Thursday, February 21, 2008
Jericho: Learning From Star Trek
"... a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars" -- Captain James T. Kirk (“Whom Gods Destroy”, originally aired January 3, 1969).
Why is JerichoMonster talking about Star Trek? One reason is that there is much we as Jericho fans can learn from the successful campaign that saved the original Star Trek TV series. The second reason is because it is a great honor to present an exclusive interview Thursday evening with Bjo Trimble.
You will learn who Bjo is in the next paragraphs. Her interview will fascinate you, of that I have no doubt. Read to the end for an excerpt of tomorrow's interview.
Star Trek debuted on NBC on September 8, 1966. The show tells the tale of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise and that crew's five-year mission "to boldly go where no man has gone before." After three seasons, the show was canceled and the last episode aired on June 3, 1969. The series became popular in reruns and a cult following developed with the help of fan conventions.
Enter Bjo Trimble and her husband John.
Wikipedia describes Bjo Trimble as "a significant figure in the history of science fiction fandom. Initially entering fandom in the early 1950s, Trimble, along with her husband John Griffin Trimble, is credited as being one of the most influential fans of their generation."
"After the first cancellation threat from the first season, writers like Harlan Ellison lobbied NBC to keep the show on the air. But Bjo realized it would take more than just the writers banding together. They needed to have an outcry from the fans, and she and John decided to grab the bull by the horns, and find some unconventional means to get NBC's attention. And they did."
"The Trimbles convinced booksellers and convention organizers to donate their mailing lists, and then hoped that those people would contact their friends, and everyone would write to NBC and say that they would want Star Trek saved."
"They even got one fan to take a trip to the NBC Studios in New York City, and find her way into the executive parking lot to plaster limosuines and cars with "I Grok Spock" and "Save Star Trek" bumper stickers."
JerichoMonster asked Bjo the question,"If you had a show you wanted to save from cancellation today how would you employ the internet?"
"There are many ways to deal with the Internet, but people are so gullible they believe anything they hear without checking Snopes," says Bjo. "That’s why the old send-this-terminally-ill-child-a-postcard trick still works.
First, petitions on the Internet are totally useless. Nobody in charge of anything will pay any attention to them. They are too easy to set up and be run by one person. Anybody could be writing names on a list, not necessarily all those names you see on the petition. So forget Internet petitions."
Want to hear more of what Bjo had to say? Stay tuned.