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The Invisible Hand in Popular CultureLiberty vs. Authority in American Film and TV$
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Paul A. Cantor

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813140827

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813140827.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

The Original Frontier

The Original Frontier

Gene Roddenberry's Apprenticeship for Star Trek in Have Gun–Will Travel

(p.58) (p.59) 2 The Original Frontier
The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture

Paul A. Cantor

University Press of Kentucky

Chapter Two starts from the intriguing fact that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, wrote 24 episodes of the television Western Have Gun—Will Travel. The chapter analyzes the ways Roddenberry's earlier work prepared him for creating his science fiction classic. Like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, the hero of Have Gun is a crusading liberal. As Kirk and Spock do on distant planets, Paladin brings freedom and enlightenment to backward communities in the American heartland, particularly those subject to forms of local tyranny from landowners, cattle barons, and other wealthy denizens of the frontier. The Western is usually thought of as a conservative genre, but Have Gun anticipates the progressive views of Star Trek on a wide range of issues, from racial prejudice to religious intolerance. The way Have Gun champions diversity suggests that the Western and science fiction may have more in common than is usually supposed.

Keywords:   Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek, Have Gun—Will Travel, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Paladin, Western, science fiction

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