Star Trek – The Menagerie Part 1

★★★★★ October 27, 1966 Season 1 Episode 11

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 Gene Roddenberry

My star rating system goes to 5…but this one…I would give a 12 if I could…that includes Part 1 and Part 2. I point this episode out to people who have never seen the original series before. This two-parter would be a great place to start. It gives you some history of the crew, especially Spock and Captain Pike from the unseen pilot at the time.

Spock charged with mutiny and court marshal? Has the world gone mad? This is part one of a two-parter. They used the unseen pilot (The Cage) to make this one. It takes place 13 years after the episode The Cage that had Captain Pike.

You don’t know how Spock will not be in trouble for all the chaos he has caused. When Spock turns himself into Bones to be arrested…the shock of all the crew around them is priceless. When Kirk tries to pry the Enterprise from Spock’s control he fails. Spock has thought this out down to every single detail.

I have to give Roddenberry a lot of credit for writing this one. He took the pilot and developed this fantastic story around it and got to use the pilot’s footage that the network rejected. It could have been easily a patch job all the way around but it’s a great episode. Even some of the plot holes were explained. While watching the video screen of detailed past events, Kirk remarked that the Enterprise didn’t keep that good of video records but it was explained.

Captain Pike

We learn that Vulcans are fiercely loyal, and seeing that Spock served under Captain Pike for over 11 years it would make sense that he still feels a sense of loyalty to his old Captain. Even though Pike rejects Spock’s plan with a series of beeps (Pike cannot talk) Spock still takes Pike against his will with good intentions. We also learn that Vulcans cannot lie, but it certainly appears that Spock did indeed lie in this episode, which seems impossible until Bones acknowledges that Spock is only half-human.

I remember first watching this episode in the 1980s. I totally bought the plot and still do. You are thinking, why is Spock risking everything, his career, and life, against his old Captain’s wishes? Kirk trusts Spock and is shocked when he finds out Spock has taken over the ship. You can see the hurt and confusion in the character. Good acting all the way around. Part II is just as good and has the payoff.


Although scenes from Star Trek: The Cage (1966) feature Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike, he was unavailable and unaffordable for the framing story into which the scenes were to be inserted. Sean Kenney, an actor who resembled Hunter, was used instead. He plays the mute, crippled Captain Pike, now wheelchair-bound after an accident.

According to James Doohan, Gene Roddenberry originally wanted to sell the failed pilot as a theatrical film. However, it needed to be expanded with additional material to reach the feature length. Roddenberry planned to film the crash of the Columbia on Talos IV, because it didn’t require Jeffrey Hunter, who was neither available nor affordable to reprise his role as Captain Pike. However, plans for the feature release were soon abandoned.

The “frame” story of Captain Pike’s injury and abduction to Talos IV was necessitated because the producers’ inability to use the original pilot Star Trek: The Cage (1966) in its unedited form. Normally, series producers count on being able to use the pilot as an episode of the season, despite possible minor changes from the regular series, such as differences in uniform styles, terminology, and props; the second pilot, Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966), was used despite such discrepancies. But the differences between the series and the original pilot were too stark to be used unaltered – without the elaborate “frame” placing it 13 years in the past.

This episode was the first Star Trek material to be officially released by Paramount on any home video format in the United States, first in 1980 on VHS and Betamax, followed by a RCA SelectaVision CED videodisc release in 1981, and a US Laserdisc release in 1984.

The novel “Burning Dreams” establishes that the subspace message summoning Enterprise to Starbase 11 was not a fabrication by Spock, but instead an illusion by the Talosians making Spock think he actually did receive a message. The Talosians then spoke telepathically to Spock, making him aware of Pike’s condition and asking him to bring Pike to Talos IV. The novel also establishes that at the end of the teaser, when Spock tells Pike, “I have no choice,” their conversation continued with Spock telling Pike that the Talosians were aware of his condition and wanted to give him a chance for a better life than what he had and that Spock actually asked Pike for permission to try to help him.

Jeffrey Hunter accepted the lead role of Captain Christopher Pike in “The Cage”, the first pilot episode of Star Trek, but declined to film a second Star Trek pilot, requested by NBC in 1965, deciding to concentrate on films. Footage from the original pilot was subsequently adapted into a two-part episode called “The Menagerie” and screened in 1966. It wasn’t until 1988 that it was screened intact as a filler episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) due to a writers’ strike.

There have been many reasons given for Jeffrey Hunter not continuing as the captain. The one that rings most true is from Shatner’s book, where he relates that Hunter’s wife was a constant irritant to the production staff, with never-ending demands for how Hunter was to be handled and treated. Other books say that his wife came to a screening pitch for the pilot and declared that he wasn’t interested because he “was a movie star”. It seems likely the second story is a cover for the first and the first is the closest to the truth. Roddenberry decided that he wanted to be rid of Hunter, his wife, and their demands, and so never actually offered him a contract to continue.

