The Real Negron Complex

 Posted by on May 22, 2012 at 7:42 am  Season 5
May 222012
 

As presented in Christmas Waltz, Paul Kinsey’s Star Trek script, “The Negron Complex,” about a world where white people were the slave class, was not very well written.  However, it’s worth noting that during it’s original three year run, the producers of Star Trek had actually considered an episode that would have  taken place on a planet where light-skinned people were slaves to dark-skinned masters.

According to an interview with DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) in David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek, one proposed mission would have involved McCoy and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) beaming down to a planet where the inhabitants viewed Uhura as a slave-owner and McCoy her slave.  Whether the plot was considered too controversial or because the script was not good enough (Kinsey’s perhaps?), no such episode was filmed.  A fact which Deforest Kelley regretted because he felt the chemistry between his and Nichelle Nichols’ character in that situation would have been interesting.

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  28 Responses to “The Real Negron Complex”

  1. Matt — this is fascinating! Thanks for sharing. I was wondering whether Paul’s (fictional) script had any connection to any real Star Trek script.

  2. Hmmmm … This makes me wonder if Matt or someone on the MM writing team read David Gerrold’s book, remembered the would-be episode, and thought “this fits Kinsey perfectly.”

    If they were to carry this farther (though I doubt they will. We probably won’t see Paul again. :-( ), the perfect irony would be for us to see Paul get turned down by the Trek producers, who are trying to get in touch with a much more talented new writer, “Dave Algonquin.”

    • I think (maybe it’s just my hope) that before the end of MM, Dave Algonquin is going to hit it big and be able to tell the mad men to “pucker up” on his posterior?

      Kenny has always kept things in perspective…. one reason he has been as successful as he has; and something that has driven Pete crazy (one of many things) and, most recently, made Roger jealous. Pete makes life sooooooo difficult; while Ken goes with the flow.

      • This difference between Ken and Pete was previously noted to Pete in the episode where Ken was promoted over Pete,.

        • Yes, I remember Lane telling him, ” For the record, I genuinely like you.” But you know our Pete…he just wasn’t buying it.

    • I think it would be awesome if against all evidence thus far, Paul Kinsey becomes successful out in California writing for some tv show and then turns around and helps Harry/SCDP at some point. Harry and Peggy would be shaking their heads in astonishment.

    • Paul Kinsey does have talent. Not writing talent for certain, but he is a proven “closer”.

      If we see him again I would like to imagine him gravitating towards representing those who have what he lacks. He chose advertising for its “look at me I’m important” environment — isn’t that what Hollywood’s all about? I’m guessing Paul would be a perfect fit as a talent agent.

  3. Mad Men ratings hit another air pocket this week. Down about 10% from already depressed levels. Multiyear low. Nicer weather in the northeast probably plays into this kind of thing.

    • Not necessarily meaningful and more given how many time switching devices/watchers there are, especially because the shows are so rich many wish to see it several times for nuances and layers previously missed.
      I especially watch several times after benefitting from comments/observations of fellow Basketeers

      • Extremely meaningful, Ace. Advertisers care about unique viewers who watch the commercials, not repeat viewers who fast forward through them.

        And having said that, DVR viewership tends to rise and fall with Live + Same Day, not offset it.

  4. Sorry to hear that. You can’t make people watch if they don’t want to.

    Selfishly, I do want them to reach whatever level is necessary to guarantee a seventh season. I’m afraid that until that is secured, the quality of season six is in jeopardy as MW has stated that he has an ending in mind. It would seem to me that how you get there would be very affected by whether it was to be 13 or 26 episodes.

  5. When I heard about Paul’s script, the first thing that came to my mind was the Star Trek episode in Season 3 called “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”. Frank Gorshin (who also played The Riddler on Batman) was a guest star. In the episode, two aliens who’s individual races had destroyed their home planet fight it out on the Enterprise, and Kirk sends them back to their homeworld to finish the job.
    The kicker….they both had one black side and one white side….but one was black on the right side and white on the left, and the other was the opposite. Very obvious purpose of the show was to show the callowness of basing racial antagonism on skin color.

    • That’s exactly the episode I thought of, too. Very heavy-handed metaphor, but it must have been effective, since we remember it after all these years.Star Trek could be like that, even from the first season. That’s why it fits that Paul would latch onto that aspect of it.

