John Wayne almost got George Takei fired from Star Trek

Lt. Sulu and The Duke starred together in The Green Berets.

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The U.S.S. Enterprise isn't the only thing Star Trek launched into the stratosphere. The cast of the show, including actors William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei, saw their stock skyrocket as the show reached more and more fans. Suddenly, these workhorse actors, each with dozens of appearances under his belt, were suddenly very famous and very recognizable. One's cultural cachet doesn't last forever, and it's interesting to note how each capitalized on his new-found identity as an in-demand figure of film and television. In the case of George Takei, his role on Star Trek led to a role in Green Berets, a war film that also starred David Janssen and John Wayne.

 "I have mixed feelings about Green Berets," Takei told The Valley Tribune. "We had a break during Star Trek, and this offer came, so I thought 'Great! I'll go out and do Green Berets.' Well, we started shooting on location, in Georgia. It was going alright until we got some bad weather, then it got delayed. I think it was like a 2-month schedule, and it became something like 3-and-a-half months. It was critical that this picture be on schedule, for me to be able to get back to Hollywood before the shooting for the new season started for Star Trek. But because of the delay, I missed out on the whole second season of Star Trek, so I have my regrets about that."

It's understandable that Takei would have his misgivings regarding the scheduling mishap. Captain Kirk kept a tight ship, and when the Enterprise leaves, you'd better be on board.

What, though, did George Takei think of his very famous co-star?

"Working with John Wayne was really an experience in itself. With that project, it was not only a John Wayne "Star," but, it was produced by his company and the producer was his son, Michael Wayne, and the director was John Wayne and Ray Kellogg and although we had a script... because of the problems of being behind schedule, etc. -- he threw out the script and we were improvising as we went along."

So, was John Wayne a closeted Trekkie? Did the Duke ever greet anybody with the traditional Vulcan salute? Was he the type to go around telling folks to 'Live long and prosper?'

"I think Star Trek played a small part in [landing Green Berets]. As a matter of fact, ah -- when we first started shooting... Wayne wouldn't call me 'George,' he would shout 'Where's Sulu?!'... The assistant director would come running up to my dressing room... 'Mr. Wayne wants Sulu!' But later on, he was calling me 'George.'

Onboard the Enterprise, everybody had their position. The vessel's chain of command dictated that everyone was equal in the ways they contributed, despite it being a hierarchy. Similarly, the actors' positions in Hollywood were on a relatively equal playing field. Some of them were recognizable prior to Star Trek, but there was nobody onset with the gigantic reputation of someone like John Wayne. At that point in American history, Wayne was an American institution. He'd transcended being a mere mortal actor and had somehow become a symbol of American masculinity. Luckily, though, Wayne reportedly treated George Takei well.

"The thing that I think is remarkable, he is, down to earth, knowing... how people feel about him. You know, they have shoved him up on a pedestal... look it's easy for most people to be down to earth because we are down to earth... but when people look at you in awe, I just called him an American landmark, that certainly isn't down to earth, is it? Society and the public put him in a different place, and yet to maintain that, he must know his values, standards, and where he comes from. I think it makes the man that much more remarkable."

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26 Comments

CreatureFeatureFan 11 months ago
Takei. Never cared for him. Still cannot stand him. 🙄
Waste of ink, as it were.
Bricat2001 12 months ago
the way the writer worded and written this article makes me cringe 😖
Pacificsun Bricat2001 12 months ago
Hadn't thought about the lead-in until your perspective. Which also made me touch base w/ Wiki. While there's some accuracy in the second line "starring with" it is overstated. Have enjoyed Mr. Takei's guest starring/performing in many classic TV series (incl. PM). He had ninth billing in TGB with major talent above him. Within the cultural norms of those times. His visibility plus experience satisfied a necessary Asian inclusion. But even if weather affected the schedule, it's a long distance to implying JW threatened his job. More likely, GR/Norway Co. was particularly considerate in reserved his place until he returned.

