Dorothy Fontana

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Dorothy C. Fontana recalls her early career working for producers such as Samuel Peeples and Del Reisman, and describes how she came to work for writer/producer Gene Roddenberry as his assistant on The Lieutenant. Next, she speaks about the development of the science-fiction series Star Trek. She talks at great length about the show, including discussing the cast, the technology, and working with Roddenberry. She also explains how she came to be a writer on the series, and describes the episodes that she wrote. Later, she discusses her other many writing credits, including Star Trek: The Animated Series, The Streets of San Francisco, Logan's Run and The Waltons. Finally, Fontana talks about her experiences working on the first season of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Studio City, CA on December 29, 2003.

"My style has changed over the years. I look back at my original scripts and say, 'oh my gosh, I wrote that?' Because I don't write like that now. It evolves, it changes, because as person you should be evolving and changing. That comes out in the writing."

Highlights
Dorothy Fontana on her favorite Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel" about Spock's parents
01:28
Dorothy Fontana on Leonard Nimoy and his character "Mr. Spock" on Star Trek
00:46
Dorothy Fontana on the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child", over which she argued with Gene Rodenberry about the portrayal of women; she had a different ending
01:55
Dorothy Fontana on being mentored in television writing by Samuel Peeples
01:11
Dorothy Fontana on the technology used in Star Trek's world
02:41
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early years and influences, her education, and her interest in writing
05:42
On her first job in television as a secretary at Screen Gems in New York, where she decided to write for television
01:37
On moving to California and working at Revue Studios, where she was mentored by Samuel Peeples; on selling her first television story for The Tall Man;  on writing scripts for Shotgun Slade and Frontier Circus
07:24
On the challenges of being a woman writer and using D.C. Fontana on her scripts so that she would be given a chance
03:01
On becoming secretary for Del Reisman and Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant; and her early involvement in the Writers Guild
04:11
On the original concept and vision of Star Trek, the pilot process, and the sale of the series to NBC; on Desilu Studios where the series was filmed
09:17

Chapter 2

On Star Trek's production schedule; on other pilots being produced by Gene Roddenberry; on being hired on Star Trek
03:15
On Star Trek's initial production crew and on developing the look of the series and of the starship
03:36
On Star Trek's creation of aliens using "the Horta" from "The Devil in the Dark" episode as an example; on the technology used in Star Trek's world
04:33
On the casting of Star Trek; on her duties on the series; on being promoted to story editor; on working with the writers
08:30
On the direction given to Star Trek writers; on writing a television script; the minimal censorship issues
05:30
On the working environment in the Star Trek production offices; on Gene Roddenberry's working style
03:00

Chapter 3

On the Star Trek cast and the characters they portrayed
10:31
On the Star Trek episodes she wrote and some of her favorite episodes from the series
18:03

Chapter 4

On her least-favorite episode of Star Trek; Klingons; on Gene Roddenberry's "Great Bird of the Galaxy " nickname; on leaving the series at the end of the second season but remaining as a freelancer
03:03
On her freelance writing work including Bonanza, The Big Valley, Here Come the Brides, and Then Came Bronson
05:11
On her writing process and philosophy
10:12
On being associate producer of Star Trek: The Animated Series
09:38

Chapter 5

On Star Trek: The Animated Series
02:06
On writing for The Streets of San Francisco
03:13

Chapter 6

On the characters of Data, Picard and Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation; updating the 1960s technology and worldview for The Next Generation; on some of the episodes she wrote; on leaving the series after the first season
14:26
On Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry's legacy and Star Trek fan culture
03:42
On working on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,  Babylon 5, and Earth: Final Conflict; on writing animation scripts
10:04

Chapter 7

Full Chapter Seven
Shows

Babylon 5

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Dorothy Fontana on Babylon 5  and on Michael Straczynski's vision for the series
05:27

Big Valley, The

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for The Big Valley
02:12

Bonanza

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Dorothy Fontana on writing three scripts for Bonanza
01:02

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

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Dorothy Fontana on writing a Buck Rogers in the 25th Century script
02:44

Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys

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Dorothy Fontana on this sci-fi takeoff show, based on Star Trek

