Is Koenig Jewish?

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Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Andrew Kearley on Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:16 am

Just something I want to throw out there for discussion...

I think Koenig is probably Jewish. He seems to believe in the existence of God, and the way he talks about it, it seems to be a very "Old Testament" God, vengeful and intervening directly in human affairs.
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Commander Koenig on Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:40 am

I think a lot of people have wondered about this over the years. I wonder if there was ever anything in the writers guides about what religious beliefs the characters had or if the actors were able to develop this side of the characters themselves. It would be interesting to find out more about this. Martin Landau took over much of Stephen Hill's work in Mission Impossible when he wouldn't work during the Sabbath, so I'm guessing Martin wasn't an Orthodox Jew himself. You're right, in a couple of episodes, I'm thinking of 'Black Sun' and 'New Adam, New Eve' Koenig certainly does seem to believe in the existence of God. I find these aspects of the show quite fascinating, that you can find so many aspects of a show to discuss is surely testament to its success on many levels.
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Senmut on Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:04 am

I recall reading (can't recall where) that he was, and I wrote him so in a couple of FanFics.
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Andrew Kearley on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:45 pm

Martin Landau is certainly Jewish (though not as orthodox as Steven Hill, it would seem!) - and I've always wondered if that filtered down into the way he played the character. It's quite interesting to me that Koenig is a name suggesting a Jew of Germanic origin, which is exactly what Landau is. I've always wondered when the character's name was thought up - was it before they sought Landau for the part, in which case it seems amazingly coincidental (or remarkably prescient) - or did they come up with the name after the producers knew they wanted Landau...?
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Commander Koenig on Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:11 pm

Andrew Kearley wrote:Martin Landau is certainly Jewish (though not as orthodox as Steven Hill, it would seem!) - and I've always wondered if that filtered down into the way he played the character. It's quite interesting to me that Koenig is a name suggesting a Jew of Germanic origin, which is exactly what Landau is. I've always wondered when the character's name was thought up - was it before they sought Landau for the part, in which case it seems amazingly coincidental (or remarkably prescient) - or did they come up with the name after the producers knew they wanted Landau...?

You make an interesting point Andrew. I've just been glancing through the Production Notes booklet that came with the Network Dvd box set and there is some quite interesting information regarding the original outline for the pilot script by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson called Zero G. In this original pilot, which was written in the summer of 1973, the 'Moon City' was under the authority of Commander Steve Maddox. This booklet describes the meeting between the Anderson's and the Landau's which took place early in 1973, prior to the completion of the pilot, and goes on to say that by the September writers Penfold and Bellak, along with the Anderson's, had created a news set of characters including Commander Koenig. So it could well be the case that Commander Maddox became Commander Koenig as a result of the part going to Martin Landau. Maybe Robert would have more on this from his forthcoming book??

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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Andrew Kearley on Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:25 pm

Interestingly, Steve Maddox was the name of a supporting character in an episode of the earlier Anderson series UFO - oddly enough, he died piloting a shuttle back from the Moon. I wonder if the Andersons just liked the name.
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Commander Koenig on Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:44 pm

Andrew Kearley wrote:Interestingly, Steve Maddox was the name of a supporting character in an episode of the earlier Anderson series UFO - oddly enough, he died piloting a shuttle back from the Moon. I wonder if the Andersons just liked the name.

That's interesting. I didn't watch UFO, but it could be well be. Steve Maddox is a 'safe' name really, fairly neutral and not really identifiable with a particular race, religion, nationality background. Koenig is a much stronger name - after all it does mean King - and as such belongs to a strong character, just as Martin Landau plays it.

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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by Gaudior on Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:59 pm

I have the impression that the Andersons didn't think much about the characters' backstories beyond what was directly relevant to the series. In his book (I think), Barry Morse wrote about having written a history for Victor and that Gerry Anderson chose not to include any tidbits from it in the series. Robert would know more.

Some of the fanfiction has Koenig as Jewish and some doesn't. I think, perhaps, it wasn't defined in the series because that far in the future (!) religion would be so different, maybe. I tend to think of him as Jewish, and while Dr. Russell doesn't look particularly Jewish or have a specifically Jewish name, Barbara Bain is Jewish, as is Martin Landau.

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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by s99fan on Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:13 am

In German, Koenig or K├Ânig means 'king'. Rather appropriate for the ruler of MBA, eh? It is traditionally a European Ashkenazic Jewish surname.
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by astro7 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:02 am

Landau is of Austrian descent I had read many years back!
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

Post by astro7 on Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:03 am

Maybe they got the name from Walter koenig of Trek fame, although he pronounces it as Kaynig or Leonard Nimoy's character in an episode of The Outer Limits in season one as Konig?
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Re: Is Koenig Jewish?

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