D.C. Fontana

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Name: Dorothy Fontana, D.C. Fontana
Also Known As:
Occupation: Writer, Script Editor
Medium: Television
Works: Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages
D.C. Fontana in the 1975 Masquerade at Equicon
undated photo of D.C. Fontana and some unidentified fans, taken at an unknown con (Fontana is in the center wearing pearls.) Louise Stange may be in the brown dress with the long hair, Nancyann Hiera may be the fan in the grey and black plaid skirt. Ruth Berman may be the fan in the white skirt.

Dorothy C. Fontana is a television writer best known for the original Star Trek.

She started out as Gene Roddenberry's secretary, then went on to write many episodes under her own name as well as others.

After Star Trek she produced Star Trek: The Animated Series as well as writing scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation and other science fiction shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man and Babylon 5.

She has also written for non-science fiction television, video games, comics, and at least two novels. She is responsible for the creation of Spock's parents Sarek and Amanda, and for much of Vulcan culture.

In an interview with Walter Koenig in T-Negative #7, the actor says that he misses Dorothy Fontana, who was no longer script editor on the show: "She always had an insight into all the characters. It might be just a few lines, but there'd be something in them that brought the character out."

From a 1973 Bio

From a progress report for Vul-Con:

Miss Fontana is no doubt well known to those older fans of Star Trek, but for those younger fans who may not recognise her name we will explain who she is.

In every television series, there is one person who has the job of seeing that from one week to the next, all the characters, places, and names remain the same. In other words, this person Is responsible for the continuity of the series. In Star Trek's case, this responsibility was Miss Fontana's.

But this is not all of her job, not only must she keep the program continuity, but it is also her job to read each and every new script which is submitted to the producer in order to determine which ones can be used in the series and which ones can't, and of those which can—which need to be rewritten.

Miss Fontana was well qualified for the job she held. She not only knew Science Fiction, she has written scripts for many TV shows including most recently--Ghost Story, but having worked with Gene Roddenberry for a while she knew what he was looking for in the program.

Miss Fontana also wrote a large number of Star Trek's scripts herself and those she didn't write-herself she helped rewrite to fit them to Star Trek's format.

From a 1974 Bio

D.C. Fontana was the guest of honor at Equicon in 1974. In the program book was a short bio:

The FONTANA touch way given to STAR TREK'S token alien, MR. SPOCK; who had boon originally added only for extra interest. Fans will realize, on seeing the re-runs, that early SPOCK reactions and attitudes were subtly muted and made more mysterious; almost all of which can be laid at D.C.'s door. Her ability to characterize an interesting role into a very real-seeming personality made MR. SPOCK into the worldwide attraction he is to this day. The development of several of the characters is due to D.C.'s writing and sensibility—and ability to touch the TV audience with her own visualization of a character.


[Her accepted script for "The Streets of San Francisco"] was a special coup because the QM Production company has a reputation for NEVER using female writers. To make their point against growing pressure, QM asked D.C. to use her full name, DOROTHY CATHERINE, on the title listings when they bought her script. While D.C. is not a militant 'libber', she does believe that women are human, too.

From a 1979 Interview

Dorothy Fontana is a mature woman who carries a sense oh both dignity and warmth in her bearing. In many ways she is a quiet and unassuming person who tends to wean, quiet and unassuming clothing. She doesn't try to attract attention to herself, but when approached she is open and quite ready to give you her honest opinion. At heart, she carries a fan's love oh the science fiction genre, and a fan's sense oh humor.

A frequent attendee oh s-f conventions, she can often be seen leading or sitting on panels or leading or sitting in on filksong sessions. Dorothy has written many fine filksongs herself, and they are things not to be missed at any science fiction gathering.

To get an idea oh her sense of humor, displayed upon occasion within the interview, she once dressed up like Han Solo and lead a talk on STAR TREK, but beforehand removed her laser and warned the audience, "That's for anyone who doubts where my loyalties lie."

Dorothy Catherine Fontana started writing science fictional scripts at a tine when male SF writers outnumbered females ten-to-one. Since there might be a stigma connected with a female SF writer, much oh her earliest material appears with the credit "by D.C. Fontana."

Compassion and humor are the most notable aspects of Dorothy's writings. Anne McCaffrey called Dorothy's teleplay of "Journey to Babel" one oh STAR TREK'S "most powerfully emotional scripts." What ST fan can forget the humorous moments in "Tomorrow yesterday" and "By Any Other Name?" The emotional turmoil of Kirk in "The Ultimate Computer"? Spock feeling love and happiness for the first time in "This Side of Paradise"? McCoy's confusion in "Friday's Child" or Charlie Evans, the awkward adolescent of "Charlie X."? While there is a terrific variety in all these scripts, they have one thing in common. They are all memorable stories derived from a very human source. [1]

Depicted in Fanworks

Con Guest of Honor, Panel Member, Staff

As a Participant

Fontana was on panels, participated in costume contests, and attended room parties.

In 1972, a Joan Winston wrote about a room party at the first Star Trek Lives! con and an underground fan-created sexually explicit audio tape. See more at The First Explicit Audiofic.

