Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Yeoman Rand and Star Trek


Based on her prominence in these pre-show publicity photos from '66, it becomes obvious that Grace Lee Whitney's Yeoman Janice Rand was meant for bigger things on the now-classic sci-fi series which debuted on television exactly 49 years ago this week!









 


 

4 comments:

  1. Her character was originally slated as a love interest / secretary / confidant / focal point to Captain Kirk.

    Grace Lee Whitney was unreliable due to an alcohol problem which caused her to be featured less and less as the show progressed. Eventually she was let go due to her habit.

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    1. This account is held in despute by several reputable sources. Read her autobiography, "The Longest Trek" for details of how she was propositioned, set-up and raped by a Desilu executive, and then dropped from the show. William Shatner describes her as being "passed around" among men on the cast and production execs....or words to that effect. Read for it yourself.

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  2. Either way, she was a little old for TV in those days -- you'd have expected them to cast someone a little more fresh-faced, like Lynda Day (later Lynda Day George). Watching the episodes Rand is in, you get the feeling the production staff & writers didn't really know what to do with her character. Not surprising, as they were doing something completely new for TV in almost every department, and had a lot to handle.

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  3. We can't be sure. There were several conflicting details before 2015, but most seem to be falling into line with her 1998 memoirs. It was obvious, as the photos above show, that they were planning the Matt Dillon formula in early 66, making her Miss Kitty. There were claims that viewers preferred the Kirk as Little Joe (Horatio Hornblower), but her firing and the reported rape was before Amy of the shows aired.

    If you believe her written account and her interviews, then they were rethinking her at about the same time "The Executive" tried to play her into a romantic situation and then forced himself on her due to her saying no. She doesn't paint herself as a saint either, indicating she was currently having an affair while still married, as was "The Executive". It is unlikely that man was some no name Desilu exec. It was someone important and center to deciding script choices in the show.

    The incident, as described, bothers me a bit as it somewhat copies the abortive rape in The Enemy Within, a script Whitney publicly hated. In the description it happened over Labor Day while filming Miri. However she leaves a clue as did Nimoy in his recent memoir, about the attacker giving her a polished rock (GR being a rock collector with a tumbler on his desk) while Nimoy sat beside her in the makeup chairs. That scene smacks of Charlie X, another script she hated.

    The replacement Yeoman was well received and the directors really liked her, but she was never called back. Was that due to their stated reason (to avoid the Captain/Yeoman will they won't they affair) or to save yet another starlet from GR. He was obviously having an affair with Majel Barrett and also Nichols. As well some of the directors said mistresses kept popping into the show.

    I had dismissed this as, who knows, until I heard a long interview by Dorothy Fontana that said she tried to get away from Star Trek as soon as possible and how much she disliked GR (her boss for trying to cheat her out of a writing credit and for other "personal habits"). Nimoy also stated that he hated GR.

    This may also better explain the junior cast's dislike of Shatner. Shatner seemed to be nice and professional to them according to the crew, so why the hate? Shatner obviously didn't assault Whitney, but he did back up the studios official story by saying, she was unprofessional, came to work high, what problematic and everyone on the show passed her around. Shatner, remember kept working in the 70s and 80s on TV.

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