Star Trek (1966–1969)
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The Savage Curtain 

Kirk, Spock, Abraham Lincoln and Vulcan legend Surak are pitted in battle against notorious villains from history for the purpose of helping a conscious rock creature's understanding of a concept he does not understand, "good vs. evil".



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Episode complete credited cast:
Phillip Pine ...
Arell Blanton ...
Chief Security Guard
Carol Daniels ...
Zora (as Carol Daniels DeMent)
Bob Herron ...
Kahless (as Robert Herron)
Nathan Jung ...


The Enterprise's sensor readings indicate a planet unsuitable for any carbon-based life at the level of a developed civilization. Suddenly they get an apparition in space from someone who looks like and claims to be Abraham Lincoln. He insists on them checking him out and coming over to a small part on the planet surface (which has suddenly developed a perfect atmosphere for humans). He is received with full presidential honors and Kirk and Spock agree to beam down with him, but as they do, phasers and tricorders fail to dematerialize with them, and communicators won't work. There they meet Surak, the greatest Vulcan of all time, equally convincing. The quartet is greeted by a creature consisting of molten rock who presents them to notorious historical villains Ghengis Khan, Colonel Green, Zora and the Klingon Kahless the Unforgettable. They're told the teams represent good versus evil and must battle to the death against each other to teach the creature their concept. When Kirk ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

7 March 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Savage Curtain" introduces Klingon founding father Kahless and Vulcan founding father Surak to the Star Trek universe. Kahless' history played an important role in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) (where he is regarded as a force for good, contrary to the sentiments expressed here), and Surak's history was crucial to the final season of Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) which also gave a little bit of backstory to Colonel Phillip F. Green. Zora of Tiburon is the only "historic" figure introduced here who was not further developed in a later Star Trek series. See more »


Star Trek The Original Series was notoriously inconsistent in its clues as to when it takes place. This one contains two contradictory statements within itself. Early on, Scotty says that Abraham Lincoln has been dead for 3 centuries, suggesting that they are in the middle of the 22nd century. Later, Colonel Phillip Green is said to be from the 21st century and that his treachery happened "centuries ago." The plural reference to centuries since the 21st suggests they're past the 22nd and into at least the 23rd. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: The very reason for the existence of our starships is contact with other life. Although the method is beyond our comprehension, we have been offered contact; therefore, I shall beam down.
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Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Laserblast (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Truly Awful and Stupid
7 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If this is "true Star Trek" then Star Trek is nothing but a bunch of fanciful fantasy buffoonery. Abraham Lincoln shows up on screen, saying he's the real deal, but can't explain why, and Kirk has absolutely no guard up. Huh?! Then they all beam down to a volcanic planet and go through another arena experience as heroes versus famous evil folks duke it out with sticks and stones, a fight hosted by .. eh, I don't remember .. oh that's right, a ROCK MONSTER, one that dances a little when fighting commences. The ending had NO MORAL, of course Kirk and his closest cronies survive because the series must go on so this is no spoiler, but really I didn't pick up that anything really happened. The aliens responsible for this didn't learn anything about human philosophy, and Kirk and the crew didn't grow from the experience either. Just a total waste of time.

I'm utterly shocked and confused that "Spock's Brain" is so frequently referenced as the worst TOS episode yet this one isn't. I'm going through the whole series and this one takes the cake. There's no sci-fi, no interesting dialog, no lessons, it's like a stupid bad dream, as if the writers sat down cobbled together the most formulaic Star Trek ideas (hallucinations, arena fighting) and slapped it into a script without any intention to produce anything interesting except only to ogle the history of Abraham Lincoln's presumed personality. This is beyond meaninglessly stupid and a waste of time.

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