June 21 2024


An archive of Star Trek News

Gerrold: Slander, Lies And Tribbles

3 min read

David Gerrold shared more memories of his time with Star Trek, and  his topics included pesky lawyers, untruths and an Abrams-Trek shout-out.

When Star Trek: The Next Generation began filming, Gerrold was on board, staying through the first season. He shared some of his contributions to the show. “I think one thing was the idea of creating a bigger ensemble and splitting the hero-ing between a captain who is older and more thoughtful and experienced and also a first officer who actually leads the mission teams,” he said. “I felt that was the most sensible way to set up a Star Trek show. It was a suggestion I made way back when I wrote those books. I think that was probably one of the best things I added to TNG. Gene liked that idea a lot.”

But Gene Roddenberry‘s lawyer made it impossible for Gerrold to continue working on the show. “Part of the problem on TNG was Gene’s lawyer (Leonard Maizlish) was making it impossible for anybody to do any real work,” said Gerrold. “He was rewriting scripts. He was committing Guild violations. People were very unhappy. It was one of the worst working environments I’d ever been in. So when my contract came up for renewal, I asked Gene not to (renew it).”

Maizlish’s antics included saying nasty things about Gerrold to others. “Later, I found out that Maizlish was telling people what a troublemaker I was, that I’d been fired because I was mentally ill, that I never did anything useful for the show, real character assassination of the worst sort,” said Gerrold. “So my lawyer called him up and said, ‘You keep talking and we’re going to own your car, your house, your dog, etc.,’ and that shut him up real fast. Maizlish was a disgraceful man. Fortunately, my lawyer was a Hollywood heavyweight, and when he said, ‘Hmmm,’ that was a very expensive ‘Hmmm,’ especially to the target.”

Gerrold also had an issue with Rick Berman when it came to the Trials and Tribble-ations episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. “I kept calling them and saying, ‘Hey, I hear you’re doing a Tribble thing.’ Rick Berman kept saying, ‘No. No, we’re not. If we do, we’ll call you.’ All right. No big deal. One day I called again and he said, ‘No, David, if we do something, we’ll let you know.’ I said, ‘Oh, okay.  What should I say to the New York Times reporter who’s going to call me back in a half hour? He’s preparing a big story about the thirtieth anniversary of Trek and the DS9 Tribble episode.’ There’s this long, uncomfortable pause and finally he says, ‘OK, what do you want?'”

Gerrold wanted to be in the episode. “I said, ‘Well, it might be very good press to acknowledge the guy who actually created the Tribbles,'” said Gerrold. “‘I think it’d be fun to be an extra.’ So I came in and I was an extra for a day or so, and it was great fun. The episode was brilliantly written and even more brilliantly produced. The production values were stunning. And the director, Jonathan West, was just a remarkably friendly guy.”

Although he wasn’t involved in Star Trek XI, Gerrold’s creation made a cameo appearance in the movie. “I actually didn’t see it the first time through,” said Gerrold. “Somebody had to point it out, where it was. But I knew it was there, because J.J. (Abrams) told me when I visited the set, ‘We snuck a Tribble in.’ And I was delighted. Harve Bennett did the same thing with one of the TOS movies. I think it’s always fun when one of the shows or movies sneaks a Tribble in. It’s a shout-out, a friendly acknowledgement that Tribbles are a permanent part of the Trek universe.”

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