June 13 2024


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Gerrold: Writing For The Animated Series

3 min read

David Gerrold shared his thoughts recently on the two shows he penned for The Animated Series and explained how James Kirk got his middle name.

When he heard about The Animated Series, Gerrold wanted in on the action. “I’d heard about The Animated Series and I’d dropped notes to Gene [Roddenberry] and Dorothy [Fontana] that said, ‘I’m available if you need me. I’d love to do one.’ Dorothy called me and said, ‘Well, of course you’re going to do the Tribble episode that we didn’t get to do during Star Trek’s third season.’ So I went in and we blocked something out that we thought would work and we had a lot of fun with it.”

Both the Tribble sequel and BEM were intended for the third season of the original series but were never used because Freddy Freiberger didn’t like them. “Freddy’s first words to me were, ‘I screened the Tribbles episode this morning. I didn’t like it. Star Trek is not a comedy,'” said Gerrold. “I went, ‘Oh, all right. Well, then I’ll do something else.’ So he killed the second Tribble episode for the third season and I had the idea for BEM, but he said, ‘I don’t like that, either.’ So that’s when I came in with The Cloud Minders, which I called Castles in the Sky.”

In BEM, James Kirk became James Tiberius Kirk. “I’ll tell you how that happened,” said Gerrold. “I got the name from a book I’d read about the history of torture. So, Dorothy and I were at a Star Trek convention in 1973 and somebody asked ‘What does the T in James T. Kirk stand for?’ And without really thinking, I said ‘Tiberius.’ It got a big laugh and it became a running gag. Then, when I was writing that episode I decided to put it in. Dorothy ran it by Gene Roddenberry, and he said, ‘Sure, let’s go ahead.’ Then I recapped it in a Star Trek novel I wrote a year or so later, and I showed where the name Tiberius came from.”

In addition to writing two episodes, Gerrold also voiced a character for an episode of The Animated Series. “I did Em/3/Green for an episode called The Jihad,” said Gerrold. “I know a lot of people think I did Korax for More Tribbles, but I didn’t. Jimmy Doohan did that. But it was my idea to do a voice. I asked Hal Sutherland. I said, ‘You know, I need my SAG card. Please let me do a voice.’ He said, ‘We don’t really have it in the budget to do guest stars, but come on, you brought in Stanley Adams for Tribbles and Roger Carmel for Mudd. We’ve got enough in the budget for one little voiceover.’ It was like $75, but it was enough to get me my SAG card. And Em/3/Green was the only one I ever did.”

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