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
In the first draft script, the illusory Columbia survivors had more dialogue than they do in the episode's final edit. For instance, it was established that the survivors' distress call had been a directional beam. Harvey P. Lynn Jr., however, proposed that it would be more likely for the survivors' signal to have been a broadcast beam, owing to the increased probability that such a beam would be intercepted. Solar batteries were mentioned by at least one of the survivors too, but Lynn opposed this by suggesting that the illusory Human instead say, "After we could no longer use the ship's power, we switched to automatic batteries and started praying." This dialogue was evidently later cut or omitted entirely. See more »
When Captain Pike is abducted, remaining crew members fire a barrage of phaser weaponry at the portal; in each of the three attempts, the exact same effect results. Parts of the entryway get blasted out, and then with each succeeding blast, the exact same thing happens to the "door." In addition, though one of the crew fires his phaser from a different location than Tyler and Spock, his shot appears to be coming from the same location as Tyler's. See more »
Look. Brains three times the size of ours. If we start buzzing about down there, we're liable to find their mental power is so great, they could reach out and swat this ship as though it were a fly.
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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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