Dallas

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for Dallas early in its run
02:05

Earth: Final Conflict

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Dorothy Fontana on Earth: Final Conflict
01:58

Frontier Circus

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Dorothy Fontana briefly on writing scripts for Shotgun Slade and Frontier Circus
02:25

Here Come the Brides

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for Here Come the Brides
01:03

Lieutenant, The

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Dorothy Fontana on becoming secretary for Del Reisman and Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant; and her early involvement in the Writers Guild
04:11

Logan's Run

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Dorothy Fontana on being executive story consultant on Logan's Run
03:17

Mission: Impossible

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Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's production schedule and how the series was initially picked up
03:15

Shotgun Slade

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Dorothy Fontana briefly on writing scripts for Shotgun Slade and Frontier Circus
02:25

Six Million Dollar Man, The

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Dorothy Fontana on writing two scripts for The Six Million Dollar Man and getting NASA's full cooperation
02:58

Star Trek

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Dorothy Fontana on the original concept and vision of Star Trek, the pilot process, and the sale of the series to NBC
04:58
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's production schedule and how the series was initially picked up
03:15
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's initial production crew and on developing the look of the series and of the starship
03:36
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's creation of aliens using "the Horta" from "The Devil in the Dark" episode as an example
01:52
Dorothy Fontana on the technology used in Star Trek's world
02:41
Dorothy Fontana on the casting of Star Trek; on her duties on the series; on being promoted to story editor; on working with the writers
08:30
Dorothy Fontana on the direction given to Star Trek writers; on writing a television script; the minimal censorship issues; working with Gene Roddenberry
08:30
Dorothy Fontana on the cast of Star Trek and their characters
10:31
Dorothy Fontana on the Star Trek episode "Charlie X"
01:41
Dorothy Fontana on the Star Trek episode "This Side of Paradise", which elevated her to story editor on the series
02:04
Dorothy Fontana on her favorite Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel" about Spock's parents
01:28
Dorothy Fontana on the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child", over which she argued with Gene Rodenberry about the portrayal of women; she had a different ending
01:55
Dorothy Fontana on her least-favorite episode of Star Trek; Klingons; on Gene Roddenberry's "Great Bird of the Galaxy" nickname
02:11

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
01:34

Star Trek: The Animated Series

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Dorothy Fontana on being associate producer of Star Trek: The Animated Series
09:38
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek: The Animated Series storylines
02:06

Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Dorothy Fontana on the development and casting of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Dorothy Fontana on the characters and storylines of Star Trek: The Next Generation
18:08

Streets of San Francisco, The

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for The Streets of San Francisco
03:13

Tall Man, The

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Dorothy Fontana on the first story she sold for television on The Tall Man
01:19

Then Came Bronson

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for Then Came Bronson
00:48

Waltons, The

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Dorothy Fontana on writing the episode "The Beau" for The Waltons
02:28
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Dorothy Fontana on the minimal censorship issues on Star Trek
00:40

Characters & Catchphrases

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Dorothy Fontana on the original concept and vision of Star Trek, the pilot process, and the sale of the series to NBC
01:02
Dorothy Fontana on the technology used in Star Trek's world
02:41
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's "Klingons"
01:23

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Dorothy Fontana on being mentored in television writing by Samuel Peeples
01:11
Dorothy Fontana on updating the 1960s Star Trek worldview when making Star Trek: The Next Generation
01:34

Drama

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Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's creation of aliens using "the Horta" from "The Devil in the Dark" episode as an example
01:52

Industry Strikes

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Dorothy Fontana on working at Revue Studios during the actor and writers' strikes in 1960
01:24

Studio and Network Management

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Dorothy Fontana on the status of Desilu Studios at the time Star Trek was being developed
01:02

Women

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Dorothy Fontana on the challenges of being a woman writer and using D.C. Fontana on her scripts so that she would be given a chance
03:01
Dorothy Fontana on "Uhura" and "Number One"- one of the first major female black characters, on Star Trek
01:29
Dorothy  Fontana on the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child", over which she argued with Gene Rodenberry about the portrayal of women; she had a different ending
01:55
Dorothy Fontana on writing for The Streets of San Francisco
03:13
Professions