Curious as to other times Mr. Takei 𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒃𝒍𝒚 didn't deny more to a story than actually existed.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Green_Berets_(film)
Captain1701 12 months ago
Click bait. I never saw anything in the headline mentioned.
cperrynaples Captain1701 12 months ago
You wanna know what steams me? Those "whatever happened to" posts on YouTube where the now picture has no connection to the then picture! If you believe them, all the old stars are either old fat or dead! Yes, that's true of many stars, but they photoshop to make everyone look horrible! Thank goodness they haven't done it to George the photo on top is what he looks like today! Not bad for 86!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 12 months ago
" You wanna know what steams me? Those "whatever happened to"
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Taking the " Whatever happened to" out of the mix. There are a few good videos on Youtube and other platforms, (emphasis given to "few"). Depending on the source meaning those close or somehow associated to the individual (personal or professional),some of them are presented in a respectful manner.

However, yes the videos you're referencing are poorly constructed and often contain erroneous information and pictures as well. A lot of that speaks volume to the individual that created it and what their motivation might be. Especially on youtube they are either looking for people to subscribe or worse they are monetarily compensated for it.
Pacificsun cperrynaples 12 months ago
As IF there could even be anything worse than the above, are the Morgue photos used. Truly the low-life of YouTube abusers.
texasluva LoveMETV22 12 months ago
You are right. Many are looking for likes, watches, subscriptions that are over and above what the actual truth is. The mind boggling uploads of Aliens on the Moon bases and fake stories by the thousands. I don't cater to anyone of those. It's amazing some actually believe the things posted there. I have 25 subs and they are all real and do real things that others enjoy. Fredflix-agadmator's Chess Channel-Columbo and others.
Runeshaper 12 months ago
The Duke was The Man and George Takei is pretty cool.
cperrynaples 12 months ago
Strange that they chose to show an old George rather than Sulu era! George is STILL popular mainly from Howard Stern appearances!
Andybandit 12 months ago
That was weird about George and John. Now a days actors and actresses can be on different shows at the same time.
McGillahooala 12 months ago
Bizarre story that eluded to a rift that apparently never occurred.
StrayCat McGillahooala 12 months ago
It was the misleading headline implying Wayne somehow actively tried to get Takei fired from Star Trek.
DemsSUK McGillahooala 12 months ago
I don't understand how the Duke could not have known that Georgie was a fruit cake
texasluva 12 months ago
ST:TOS season 2 for George Takei

in production order, the episodes Takei missed were #9 of the season ("The Apple"), #13-21 inclusive ("The Trouble With Tribbles," "Bread and Circuses," "Journey to Babel," "A Private Little War," "The Gamesters of Triskelion," "Obsession," "The Immunity Syndrome," "A Piece of the Action," "By Any Other Name"), and #23 ("Patterns of Force"). So I think it's likely that it was that block of nine consecutive episodes that he missed due to The Green Berets, and the other two were just episodes where he wasn't needed.

Not sure what the heading "John Wayne almost got George Takei fired from Star Trek" meant. Though hardly Takei missed all , most all of Season 2. 26 episodes and maybe 10 because of The Green Berets. The other 2-3 he was not scheduled. What am I missing here?
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KJExpress justjeff 12 months ago
Boogetty-boogetty-boogetty-boogetty-shoo! (Or something like that.) I just skimmed the article and I missed that little goof.
texasluva KJExpress 12 months ago
I guess 🙄.
Denco texasluva 12 months ago
I think the writer took a small leap with this with the title of the article. It’s not backed up in the story.
CaptainDunsel Denco 12 months ago
Writers often have little or no control over the title an editor will decide to put on their content. I recall there were a few instances from my days (many, many moons ago) writing for the computer trade press that left me cringing.
KJExpress 12 months ago
He missed part of Season 2 but not ALL of it. What a strange thing for him to have said. He must have been misquoted. 🤷‍♀️
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