I would inevitably find myself bogged down in the details, so focused on world-building and refinement that the plot never even got going, let alone went anywhere.
I know that feeling all-too-well.
in addition, you can also find it on Sea Lion Press, now complete and unabridged.
Yay, book version!
AH.com was, and certainly remains to this day but way more back then, dominated by war-and-politics-oriented TLs. I get it; they're the meat and potatoes of AH and popular culture is an especially sugary dessert.
I mean, to be fair, you threw some of that in anyway.
So it may be a sugary dessert, but it's one with big chunks of actual fruit in it.

One I kept in my back pocket for a while was the Star Trek-Doctor Who crossover. I held onto that one for so long, in fact, that TWR was already quite popular when it was time to execute, and I considered sitting in it for that reason. But in the end I greedily figured surely it would make the TL even more popular if it went ahead, so why not pull the string? So I did. In retrospect, I should not have done it, and if I ever reboot or relaunch TWR, it will not be included.
Aw, I actually really liked that part, especially how it ended up saving the first two Doctors from having their runs all but completely lost to history.
Although I don't think I ever will. We've all exhorted those in charge of such things to leave them alone, to let them be and let them lie. I alone have the power to do so in this case, and I intend to take full advantage.
Oh good, and good reason.
If I did rewrite TWR it would be from a very different perspective, taking the hypocrisy exposed by these revelations into account - and that would be a much more intense and emotionally taxing project for me to write. One more reason I feel it best to regard it as a product of its time.
Fair enough, and more good points.

Happy Anniversary, Brainbin!
You did it in a way which came off as a little entitled, "Are you ever going to start something new here?" I'm sure if he's got new projects, he'll share when he's ready to share them.
If that was how it came off I apologize. I'm aware that he's finally done reposting this TL on the Sealion's forum and was merely trying to some my enthusiasm at whatever (if anything) new may be posted here that I can be apart of from the very beginning unlike this TL.
I just want to say that although I'd been reading on the site for some time, it was "That Wacky Redhead" that actually inspired me to register. I was really curious about how the changes in American politics and history would alter or butterfly The Duke of Hazard.
If you make Wacky Redhead available to buy as a book @Brainbin then I would certainly buy it, just so I can have a copy on my shelves- it’s that’s good.

Would like to read your Arthur Tudor timeline if you ever write it. Similar your AltTNG or anything else really.

Thanks for the writing advise, all wise words.

Happy anniversary.


Monthly Donor
I was curious when I saw there was activity here.
I was shocked when I read Brainbin’s Post and realised how much time had passed.

I hope I’ve said it before but if not, Thank You @Brainbin for the Story and the different perspective you brought.
I think this was the first timeline I actually read here -- I'd been reading the TVTropes pages for various AH.com TLs, and my reaction was mostly "That sounds depressing, and also I feel like I don't know enough OTL history to entirely understand it". Television, and especially the idea that Star Trek wasn't cancelled, was something I was able to get my head round, and was interested in seeing where it went.
November 6, 1968

It was a typical mid-week morning for Gene L. Coon, Co-Executive Producer and de facto showrunner of Star Trek, sitting in his uncomfortable chair at his battered desk in his cramped office. Space was at a premium at the Desilu Gower studio, and even after Gene Roddenberry had been quietly “convinced” to vacate his offices there, very little could be dedicated to the writing staff of Star Trek. So Coon’s own office – which, Herb Solow had repeatedly assured him, was the largest of any producer working on any series for Desilu, and definitely bigger than Bruce Geller’s, he swears, he checked twice! [1] – doubled, rather uncomfortably, as the makeshift “writers’ room”. There was no hope in asking for more lavish accommodations, even though the show’s ratings numbers were finally starting to improve; nobody working below Coon got so much as a broom closet, and Solow himself frequently complained about how cramped his own office space was. “If Senator Muskie were going to get an office like mine, he wouldn’t have run for Vice-President,” Solow had remarked earlier, the news from last night still fresh on everyone’s mind. Coon had chuckled at this. Solidarity among Vice-Presidents, he supposed, had led Solow to bring up Muskie when the headlines of every paper that morning were all trumpeting that Humphrey had won the election. He thought he might have seen a mention of Muskie on A15 in one of them, somewhere…

So it was that his staff were gathered around. Dorothy Fontana, the Story Editor and the only hen amongst the bantam roosters that comprised his writers, got to sit in one of the two chairs in front of his desk; Solow, the very hands-on Executive in Charge of Production who technically was Coon’s own boss, took the other chair in deference to his seniority. Everybody else – Bob Justman, the Associate Producer and the long-suffering “glue” that kept the show together; John Meredyth Lucas; and 24-year-old wunderkind David Gerrold – stood huddled around the desk, with Gerrold barely able to fit inside the doorway.

