Legacies of WWII in The Original Series.
For the cast and crew of The Original Series, World War II was more than just a dark page in the history books—it was an experience through which they had lived, loved, and lost. From piloting bombers over the Pacific to storming the beaches of Normandy, many of them had seen more than their fair share of action. Those who were too young to have served had witnessed the devastation that war brought to ordinary people. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy—both raised in Jewish immigrant families—were also impacted by the conflict as the horrors of the Holocaust felt very close to home.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Tony Black explore the war stories of Star Trek’s original cast and crew, focusing on Gene Roddenberry’s service with the US Army Air Forces and James Doohan’s time with the Royal Canadian Artillery. Along the way, we consider how The Original Series explored the historical legacies of the war in episodes such as “Patterns of Force” and “The City on the Edge of Forever.”
Gene Roddenberry (00:02:53)
James Doohan (00:14:51)
They also served… (00:32:58)
“Patterns of Force” (00:35:30)
Fascist iconography (00:42:50)
“The City on the Edge of Forever” (00:49:05)
Allegory and historical sensitivity (00:55:57)
Final Thoughts (00:59.57)
Duncan Barrett and Tony Black
Tony Black (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Schooling in Star Trek. For Starfleet officers whose families have joined them in space, providing a well-rounded education can be a challenge. We take a look at how education is handled in Gene Roddenberry’s future.
Star Trek’s Fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent. We look at daddy issues throughout the franchise’s fifty-plus-year history.
Hitler’s British Isles and the Dominion takeover of Deep Space 9. We consider the parallels between the opening arc of DS9’s sixth season and the occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
Starfleet and the US Space Agency. We look at the developing relationship between real-world exploration and the famous science fiction franchise.
Shrinking Sci-Fi and DS9’s “One Little Ship.” We look at some examples of shrinking in Star Trek, comparing the franchise’s tiny people to those in science fiction cinema, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
Federation Politics in Star Trek. We’re joined by Keith DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, for a look at Star Trek’s political structures, the Federation Council, and its three on-screen presidents.
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.
Michael Piller, Joseph Conrad, and Star Trek: Insurrection. We look at some of the inspirations behind the script of the third TNG film, including Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness and discuss Piller’s book Fade In.
The British Isles in Star Trek. We discuss the portrayal of our homelands over a few synthales at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and examine real-world independence movements and the effects of transporters on national identity.