Joanie Winston wrote about this tape:

... we were down in the bar with Dorothy Fontana and a batch of committee types. GR stopped over to say hello and bought our drinks. At about 1 am, we smuggled Dorothy into the art show, which she hadn't gotten a chance to see. Then we lured [Dorothy Fontana] up to a party in the infamous 411, where we drank PON FARRs (warm tomato juice, cayenne pepper, vodka, a green cherry, and a slice of cucumber -- symbolic of some thing or other) and listened to an obscene ST tape." [2]

Comments About the Treatment of Con Guests

From The Care and Feeding of Celebrities, a 1974 essay by Fontana.

...the question arises as to how you, the fan, should treat celebrities who have donated their time, talent, and efforts to make your conventions successful and fun, or a miserable disaster that will sour them on fans forever.

[much snipped]

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that celebrity guests are human beings. They can get tired, hungry, frustrated, and irritable. They appreciate courtesy and thoughtfulness. They require a certain amount of privacy and "time out" to recharge their batteries, especially at conventions where fan demands are heavy. They prefer a friendly hello and smile to being stared at. They are fallible. It is possible, in fact probable, they do not remember details of STAR TREK episodes. Fans should not be aghast at this, but they should remember it has been five years since STAR TREK went off the air as a live series. All the STAR TREK people have done a great deal of work on other TV shows, movies, books, plays, etc. Few of us have studied STAR TREK as dedicated fans have. Don't be disappointed if a celebrity guest doesn't remember minute details of a show done five to eight years ago. When you do ask questions, remember celebrities like to know you're interested in what they're doing now, not only in what they did on STAR TREK. Actors, writers, directors, and technical artists prides themselves on the versatility of their talent and would be pleased to tell you about new projects.

The next time you have a chance to meet a celebrity - - any celebrity -- try to follow these guide lines. You'll find you're a standout among fans in the eyes of the celebrity.

From Con Program Books

The Cons

Fans' Support, and Surprise, at Her Gender

[need comments]

A Huge Spokesperson of "Star Trek: The Animated Series"

Fontana and David Gerrold were both very prominent in fan spaces about their support of Star Trek: The Animated Series.

The show was heavily promoted by fans and by D.C. Fontana in newsletters and letterzines, often accompanied by pleas to "give it a chance." One source of detailed info about the show is In Her Own Words: An Interview with Dorothy Fontana (1974).

See the transcription of a speech: I'd like to talk about STAR TREK, past, present and future, and I don't know whether you're going to like what I have to say. by D.C. Fontana.

See more at Star Trek: The Animated Series.

See Fontana's 1973 open letter: I'd like to talk about STAR TREK, past, present and future, and I don't know whether you're going to like what I have to say.

Influence on Canon, and Fanon

Spock's Family Name, and Other Canon Bits

According to D.C. Fontana in a letter to Spockanalia, Spock's family/last name is Xtmprsqzntwlfb.

The exact wording D.C. Fontana used in her letter to Spockanalia was:

Both his mother and father have been married only once... to each other... Spock is an only child... there are absolutely no other siblings... I have projected Spock's last name as XTMPRSQZNTWLFB.

See Spock's Name.

The "Vulcan Kiss"

Here’s some background on what has come (in fandom) to be called the ozh’esta (the finger kiss):

The first time we see the “Vulcan kiss” gesture it is in Journey to Babel, where it wasn’t actually written in the script. The actors playing Sarek and Amanda asked Leonard Nimoy about the body language and gestures used by Vulcans, in order to give their performance continuity with what had been developed in Star Trek so far. It was Leonard’s idea that hands and hand gestures are deeply significant to Vulcans, and between the three of them the actors worked out the now-familiar two-finger touch as the way a Vulcan would interact with his bond-mate.

Then fan writers – rabid as ever to develop the full backstory (and bedroom story) behind every thing given us on screen – took over. Essays and fanfiction quickly developed the fannon (fan-made cannon) that we are familiar with today: the gesture is the Vulcan equivalent of a human kiss; it’s a touch through which the telepathic bond crackles like lightening between a bonded pair; Vulcan hands are erogenous zones that one only fondles in private.

Gene Roddenberry was extremely aware of and respectful towards the development of fannon in the early years of Star Trek. He bought the fan zines that were in circulation at that time, he kept them in the production offices, and he insisted that the show writers read them and keep them in mind when writing new episodes. (These were golden years for being a fanfiction writer, needless to say. GOLDEN.)

As a result of Gene’s requirement to read fan fiction, show writer Dorothy Fontana was fully aware of the fannon about Vulcan sexuality when, during the 3rd season, she wrote The Enterprise Incident. During pre-production, the new producer on the show (the unfortunate Fred Freiberger) went and added a rather torrid love scene between the commander and Spock, very much against Dorothy’s wishes. Infamously, the scene called for (and this line is burned forever in my memory) Spock taking her in his arms and “raining kisses on every square inch above her shoulder.” (!!!!)

Well, Dorothy, god bless her, pitched a fit and refused to back down. Pointing out that the fans “know exactly how a Vulcan makes love,” she insisted that Spock and the Romulan commander be seen fondling each other’s hands rather than raining human kisses on faces and necks. Leonard found out about it and balked at playing the scene, and wrote his objections in a now-famous letter to the production heads. Dorothy and Leonard prevailed on this one, and if you go watch The Enterprise Incident you will see quite a racy (for Vulcans) scene play out between Spock and the Romulan commander – all expressed via the touching of hands. [3]




For an extensive (but not exhaustive) listing of D.C. Fontana's work, see mlle's A D.C. Fontana Primer.