Honestly, Coon wasn’t sure why they hadn’t just stuck to memos. Well, no, he was sure – they took too long. Creative and production decisions always needed to be made yesterday. Coon took a puff of the cigarillo he had gripped like a vice between his lips. [2] Nothing like Cuban, he thought. Sure, it was a show-business cliché, the cigar-chomping executive, but as these Swinging Sixties drew to a close, Gene L. Coon worked at the only studio in town that still handed out Cubans. He was thankful that Desi Arnaz still had some fondness for the studio he had created, and that he was perhaps the only Cuban-American, dead or alive, who was reasonably chummy with Castro. [3] In his darker moments, sometimes he wondered if he would have even stayed at Desilu if it hadn’t been for these Cubans, but it really wasn’t something he needed to think about right now. Right now he was finally done going through the latest batch of story outlines and handing out writing assignments through to the end of this miserable year.

“Right then, so that’s all of them. Onto new business. Or rather, revisiting old business. We’ve all read the latest draft of ‘Joanna’, yes?” Coon asked, noting the copies everyone, save for Fontana and Solow, had in hand. “Thoughts? Concerns?”

“Thoughts? Your best since ‘Babel’,” said Justman, leafing through the pages. “Concerns? Always. At least you don’t call for any planetary sets.”

Fontana smiled at the positive comparison to “Journey to Babel”, an episode she’d enjoyed writing a great deal, and thought had turned out even better. [4] Of course she couldn’t help but smirk at the perpetually penny-pinching Justman’s dread of however much this or that would cost the production.

“Well Bob, the next script I’m writing is going to be set on five different alien planets and we’ll have to re-dress the swing stage every single day for the whole week,” she said, refusing to break eye contact with Justman.

Justman blinked first, only to shudder. “Well if you do that, you won’t have Bob Justman to kick around anymore,” he said, drawing laughter from the other producers.

“Does that mean you’ll be back in six years?” Gerrold asked, slyly.

“Luckily Star Trek won’t still be on the air in six years,” said Justman. “Or at least it won’t still be in production. If this show runs for nine seasons, I think it’ll bankrupt the studio.”

“Which is why it’s very important that you don’t ask me for any more money this week,” Solow said. “But speaking of longevity… I worry we’re leaning too far into our younger audience with this one, we’re trying to convey that Star Trek is a show for the adult viewer and now we’ve got hippies. Space hippies.”

“Hippies are hardly the first people to reject materialism and embrace communal living, Herb,” said Coon. “Surely I don’t have to bring up the Kibbutzim in Israel.”

“Or that long-haired, bearded freak who preached love and brotherhood about a couple thousand years ago,” said Fontana.

“Besides, Joanna rejects the guru, that’s the whole point of the episode,” said Gerrold, who naturally had several friends who had joined the hippie movement. “It’s a consistent Star Trek theme – self-improvement can come only through drive and determination, not blindly following someone who claims to know all the answers and submitting to pie-in-the-sky promises of a better future.”

“I just wonder if we’re being too on-the-nose here,” Solow said. “I mean you’re already writing the episode about a bunch of space miners torn over whether to follow Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. [5] And we’re still knocking around the one about the white slaves and their Negro masters.” [6]

Black masters,” Gerrold corrected automatically.

“Black masters,” Solow echoed, suitably chastened. [7]

“This episode isn’t really about hippies, it’s about Bones and his daughter,” Coon said. “That is what the episode is about. Dorothy has a gift with parents and children, obviously. That’s what made ‘Babel’ work and it’s what will make this one work too.”

Solow had always been, in his way, somewhat dismissive of Fontana; Dorothy knew he still saw her as Gene Roddenberry’s secretary. Gene L. Coon seemed to value her more; she’d finally gotten the promotion to Story Editor under his watch, after all. But she still couldn’t help but be touched by Coon’s kind words. “Thank you, Gene,” she said.

Coon took another puff. “Well, it’s a good one. And it’s smart to make it a De episode. We know we can count on him. And he’s in the opening titles, so let’s make him work for it.”

“You know De wants to do this, we’ve been talking for ages about McCoy’s family life – ” [8]

Coon held up his hand. “Again, De isn’t the issue here. It’s the daughter. Now we all love Joe, we all know Joe finds the most amazing, beautiful women and makes sure they aren’t just pretty faces. However, obviously we want someone special for Joanna McCoy. We should approach agents directly on this one.”

There was a murmur of agreement from the assembled writing staff.

