Where No Producers Have Gone Before

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Open Letter
Title: Where No Producers Have Gone Before
From: Teri Meyers
Addressed To:
Date(s): December 1982
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Topic: fans' differing opinions about the Star Trek movie: The Wrath of Khan
External Links:
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Where No Producers Have Gone Before is a commentary/open letter by Teri Meyer, the editor of Interstat.

Harve Bennett, as well as Gene Roddenberry, were both regular readers of Interstat, and both had had letters printed in the letterzine.

The letter was published in the December 1982 issue, it addressed fans' differing opinions about the Star Trek movie: The Wrath of Khan.

Text of the Letter

Amid the fan praise and adoration, comes also criticism and condemnation. In all fairness, fan opinion should reflect the pro and con of any given subject. But like the close scrutiny given the praise, perhaps certain aspects of the criticism need closer observation. This is especially true when that criticism is an attempt to analyze what another feels. In the instance of producer Harve Bennett, some of fandom's more negative opinions (written and verbal) have begun to surface: Harve Bennett doesn't care about Star Trek or its fans; the man had to be sat down to watch the episodes; Harve Bennett is NOT a fan of star Trek, and his professed love of the concept is nothing short of hypocrisy. I think we can all agree—it was inevitable. Then again, when reading the above notions, I am reminded of the opposite. I am reminded of and grateful for the fact that Harve Bennett did sit down and watch all 79 episodes; I am reminded of a man who sought out fan opinion and expertise in an attempt to better understand the phenomenon called Star Trek; and I am reminded of a producer who has made every attempt to communicate with Star Trek fans--on stage, through letters in INTERSTAT, and by answering, when time permitted, countless letters sent to his office. Consider, if you will, what it would have been like to have a producer who didn't care, who might just as easily have turned his back and ignored Trek's loyal following. Furthermore, anyone who has read an early draft of the script, and then later studied a near-final copy, can tell you what a polished difference it made when Bennett put pen in hand. This film was proof that Harve Bennett, like the Great Bird, was willing to go the distance to please the fans. Gene Roddenberry, whose beautiful work I love and admire, didn't fare much better in regards to ST:THP. I'm not going to quote here the negative things said about him; I'll only say that it was unfortunate some of them were said by fans who experienced first-hand the courtesies extended by his office—and those were many. At this point, I don't know who (or whose movie) has been blasted more. Gene Roddenberry or Harve Bennett. I only know we can't begin to imagine what it took to produce a television classic—and ten years later a major motion picture. Or what Harve Bennett had to assimilate (within a very short time) to recapture a Star Trek flavor and produce ST:TWOK. People, we're not just a fandom blessed; we are a fandom spoiled. We're spoiled because, like us. Gene Roddenberry and Harve Bennett cared. I don't think anyone would argue that Star Trek fans are very opinionated. They're going to say darn well what they want to say—as it should be. They're going to evaluate these movies, criticize the final products, and tear them apart frame by frame if '.hat's what it takes to keep them Trek. The production offices might be the better for it; after all, who knows and understands Star Trek more than its fans? But having never sat with these men behind a producer's desk, can we, in all honesty, speak their minds, their hearts? When Harve Bennett states publicly, "I literally fell in love with Star Trek," I believe him. I believe him because I fell in love with it. And when he invites, "Let's do it again," I'm going to do just that—I'm going to be first in line premiere night for Star Trek III. — Teri Meyer

Reactions and Reviews

Thank you so much for putting into words what has been on my mind since the release of TWOK. I feel that
 fandom is more than spoiled. We are blind? blind to what STAR TREK really is. As Harlan Ellison once pointed out, we have taken a form of entertainment, a TV show, and made it more important than it was ever intended to be. We have raised it to the level or perfection. Each one of us has put so much of ourselves into our view of the STAR TREK universe that anything that does not agree with the view is immediately dismissed as bad Trek. Poor Gene Roddenberry, in producing ST:TMP he had to feed the needs of thousands of fans who had been dreaming and fantasizing their own individual STAR TREK universes for ten years. There was no way he could have pleased us all. Harve Bennett was in no better a position than Roddenberry. Bad press plagued him from the start. Now that TWOK is out some fans are upset because it did not live up to their own interpretations of STAR TREK. They accuse it of being a cheap movie made with no other purpose than to make a quick buck. Yes, TWOK was made to make money, so was ST:TMP, and so was the original STAR TREK series. We must keep in mind that that is all STAR TREK is, a form of entertainment, is long as we keep this in mind, and stop making more out of it than it really is, we will enjoy TWOK and the movies that will follow it. [1]

References

  1. ^ from Cathy B in Interstat #63