This is the pilot to the series that would star William Shatner. Only in this version there is 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). Written by
NBC reportedly called the pilot "too cerebral", "too intellectual", and "too slow" with "not enough action". Rather than rejecting the series outright, the network commissioned - in an unusual, and at the time unprecedented, move - a second pilot, which then became Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966). This was accepted and Star Trek: The Original Series began production. See more »
When Vina is tortured by the Talosians and disappears, in the next shot her shadow is still visible moving out of frame on the left. See more »
[Pike is watching Vina dancing as an Orion slave girl]
Suppose you had all of space to choose from, and this was only one small sample.
Wouldn't you say it was worth a man's soul?
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I went to a Trekie revival in the late 1970's hosted by Gene Roddenberry, in person, the series creator. When I first saw this listed here, I was confused by the September, 1966 air date. This episode never aired on NBC or any network originally. If it has been shown intact, it has only happened in later years.
At this revival, Gene showed only the black and white version of this as at that point, the color one had been lost and all he had was the black and white. It was shown on a large arena screen and was on film. He talked about the fact it had never aired and that NBC had decided against running this series based on The Cage.
Gene used The Menagerie two parter as a way to air the pilot later. When the series began, it did not air first. He said that his purpose for the series went totally over the NBC execs heads. That is no surprise as NBC often was the second place network and sometimes fell to number three of three during the late 1960's.
Gene Roddenberry originally pitched this series to NBC as Wagon Train to The Stars, based on his experience writing westerns like Have Gun, Will Travel.Often success would come to NBC by accident. The accident here is that they gave Roddenberry a second chance to start this show.
That is what happened with Star Trek. Star Trek established the teenage generation following for NBC at the perfect time here as NBC would accidentally follow it up with other series this demographic liked. In no small part Rowan & Martins Laugh-In, an experiment in modern comedy-variety series succeeded because frustrated Trekies were looking for more network fare that was not conventional.
Star Trek's fresh, bold, where no man has gone before theme became a credo at NBC as they went very far out later to keep this audience for many years. The Cage is the ultimate place for all this to begin.
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