David Gerrold was born January 24, 1944.
David Gerrold, birth name Jerrold David Friedman, is a screenwriter and science fiction author, who wrote episodes of original series’ and animated series’, and also worked as a story editor on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He left near the end of that series’ first season in a dispute with Gene Roddenberry.
Gerrold wrote the scripts for the original series’ “The Trouble with Tribbles” and its sequel, the animated series’ “More Tribbles, More Troubles”, as well as The Animated Series episode “Bem”. The first of these was nominated for a Hugo Award in the category “Best Dramatic Presentation”, which he shared with Joseph Pevney. He provided the story, along with Oliver Crawford, for TOS: “The Cloud Minders”. He also provided an uncredited rewrite of the final draft of the script for TOS: “I, Mudd”.
Before his script outline that became “The Trouble With Tribbles” was bought by Star Trek producers, Gerrold (a recent college graduate), early in 1967, submitted a sixty-page outline for a two-part episode, “Tomorrow Was Yesterday”. After that outline was responded to, positive for its quality, negative for its usefulness to the series, Gerrold was invited to submit some script outlines suitable for the program’s budget. Gerrold submitted five outlines, including “A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me…” (which became Tribbles), “The Protracted Man”, “Bandi”, and two others with titles Gerrold did not recall some years later. One of the others involved Kirk playing a chess game with his crew as chess pieces, the other involved a spaceship-destroying machine, an idea he noted as eerily similar to Norman Spinrad’s story “The Doomsday Machine” that was produced for the same season. Gerrold also came up with both “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and “Bem” as story ideas for the third season, however producer Fred Freiberger refused to buy either of them. They were re-developed and produced for the The Animated Series five years later.
A caricature of Gerrold was included in “More Tribbles, More Troubles” as an in-joke. According to the novelization of the episode by Alan Dean Foster, this individual was named “Hacker,” a name which Gerrold later found insulting.
In 1987, Gerrold was hired as a story editor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which capacity he wrote many elements in the Writers’ Bible for the series. Having had an inside track he submitted a series of articles under the column heading “Generations” to Starlog, the first of which appeared in issue 118, May 1987 and which ran through issue 123 of October 1987, often illustrated with production art by Andrew Probert. The intent was, much as Susan Sackett had done in her “Star Trek Reports” columns on Star Trek: The Motion Picture for the same publications in the 1970s, to keep readership apprised about the progress of the production of The Next Generation”.
He left the show near the end of the first season, partly because of the dispute over his controversial script, “Blood and Fire”. The story, which was basically an allegory of AIDS, and involved allegedly homosexual characters, was initially scrapped by the producers. It was re-written by Herb Wright as “Blood and Ice”, removing the gay characters, but it still remained unproduced. Gerrold received credit as Program Consultant for the early part of the first season, from “The Naked Now” to “Lonely Among Us”.
However, the main reason for Gerrold’s departure was the constant harassment by Roddenberry’s lawyer, Leonard Maizlish (who was responsible for all Original Series production staff members departing the show during or after the first season). Gerrold has stated, “[I] finally got the very clear message that Gene’s lawyer didn’t like me. And that whatever Gene promised me, the lawyer was going to take away. (…) what he was doing was significantly undermining everybody that might be a threat to Gene, so that he could stay in control.” and , “Gene’s lawyer (Leonard Maizlish) was making it impossible for anybody to do any real work. He was rewriting scripts. He was committing Guild violations. People were very unhappy. It was one of the worst working environments I’d ever been in. So when my contract came up for renewal, I asked Gene not to [renew it]. Later, I found out that Maizlish was telling people what a troublemaker I was, that I’d been fired because I was mentally ill, that I never did anything useful for the show — real character assassination of the worst sort.” Producer Robert Justman, one of the Original Series veterans who left the production and citing Maizlish’s actions as “destructive meddling”, has confirmed Gerrold’s stance as he too left the production because of Maizlish. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 433-434)
Nevertheless, Gerrold has additionally stated in his last Starlog “Generations” column (published in the October 1987 issue, just after the first time airing of the pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint”), “My contract with Paramount expired at the end of May and I asked Gene Roddenberry to please not renew it. Why? In April I was offered the opportunity to write and produce a four-hour science-fiction mini-series for CBS and Columbia Television. The series is called Trackers and the Executive Producer is Daron J. Thomas. If the mini-series is a hit, then a regular weekly SF TV series would be developed from it. This was a very difficult decision for me to make. Star Trek has always been a home to me. It had always been fun and the people have always been good to work with. But…now, it was obvious to me that it was time to leave home. Or as my agent put it: “You can’t turn down the chance to be the Great Bird of your own galaxy.”” (Starlog, issue 123, p. 15) That series, however, never got off the ground.
In addition to writing, he provided the voice for Em/3/Green in the TAS episode “The Jihad”, and was an extra in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”. He originally wanted to appear in a smaller role in “The Trouble with Tribbles” (some sources say he wrote the part of Ensign Freeman for himself), but it never came to fruition.
Gerrold’s son Sean, who was twelve at the time of the filming of “Trials and Tribble-ations”, joined his father on the DS9 set. Sean asked his father where the Enterprise crew kept their money (a question which Gerrold himself had once asked Gene L. Coon) and expressed disappointment that James T. Kirk and Spock were not actually there. (Trials and Tribble-ations introduction)
Gerrold wrote the novelization of the TNG pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, and the Original Series novel, The Galactic Whirlpool, which was developed from his the aforementioned “Tomorrow Was Yesterday” outline. He also wrote the foreword of the “Trials and Tribble-ations” novelization and the introduction of the Constellations anthology. Outside fiction, Gerrold wrote The World of Star Trek, a behind-the-scenes reference and interview book, and The Trouble with Tribbles, detailing his experiences in the production of the titular episode, both in 1973.
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