“Is this a request for a bump to the casting budget for this one?” Solow asked, already wearing his omnipresent frown. “Is that why I’m here?”

“You’re here, Herb, because you have contacts. Or you have contacts with Lucy who has contacts. Calling in favours, I think, might get us what we need without having to spend above the low four figures.”

“The very low four figures,” said Justman.

“Now,” continued Coon, ignoring Justman, “Dorothy, your original outline calls for Nancy Sinatra or Bobbie Gentry, were those serious suggestions?”

“Well, I meant more the look, the attitude,” she said. “And of course Nancy Sinatra has a famous father, that kind of informed the character in my head.”

“Yeah, a famous father she sings about her incestuous relationship with,” [9] said Gerrold, and the writers couldn’t help but snicker rather childishly at that.

“Lucy is friends with Sinatra, isn’t she?”

Solow nodded. “Yeah, he even did that interview show she had a few years back for her. [10] I think strings can be pulled to at least talk to Nancy, but… do we really want her for the part? She’s really not an actress. I mean, we might as well get… I don’t know, Cher Bono.” [11]

“Hell, she can’t sing, so maybe she can act, right? Has to be good at something!”

More laughter from those assembled. Coon nearly choked on his cigar smoke.

“Nah, then everyone will compare Bones to Sonny Bono. Even their names sound similar. We couldn’t do that to De,” Fontana said, finally, once she had swallowed her mirth.

“I do think if we’re going to go with an angle in terms of casting, instead of the father-daughter direction, we might try someone who was known for playing a wholesome little girl in the past, for the shock value of it,” said Gerrold. “All those wholesome little girls in their Mary Janes and their poodle skirts in the ‘50s are the same girls who grow their hair long and smoke dope and live with bearded, unwashed men without getting married now.”

“I like that idea,” said Fontana. “We had the older sister from Father Knows Best on last year. Not to mention Jane Wyatt as Spock’s mother.” [12]

“Then we should go for the hat-trick,” said Lucas. “Wasn’t there another daughter?” [13]

Solow cringed at this. “You need to read the gossip rags more often, John,” he said. “She’s in a bad way.”

The uncomfortable, awkward pause that ensued was broken up by Lucas again, eager to resolve the situation his earlier outburst had caused. “Well all right then, there were other family sitcoms back then, why not cast one of the daughters from them?”

“Well, Leave it to Beaver is out,” said Coon. “Ironically enough.”

Fontana rolled her eyes. “No beavers but plenty of pigs,” she sniffed.

“I could work blue on the street corner outside O’Blath’s down the street and I still wouldn’t be the filthiest producer named Gene that you ever worked for.” [14]

That got a chuckle from Fontana. “Touché.”

Donna Reed!” Gerrold said. “That had a girl. Shelley Fabares. She still acts, too – been in a couple of Elvis movies recently.” [15]

Coon smirked at this. “Was she your first crush growing up, David?”

David glanced away. “Uh… something like that.” [16]

“Well, if she does Elvis movies it’s probably a safe bet she wouldn’t consider Star Trek to be beneath her talents,” Solow said. “I like the idea. Maybe I can help. The girl who played Lucy’s daughter on The Lucy Show had been on Donna Reed a bunch of times, maybe we can tag-team our way back to her. Otherwise, Gene, send Joe a memo and have him reach out the old-fashioned way just in case. If she likes the script – and who wouldn’t like this script – we may have our Joanna McCoy.”

“Okay, with that out of the way I wanted to go over something in scene 15…”


[1] Bruce Geller is the creator of two Desilu series, Mission: Impossible and Mannix, and by all rights should have the larger office (and does, barely, but of course Solow never tells Coon that).

[2] Coon chain-smoked cigarillos IOTL as well, almost certainly resulting in his premature death from lung and throat cancer at the age of 49 in 1973.

[3] Desi Arnaz, whose family had been deprived of its wealth and fled into American exile as a result of the Batista revolution, had no particular animus against Castro, nor political opposition to his vision for Cuba, and IOTL visited the Castro regime. ITTL this translates to receiving the fruits of such a warm relationship – Cuban cigars, smuggled into his possession, and distributed to the senior staff at Desilu, which of course he would not do if that studio had been purchased by Gulf+Western and absorbed into Paramount, leaving him with no sentimental attachment to it.

[4] Fontana has cited “Journey to Babel” as her favourite of all the episodes she wrote for Star Trek IOTL; ITTL she would of course say “Joanna”.

[5] From Gerrold’s OTL story treatment, “Castles in the Sky”, for the episode that became “The Cloud Minders”. ITTL, the episode airs more-or-less as outlined by Gerrold, resulting in one of a number of episodes considered overly leaden and preachy (something the third season becomes known for in general).

