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
When the phaser cannon being used to breach the Talosians stronghold begins to overheat, Number One uses her communicator to call up to the starship Enterprise (which is supplying the power) and order them to "disengage." When the cannon continues to fire, she lowers the communicator, looks up, and YELLS "Enterprise, disengage!" to the orbiting ship. See more »
Captain Christopher Pike:
It's funny. Just about 24 hours ago, I was telling the ship's doctor how much I wanted something else - not... very different from what we have here. An escape from reality, a life with no frustrations; no responsibilities. And now that I have it, I understand the Doctor's answer.
Captain Christopher Pike:
Because you either live life - bruises, skinned knees and all - or you turn your back on it and start dying. The Doctor's gonna be happy about one part, at least; he said I needed a rest.
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Just think...if Jeffrey Hunter had wound up playing the Captain in Star Trek, he might be alive today. Hunter died in 1969 from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, probably caused by an explosion that imploded instead during a film he was working on in Europe. Interesting thought.
The Cage was the most expensive pilot in NBC history to that point. Though the Star Trek idea had its supporters, the network couldn't see past its nose to pick up the series. They did, however, agree to a second pilot with some changed elements - like a woman who was second in command. The reasons why Hunter did not do the next pilot have been debated. A friend of Hunter's stated that Hunter's wife, Dusty, thought science fiction was low class and didn't want him involved in the show. And, according to Shatner's book, she also made unreasonable demands of the producers.
It's worth remembering that back in the '60s, science fiction, space movies, etc., did not have the "A" status that they do today. B movies only became A movies after Star Wars.
The Cage is a not only very good but touching, and of course, it's fascinating to see "Star Trek" before it became a cult classic. The story concerns a planet that exists basically on Mind Control, and the inhabitants in charge capture Pike in the hope that he can help replenish their race with an earth woman who is there as a result of a ship crashing. Susan Oliver is the woman.
During the run of the series, in order to recoup some of the costs of this fabulously expensive pilot, it was incorporated into a two-part episode, with another actor playing the now near-vegetative Captain Pike.
I love seeing films such as this that were done before all the special effect technology became available, because they were done in such innovative and imaginative ways. The Cage is worth a look to see the genesis of a show that became part of our culture.
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