Richard Arnold

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Name: Richard Arnold
Also Known As:
Occupation: fan, Star Trek archivist, Paramount employee, then ex-employee
Medium: print
Works:
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages
"'Star Trek' guru finally profits from his 22-year obsession" a 1988 article in the "Chicago Tribune"
cover of Sublight Reading, artist: Richard Arnold

Richard Arnold straddled the precarious line between fan, official Paramount employee, and as a constant con Guest of Honor. He had been introduced to fandom by his mother, Denny Arnold. [1]

A nearly full-time, unpaid consultant from 1977 until 1986, he became a Paramount paid employee in 1986. Arnold is, in essence, a fannish cautionary tale.

He was a controversial member of Star Trek fandom, generating much discussion and conflict regarding his comments about fandom, especially in relation to the pro books, who "spoke for Star Trek" and what was canon, fandom and profit, mutual profiteering, and power.

a 1991 letter printed in Engage! #5 from Richard Arnold "Star Trek Research Consultant" in which he tells fans, among other things, that "No one but Gene has the right to say what is good Star Trek and what is not... neither the authors nor the fans. Not even me."

"Arnold's vetting became infamous for a series of arbitrary and counter-intuitive decrees restricting novels, comic books, and games and technical developments, resulting in the nickname "Melakon"." [2]

See more about this topic at news flash.......mosley bleeds from O-ring. - Page 5 - SpaceBanter.com, Archived version (11 Jun 2004).

Richard Arnold passed away 26 January 2021.

Shortly after Arnold's death, Rod Roddenberry (Gene's son) said:

"The Federation flag must fly at half mast today to honor the passing of Richard Arnold. [...] Among a sea of suits pitching ideas, Richard’s voice was the one my father most often listened to; because Richard listened to the fans. [...] He was also someone that both my father and I truly loved.... The loss of Richard, both for me personally and for the world of Star Trek, is ineffable.” [3]

Fan Activities

Attendee and Guest of Honor at Conventions

As of late 1990, Arnold had attended 160 conventions. [4]

About Arnold: 1988

From a 1988 article in the "Chicago Tribune" (newspaper):

When creator Gene Roddenberry has a question about "Star Trek," he turns to Richard Arnold.

The information about "Star Trek" and the lore amassed over the last 22 years, is so vast that only the most dedicated Trekkie could possibly keep track of it.

Arnold has been the show's official archivist at Paramount Studios for the last two years, but for nearly nine years before that he was unpaid but virtually full-time consultant.

[snipped]

"I went to my first 'Star Trek' convention in New York in 1971"... That was the first of many "Star Trek" conventions he was to attend in subsequent years. In 1974, he moved to Los Angeles to work as a hospital orderly. "I still kept in touch with everybody, and Susan Sackett, Gene's assistant, began calling me for information," he said. "She knew my memory of the shows. If there was a question or problem, they'd call me. Eventually, it got to a point where I had an office, a parking space, and my name in the Paramount studio directory. And I wasn't even on the payroll. I kept getting more and more calls. From publicity, from merchandising, from everybody. I was spending nearly all my time at the studio. Finally, Gene proposed establishment of the job of archivist and I went to work [as a paid employee] on July 1, 1986."

It's a job that you'd think would make Arnold the envy of every Trekkie. But Arnold said they're such a compatible group that they help each other out. He frequently calls on other Trekkies when he's stumped. [5]

About Arnold: 1989

Arnold, a very frequent guest of honor at cons, had a bio and photo in the third Sol III program book. In it was mentioned that he'd recently attended (as regular guest and as a guest of honor) his one-hundredth con.

About Arnold: 1990

from the 1990 Timecon program book

From the 1990 Timecon program book:

Richard Arnold was born in Vancouver, Canada (in the same hospital as James "Scotty" Doohan) , and has been a fan of Star Trek since the show first aired in 1966. He ran a Star Trek fan club in both his high school and college, and attended some twenty-five science fiction/Star Trek conventions before moving to Los Angeles in 1974.

After his move to the west coast, Arnold struck up a friendship with Susan Sackett, executive assistant to Gene Roddenberry, and soon found himself answering questions on the original series for Mr. Roddenberry's offices. After eight-and-a-half years as an unofficial consultant on Star Trek to Paramount and its licensees, Arnold was finally hired full time by the studio in the summer of 1986, in time to work on the release of Star Trek IV, the 20th anniversary of Star Trek, and the new series which was just starting up.

