★★★1/2 January 12, 1967 Season 1 Episode 17
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 and Paul Schneider
This is one of the lighter episodes of Star Trek. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good…quite the opposite. It shows intellect without discipline and power without a constructive purpose go nowhere.
The star of this episode is not a crew member but is actor William Campbell who plays Trelane. Trelane can seemingly do anything he wishes. He can get people off of the Enterprise in a second. William Campbell is over the top in this episode and it fits perfectly!
I’ve always thought Trelane was a forerunner of the Q character, from the Next Generation series, and it is impossible to re-watch this episode without making comparisons. Many of them are favorable to actor William Campbell who played Trelane as if the role had been written for him.
Trelane appears to have stumbled upon an eighteenth-century decor but he gets so many things wrong such as the food with no taste. He’s stuck in space and he’s lonely. He wants the Enterprise crew for the company…but they all have work to do….and don’t have time to keep him entertained. They don’t have much of a choice though when they see how powerful he is.
Leonard Nimoy intrigues Trelane. He’s studied the earth, but he’s only gotten as far as the 18th century. A Vulcan like Spock is something he can’t account for. The very serious-minded Spock has no time to deal with what Captain Kirk and the rest realize is an immature mind. But a very powerful one who can change matter to energy and back simply at will.
The ending was amusing and sad when the revelation regarding Trelane’s story is revealed… I won’t give it away here.
The costume worn by Campbell as Trelane was rented from the Western Costume company. Almost two weeks after it was seen worn by Campbell on Star Trek, the same costume appeared in the Gilligan’s Island third season episode “Lovey’s Secret Admirer” worn by actor Jim Backus. A short time later, it was again re-used and worn by actor Michael Nesmith in The Monkees episode “The Prince and the Pauper”
William Campbell has said that the part of Trelane was really written for Roddy McDowall. The reason why it was eventually decided not to use him was that it was feared that the mannerisms of the character combined with McDowall’s look would make the character appear gay. Campbell was chosen because his supposedly “huskier look/build” would offset the foppish mannerisms of the character. However, he is not noticeably huskier than McDowell. In the fact, Campbell’s higher-pitched voiced and greater penchant for theatricality are more likely to appear gay than McDowell’s. The result is that Trelane’s over-the-top manner is (possibly deliberately) somewhat camp.
n an interview on the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) Season 7 DVD, John de Lancie said he believed that Gene Roddenberry, whether consciously or subconsciously, was channeling Trelane when he created Q.
William Campbell, who plays Trelane, would later play Captain Koloth in Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles (1967).
Barely visible before Trelane vaporizes it with the phaser is a strange bird-like creature with striped legs that is also in a display niche. It was the reuse of the humanoid bird creature costume, fleetingly and partially seen in the Talos zoo in Star Trek: The Cage (1966).
An M-113 creature is among the trophies on display in Trelane’s castle. When Dr. McCoy (the creature’s last defender in Star Trek: The Man Trap (1966)) sees it, he does a double-take. During the scene, the howling music theme from that episode is heard. It is possible that Trelane had observed Planet M-113 with his telescope at some point.
According to an interview with William Campbell in “The World of Star Trek”, in his fight with William Shatner in the forest, he fell down and dislocated his shoulder. Fortunately, as he flung his arm up in his instinctive reaction to the excruciating pain, the shoulder popped back into its socket. Due to Campbell’s injury, shooting finished in seven filming days, one day over schedule. Campbell can be seen favoring the injured shoulder, hold the arm limp.
The exact century in which Star Trek was set had not been determined during the filming of the original series. Kirk refers to people and events of the 18th and 19th century as being nine hundred years in the past, which could have placed the series in the 27th century or later. De Forest Research, Inc., the company who reviewed scripts for clearances and other related matters, noted in their commentary on the line “Then you’ve been looking in on doings nine hundred years past”: “Other scripts have placed it c. 200 years in the future, e.g. Star Trek: Shore Leave (1966). That places this reference in the 13th century.”
In his book Q-Squared, author Peter David related that Trelane was an adolescent Q entity. Trelane’s nature may seem inconsistent with Q lore, but David uses creative speculation to explain away any questions that may arise.
William Campbell recalled the part of Trelane as “It was just a great role. It was sensational. I’ll never forget it.” and “It would be very easy for any actor who had any training to play the Squire of Gothos. The character was so well written and, of course, it was the show”.
When Kirk and Sulu vanish into thin air from the bridge of the Enterprise, Spock sends a landing party to the planet below to locate them. What they find is an 18th century castle and a rather foppish man, Trelane, who seems to know a great deal about the Earth – even if it is the wrong time period. If truth be told, Trelane acts like a spoiled little boy and it’s obvious Kirk and the others have become his playthings. They soon realize that if they are to overcome Trelane and free themselves, they must locate and destroy his power source
William Shatner … Captain James Tiberius ‘Jim’ Kirk
Leonard Nimoy … Mister Spock
William Campbell … Trelane
DeForest Kelley … Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Richard Carlyle … Jaeger
Nichelle Nichols … Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
George Takei … Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
James Doohan … Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
Michael Barrier … DeSalle
Venita Wolf … Yeoman Teresa Ross
Barbara Babcock … Trelane’s Mother (voice) (uncredited)
Bill Blackburn … Lieutenant Hadley (uncredited)
Frank da Vinci … Lt. Brent (uncredited)
Carey Foster … Enterprise crewmember (uncredited)
Bart La Rue … Trelane’s Father (voice) (uncredited)
Eddie Paskey … Lieutenant Leslie (uncredited)
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