With what is probably the greatest press release I’ve ever read, Harlan Ellison, who wrote the Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” announces he is suing Paramount “for failing to account to, or pay, Mr. Ellison for the merchandising, publishing, or any other exploitations, of the famous teleplay, from inception to date. The suit also names the Writers Guild of America and alleges the WGA failed to act on Ellison’s behalf after numerous requests.”
For those of you who can’t instantly recall the plot of a Star Trek episode based on the name alone, “City on the Edge of Forever” was the one that featured Kirk and Spock going back in time to the Great Depression and guest starred Joan Collins as a war protestor and Kirk’s lover. Spock wore a hat to hide his ears.
Per the release, Ellison and his attorney have set their phasers to “burn” because they say Ellison is entitled to 25 percent of revenues from “the licensing of publication rights.” They say Paramount hasn’t paid him anything for a series of books that spun out of that episode or for one of those talking Hallmark ornaments that used lines from his script.
Ellison says, ““And please make sure to remember, at the moment some Studio mouthpiece calls me a mooch, and says I’m only pursuing this legal retribution to get into their ‘deep pockets,’ tell’m Ellison snarled back, ‘F- – – -in’-A damn skippy!’ I’m no hypocrite. It ain’t about the ‘principle,’ friend, its about the MONEY! Pay Me! Am I doing this for other writers, for Mom (still dead), and apple pie? Hell no! I’m doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!”
How much would it cost to have Ellison write all press releases?