August 22, 2006

Indians and Vulcans and Klingons, oh my!

The Indian-Star Trek Connection

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Hello --
This is Russell Bates, principal writer of "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth," which was an episode of The Animated STAR TREK. I am a Kiowa science fiction writer and I have been active since 1967. Though there had been Margaret Armen's story 'The Paradise Syndrome,' on the original series, somehow there never had been a Native member of the ENTERPRISE crew. When I exited the USAF in 1968, through 'friend of a friend' contacts, Gene Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana nominated me for the film industry's program to train minority writers, and I was the very first such student to sell to a major television series. Years later, when the Animated version was beginning, Ms. Fontana asked me to do a story with a Native crewman. I performed "The Patient Parasites" but it was returned as not being a large enough story. With a young filmmaker, I co-wrote "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth," and made Dawson Walking Bear (Comanche) a principal character. The story carefully avoided stereotypical inclusions and concentrated on the alien Kukulkan as having brought his knowledge to EVERYBODY on Earth. It won a 1975 Emmy Award, a Melies` Prize, a Peabody Award, a Robby Award, a Fantasy Film Federation Award, and was the American entry in Children's Programming at the 15th International Television Film Festival of Monte Carlo.
The episode will be released on DVD Nov. 21 along with the rest of the Animated series. A few bits of trivia: Walking Bear comes from my uncle's Kiowa name, and the character originally was a Kiowa, but the studio wanted a more recognizable tribe. Originally called 'The Thunderbird,' the story slowly grew into a larger context and so it was a tossup among Quetzalcoatl, Kukulkan, and Varicocha. The original story, 'The Patient Parasites,' was published in STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES 2 from Bantam Books and appears as an internet comic book at
with Walking Bear restored to the story. In STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, Jerry Goldsmith's score for the Klingon attack on V'Ger has a definite 'movie Indian music' ring to it. There was another teleplay, "Brothers Of The Blood," featuring a Kiowa character, Benton Skyhorse, done for STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION but finally was not performed because it dealt with war. *sigh* In any case, Skyhorse earns his name as a warrior and even becomes blood brothers with the Klingon, Worf.
Just thought you'd like to know...
Russell Bates