It seems the nation of Cuba still exists in the 23rd century. During the court-martial scene, if you look carefully (to the right of where Captain Kirk is seated), you can see a flag stand in the back of the room. The flag hanging on it has the blue stripes and red triangle, which are part of the Cuban flag.


The Enterprise is summoned to Starbase 11 only to learn that no one there sent a message to them. The base is home to Fleet captain Christopher Pike, Kirk’s predecessor as Captain of the Enterprise. Unfortunately, Pike has recently had a serious accident, rendering him unable to speak and confining him to an automated chair. The base Commander, Commodore Mendez, begins to suspect Mr. Spock but Kirk defends his friend. That is until Spock takes command of the Enterprise and heads to Talos IV, a planet for which all Federation personnel are forbidden to visit under the sentence of death. Kirk and Mendez catch up with the Enterprise in a space shuttle at which time Mr. Spock is arrested. At his trial, he pleads guilty and offers mitigating circumstances in the form of detailed video logs recounting the time the Enterprise visited Talos IV 13 years before with Pike in command and Spock as its science officer.


William Shatner … Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk
Leonard Nimoy … Mister Spock
Jeffrey Hunter … Captain Christopher Pike (archive footage)
Susan Oliver … Vina (archive footage)
Malachi Throne … Commodore José Mendez
Majel Barrett … Number One / Enterprise Computer (archive footage) (as M. Leigh Hudec)
Peter Duryea … Lt. José Tyler (archive footage)
John Hoyt … Dr. Phil Boyce (archive footage)
Adam Roarke … C.P.O. Garrison (archive footage)
DeForest Kelley … Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
James Doohan … Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
Nichelle Nichols Nichelle Nichols … Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Sean Kenney … Christopher Pike
Hagan Beggs … Lt. Hansen
Julie Parrish … Miss Piper
Bill Blackburn … Lieutenant Hadley (uncredited)
Tom Curtis … Jon Daily (uncredited)
Frank da Vinci … Guard (uncredited)
Brett Dunham … Guard (uncredited)
Sandra Lee Gimpel … Third Talosian (archive footage) (uncredited)
James Holt … Starfleet Officer (uncredited)
Clegg Hoyt … Transporter Chief Pitcairn (archive footage) (uncredited)
Anthony Jochim … Third Survivor (archive footage) (uncredited)
Bob Johnson … First Talosian / Transporter Chief Pitcairn (voice) (uncredited)
Jon Lormer … Dr. Theodore Haskins (archive footage) (uncredited)
Tom Lupo … Security Guard (uncredited)
Ed Madden … Enterprise Geologist (archive footage) (uncredited)
Leonard Mudie … Second Survivor (archive footage) (uncredited)
Eddie Paskey … Lieutenant Leslie (uncredited)
Jan Reddin … Enterprise Court Recorder (uncredited)
Serena Sande … Second Talosian (archive footage) (uncredited)
George Sawaya … Chief Humboldt (uncredited)
Georgia Schmidt … First Talosian (archive footage) (uncredited)
Meg Wyllie … The Keeper (archive footage) (uncredited)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

24 thoughts on “Star Trek – The Menagerie Part 1”

  1. An episode that humanises not just Spock but but all the other main characters.
    And a name in the credits- Malachi Throne- is there ever a more perfect 60s actor name? If its real, amazing: If it’s a made for the screen name, even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that this two-part episode is excellent and really like how it ties in to “The Cage” from before. Good write-up that lays out the details of how it all shook out then came back together. Seems like when I was a kid I remember being very puzzled as to why Spock was going against his nature again and again. I love the way it ends.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Max, I was talking to a friend on the phone tonight about the Cage. Then I got your e mail, he was still on the phone, so I sent it to him. He’s going to watch. Pluto TV ran it like 4 times in a row the other morning (they consider it Episode 1 of Season 4, go figure. Pretty cool I’m talking the Cage, not the Menagerie 1 and 2. one of my all-time favorite films, I agree with you, a 12 out of 5 stars


  3. Love this two-parter; when I was kid in the early 1970s watching this here in the UK, this story shit me up, I thought it was terrifying. Still get creeped-out whenever I re-watch it, to this day. Nearest thing original Trek got to horror (when they progressed from the aborted ‘Cage’ pilot to the series proper, they obviously toned things down). Its the music, Pikes horrible fate, those Talosians…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea…I should have reviewed them both at the same time to tell you the truth…I thought about that but didn’t pull the trigger. The 2nd part is coming tomorrow.


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