Arnold designed the 1987 Star Trek calendar for Pocket Books, and, due to the success of that calendar, was asked to design two calendars for 1989, one for each of the series. Between them, they sold almost a quarter of a million copies. Arnold attended his 125th convention in Liverpool, England (1989). Timecon 1990 will be his 160th convention.

About Arnold: 1992

From Star Trek Action Group #103 :

Most of us have heard of Richard Arnold; many of us have had the pleasure of meeting him. A couple of our newer members have noticed his name mentioned in the newsletter and asked me who he is. Now seems a very appropriate time to re-cap on Richard's work in the Star Trek world. He became a Star Trek fan almost from the start; although he saw the first episode, 'The Man Trap', when it originally aired on American television it wasn't until the second episode, 'Charlie X', on September 15th, 1966, that he became hooked. When the show was threatened with cancellation he wrote letters; in high school he ran a Star Trek club. In 1976 he went to Gene Roddenberry to volunteer as a fan 'expert' [6] ; if Gene needed the answer to a question and couldn't find it, he could call Richard who would find it for him (Richard knows the original Trek episodes backwards)! He recently mentioned that if he gets an unusual question and he's not quite sure of the answer he will get the video out and fast-forward to the particular scene in the episode and then find he has watched the rest of the episode! At heart he is still a fan and the next fifteen years were to be a fan's dream come true. For over nine years, Richard worked up to 40 hours a week (as well as doing a paid job elsewhere) as Paramount's 'resident Trekker'. He had his own office and parking privileges but was working only as a volunteer. Suddenly, in 1986, the studio decided that there was enough work to warrant him being hired officially. His job title keeps changing but he is basically Star Trek's archivist and research consultant, working from the Star Trek office at Paramount. In many ways his job was to ensure that any new Trek (scripts for the movies and Next Gen or manuscripts for the novels) was in keeping with Trek lore. He also answered a lot of fan mail and regularly appeared at conventions in the States and over here, bringing slides of the latest Next Gen episodes or the movies and telling a few 'behind-the-scenes' stories. Richard was a link between the fans and the studio. He was the fan the inside. Shortly after Gene's death, Richard was sacked by 
Paramount." [7]

Arnold on Arnold, & Star Trek: 1991

On September 9, 1991, "The Richard Arnold Interview" by Timothy Lynch appeared on Usenet's rec.arts.startrek. Some of the topics of the interview: view of his own role, the history and origins, the films, the fanzines and the professionally published tie-in novels.

The Richard Arnold Interview, Part 1 "This is part 1 of the interview with Richard Arnold, dealing with mostly general questions and topics; who he is, what he does, etc."

The Richard Arnold Interview, Part 2 "This is part 2 of the interview with Richard Arnold, dealing with computer networks, a problem he had with the USS Avenger recently, and with the question of canon."

The Richard Arnold Interview, Part 3: "This is part 3 of the interview with Richard Arnold. This section deals with general problems between him and some Trek authors (Margaret Wander Bonanno, Peter David, Brad Ferguson, etc.). [Specific allegations will come up in parts 4 and 5.]"

The Richard Arnold Interview, Part 4: "This is part 4 of the interview with Richard Arnold. Both this part and the next part deal with specific allegations made by authors against Richard and Richard's responses to them."

The Richard Arnold Interview, Part 5: "This is the fifth and final part of the interview with Richard Arnold, containing more allegations and responses with respect to Richard and several Trek authors. A post containing impressions and commentary will follow."

Margaret Bonanno's reaction to the interview

See also her 2002 essay This is the tale of PROBE: The Novel I Didn't Write

Meta/Further Reading

Related Concepts, Fandoms, Terms, Fanworks
See also Maureen Garrett, Susan Sackett, David Gerrold

References

  1. ^ from From Sawdust to Stardust: The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek's Dr. McCoy. by Terry Lee Rioux, Simon and Schuster, 2005
  2. ^ Richard Arnold at Memory Alpha Wiki
  3. ^ Star Trek stars react to the passing of archivist Richard Arnold at the age of 66 — Daily Star Trek News, Archived version (2021)
  4. ^ "Timecon 1990 will be his 160th convention." - from the Timecon 1990 program book
  5. ^ from "'Star Trek' guru finally profits from his 22-year obsession,' "Chicago Tribune," Tempo 4, Section 5, July 29, 1988, also reprinted here
  6. ^ it was not as easy as this; his qualifications came through his mom, need a cite for this
  7. ^ from Star Trek Action Group #103

[Category:Deceased]]