    • Me Too! I immediately thought of ‘Let That…” I love Gorshin in that episode,so spastic! And I wrote a post about Paul/Trek/Krishna just this morning -hope you’ll see it up soon.
      Matt, I used to have the World of Star Trek book in the 70′s. At my peak of my teenage fan frenzy it was my bible, but I confess less for the text and more for the pictures of Trek — especially the ‘then and now’ photos of the cast! I do remember this story of the idea of the slave planet. Maybe that group (in CA?) that makes live action TOS Trek videos could remake it, it they haven’t already.
      And yeah, I wondered if Harry ever read “Dave Algonquin’s” short stories ;-)

    • That was not the episode that first entered my mind. That episode was The Omega Glory where the reversal was the Kohms and the Yangs. I also thought of the episode in which Kirk kissed Uhura- the first network inter-racial kiss ( a/k/a the “Kinsey Kisses” ), an episode which appeared on very few affiliates in the South.

      • whats the name of THATepisode ? boy did I love Star Trek- i could enter a world where those topics were explored-, in code ! it was below the surface ! and living with a bigoted , imnipotent father , did I cherish that.

    • This isn’t definitive in any way, but fun nonetheless.

      Here are the actual broadcast dates from Star Trek’s first season: http://www.clivebanks.co.uk/Star%20Trek%20Timeline.htm

      The first one to deal with racial issues that Kinsey could have seen was “Balance of Terror” airing on December 15, 1966. In it, the Enterprise battles a Romulan ship. A major element of the plot was the fact that neither side knew what the other looked like until that incident. When it turns out Romulans look exactly like Vulcans, a conflict ensues between Mr. Spock and a crew member who makes a number of racist remarks.

      • I read the episode list and got goosebumps. I too thought of “Let That Be …” when I heard the story of “the Negron complex.”

      • Matt,
        i see what you’re saying. there’s no way Paul could have written such a script for a show that had yet to reach its stride. looking over the shows which aired prior to Dec 66 i see that the Menagerie 1 & 2 had aired, as well as Miri, and these shows were head and shoulder superior to other sci-fi fare and certainly could have inspired an aspiring writer to talk about Negroes as Negrons (“Is it just me or are there Negrons in the Lobby?”)

        i Love “let that be your last battlefield” and have fond memories of Kirk and Spock not seeing the difference between the two half white, half black aliens and Frank Gorshin saying:
        “Isn’t it obvious? He’s white on the right side. All his people are white on the right side.”

        i thought it was brilliant as to how absurd the whole issue of color was.
        maybe it was heavy-handed, but if you’re too subtle then the stupid people miss the point.

        anyhow the episode that sprang to mind when Paul said he had written a Star Trek script was the one that aired almost at the end of the third season with the Space Hippies calling Kirk: “Herbert.”
        (“The Way to Eden” with the late, great character actor, Charles Napier, in one of his first roles)

        • You raise a fair point DragonBreath. As a Twilight Zone fan, Paul would already be aware of the use of allegory in sci-fi stories.

          Like most 3rd season Trek episodes, “Let This Be…” was a bit too heavy-handed. I’d argue that this episode’s major contribution to the genre was the invention of a process to self-destruct the ship in dire situations. Think Ripley in the first Alien. :)

          As for Paul, I’m guessing he’ll find work writing for Lost in Space. Perhaps he penned “The Great Vegetable Rebellion,” that featured a giant talking carrot and had Dr. Smith turned into a stalk of celery, as an allegory for his Krisha period. :)

  6. Anyone know when the annual trekkie conventions began and people showed up in costume as their favorite character? I can see Kinsey at one of them in yet another costume! Lets hope he looks better in a lieutenant costume than Hare Krishna

  7. [...] There was no episode of Star Trek called The Negron Complex. [...]

  8. Typo. “However, it’s worth noting that during it’s original” … should be “its original.”

  9. Seems your research into “The Negron Complex” has been cribbed over at Ain’t It Cool News without attribution:

    “In an interview conducted by David Gerrold for his book “The World of Star Trek,” DeForest Kelley noted there was talk of a potential episode that would have seen Uhura and Atlanta native Leonard McCoy posing as slave-owner and slave to complete a mission on such a planet.”

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/56039

  10. [...] season was science fiction — Ken’s yarns about bridges between planets, Paul Kinsey’s ridiculously on-the-nose Star Trek script. Percolating under the highbrow currents was a brew of new SF finding voice and respectability. In [...]

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