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Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

John Meredyth Lucas (1 May 191919 October 2002; age 83) was a director, writer, and producer. He produced the second season of Star Trek: The Original Series from "Journey to Babel" to "The Omega Glory". Lucas was born into a Hollywood family, being the son of actor Wilfred Lucas and screenwriter Bess Meredyth. His parents divorced when he was 8 years old, and two years later director Michael Curtiz married his mother and adopted John.

Curtiz got Lucas his first job in the film industry, as his personal "translator", interpreting between the director, who spoke broken English with a thick Hungarian accent, and the crew. After working as "dialog director" in four films in the 1940s, Lucas became a screenwriter in 1950, moving to television in 1953. Two years later, he also started directing for television.

Prior to Star Trek, Lucas had been the co-producer of Ben Casey and The Fugitive, two of the most popular television programs of the 1960s. Later, he served as producer, writer and director on many television series, including Insight, for which he received two Emmy Award nominations in 1972 and 1973, and The Six Million Dollar Man (produced by Harve Bennett).

Lucas also worked as writer and director on Mannix, produced by Desilu at the same time as Star Trek. Producer Gene Coon, having a smoke at his office window, often spotted Lucas going to his car, and engaged in small talk with him. After several such accidental conversations, Coon simply asked Lucas if he would like to write an episode for Star Trek. Lucas, a life-long science fiction fan, was thrilled by the offer, resulting in "The Changeling". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two, p. 178)

Incidentally, Lucas replaced Coon as producer when the latter left the series mid-season 2. Similarly to Coon, Lucas wrote his own scripts, while also doing rewrites on other writers' material during his tenure as line producer. He also served as director on "The Ultimate Computer" and replaced Ralph Senensky for a half-day in directing "Obsession", when Senensky left early to observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Lucas was not considered to be hired to continue his tenure as the show's producer for the third season, but instead got replaced by Fred Freiberger. However, the producers still assigned him to write and direct episodes for the new season. However, after his first two such endeavours, Paramount executive in charge of production Douglas S. Cramer vetoed his hiring as director for the episodes "The Empath" and "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", due to Lucas having gone behind schedule and over budget while directing the episode "Elaan of Troyius". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three, p. 239)

Lucas directed the final episode of the short-lived Planet of the Apes TV series, which featured Mark Lenard and cinematography by Jerry Finnerman. He also directed several episodes of Night Gallery, also occasionally photographed by Finnerman.

Lucas died of leukemia in 2002 and was survived by three children, his second wife, Patricia Lucas, and his four stepchildren; his first wife, actress Joan Winfield, died in 1978. His ashed were launched into space on a suborbital flight in 2007.


Further reading[]

  • "John Meredyth Lucas, The Politics of 'Trek", Edward Gross, Starlog, issue 112, November 1986, pp. 32-34

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