For my money, one of the more interesting 'unsung heroes' in the entertainment business (and there are many, many of them) is a man called Gary Goddard.
Goddard is something of a jack of all trades: he's an accomplished producer on and off Broadway, over the years he's been hugely responsible for the development and implementation of a number of high profile, high end attractions (TERMINATOR 2 3D: BATTLE ACROSS TIME at Universal, JURASSIC PARK: THE RIDE, also at Universal, the recently closed STAR TREK EXPERIENCE in Vegas, etc).
Geeks 'round these here parts may better know him as a producer of the toy-interactive CAPTAIN POWER AND THE SOLDIERS OF THE FUTURE...
...which assembled the core team that would eventually fuel BABYLON 5 (producers John Copeland, Douglas Netter, and eventual B5 overboss J. Michael Straczynski), Some may also recognize him as director of 1987's cartoon/toy-to-screen adaptation of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, a title for which many people visiting this site may have a high degree of either guilty or shameless affection. I know I do...I actually enjoy the hell out of the film, for all of its faults.
With all of this in mind, consider the following:
Back in 1992, Goddard & Co. came close...very close...to mounting an extraordinarily ambitious project in the heart of Las Vegas, which was looking for ways to make bold statements, establish unusual attractions, and generally revitalize itself. A life-sized Starship Enterprise was proposed...which they actually figured out how to build. Visitors would be able to tour the ship's interior, and engage in a number of entertainment opportunities. The attraction would've looked something like this (EMBIGGENABLE):
Seems all players were up for the undertaking, but one man...then Paramount CEO Stanley Jaffe...had final "go" / "no go" power over the project.
He was against the idea.
“In the movie business, when we produce a big movie and it’s a flop – we take some bad press for a few weeks or a few months, but then it goes away. The next movie comes out and everyone forgets. But THIS – this is different. If this doesn’t work – if this is not a success – it’s there, forever….
...I don’t want to be the guy that approved this and then it’s a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.”
...reveals THIS piece at GaryGoddard.com, which goes into much, much more fascinating detail about this spectacularly compelling near miss.
To play a very, very reluctant Devil's Advocate...I can almost see his point. Basically, he seemed to be arguing that the project not being successful or embraced by audiences/visitors would essentially equate to a monument to failure. One which could potentially tarnish the franchise immensely, not to mention his own career. Now, to be very, very clear...I'm not saying I agree with Jaffe...just saying that, logically and clear headedly, his point is difficult to fully refute. Alas...if they'd followed through with this plan? I'd have moved to Vegas, probably pitched a tent somewhere under the ship's Ion Pod, and ended up in jail a lot for trespassing and vagrancy.
And, by the way, if you're a Ralph McQuarrie fan...or a whore for MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE like I am...check out THIS and THIS post on the same site, where some of McQuarrie's design work on MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE is discussed and shared.
Thanks to Robert Meyer Burnett's Twitter stream for pointing toward Goddard's site!
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