How much for JUST the planet (and the songs)?

Back somewhere near the dawn of time, the late, very lamented John M. Ford (pronounced “Mike” — the “John” is silent) wrote a wickedly funny pastiche of the Star Trek universe called “How Much for Just the Planet?” It involved mining rights for dilithium, pulp fiction, three very strange astronauts, and the James T. Kirk Trek.

It also contained a lot of songs (the people on the planet didn’t really want either the Klingons nor the Federation on their planet, but what are you gonna do?) Well, they wrote a musical and dumped it on the disputing parties.  A rough list of the songs, borrowed from a thread at, is listed below (lines in bright red are a mystery to us all, lines in green have been identified and lines in purple are the ones (well, one) that I may have figured out on my own):

“To help organize things, I’ll make a list of all the songs, by page number (from the first edition) and opening line:

1) p. 75-7: “We thought that you might like to know”: Reprised on p. 250-1 as “We hope that you’ve enjoyed your stay”

2) p. 85: “When first the light of dawning”: Perhaps not a song, just a short inscription

3) p. 87-9: “We’d like to welcome you sincerely”

4) p. 94-5: “I’m supposed to be a princess”: Reprised on p. 106-7 as “I suppose you’ve heard the story”

5) p. 124-5: “Rollin’ rollin’ rollin'”: Identified as “Rawhide” by Dmitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington.

6) p. 128-30: “From the minute you’re born”: The evident “title” of this song is “My Own Sweet Tyrannical Way.”

7. p. 138-40: “When I was just a little chap, my father said to me”: Sounds very Gilbert & Sullivan. (My note: Well, it’s not.  It’s Trini Lopez’ “Lemon Tree” or a VERY close approximation.)

8) p. 161: “Falling apart again”: Identified as “Falling in Love Again” by Frederick Hollander and Sammy Lerner.

9) Also p. 161: “I’m an automaton”: May be “Just a Gigolo” by Leonello Casucci and Julius Brammer, but doesn’t quite fit.

9a) p. 162: “Oh, I / Ain’t got no body…”: These two lines quoted in isolation are a paraphrase of “I Ain’t Got Nobody” by Spencer Williams (best known as part of a medley in which it is combined with “Just a Gigolo”)

10) p. 165-7: “Once the screen was really silver”: The evident “title” of this song is “Monochrome.””

So here’s the deal.  If you like music, I can post the songs as they are in the book, and maybe we (you) can figure out what, if anything, inspired them.  Are you game?


2 thoughts on “How much for JUST the planet (and the songs)?

  1. How fun! I LOVED that book when I was young! Haven’t read it in ages, but I still own my copy.

    I’m probably not much help with the songs though. Not familiar enough with populate music and have never any attention to lyrics.

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