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 D.C. Fontana, RIP
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theFalcon
SS novice field agent

USA
709 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2019 :  22:54:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://westernboothill.blogspot.com/2019/12/rip-dorothy-dc-fontana.html

Became world famous writing for 'Star Trek' TOS, but I was stunned to see her name associated with TWWW in the obit above. Per IMDB, she used the name Michael Edwards for her writing credits on "Watery Death" and "Deadly Bubble", a fact that I think eluded all of us. I wonder why she used a pen name for this series?

"What's death without a woman's touch?"

niecie
SS novice field agent

1464 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2019 :  18:12:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
According to the article, she used her initials, D.C., to avoid discrimination against her as a woman writer. I suppose she used masculine pen names for the same reason.

Niecie

* * *

Ever since I was a little girl
I have always wished
that Artemus Gordon was
my very own Uncle Artie...
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anteffy
SS spy school graduate

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2020 :  16:48:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I remember reading somewhere that Gene Roddenberry advised Fontana to use her initials so that producers and such would assume that the writer was a man, or not be able to distinguish the writer's gender by the initialed name on the script.

quote:
Originally posted by theFalcon

http://westernboothill.blogspot.com/2019/12/rip-dorothy-dc-fontana.html

Became world famous writing for 'Star Trek' TOS, but I was stunned to see her name associated with TWWW in the obit above. Per IMDB, she used the name Michael Edwards for her writing credits on "Watery Death" and "Deadly Bubble", a fact that I think eluded all of us. I wonder why she used a pen name for this series?


"To answer your question, sir, I'm James West, with the Secret Service." -The Night of the Plague
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anteffy
SS spy school graduate

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2020 :  16:50:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I remember reading somewhere that Gene Roddenberry advised Fontana to use her initials so that producers and such would assume that the writer was a man, or not be able to distinguish the writer's gender by the initialed name on the script.

quote:
Originally posted by theFalcon

http://westernboothill.blogspot.com/2019/12/rip-dorothy-dc-fontana.html

Became world famous writing for 'Star Trek' TOS, but I was stunned to see her name associated with TWWW in the obit above. Per IMDB, she used the name Michael Edwards for her writing credits on "Watery Death" and "Deadly Bubble", a fact that I think eluded all of us. I wonder why she used a pen name for this series?


"To answer your question, sir, I'm James West, with the Secret Service." -The Night of the Plague
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3862 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2020 :  23:35:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
theFalcon: Per IMDB, she used the name Michael Edwards for her writing credits on "Watery Death" and "Deadly Bubble", a fact that I think eluded all of us. I wonder why she used a pen name for this series?

Well, I'll be switched. I recognized the pseudonym for those Star Trek episodes, but I never made the crossover to those in West. Excellent detective work, Falcon. I bow to you. How Fontana had the time to script episodes for West at the very same time that she was actively involved in developing Star Trek's first season in production is beyond me.

I remember reading somewhere that Edward Di Lorenzo, credited for the script of "The Night of the Raven." had something (uncredited) to do with "The Night of the Watery Death." Maybe it's in the Kesler Bible. "Watery Death" is unique among the series' 104: a "teleplay" credit is given without a credit for the writer who provided "the story." I've always wondered why. The old TV Guide essay on "The Dastardly Devices of The Wild Wild West" (August, 1968) shows a reproduction of Henry Sharp's color cartoon of the dragon-torpedo, with the caption "The Night of the Watery Death." Maybe that was considered story enough on which basis "Michael Edwards" developed the script—but, if so, why didn't Sharp receive a story credit? Maybe—only a hunch, based on the TV Guide essay—a lot of producers and writers pitched in ideas based on Sharp's idea, and, as credited story editor, Sharp let it go.

The prejudice against female writers in the era is sure and certain, but one writer for West didn't fall under its axe: Leigh Chapman, who received onscreen credit for scripting, or co-scripting, six fine episodes during the first three seasons.

A final thought: it's interesting that both scripts credited to "Michael Edwards" involve a threat to national security from the sea. The only other episode to move in that direction was Stephen Kandel's very Jules-Vernish "The Night of the Kraken" (1968).
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