by Larry Brody
No, I’m not talking about the J.J. Abrams movie but about a book written by one of my closest friends, Herb Solow, and his longtime wingman, the late Bobby Justman.
Herb – as Herbert F. Solow, Executive in Charge of Production for Desilu Studios, and Bobby – as Robert H. Justman, Producer – were two-third of the team that worked/fought like hell to get the Original STAR TREK on the air…and keep it there. Years later, these two keepers of the Places Where All the Bodies are Buried teamed up again to write the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story.
Herb gave me a copy when it first came out, in 1996, but life being what it is, I never got a chance to read the entire thing until last week, and all I can say is, “Wow.”
For over 15 years, Herb has been talking about how the publication of Inside Star Trek has made him persona non grata at ST gatherings the world over because instead of playing into the myth, he and Justman presented the show as they’d viewed it back in the day: “Just another TV series.” With Gene Roddenberry as, not a god, but, in effect, just another writer-producer with a tendency to sacrifice everything else in his life to his writing, his success, his ambition, and his need for gratification now.
Just like all the rest of us.
I knew Gene, of course, although not nearly as well as I’ve known Herb these 35 years, and I don’t see this book as casting him in any particularly bad light. Just a realistic one. The information about him is worth knowing, whether or not you’re a fan, because it you’re a writer it’ll help you know yourself a bit better, and if you’re the friend/lover/parent/child of a writer you’ll gain a much greater insight into what you’ve been putting up with all these years.
A quick click to Amazon.Com showed me that Inside Star Trek is still available in hardcover, paperback, and audio cassette, in both new and used versions. If you want to get a feeling for what it’s really like to work on a TV series (including whether or not it’s something you could endure if your showbiz dreams came true), or simply want to know the truth about STAR TREK: TOS and its creator(s), you’ll be doing yourself a very big favor by clicking here.
Time now for me to do myself a very big favor too: Gotta call Herb and tell him at last – and sincerely – what a great job he and Bobby did. (And then beg for forgiveness, oh yeah.)