Writers

View Profession
Dorothy Fontana on being mentored in television writing by Samuel Peeples
01:11
Dorothy Fontana on the challenges of being a woman writer and using D.C. Fontana on her scripts so that she would be given a chance
03:01
Dorothy Fontana on her writing process and philosophy
10:12
Genres

Animation

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Dorothy Fontana on being associate producer of Star Trek: The Animated Series
09:38

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Dorothy Fontana on the original concept and vision of Star Trek, the pilot process, and the sale of the series to NBC
01:02
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's creation of aliens using "the Horta" from "The Devil in the Dark" episode as an example; on the technology used in Star Trek's world
04:33
Dorothy Fontana on the messages incorporated into Star Trek scripts
02:27
Dorothy Fontana on updating the 1960s Star Trek worldview when making Star Trek: The Next Generation
01:34
People

Lucille Ball

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Dorothy Fontana on the status of Desilu Studios at the time Star Trek was being developed
01:02

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry

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Dorothy Fontana on Earth: Final Conflict
01:58

Ellen Corby

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Dorothy Fontana on writing the episode "The Beau" for The Waltons
02:28

Oliver Crawford

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Dorothy Fontana on Oliver Crawford and Richard Matheson's work on Star Trek
00:58

James Doohan

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Dorothy Fontana on the cast of Star Trek and their characters
10:31

Harlan Ellison

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Dorothy Fontana on Harlan Ellison's work on Star Trek  on the episode "City on the Edge of Forever"
00:42

David Gerrold

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Dorothy Fontana on the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles"
01:21

Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Dorothy Fontana on writing the episode "The Beau" for The Waltons
02:28

Matt Jefferies

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Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's initial production crew and on developing the look of the series and of the starship
03:36

George Clayton Johnson

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Dorothy Fontana on George Clayton Johnson's work on Star Trek
00:58

DeForest Kelley

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Dorothy Fontana on the casting of Star Trek
01:39

Walter Koenig

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Dorothy Fontana on the cast of Star Trek and their characters
10:31

Jack Lord

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Dorothy Fontana on the casting of Star Trek
01:39

Quinn Martin

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for The Streets of San Francisco
03:13

Richard Matheson

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Dorothy Fontana on Oliver Crawford and Richard Matheson's work on Star Trek
00:58

Nichelle Nichols

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Dorothy Fontana on the cast of Star Trek and their characters
10:31

Leonard Nimoy

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Dorothy Fontana on the first story she sold for television on The Tall Man
01:19
Dorothy Fontana on Leonard Nimoy and his character "Mr. Spock" on Star Trek
00:46

Samuel A. Peeples

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Dorothy Fontana on being mentored in television writing by Samuel Peeples
01:11
Dorothy Fontana on the original concept and vision of Star Trek, the pilot process, and the sale of the series to NBC
04:58

Del Reisman

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Dorothy Fontana on becoming secretary for Del Reisman and Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant; and her early involvement in the Writers Guild
04:11

Gene Roddenberry

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Dorothy Fontana on becoming secretary for Del Reisman and Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant; and her early involvement in the Writers Guild
04:11
Dorothy Fontana on the original concept and vision of Star Trek, the pilot process, and the sale of the series to NBC
04:58
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's production schedule and how the series was initially picked up
03:15
Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's initial production crew and on developing the look of the series and of the starship
03:36
Dorothy Fontana on her least-favorite episode of Star Trek; Klingons; on Gene Roddenberry's "Great Bird of the Galaxy" nickname
02:11
Dorothy Fontana on working on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Gene Roddenberry's legacy
06:18

William Shatner

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Dorothy Fontana on the casting of Star Trek
01:39
Dorothy Fontana on William Shatner and his "Captain Kirk" character on Star Trek
01:40

Herbert F. Solow

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Dorothy Fontana on Star Trek's production schedule and how the series was initially picked up
03:15

Barbara Stanwyck

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Dorothy Fontana on writing for The Big Valley
02:12

J. Michael Straczynski

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Dorothy Fontana on Babylon 5  and on Michael Straczynski's vision for the series
05:27

George Takei

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Dorothy Fontana on the cast of Star Trek and their characters
10:31

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