15 Stories from the Ancient Greeks


15 Stories from the Ancient Greeks

I went to see Star Trek over the weekend.  Not the best, not the worst. But the previews were interesting. They are actually bringing out a remake of the Magnificent Seven and Ben Hur. I left the theater shaking my head.  What is that all about?

Can’t Hollywood do anything that isn’t based on a previous movie. How many remakes can we handle. They are never as good as the first one. Then I remembered a story a  friend told me ab out a flight from Dallas to London that took place 30 years ago.

Seems he was sitting next to a Greek History Professor from Stanford. She was telling him how she had been tasked with teaching Greek civilization to the Stanford football team. She knew that Gene Roddenberry had based many Star Trek episodes on Greek comedies and tragedies and she started her research.

She knew that much of literature is based on the Greeks (can you say Romeo and Juliet) and she then began to review Star Trek’s first seasons on TV. She was able to prepare a course based on 15 basic stories taken from Greek literature, and translate them into something her students could understand — the sci fi stories of Star Trek. Her class was standing room only.

She also commented that it is well known that there are basically 15 stories. Virtually all episodes man creates goes back to the Greeks and their wisdom in understanding human nature.  (Did you know that the Lion King is based on Hamlet which is loosely based on Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.)

So I guess I can’t be too hard on screenwriters in Hollywood if the Bard picked up his ideas from the Greeks, and the bible.  But at least they could change the names, and perhaps the venue –Pyramus and Thisbe became Romeo and Juliet became Westside Story.  Shakespeare and Bernstein changed the name, location, and the rest. Can’t the highly paid scripters in Hollywood do the same?

Isn’t Google wonderful.




John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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