Saturday, November 27, 2010
PORFLE VS. GENE RODDENBERRY
I remember the time I tried to accuse Gene Roddenberry of stealing the idea for "Star Trek" from me. It wasn't true, of course, but I saw an opportunity for big money if I could pull it off!
I stormed into his office unannounced one day and pounded my fist on his desk. "You stole the idea for 'Star Trek' from me, you bastard!"
"'Star Trek'?" he said with a puzzled look. "What's that?"
"Huh? Wait a minute...what year is this?"
"Oh," I said sheepishly. Retreating from his office, I turned at the door and shot him a defiant look over my shoulder. "See you in three years, SUCKAH!!!"
Three years later, I stormed into his office again and slammed my fist on his desk even harder than I had last time. "You stole the idea for 'Star Trek' from me, you bastard!"
He looked up from some script pages he'd been going over and lowered his glasses on his nose to get a better look at me. "No, I didn't," he claimed. "I totally made it up on my own."
This enraged me, so I stood there clenching my fists, shaking uncontrollably, looking around for something demonstrative to do. Gene's size 12 feet were crossed on his desk, so I grabbed him by the ankles and started swinging him around the room in wide circles. He yowled in a mixture of shock and fear as the script pages fluttered around like big, square snowflakes. Then I let go and launched him right through the window. He crashed through the glass and disappeared with a scream.
I ran to the shattered window and looked down just in time to see Gene being carried away in the back of a passing turnip truck. Since there didn't seem to be anyone at the helm of "Star Trek" at the moment, I sat down at his desk and took over production of the show. Buzzing my new secretary, Dorothy, I ordered her to alert the entire cast and crew of the show to assemble in my office on the double.
There wasn't enough room in there for everybody so they had to sit in each other's laps, ride piggy-back, or make other arrangements. Shatner, who had ended up draped across the back of a couch with production designer Matt Jeffries sitting on his stomach, demanded to know what "the hell" was going on.
"Listen, pal," I growled, chewing on a cigar, "this is my show now, see? I created it, not that Roddenberry mug, see? Anybody got a beef with that? Who wants a knuckle sandwich?" I brandished my fist threateningly while glowering like a bulldog and blowing huge clouds of cigar smoke from the corners of my mouth.
Leonard Nimoy, who was partially wedged underneath the desk and had propmaster Irving Feinberg's butt in his face, spoke up with a groan. "Where's Gene?" he inquired. "He's the creator of this show, not you, and he should be--"
"YAAAAAAA!!!" I exploded in a burst of rage, flailing my arms. "I CREATED THE SHOW!!! ME, ME, MEEEEE!!!" Screaming like a banshee, I leapt onto the desk and started jumping up and down. At one point, my pants fell down around my ankles but I didn't notice. Chunks of plaster began to crumble from the walls and ceiling while ominous creaking and groaning noises filled the room. "ME, ME, MEEEEE!!!" I continued to scream.
Suddenly the overloaded floor gave way with a tremendous din of splintering wood and a billowing cloud of dust. Everyone crashed through, plummetting from the second storey to the first and landing in the lobby of the office building like so many sacks of tomatoes until the floor was littered with people and debris. DeForest Kelley had fallen through the top of a candy machine and could now be seen through the display glass, as though he were on sale for a mere thirty-five cents. George Takei had landed on a watercooler, smashing the large container of water and taking its place atop the machine. Nichelle Nichols was part of a large potted plant next to the restrooms.
When the noise had subsided, I calmly rose to my feet and produced a script from my back pocket. "You see," I said in a reasonable voice, "this is my original script for 'Star Trek', which I wrote several years before this Roddenberry jerk started running around claiming to have invented the whole thing himself." I showed it to Shatner and Nimoy, who were hanging upside-down by their feet from some kind of electrical wiring.
"This..." Nimoy sputtered, gasping for air. "This...is a script...for a sitcom called 'Leave It To Pooky.'"
"That's right," I affirmed. "Oh sure, Roddenberry changed a few things. Names, locations, whatever. Merely a thinly-disguised attempt to steal my ideas." I flipped a few pages and pointed. "See? The next-door neighbor character named Mr. Dinglehooter? That's Mr. Spock. And the kooky teenage daughter who's going through a volatile social and sexual awakening that leads to lots of comical complications? That's, uh...Scotty."
"What about me?" Shatner croaked. "Who am I?"
"Oh, you're Pooky, of course."
"But...Pooky's a dog!"
"Yes," I agreed, holding up a finger, "but he's a dog with all of Captain Kirk's most distinctive qualities! Courage, wisdom...uh, irresistible sex appeal..."
"Hmm," Shatner intoned. "This is all starting to make some sense."
"Oh, for god's sake, Bill," scoffed Nimoy.
Suddenly, Gene Roddenberry's ample bulk filled the front doorway. His clothing was strangely rumpled, and whenever he moved, turnips fell out of it. He pointed at me with a trembling finger. "SECURITY!" he cried. "GET THAT GUY!"
"You'll hear from my lawyers, you big dope!" I screamed, making my getaway with armed guards hot on my heels.
It wasn't long after this that the first Klingons began to appear on "Star Trek", and I like to think that they were at least partially inspired by my disruptive antics that day. On the whole, I felt as though I had really accomplished something worthwhile and was pretty darn proud of myself, until a few years later, after "Star Trek" had been cancelled, a new show appeared on NBC's fall schedule. Sure enough, it was "Leave It To Pooky." It turned out to be a big, big hit, with "Pooky" fan clubs popping up all over the world and billions of dollars rolling in from "Pooky" merchandising. And to add insult to injury, the opening credits every week featured the huge, glittering letters: "CREATED BY GENE RODDENBERRY, AND NOT PORFLE."
(originally posted at Andersonvision.com)