are just in storage in local TV stations that used to broadcast Star Trek.

    This is such an amazing thing to me to actually hear the difference. I feel like it’s a shame not more of the Star Trek fans on the forum are participating. I suppose there’s not much else to say. Maybe if I can find a way, I can capture those analog audio tape segments into the computer so I can save this.
     
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  19. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Stunt Coordinator

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    Not quite sure what you mean here, but I assure you that the originally syndicated episodes through much, if not all, of the seventies were the same as that broadcast by NBC including the 3rd season bumpers with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy reminding viewers that the episode will continue after the station break and to stay tuned for scenes from next week's episode. Nothing was changed including the opening credits.
    The original Where No Man Has Gone Before (not a TV movie) had a completely different theme. The aired Where No Man, Man Trap, Charlie X, Mudd's Women... all used the same theme music. It was the narration (or lack thereof) that made the versions different.
     
  20. Philip Verdieck

    Philip Verdieck Second Unit

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    I have been lurking and reading. I find this minutae to be (only) mildly interesting.
     
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