persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Some time back I found this book called SEVEN GLORIOUS DAYS AND SEVEN FUN FILLED NIGHTS written by Charles Sopkin. It was published by Ace Books in 1968, from a Putnam hardcover. I think it undermines Harlan Ellison’s assertions that his tome, THE GLASS TEAT was the first book to deal with Television.

The author watched as much TV as he could for one week. It seems his brain was turning to mush. Here is his review of a certain science fiction program we all know about:

pages 219-220

This is my first encounter with an actor named Leonard Nimoy who portrays a pointy eared half-man half-spaceman called Spock. “Star Trek” open with two men in firefighter suits moping around a deserted planet. They discover the bodies of five people, evidently murdered. One of the five was kill while taking a shower, fully clothed which I find unusual. One of the two in Firefighter outfits casually sticks a finger in some blood, dripping from God-know-where, and says “its nothing like we’ve dealt with before.” The two explorers go back to their space ship and report to their superiors. The space ship is one a five year mission to a planet “where no man has gone before.” You would think this would be a mighty lonely mission. The space ship, however, is absolutely jammed with attractive space girls, fetchingly attired in miniskirts and boots. I get the impression that on a quiet night among the meteors, the spacemen can find companionship if they wish.

Joey, the one of the two who discovered the dead people, is suddenly stricken with a mysterious ailment. The symptoms are fairly simple. Joey is walking around the spaceship trying to rub something off of his hand, but I know there’s naught on his hand. In a dramatic scene set in the space ship’s lounge, Joey become paranoid and turns on his best friend, a Chinese crewman. “Get off my back, “ Joey snarls at the Chinese. “You don’t have pointed ears and you don’t like me.” (Speaking of pointed ears, Spock is not much in evidence during the first half of “Star Trek”. He is the executive officer of the space ship so I guess he is busy steering it to where no man has ventured before.) Joey gets worse. “What are we doing out here?” he queries the baffled Chinese “We’re polluting space,” Joey says. And then he throws the line I murmur every time I enter an airplane, “If man were supposed to fly he’d have wings. With this final sally, Joey goes completely out of his mind, dashes from the lounge and starts running up and down the corridors of the space ship. (I ought to mention that the interior of the space ship looks like the interior of every Hilton Hotel you’ve ever been in. Pastel walls, deep rugs, nothings too good for our spacemen.)

The Captain, meanwhile has been kept closely informed of Joey’s illness and has alerted the ship’s doctor. The doctor reports that the laboratory’s computers have yet to isolate the elusive virus. (If you think that I am prattling along on too long , remember, this is prime time, the best that television has to offer, and I think you deserve to know all about it.) After a dueling scene in the bowels of the spaceship, Joey is captured and dragged to the infirmary. unfortunately, Joey died on the operating table and one crewman after another tumbles into madness. On top of that , the ship is about to smash into some planet or other in five minutes unless somebody in the flight deck can pull themselves together to straighten it out. Spock, flexing his pointy ears, finally comes down with the disease. In health a fairly rigid type, he begins sobbing, “My mother. I never told her I love her.” In the final scene, the doctor rushes to the flight deck. Finding that Spock and the Captain also have loose screws, the doctor tells nobody in particular that the disease is transmitted from person to person “by the water in their sweat.” Fortunately, he has worked out an immunization and, as the space ship careens toward the planet, the doctor manages to inoculate the captain and Spock with an antidote to the diseased sweat. The space ship is saved. One of the attractive Negro girls on the bridge of the ship gives the eye to Spock, and you know for the next five years everything is going to be absolutely groovy for the cat with the pointy ears.

Anyone have comments? I don’t recognise the show. The early comment about Spock being "half man, half spaceman" reminded me of a review of the animation flick, ICE AGE in the Baltimore Sun, which claimed Scrat was "half squirrel, half rodent".

Did Spock ever flex his ears?

So much for educating the masses.

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