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.

Summary

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.

CAST

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)

 

Star Trek – The Cage

★★★★★ October 4, 1988 PILOT

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 episode was written by Gene Roddenberry

*** Before I start this review I want to tell everyone that I try not to give the ending away in any of these although they are over 50 years old…some people have not seen them. If you disagree with my stars (5 being excellent, 4 being very good, 3 being a good average show, 2 means below average, and 1 means downright bad)…please say something…change my mind. I usually get my summary from IMDB and add or subtract from them…there is no sense in reinventing the wheel***

I’m presenting Star Trek in order of air dates except for this one. It was only screened to NBC executives in 1965 and they are the last people to see it until October 4, 1988, when it was finally broadcast on television almost 20 years after Star Trek went off the air. 

I love this pilot episode of Star Trek. A different cast almost completely except for Spock. He looks and acts a little different (see the smile) but still is Spock. One more cast member was recast. Actress Majel Barrett who played Number One was recast as Nurse Chapel in the TV series. She would go on to marry the show’s creator Gene Roddenberry. They would reuse much of the footage of the pilot for an excellent two-part episode called The Menagerie later on in season one. 

Jeffrey Hunter was really good as Captain Pike but he didn’t want to commit to the series because he wanted to concentrate on movies. William Shatner has said in his book that the producers canned Hunter after his wife repeatedly stormed onto the set insisting on more flattering camera angles for her husband. 

The original Star Trek pilot was rejected by NBC for being “too cerebral”, “too intellectual”, “too slow”, and with “not enough action”, so they commissioned a new pilot, which later became Where No Man Has Gone Before, starring a completely different captain… the one and only Captain James T. Kirk played by William Shatner. 

What we learn from Captain Pike in this one is that he is questioning his life of being Captain of the Enterprise. He is tired of making life-and-death decisions for all of his crew. Of course, when he loses himself because of the  Talosians, he snaps back and realizes that a quiet life is not for him. The real star to me was Susan Oliver as Vina. She was obviously beautiful and she did a great job acting in this part. You felt so bad for her when you see her true state. 

This is an excellent show…NBC was wrong in its assessment of the show. I’m happy it turned out the way it did though because we would have never had the great original cast. 

Summary

This is the pilot to the series that would star William Shatner. Only in this version, there is a different Captain, Christopher Pike, and with the exception of Mr. Spock, an entirely different crew. Now it begins when the Enterprise receives what appears to be a distress message. But when they get to the planet where the message was sent from, they discover that the supposed survivors were nothing more than illusions created by the inhabitants of the planet, for the purpose of capturing a mate for the one genuine surviving human, and Captain Pike is the lucky winner. While Captain Pike tries to cope with the experiments and tests that the aliens are conducting on him, his crew tries to find a way to rescue him. But the aliens’ illusions are too powerful and deceptive (at first).

CAST

Jeffrey Hunter – Captain Christopher Pike
Leonard Nimoy – Mr. Spock
Majel Barrett – Number One
John Hoyt – Dr. Philip Boyce
Susan Oliver – Vina
Meg Wyllie – The Keeper
Peter Duryea – Lieutenant José Tyler
Laurel Goodwin – Yeoman J. M. Colt
Clegg Hoyt – Transporter Chief Pitcairn
Malachi Throne – The Keeper (voice)
Michael Dugan – The Kaylar
Georgia Schmidt – First Talosian
Robert C. Johnson – First Talosian (voice)
Serena Sande – Second Talosian
Jon Lormer – Dr. Theodore Haskins
Adam Roarke – C.P.O. Garrison
Leonard Mudie – Second Survivor
Anthony Jochim – Third Survivor
Ed Madden – Enterprise Geologist
Robert Phillips – Space Officer (Orion)
Joseph Mell – Earth Trader
Janos Prohaska – Anthropoid Ape / Humanoid Bird

 

Star Trek …coming soon

I’ve been a fan of Star Trek since I was 13 and I saw a 24-hour marathon of the original Star Trek. I did watch some of the Next Generation, the movies, and some of the newer ones but I’ve always liked the original the best. The cast was great and Spock has to be one of the best TV characters ever written.

I enjoyed covering The Twilight Zone so I want to do that again with a classic TV show. It’s hard to pick them out. It would be hard covering a sitcom episode by episode but The Twilight Zone and Star Trek are so different in every episode (especially TZ) that I thought I would give this one a shot.

The show was only on for 3 seasons… that is hard to believe since we know it so well. The show inspired many inventors at the time and after. Either Gene Roddenberry (the show’s creator) knew about inventions that were being developed or inventors took his cue to make things real…probably both. Here is a list of things that were made popular after Star Trek.

Tablet computers
Tractor beams
Tricorders (there’s also an X Prize for that)
Flip communicators (and wearable badge communicators)
Hyposprays
Replicators
Cloaking devices
Voice interface computers (hello Siri)
Transparent aluminum
Bluetooth headsets (Uhura had one first)
Google Glass
Portable memory (from floppy disks to USB sticks)
Focused ultrasound technology
Biometric data tracking for health and verifying identity
GPS
Automatic doors
Big screen displays
Real-time universal translators
Teleconferencing
VISOR bionic eyes for the blind
Diagnostic beds

Anyway, next week I hope to start posting Star Trek episodes. My target is Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. 79 episodes in all which should take around 26-27 weeks if there are no interruptions. I hope Star Trek fans will visit…if not I will still be posting music on most days as well.

Thank you as always.

Classic TV Episodes: Star Trek – The City on the Edge of Forever

I discovered Star Trek in the 1980s. It was one of those marathons that some station ran at the time. What impressed me was those wonderful stories. Some people gripe about the special effects…to me they were fine. They got the point across and that is what counts. William Shatner’s acting is a little different but hey…he is Captain Kirk. Leonard Nimoy was brilliant as the Vulcan Spock.

There are too many good episodes to pick from… the show only had one bad episode that I will not watch again…and that one is Spock’s Brain…Leonard Nimoy didn’t like that one either.

This episode has the beautiful Joan Collins and features time travel which is always a plus.

Capt. Kirk: You were actually enjoying my predicament back there. At times, you seem quite human.

Spock: Captain, I hardly believe that insults are within your prerogative as my commanding officer.

Notice the picture below…the Andy Griffith set was used…you see “Floyds Barber Shop”

Image result for Star Trek - The City on the Edge of Forever

Star Trek: The City On The Edge Of Tomorrow

The characters: Spock, Captain Kirk, Edith Keeler, Dr. McCoy, Scottie, Sulu, Uhura, Rodent, Galloway, and The Guardian.

When an accident causes Dr. McCoy to go temporarily insane, he escapes to a strange planet. There, the search party discovers a device left by a superior, vanished civilization, a time portal that plays the history of Earth for them – but then Bones jumps through it into the past, causing a change in history important enough to make the Enterprise vanish. Kirk and Spock, who fortunately made a tricorder recording, must attempt to go through to just before McCoy’s arrival and stop him from changing history in the United States during the Great Depression, where they have no advanced technology available

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708455/