Star Trek – The Man Trap

★★★1/2 September 8, 1966 Season 1 Episode 1

If you want to see where we are…and you missed a few…HERE is a list of the episodes in my index located at the top of my blog. 

This show was written by George Clayton Johnson

This was the first episode aired although it was the 6th one filmed. NBC thought this one had more action than the other 5 that were ready to go. The world got its first look at the crew of the Enterprise…and they didn’t fail to deliver here. It’s not one of the top episodes by any means but it is a good solid episode. 

In this episode, we get the first peek at an alien monster (Salt Vampire) and what a handsome man he is! He was a shapeshifting alien who is the only one left of his kind that needs salt to survive and loves the human variety of salt. 

The show does serve as a good introduction to the main characters. William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mister Spock, DeForest Kelley as Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand, George Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, and the beautiful Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. The main thing that is missing is the close friendship between Spock and Jim…of course since this was the 6th one made but the first to air…it hadn’t built up yet. 

Dr. McCoy is the central character here for the most part, except when he’s being lectured by Captain Kirk for dropping the ball a few times. The characters are close to what they become but we will see growth from all of them coming up. 

It’s interesting how they touch on real life with species that are on the brink of being extinct. Determining the creature’s right to continue existing, drawing parallels between the salt vampire and the now-extinct wild buffalo. Like the Twilight Zone…they manage to get a social comment across through science fiction. There will be more of that to come in the episodes. 

As a debut, it is solid and good. I would say a little above average but they have better ones coming. 

From IMDB Trivia

It was Gene Roddenberry’s idea to have the creature, in its illusory form, speak Swahili to Uhura. Kathy Fitzgibbon supplied him with the translation. In English, the illusory crewman says “How are you, friend. I think of you, beautiful lady. You should never know loneliness.”

Dr. McCoy’s handheld “medical scanners” were actually modified salt and pepper shakers purchased originally for use in “The Man Trap”, in which a character was seen using a salt shaker. They were of Scandinavian design, and on-screen was not recognizable as salt shakers; so a few generic salt shakers were borrowed from the studio commissary, and the “futuristic” looking shakers became McCoy’s medical instruments.


In the series premiere, the Enterprise visits planet M-113 where scientists Dr. Crater and his wife Nancy, an old girlfriend of Dr. McCoy, are studying the remains of an ancient civilization. When Enterprise crewmen begin turning up dead under mysterious circumstances, Kirk and Spock must unravel the clues to discover how, why, and who is responsible.


William Shatner … Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk
Leonard Nimoy … Mister Spock
Jeanne Bal … Nancy Crater
Alfred Ryder … Prof. Robert Crater
DeForest Kelley … Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Grace Lee Whitney … Yeoman Janice Rand
George Takei … Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle Nichols … Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Bruce Watson … Green
Michael Zaslow … Darnell
Vince Howard … Crewman
Francine Pyne … Nancy III
Budd Albright … Barnhart (uncredited)
Tom Anfinsen … Crewman (uncredited)
John Arndt … Crewman Sturgeon (uncredited)
Bob Baker … … Beauregard (uncredited)
Bill Blackburn … Lieutenant Hadley (uncredited)
Frank da Vinci … Brent (uncredited)
James Doohan … Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
Sandra Lee Gimpel … M-113 Creature (uncredited)
Jeannie Malone … Yeoman (uncredited)
Eddie Paskey … Lieutenant Ryan (uncredited)
Anthony Larry Paul … Berkeley (uncredited)
Walter Soo Hoo … Crewman (uncredited)
Garrison True … Security Guard (uncredited)



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

40 thoughts on “Star Trek – The Man Trap”

  1. A darn good episode! I agree that throughout the series societal issues of the time were subtexts.
    Has it ever bothered you that the distinct cultural languages, accents, and stereotypes such, as Urhura knowing Swahili, might not have survived that far into the future? The “one-world” movement of today certainly seeks to (sadly) erase that.


    1. Yep! Lol. I know but the fans loved Rand so they brought her back for the movies. I’m going to touch on that when she vanishes from the Enterprise

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I still get that same rush of excitement watching this as I did back when it was first released. Now I want to go out and buy the series on DVD. I love the backstories you share. They make all the episodes come full circle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Looks cool! Addressing the topic of extinction is remarkable in the year 1966, which happens to be my birth year. As such, I cannot have watched this episode when it first aired like is the case for all other original air dates of the original series.

    That said, I definitely recall watching Star Trek back in Germany sometime during the ’70s, and it was with the original crew, so they must have been reruns. I don’t remember whether it included this episode – obviously, it’s been a long time.

    Keep beaming it up, Max! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think most shows, it takes close to a season to find it’s pace – for the writers & actors themselves to figure out who their character is & how they interact.
    I never watched Star Trek, save for a few random episodes here & there but it seems like a pretty good show with some good messages embedded, like you suggest with this one. Remarkable how popular it’s remained & how comparatively ignored it was when aired first.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was probably just before its time when it first came out but a lot of Sci Fi took off film-wise around and just after then,’Fantastic Voyage’ and ‘Planet Of The Apes’ complete with Chuckles Heston showing his impressive incisors and cuspids. Oh, and ‘Barbarella’ of course, with skin-tight plastic clad sweet Jane Fonda and a very dark Anita Pallenberg.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Obbverse…speaking of other movies…I would think Forbidden Planet would have been a source for Star Trek. I’m not sure though.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They pretty much ran parrel with each other I believe….Lost in Space and Star Trek…. Lost in Space was 65-68 and Trek was 66-69 but they made their pilot in 65 I believe.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yea and the more I think about it…the more related the TZ and this is with each other as far as messages…but the TZ had great ratings compared to this.


  5. In the episode it is a miracle her husband lasted as long as he did, as the creature made short work of a lot of the crew. They did a good job with the creature. I don’t remember Bones as a ladies man but watching them again I see he gets his opportunities.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea to me…this should not have been the debut but it was good. They already built the characters in the 5 other ones they filmed before this one…yea occasionally Bones would be in a romance.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I’m going through all three seasons.ll every one of the 79 episodes. I might even get the movies at the end.
      I did the same with the Twilight Zone and both shows are related that way about social conscience…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent recap! George Clayton Johnson delivers a script that proves to be the perfect hook to draw in a new audience. Among the circle of writers associated with Twilight Zone and other projects, it was easy to turn to George, an expert on science fiction; and a big reader in general; and a first-rate writer. My book on George is coming out by Rutgers University Press this May. I’d love to chat with you on the subject more! I’ll make sure to stop by here again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I didn’t know he co-wrote Ocean’s Eleven but I love his Twilight Zone work…great writer. I want to actually read some of the stories he published.


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