[6] ITTL, the episode which (IOTL) was oft-discussed but never actually made was produced and aired as “Bondage and Freedom”, the very preachiest of the preachy season 3 episodes.

[7] The late-1960s were a period of transition from the traditional term for persons of African descent (“Negro”); at least one surviving script from Star Trek (IOTL and ITTL), “Court Martial”, explicitly describes the character of Commodore Stone as a “Negro”.

[8] Most sources indicate that DeForest Kelley and D.C. Fontana workshopped the character of Joanna McCoy as part of their discussions on Dr. McCoy’s backstory, with which Kelley was intimately involved.

[9] “Somethin’ Stupid”, a #1 hit for Frank and Nancy Sinatra in 1967, the only time a father-and-daughter duo ever topped the charts. Sung by virtually all other performers as a romantic love song.

[10] That Wacky Redhead hosted an interview show for radio in the 1964-65 season, and one of her guests was indeed Frank Sinatra.

[11] Today universally recognized as a mononymous figure, during both of her marriages (first to Sonny Bono, and then to Gregg Allman), Cher was inconsistently addressed by her married name by various people, including the media and her own husband(s). Cher’s birth name, for the record, is Sarkissian.

[12] Elinor “Princess” Donahue, born April 19, 1937 (a Monday), played Ambassador Nancy Hedford (described as a woman in her early thirties) in “Metamorphosis”, aka “The One with Zefram Cochrane”. Jane “Margaret” Wyatt, of course, played Spock’s mother Amanda Grayson on “Jouirney to Babel”, a role she would reprise once and only once IOTL, in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

[13] There was – Lauren “Kitten” Chapin, born May 23, 1945 (a Wednesday). By 1968, at the tender age of 23, she had been married, divorced, and spiralled into drug addiction. Much like the U.S. Presidential debates, she has no professional credits between 1960 and 1976.

[14] O’Blath’s was a bar across the street from Desilu (and Paramount)’s Gower (Melrose) studio. When The Brady Bunch was in production, Robert Reed was quite notorious for lunching there constantly, often coming back to work half in the bag.

[15] Shelley Fabares appeared as the love interest in no fewer than three Elvis Presley movies, making her the Shirley Bassey of that set. IOTL, she continued her acting career as an adult with some success, culminating in the long-running sitcom Coach in the 1990s.

[16] Gerrold, of course, is gay, but was still closeted at the time. Gay pride, alas, was not something that was celebrated in 1968.


Thanks to @e of pi for reviewing this little lagniappe. This is a one-off bonus update for which the inspiration struck me like a lightning bolt when I finally arrived at the perfect actress to play Joanna McCoy.

Say hello to the actress who, ITTL, plays Joanna McCoy: Shelley Fabares!

Shelley Fabares (Joanna) 1968.jpg

Shelley Fabares in 1968; a publicity still from her film
A Time to Sing. ITTL, she appears as Joanna in the episode of the same title in lieu of her OTL appearance in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, also filmed and aired in the 1968-69 season.
Very nice to read this little insider look at the 60's Star Trek team ITTL.

Like the dramatics between the creators here. That must have been a very smoky office indeed.

I don't know Fabares, I would hope she fits into the Star Trek family quite well.

More glimspes into the world of That Wacky Redhead would be lovely please.
[9] Hill Street Blues was IOTL set in an unnamed American city, usually implied to be Midwestern and heavily based on Chicago. ITTL, as Cannell is based in Pasadena and visits Pasadena stations in his research for the show, he decides to base it in that Southland city (which does indeed contain a Hill Avenue, though I’m not aware if there’s a precinct station there). Also, IOTL, the series first aired midseason in 1980-81; ITTL it isn’t ready until the late spring of 1981 and has to be picked up for the autumn.

Hello: First time poster: Stephen Bochco, the creator of "Hill Street Blues" attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, along with Charles Haid, Barbara Bosson and a few other cast members. The poor neighborhood in that town is called the "Hill District" as it is above the downtown area. Bochco has said, the name for Hill Street came from that.
September 20, 1986

We open on a lavishly decorated but somehow cozy and intimate interview room, with two empty chairs in the middle. Assorted flower arrangements are everywhere. Everything is in soft focus - an appropriate stylistic choice, for more reasons than one.

Enter Baba Wawa - I mean, BARBARA WALTERS. [1]
And RIP to a figure integral to the TL from the very first post:

We could discuss what films and shows, from the time period OTL, people ITTL would want to see. It's not a utopia after all.
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